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Post Info TOPIC: So what do other old gods peeps think of this?


Seasoned Mookster

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So what do other old gods peeps think of this?


So Hank Green shared an art installation that consisted of a load of cardboard "gravestones" marked with the names and some images of various old gods.  The sign at the installation reads:

Here lie the graves of thousands of dead gods.  Once worshipped by entire civilisations, now only myths.  How much longer will the gods of today last?

And the description on the link says:

The God Graveyard, old gods that have been worshiped (sic) throughout our history but are no longer prayed to, how many more will be thrown into the wind?

My first thought was that I liked the concept and what the artists were going for, but it was really lazily done and poorly worded. I thought the message was really interesting - the transient nature of faith that feels so eternal in the moment, questioning the notion of any religion as being the one true one, in the face of so many others followed throughout history.  But it was a shame the way it was executed.

A brief glance at the "dead" gods that "are no longer prayed to" showed Odin, Thor, Freyja, Apollo, Janus, Poseidon, Anubis, Perkunas, Mithra... basically, the person took up a grab-bag of pagan gods and a few others and assumed them dead and gone to myth and nothing more.  When a 30 second google search of just the name of any one of them would probably have brought up links to current pagan groups acknowledging that god.

I reblogged the post, and added my thoughts, which were that while I get the artist didn't probably mean any harm, that labelling our gods as dead is part of a background radiation of disrespect shown to pagans in a way that is rather different to that shown by non-believers to other religions.  I can't legally marry my partner in the sight of my gods here.  Newspapers print articles  mocking pagans and expressing horror and hilarity at the notion of pagans serving as police officers, printing terribly researched articles claiming ridiculous origins for holy days some of us have.  My faith has no legal recognition as a religion in the country I live in.  Parents have had their children taken from them in custody battles that the other parent won because they were able to use the other's pagan faith as evidence that they would make an irresponsible parent.  And I've never yet seen a TV show that didn't portray us as sexual deviants, as idiots playing a silly game, as devil worshippers or worse.   And the reason for a lot of this, in a country that doesn't generally get this hot over religion, is that people think our gods aren't real, in a very different way to the way that, say, a Christian might think a Sikh's gods aren't real.  There's a basic mutual respect that's missing for us.  "They were real but now they're dead" is only marginally less bad than "your gods are just made-up myths". People act as though believing in Odin or in fae or other deities and beings is equivalent to believing in the easter bunny - even religious people who belong to the more mainstream faiths react that way sometimes!

What do you guys make of it?



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Mookish Deity Most High

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I didn't like it because a lot of the information behind it is incorrect. Haven't really thought further than that, tbh, but you've made a lot of good points.

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Seasoned Mookster

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Well, one thing that came out of checking the reblogs others made is I've learned something.

I knew there were still Hellenic people worshipping the old Greek Gods. But now I know there's a hundred thousand of them in Greece alone! Which is pretty impressive.

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Runic Mook of the North (mod)

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I'm a bit ambivalent about this. The Atheist part of me like the idea. Pretty much what you said about showing the transience of religious truths -I like that. I think art can play an important role in making people re-think established truths. Then of course it becomes a question of context. In a very secular society like mine, where natural sciences and materialism is the holy cow art like this is rather pointless.

Then the part of me who actually experience some of these old gods become a bit offended. Mostly I guess for the same reason as Miss Chris -so much incorrect information...

But of course, as the powers I relate to are of norse origin I've seen a hell of a lot worse and for far worse reasons.


I will ponder about this some more, for now my conclusion is that it is justifiable if it is better executed AND placed in a context where it is actually challenging people to think rather than affirming their norms.

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Annointed Queen of Mook - Founder and Editor

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Ooh, I think it does invite people to think, as opposed to affirming their norms.

Perhaps the terminology could be rephrased, but I suspect the only 'dead' god is one who everyone has forgotten the names of, including all of us here. Any god whose name is still known has someone, somewhere, watching their back and can be said to live. The project would possibly need to replace the word 'dead', although I think that would be a shame because it's a charged word that gets people thinking. After all, here we are, all thinking. Or else perhaps it could consist of gods invented by the artist or abstract representations. Paganism is vigorously healthy and eclectic as fuck. Whichever gods were chosen for the project, a pagan somewhere would point out that they can't be dead because they've still got at least ONE fan...

The project seems insufficiently-researched but I do like the concept. I've been an out and proud pagan but I don't see it as anti-pagan or pro status quo, just as a playful piece raising questions about how humanity's explored faith over time. Said the once-fully-pagan, now other-things-respecting monotheist who somehow ended up with Thoth.

The gods go when we do!

And we're still here...

 

EDIT: I think you raise some great points, however. Birth, death, official declarations of love, paper exchanging hands for official purposes... none of these should be dependent on a person's lifestyle choice, including faith. I'd have to think some more on whether a project like this contributes in any way to persecution along those lines.



-- Edited by Magda Mookychick on Thursday 7th of November 2013 11:33:33 PM

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Mookish Deity Most High

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It's an interesting concept,and definitely thought-provoking,but properly researched? Probably as far as a wiki list of gods. I wonder if he included all those Roman emperors who proclaimed themselves "gods"? And for "dead" gods,the Norse ones are having a good second career in superhero comicbook movies,with all the non-PC bits quietly edited out for family viewing. [there was a recent io9 article comparing Marvel's Thor character with the actual one of legend,and what had been changed]

Dave.

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Runic Mook of the North (mod)

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^when I said that I've seen depictions of norse gods that are a lot worse than this Marvel's Thor are definitively on the list :D Far behind nazis of course, but on the list.

Children are taught about the old gods in school (admittedly from a historic point of view, not religious, but still) and you can get legally married in an åsatrufellowship, I'd say the first career is still going along fine ;)

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