by Neil Garthson
In a society dominated by monotheistic thinking, the following offers an alternative and more traditional pagan approach
I accept the existence of multiple deities. Most commonly they are called gods, but I think that term can lead to misunderstandings by people used to thinking of 'God' as a single entity; the deities I know of are nothing like what I take to be the most commonly taught concepts of 'God'. The gods I know of:
are not all powerful
are not ever-present
are not immortal
did not create this world - or any other
do not offer human souls eternal 'salvation' in any form of heaven
do not condemn human souls to any form of hell
do not guarantee any form of 'afterlife'
are not immanent in everything, or anything
are not perfect or ideal in any shape or form
do not exist as non-material beings, spirits, ideals, or 'energy'
They are, in fact, much more like human beings and other animals, than any 'One God'. Having made some negative points about what they are not, I'll try to make some positive ones about what I understand they are:
They are individual beings, all different from each other (just like us)
They are material beings (just like us)
They are male and female (just like us)
They have sexual relationships and have children (just like us)
They are mortal and can die or be killed (just like us)
Their life spans are different from ours. In terms of our world, they seem much longer - which can give the mistaken impression that they are immortal
They do not normally reside in our world and share our space, but they can travel between worlds (theirs, ours, and other), should they occasionally choose to do so
Their abilities and skills are not unlimited, and vary from god to god, but they can, when they wish, take actions in our world which have impacts here
Those impacts can sometimes appear miraculous in our terms, but only because they have skills, knowledge, and abilities we do not (yet) possess
Their skills, knowledge, and abilities are greater than ours, but are still partial and limited.
They are not all-powerful. There are things they cannot do
Their personal interests can conflict with each other (just like us)
They are emotional and less than purely rational (just like us). They quarrel, fight, hate, and love. This can sometimes cause them to get involved in events in our world, and take sides. This doesn't guarantee particular outcomes (positive or negative), as their influence is limited (just like ours), and in any case they don't usually all end up on the same side.
Most commonly though - they simply don't bother with us.