Human Virtue

Does your religion help you to be a better human being?

To be honest, I’m not sure. It’s not like I’d be on a spree of rape, murder, and jaywalking without the gods. My moral code and reasons for behaving as a good person are thoroughly humanist, and would probably be much the same if I were not dedicated to anyone or even an atheist.

I’d probably be a Discworld atheist; the kind who wanders about muttering, “All gods are bastards,” and refusing to give them the satisfaction of feeling my belief. But I digress…

Mostly, the research I’ve done to ground my practice in ancient polytheism has also given me a wider lexicon of words and ideas for thinking about and defining my morality and ethics. Of course, any good study of classical philosophy would have done the same.

I’m a fan of virtue ethics, if you’re curious.

I do, however, consider how my friends see me, and whether or not they think I walk my talk. I include the gods and ancestors among these friends, and will occasionally ask them for advice. Sometimes they even answer.

If nothing else, my studies of ancient polytheism have taught me that the gods are not moral exemplars. “It was good enough for Zeus, it’s good enough for me. Now where did I put that swan suit…” is a bad basis for moral action.

My lover Ember and I have decided to go through Galina Krasskova’s Devotional Polytheist Meme questions together, over the next several months. We encourage our friends to follow along, and welcome links to other people’s answers in our comments, as well as your thoughts on our answers. Ember’s answer can be found at her blog, Embervoices.

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About Lon Sarver

Lon Sarver is a polytheist priest of Dionysos, living in the San Francisco Bay Area and contemplating (with a healthy amount of dread) making a second attempt at a career in Marriage and Family Therapy. View all posts by Lon Sarver

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