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A World Full of Gods: An Inquiry into Polytheism Paperback – September 20, 2005
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Additionally he starts to address the classical philosophical arguements for monotheism and where they are lacking. If this book had been around a number of years ago, a lot of people who felt bullied by semi-informed people with half of an arguement whould have had a lot better time of it. If you have proplems with apologists, this book can also be a help.
Most of all however, this is a real serious book that goes far beyond the usual Pagan fare. It is serious and takes the MIND seriously rather than just ignoring it with an off the cuff "you have to experience it to understand", which is totally unsatisfying to those who have spent a lot of time and effort in their religous seeking. The mind and logic cannot be ignored. Greer doesn't. I hope to see many more books like this.
Greer has many decades of pagan spiritual practice under his belt. He currently heads a major Druid order, and participates actively in a number of other organizations and projects. He approaches his subject with a well-informed ease and an intellectual grace which are completely refreshing.
While fully in dialogue with contemporary theological scholarship, Greer's book is accessible to the non-academic reader. He rightly points to the foundational nature of religious experience in today's pagan world. Theology and practice are judged on the basis of experience, and not vice versa. Looking at the wide range of religious experience reported by human beings, Greer comes to the common-sense conclusion that such experience varies so widely as to be "inherently polytheistic" (70). Moreover:
"... [I]t's perfectly valid to say of gods and neutrinos alike that while we don't know if they actually exist, the universe appears to work as though they do. In religious experiences, certainly, the gods appear to be real entities external to the human mind and nervous system. Until solid evidence or sound reasoning shows that this is definitely not the case, accepting it as a working hypothesis is at least as reasonable as rejecting it out of hand.Read more ›
He shows the major arguments for monotheism as "better than" polytheism for the straw men they are, and argues that real world evidence suggests polytheism as a logical explanation for the vast variety of human spiritual experiences. John Michael deals with the whole "all religions are really talking about the same thing" argument the same way I do -- they aren't. We're not all climbing to the same mountaintop. In fact, we may not all be looking to climb mountains at all, and that's just fine.
I think that monotheists of all stripes are going to come away from this book feeling very uncomfortable, but considering the deathgrip that monotheism has had on theology for the past 1500 or so years, it's good to have that complacency poked and disabused. John Michael argues that polytheism's inclusiveness is its strength, and a more accurate reflection of reality than the exclusivity of monotheism with its warring "exclusively true" texts that contradict one another in their generalities and their specifics. Greer manages to show how monotheism chokes on its own circular logic, and that isn't going to set well with mainstream religions at all. At the same time, I think it's essential for Pagans doing interfaith work to have this information and these arguments in their arsenal, and it would probably be a good idea to share it with your monotheist colleagues to show them just how *different* our worldviews really are from their own.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Really interesting book. Worth it if you are a polytheist, monotheist, or an atheist!Published 9 months ago by John Zoshak
John Michael Greer has been impressing me, and getting me to think about complex subjects in a new way, for more than a decade. This book was no exception. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Andrew Watt
This is a great book for anyone who wonders why polytheism is making such a great resurgence in the 21st century. My favorite part is the Cat Analogy. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Virginia F. Richards-taylor
I cannot recommend this book enough. No matter your religion, the logic within is difficult to counter, and is bound to make sure you're thinking deep thoughts about the nature of... Read morePublished 18 months ago by Carl Bonebright
The book was very interesting and illuminating. As one raised in a very strict christian home, I found the way he helps one distinguish between what has been forced upon us as part... Read morePublished 21 months ago by Amazon Customer
As one has come to expect, John Michael Greer has produced a top notch offering. This book gives a very good set of reason based arguments for the rationality of polytheology and... Read morePublished on June 29, 2014 by Robert Barton