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Author Topic: Goddess Mono/Henotheism?  (Read 2022 times)

A Disgruntled Scotsman

Goddess Mono/Henotheism?
« on: February 26, 2013, 03:50:32 pm »
In a hypothetical situation where the big 3 monotheisms surrounding male deities collapsed/melted away/became so unpopular they became minorities could (G)goddess* centred religions which are monotheist or henotheist in nature arise to take their place?

Assuming so, what could these belief systems look like if writ large on a nation/region?  Would we see temples dedicated to goddess worship replace churches, mosques and synagogues if their congregations became low enough?

Could such religions become monotheist in nature; denying other deities as false?  Could they be henotheist; worshipping one deity but acknowledging the existence of others as more than false?


I attach (G) to 'goddess' in this instance to give the option of either the archetypal Goddess or any other female deity.
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Re: Goddess Mono/Henotheism?
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2013, 06:00:23 pm »
Quote from: A Disgruntled Scotsman;98588
In a hypothetical situation where the big 3 monotheisms surrounding male deities collapsed/melted away/became so unpopular they became minorities could (G)goddess* centred religions which are monotheist or henotheist in nature arise to take their place?

 
I'm inclined to say no but it depends.

What's the cause of the fall of the big 3? Is it because a new monotheistic goddess religion gaining popularity? Then I'd be a yes. Did this new religion persecute other religions to increase its numbers? I'd be a yes again.

But if the big 3 became unpopular just because people have had it with God, then why even bother with Goddess? I think people would more likely become atheistic after the fall of the one true god's three main religions.

There is a trend in religion where people first believed in many gods, then just down to one god, and then to no god. So I guess you could say it would be polytheism -> monotheism -> atheism. I guess you could also put monism, henotheism, etc. between polytheism and monotheism.

So I do not think that after the fall of Abrahamic monotheism that a new one will take its place. But it all depends on the why.

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Re: Goddess Mono/Henotheism?
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2013, 06:34:50 pm »
Quote from: A Disgruntled Scotsman;98588
In a hypothetical situation where the big 3 monotheisms surrounding male deities collapsed/melted away/became so unpopular they became minorities could (G)goddess* centred religions which are monotheist or henotheist in nature arise to take their place?

Assuming so, what could these belief systems look like if writ large on a nation/region?  Would we see temples dedicated to goddess worship replace churches, mosques and synagogues if their congregations became low enough?

Could such religions become monotheist in nature; denying other deities as false?  Could they be henotheist; worshipping one deity but acknowledging the existence of others as more than false?


I attach (G) to 'goddess' in this instance to give the option of either the archetypal Goddess or any other female deity.
I would say no, because the middle east is so trenched in Islam. I just don't see a major religious movement in my life time.
"In Hell, everybody loves popcorn."

A Disgruntled Scotsman

Re: Goddess Mono/Henotheism?
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2013, 06:47:00 pm »
Quote from: A Disgruntled Scotsman;98588
In a hypothetical situation where the big 3 monotheisms surrounding male deities collapsed...

Quote from: Cryfder;98612
I would say no, because the middle east is so trenched in Islam. I just don't see a major religious movement in my life time.

Perhaps you missed the key word there... ;)

Use your imagination!!
« Last Edit: February 26, 2013, 06:48:42 pm by A Disgruntled Scotsman »
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A Disgruntled Scotsman

Re: Goddess Mono/Henotheism?
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2013, 06:49:56 pm »
Quote from: Astani;98599
I'm inclined to say no but it depends.

What's the cause of the fall of the big 3? Is it because a new monotheistic goddess religion gaining popularity? Then I'd be a yes. Did this new religion persecute other religions to increase its numbers? I'd be a yes again.

But if the big 3 became unpopular just because people have had it with God, then why even bother with Goddess? I think people would more likely become atheistic after the fall of the one true god's three main religions.

There is a trend in religion where people first believed in many gods, then just down to one god, and then to no god. So I guess you could say it would be polytheism -> monotheism -> atheism. I guess you could also put monism, henotheism, etc. between polytheism and monotheism.

So I do not think that after the fall of Abrahamic monotheism that a new one will take its place. But it all depends on the why.


Since I've responded to Cryfder's post I'll say I'll answer this question tomorrow.  So you know you aren't being ignored :)
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Re: Goddess Mono/Henotheism?
« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2013, 07:14:12 pm »
Quote from: A Disgruntled Scotsman;98616
Perhaps you missed the key word there... ;)

Use your imagination!!

