Squirrels Are Not Rocks

Posted: December 5, 2015 in Uncategorized

Lenses of Engagement in Theistic Discourse

Julian wrote, in the comments of a recent post of mine, that he has been:

… thinking about Polytheism (big P) as being about potential, as well as actuality. Simply allowing for the possible presence of multiple divinities is sufficient, in my rendering, to qualify as Polytheism. The total number of Gods is both unknown and immaterial, and fussing over how many are required/actual/known Gods there are is unhelpful. A system that acknowledges a single “known” deity while also allowing for the possibility of other “unknown” or even “false” Gods could be understood as Polytheistic since it acknowledges the possibility of other Divine presences. Polytheism then is, necessarily, ambiguous and tense, possessing multiple centers of /truth production/, real or imaginary.

 

I agree with a lot of what the author is saying here, and it is part of what I’ve been trying to communicate: Polytheism, when approached in a certain way, is about a radically inclusive and exponentially expansive set of virtually unrestricted potentialities; the only requisite in this is that it is defined in the correct fashion, which is merely “the affirmed and acknowledged religious regard for many gods”, and does not necessitate worshipping any specific number of them, or naming any specific combination(s) of them.

A person could be a Polytheist without knowing ANY gods, or having ANY system of divine organization (e.g. nations of spirits, choirs of agents, pantheons of gods, etc), so long as their basic core -theistic lens is one which “affirms and acknowledges with religious regard” that there [are/may be] many gods.

In this way, “there are many gods” and “there may be many gods” are logically identical statements, as neither positions the agent-observer outside of the potentiality of the uncountable divine, nor prohibits them from relation in the future (or present) with any such combinations.

The issue is not in struggling to define Polytheism, but rather, to help people to clarify when they are in fact not discussing -theistic engagements at all. For example, when a Catholic attempts to argue that their religion is Monotheistic, they are confused about what the terms mean. (Clarifying piece: I defend VICIOUSLY the rights of Catholics to -identify individually- as Monotheists, and do not see it as any person’s place to obstruct self-applied identifying language. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re using the most accurate language available, however, and in respecting identity term selection, I can still call for a critical discussion of the meanings of words.) The Catholic faith is one with many spirits and divinities, including angels (the vast majority of which are divinities and lesser-deities themselves) and so forth. It is therefore by definition NOT Monotheistic, in a literal sense. Nor is any other tradition so aligned.

However there are some who would argue that the Monotheism of Christianity is maintained by recognizing that all of the religious and spiritual elements — god, angels, etc — are metaphors for the universe, and the “God” exists outside of such considerations. Which is of course a perfectly reasonable (and vaguely gnostic) suggestion, however, it is not actually a -theistic premise at all. It’s an “other-than-theistic” or even “non-theistic” stance. It is not Monotheism, or any other kind of -theism, in that stage of thought or regard: it’s Monistic. Which is further to say that a “God” concept which “exists outside of such considerations” is not, in fact, a god; in calling it that, one slides into fallacious assertions right quick. In this same grain, a thing being called an automobile — say, for example, a large rock on a hillside — which has no wheels, nor axles, nor means for ground transportation or movement of any kind, which also cannot be entered into, or controlled, or moved, is not an automobile; calling it a car does not in fact make it a car, and leaves it still quite established as a large rock. There is nothing wrong with rocks, unless of course they are being positioned as cars, in which case there are lots of things wrong with them; notably their lack of car-ness.

The existence of an other-than-theistic mode of consideration — such as is found in gnostic process — does not force Monotheism, nor negate Polytheism; because an other-than-theistic mode of consideration is NOT assessing theistic things. It would be like saying that a person going into the forest to study rocks is denying the existence of the trees, simply because they’re there for geological reasons not directly focused on the squirrels residing in the trees. Different lenses of consideration, examination, and engagement are necessary — and nuanced — and how we should be driving the discussion, so as to avoid all this bullshit.

If people got more comfortable accurately identifying what it is that is being talked about or engaged — theistic vs other-than-theistic considerations for example — then we’d really be able to “get somewhere” in theological discourse. But people get stuck in the familiarly circular trap of just dick-swinging on all of this.

