Pagan blogger Pax has declared June to be Pagan Values Month, and is asking Pagan bloggers to write about Pagan values.
Fundamental to our values, I believe, is pluralism. Everything we believe, even the lines we draw in the sand, must be rooted in plurality. There are many gods, many paths, many truths.
Monotheism has “mono” as a root value. One God, one Truth, one Right with all other things Wrong. This is a net negative for culture, I believe.
Polytheism allows us to worship many gods, few if any of whom are “jealous Gods.” None of them seem to demand that we worship Them and Them alone. Kali has never asked me to cease worshiping the gods of Wicca, and vice versa. Doing one thing fervently, wholeheartedly, with body, mind, heart, and spirit, does not prevent Pagans from doing another, very different, thing with the same wholeheartedness.
There are surely things that are wrong, but a pluralistic world view means that, once we have found something we know to be right, we do not know that everything else is wrong. One god worthy of worship does not make all other gods false. One life worth living does not make all other lifestyles inferior. One candidate worth supporting does not make all other candidates assholes (although, y’know, maybe).
It’s easier to love your neighbors if you’re a pluralist, because you don’t have to hate their choices. It’s easier to be a good citizen, because you aren’t judging your fellow citizens by rigid moral standards that don’t allow for cultural and personal differences.
I could apply the core value of pluralism to lots of specific issues. Pagans tend to support same sex marriage and GLBT rights, because it is consistent with polytheistic values to support a plurality of ways to love, and a plurality of expressions of gender. Even heterosexual Pagans, even Pagans like me who are part of a Pagan tradition deeply rooted in gender polarity. Because even though my tradition works on the basis of gender polarity, mine is not the only right tradition. If someone found something incompatible with my tradition, whether it was the gender polarity thing, or the skyclad thing, or anything else, they could find a different tradition, and they wouldn’t be less blessed, less spiritual, less beloved of the gods.
I could continue in this vein, of course. GLBT issues are just one example. Reproductive freedom is another. Surely I know Wiccans who are against abortion because they find it incompatible with a fertility religion, but most Wiccans and Pagans are pro-choice because the very concept of choice is rooted in plurality; we can each make our own choices even when they differ from one another. (And by the way, when I say “most” are this and that, I am not pulling that out of my ass, there are actual statistics out there.)
So, pluralism, as expressed in the sacred (polytheism) and the mundane (politics, community relations) is a core Pagan value.