America today is what happens when religion runs amok. It isn’t good policy – or even democracy – motivating dumbasses like Florida’s Ron DeSantis and North Dakota’s Doug Burgum. Both signed legislation cutting off abortions after six weeks in their states – effectively making abortions illegal. Both, like all pro-lifers, love humans when they’re in the womb but hate us the instant we’re born. The truth is, pro-lifers, aren’t even remotely “pro-life”. The deity guiding them isn’t kind or loving. He’s cruel and vicious, lacks analytical skills, perspective and a sense of humor. His vanity is downright dangerous. In a reasonable world, this god would already be forgotten. But, this isn’t a reasonable world. That’s what makes this gossamer psychopath so dangerous. He is monotheism’s dirty little secret.
Humans were polytheistic for a lot longer than we’ve been monotheistic. Monotheists want to believe that believing in one god is a cultural advancement over believing in many. That’s debatable considering how much human blood has been shed because humans disagreed over who and what this one god is or wants from us.
By and large, polytheistic gods were made of the same stuff as humans. They had their lives and we had ours. We’d mix it up together occasionally but usually because the gods did something to trigger it. Humans had little to nothing to do with the gods. There was little that polytheistic gods could do for humans.
Yahweh Changed The Game
From the get-go, Yahweh was different. Yahweh is the name of the deity the Old Testament’s Abraham followed from present day Iran to the Mediterranean coast. There, Yahweh told Abraham, he would make “a great nation” of Abraham’s offspring. A god making deals with humans was radical to begin with. Making deals to benefit humans – and a specific human? That was a game changer.
Jesus didn’t invent Christianity. He didn’t imagine it, shape it or write it in any way. He preached a Jewish message based on Jewish mythology to other Jews. If anyone invented Christianity, it’s Paul the Apostle. More than half of the NT is Paul’s letters to the far-flung communities of Asia Minor where he lays out the logic and practice of the new religious faith he’s formulating on the fly.
Keep in mind: Paul was preaching a God who loved and wanted to benefit people over gods who simply didn’t care. In fact, Paul was selling a religion where – if the believer followed Paul’s rules to the letter – they could cheat death (and rise from the dead) exactly like Jesus had.
Who wouldn’t want such assurances in what astrophysicist Carl Sagan called “The Demon Haunted World”?
In her terrific book “A History Of God”, historian and religious commentator Karen Armstrong wrote “the idea of ‘God’… developed in a market economy in a spirit of aggressive capitalism.” The idea of God always played to whoever was looking for God. Fair enough. But plenty of people looking for God are actually looking for themselves. That’s exactly what they find in “God” – a giant slice of themselves.
The “idea” of God
No one can see the world through anyone else’s eyes. We can imagine how it might look but we can never actually see it. Ask ten God-believers who and what God is and you’ll get ten different ideas. That’s not a reflection on the believers, it’s a reflection on the idea of God. “It” opens the door to all kinds of abuse.
For starters, monotheism encourages humans to speak directly to this deity. To feel his love and hear his voice in their hearts. What does that mean exactly? What are they really feeling and how does one “hear” with one’s heart? Who are monotheists actually talking to?
Monotheism’s Dirty Little Secret
I’m convinced the answer’s quite simple: they’re talking to themselves. Because every one of them, deep down, thinks they are God.
When religionistas imagine the “voice of God” in their heads, what are they actually imagining? What language does he speak? Does he have an accent? How’s he like to dress? Is he a fashion plate? What will he want from life when all is finally said and done?
The harder a hard core religionista pushes their backwards deity on the rest of us, the faster retribution will arrive.
What’s monotheism’s dirty, little secret? Almost every single monotheist believes on some level that they, personally, are god. Don’t try to contradict them. They’ll brutalize you as only a false god can.