Hrafnkell made a post on PAGAN+politics called “Islamophobia and an American Heathen,” which I highly recommend you read. While my blog should not deviate too far from its focus on Hellenism, the post — and comments — are very important to the polytheistic movement as a whole.
We all know that the core texts of Islam and Christianity contain elements that portray polytheism as something hostile and demonic. To Muslims, polytheism is shirk, the most heinous and unforgivable crime in their religion because it denies the One True God. Other things, including liking the Beatles too much, we can also consider as shirk, so it’s not like we’re special anymore to them. Christianity believes that the only way to attain salvation is through the One True God and Yeshua, the Jewish Rabbi whose break with tradition resulted in the religion we know today.
No one who believes in the Bill of Rights can say that we should deny them the right to assemble as they please in a location they have bought, no matter how much anxiety we feel about how much each individual adherent believes in their divisive sacred texts. As Epictetus says in his Enchiridion:
Some things are in our control and others not. Things in our control are opinion, pursuit, desire, aversion, and, in a word, whatever are our own actions. Things not in our control are body, property, reputation, command, and, in one word, whatever are not our own actions.If we think about this quotation, we can clearly see that reacting to what people do — say, building a religious center — as if we controlled their actions will only create frustration and divide us into camps that really shouldn’t have existed in the first place. Because we can control our responses, we should instead look beyond situations and see the larger picture.
If our goal as an alliance of polytheistic faiths is to reduce stigmatization of our faiths and to counter anti-polytheistic propaganda, we need to concentrate on these campaigns, not just tearing down the people who we know oppose us. A lot of people have started initiatives, but they probably wouldn’t mind having our help.
If you aren’t already helping and would like to, join an interfaith group. Share information about the World Congress of Ethnic Religions on Facebook, Twitter, and in person. Let people know about indigenous Americans’ struggles for basic protections/respect and support them as people with somewhat similar goals who might be awesome to work with in the future. Support Pagan Pride Day. If people ask why you don’t discuss Easter plans, give them a real reason. Interact with mainstream blogs and counter Abrahamic arguments with our own. Even people in dangerous locations can interact with Internet-based advocacy groups, and everyone can demand to know politicians’ stands on First Amendment rights for religious minorities such as Hindus, Buddhists, and polytheists.
As Aias from the Hellenistai Forums said, our ancestors were completely unprepared to deal with One True Wayist Monotheism. However, we live with people who believe in that stuff, so we are in a much better position. We know the good and bad of each of them. Can’t we learn from our ancestors’ mistakes and actually start addressing the problems?