If archetypes are being discussed, regardless of whether they’re being called by the same names as gods, it is not gods who are being discussed. It is a realm of psychological theory. Not religion. Not -theism. When a Humanist is discussing “Odin as archetype”, they are no more discussing Odin the god than a boar-bristle beard brush for sale on Amazon called “ZEUS” is, in fact, the god Zeus. A hair-brush whose product model is called Zeus is not the god Zeus. An archetypal concept called Odin is not the god Odin. Discussions of archetypes are, and should be, discussions about archetypes… if only the ones having them would learn to identify them as other-than-theistic, rather than attempting to assault the fabric of OTHER conversations or modes of agencied engagement (which ARE theistic) for self-referential purposes.

The collective conversation (from the standpoint of Polytheists’ engagement) needs, I think, to lead the charge in assessing -theistic from other-than-theistic distinctions. When some yahoo is rambling about how gods are “just archetypes”, that’s not ANY different than somebody claiming that “Zeus is JUST a beard-brush! With such luxurious boar bristles!” Which is to say, they’re having a non-sense discussion, which should not be engaged with (if one’s intention is to push Polytheistic or even just -theistic considerations and theological topics forward).

Not every conversation needs to be a -theistic conversation, and so it is possible to discuss archetypes without “offending and insulting” Polytheists; the easiest way to do this is recognize that the conversation is not a -theistic one, but a psychological or conceptual mythological one, and establish that as the narrative framework, rather than trying to drag OTHER topics (such as theistic ones) into a framework where they don’t fit. That is like the geologist in the forest trying REALLY hard to pull squirrels into geological classification: it just doesn’t work. Squirrels are not rocks, no matter how “rock colored” they might be, or how “rock hard” their frozen corpses may become in February.)

But this isn’t, of course, just about — or even primarily about — outward/external discussions, but internal frameworks of understanding, relations, and regard.

It is insufficient for the geologist to merely stop talking to wildlife rescue professionals about how squirrels are actually rocks and they — the rescuers — are just confused and wrong and not trying hard enough. The geologist must strive to internalize these as divergent spheres of consideration: rocks and mammals are not the same thing, and probably are different enough to warrant distinct disciplines. Which is why there are distinct disciplines to discuss and describe them.

Similarly, the person discussing beard brushes needs to not only stop asserting that Zeus is a beard brush, but similarly, stop looking at their beard brush as though it is a god, or at gods as though they exist to boar through a gnarly beard.

This is a basic critical standard that I really think we should start offering up as a basic requisite for opening one’s mouth, proverbially or otherwise, in discussions which are to be taken as serious.

 

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Comments
  1. Acupriest says:

    I’m reminded of the old joke:
    Q: How many legs does a dog have, if you call a tail a leg?
    A: Four. Calling a tail a leg doesn’t make it one.

  2. Playing devils advocate here then Thracian, (I am a polytheist myself I believe that the Gods are each discrete entities with will, personality, and agency) what you seem to be suggesting is that operative definitions of things aren’t up for debate. What an archetypist is doing when they define the Gods as archetypes is questioning the validity of our operative definitions of “theity” if you will, which I feel is a valid question. I think it is important for people like these to question our operative definitions of things because it forces us as polytheists to examine our own preconcieved notions of what and does not constitute “theism” which I think is a much more fluid target than you are making it out to be. If it reaffirms our beliefs all the better because now we have a more firm foundation from which to argue the point in the future. All due respect in this man I really enjoy your writing!

    • I see what you mean, entirely. My tone in what follows will be direct; don’t read it as insulted/offended, nor as intentionally aggressive in return. I’m just fucking exhausted 😉

      What I am suggesting is this:

      As a Polytheist who also holds degrees in psychology and has worked in the field of mental health, I do not reject archetypes as a valid and important sphere of (psychological) consideration, study, and discourse, within the spheres of academically derived rigor appropriate to such discussions, explorations, and in the cases of therapeutic work, counseling services. It actually wildly -hurts- the therapeutic usefulness of archetype-based modalities when they’re conflated with literal divine forces, a thing that Jung went to great pains not to do.

      I am suggesting that people discussing archetypes should remember that archetypes are a realm of conversation covered in psychology, and are therefore not theistic discussions.

      I am suggesting that people discussing gods — and other theistic considerations — should similarly identify these topics as being that: religious, and moreover, theistically centered.

      Certainly there are intersections between fields of study. (By way of example: if a squirrel knocks a rock out of a tree and it hits a duck on the head, and that duck is full of ignited Molotov cocktails, a whole room full of various scientific disciplines might be called upon to determine who smoked what drugs, and where they got them.) But that simply isn’t what is happening in the current popular bullshit; it is not a case of people intelligently discussing the intersections of archetypes and religion or spirits (as Jung did) but rather it is belligerent and uninformed and unintelligent and unoriginal atheistic supremacy, with folks on the religious side taking the bait every time.

