How Many Gods Does One Need?


cropped-robgoodgravatar.jpgby Rob Lundberg

Wrapping up this series on What Do Other Worldviews Believe, the last worldview we see is the worldview of polytheism.  When one thinks of polytheism, one pictures in their mind some pagan religion in the deepest recesses of the unknown world.  But polytheism claims for itself, many finite god that are believed to exist beyond and in the universe.

We have looked at pantheism, but when it comes to polytheism, these two world views find themselves very compatible.  That is because in Hinduism, there is a belief in an impersonal deity (Brahman), which manifests itself in personal forms known as individual gods.

But when we look at polytheism’s emphasis on the spiritual realm and the need for humans to discover the gods, we can see the spiritual awareness of the soul and the need to fill that god-shaped vacuum in search of fulfillment.  Despite all this though, polytheism has some problems.  Let me share with you three problems.

Problem #1:  If the forces of nature is that which birthed the gods, then why not worship nature as divine? Unlike theism, polytheism attributes superiority of nature as the cause of the gods. This makes nature the ultimate cause and not the gods, therefore nature becomes the substitute for an all powerful uncaused God.

Problem #2:  Human minds are the creators of polytheism. To better understand human characteristics and how the forces of nature, work, people became superstitious and began applying virtues (love, hate, compassion et al) and natural names (sea, wind, etc.) to the gods. As a result, any natural disaster such as hurricanes, floods, tsunamis, or earthquakes are quickly thought to be divine punishment. These calamities further prompted the people to begin appeasing the gods by satisfying their requirements. Who sets those requirements?

Problem #3:  The polytheistic belief that the world is eternal is contrary to the scientific facts. In the book of Genesis we read, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”[1].  Science has supported this beginning by discovering the expanding universe.  Thanks to the Hubble telescope, we can now trace this beginning, and the discovery of an expanding universe from the point of its beginning. And then there is the second law of thermodynamics which points to a universe that is breaking down.

So if polytheism poses an eternal universe and a world, but the scientific data reflects something totally contrary, polytheism and those who embrace it need to respond to this data.

Conclusion

This ends my series on world views. As we have discovered that only theism offers a logically consistent and livable view of the world. A good worldview answers the ultimate questions of origin, meaning, morality and destiny.  We will look at these world views from these questions at a later time. (BTW, I do have a powerpoint that addresses these that I may create a PDF deck. Keep an eye out on my Resources page.

As we have seen that all the other world views apart from theism have some crucial problems that disqualify them for thinking Christians. If you have a knowledge of the various world views, you will have a good tool which will enhance your apologetic and evangelism efforts, as you accurately apply Scripture and reason to the flaws that are inherent to the other world views.

Note

[1] Genesis 1:1.

 

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