Sunday, November 16, 2008

Thoughts on Thealogy

While blithely traipsing across the Internet, I discovered a Web site devoted to “saving the planet” by replacing God worship with Goddess worship.

According to the author, all male Gods are malevolent, and all Goddesses are archetypes of unconditional love. If everyone starts venerating the Mother instead of the Father, then our world will become a blissful utopia within the next two decades.

Okay. I have a couple of comments. The first being a line cribbed from The Craft:

"Nothing makes everything all better."

As much as we’d like to believe otherwise, a cultural majority that worships the same deity is not automatically rewarded with universal hugs and kisses. Two words, my friends: Protestant Reformation.

I feel that She’d fight this kind of perversion of Her nature, but within a uniformly Goddessian society, inevitably, devoutly, someone would start a movement proclaiming, “The Mother would never condone abortion.” Or, “The Mother would never approve of that kind of marriage.” Or, “The Mother would never allow those people to pray at Her altar.”

Setting aside the fact that historically, humans do not react kindly when their deities are taken away from them, no matter how gentle the extraction process: If our ultimate goal is enforced monotheism, then we haven’t learned a damned thing in the past 2000 years.

Our aim should not be spiritual domination, but spiritual freedom. Instead of ignorantly reenacting the histories of the Judeo-Christian faiths, we should be laying the groundwork for those who come after us, who will not only be correcting the mistakes we’ve made, but who will be free to venerate the Divine as they see fit.

I do not begrudge the previously-mentioned author her right to worship a Goddess. However, I cringe when I consider how she’ll react when she learns that not everything wrong with our world can be blamed on a God... or that some Goddesses might take issue with her perception of Their consorts.


Livia Indica said...

I know exactly what you mean. Partly in response to these ideas I've started a series about the not-so-nice goddesses of the world. And I think you're right. Just because the planet has gone to hell in many ways under the domination of the patriarchal religions doesn't mean that a purely matriarchal system would automatically solve all of our problems. Some people will still manage to be assholes no matter what religion happens to be dominant.

Evn said...

Ooh, Anat and Kali! Good choices.

I think you'll get a kick out of this.

Albiana said...

*forehead slap*

Are you kidding me? Um, babies and bathwater anyone?

Taking one extreme and seeking to "balance" things by applying the seemingly diametrically opposed idea is, I'd say, a study in overly simplistic logic.

I think it tells the age of the author....and I'm not necessarily referring to the chronological age, but more revealing of her observationally experimental age.

Apparently she has not learned the life lesson that says there is no mutually exclusive idea of deity, no absolute dichtomy, which can be applied to remedy all the world's ills.

There is only the enimgatic gradient to be found within each individual's perceptions of the Gods, and this complexity is not something which can be turned into a contridictory schema, an "either/or" system.

Life just isn't that easy. And that is the pain and the joy of it.

Pitch313 said...

Well, I do look at the world through Goddess-tinted glasses. But what I see is a very, very different world. Differenet possibilities. Different challenges. Different modes of living.

One thing is, though, that I can't get too attached to the notion of "Goddess." She urges us to enjoy the Liberty that we deserve.

Livia Indica said...

Oh wow, that's awesome. Thanks for pointing me over there.

Thalia Took said...

I know just who you are talking about, but I have to say, the older and crankier (and more myself) I get, the more I think Athana is probably on the right track.

She does harp on it a bit, I know, but then she's currently promoting a book.

And I don't think, either, that what she's advocating is a simplistic switch of who's in charge, with all the stupid hierarchical power structures carried over, just with the sexes reversed (which tends to make people, men, especially, freak right out; guilt, anyone?); that's the mistake a lot of people make when they hear the word "matriarchy." I for one don't think it will (or has) gone down that way.

Even if she were advocating for a simple and exact switch to the current situation, so what? If we lived under that for the next, oh, I don't know, several millennia, we would still only come out even in the end.

But anyway I don't think that's what she's saying. I've always taken her assertions more as a thought-exercise than anything else. And I think she's right, several thousand years with jealous warrior Gods in charge has not done us or the planet a whole lot of good. And yes, societies model themselves after the behavior of their Gods (or, probably, their Gods model themselves after their societies), so it makes perfect sense to me that a society with a God/dess who is loving and kind is going to produce a more loving and kind society then one headed by some dick-headed warrior God.

Like I said, seems about right to me.

knottybynature said...


I have a hard time listening to those that are solely interested in promoting the Goddess aspects and not the God. I am not a traditionalist (er, heh...well, not that I wouldn't want to be...), but I do believe in balance and the overindulgence of worship and propaganda of the Goddess make those who swing far the other way look like they're on an even keel.

Most of them are a bunch of undereducated man-hating femi-nazis anyway...or they're women who are so self-battered/battered-by-others that they really don't know any better.

Teach em up, raise em right, and if they're still banging on about how anything that resembles anything with a penis is bad, then...well, take them over your knee and spank them soundly. They deserve it. I mean, who's to say a radical, feminist notion of a superior Goddess wouldn't just contort and distort into some violent, darker shade of Kali or Morrigan with constant PMS?

I'm not saying that there should be no Goddess-worship. I'm not saying anything to detract in any way from the facets called Goddess. I just think that an extremity in any direction, especially spiritually, can result in zealotry.

