As far back as the history of known humanity goes, there have been gods of various forms that are often born from the societies’ needs, and to put divine sovereignty over a culture, or used as a tool to put people into power as they claim they’re chosen by the gods. But why have there been so many, and why can’t people of faith come to some consensus on what defines a god? We are forever hearing from theists that their god is the one true god, and the man stood next to him who also believes that his god is the one true god, actually worships a false god or idol.
“From the beginning men used God to justify the unjustifiable.” – Salman Rushdie
The concept of a god as described by many theologians, includes the attributes of omniscience (infinite knowledge), omnipotence (unlimited power), omnipresence (present everywhere).
The above generally applies to monotheistic gods as in the Abrahamic faiths, who believe their god is the ultimate moral authority, and the creator of everything within our universe. Polytheistic faiths believe in many different gods who all carry out essential tasks, and henotheists believe in the one god, but in many different forms; ie Hinduism. Metaphysics is the theory of reality, and ontology is a sub section of that, and concerns the questions of existence, and the philosophical questions surrounding this subject. and many philosophers for thousands of years have debated on the truth of how and why would a god exist, and what purpose do they actually serve, and if they exist, where did they originate, and did they have a creator?
“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?” – Epicurus
What links the three main religions of the modern world is the prophet Abraham, but that’s pretty much where it ends, as their beliefs go off in certain tangents, and schisms, or cults are born from the original religions and adopt different world views and opinions that range from mild, to fundamental extremists. How can so many different areas of faith come from the three main books; Torah, Holy Bible, Qur’an? And how can any of these faiths ever claim to be objective when they take different meanings from the same book? A Jehovah’s Witness views Biblical text drastically different to a Protestant, and a Catholic views Biblical text drastically different to the Latter Day Saints, as they believe their translation is more accurate. How can Abrahamic faiths be seen as anything but subjective?
If they were to be honest, which is perhaps expecting far too much, they’d admit that their god is a convenient truth, and is the answer to questions that they can’t explain; ie Creation. Science is young and despite over the last hundred year advancing far more than anyone can imagine, they cannot explain the origin of life, or the origin of the universe with absolute certainty, but they have plenty of feasible theories. But because science doesn’t have the answers, it doesn’t automatically mean that a god was a creator.
“I don’t want to believe. I want to know.” – Carl Sagan
Every religion throughout history has changed and adapted over time with sections splitting away, or dying off altogether. The polytheistic pagan religions that include Norse, Egyptian, Roman and Greek, which are all but gone, used to view their gods as the supreme beings and the bringers of life and death. Now they are just viewed as myths and legends, and no one takes the idea of Thor or Odin seriously, but people died to protect these gods and the faiths surrounding them. The Abrahamic believers scoff and mock the idea of polytheistic gods and claim they are nothing but fairytales, but who’s to say in a few thousand years that Christianity was dying and another, newer, more powerful supreme being was now the one true god, and he was a totally awesome dude in the eyes of the faithful.