Class Warfare Blog

February 6, 2019

The Mistake of Monotheism

Filed under: History,Religion — Steve Ruis @ 11:24 am
Tags: ,

Prior to the rise of monotheistic religions, we had polytheism, that is “many gods.” During the early “Pax Romana” all of these gods coexisted reasonably peacefully. As long as one made the appropriate sacrifices to any of these gods, one was considered a theist and not an atheist.

But then the idea of there being but one god came along … and then the trouble began.

In order for there to be but one god, then all of the other gods being worshiped must be false gods, that is no god at all. Coexistence between other god worshippers and the monotheists declined to the point of disappearing completely.

This was not the only problem, that is monotheists v. pagans. When Christianity split off from Judaism, the Christians had actual battles with a great many fatalities over the “trinity.” To preserve the idea that there was but one god, the Christians, who wanted Jesus as their god, decided to fold three gods into one: “the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.” Not three gods, just one. (Talk about belaboring a point.)

If you look at Christian scriptures, you will find a full panoply of gods but which were given other names. The demigods who were God’s helpers were called “angels” as if that disguises their character as something not god-like. One has to ask “Why does an all-knowing and all-powerful god need “helpers” or “messengers”? And, if their powers were god-like, how were they then not demi-gods at least?

So the gauze of monotheism in Christianity is really quite thin.

This brings up the question of “Why monotheism?” In the early Bible passages it is clear that the ancient Israelites were not monotheistic, and that they had to be beaten into submission to the idea, to accept the yoke instead of being “stiff-necked” (all ox herders understand these terms better than we do now). So, why indeed?

Clearly what is involved here is ecclesiastic greed. If one accepts polytheism, one accepts the friendly competition for “alms.” There will be no monopolies and there will be winners and losers. By being audacious and claiming a monopoly in the form of “there is but one god” one is making a claim for wanting it all. Only the worship of our god counts, the rest of you are doomed.

Can you think of any reason beyond the purely pragmatic to claim that there is but one god, all “evidence” to the contrary? (I am using the word “evidence” as theists use it. If you accept their kind of “evidence,” it is clear there are many gods, not just one.)

A classic example against a monotheistic viewpoint in Christianity is the elevation of Hell and Satan under Christianity. Satan in the old testament is shown making prop bets with Yahweh (poor old Job being the target). This doesn’t exactly sound like the Prince of Evil, now does it. Under the influence of Zoroastrians and other Persian cults while in Babylon, the Jews came back to Israel prepared to write weapons grade scripture but actually refrained until the Christians came along and had to distinguish themselves from the Jews (for market share).

What is Satan, other than a god? Satan is claimed to have been created by Yahweh but that is normal. Most gods are created by other gods. Satan is said to have opposed god’s will to the point of rebellion (Now, that’s a sin!) … and survived to tell the tale! Who could survive the wrath of an all-knowing, all-powerful god but anther god? Satan is so powerful, he can actually, according to scripture, hide things from Yahweh (making the claim that Yahweh is “all-knowing” a bit hollow). So, Yahweh doesn’t seem to me who he is claimed to be and Satan is a comparable power, aka god … a lesser god, but still.

So, what do you think? What is so all-fired important about monotheism, other than its marketing aspects?

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19 Comments »

  1. Keep It Simple, Stupid.

    Liked by 2 people

    Comment by john zande — February 6, 2019 @ 11:45 am | Reply

  2. Steve, some wonderfully thought provoking stuff here! 😉

    But then the idea of there being but one god came along … and then the trouble began.

    To preserve the idea that there was but one god, the Christians, who wanted Jesus as their god, decided to fold three gods into one: “the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.” Not three gods, just one. (Talk about belaboring a point.)

    All even numbers are divisible by 2 and by the laws of factors and primes most commonly used/equated (for how many millenia now?) 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, and 10 are also divisible. If a number is divisible only by itself and by 1, then it is prime. So, because all the other even numbers are divisible by themselves, by 1, and by 2, they are all composite (just as all the positive multiples of 3, except 3, itself, are composite). There are seemingly endless, generalized divisibility rules reflecting our natural world and as we are learning… our Universe/Cosmos too. Bottom line?

    Humanity, especially self-absorbed pious men in one tiny region of the planet (in an infinitely tinier spot in this Cosmos!) cannot turn everything into Monism or a Monotheistic construct. The overwhelming evidence and facts all around us reflects the exact OPPOSITE of that falsifiable human (religious, not mathematical) construct.

    What is so all-fired important about monotheism, other than its marketing aspects?

    In a word? Control.