      That is not “questioning operative definitions”, that is being a dick for the sake of being a dick.

      Polytheist discussion and world-view in a real and authentic and embodied thing is a marginalized, endangered species of themes and paradigms: it is VULNERABLE to being snuffed out, both individually and collectively. By non-theists, atheists, monotheists, and idiots.

      When the proverbial Johnny Humanist is discussing archetypes, I do not take it as my place to challenge him and say that he is actually talking about gods. Quite the contrary, I am affirming that he is discussing archetypes— and I trust him at his word, on that. (I don’t trust him worth a damn on anything else, word or otherwise, though.) When he says that he is Humanist, an Atheist, and a Jungian working with archetypes, I see no reason to take it upon myself to declare a fatwa mission upon him and his spiritually-flavored psychologically motivated meanderings. He is not engaging in accord with any sense of intellectual, social, or honorable decency, with regard to world religions (or rational thought) and therefore is afforded (from me) only the graces that he gets to stand in his own corner rambling about the subjects he has said he is rambling about.

      I have no reason to go into that corner unless, as a person with a background in psychological studies and services, I decided that he was somebody who I wanted to discuss archetypes with. (I have yet to encounter ANYONE in the so-called “Jungian” branches of Paganism and related demographics who I would -ever- deign to speak with about psychological matters: they all seem to have missed a few core bits of curriculum therein.)

      To be clear, I am not suggesting that there are NOT archetypes; quite the contrary, I am honoring them as a distinct category of thing (like hair brushes, squirrels, and rocks) which are not other things.

      If a Catholic identifies as a Monotheist, I take them at their word that they genuinely mean to identify this way, and feel no pressure to correct their probable mis-use of the word. (They’re unlikely a theist of any kind, and if they are indeed a theist, and are indeed a Catholic theist, than at best they are a Henotheist, and more likely a Polytheist, by most accurate use of language and reason. But that is not at all my place to say, because identity is not mine to dictate or mandate. However, nothing in that respect-for-identity suggests that I can’t point out linguistic inaccuracies.)

      Similarly, I’m not trying to “convert” Humanists to theism by saying that their archetypes are gods and spirits, because that would be nonsense: there are ALSO archetypes. It is not an either/or situation. (Just as the squirrel does not negate the rock, and the hairbrush called ZEUS does not refute the god called the same.) They, however, are consistently and constantly trying to do the same in return.

      And, again, NOT in any helpful or critically objective or reason-based manner. They are not doing this for the sake of bettering knowledge at large or any field or discipline of study; rather they are seeking to -erase- fields and disciplines of consideration in order to telescope them down (squirrels into rocks) for their own selfish gain. (Because, clearly, if squirrels were to be fielded as a newly discovered rock, and geologists own the prestigious regard as rock-masters who ushered in this collapsed-meaning eureka money-shot, then they would indeed be more blingedly regarded and raised by the finding.)

      These debates and discussions and circle-jerk sessions do not better Polytheist religion, in practice or theology, other than to force the drawing of really base lines (like “squirrels are not rocks”) which really shouldn’t need to be said.

      But, this is why we can’t have nice things.

  3. OK, “archetypes” again.

    Jung was damnably vague about exactly what an archetype is. He sometimes called them “gods,” but he said that they were unknowable except by the constellations of symbols they make where they “dent” the personal unconscious. But he also overloaded it by making the major components of the Psyche into archetypes. So we have an Ego, an Anima/Animus, and a Shadow, because there are instinctual archetypes for those things (which also have a loose correspondence to certain Gods …)

    That, and he admitted that he borrowed the idea from Plato, which means that he took the basic Idea of an Idea from Platonism;-) and did his own thing with it.

    But, of course, the beings that we recognize as Gods have complete Psyches of their own and are not just known because we dream about them.

    I haven’t read as much Jung as I want to or as much as I think useful yet, but enough to know where the whole “Gods as archetypes” hypothesis fits: pretty much where you put it.

