Class Warfare Blog

June 30, 2019

Evolution of the Gods—Powers

Filed under: Religion — Steve Ruis @ 7:04 am
Tags: ,

I have written about how it is relatively easy to come up with animistic religions by having a somewhat overactive agency detector, a feature that provided us an evolutionary advantage by making us less susceptible to predation. Over time these animistic gods, who were everywhere, literally, morphed into locality gods. These gods were not just the god of a brook, or the god of a tree, but the god of an entire region, even the oceans.

No better evidence exists, I think, for the social construction of gods by humans, than the social competition between gods. If gods have specific venues (trees, rocks, brooks) one can still see some competition. A flooding brook might gouge the land during its flood stage and humans could interpret it as a battle between the god of the brook and the god of the meadow it flows through. But these are relatively minor affairs, nothing at all reaching the scale of the dispute between the Hindu and Muslim religious in India/Pakistan/Bangladesh, but it was a “fight between the gods,” nonetheless.

I am reminded of the campfire scene in the first Arnold Swartzenegger Conan the Barbarian movie, in which Conan and his sidekick (did he have a name?) argue over whose god is the stronger. I guess they got tired of checking to see who had the longer dick.

Obviously if there is a large scale dispute between one village and another and a faction in one village is trying to drum up passion for battle with that other village, they might claim that they worship the “wrong gods” over there. This is but one form of social competition that led to one god becoming ‘stronger” than another.

There is a logical ending for such social competition for who has the strongest god, and that is, of course, the One True God™ concept, begun by Zoroastrians (?), who then taught Hebrews, who then carried things to extremes.

But prior to that point, there had to be discussions of the “powers” of the competing gods. And in the normal human practice, things expanded over time. (How big was the fish you caught? That big, really?) So, gods needed to be strong, then stronger, then strongest. (My god is so strong, he can create a rock your god couldn’t lift.) They had to be smart, supremely smart, all-knowing). They had to be good, better, best, “all-good,” and so on.

Of course, these god powers conflicted with one another. Epicurus’s argument (maybe) that: “Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?” points out many of these conflicts. The following quote also points to problems of this god being perfect, sufficient unto himself, etc.

They tell us it is our sins that force Him to punish us. I will answer that God, according to yourselves, is not immutable, because the sins of men compel him to change his conduct in regard to them. Can a being who is sometimes irritated and sometimes appeased, be constantly the same?”—Jean Messlier

The problem is that these claims weren’t run through God Central for fact checking and consistency checking, but it is conceivable that the Earthly Powers of The One True Religion™ might not have cared. They seemed often to favor quantity over quality (consider the definitions and examples of miracles in Catholic investigations for sainthood).

I have pointed out that if the Christian god is “all-powerful” and “all-knowing” then there could be no opposition to his plans. The idea of a final battle on the plains of Armageddon is ludicrous when on one side is a being who will know the plans of the “opposition” before they do and can thwart them with mere thoughts. In fact, why would such a god create human beings or angels, etc, in the first place. What “needs” could it have that creating such beings could satisfy.

So, over time, the powers of gods have expanded. They have expanded in scope in that gods were first confined to trees and badgers and such, but now pervade the entire universe. (If a multiverse is discovered, their gods will expand there, too.) They have expanded in power, too. From a tree being able to crack a rock with its roots, the Christian god can create billions of billions of stars and planets in a day. These expansions are signs of the social competition between adherents of the various gods over time and expose the fictional roots of all such gods.

Immutable gods? My ass. Wait until you see GOD, v 12.7 Coming Soon!

19 Comments »

  1. “Can a being who is sometimes irritated and sometimes appeased, be constantly the same?”
    Yes.

    “The idea of a final battle on the plains of Armageddon is ludicrous when on one side is a being who will know the plans of the “opposition” before they do and can thwart them with mere thoughts.”
    It does indeed seem ludicrous that there would be any who oppose God’s plans…yet here you are!

    Like

    Comment by John Branyan — June 30, 2019 @ 8:32 am | Reply

    • And your god seems powerless to stop me. I guess I am not a threat to his plans.

      There seems to be no good reason for angels to exist, not “adversaries” other than to have beings which are not god to blame. That any effective opposition entails a conclusion that the god opposed is not all-powerful is unavoidable. If you argue that this is because your god needs amusement, then your god is incomplete, aka not sufficient in itself.

      On Sun, Jun 30, 2019 at 8:32 AM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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      Like

      Comment by Steve Ruis — June 30, 2019 @ 8:49 am | Reply

      • “And your god seems powerless to stop me. I guess I am not a threat to his plans.”
        Correct. You are not a threat.

