This post is related to the former post.
While thinking about monotheism versus polytheism, and The One and Only God always going on about how everybody should convert, otherwise they will burn in hell, and if they don’t you should kill them, otherwise you will burn in hell… (Which is why christian missionaries swarm the world trying to ”save souls” and why Muslim terrorists think they get rewarded with eternal orgies and 72 virgins in heaven, because killing ”infidels” is something God likes.) I came to the conclusion that polytheist religions don’t have this jealousy hang up. Sure some Gods always wanted a bigger share than other Gods, but in the end nobody could deny that all gods have a right to some worship. Moreover, if you allready have a score of Gods, it’s not that weird an idea about other people having other Gods. And it certainly doesn’t spring to mind to kill them for it.
Or to ”convert” them by force, forcing them to change religion or else…
We did not really see this jealousy obsession a few thousand years ago when the rule for most societies was polytheism.
After all, when you have a whole pantheon of useful Gods why not add a few more? You can never have too much help!
Befriended rulers would even lend one of their own Gods to help out a neighbouring ruler who was sick. I think it was the Hittites, who send one of their Gods to help out a Pharao when he was sick. Because the Pharao was so pleased with the power and helpful attitude of this God or Goddess he was a bit reluctant to send Him or Her back, and when He or She had enough, He or She sent a few plagues to convince the Pharao, and he then finally send the borrowed God back with a caravan of suitable presents.
Or was it the other way around?
The Romans had a very relaxed attitude towards foreign Gods, They noticed that many were just a more exotic form of the ones they already knew, and so the Romans happily combined them. Like for example the Celtic Goddess Sulis, She was combined with the Roman Goddess Minerva and the Romans built a temple for Minerva-Sulis in Bath. They certainly did not try to ”convert” the Celts to their pantheon at the point of a bloody sword!
All Gods were worshipped in Rome. And just to make sure no foreign God would miss out they build the Pantheon, one of the most beautiful structures ever, as a home for those Gods they might have missed or not yet have heard about.
How’s that for coexistence?
But this can’t happen with the more modern monotheistic religions. Those gods are jealous Gods. Does nobody else get the feeling that makes them a lot less divine? Our modern male Gods can’t bear any competition. And worse; they call for bloodshed and murder, punishment and death, to establish themselves as ”The Only One”.
To be sure the modern monotheistic religions are very inferior to the older polytheist religions and have a lot to learn yet.