Sunday, October 15, 2017

Words and Growth

It's not easy to define something if you don't have the right words for it. It's often not enough to find words that are close enough, but sometimes, that's the best we have. It's certainly better than the alternative, saying words that are wholly inappropriate, but using them for your own meanings.

I know what I believe in. I know what I worship. But I haven't always known the words to explain it. And if you can't explain something, can you really understand it?

Monotheism vs Polytheism
Two words I've known a long time, but for me, neither one is a perfect fit. I worship one deity, but the identity of that deity requires the believe in a potential pantheon.

So I worship one, but believe in many. How does that work?

Well, I found a couple of new words.

Henotheism
It's simply the acknowledgement that what I worship and what you worship are non-exclusively equally valid. While it does apply to me, it doesn't really help me define myself.

Still, it can be a handy word to have around.

Monolatry
Where henotheism puts my god(s) and your god(s) on equal footing in terms of legitimacy, monolatrism is internal to one's spiritual standpoint. It means I can worship one sole god in what could otherwise be a vast pantheon.

I would assume (if I'm not being to brazen to potentially be coining a word) "polylatary" (though I wouldn't want to try and pronounce that) would apply to those Reconstructionists I've met who choose to worship a small (but not single) subset of their chosen religion, especially given the size of certain older pantheons one could name.

Religious Naturalism...
...sounds like an umbrella term to me, not unlike "Christianity." An argument could be made that Non-Teleological Pantheism falls under such an umbrella, but I'm happy with the NTP designation (not the least of which is because of the search algorithm potential--go ahead, Google it; I'll wait).

At its core is a religious attitude toward nature; and I've got that. Its "creationism" theory follows science, from the Big Bang to biological evolution. It leaves open the mysterious, not so much the unexplainable, but the as yet unexplained, and the wonders of the wider universe.

Beyond that, I'm still my own, and still very much alone.

That doesn't mean, however, that I can't find a community that supports my individualized beliefs and doesn't ask me to be anything I'm not or believe in anything I don't. It isn't quite like coming home, but it's close enough.

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