God or Gods Do we Need Them?
In monotheistic thought, God is conceived of as the supreme being, creator deity, and principal object of faith. The conceptions of God, as described by theologians,[who?] commonly include the attributes of omniscience (all-knowing), omnipotence (all-powerful), omnipresence (all-present), and as having an eternal and necessary existence.
Depending on one's kind of theism, these attributes are used either in way of analogy, or in a literal sense as distinct properties. God is most often held to be incorporeal (immaterial). Incorporeality and corporeality of God are related to conceptions of transcendence
(being outside nature) and immanence (being in nature) of God, with positions of synthesis such as the "immanent transcendence". Psychoanalyst Carl Jung equated religious ideas of God with transcendental aspects of consciousness in his interpretation.
Some religions describe God without reference to gender, while others or their translations use sex-specific terminology. Judaism attributes only a grammatical gender to God, using terms such as "Him" or "Father" for convenience.
God has been conceived as either personal or impersonal. In theism, God is the creator and sustainer of the universe, while in deism, God is the creator, but not the sustainer, of the universe. In pantheism,
God is the universe itself. In atheism, there is an absence of belief in God. In agnosticism, the existence of God is deemed unknown or unknowable. God has also been conceived as the source of all moral obligation, and the "greatest conceivable existent". Many notable philosophers have developed arguments for and against the existence of God.
Monotheists refer to their gods using names prescribed by their respective religions, with some of these names referring to certain cultural ideas about their god's identity and attributes.
In the ancient Egyptian era of Atenism, possibly the earliest recorded monotheistic religion, this deity was called Aten, premised on being the one "true" Supreme Being and creator of the universe. In the Hebrew Bible and Judaism, Elohim, Adonai, YHWH (Hebrew: יהוה) and other names are used as the names of God.
Yahweh and Jehovah, possible vocalizations of YHWH, are used in Christianity. In the Christian doctrine of the Trinity, God, coexisting in three "persons", is called the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. In Islam, the name Allah is used, while Muslims also have a multitude of titular names for God. In Hinduism, Brahman is often considered a monistic concept of God In Chinese religion,
Shangdi is conceived as the progenitor (first ancestor) of the universe, intrinsic to it and constantly bringing order to it. Other religions have names for the concept, for instance, Baha in the Bahá'í Faith Waheguru in Sikhism,Sang Hyang Widhi Wasa in Balinese Hinduism,and Ahura Mazda in Zoroastrianism.
The many different conceptions of God, and competing claims as to God's characteristics, aims, and actions, have led to the development of ideas of omnitheism, pandeism,or a perennial philosophy, which postulates that there is one underlying theological truth, of which all religions express a partial understanding, and as to which "the devout in the various great world religions are in fact worshipping that one God, but through different, overlapping concepts".
How many gods?
You don't believe in Zeus, the most powerful of the gods according to the Ancient Greeks, you don't believe in Helios or in any of the other gods, goddesses, spirits and the like of the Greco-Roman pantheon.
You don't believe in Odin the most powerful god for the Nordic religion, you don't believer in Thor of the mighty hammer. You don't believe in the rest of that pantheon.
You don't believe in the ancient Celtic gods and goddesses who required human sacrifice.
You don't believe in the ancient Aztec and other South American gods/goddesses who also required human sacrifice.
Problems with counting gods
Where do we draw the line? Views on god can be very different, even from people nominally of the same religion.N will be considerably greater than the number of religions, because a lot of religions are polytheistic.
In the 150,000 years of human history there would probably have been religions that were never documented and have left no trace.There is some evidence that Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons ritualistically buried their dead. Do we include an estimate of possible cavemen gods? Gods sometimes moved between religions. For example, do we count Zeus and Jupiter as one or two gods?
Do you take into account gods that no human has ever believed in? (Or imagined?) What about gods that aren't "real" (Saradomin from Runescape, the Tooth God from Wayside School gets a little stranger, don't forget the Invisible Pink Unicorn, the Flying Spaghetti Monster)
Using the ratio of current population to the total number of people who have ever lived, we get an estimate of 63,000 religious groups throughout human history. (Only Homo sapiens' religions are being considered. It may well be that other hominids believed in god or gods, but it would be pure guesswork to estimate the number of gods they believed in.)