 
It's hard to answer hypothetical questions. Lol
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Re: Goddess Mono/Henotheism?
« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2013, 10:32:09 pm »
Quote from: A Disgruntled Scotsman;98588
In a hypothetical situation where the big 3 monotheisms surrounding male deities collapsed/melted away/became so unpopular they became minorities could (G)goddess* centred religions which are monotheist or henotheist in nature arise to take their place?


Theoretically, there's not a law of nature or something making it impossible, so I suppose it could. Like Astani, I would need more information to actually posit how it would look if such a thing happened. The world in which The Great Goddess Appeared To All Mankind And Told Us To Knock That Stupid Shit Off would look a lot different from the world where Feminazis Banned Christianity (Rush Limbaugh writes fanfic about that one).
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A Disgruntled Scotsman

Re: Goddess Mono/Henotheism?
« Reply #7 on: February 27, 2013, 10:57:21 am »
Quote from: Astani;98599
I'm inclined to say no but it depends.

What's the cause of the fall of the big 3? Is it because a new monotheistic goddess religion gaining popularity? Then I'd be a yes. Did this new religion persecute other religions to increase its numbers? I'd be a yes again.

But if the big 3 became unpopular just because people have had it with God, then why even bother with Goddess? I think people would more likely become atheistic after the fall of the one true god's three main religions.

There is a trend in religion where people first believed in many gods, then just down to one god, and then to no god. So I guess you could say it would be polytheism -> monotheism -> atheism. I guess you could also put monism, henotheism, etc. between polytheism and monotheism.

So I do not think that after the fall of Abrahamic monotheism that a new one will take its place. But it all depends on the why.

'Why would the big 3 fall?'  Well they could fall for any number of reasons, I suppose.  Here's a handful.

1) The inherent hypocrisy amongst authority figures/hierarchies in patriarchal religions; the Catholic Church teaches gay sex is wrong yet paedophile priests are protected from legal retaliation.  Islam teaches that sex outside marriages is wrong yet the number of instances concerning imams abusing young children has risen.  In other words: preaching virtue, practicing vice.

2) The discriminatory attitudes of some monotheist adherents against women might lead women (and more liberally-minded men) to leave their particular religious group (e.g. parish) or religion altogether and seek alternative religions.  Goddess worship could be a logical choice for those seeking communion with deity that allows respect (and some might, in the case of Goddess Worship, veneration) of the female form.  Goddess-ism might encourage religiously motivated self-empowerment for women.

3) The hypocrisies inherent in patriarchal culture; such as the fact that if a man takes a lot of women to bed he's 'the champ' but if a woman takes a lot of men to bed she's a slut.

4) A new (G)goddess-oriented religion that, while not dogmatic, proselytises and promotes missionary work to encourage women to, for example, discover their inner goddess by honouring the feminine divine; as well as encouraging men to let their feminine side show/develop a better attitude towards/show more respect for women by worshipping the Goddess too.  The followers of this religion might harangue followers of the old 3 as sexists, misogynists, homophobes etc maybe due to influence by priestesses.

5) A new (G)goddess-oriented religion that is passive when it comes to spreading its message (e.g. does not advocate missionary work or street preaching) and is not aggressive when dealing with other faiths.  Some people would find this religious approach (as well as possibly finding the idea of a goddess) refreshing.  Followers of this religion wouldn't be encouraged to bother other people about their faith position.  This might be appreciated by outsiders as an enlightened stance and could, among other factors, lead to people adopting the religion as their own.


Only a few reasons I could actively think of.  As for your other points:

Quote
But if the big 3 became unpopular just because people have had it with God, then why even bother with Goddess? I think people would more likely become atheistic after the fall of the one true god's three main religions.

They might be sick of a particular interpretation/description of the nature of God.  They might be sick of a 'morally perfect' deity who indulges in mass murder and encourages his followers to do the same.  They might be more receptive to a deity who is fallible and can make mistakes, something we humans can identify with much easier.

There could be a massive near-simultaneous cultural revolution in the Middle East where Islam (and maybe even Judaism) is cast aside.

The new religion might worship goddesses (as opposed to the archetypal Goddess); it could even be polytheistic but centered solely on female deities.  That's an aspect I didn't think of: focussing on separate deities who exhibit different aspects of womanhood the way triple goddesses do.  As examples: Hera for motherhood, the Cailleach for old age and Persephone for maidenhood.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2013, 11:07:07 am by A Disgruntled Scotsman »
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Gilbride

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Re: Goddess Mono/Henotheism?
« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2013, 12:14:45 pm »
Quote from: A Disgruntled Scotsman;98682
2) The discriminatory attitudes of some monotheist adherents against women might lead women (and more liberally-minded men) to leave their particular religious group (e.g. parish) or religion altogether and seek alternative religions.  Goddess worship could be a logical choice for those seeking communion with deity that allows respect (and some might, in the case of Goddess Worship, veneration) of the female form.


