Monday, February 12, 2007

'The Gods'

[transcript of an unreal conversation, early 21st Century]

Abrahamic Believer:
I believe in the One True God who rules Heaven and Earth.

Pagan Individual: I reject monotheism and a transcendent God who exists outside creation, a God you call "He."

AB: Some places may still use the supposedly generic "He" for God but the place where I worship stopped calling God "He" 20 years ago, when some women said they felt excluded when God was called only "He" and "Lord" and other similar male words. We degendered our language, and a church where a friend of mine goes had another solution: they alternate male and female language.

PI: Well, we Pagans have a God and a Goddess, Gods and Goddesses, male and female. Your monotheism relies on transcendence, but the gods we Pagans have are immanent. The Gods are within creation not somewhere outside or above it.

AB: the gods?

PI: Yes, the gods, plural. You got a problem with that?

AB: You mean just the male gods are immanent?

PI: Of course not, all the gods are immanent.

AB: So you’re using "the gods" to mean both gods and goddesses?

PI: Yes, everyone knows "the gods" means both gods and goddesses. That’s how it’s always been said.

AB: So you’re using "the gods" as a generic, just like we used "he" as a generic pronoun for God, as it had always been used.

PI: It’s not the same because we have both gods and goddesses, and priests and priestesses.

AB: It sure seems the same to me! People used to say "God" had no gender even though we called him "he." We have both male and female ministers. So explain how "the gods" doesn’t exclude the female divine just like "God...He" does.

PI: It’s just an expression! What are you, the Word Police?

Medusa [in a voice that sounds like it’s coming through a bullhorn]: I understand that your ear has become used to the sound of certain words, and that it seems like "the gods" rolls off the tongue easily and it takes up less space when you’re writing to leave off "the goddesses." But when I’m left out I become angry. You wouldn’t want to anger Medusa, would you? To include me, my sister Goddesses, and women, when speaking of us, please use "gods and goddesses" (alternating that term with "goddesses and gods"), or if you want something short, use "deities" or "divinities." If you’re writing, use these or use "God/desses."

Abrahamic Believer: What or Who was that?

Pagan Individual: I didn’t hear anything....


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At Tuesday, February 13, 2007 12:09:00 AM, Blogger Hecate said...

Amen. Or, we could just say "the goddesses" for the next three thousand years, wiht the understanding that this word "includes" the gods. Somehow, they're never in favor of this.

At Tuesday, February 13, 2007 12:19:00 PM, Blogger Medusa said...

I like the way you think, Hecate. I also like your blog!

At Monday, February 26, 2007 10:19:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Medusa, to add to your point about using "gods" as a generic and totally omitting "goddesses", I thought I'd share this from a polytheist organization that I recently came across. I'm going to snip part of it for space, but believe me, "goddess" or "goddesses" doesn't appear once in this whole CFP (I've bolded some sentences):

This is a 'call for papers' for the APT 2007 conference. This year's theme is - Traditions, gods, spirits in the land: with animist religion, do we need gods?

There are other issues we hope to discuss:
* The British Reburial Issue and the arguments going on around this (snip)the discussions on 'Lindow Man'(snip)

* Reaching out to other Polytheists - ideas and guidelines.

(Snip)Last year's APT conference raised so many ideas in the first session that people said they could have talked
about that all day. So here it is: where are the boundaries between
polytheism and animism, and indeed are there any? When somebody
considers they deal with an animist frame of reference, a 'living landscape', do they need one or more gods for this to be considered a'religion'

What do you think on this - as a polytheist practitioner, or a
religious studies scholar, a theologian, a visionary inspired by the gods, one to whom they speak? What are the historic, prehistoric and cultural precedents - and how do we know about these?

What kind of theology - or theory - makes sense in 21st century polytheism?


* Contributions are invited for a short talk 15-20-ish minutes) or
video presentation, or a poster display. We are also looking for
those who can contribute poetry, song, dance or other perfomance
areas for the evening.

* Date is Saturday 26th May, 2007, at Manchester Museum. APT AGM is
Sunday morning.

* Deadline for abstracts is 10 MARCH 2007 (snip) Short descriptions should be up to 200 words.

There will be an evening session, and offers of performances are
welcome - calling all polytheist musicians, singers and storytellers!


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Judith Laura

More blogs about /goddess/feminist theology/spiritual feminism/pagan/feminist spirituality/.