The modern dominant (that is, have the most adherents) religions are monotheistic, but they are few in number. Wikipedia lists 309 Hindu deities. The ancient Hittites claimed to have 1000 deities in their pantheon. So for a rough estimate of the average number of deities per religion, we'll take the average of these 3 figures, giving 440 deities per religion.
For monotheists, the number of gods they don't believe in will be N-1, which, of course, will be very close to N. If the estimate above is correct, then (in some sense) atheists and monotheists only differ by 0.000036% in their beliefs.
Christian, Islam and Jewish religions believe in one God. However, most Christian religions have an interesting variation, where there is one God in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
Although these religions believe there is only one God, they also have a commandment saying, "You should have no other gods before Me." That implies that there may be lesser gods.
Central to Hinduism is the belief in a supreme God Brahman, the universal soul, which is found in everything. However, Hinduism also has numerous minor gods. Ancient Greek and Roman religions had multiple gods, each having a distinct human characteristic and personality.
Buddhism and Scientology are examples of religions that do not adhere to the concept of a god. However, some followers of Buddhism have deified "The Buddha" and consider him as a form of a god. Some aspects of Scientology refer to some godlike entity.
The Christian, Islam and Jewish religions believe in one God. Ancient Greek and Roman religions had multiple gods as does Hinduism. Buddhism and Scientology do not really believe in god.
Unto thee it was shewed, that thou mightest know that the LORD he [is] God; [there is] none else beside him. Out of heaven he made thee to hear his voice, that he might instruct thee: and upon earth he shewed thee his great fire; and thou heardest his words out of the midst of the fire.
And because he loved thy fathers, therefore he chose their seed after them, and brought thee out in his sight with his mighty power out of Egypt; To drive out nations from before thee greater and mightier than thou [art], to bring thee in, to give thee their land [for] an inheritance, as [it is] this day. Know therefore this day, and consider [it] in thine heart, that the LORD he [is] God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath: [there is] none else.
[am] the LORD, and [there is] none else, [there is] no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me: That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that [there is] none beside me. I [am] the LORD, and [there is] none else.I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these [things].
Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness: let the earth open, and let them bring forth salvation, and let righteousness spring up together; I the LORD have created it. Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker! [Let] the potsherd [strive] with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What makest thou? or thy work, He hath no hands?
Woe unto him that saith unto [his] father, What begettest thou? or to the woman, What hast thou brought forth? Thus saith the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me. I have made the earth, and created man upon it: I, [even] my hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I commanded.
have raised him up in righteousness, and I will direct all his ways: he shall build my city, and he shall let go my captives, not for price nor reward, saith the LORD of hosts. Thus saith the LORD,
The labour of Egypt, and merchandise of Ethiopia and of the Sabeans, men of stature, shall come over unto thee, and they shall be thine: they shall come after thee; in chains they shall come over, and they shall fall down unto thee, they shall make supplication unto thee, [saying], Surely God [is] in thee; and [there is] none else, [there is] no God.
Verily thou [art] a God that hidest thyself, O God of Israel, the Saviour. They shall be ashamed, and also confounded, all of them: they shall go to confusion together makers of idols. [But] Israel shall be saved in the LORD with an everlasting salvation: ye shall not be ashamed nor confounded world without end
For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I [am] the LORD; and [there is] none else. I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth: I said not unto the seed of Jacob,
Seek ye me in vain: I the LORD speak righteousness, I declare things that are right. Assemble yourselves and come; draw near together, ye [that are] escaped of the nations: they have no knowledge that set up the wood of their graven image, and pray unto a god [that] cannot save.
Tell ye, and bring [them] near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? [who] hath told it from that time? [have] not I the LORD? and [there is] no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; [there is] none beside me.
He that sacrificeth unto [any] god, save unto the LORD only, he shall be utterly destroyed. Thou shalt neither vex a stranger, nor oppress him: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt. Ye shall not afflict any widow, or fatherless child.
If thou afflict them in any wise, and they cry at all unto me, I will surely hear their cry; And my wrath shall wax hot, and I will kill you with the sword; and your wives shall be widows, and your children fatherless. If thou lend money to [any of] my people [that is] poor by thee, thou shalt not be to him as an usurer, neither shalt thou lay upon him usury.
If thou at all take thy neighbour's raiment to pledge, thou shalt deliver it unto him by that the sun goeth down: For that [is] his covering only, it [is] his raiment for his skin: wherein shall he sleep? and it shall come to pass, when he crieth unto me, that I will hear; for I [am] gracious. Thou shalt not revile the gods, nor curse the ruler of thy people.
