Donar by Gustaaf van de Wall Perné (1911)

Imagined gods versus one true faith

Throughout history, humans imagined thousands of gods. The Jewish deity Yahweh was one of them, just like Zeus, Venus, Donar, and many others. Archaeologists discovered that the worship of Yahweh was first much like other local deities in Canaan. And the evidence does not support much of the historical account in the Hebrew Bible. Atheists often use these arguments to refute existing religions.

There is an issue with this view. Somehow the worship of the Jewish deity in all of its forms survived and grew, so by now, nearly half the humans in this world believe that Yahweh, also known as The Father or Allah, is the only true God who rules our world. This universe could be a virtual reality running a script, so that may not be a historical accident, and this deity may be a veil behind which the owner of this universe is hiding.

Existing faiths cannot be correct. Not only do they conflict with the evidence, but there can be only one explanation of our existence. Christianity comes with more than 45,000 denominations, all claiming to be the one true faith. And there are two entirely different religions, Judaism and Islam, with fewer branches but similar claims. And many of these religions declare that non-believers will go to hell, even when they never had an opportunity to learn about the one true faith.

Judaism, Christianity, and Islam share an apocalyptic worldview featuring a final battle between the forces of good and the forces of evil and a day of reckoning. That makes little sense with today’s knowledge. Humans are social animals that live in groups, and morals help humans cooperate. Good actions benefit the group, while evil actions harm the group. Depending on which group people belong to and estimates of benefits and harms, views on good and evil may vary.

Throughout history, humans imagined thousands of gods. The Jewish deity Yahweh was one of them, just like Zeus of the Greeks, Venus of the Romans, Thor of the Vikings, and many others. Archaeologists discovered that the worship of Yahweh was first much like other local deities in Canaan. Like Israel and Judah, neighbouring small states had also adopted a god to protect them from harm. And the evidence does not support much of the historical account in the Hebrew Bible. Atheists often use these arguments to refute the Abrahamic religions.

There is an issue with this view. Somehow the worship of the Jewish deity in all forms survived and grew, so by now, nearly half the people believe that Yahweh, also known as The Father or Allah, is the only true God who rules our world. This universe could be a virtual reality running a script, so that may not be a historical accident, and this deity may be a veil behind which the owner of this universe is hiding. Even if you believe in evolution and survival of the fittest, you have to admit that one of all these imagined deities has won the competition.

Still, existing faiths cannot all be correct. Not only do they conflict with the evidence, but there is only one explanation for our existence. Christianity comes with more than 45,000 branches, all claiming to be the one true faith. And two entirely different religions worship the same God, Judaism and Islam, claim to be the only true religion too. Christianity and Islam declare that non-believers will go to hell, even when they never had an opportunity to learn about the one true faith.

Judaism, Christianity, and Islam share an apocalyptic worldview featuring a final battle between the forces of good and the forces of evil and a day of reckoning. That makes little sense with today’s knowledge. We are social animals who live in groups, and morals help us cooperate. Good actions benefit the group, while evil actions harm the group. Having norms and values helped the communities of the faithful. The group we belong to and our estimates of benefits and harms affect what we see as good. If there is a God, and there is good reason to think so, then what God believes is good or evil probably is not what the faithful think it is. That is because God is not who the faithful think God is.

Latest revision: 6 October 2022

Featured image: Donar by Gustaaf van de Wall Perné (1911). Public Domain.

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