EDUCATION

Opinion: Spirituality: Does polytheism result in better communities?

Samantha Stephans
Oxford Stories

We live in a world where people believe various things. Individuals take pride in the fact that they may choose what they want to believe. However, with strong tension between certain countries, most of the hatred is the result of certain religious beliefs.

When the Bible was created, polytheism was the main method of worship. Polytheism is the belief in many gods – “poly” meaning many and “theism” meaning god. The idea behind the polytheistic way is the belief that there is more than one power or force within the universe. These gods take on several different forms, and usually have human characteristics.

The polytheistic way had a very large impact on several cultures. Polytheism  impacted single individuals, communities and political leaders. It gave individuals the opportunity to stay true to their own personal beliefs.

Monotheism was the other way of worship, the belief in one god – “mono” meaning one and “theism” meaning god. The difficulty with this way of worship is the strict guidelines the individual must follow to develop their true inner self or receive praise from this god.

Using polytheism gave individuals the ability to adjust their lives around several gods and forces, making it easier to achieve certain requirements these hierarchies implemented. Not only was this way of worship easier; it also had a larger impact on the individual himself.

It gave people more freedom. The more freedom one has, the more willing the individual is to create and better oneself, leading to a stronger sense of empowerment.

Polytheism had a greater impact on individuals, constructing a greater man. With polytheism in place, communities were well structured and supportive. What we usually see within a community is that, under the reign of a monotheistic government, there is corruption and inequality.

A monotheistic-run community provides a shared belief system and the opportunity for involvement within the religious culture. Though this way of life usually led to problems and disorder, causing a divide between societies.

Since polytheism did not follow a specific religion, communities developed a certain way of living, usually adapting other interpretations of other gods, which made it easier for individuals to come together, creating a more stable community.

Having a powerful community bond led to a more advanced way of living and created a sense of understanding between other surrounding communities, forging alliances and relationships with other societies. Under the polytheistic way of life, communities were stable and developed.

Unlike monotheism, polytheism established a new way of leadership. In ancient times, we usually see some sort of dictatorship or aristocracy with no say from the lower class. This was not a horrible way of leading a community, though it was not the foremost way.

Polytheism laid a sense of equality within a society, a sense of achievement and aspiration for a better life. It influenced every habit and activity of social life, leading to the transformation of intellectual life.

With a leader willing to accept different beliefs and ways of living, it gives the people a sense of acceptance and understanding. This creates an unspoken platform between elite and plebeian, an unspoken acceptance of one another.

With this platform in place, communities function with ease and usually accomplish greater tasks and achieve success. Political leaders are more open-minded and forbearing.

The polytheistic way improves individuals, communities, and political leaders. Individuals were less restricted, giving them a sense of freedom and self worth. This led to the individual’s willingness to create a better self and strive to become a greater man.

Furthermore, this sense of individuality led to stronger communities. Communities with a powerful bond between one another, created more stable and developed environments.

Lastly, it constructed political leaders that were more open to acceptance and approval of other beliefs, which lead to an unspoken understanding of platforms between social classes. Polytheism generated a durable way of living through the individual, community, and the political leaders.

It is hard to compare religions and try to decipher which is better. Though I may lean to one side more than the other, I respect the views of others as well, and have learned that many beliefs have much to offer, and no one is the better way.

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