Polytheism《多神宗教》续集

继续上上一篇,《什么是polytheism?》

记得好几年前,大宝升节刚过,办公室里的印裔小妹妹带游行的相片簿来分享。我从成叠的七彩兴都教神祗中找到一个白脸孔的观世音佛像,下巴几乎掉下。小妹妹笑嘻嘻说,是呀,观世音也算是我们的其中一位神。那时我的脑筋实在是卡主,不知该作何想。

大概从自家宗教开始学习的话,不会看到比较‘全面’的描绘。得从更长的年代,跨越几千、纵横几万年,方摸索得出少许轮廓,理解一点道理。 毕竟每个宗教多少总会有一言堂之举。而拉长时间仔细观察人类历史,就有另一番体会。

上次抄到多神宗教有不理人世的全能力量,the supreme power,因为祂不管事,人类只好塑造或 拜托比较低层次的神祗,符合各种祈求,造就百花齐放百家争鸣。
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One of the implications of this basic polytheistic insight, is that polytheists turned to be tolerant towards the religious beliefs of other people. Since polytheists believe on the one hand, in one supreme but completely disinterested power, and on the other hand, in many partial and biased powers, all these gods and goddesses. Then polytheists have no difficulty to accept the existence and the efficacy of all kinds of gods.

I may worship this god or this goddess, but there are others in the world, it's very obvious to polytheists. Polytheists are therefore inherently open minded and they rarely in history persecuted heretics or infidels. Because again, it's very easy for you to accept, to recognize, the existence of other gods and goddesses. I may not want to worship that god but yes, somebody else might.

Even when polytheists conquered huge empires, they almost never tried to convert those subjects, the conquered people to their own religion. For example when the Egyptians, or when the Romans, or when the Aztecs, the conquered huge empires, they did not try to force all the people they controlled to convert, to the Roman or to  the Aztec religion.

And they also did not send missionaries to foreign lands beyond their control to convince people in other countries to accept our gods. The subject people's in the empire will of course require to respect the gods of the empire and the rituals of the empire, because these gave legitimacy to the empire and it was a sign of loyalty to the empire. But the subject people will not require to give up their own gods and rituals.

In many cases the imperial elite actually adopted the gods and the rituals of the subject people. For example, Roman elites were very happy to add all kinds of Asian goddesses and Egyptian Gods to their Pantheon. In the later Roman Empire you find many Romans worshiping as a Asiatic goddess Kibela and the Egyptian goddess Isis. They were particular popular among the Roman elites.

The only god that for a very long time the Romans refused to tolerate was the monotheistic god of the Christians. The Roman empire did not require the Christians to give up their beliefs and rituals, but it did expect the Christians to pay respect to the empire's protector gods and to the divinity of the emperor. The emperor in Rome was also considered a god.

Now, this was simply seen as a declaration of political loyalty. When the Christian, vehemently refused to accept the gods of the empire and the divinity of the emperor, and went on to reject all the different attempts to reach a compromise, it was only then that the Romans reacted by persecuting the Christians, for what they understood to be political subversion.

The Christians were not persecuted due to religious intolerance on the side of the Romans, but because the Romans considered the Christian's refusal to accept the divinity of the emperor, and to acknowledge the protector gods of the empire, it was considered political disloyal.

This is why they were persecuted. Even this persecution of the Christians, it was done in a very half hearted way by the Romans. In the 300 years that passed from the crucifixion of Jesus Christ up to the conversion of Emperor Constantine to Christianity, polytheistic Roman emperors initiated no more than four general persecutions of Christians which lasted a relatively short time.

Local governors in all kinds of provinces, they incited some anti-Christian violence on their own in addition to these general persecutions.But still, if we combine all the victims of all these persecutions of Christians by the polytheistic Romans, it turns out that in three centuries the polytheistic Romans killed no more than a few thousand Christians.

In contrast over the course of the next 1500 years, Christians slaughtered Christians in the millions to defend slightly different interpretations of the religion of love and compassion.The persecution of monotheists by monotheists was far more severe by several orders of magnitude than any persecution ever initiated by polytheistic religions.
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 材料取自网络课程《A Brief History of Humankind》 by The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. 关于人类宗教历史的简单论述,没有剪接,完整呈现。
(取自互联网课程)
这个论题还有不少相关的篇幅,相当新颖的观点,当做知识吸取,迟点再贴。

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