I tried to make Twitter relevant to me again last autumn. True to form, my effort garnered a lot of attention on Facebook, where my tweets have been cross-posted for so long that I forgot that was even a thing, yet barely a peep from the Twitterati. Maybe that’s because I’m not one of the cool kids, or maybe it’s because the cool kids really don’t use Twitter any longer. I can’t say for sure.

The effort, a series of tweets asking questions around the hashtag #trypolytheism, got a lot of unexpected reactions.

From among my Christian friends, there was some bristling, which was not entirely surprising. Polytheism doesn’t have much in the way of sacred branding, and it can be disconcerting to hear a message that different from expectations. That I was surprised by the particular individuals is simply a reminder that one does can be devout without being public about that fact.

The atheists — anti-theists, specifically — were a bit puzzled, because largely those folks think monotheism is the only alternative and don’t quite know how to react. I had at least one brief exchange about monoatheism and polyatheism, which I found amusing.

The Quakers mostly found it amusing. Quakers don’t tell others what to believe, even within the tradition; revelation is personal and continual. I don’t actually know which of the Quakers I know are Christ-centered and which are not, since belief is not something which is often broached in conversation.

Among comments from Pagans, though, I found a thread of accusation. “Why are you proselytizing?” one friend asked me.

I wasn’t, in fact; I was branding. Proselytizing is the hard sell, in my mind. Seems there’s been so much of that tactic that people get edgy when someone even talks about their religion. Raising awareness that there are possibilities beyond the monotheist experience is an important ministry; that’s not the same as trying to obtain a conversion. My religion does not include evangelism as a tenet, but that doesn’t mean I can’t talk about it in an effort to get people thinking.

I ended up stopping the experiment simply because I ran out of interesting things to say.

Well, I still think it was a catchy hashtag.

5 thoughts on “#trypolytheism

  1. Certain Pagans have a ridiculously broad concept of proselytizing, I was in a university student group that was dwindling in membership (like all of them do naturally!) & people in it objecting to us advertising, tabling or promoting our group in any way, equating that to proselytizing. Even from my moderate/liberal Methodist upbringing, when we invited people to church, it was people we knew or people in our neighborhood, or whatever, it wasn’t handing out leaflets obnoxiously. We just considered it being friendly & outreach not even spreading the gospel- it was being a good neighbor, not saving souls! Sadly I think many people aren’t aware enough of non-fundamentalist religious options enough because of this sort of paranoia. I think many people like having their well-kept secret little club, but won’t admit it. I wonder if UUs have an informal tradition about beliefs similar to the Quakers, they like to humble-brag about their theological diversity/inclusivity & talk about it in the abstract but not much on a personal level, which actually feels less inclusive to me, it makes it harder to challenge assumptions about who/what can be UU. What about #polytheismisanoption, #polytheismexists. To the monotheists, I’d suggest henotheism! The 10 commandments even imply or maybe state henotheism directly, depending on interpretation.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The extent some monoatheists take it to is ridiculous. One invaded the comments of a Christian blog I read and comment on frequently, and did the “No one worships Zeus anymore,” line, so of course I popped up and said that I did, and more besides. The guy accused me of lying to stir up trouble, because no one was actually pagan anymore.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve run into that before, where people disagree where the line between discussing and converting falls. I agree that we need to talk about our beliefs more. I think a lot of people are searching and questioning and they can’t do that effectively if no one will talk to them.

    Liked by 1 person

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