Belief or lack thereof in deity
Recently, on ADF-Liturgists, I was questioned on my statement of, "I don't believe in (for example) the Hellenic deities (well, one: I guess I'm an Hellenic monotheist). I've no real desire to worship Zeus or Athena because in my world, they don't exist as "real" entities. Sure, I *can* work with them (I'm a good polytheist and a Chaote to boot), but I don't really want to."
Because the discussion was moved, and because I really like my answer and analogy, I thought I'd post
my clarification here.
I mean that in my reality they don't exist, though I have no say about your reality. And, should push come to shove (meaning: should any need arise, really), I'll incorporate them into my reality as necessary, but they'll get the boot from my reality as soon as I'm done.
In other words: I have no problem working with them, but that's because my work isn't dependant on belief.
Polytheists aren't required to believe in all deities, just to accept that there are possibilities out there, and that they don't know 'em all. And I don't know them all.
Reducing the number of deities in my paradigm is how I keep things straight. If I believe in all deities at all times, then how do I choose between Taranis and Zeus and Jupiter for Summer Solstice? How do I decide whether to pray to Marduk or Ra? I don't believe it makes a difference if I believe in both equally. Heck, I could go with Jesus. . . But he's almost entirely useless to me as a deity: he's lying at the bottom of my toolbox rusting.
Illustration: How many cards are there in a deck of cards?
It's not 52.
A full deck of Bridge cards has 54-56 cards. Nearly everyone discards the jokers. Absolutely everyone discards the instructions and the trademark card.. That's what I do in my headspace: the jokers serve no purpose. But if I want to spice up a game of Poker, it's not like I can't reach back into the deck and get them. But what good is it to acknowledge their presence in a game of Bridge? A Bridge deck cannot function in a bridge game with all the cards it comes with.
A full deck of Pinochle cards has 48 cards in it. You cannot use a Pinochle deck to play Poker.
And then there are people who make Pinochle decks from two packs of cards. There are only 48 cards in that deck, and you have 56-60 cards left over that you don't need. You don't think about bringing the 6 of hearts into a Pinochle game: it makes no sense. A joker would break the game.
Of course, a deck of jokers would be the ideal game for me. . .
The fact is, it is often useful to reject information that is useless in your operating paradigm. It simplifies things. You won't look for a royal flush in Pinochle, nor will you try and say that a spade jack and a diamond queen is worth something in Poker, even though you know how to play both.
But even though we refuse to use the rules to other games when we play them, and those rules make no sense and generally will break the game we're playing, that doesn't mean we can't switch games after re-stocking the deck with the correct cards.
So today, no, I don't believe in Zeus or Athena. But I have no issue offering to them or helping others find connection with them if necessary.
The Greeks are just another deck of cards to me. I'm just not playing with them today. Mostly because they're like Whist, and I don't play Whist very well. In fact, I'm kinda bad at it. But I know the basics, and I can hold my own should I have to play the game.
Sorry: remember, I'm a Chaote: changing paradigms is what I do. Constantly. Whenever it's needed. What doesn't exist today will exist just fine tomorrow, and that's really where I draw my definition of the term, "exist."
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