Personally, I am intensely goddess-focused in my religious life, but I see no political aspect to it other than that it would cause me cognitive dissonance to embrace sexist ideas while worshiping a goddess. (Historically, this has not stopped most goddess-worshiping cultures from being sexist or even misogynist.)

I simply focus on goddesses because it's emotionally/psychologically easier for me to connect to deity in feminine form than masculine form. A feminist analysis of theology, history or society has nothing to do with it for me- although it doesn't contradict it either.

Actually, I've only embraced a lot of feminist positions fairly recently, after being focused on goddess worship for the entire history of my religious life. So, to me, there's no real connection between goddess religion and feminist politics. Others will feel differently, I'm sure.

A Disgruntled Scotsman

Re: Goddess Mono/Henotheism?
« Reply #9 on: February 27, 2013, 01:49:59 pm »
Quote from: Gilbride;98693
Personally, I am intensely goddess-focused in my religious life, but I see no political aspect to it other than that it would cause me cognitive dissonance to embrace sexist ideas while worshiping a goddess. (Historically, this has not stopped most goddess-worshiping cultures from being sexist or even misogynist.)

I simply focus on goddesses because it's emotionally/psychologically easier for me to connect to deity in feminine form than masculine form. A feminist analysis of theology, history or society has nothing to do with it for me- although it doesn't contradict it either.

Actually, I've only embraced a lot of feminist positions fairly recently, after being focused on goddess worship for the entire history of my religious life. So, to me, there's no real connection between goddess religion and feminist politics. Others will feel differently, I'm sure.


I'm not talking about politics either; I'm talking about people accounting for and dealing with damaging views about themselves and others brought on them by their religious environment.  Perhaps I should've used the term 'open minded' as opposed to 'liberally minded' since it's not as politically loaded.

I'm talking about walking away from sexist views altogether, not going from one extreme to another.  I'm not postulating a religion where women are inherently viewed as superior to men simply because they're women.

Quote

(Historically, this has not stopped most goddess-worshiping cultures from being sexist or even misogynist.)


Very true, it would probably take a culture shift of immense proportions to shift the male-is-dominant attitude in societies around the world.  But that isn't what this thread is about either.

I suppose if a religion of any kind grows beyond a certain size or gains members in prominent social roles then there will be issues of politics which would have to be addressed but since this is a hypothetical situation that would take a lifetime to fully address so I shan't bother.

I'm not talking about feminist ideals or ideologies either though I don't doubt focussed goddess worship would (and does today) attract those who have feminist views.
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Jack

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Re: Goddess Mono/Henotheism?
« Reply #10 on: February 27, 2013, 03:33:21 pm »
Quote from: A Disgruntled Scotsman;98682
1) The inherent hypocrisy amongst authority figures/hierarchies in patriarchal religions...


Well, this is currently happening, and the general trend is that people leaving for these reasons generally take up beliefs that are atheistic or spiritual and non-hierarchical, so I would expect that trend to contine.

Quote
2) The discriminatory attitudes of some monotheist adherents against women might lead women (and more liberally-minded men) to leave their particular religious group (e.g. parish) or religion altogether and seek alternative religions...


Again, already happening and not heading in the direction you posited, so no.

Quote
3) The hypocrisies inherent in patriarchal culture; such as the fact that if a man takes a lot of women to bed he's 'the champ' but if a woman takes a lot of men to bed she's a slut.


This leads to feminism, not Goddess-ism, in my experience, so I'd say no. ;)

The last two at least seem like things that have not already happened and therefore allow for a little more leeway in terms of what might happen. I think it's entirely likely that new churches would take over the old architecture; that already happens with new Christian denominations taking over old, fancy churches in neighborhoods where Catholic parishes have been consolidated (as well as old, less-fancy K-Marts, but we can't all be picky, I suppose).

I suppose they "could" become monotheist in nature; the fastest way to create an us-vs-them feeling in religion is to insist that other religions are worshipping demons or nothing at all. That's a shortcut to legitimacy if you can convince your followers of it. That tends to happen over time, though, and would depend on things like

If I had to pick the goddess religion I thought was most likely to become popular worldwide at this point, I'd say it's most likely to grow out of Buddhism and the generic New Age movement, using Kuan Yin as the primary goddess and syncretizing her with Mary and the concept of the "great goddess" - but I think that would be simultaneous with a slow movement toward a China-dominated world culture, and I don't think it would be any more "monotheistic" than philosophical Hinduism is.