        Your conclusion that therefore God is not all-powerful is flawed. Just because you are allowed to oppose Him doesn’t mean He is powerless to stop you.

        Like

        Comment by John Branyan — June 30, 2019 @ 8:58 am | Reply

        • Not me … Satan. Why does Satan exist, as he is wreaking god’s plan at every opportunity? Why is Satan needed? Why are angles needed? What can they do that Old Yahweh cannot?

          On Sun, Jun 30, 2019 at 8:58 AM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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          Liked by 1 person

          Comment by Steve Ruis — June 30, 2019 @ 9:09 am | Reply

          • I thought you were familiar with Christian theology. Apparently I was wrong.

            My previous comment to you also applies to Satan.

            Like

            Comment by John Branyan — June 30, 2019 @ 9:22 am | Reply

            • But as usual doesn’t answer my question: why is Satan around at all? What is it that Satan can do that Yahweh cannot? After He created Satan, no?

              On Sun, Jun 30, 2019 at 9:22 AM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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              Comment by Steve Ruis — June 30, 2019 @ 9:27 am | Reply

              • There is no God, Steve. The whole story is fiction. Feel free to move on to other subjects.

                Like

                Comment by John Branyan — June 30, 2019 @ 9:34 am | Reply

          • Is there any piece of Christian scripture or prophecy that merely works at face value? Interesting that none of it does. It all requires generous excuses and abandon of reason.

            Like

            Comment by jim- — June 30, 2019 @ 9:26 am | Reply

            • And when reason is applied to the Bible, we see that most of the NT was written as echoes of OT stories. It is a little like Shakespeare being retold in modern times, or Hollywood remaking a movie (over and over) because the story resonates with the chosen audience.

              On Sun, Jun 30, 2019 at 9:26 AM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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              Liked by 1 person

              Comment by Steve Ruis — June 30, 2019 @ 9:30 am | Reply

  2. “No better evidence exists, I think, for the social construction of gods by humans, than the social competition between gods.”
    Evidence, I don’t know. Social competition, yes. But before there were gods, there was a “god” world of the supernatural. They fearful humans divided the world into, here and up there.
    Everyone can imagine the supernatural and too many believe that it is real. GROG

    Like

    Comment by grogalot — June 30, 2019 @ 4:57 pm | Reply

    • The world view of that time was not wrong for that time. I can’t be any clearer about that. It worked for them back then. It helped them navigate the vicissitudes of existence quite well. But that was then and this is now. The imaginary gods, invented to explain things for which there was no other explanation, are no longer needed, certainly not as much as is claimed for them. But the God Squad sees is livelihood being threatened so, they up the ante. The Catholics still deny equality to females, the Mormons still think Blacks are not quite right, etc. And people who really do not think are comforted by these “traditional values.” The founders of this nation were elitists who felt the same way. People with the brains could find morality, say, through a little research (e.g studying the classics), but for the common people and those of the “missing sort,” religion offered a substitute for the brainpower not in evidence. But now? Now? It is appalling that we are still paying lip service to this hogwash. GROG Indeed!

      On Sun, Jun 30, 2019 at 4:57 PM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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      Comment by Steve Ruis — July 1, 2019 @ 12:56 pm | Reply

      • The superstition, the delusion of the supernatural is still, and may always be, with us. If only humans could accept that the supernatural is delusional thinking, God would go away and we could get on with living life on earth as human beings and not eternal souls awaiting ascension! GROG

        Like

        Comment by grogalot — July 1, 2019 @ 2:13 pm | Reply

        • Couldn’t agree more!

          On Mon, Jul 1, 2019 at 2:14 PM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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          Liked by 1 person

          Comment by Steve Ruis — July 1, 2019 @ 2:18 pm | Reply

          • If the faithful are to be opposed they need be kicked where it really hurts, right in their delusion. Education is the best answer. GROG

            Like

            Comment by grogalot — July 1, 2019 @ 2:27 pm | Reply

  3. Mr. President, I bet all my stuff and what small bit of money that God v12.7 will not be much improved over the current xtian version which ever version this current one is.

    Like

    Comment by Walter Kronkat — June 30, 2019 @ 5:08 pm | Reply

    • That won’t prevent them from making the effort. They took their god, who talked to real people and even wrestled with them, and shuffled it off to the Beyond Space and Time Old Folks Home. If they would do that, what else might they come up with? Amazing.

      On Sun, Jun 30, 2019 at 5:08 PM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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      Like

      Comment by Steve Ruis — July 1, 2019 @ 12:57 pm | Reply


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