And in all [things] that I have said unto you be circumspect: and make no mention of the name of other gods, neither let it be heard out of thy mouth. Three times thou shalt keep a feast unto me in the year. Thou shalt keep the feast of unleavened bread: (thou shalt eat unleavened bread seven days, as I commanded thee, in the time appointed of the month Abib; for in it thou camest out from Egypt: and none shall appear before me empty:).And the feast of harvest, the firstfruits of thy labours, which thou hast sown in the field: and the feast of ingathering, [which is] in the end of the year, when thou hast gathered in thy labours out of the field. Three times in the year all thy males shall appear before the Lord GOD..
Thou shalt not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leavened bread; neither shall the fat of my sacrifice remain until the morning. The first of the firstfruits of thy land thou shalt bring into the house of the LORD thy God. Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother's milk. Behold, I send an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared..
Beware of him, and obey his voice, provoke him not; for he will not pardon your transgressions: for my name [is] in him. But if thou shalt indeed obey his voice, and do all that I speak; then I will be an enemy unto thine enemies, and an adversary unto thine adversaries. For mine Angel shall go before thee, and bring thee in unto the Amorites, and the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Canaanites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites: and I will cut them off..
Thou shalt not bow down to their gods, nor serve them, nor do after their works: but thou shalt utterly overthrow them, and quite break down their images. And ye shall serve the LORD your God, and he shall bless thy bread, and thy water; and I will take sickness away from the midst of thee. There shall nothing cast their young, nor be barren, in thy land: the number of thy days I will fulfil..
I will send my fear before thee, and will destroy all the people to whom thou shalt come, and I will make all thine enemies turn their backs unto thee. And I will send hornets before thee, which shall drive out the Hivite, the Canaanite, and the Hittite, from before thee. I will not drive them out from before thee in one year; lest the land become desolate, and the beast of the field multiply against thee..
By little and little I will drive them out from before thee, until thou be increased, and inherit the land. And I will set thy bounds from the Red sea even unto the sea of the Philistines, and from the desert unto the river: for I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hand; and thou shalt drive them out before thee.Thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor with their gods.
And Joshua said unto all the people, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Your fathers dwelt on the other side of the flood in old time, [even] Terah, the father of Abraham, and the father of Nachor: and they served other gods. And I took your father Abraham from the other side of the flood, and led him throughout all the land of Canaan, and multiplied his seed, and gave him Isaac.
I gave unto Isaac Jacob and Esau: and I gave unto Esau mount Seir, to possess it; but Jacob and his children went down into Egypt. I sent Moses also and Aaron, and I plagued Egypt, according to that which I did among them: and afterward I brought you out. And I brought your fathers out of Egypt: and ye came unto the sea; and the Egyptians pursued after your fathers with chariots and horsemen unto the Red sea.
And when they cried unto the LORD, he put darkness between you and the Egyptians, and brought the sea upon them, and covered them; and your eyes have seen what I have done in Egypt: and ye dwelt in the wilderness a long season. And I brought you into the land of the Amorites, which dwelt on the other side Jordan; and they fought with you: and I gave them into your hand, that ye might possess their land; and I destroyed them from before you.
Then Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, arose and warred against Israel, and sent and called Balaam the son of Beor to curse you: But I would not hearken unto Balaam; therefore he blessed you still: so I delivered you out of his hand.
And ye went over Jordan, and came unto Jericho: and the men of Jericho fought against you, the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Girgashites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; and I delivered them into your hand. And I sent the hornet before you, which drave them out from before you, [even] the two kings of the Amorites; [but] not with thy sword, nor with thy bow.
And I have given you a land for which ye did not labour, and cities which ye built not, and ye dwell in them; of the vineyards and oliveyards which ye planted not do ye eat. Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD.
How many Greek gods are there? Which one is the most impressive for you?
From multiple sources that I have read in the past and from knowledge I believe there are around 360–370 Greek deities to name — 640+ if you include the multiple names given to the same gods. Naturally many people now of the main 12 Olympian gods & goddesses: Zeus, Poseidon, Hades, Hera, Athena, Apollo, Artemis, Hermes, Ares, Hephaestus, Aphrodite and Hestia. Dionysus and Demeter are also sometimes included.