Imagine...some tree-hugging, dirt-rolling, Goddess worshipper strapping a bomb to her back and running into an all-male naval academy...

...don't laugh... it could happen...


Anonymous said...

Kali. Exactly. Hmmm. Eros...

Hmmm. One more word.


knottybynature said...

Anything can be distorted. Andy religion in extremity creates fanatical blind followers. If they used as much energy to solve a problem and minimize negative impact as they do blindly following a 'cause' or 'ideal', we'd probably make more headway across the board. IMHO. *shrug* Personify Eros as a vain, jealous, and demented god....ANYTHING can be distored.

Thalia Took said...

Oooh, I do believe I may have just been called an undereducated man-hating femi-nazi ... so self-battered/battered-by-others that [I] really don't know any better; and one who should be take[n] ... over your knee and spank[ed] soundly. Because [I] deserve it.

Woo-hoo! My radfem street cred has just gone up a notch or two. Thank you, knottybynature! I shall have to call Radfem HQ and inform the Mistress of these events. I might get a promotion!!

Seriously, when society (if I use the word patriarchy will it totally freak you out?) is structured in a 90/10 percent manner, it is not necessarily "balance" for an individual to strive for 50/50. Because, get this, it's bigger than the individual.

(Apologies, Evn. I just find I have no patience with this anymore. I mean, unless that was sarcasm, in which case, and take it from someone named after the Muse of Comedy, knottybynature, you might just be doing it wrong.)

knottybynature said...

WHOA, wait a minute.

NOTHING in my entire commentary was directed at you. In fact, it wasn't directed at ANYONE on here. How immature and ignorant of me it would be to do so.

I have no problem with goddess worshipers. I have no problem with those that promote the goddess and will overlook the god.

I DO have a problem with these individuals who are disguised man-haters and have a superiority complex, which I have run into and are not entirely uncommonplace. Their spirituality is derived from things altogether nonspiritual.

It is my sincerest apology if anyone thought I was directing my commentary to them. I don't comment on anything to personally inflict woes on another person.

I have a right to disagree with the viewpoint that a matriarch might be better than a patriarch. Most of my stick is sarcastic commentary, not meant terribly seriously anyway. *shrug* Women can be just as bad as men. I've seen it. My commentary is directed at them, not at any woman that wants to just be treated more than a doormat.'s all about balance...

Thalia Took said...

Well you know, it's true, I've seen plenty of asshole, abusive women. They certainly exist. They certainly can be bad just like men can be.

On the whole, however: they aren't. When more than 88% of homicides are committed by men, there's a problem. A problem, most likely, with men.

I don't personally think that it is because men are inherently assholes, or even, inherently violent; I think it's that they've been trained to be that way. If I thought men were naturally violent, well, I'd really just have no hope. But still, that does not mean it is not currently a problem with men.

The point of this post was disagreement with Athana over at Radical Goddess Thealogy, and her call to "convert" to Goddess worship over worship of war Gods (to frame her argument in a very, very simplified way. I think her position is a lot more nuanced than she is being given credit for). Now I'm not at all down with "conversion," period, but I take her point, and I do think she is probably, on the whole, right. And I said so. So when you say that people who are "solely interested in promoting the Goddess aspects" are "man-hating femi-nazis" you are actually talking about me, and it's not really a big leap for me to think that. And you've thrown in some anti radical feminist codewords in there, too, which, since I am a radical feminist, does directly insult me. Why, you even mentioned PMS!

But, whatever. My actual point here is that a lot of times the status quo is actually reinforced by a call for "balance." It's the same kind of tactics used when people bring up statistics of women being violent and then demand that equal time is given to that problem. Now I'm not saying it's not a problem, that women are also violent, but when that 11% is used to minimize that 89% percent, it's more than a little disingenuous. And that's the kind of tactics I'm hearing in this comment thread. And, honestly, in Evn's post. (Though I adore you and you know it, Evn.)

I mean on the surface it sure looks fair: Goddess and God both, in equal measure, what could be wrong with that? But when we live within a society that is as far out of balance as this one is (and yes, I do think a huge part of that imbalance is the widespread worship of a jealous and warlike Father God) then part of real balance is a few people here and there going to the opposite extreme.

I mean, if that were what Athana were actually advocating, which I really don't think she is. And really, that she is being cast as being that extreme is itself a symptom of that imbalance.

knottybynature said...

Okay, aside from all my kidding and into serious discussion...

The reason why I specifically don't advocate the idea of a shift in balance theologically is because I think that it is a symptom of a much larger problem. I don't necessarily think that religion really solves or rectifies anything. Perhaps it will help with cultural influence, but ultimately, beyond that, it begins with us, doesn't it?

For instance...religion shoved aside. If a little boy cries and his mother comforts him, AND his father comforts him, he doesn't realize it's 'not manly' to cry and would perhaps be more sensitive to another's feelings. Or perhaps a girl is taught math and encouraged to be active outdoors, to hunt and be strong - it doesn't have to stem from religious beliefs that she is equal yet different from the opposite sex.

This kind of idealism doesn't have to come from religious fronts, and really, if we are all to try to get along, it shouldn't. You can be a radical, you can be feminist, you can be a radical feminist, but I don't see you being religiously fanatical enough to strap a bomb to your back and blow up a building in the name of religion. The point in the statements (albeit, apparently bad humor) is anything taken to extreme is bad.