Showing posts with label theology. Show all posts
Showing posts with label theology. Show all posts

Monday, February 7, 2022

How Do You Release All Your Doubts?


"I think you're awesome," a very close friend of mine said. "Why?" I asked. "Because you're so spiritual. I wish I had your faith. You have no doubts at all."

I do not consider myself to be anything special or profound. I'm just a man being himself and doing what he loves and believes in. But at the same time, there are some people in my life who think I'm the greatest thing since sliced bread. And there is certainly something undeniable in what they said, I have always had incredibly strong faith no matter what has happened or hasn't happened in my life. Growing up dirt poor, struggling through my young adult life, having a premature child, enduring years of hardship as a parent; there were many things that would attack the spirit of some other people. But not me. Why is that and how do I release myself from doubt?

For starters, I think my spiritual upbringing plays a part, even though it was an entirely different theology. Several religions, despite their vast disagreements, can at times agree on some human values, or at least not devalue them. I grew up in a religiously conservative community and environment in the South. Enduring faith as a concept in and of itself, was instilled into me. I was taught that belief in deity was vital, and simply childish to only be loyal when something goes your way, and turn your back when something goes wrong. In short, a tremendous sense of honor. 

Is it also possible that someone could be born with inherent faith? I certainly think so. We are born with schema, which enables us to look for Higher Powers in the universe, and so we are always looking for Gods even from the time we are born. For as long as I can remember, I have been in love with the natural world and could always see the powers and minds behind it all. I still retain that mindset and interpretation to this day. I can't disbelieve in the Gods just as I cannot disbelieve in anything else around me. I can't disbelieve in the Sun, Moon, the forests or oceans because they're obviously there.

Finally, I would call it bliss. I've heard people in the Hellenic community say that we do not worship the Gods because we want something in return, but simply because it makes our lives more blissful. I cannot logically deny that the Gods have given me so many blessings and helped me through all of my hardships. Yes, life has had trials, but the Gods are the goodness we can always experience, and that can help us overcome our problems.

How do I release all doubts? I suppose it would boil down to a simple factor. No matter how long they've been in the religion, whenever a fellow Hellenist tells me they are scared or worried, I always say, you still haven't learned to trust the Gods yet, my friend.

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris Aldridge. 

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Ask and The Gods Will Tell You, Every Time

One of the most common questions asked by atheists and agnostics today is, "If there is God or Gods, why are there so many bad things in the world?" But the thing is, there wouldn't be anywhere near as many if we would listen to the Gods every time. 

In the opening of The Odyssey, Zeus is talking to the other Gods about the tragedy of Agamemnon's wife and her lover, who chose to murder Agamemnon. Zeus says, humans blame us Gods for evil, when it is nothing but their own folly. I even sent my Messenger, Hermes, to warn them, and they would not listen, and now they face destruction. Athena finishes the dialogue by saying, may this be the fate of all like them.

The people who ask the question above often don't realize that they are repeating the same error that was made thousands of years ago, and that Zeus has already answered them. They are still laying blame upon the Gods for evil, instead of their own refusal to listen. The Gods would tell us all good things to do to make our lives and the world a better place, if we would only obey their words instead of our own desires which we often allow to take the place of wisdom. Humans listen to their prejudices, hate, greed and destructive desires more than to good, and the Gods know this. Thus, the evil in the world is the fault of humans, not the Gods, and the result shall be the fate of all likewise.

If a murderer, robber, rapist, and every other criminal would listen to what the Gods say, they would not be a murderer, robber, rapist or any criminal. If we would ask the Gods whether we should cheat our fellowman or be honest by them and listen to the answer, we would eventually never know what a lie or a falsehood is. What's even more revealing is that deep down, we already know the answers, because the Gods put their goodness inside of us and the world. Without asking, governments know they should help the poor instead of gluttonizing the rich. And what of disease and illness? We can solve that, too. But we have vaccines that people refuse to take. We have hospitals and technologies that care more about money than human beings. We have natural remedies, like cannabis, that we have kept illegal for countless years, and is still illegal in many places, despite the fact that it's been proven to be a miracle drug for many patients. The Gods gave and are willing to give us the power and knowledge to end about 99% of Earth's problems.

The Gods are not our babysitters, nor did they come to this world with the intention of attaching strings to us like puppets. It is our duty to make something great of our existence, otherwise there is no purpose to said existence.

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris Aldridge.

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Did The Gods Reward My Perseverance and Faith?