To ask which one is the most impressive to me is a great question but its so tremendously hard to answer because they are all impressive in their own individual areas - although Ares is possibly my least favourite as he was incredibly blood-thirsty,
wrathful and also lustful — not a group of traits that you want to be around in my opinion =D. I do have 2 favourites that I love to study and they are Artemis and Hades, closely followed by Athena and Hephaestus has often intrigued me also in times gone by. Hermes as also often taken my interest in the past.
Artemis: She’s impressive to me through how strong-willed and mysterious she is; not falling into the same big-headed and lustful traps as the other gods. She fell in love only once with a man named Orion (sadly didn’t end well) to which she never took another man again: this could be seen as loyal and faithful: some traits that the other deities lacked.
was also incredibly skilled and was not disgusted by befriending humans and actually “trained” those to be better instead of using the humans for her own gain. Although Artemis did act rash and have caused some pretty horrid deaths; these only seem deepened Artemis’
character as her killings stemmed from the traumatic experience that caused her to become virgin and swear off men: making her actions less ridiculous (but not justified) than those of Athena or Hera who killed or cursed because they didn’t like humans being better than them.
Hades: He’s such a misunderstood deity that different legends and authors show different aspects and traits which paint him in many lights: cruel and evil, sombre and respectful, quiet and lonely or stern and honourable; sometimes a mixture of all of them. Hades is possibly the one of the fewer gods who hasn’t been wrote about in legend to have killed humans for the sake of killing them like the others — he had no need to as no human boasted about being better than him, they all feared him. HOWEVER:
Hades did kidnap Persephone; which is like “come on…way to soil your reputation” but this action is often seen as a plight of loneliness and in the legends Hades didn’t mistreat Persephone; he wanted to make her happy but just couldn’t. This makes me see Hades as a more relatable deity to humans as he seems to go through the emotions that we do:
Zeus never could fully understand pain, grief and sorrow because he had a grand old time but Hades was down with the souls of the damned and alone for his entire life — that takes a hardened individual to bear that. Hephaestus: The god that was seen as crippled and ugly yet he did many accomplishments that the gods and goddesses required in order to be their majestic selves.
Hephaestus is impressive to me because although he wasn’t what the Greeks saw as beauty: he didn’t let this stop him from becoming probably the most active god on Olympus and used his skills to make some amazing things. He accepted the fact he was different and learned to cope with it and in time earned the respect of Zeus and the other gods & goddess from the skill he processed and not his appearance.
(Aphrodite don’t count because it seems only looks interested her). Athena: strong, wise, feminine and yet could hold her own against any man, Athena is very much what women do still look up to and have done since her creation. Athena literally represents the female human in traits and mind and everything else because there isn’t a legend that goes by which Athena does not do something that a woman can relate to — minus the killing parts and curses-
though her feelings and emotions that caused her to do that are often caused by the “green-eyed monster” that many women have experienced in their lives and as all females and males know: women are the best at throwing tantrums and getting their own way that cause irrational behaviour — I speak as a woman myself — but Athena also shows the other side of women: the caring side, the strong-willed side, the beauty and the intelligence wrapped up together,
the need to protect those close to her and to always better herself whilst being reliable and mature minded — excluding her moments where her wrath came out. Hermes is definitely a god I’d like to have round as a dinner guest; though I wouldn’t trust his past history in stealing. ;) Hermes was the fun-loving youth on Olympus and had a great many skills to his name which meant Hermes I feel you’d never be out of things to talk about and he’d always make you laugh.
He wasn’t a god to hold things too seriously and from my memory at this present time I don’t believe he killed anybody off his own back - mostly rescuing was his thing… and if he did kill somebody it may have been Zeus’s command but I don’t think that happened…? The only flaw with Hermes was that I think he was seen as a bit of an arrogant individual who burst to show off his skills — that gets tiring after the first few hours —
and of course his stealing ways which meant you had to hide the silver cutlery when he came round. =) As a little shout out to Hestia: she was the kindest of the Olympian gods and I feel that although she wasn’t “impressive” and hadn’t done anything to hold in memory:
Hestia fought to keep peace whenever she could and enjoyed family time and friendly meet-ups where people could act civilised and talk around the fireplace/heath. This takes some effort and gusto to do up on Olympus with them deities, and I feel she is quite the aspiring goddess.
M I Ro
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