    Control over the masses, almost always the LESS EDUCATED, UNFORTUNATE and DISADVANTAGED masses and keeping them ignorant so that royalty, nobility, and piety could live high on the hogs at the expense of peasants. That’s not my opinion, that’s simple authentic, verifiable history.

    Liked by 2 people

    Comment by Professor Taboo — February 6, 2019 @ 12:03 pm | Reply

    • A history and viewpoint we share, you and I.

      On Wed, Feb 6, 2019 at 12:03 PM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Steve Ruis — February 6, 2019 @ 12:13 pm | Reply

  3. “What is Satan…” My ex wife.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by inspiredbythedivine1 — February 6, 2019 @ 12:41 pm | Reply

  4. Aren’t all religions about control? The monotheists do carry control to the extreme for this life and the next. The madness of monotheism is their belief in God-created sin for which He will end the world to obliterate, so the chosen can go to an eternal heaven. GROG

    Like

    Comment by grogalot — February 6, 2019 @ 1:30 pm | Reply

  5. All your ex-wives told me you guys were satan. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by OG — February 6, 2019 @ 2:22 pm | Reply

  6. Greed seems to be the droid you are looking for. Then with wealth comes power. Nice work if you can get it. No hard work required, no grease under your fingernails, no working yourself to a nub. Just gotta be a slick con man to pull it off.

    Was religion the first infomercial?

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by shelldigger — February 6, 2019 @ 6:05 pm | Reply

  7. There is substantial scholarly work that suggests monotheism predates polytheism.
    A dude by the name of Wilhelm Schmidt wrote extensively on the subject (12 volumes worth). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilhelm_Schmidt_(linguist)

    I realize the life’s work of an early 19th century anthropologist won’t hold up under the scrutiny of your personal opinions but I figured I’d throw it out there just for laughs.

    Like

    Comment by John Branyan — February 6, 2019 @ 9:43 pm | Reply

    • I would suggest that each hunter-gather tribe had their own deities and could be viewed as being monotheistic. You can’t have polytheism before civilization, so say for the last 5500 years, which is when large numbers of people ended up in close proximity which would expose the fact that the various groups had different gods. Since there is no upside in fighting over whose gods are the best, they settled into a certain acceptance for quite some time. After that point, monotheism was tried but almost never succeeded until the Abrahamic religions came along. (The Egyptians tried and failed with a top-down monotheism effort, for example.)

      Haven’t heard from you in a while John, hope you have been well and have a happy new year. (I can’t imagine that my little efforts would attract much of your any really anyone’s attention, so this si just a comment.)

      On Wed, Feb 6, 2019 at 9:43 PM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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      Like

      Comment by Steve Ruis — February 7, 2019 @ 9:24 am | Reply

      • Yahweh tried really hard to be the one and only, but the rebellious Hebrews just couldn’t stay faithful. *sigh* Humans are such twits at times.

        Like

        Comment by Nan — February 7, 2019 @ 11:38 am | Reply

        • Yeah, we always want more. One god is just not enough. It is interesting though that when believers in various gods got together, we cooperated. It was just to the advantage of certain elites that we be homogenized.

          On Thu, Feb 7, 2019 at 11:38 AM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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          Like

          Comment by Steve Ruis — February 7, 2019 @ 11:40 am | Reply

      • Agree. The point I was making is that polytheism came AFTER monotheism and not the other way around.

        I’m continuing to lurk on your blog because you’re the only atheist who hasn’t blocked me. I respect that a lot. It takes courage to tolerate opposing points of view.

        Like

        Comment by John Branyan — February 7, 2019 @ 12:19 pm | Reply

        • Opposing points of view presented in a thoughtful manner is one thing. Ridiculous comments and meaningless blather just to get a reaction are entirely different. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

          Comment by Nan — February 7, 2019 @ 12:26 pm | Reply

        • I got your point. But I think it is moot. Before civilization, most people were animists with is inherently polytheistic although one could argue they didn’t believe in actual gods, but when confined to human history beginning with civilization, there was polytheism first as monotheism never seemed to take root until you get to the Abrahamic religions (which, really, was not much after the beginning of civilization.

          On Thu, Feb 7, 2019 at 12:19 PM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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          Like

          Comment by Steve Ruis — February 7, 2019 @ 12:35 pm | Reply

  8. Great post Steve Ruis! The gauze is quite thin, but the volumes of excuses isn’t. However they are all poisoning the well with miles of siftless shit nobody can digest or keep up with. That alone is enough to relent…for many

    Like

    Comment by jim- — February 6, 2019 @ 10:23 pm | Reply


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