This situation is toxic.
It’s not even that people are angry and not listening to each other. This is the internet. That’s always the case.
What I’m seeing here is that all views are ostensibly tolerated within Paganism — except the hard polytheist one. You can say anything you want and be included, except that the gods are real.
That is frightening to these people on a very deep level and they are responding the way that frightened people do.
Not by intellectual discourse but by name-calling. By demonization. By intentionally distorting and misrepresenting what is said. By singling people out and ganging up on them.
And this shit is only going to get worse because the only way that they can possibly hold their own let alone score any points is by making it personal.
And notice, very clearly, which side is doing this.
We may be belligerent pricks but at least we’re not slinging mud and bringing up irrelevant personal details about our opponents’ lives. We may argue that your theology is bad, but none of us are saying that you are a bad person for holding it. When that kind of thing is your only resort, you’ve already lost the debate no matter how eloquently you make your arguments.
But the thing is, people who engage in these tactics thrive on the internet. If you can spin it so that your opponent has to spend time defending themselves against your insinuations instead of actually debating, if you can create the perception that they are what you claim they are … you’ve succeeded. People are stupid and lazy and will believe you, especially if they see the claim being repeated over and over again.
And now we come to my modest proposal.
There is literally nothing that we can say to get through to these people, there is nothing that we can do to stop them from employing these cheap rhetorical tricks. There is simply no way that we can appease them. Because they can tolerate everything — except our existence.
So what if we didn’t say or do anything?
What if all of the principle parties and all polytheists who wished to show their support and solidarity went silent for a month?
No blog posts.
No radio shows.
When things are this bad our only weapon is silence.
Not only would this send a powerful message about what Paganism is like without polytheism but I think it would be very good and healing for everyone involved. Especially if this was used as an opportunity to deepen our practice and relationships with our gods and spirits.
Imagine what you could accomplish if every time you got an itch to make a post or check what other people are saying you instead went to your shrine and prayed or made an offering or created something of beauty to honor your divinities?
So I’m going entirely off the radar during the month of July and I encourage everyone else who wants to participate in this to do likewise.