I can resist anything, except temptation! (Oscar Wilde)

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in human ecology

What is it about human psychology that finds monotheism intolerable? Polytheistic religious experience means being gripped by a story in which the diversity of the many characters is “the symbolic expression of a lively process”. The gods and goddesses “teach us an acceptance of the variousness of ourselves and others”. The monotheistic search for a single sense of identity makes us feel guilty for not getting it all together, which is impossible in a plural universe. Thinking is polytheistic, “a reality in which truth and falsity, life and death, beauty and ugliness, good and evil are forever and inextricably mixed together.” The powers and forces are dramatically revealed in an acceptable way…. If he cannot find evidence for a single center in a diverse world, the monotheist feels lost, experiences a disconnectedness and senses the “death of God”, which is to say, the deadness of abstraction. Belief divorced from tangible support is tiring, dull, out of touch. Theology becomes “irrelevant to faith and philosophy irrelevant to everything.” Monotheism socially becomes fascism, imperialism, or capitalism; philosophically is unmetaphorical, unambiguous, and dichotomous; and psychologically is rigid, fixed, and linear.[1]

  1. Shepard, P., 1998. Nature and madness. University of Georgia Press. 

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