    • A relevant thing to point out is that Jung himself shifted over time in his views about what any of this meant, as all authors and thinkers do…

      And, I’m not anti-Jung, or anti-archetype. I think discussions of the collective unconsciousness, and explorations of “shit that goes on in our heads” as we engage (as brain-centered organisms processing neurologically and psychically both our own cognition and sense-data from around us in what we call reality and blah blah blah blah insert more verbosity squirrely gigs here) the thing we call creation, or the world, or reality, or existence, are vitally important. And I nominate them to the fields of “psychology” and “philosophy” and at times “sociology”; where I do not place them, however, is in theistic religion 😉

      That’s why we have different words for things: so that we can say what we mean, mean what we say, and do what it is that we have (hopefully sensibly) set out to do, rather than just perpetually “Jack Sparrow” our way through other people’s lives talking about a jar of dirt because it makes us feel like Johnny Depp to do so…

      • What I would love to see is a group of psychologically inclined, educated, studied, experienced people who have overlap with spiritual or religious demographics and mythic considerations, seek to actually educate people on psychology (that they can benefit jointly from a broadened understanding of the human consciousness and cognitive machine, and similarly, navigate the often QUITE challenging slopes of interventive — medical — psychology, so desperately needed) instead of trying to challenge/convert/refute religionists, which causes harm, as it’s basically about pitting unrelated (but perhaps sometimes intersecting) subjects against one another like some deranged roid-raged Pokemon battle. (I don’t know how Pokemon works but I think it involves throwing your balls at people, possibly in school yards, which I think is illegal.)

        The point is, I’ve seen more Polytheist theologically inclined writers, priests, scholars, and professionals, ethically and intelligently address the need for clear and safe space for discussing and exploring mental health issues, interventive medicines and support mechanisms, than I have ever seen from the so-called Jungian camp, which itself boldly claims descent from one of Psychology’s founding fathers.

        We live in a fucked up age with a lot of harm and hurt, and the last thing we did is some faux-telligent fucks on a pedestal further assaulting the fabric and structures of meaning by conflating psychology with religion, archetypes with gods, or squirrels with rocks— it’s bad for everyone involved, from the assault/combat survivor struggling with post-trauma hallucinations and paranoia (questioning self and reality) to the psych care providers trying to suss out where the bounds of a client’s religion and mental health issues are, to the psychologically and cognitively normative person who happens to also believe in relation with many gods and spirits (as an animist and Polytheist, for example), but who has little interest in cognitive explorations gleaned in Psych discourse.

        By calling things by their proper names and allowing for proper understanding and sorting of shit, we can basically reduce harm pretty fucking clearly, and help people get to the things that they actually (1) want, (2) need, (3) are drawn or called to, rather than just force-fucking their faces with it all at once by conflating it like some awful experimental mulled wine that the drunk neighbor took a shit in. 🙂

        • I think I get it a little better now. It is similar to the way that philisophically I am a nihilist which has little to nothing to do with my interactions with other beings whether they are humans, animals, Gods, spirits etc. I can still interact with and have relationships with people and Gods while questioning from a philisophical standpoint the objective existance of anything, the two (for me anyway) are separate but occasionally intersectional issues.

          It is funny you should mention psychology my wife is a psychologist so we often have fun discussions about just such topics! Thanks for the reply!

          • My pleasure! Thanks for reading, and commenting!

            And yes— my stance is not that we can’t have two things (theistic religion AND archetypal psychology) but that they are two things, or even more than two things, but never one thing. The only time that you get to collapse more than one thing into one thing is when it is shampoo/conditioner and you’re traveling light 😉

  4. Julian says:

    There is a really interesting tension here between the roles of direct knowledge of Gods and the unknown presence, or the holding of space, potentially empty, for Gods that one has no knowledge of. Polytheism, and many of its ramifications, I think, remains intact even if the individual polytheist has no knowledge of the Gods at all. Polytheism as a worldview in my understanding is predicated on potential and is essentially always looking outward and ahead, embracing an expansive futurism.

    Speaking personally, I have direct knowledge of a very few Gods, and if I am being completely honest, that direct knowledge is vague and insubstantial (though these statements do not touch the personal meaning that this direct knowledge carries). However, I have indirect knowledge of many, many Gods, through my interactions with other people, with things that I have read, etc. It would be foolish of me to insist that simply because I have never met Thor that such a being does not exist, despite the assurances of others who do possess direct experience of him that he does, just as it would be foolish of me to insist that China does not exist because I have not set foot on its soil, despite all the evidence to the contrary. I may remain skeptical about certain claims and certain sorts of knowledge, but I should, at the very least hold open the potential space for both Thor and China regardless of my personal disposition toward them.

  5. Whisper says:

    At the risk of being on a tangent here, something you said is confusing to me?

    Most Catholics I know will strongly defend the position that angels are not divinities or deities. Catholicism says things other than Yahweh are basically just helpful spirits, not actually deities at all.

