Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A bit of theology

This was something I posted on the Troth mailing list about the nature of the gods.

The biggest reason I left Catholicism was that I ceased to believe in
an almighty, all-powerful, all-knowing God.  Not only do I not believe
in one, I don't even want one to exist.  That would be horrible.  To
have such a Being with the personality of the Xtian God is even worse.
 ("I created you to love me and I love you unconditionally, but don't
question My will.  If you survive the unexamined life I demand of you,
you get to spend eternity praising Me forever!  Won't that be nice?")

I spent a few months as a hard atheist in 2008, but I couldn't keep it
up.  I eventually took the nontheistic fallback of there being a
divine Sacred, but it's like water: we are made up of it, it surrounds
us, we need it to live, but worshiping it would be not only crazy, but

Against the backdrop of this eternal Sacred are the gods.  The gods
are persons who embody the Sacred more than we do.  They have
different bodies and live in a different reality than we do.  They can
hear prayers and in some cases grant them, but they are far from
all-powerful and we know they are mortal.  Odin knows a lot, but He'll
be the first to admit He doesn't know everything, hence His travels.

Like anyone else, the gods like having friends and enjoy spending time
with their friends.  As the sagas make it clear, the medieval Norse
saw themselves as friends of the gods.  So we can pray to them if we
like, but the gods certainly will be more present and happier with
people who are generous to Them in return, and welcome them into their
lives as more than just spiritual sugar-daddies.

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