What We Lost When We Became Monotheists by Ivy Helman

imageThe Tanakh, Jewish scriptures, predominately call the deity king and lord and use the masculine pronoun.  These images evoke a certain level of power. Just how powerful the deity is in then multiplied when “he” is addressed as  “G-d of Gods,” “Lord of Lords,” judge, almighty, all-powerful, and warrior-like with vengeance, fury and flaring nostrils. Events like war, army invasion, disease, drought,  and famine are often described as divine punishments for wrongs done throughout the Tanakh.

All of these images bring forth a certain mindset regarding who the divine is and what “he” does.  Indeed, such images may well have been crucial in those ancient days when famine, drought, war, and disease  were ever present and, day-to-day survival was often extremely difficult. People sought understanding as to why they were suffering, and the workings of divine beings offered such explanations.   Continue reading “What We Lost When We Became Monotheists by Ivy Helman”

“Immanent Inclusive Monotheism” with a Multiplicity of Symbols Affirming All the Diversity and Difference in the World by Carol P. Christ

carol-christIn recent years monotheism has been attacked as a “totalizing discourse” that justifies the domination of others in the name of a universal truth. In addition, from the Bible to the present day some have used their own definitions of “exclusive monotheism” to disparage the religions of others. Moreover, feminists have come to recognize that monotheism as we know it has been a “male monotheism” that for the most part excludes female symbols and metaphors for God.  With all of this going against monotheism, who would want to affirm it?

In response to some or all of the above critiques, many modern pagans define themselves as polytheists, affirming at minimum, the Goddess and the God, and at maximum a vast pantheon of individual deities, both female and male, from a single culture or from many, including divinities with animal characteristics.  Other pagans define themselves as animists, affirming a plurality of spirits in the natural world. A group of Christian feminists have argued that the Christian Trinity, the notion of God Three-in-One, provides a multiple and relational understanding of divinity.

While also rejecting exclusive monotheism and male monotheism, Jewish poet, ritualist, and theologian Marcia Falk provided a definition of inclusive monotheism that I find compelling.

Monotheism means that, with all our differences, I am more like you than unlike you. It means that we all share the same source, and that one principle of justice must govern us equally.  . . Continue reading ““Immanent Inclusive Monotheism” with a Multiplicity of Symbols Affirming All the Diversity and Difference in the World by Carol P. Christ”

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