    Now, I don’t know if perhaps historically there was a time (and I wouldn’t be surprised) when early Christians believed that angels were deities. And perhaps you could even say that they exist out there as deities because of it. But that isn’t what is believed by Catholics today or what is meant by the doctrine of Catholicism. And the whole way Catholicism works is that it’s subject to retconning– whatever the Pope says it is today is what it is today, regardless of what it was in the past.

    So I’m not sure how that makes the Catholics you talked to polytheistic, unless “any kind of incorporeal being” is classified as “deity”. I don’t think that is generally the linguistically accurate definition, is it? I don’t see what would make someone’s belief “polytheistic” when there is only one god they believe is actually a god.

    I mean… even if angels are gods, then if a person doesn’t believe they are, that doesn’t make that person’s belief towards them theistic. Even if, for example, humans actually ascend to godhood and become deific ghosts after death, it doesn’t mean that everyone who believes in the existence of the ghosts of dead people has a theistic belief. Because for the belief to be theistic, the person would have to not just believe that those ghosts exist, but also that they exist *as deities*. The person can believe in the existence of ghosts without believing in their deific nature. If that person denies the godhood of ghosts, they are not theistic about them, regardless of the actual ontological status of said ghosts.

    Similarly, Catholicism says that angels exist but do not have deific status. So why would it be accurate to call that a polytheistic belief?

    • The entire point of this illustration is that the Catholic religion has never been Monotheistic; everyone else has always known that. It is self-described as Monotheistic, but has never actually been such. The word “god” is Germanic and means (in simplest and also literal form) “that which we pour libations to”, but more properly is understood as “that which is deserving of worship”. However, this is irrelevant, as the word “god” was not used in early Christianity.

      The relevant word, as you’ve pointed out, is “deity”, as this shares common etymological history and use (as a contemporary, even) with the Greek word that lends itself to “-theism”. This word, in either language, however, is not used to denote or describe a singular divine or powerful being; rather it is used to describe categories of beings, and the individual members of such categorical sorting, which classically (pre-Christianity) include lesser divinities (of which angels, demons, and saints would be classified). Quite literally and directly, the Catholic religion is just Roman polytheism with a new cast of divinities and the shiny (false) label of Monotheism.

      My controversial point is that there really isn’t such a thing as Monotheism; any religion that considers itself Monotheist is, in all ways but name, not. They are either atheist (e.g. they do not believe in holy powers of any kind, and are secularized) or they are Henotheist (e.g. worship of one god, as within the context of a covenant, or sometimes a small family of gods, to the exclusion of other gods, who are nevertheless not refuted/denied, as in the case of Judaism), or they are Other-Than-Theistic. This final one is a term used to denote spiritual or ritual considerations which are NOT centered on, or really even concerned in a focused way, on gods/deities/theism. Examples include certain Gnostic sects (which are concerned with the Godhead, and getting the fuck out of the evils of material creation by playing video games with archons or whatever). None of these is Monotheist.

      To be Monotheistic, a religion would need to hold that (1) there was a god, and only one god, and that somehow that god was the same as what is meant in the word deity/theoi/etc used to denote the “theism” in Monotheism, which would necessitate that all other gods had ceased to be, since the words deity/theoi/etc never spoke of singular or “absolute” concepts.

      In other words, the word “Monotheistic” is wrong, a cobbled lie, which isn’t at all a great mystery. It’s just that people don’t care, because the only ones around to discuss it are themselves either atheist (in which case all religion is false) or “Monotheist” (in which case they have a vested interest in stopping conversations about how they’re actually not at all that).

      Why does any of this matter?

      Because in order for Monotheism as a word to mean what everyone thinks it means, it must erase entirely — and denigrate into the realm of fantasy and lurid myth alone — the world religions which for a hundred thousand years and change thrived richly, globally.

      Also, speaking of Catholics is an illustration here; no actual Catholics were harmed (or engaged) in the writing of this article.

      “Monotheism” in the way that it is popularly used is an inaccurate term, and was specifically employed as a form of systemic erasure of indigenous Polytheist religions, with the expansion and cancerous spread of the later Abrahamic religions.

      That said, I’ve very clearly pointed out that in discussing critically what this term means, and why it is inaccurate — and I will not ever be beaten on that front, because the facts are fairly well established and defensible with a toothpicked flinging of critical thought from the teeth of real rigorous debate — it is not at all my interest to pick at or jab at *individuals* who identify as Monotheistic, because identity terms are an individual’s purview to select. Why anyone would want to use the wrong word is beyond me, but so is the motive to cause the sort of harm that would come from denying them that right.

