Sunday, June 30, 2013

Using the Gods

I make a nuisance of myself on some ADF lists by objecting to the ways some people talk about the gods. Specifically, it makes my skin crawl when someone refers to “using” the gods, as in, “We used Hecate as the gatekeeper at Midsummer.”

“Use,” you see, is a non-personal word. It's what you do with objects, and in contexts where it does apply to people, it's when you're treating people like objects. (“She never really loved me, she was just using me.”)

And so it is with the gods. I can't read anyone's mind, but I don't really understand how one can think of the gods as actual gods and then casually speak of how we may “use” them. It is language of utility, not reverence.

ADF embraces a variety of theologies; there are people who see the gods as symbols of nature or embodiments of human archetypes, and for them, maybe such language is natural. But it hits me all kinds of wrong. I've written about this topic before, though it has been a while. It bears repeating.

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