It has long been thought that the Gods admire those who persevere. I believe this is very true, especially after what has happened to me over this summer. Since I was 14 or 15 years old, I have suffered with severe acne. You can't tell by looking at my pictures over the last several years because I used the best over-the-counter medication on the market, but even that didn't stop all breakouts. I had to use it every morning and every night, and if I missed a treatment, especially overnight, I risked a resurgence of some sort. My problem continued well into adulthood and I thought I was simply destined to have this skin issue that I would always have to fight. For anyone who has suffered with lifelong acne, they know it's not fun. Your face is constantly oily, cracked, and covered with pimples and bumps that not only make you extremely unattractive, but are very painful many times. Without treatment, your face just feels like a desert or a tarpit that's infected.

Then this late spring and early summer, after using the medication for around 21 years, the treatment just stopped working and my face erupted. The doctor attributed it to the fact that over a long period of time, the bacteria on someone's face can build up a resistance to the medicine. So it was time for me to see a dermatologist, which I promptly did. However, even his prescription strength medicine, by itself, did not do a single thing. After combining it with the over-the-counter remedy, I did get relief, but it was a constant battle both health wise and monetarily, as the prescriptions were expensive even with insurance, and needed to be filled on a regular basis.

I probably don't have to tell you that someone is my position, or with any major health problem, may have a crisis of faith. A lot of people blame the Divinities, even hate or resent them, but no matter how bad my face got, I never did. Even after suffering for almost as long as I can remember being alive, I still loved the Gods. No matter how bad it got, the Gods were the happiness and love I could always experience in my life, and I knew that was greater than any ailment I may have. Of course I wondered why it had always happened to me, but I knew that even though there were things I may not understand fully, the Gods were still there. 

Last week, something amazing happened. My acne just stopped, literally. It cleared up and I have not really used facial medication since, which normally would result in severe breakouts by now. I no longer use facial cleanser, toner or repair lotion, which were essential to my skin's health. My face doesn't even produce a lot of oil anymore. You may call it a miracle, and perhaps it is, but this issue that I have fought for over two decades was wiped away, even after its strongest return. I no longer have acne. I believe the Gods found my perseverance, faith and piety to be very noble and admirable, and rewarded me with one of the greatest blessings I have ever had, a life free of acne. There's no other way I can explain it. There's no reason for this sudden shift. Perhaps a change in hormones or something to that effect, but the Gods are able to do anything, including changing my body for the better, and helping me where I had, for so long, tried to help myself.

Don't ever give up hope. Keep going in life. 

In the Goodness of the Gods,

Chris Aldridge.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

The Gods Give Us Emotion To Make Us Moral

An epiphany was what my wife and I called it last night, during our discussion on the Gods, nature, and emotion. Many times, we humans tend to think of our emotional side as a weakness, as we are the most emotional of all other beings on the planet. It's true that we can sometimes be irrational, but the benefits of our emotional state far outweigh the debts. In the grand picture of things, it's hardly a weakness, but a necessary virtue. Being the most powerful and smartest mortal creatures on the planet, things would be much, much worse if we didn't have emotion. It also allows the Gods to appeal to our moral, ethical and compassionate side far more than if we didn't have it.

Let's start with an example from my own life, so that the reader may better understand this universal truth. I have a very cute cat named Rosie, who we adopted from a local animal shelter a year or so ago. She is a valuable asset to our family at times, but she also has her many problems. The trouble she gets into will sometimes make me incredibly angry to the point that I want to get rid of her, but here's the thing, I can't. No matter how much I want to pick her up and toss her out my door, my emotions create empathy and love, and make me realize that such an action is not only cruel, but very wrong and dishonorable. More so, the Gods are able to appeal that ethical side to me because of the fact that they enabled me with the emotional capacity for empathy and compassion. If I had no emotion, I could do whatever I wanted to other living creatures and indeed the world around me. No matter what the Gods or humans told me, I would be unable to feel or understand it, and that would be a recipe for disaster.

The same goes for other people. The reason we don't abandon our children, spouses or loved ones is because our emotional states will not allow it. Our ability to love and feel keeps us moral and honorable. If we didn't have that capacity, our species would de-evolve into extinction. The Gods gave it to us because it was necessary for our survival and the prosperity of everything around us. And if we encounter someone who fails to show emotion, such as a sociopath, we consider them to be mentally ill, not a natural production.

Realizing this about ourselves is crucial to beginning to understand the genius of the Gods and the intelligence behind our natural existence.

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris Aldridge.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Why Is "Evil" Controversial In Paganism?

Evil may be a bad word depending on your Pagan or Polytheistic tradition. Many people in the modern Pagan community don't like using it because they don't believe in absolutes or an inherent value, believing that good and bad, positive and negative, are both possible from anyone or anything, while some Reconstructionist religions like mine talk about evil many times in their myths and morals. You don't have to look far at all to find the word in Hellenism. Delphic Maxim 31 explicitly and simply says, "Shun Evil." But many Pagans, I would imagine, do not think that things are as simple as good and evil. 

