Just Say No to Polytheism…? October 20, 2008

Just Say No to Polytheism…?

(via Atheist Cartoons)

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  • Pssshaw…Christians don’t have more than one god. You just don’t understand. [Insert Courtier’s Reply here].

    Okay, on a related note: are guardian angels an actual part of Christian theology, or is that just more random, extra-Biblical schmultz that was just tacked on for no apparent reason within, say, the past century or two? Because the idea is just, I don’t know, a little too dumb to be authentic doctrine (I know…I know…).

  • Jay

    Haha, so true. It’s amazing how few Christians understand this.


  • Pseudonym

    Asylum Seeker: It’s technically part of traditional Roman Catholic doctrine, but the idea only goes back to the 400’s CE. So much like the girl in the cartoon, it’s rare if not nonexistent outside of old-school Roman Catholicism.

  • Christianity seems to be a polytheoid (a word I coined) religion.

  • I read recently that the Catholics venerate approximately 10,000 saints and beati (those on the road to sainthood.) It wasn’t until reading that that I understood my ex mother-in-law’s disdain for Catholics and their “idolatry.”

  • Polly

    Oh my FSM! My wife once asked me this! Not including the saints and angels part.

    I told her to “pray TO God, IN the name OF Jesus FOR the Holy Spirit to act through you.” Amazing what a few prepositions can do. In Finnish, or Inuktitut, that would all be one word. 🙂

  • Becksi

    Belief in 0, 1 or 3 gods is completely irrational and wicked. The CORRECT number of gods is actually 1.99999… And this argument proves it:

    1. Greater numbers are greater than lesser numbers.
    2. God’s greattness requires that the amount of God He is must be as great as possible.
    3. God cannot be >= 200% God because then there would be two or more gods.
    4. Therefore the amount of Gods is infinitely close to 200% and the number of gods is 1.9999.

  • Damn my need for excessive amounts of sleep! Thank you for the information, Pseudonym. I assumed that it, if it was a Christian concept at all, it was a strictly Catholic concept. I guess polytheism was a hard habit to break…

  • SarahH

    Yeah, I know many of the evangelical Protestants I’m related to (or know through my family’s church) worry that Catholics aren’t really saved because of the “idolatry” involved with praying to saints, holding the virgin Mary up to a semi-deity position, etc.

    From a purely entertainment-oriented perspective, I think more gods = more interesting. The Greek/Roman gods, the Hindu gods, the Norse gods – they all make for much more entertaining reading than Allah and Yaweh and Jesus. Lightning and sex and adventures and tricksters > deserts and diseases and preaching.

  • Becksi, that is awesome. Did you come up with it? If so, good work! 🙂

  • Catherine

    heh, for all the years I spent in various churches, the trinity was one concept I never could fully wrap my head around.

  • Polly

    Indeed, you should reject polytheism…
    in favor of Pollytheism. Now accepting sacrificial gifts through Paypal.

  • Fr. Terry Donahue, CC

    Actually the idea of guardian angels goes back to the following words of Jesus:

    “See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father.” (Matthew 18:10)

    Furthermore, Christians addressed the following prayer to Mary at least as early as 250 AD:

    Beneath your compassion,
    We take refuge, O Mother of God:
    do not despise our petitions
    in time of trouble:
    but rescue us from dangers,
    only pure, only blessed one.

    “The hymn Sub Tuum Praesidium was first found in Greek in the Coptic Orthodox Christmas Liturgy of the third century and dates approximately to 250 AD. It is used to this day in the Greek liturgical tradition. Versions of this prayer also occur in the Ambrosian rite, Roman, and Byzantine and Coptic liturgies of today and in numerous languages.” (Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sub_tuum_praesidium)

    Such prayers are acts of honoring and requests for saints to pray for us. They are not acts of adoration/worship, which is due to God alone. Thus they are not acts of idolatry.

  • Father Terry, citing how Matthew or other historical texts brings up angels and Marian devotion misses the point of the cartoon.

    Praying to Mary or one’s guardian angel is, to many non-Catholics, practically indistinguishable from polytheism.

    It’s a neat trick that Catholics do, parsing prayer to God and prayer to intercessors, but it’s still disingenuous – you’re still promoting the idea of multiple divine agents, which bugs Protestants and simply amuses atheists.

  • Fr. Terry Donahue, CC

    citing how Matthew or other historical texts brings up angels and Marian devotion misses the point of the cartoon.

    I wasn’t addressing the cartoon. I was responding to two comments above:

    1) Asylum Seeker’s question: “are guardian angels an actual part of Christian theology, or is that just more random, extra-Biblical schmultz”

    2) pseudonymn’s claim that: “the idea [of guardian angels] only goes back to the 400’s CE.”

    You’re still promoting the idea of multiple divine agents

    If by multiple divine agents you mean multiple human and angelic beings that act as agents for one divine being, then yes, I do promote that.

    If you mean multiple beings that have a divine nature, then no, I don’t promote that.

    If it bugs or amuses anyone, I’m fine with that.

  • Thank you for the correction, it puts your previous comment in perspective.

    I’d just like to add that, notwithstanding “divine nature” as defined by the Catholic Church, we’re still talking about the practice of praying to multiple invisible beings – the Catholic stand simply divests executive authority from all other invisible beings save one.

    Me, I prefer to simplify it all and pray to Joe Pesci. 😉

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