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Author Topic: Are Gods Prejudiced?  (Read 1755 times)

RandallS

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Are Gods Prejudiced?
« on: October 12, 2012, 08:08:30 am »
Are the Gods (in general) prejudiced about things like race, sex, place of birth or are these generally things their human followers have projected upon them? Why do you believe as you do?

Note: while I am sure there are some exceptions no matter which side of the question you come down on, I am asking about what you believe about the majority of deities -- not the exceptions -- here
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Gilbride

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Re: Are Gods Prejudiced?
« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2012, 09:05:44 am »
Quote from: RandallS;76434
Are the Gods (in general) prejudiced about things like race, sex, place of birth or are these generally things their human followers have projected upon them?


I think it's safe to say that the local god of a particular tribe is prejudiced in favor of that tribe since their welfare is his whole essence, but otherwise no.

Shine

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Re: Are Gods Prejudiced?
« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2012, 09:17:37 am »
Quote from: RandallS;76434
Are the Gods (in general) prejudiced about things like race, sex, place of birth or are these generally things their human followers have projected upon them? Why do you believe as you do?

Note: while I am sure there are some exceptions no matter which side of the question you come down on, I am asking about what you believe about the majority of deities -- not the exceptions -- here

Some of them must be, but in general, I don't think so. For the most part, it's humans projecting onto the gods--something that's easy to do even for the most cautious person. I've never heard of someone being rejected by a deity because of race, sex, or any of those other things we call prejudicial when we use them as basis of rejection or acceptance.

Every time I've been rejected by a deity, it's because we were incompatible in some way, or I didn't belong there. Ex: Odin pushed me out to Kemeticism because I would be a terrible Asatruar. Quieter deities generally avoid me because I'm loud as hell.

Alternately, when I've been accepted, it's because there's a level of compatibility in interest, personality, fate/destiny, etc.
« Last Edit: October 12, 2012, 09:18:49 am by Shine »
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Maps

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Re: Are Gods Prejudiced?
« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2012, 10:28:22 am »
Quote from: RandallS;76434
Are the Gods (in general) prejudiced about things like race, sex, place of birth or are these generally things their human followers have projected upon them? Why do you believe as you do?

Note: while I am sure there are some exceptions no matter which side of the question you come down on, I am asking about what you believe about the majority of deities -- not the exceptions -- here

 
My gods, when I first approached them (some of them are modern folk deities, some haven't been honored in centuries) were wary of me. I honestly felt zero presence/connection in my life for some time until via divination I was told that I needed to buckle down, perform a bunch of sacrifices, and prove my loyalty, otherwise they would continue to ignore me. It was made very clear that I would be abandoned if I didn't do right by them; that is, I didn't perform necessary rites, I didn't honor them on necessary days, and I didn't do things as traditionally as I could manage. (Beer and vodka are still barely acceptable substitutes for the traditional alcoholic beverage, for instance.)

Basically the general feeling was that because I was approaching them, and because they otherwise would have no reason to be in my life and reality, I would have to play entirely by their rules otherwise no go. I didn't grow up with their customs, their traditions, and their way of seeing the universe, so I would have to work extra hard to get there. If I failed, there would be no coddling.

Is that's prejudiced, then count my gods in.

RandallS

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Re: Are Gods Prejudiced?
« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2012, 01:04:50 pm »
Quote from: Maps;76448
Is that's prejudiced, then count my gods in.

I don't think that is prejudice, at least not in the sense I'm wanting to use. Many deities from many different cultures and pantheons have a "what have you done for me" attitude in that they expect their rites and ritual and concerns to be attended to by those seeking their aid. In Hellenic prayers, for example, it common to remind the deity one is calling on of what one has done for them before asking for help.
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Nyktelios

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Re: Are Gods Prejudiced?
« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2012, 01:18:01 pm »
Quote from: RandallS;76434
Are the Gods (in general) prejudiced about things like race, sex, place of birth or are these generally things their human followers have projected upon them? Why do you believe as you do?


