The Gods Must be Crazy

Writing in the October 23 edition of the Los Angeles Times, Wellesley Professor Mary Lefkowitz says,

"Prominent secular and atheist commentators have argued lately that religion 'poisons' human life and causes endless violence and suffering. But the poison isn't religion; it's monotheism. The polytheistic Greeks didn't advocate killing those who worshiped different gods, and they did not pretend that their religion provided the right answers. Their religion made the ancient Greeks aware of their ignorance and weakness, letting them recognize multiple points of view. There is much we still can learn from these ancient notions of divinity, even if we can agree that the practices of animal sacrifice, deification of leaders and divining the future through animal entrails and bird flights are well lost."

Two things are especially odd about Lefkowitz's critique.  One is the claim that "unlike the monotheistic traditions, Greco-Roman polytheism was multicultural."  But of course Christianity was the most multicultural religion of the ancient world.  The other is the admission that "when Christian denied the existence of any gods other than their own, the Romans suspected political or seditious motives and persecuted them as enemies of the state."  So it turns out that polytheism isn't so tolerant after all, or non-violent. . .