An essay talking about whether or not paganism is true
| The Verdict of Moral Law
If we are to accept Moral Law as adequate evidence for the existence of a Creator, then we also must be prepared to judge their Creator, or Creators, by these standards. C.S. Lewis pointed out that people’s vision of God was skewed because they were looking at God through the wrong medium; therefore we must be willing to deny it on the right one.
Part One: Moral Law and Polytheism
Most ancient cultures, up to, say, 300 A.D., were polytheistic. That is, they worshipped many gods, instead of one God, which would be monotheism. From Norway to Mexico there were as many as hundreds of gods being worshipped in each culture. However, the announcement of the Roman Emperor Constantine to convert to monotheism, in his case, Christianity, set the wheels turning, and now Monotheism is the dominant religious look of the majority of the world. Only a few portions of the world still believe in many gods, mostly in India, except for a few very selective people in the modern world who decided for whatever reason of their own to revive paganism of all cultures.
In India the national religion is not Hinduism, a branch of polytheism, surprisingly, but rather pantheism, a very close but distinct cousin. Therefore, as the two are separate, I will deal with Pantheism later in the chapter. For now, I wish to look at polytheism, specifically those of Norway, Greece, and India. As I hope you know, Greece and Norway are no longer polytheistic, but their cultures have had such a great effect on the modern world that I felt it best to include them. In fact, each of these three mythologies, Greek, Indian, and Norse, include some central elements, such as a sort of higher “god”, the Zeus archetype, Zeus, Odin, and Vishnu respectively. In addition all three have heroes, Hercules, Thor, and so on, and all three have a distinctive moral code, holy animals ext., though their approach may be different. In Greek, Norse, and Hindu (or pantheism) ascertain that difference abounds between the three. We can tell from the similarities, however, that they all still know Moral Law, which we have previously established.
And here we run into a problem, one amazingly similar to the one recorded by Plato in his The Trial and Death of Socrates: ‘What is holiness, and what is unholiness?’ We have in our very possession an indication of something amazingly complex. Since we have decided that there is a natural set of moral laws, rules, and so forth, and stated moral law as the creation of a Creator(s), we must think that whatever is good and pleasing to said Creator(s) is holy, and whatever is hateful in their sight is unholy; hence moral law is also by definition divine law, whatever and whoever the divine is, we have not yet established.
So by divine law, we incur both that there is the Divine and that this Divine, or divines, until disproven, have a rigorous set of morals we ought to follow. Not that we have to be moral, but that we have a choice to be moral or immoral, facing the consequences either way. Here is where things begin to get complicated, I’m afraid.
Polytheism necessitates many gods, hence, each god would have things that are pleasing and unpleasing to them. If these gods were always in concordance, that would have no repercussions, life would still be stable. But as it is, the gods of polytheism don’t always agree, for instance the God of Life, whoever it is, and the God of Death, whoever that is, are opposites. In an argument also made by Socrates, or Plato writing as him, opposites oppose each other, ad dictum, however, they oppose each other solely because they are the absence of their opposite. Life opposes death, and therefore cannot allow death to enter into it; to do so is to stop being alive and to become dead. It is the same with heat and cold, heat cannot be cold, because it opposes it, and is it’s absence, and vice versa. By inference, we can also concur that when Thor and Odin disagree, what one regards as holy and the other as unholy are different, also with Zeus and Hera, and so forth. Therefore since we know what is hateful, even despicable, by the Divine power we can only say that one of them has done something that is “bad” and the other “good.” Yet if bad and good are only divine preference, soon we find that the world of unholiness and holiness is unstable, and the Moral Law breaks down, which we have already established as existent.
In addition, to observe the natural world, in the fact of natural law, we find an incredible balance in the cosmos, nature, and so on. Should we really believe that the same creature(s) who created it so well balanced also make continual distortions in the world of holiness and unholiness? Hence it can be given that continual distortions of gods as natural figures would produce catastrophic, seemingly random distortions in the balance of the natural world. This, in fact, is exactly what is claimed in many Greek, Indian, and Norse legends, for instance, Hades and Persephone. To do something that is holy in the sight of one god is to do something unholy in the sight of the other, or others.
The basic point of my argument is this: we have established Moral Law as proven, that it cannot be removed any more then the multiplication table, and also that Moral Law was infused in us by a Creator of some sort or sorts. Then if there were more then one god, and they disagreed with one another, and they both aided in the creation of moral law, then one or both of them would be doing something contrary to Moral Law, which is Divine Law, which, by it’s infusion, would have had to always come of the Divine. Therefore the Divine would have to disobey the Divine Law, which would reduce them to a non-divine position, hence any disagreement from the Divine Power would have to come from a subordinate, not a truly Divine Being. Therefore Moral Law itself declines having more then one God unless all “Gods” are in constant agreement, which, in Polytheism, they are not.
A much simpler explanation, less complicated, and just as philosophical, in addition to being scientific, is Occam’s Razor. The Razor is a principle that says, essentially, that the simpler theory between choices of equal merit is the one we should accept. In this circumstance, saying that there is One God is much simpler then saying that there could be many gods. Therefore, by Occam’s razor, one God is the most reasonable choice and therefore we should accept it.
What we may not realize is that this has a gigantic impact on the standards of pantheism as well. The philosophical principles that we have been discussing reverberate to every theory, hypotheses, and reasonable thought. If one is to truly accept anything on an intellectual basis, he, or she, must regulate it by the standards we have discussed. Therefore outside of absolute blind belief, they cannot be accepted. In conclusion, any principle which would accept the theory of polytheism cannot be verified or taken rigorously unless I have misinterpreted the Verdict of Moral Law, but in this case, it is quite clear: the voice of philosophy rejects the theory of polytheism.