Jonathan Kirsch presents some interesting arguments regarding polytheism and its relationship to monotheism. I think its important to remember that he's not necessarily singing the praises of polytheism, nor is he saying we should all return to a polytheistic religion right now, but he does highlight the manner in which polytheism and monotheism have related to one another over time.
His big concern is, of course, zealotry and rigorism. Those who consider themselves "soldiers" of a religion can cause a whole lot of damage to those who don't share their dedication to the faith. His use of paganism and polytheism in general are meant to highlight the zealotry that sometimes comes from monotheistic religions, and the danger to all mankind that results from that zealotry.
Overall, there are a number of important pieces from today's reading, specifically related to the manner in which God won out over the gods. Consider Christianity's position under the Roman empire: the Roman rulers considered it a cult. 300 years later, it was the most powerful religion in the world. What type of factors allow for that to happen, and how does that change the course of World History?
Most importantly, Kirsch's piece should get you thinking about a bunch of "what ifs." What if Akhenaton hadn't believed in monotheism? What if Constantine hadn't become emperor of Rome? What if Julian had succeeded in returning Roman society to a polytheistic empire? These questions should be the beginning of a much bigger discussion of the role of these religious beliefs in human history...and the way in which religion may or may not be very different in the future.