Quote
Hera for motherhood, the Cailleach for old age and Persephone for maidenhood.

 
Well, the recons would give them a hard time for mixing pantheons before they even got off the ground...
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Re: Goddess Mono/Henotheism?
« Reply #11 on: February 27, 2013, 03:55:07 pm »
Quote from: Jack;98737
That tends to happen over time, though, and would depend on things like

 
Well, go me and my completed thoughts.

Things like politics and society, which you kind of ruled out in another post.
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Nyktelios

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Re: Goddess Mono/Henotheism?
« Reply #12 on: March 02, 2013, 08:23:10 am »
Quote from: Gilbride;98693
Personally, I am intensely goddess-focused in my religious life, but I see no political aspect to it other than that it would cause me cognitive dissonance to embrace sexist ideas while worshiping a goddess. (Historically, this has not stopped most goddess-worshiping cultures from being sexist or even misogynist.)

I simply focus on goddesses because it's emotionally/psychologically easier for me to connect to deity in feminine form than masculine form. A feminist analysis of theology, history or society has nothing to do with it for me- although it doesn't contradict it either.

 
That's where I am, also. While I am goddess-focused in my own practice, I am not an active feminist, though I do agree with equality of the sexes and all of that. Ancient Greece had many important goddesses and was still militantly patriarchal, so the worship of female deities and the social equality of women don't necessarily go hand-in-hand.

Even though I'm not female, I always felt uncomfortable with Christianity because divinity is only masculine, and patriarchal gender roles are reinforced. I have heard the arguments that God is neither male or female, and that He is called "Father" in gendered language only out of convenience, but I think it's a load of manure when one considers the Jewish prayer in which men thank God for not making them women, or how Roman Catholicism considers female priesthood to be obscene blasphemy, etc. It doesn't exactly make God seem gender-neutral in traditional Abrahamic religions.

Quote from: A Disgruntled Scotsman;98588
Could such religions become monotheist in nature; denying other deities as false?  Could they be henotheist; worshipping one deity but acknowledging the existence of others as more than false?

 
The cult of Isis in later antiquity in Greece and the Roman Empire was universal without being monist. As in many Hindu sects, the primary deity (Isis) was considered to be the single manifestation of all gods and goddesses, as other deities were just different manifestations of her divinity. Isis religion didn't exclude other gods, it was inclusive, and she took on the guises of other deities, especially Demeter and Aphrodite.

I always say it would have been nice if the Isis cult had become the state religion of the Roman Empire instead of Christianity, as I think it would have made for a more pleasant society. Women would have had more freedom, sexuality wouldn't be sinful, and cultural traditions wouldn't be destroyed in order to convert people to the One True God. It's not necessarily a case of male religions versus female religion, as I think Christianity's problematic stances on issues like sexuality, gender, and religious diversity, are exacerbated because it is monotheistic and doesn't allow for other ideas or perspectives.

These are just my thoughts, I don't really have any answers for the bigger issues of society. What the world would look like if the Abrahamic religions fell and Goddess traditions took over is difficult to say.

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Re: Goddess Mono/Henotheism?
« Reply #13 on: March 02, 2013, 08:37:00 am »
Quote from: A Disgruntled Scotsman;98710

I'm talking about walking away from sexist views altogether, not going from one extreme to another.

 
But wouldn't Goddess Monotheism (done for political reasons) be exactly the example of such an extreme? A more balanced example would be worshiping an androgynous or hermaphrodite deity, or adhering to Wicca-like duotheism with God and Goddess as equals, or worshiping a pantheon of deities, among those several male and female ones...?

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Re: Goddess Mono/Henotheism?
« Reply #14 on: March 02, 2013, 08:42:11 am »
Quote from: Astani;98599

But if the big 3 became unpopular just because people have had it with God, then why even bother with Goddess? I think people would more likely become atheistic after the fall of the one true god's three main religions.


I don't see humanity becoming atheistic in the long run. The need of religion is ingrained too deep into the human psyche.

I mean, look at Soviet Union. It was militantly atheistic, sure; but many say, the cult of personality, the almost-worship of the "communist Trinity" (Marx-Engels-Lenin, or Marx-Lenin-Stalin), the belief in a future paradise on earth - that is, in communism that will be established at some point in future - all this things resemble religious behavior just too much. If people have no god to believe in, they are going to believe in something (or someone) else.

Therefore, I can see the rising of alternative religions (including, perhaps, Goddess Monotheism), but not the mass abandonment of religious beliefs alltogether.

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