In many ways, they are correct. Absolute evil means that nothing good can come from it, but any being with free will can choose to do good, and if they can make that choice, then they are not absolutely evil, because they have the capacity for the opposite. However, I can certainly say from experience that there are people and things that prefer to act on their hostile and evil sides, at least toward certain people anyway, and that person may unfortunately end up being yourself. 

I think that we are quick to reject the word evil out of existence simply because we don't actually understand what it means. We're so used to being conditioned by the mainstream to think that evil is a Christian concept of ultimate inherent character, but it's not. Evil is simply the opposite of good, or the absence of good. So therefore, we have to ask, is it possible that someone or something can do the opposite of good, or that a thing cannot possess any good qualities? Most certainly. Someone or something who tries to murder you or destroy your family, isn't good or creating any good. It may cause you to do something that results in good for yourself, but they and their act themselves are not good in any capacity. Or perhaps a more common example, if you have a severe mental disorder, like depression, that drives you to want to commit suicide, it is also something that carries no good, and in fact, is in direct opposition to what a "good" brain or mind would be.

In my view, the only Ultimate Good in the Universe, that has no capability or desire of evil, is the Gods and the Higher Powers, like the Spirits and Heroes. Because the Gods were made from all that is good in the first place, and because they are the most powerful of all things and are never able to be conquered, evil can never consume or impact them in any form. In fact, the Gods exist explicitly in opposition of evil, chaos and disorder. This is why evil or negativity runs away when the Gods and Heroes are invoked successfully. It becomes vanquished immediately. 

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris Aldridge.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Gods As Universal Consciousness

As a writer and a theologian, I never quite know when something as simple as a general conversation or experience will give me something to write and philosophize about, but today was such a time, and it involved one of my favorite Gods. 

My wife and I were discussing statues and we got onto the topic of Poseidon's trident. Talking about all of its different functions from spearing fish to ruling the sea currents and creating water sources entirely, she asked me, "How would you reconcile the belief in earthquakes with modern science?" In words words, "How do I accept the fact that quakes are caused by plates rubbing together and pair it with the idea that Poseidon causes them by striking the ground with His trident?"

My response was rooted in the belief that the Gods are everywhere and in everything, as the ancients also believed. "Do I believe that there's someone standing there who looks like me, hitting the ground with a trident when there's an earthquake?" I replied. "No, I think that the movement of the plates is the movement and consciousness of Poseidon in the Universe itself." 

To me, the Gods exist, at least in one form, as the consciousness of all that was, is and ever will be. That's why I don't even consider them to only be Gods of Earth, but of every other planet, galaxy, and all other lifeforms out there. For example, I don't consider Artemis to be the Goddess of only Earth's moon, but of every moon. The Gods are all that is, and their consciousness, direction, intelligence and Divine Powers give existence and place to everything; the sun and moon, Earth and sky, water and fire, love and sex, wind and rain, freedom and justice, all things possess their minds, bodies and powers. That's why, for example, it makes perfect sense for people like us to consider the sun a God, while other people may think us primitive or even crazy. When you understand that the Gods are literally the beating hearts and blood flows of the Universe, you begin to see them everywhere and recognize the fact that they are there.

As for Poseidon's trident, that is also part of His embodiment. I don't mean to say that He is a trident, but that the weapon and staff is something through which His power and consciousness flows. So, in a way, yes, He is striking the ground with His trident, but in a way that people may not have yet considered. Perhaps the trident may be, at least as one manifestation, His channel, His key to the realms of the Universe over which He rules. All things have a path or opening which lead to them. 

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris Aldridge.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

How I Explained Polytheism To A Young Christian

Yesterday, I held a literary signing at the Freeport Public Library in Freeport, IL to promote some of my latest publications in magazines and journals. I also brought some copies of my memoirs In The Presence of the Gods, which outlines my experiences with the Greek Gods throughout my life. It was originally intended to be an event to just promote my latest fiction, but I figured that the more stuff I could sell, the better, so I brought some of my non-fiction material as well, and it sold just as good as the opposite. 

But an encounter happened to me that I will always remember, and that I think is worth noting. A very friendly young man hung around me for a good portion of the day, being interested in my writings and what I was doing. When he picked up my memoirs and learned that I was a Polytheist, it became clear to me that he was a Christian, because he asked me, "Do you believe in Jesus Christ?" I told him that I did believe Jesus to be a real historical man, but that I didn't believe him to be a god or divine. The boy basically went on to ask me, "Why do you believe in many Gods instead of just one?" Being that he was a young man and more curious than anything else, I came up with what I thought was a good way to explain my theology to him on a level he could comprehend. I never, at any point, tried to tell or convince him that his beliefs were wrong. Instead, I taught him about my own.
I asked him, "Have you ever been outside?" He replied, "Yes." Then I asked, "Do you see one tree or many?" He replied, "Many." I went on to ask, "Are they all the same or different?" He answered, "Different." I continued my line of questioning. What of grass, is there one blade or many? What about clouds? Is there one or many? And what of other worlds? Does our Solar System have one or many? He replied, "Many" to all of my questions. Then in conclusion, I said, the nature of the universe dictates that everything exists in multiples, not singulars, so why should God be any different?