No, I think those are generally human constructions that have no relevance to deities

Maps

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Re: Are Gods Prejudiced?
« Reply #6 on: October 12, 2012, 01:46:12 pm »
Quote from: RandallS;76462
I don't think that is prejudice, at least not in the sense I'm wanting to use. Many deities from many different cultures and pantheons have a "what have you done for me" attitude in that they expect their rites and ritual and concerns to be attended to by those seeking their aid. In Hellenic prayers, for example, it common to remind the deity one is calling on of what one has done for them before asking for help.

 
Yeah, I did forget about that. Sometimes god-worshiper relations do resemble a shaky truce and bartering system more often than not.

I find it hard to believe that some gods wouldn't turn people away that didn't meet their expectations, though. But whether or not they met our standards of what was "fair" or "superficial" not would be something else though. Would a goddess like Aphrodite not be particularly taken with an asexual, aromantic devotee? It's possible. Would that be prejudiced? I'm not sure.

I think the regionality of some pantheons is more important than a lot of pagans are willing to admit. I definitely get the feeling that a lot of the gods of my "pantheon" aren't suited to being honored by me because they just have no place where I live or it would take a lot of work to transplant them here.

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Re: Are Gods Prejudiced?
« Reply #7 on: October 12, 2012, 03:13:19 pm »
Quote from: Carnelian;76464
No, I think those are generally human constructions that have no relevance to deities

 
Except... M'Lady, I get a very strong So Not Celtic thing from, periodically. (In other words, from the non-Celtic sources of the British Isles, rather than the far more often discussed Celtic ones.)

The thing that keeps coming to mind when I try to describe it is the reverse of the Scots term Sassenach. (There isn't one, as far as I know, but it's that feel.) Or the sense of "Yankee" in some US uses to describe New Englanders. Terms that can be seen disparagingly, but aren't necessarily universally so (or at least, weren't always.) But that are very clearly about different cultural mindsets, in some important ways.

And it's affected my interactions with Celtic deities. Not bigotry, but a very clear "You're in service to someone Not Our People" - it's always been civil, but there's sometimes been a clear not-us dividing line in ritual.
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Darkhawk

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Re: Are Gods Prejudiced?
« Reply #8 on: October 12, 2012, 03:25:17 pm »
Quote from: Maps;76467
I think the regionality of some pantheons is more important than a lot of pagans are willing to admit. I definitely get the feeling that a lot of the gods of my "pantheon" aren't suited to being honored by me because they just have no place where I live or it would take a lot of work to transplant them here.

 
I expect gods are entirely likely to be partisan about those who are Their people and not Their people.

I don't expect that humans are going to be all that accurate at guessing which person is in which category.
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we shine like stars    - Covenant, "Bullet"

dionysiandame

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Re: Are Gods Prejudiced?
« Reply #9 on: October 12, 2012, 03:42:26 pm »
Quote from: Darkhawk;76479
I expect gods are entirely likely to be partisan about those who are Their people and not Their people.

I don't expect that humans are going to be all that accurate at guessing which person is in which category.



This.

I sometimes wonder if those in the West have an easier time with assimilation if only because it's a necessity; especially if one comes from a non-Western culture. So while I don't know if the god can have racial prejudices; I do think prejudices of sex, ability/disability, or sexual affiliation could exist in deities from cultures that had "something to say" about the subject.

Connection to a culture could, very well, enable one to more easily find a connection with certain gods; even if one is not of the original people of said culture. When it comes to worship and devotion, there are all sorts of cultural nuances one might need to get the full experience of the gods' presence in their life.

So it's entirely possible that a person of Indian descent could easily be called to the Religio if they grew up in the Western world, completely detached from the cultures of their ancestors; just as much as a person of Scottish descent might be called by Amaterasu having spent all of their childhood and adolescence in Japan.

Such instances don't even have to be that isolated, one could spend a good portion of their lives within a homogenous cultural setting, surrounded by a larger heterogeneous one, and have the same outcome.

Maybe it's easier for deities to connect with individuals who have some form of connection to who they are, have been, and could be. I don't know if that would be considered prejudice or...a little too human?
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Re: Are Gods Prejudiced?
« Reply #10 on: October 12, 2012, 06:07:11 pm »
Quote from: RandallS;76434
Are the Gods (in general) prejudiced about things like race, sex, place of birth or are these generally things their human followers have projected upon them? Why do you believe as you do?

