eSOANEM wrote:Identifying the gods of all monotheistic religions is a tricky business. If there are no genetic links (like there are between Islam, Judaism and Christianity for instance) one must draw a line in the sand saying how different two gods must be before they stop being the same. Then you get into issues where you might have a series of gods such that each one is the "same" as its neighbours but that the two at either end are indisputably different. Now your notion of equivalence is no longer an equivalence relation.
This is an issue if you're trying to identify things as the same.
If 5 billion people worship a god or gods, because of the subjective nature of such belief, one could say that there would be at least 5 billion gods. Each one different from the other. If not in name, in some other way.
But while I can get that, as a believer, it makes more sense to me that there is and only ever was one God, and when we talk of "the Jewish God" or "the God of the Koran" etc we're not talking about different gods, but different conceptions
of one God. And that this same applies to polytheistic systems too. It's sort of like if God were a source of light, then our conception of God would be like that light as seen passing through windows of different sizes, shapes, colors, thickness, materials, time of day etc. From a very simplistic perspective one might see and give names to each of the types of lights. (And murder other people who are looking through a different pane, because of course.) But in reality there's just the one light source.
Of course this is just my belief but it's one that makes the most sense to me. The alternative is that there is a God, but he gave the right and true answers (including about his name) to one particular group of people (or one person) and to everybody else he gave lies, for the lulz. Or that there are non-God-like but powerful, almost-godlike beings (demons) that pose as God and are worshiped as God but God has given no real means to distinguish between them and him, again, apparently to fuck with people. That doesn't match up with my own conception of what a divine being would do or be like, and it makes much more sense to me that people see the world through their own imperfect lens, and confuse their own beliefs (i.e. that God likes X or Y, and prefers to be called Z) with reality.
Of course I could be wrong. Maybe there's no light at all. Some days, most days, I feel that way.