And yes, I know some people might ask, "Can there not be one painter who paints many things?" Of course there can be, but is there just one painter in the world or many? Is there only one who paints all paintings? No, there are countless painters. So once again, all things exist in multiples. 

He didn't have an answer for me. He just shrugged it off, but I would like to think that I encouraged him to think outside the box in his life, to come to his own beliefs and conclusions about things, instead of just blindly accepting what others tell him is truth. It's quite possible that I will never again encounter the lad, but I hope that I created another student of Socrates at least.

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris Aldridge.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Are The Gods Perfect?

Sometimes, I get the question, Do you think the Gods are perfect? The problem with this question first and foremost, is that humans have no idea what perfection is. Not a single mortal on this planet can look at a forest and tell me which tree is perfect, or look at the sky and tell me which cloud doesn't have any imperfections. No one can tell me which blade of grass is better, the tall or short one. No human can even tell me which human being is perfect and which one isn't, and more so, explain why. Which color of hair, eyes or skin is perfect? What height is perfect? Which sex is perfect? If you get where I'm going with this, good.

Are the Gods perfect? The plain answer is, I couldn't say, because as a human, and like every other human around me, I have no idea what perfection is. There are, however, a few ideas we might entertain. One, perhaps everything is indeed perfect because everything is exactly the way it's supposed to be. And/or two, if there is no perfection, perhaps there doesn't even need to be. Do the Gods have to be perfect? No, they don't. But they are undoubtedly the highest level of perfection that could possibly exist. In other words, if they're not perfect, they are certainly as close to it as you can get, completely unmatched in the universe. When I praise the Gods, or invoke them for something, what I am literally doing is praising or asking for that highest level of something. Their power doesn't have to be perfect in order to be unsurpassed. The idea that a God must be perfect really more so comes from the Judeo-Christian mythos than anything else. In order for the early Christians to claim theological superiority over everyone, they had to create a perfect deity. It's not really something that existed a lot in Pagan culture, and yet the Pagans still loved their Gods all the same. It does not, by any means, indicate that the Gods are not excellent.

Then the final question begs, if the Gods aren't perfect, why worship them? The answer is simple, because they are the Gods. Your parents may not be perfect, but you still love them. Your boss may not be perfect, but you still respect him or her. Your spouse may not be perfect, but you're still devoted to them until the end. Why should the Gods, who are far greater than anything else, not be given the same respect, obedience, and loyalty? It makes no sense to be devoted to imperfect humans, but refuse to worship a God on the grounds that they may not be perfect. A human is far weaker and less wise than a God, whereas a God will exceed the human in all things. To adore the human and reject the God isn't logical. 

So, are the Gods perfect? My answer is, it doesn't matter.

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris Aldridge.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The Transcendental Gods

Many religious and spiritual people look at their God or Gods from only one angle, instead of a transparent or a transcendental one. For example, some people may say that they believe Deity to be within humanity and not nature, or completely outside this universe, whereas others would say that Deity is nature or is part of nature itself, and not in modern, mundane things. But I disagree with the extremes of both of these theologies, as I believe the Gods transcend into everything.

For example, Dionysos, in a simple perspective, is the God of Trees, but He's also the God of the Theatre. Now I would say that Dionysos is in the stage made from His trees, just as much as He is within the trees themselves in their original habitat. Poseidon rules the waters, and I would say He is present in the city or town pools or water parks as much as He is in the natural rivers and seas that surround them. Hermes, being the God of Communication and therefore a God of Writing, is in the book I am reading just as He flies about the world on messages for the Gods. And Athene is in the city council just as She is in the beautiful owl that stands on the tree branch outside the window.

Some may say that I am still a Pantheist in some respects, believing that everything is Deity. But it's actually the other way around, I believe that the Gods are in everything, at least everything that is good. Nothing upon this Earth came from anything other than the natural resources that formed it, and the Gods rule over nature. The simplest fence to the most advanced technologies came from nature, and we know that our ancient ancestors used natural resources in abundance, probably more than we do today because we have technology to replace older necessities. Yet the ancients still retained belief in their Gods. The Gods don't leave just because things take on new shapes. In fact, the Gods can take on any form they choose. I am actually what one would call a Panentheist, if anything.

In the Goodness of The Dodekatheon,
Chris.

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