Note: while I am sure there are some exceptions no matter which side of the question you come down on, I am asking about what you believe about the majority of deities -- not the exceptions -- here

 
Are gods prejudice? There are an awful lot of them, some are bound to be prejudiced in some way.

However I should note that this may not be prejudice in the way humans would see it in each other. Gods play different roles and many people might simply find themselves outside of the gods area of responsibility. In addition  people of different characteristics to perform certain functions during rituals.

In this case I wouldn't call it prejudice, I'd say it is about what the god needs to interact with us.

Chausette

Re: Are Gods Prejudiced?
« Reply #11 on: October 13, 2012, 09:34:24 am »
Quote from: Maps;76467
Would a goddess like Aphrodite not be particularly taken with an asexual, aromantic devotee? It's possible. Would that be prejudiced? I'm not sure.

 
I dunno. This is a bit of a UPG, but as an aromantic and asexual I sort of think Aphrodite encompasses more types of love than just romantic/sexual, and I still honour her in my practices somewhat, even if she isn't one of the "main" deities I work with. Of course, as I said, this is UPG on my part. I mean, love and beauty are certainly things an aromantic asexual can experience in their lives, even if it's a different form than the traditional.

But as far as deities being prejudiced... depends on your definition of "prejudice". I do know that some cultures are more 'closed' than others and would probably have deities more reluctant to accept someone who is not from their native culture, but I personally think prejudice based on gender/race/etc is more of a human construct. Then again, it might depend on your definition of discrimination. If a deity rejects someone who is young from honouring them because they aren't ready yet, is that prejudice? I don't know.

I feel like deities are more likely to discriminate (although I'm not sure 'discriminate' is the right word here) based on individual factors such as maturity than arbitrary things like skin colour or gender.

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Re: Are Gods Prejudiced?
« Reply #12 on: October 13, 2012, 09:47:59 am »
Quote from: Chausette;76520
I dunno. This is a bit of a UPG, but as an aromantic and asexual I sort of think Aphrodite encompasses more types of love than just romantic/sexual, and I still honour her in my practices somewhat, even if she isn't one of the "main" deities I work with. Of course, as I said, this is UPG on my part. I mean, love and beauty are certainly things an aromantic asexual can experience in their lives, even if it's a different form than the traditional.

 
No, I agree. I don't think you need to be sexually active and promiscuous to work with Aphrodite. She's also a goddess of the sea and sky and sometimes war, so would that mean you'd have to be closely linked to water, air and battle in order to work with her? Not really. (In my opinion).

My ideas on this have already been brought up by other posters. Some gods may be prejudice to race and gender. But for example, people saying that men can't worship Artemis or the virgin goddesses, I think that's just humans blowing that way out of proportion and laying their own prejudice over the divine.

As far as the Greek pantheon are concerned, they spread a fair way outside of Ancient Hellas and as long as you take syncretic ideas into account I don't think they'd care who worshipped them.

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Re: Are Gods Prejudiced?
« Reply #13 on: October 13, 2012, 11:24:32 am »
Quote from: RandallS;76434
Are the Gods (in general) prejudiced about things like race, sex, place of birth or are these generally things their human followers have projected upon them? Why do you believe as you do?

Note: while I am sure there are some exceptions no matter which side of the question you come down on, I am asking about what you believe about the majority of deities -- not the exceptions -- here

 
Short answer - No

Long answer - I don't think Deity, in whatever form/personification it takes care's much about what we look like, how we act, what we prefer.  So long as we try to do good in the world, then they're content with that.  While there are exceptions, for the most part they could care less about such obvious humano-centric tendencies and just look at all of us as 'humans' without making any other distinction.

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Re: Are Gods Prejudiced?
« Reply #14 on: October 13, 2012, 10:05:00 pm »
Quote from: Chausette;76520
I feel like deities are more likely to discriminate (although I'm not sure 'discriminate' is the right word here) based on individual factors such as maturity than arbitrary things like skin colour or gender.

 
"Discriminate" is exactly the right word.  It's used so often as a synonym for "prejudice" - shorthand for unjust discrimination - that it's easy to forget that it just means being able to notice, and make choices based on distinctions (of whatever sort).

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