      So this isn’t about telling Catholics that they’re wrong, individually, in calling themselves this. It is about noting quite inarguably that the religion as a whole, and the vast majority of scholarship pertaining to post-Christian “religion”, is not properly employed nor intellectually defensible as such.

      All that said, you seem to spend a lot of time focusing on people’s individual beliefs, which is great, except that you’re also attributing to them the ability to assign whatever words they like to those beliefs, which is problematic. If I believe that my neighbor is a Muslim, when he is in fact a Sikh, that doesn’t make him a Muslim. It makes me wrong and culturally ignorant. If I believe that my neighbor has a cat, when in fact my neighbor has a very strange parrot that makes cat noises out the window to confuse and confound the coyotes, my belief — and the language used to describe it — does not change the nature of the parrot. A parrot is not a cat, no matter what words I (mis) use.

      A Catholic, or anyone else for that matter, is welcome to use whatever language that they want to describe angels, or any other thing. And they’re going to be objectively wrong if they do so in a manner that draws on objectively incorrect language. Angels are gods; a category of lesser divinities which constitute a pantheon (or nine) all on their own. (Quite literally, a number of them actually *are* gods, adopted in later religion from earlier religion. That somebody else called them something different does not change that, because again, parrot ≠ cat. Likewise with “demons”-who-are-actually-gods.) That a given Catholic might argue this is irrelevant; that just means that (1) they think that their individual bullshit matters in any way, and (2) they have a lot to learn.

      • On a re-read, I realize my tone could sound stand-offish or aggressive/hostile; not my intention. I’m just in the midst of house-keeping and moving lots of heavy furniture right now, so I’m particularly unrefined in the thoughts-to-keyboard-tippity-tappity right now.

  6. Whisper says:

    Okay, if that actually is your argument– if you weren’t referring to some other completely different roundabout discussion but that’s actually it– then I’m very sure you’re wrong.

    First of all, you note that I spend a lot of time focusing on individual people’s beliefs, and I do so because that’s the topic in the first place. We are talking about theism, and an -ism is a description of a person’s belief (more generally speaking, their philosophical position). Specifically, the individual whose belief it is. If a person doesn’t believe that something is a deity, that means they don’t have a deity-belief. Whether or not they really are believing in something that is a deity doesn’t matter. I could have a cat who is a deity, but if I believe she isn’t, I’m not holding a theistic belief towards her, even if she is deific. A person who is atheist may firmly believe that there aren’t any gods, and even if there really factually objectively are, that doesn’t make their belief actually a theist one. The entire question of -ism is “what does this person believe?” so if you are describing a belief that they do not hold, you are attributing the wrong -ism to them.

    It seems to me like you are confusing “a person’s belief that they are a theist” with “a person’s beliefs in things that happen to be theistic”. Your assertion that angels are gods, therefore believing in the existence of angels means believing that they are gods, just doesn’t follow. Because “an x exists” and “x is a god” are not equivalent statements, they are also not equivalent beliefs. Whether or not x actually is a god has nothing to do with the equivalency or lack thereof of these beliefs. And these beliefs are what calling something an -ism is all about.

    Now, the other thing you say is that to be theistic, a person’s belief would have to say that there is one god and that said god was equivalent to the plural “theoi”. Basically, this hinges around the idea that any word derived from a foreign language holds the exact same meaning as it did in the source language, and it doesn’t. So no amount of history about the Greek word or Greek beliefs is relevant here. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg about how you’re wrong about language. Not only do words change meaning as they shift language, but “singular” and “plural” are grammatical cases, not lexemes. We derive lexemes from foreign languages, not cases. There are languages that don’t even *have* plurals that still manage to derive words from European languages. It would be literally impossible to import a plural word into Japanese and retain its pluralization, but that doesn’t mean the words they import from European languages just don’t refer to the same object. That just isn’t how language works.

    No amount of aggressive statements on your part calling it “bullshit” is going to alter your being wrong on either of these points. You’re making false logical leaps that just don’t follow, and using dismissive language doesn’t fix that or cover it up. At the risk of sounding as aggressive as you do, it’s really boring when you repeat yourself responding to some imaginary argument instead of addressing the things I actually said, and there’s no point in another round of that, so I’m done with this discussion.

    • You’re clearly not actually following what I’m discussing, and having an entirely unrelated conversation about people’s feelings and beliefs (which I’m specifically not having).

      Kindly take that elsewhere.

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