Thursday, March 22, 2012

Imperfect Gods

For some reason, monotheists are really into the idea of their God being “perfect.” Despite a solid track record of errors, miscalculations, and a vestigial appendix whose only function in human beings is getting inflamed and killing you… Jews, Christians and Muslims are convinced of an all-knowing, all-loving, all-good, and all-powerful God.

In fact, I notice that if you point out there are other gods to some monotheists, their argument takes on a most childish tone: “my God can beat up that god.” They don’t use those words. They say things like, “Those gods are flawed,” or “Those gods did things I disagree with in some way, like having sex,” but the idea is the same (okay, that second one is a paraphrase).

It’s strange talking to a believer about other gods. It’s like… you know what it’s like? It’s like a guy who thinks misogyny is dead and who keeps going on and on about how unfair feminists are to men. It makes you think, “Well… clearly he’s able to see how someone can be treated unfairly because of their gender… now if only they could apply some of that criticism of others to their own views.”

I’ve actually come to believe the reasons people give for their opinions have little or nothing to do with why they actually believe what they do. People don’t tend to form or change their views based on deep philosophical examination, reason, logic or evidence (even if what they believe is true). People tend to go with who gets to them first and will only change their opinion in the face of a good sales pitch.

It’s particularly strange hearing monotheists attack other gods for being imperfect, especially when no other gods claim to be perfect. Take Zeus, arguably one of the more well known of the “If you worship God, why not worship ________?” examples.

Zeus doesn’t claim to have created the universe. Zeus doesn’t claim to be perfect. Zeus doesn’t claim to be all powerful, just the leader of the gods and capable of doing quite a bit. Saying, “But Zeus isn’t perfect” or pointing out that Zeus likes to get it on with human women doesn’t exactly make him better than Yahweh. In fact, from what I hear, Yahweh Himself has a thing for young virgins.

A Christian may say they don’t think Zeus is worthy of worship, but it’s a cop out. They don’t believe in Zeus. It’s not that they believe in Zeus and just don’t think Zeus should be praised, modern monotheists deny the very existence of Zeus.

This is ultimately why monotheists are not all that different from atheists. I know most monotheists and atheists would shudder at such a statement, but it is only atheists and monotheists who reject these large pantheons of divine beings from across cultures. Most polytheists include a bit of syncretism, which is a sort of understood equivalence between the various world religions with many different, though similar, gods.

Atheists and monotheists both have no problem with just rejecting these millennia old theological traditions. Both atheists and monotheists are comfortable rejecting thousands of gods with no specific evidence or even any actual knowledge of the full extent of all the gods which people have claimed to exist over the millennia and across the globe.

The only difference is, monotheists missed one.


  1. There have been about 4,200 gods through the ages. This makes the monotheist an atheist just like me - I disbelieve in 4,200 gods, the monotheist disbelieves in 4,199 gods.

    Is that really a huge difference ?

    1. Only 4,200? Honestly, that seems kind of low... is that only for gods people still worship?

    2. I just found a source saying there are 330 million gods and goddesses in Hinduism alone.

    3. If you say so...I guess I disbelieve in 330,004,200 gods then.

    4. For some reason the link is broken, so try the one here.

  2. I have a list of a few thousand (dead and forgotten) gods I don't believe in on my blog. Shameless plug.

    1. No need to feel shame for a good old informative list.

      Here, I'll even linkify it for you


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