A Facebook friend posted a post summarized as
Monotheism is often posited as the most advanced form of religious thought. I disagree that it is, and offer the 1000 years of Western history and current social and societal problems as proof. As a counter point look to the Ancient World, especially the Greeks. They were polytheists. The Rennaissance was an embrace of Greco-Roman polytheism, as was the Englightenment.
This has been driving my brain in all sorts of directions all morning, so bear with me as I work this out.
I don’t know that monotheism is in and of itself primitive, but I do think the singular expression methodology often employed by mono-religionists is “primitive,” in the pejorative backward, sense.
Looking to the ancient world, yes, the most advanced societies, which is to say with advanced arts, ethics, philosophy, learning, and so on, were invariably polytheistic. More critically, they were poly-expressionist.
A single religion did not intertwine all domains of your life, and vice-versa, into an unyielding and all consuming whole. One practiced a state religion, a mystery religion, and a family cult religion. All these religions could center on a single divine being, exclusively, but the thoughts, practices, and norms of each domain did not interpenetrate each into another domain. Social ethics and norms kept in check individuals who might otherwise blur lines. This was the practice in the great pillars of the West, Greece, and Rome. Egypt also possessed differing religious domains and like the Greeks and Romans, their efforts command the respect of time itself.
These societies fell when Ceasar or the Pharoh or King positioned themselves as a God or God-like. The problems in the West are not the result of monotheism, but fundamentalist thinking and singular religious expression. To the fundamentalist, monotheistic or otherwise, state, person, and family are the same cog all subservient to their simpleminded and inflexible world view. Whereas the believer who can compartmentalize and delve deeply into multiple domains of their identity – religious or otherwise – is far more compassionate and human.