I saw this article on the web, link below, and the basic premise made me wonder: Is there some basic "end-of-the-world" mentality inherient in monotheism? And why is it that both Christians and Muslims with these warped views are coming to power at the same time. Scary stuff.
Scariest snippets from the article:
After a cataclysmic confrontation with evil and darkness, the Mahdi will lead the world to an era of universal peace.
This is similar to the Christian vision of the Apocalypse. Indeed, the Hidden Imam is expected to return in the company of Jesus.
Mr Ahmadinejad appears to believe that these events are close at hand and that ordinary mortals can influence the divine timetable.
The prospect of such a man obtaining nuclear weapons is worrying. The unspoken question is this: is Mr Ahmadinejad now tempting a clash with the West because he feels safe in the belief of the imminent return of the Hidden Imam? Worse, might he be trying to provoke chaos in the hope of hastening his reappearance?
Monothesism is the probelm
i wouldn't put it past him... OR freaking george dubya...
monotheism really is just such an ancient minded sort of concept. i have to wonder at *modern* humans who hold to the belief that the world was better in the ancient past, and that there is much great wisdom and knowledge to be gleaned from these ancient peoples and gods.
i have no problem with a poetic and metaphorical interest in ancient cultures and beliefs. but when a person *makes their life* around it, i get this silly, puzzled and concerned look on my face, LOL.
Hey Tetra, do you remember that old Far Side cartoon about "Ways Nature Says 'Stay Away' "?
The first frame was a puffer fish, the second frame was something similiar, but the third frame was a guy on the side walk in a city who was very obviously insane and anti-social; wearing rubber boots, a pool toy, a goofy hat, and carrying a bazooka.
Your post just reminded me of that.
"Back away nice and slow."
Monotheism as we know it appears to have started in Egypt, when one of the pharoahs (Akenaton?) reformed Egyptian religion to worship only the Sun God. This didn't agree with the priests, and some years later, after the pharoah died, the priests convinced the new pharoah to reinstate their former poly-theism. Some Egyptians apparantly preferred monotheism, and left Egypt, similar to Puritans leaving England centuries later. This may have been the historical basis for the biblical story of Exodus. The Greeks also were moving in the direction of monotheism, by the first century it was widely held that Zeus was not simply the ruler of the other gods, but the embodiment of them as well, i.e. that they was all simply manifestations of Zeus. Similar beliefs eventually came to be held with regard to Isis. The key thing is that I don't see monotheism as the problem, rather, I would say that fundamentalism is the problem. Fundamentalists appear to believe that only they have the truth, whatever religion they are part of, and that the rest of the world is going to be destroyed anyway. All the problems one reads about in the newspaper or watches on the evening news appear to be FUNDAMENTALIST muslims, christians, etc. All these problems would simply go away if, instead of forcing their views on everyone else, fundamentalists would adopt a "live and let live" ideaology. For an example, contrast living conditions in a liberal nation such as Denmark or the Netherlands, with any nation in which fundamentalists control the government.
Whether its true or not, some have speculated that Moses and Akenaten were one and the same, but I think there might be some time line issues.
I think that in the big sceme of things, monotheism-the rigid dogmatic legalistic versions anyway-have got to go. It should be left behind for the foul turd that it is.
>>Monotheism as we know it appears to have started in Egypt, when one of the pharoahs (Akenaton?) reformed Egyptian religion to worship only the Sun God.
So monotheism is of pagan origin? Does the Watchtower know? They should probably forbid it for JW's, shouldn't they?
Oh that's right. They already serve a plurality of gods -- the gb, the F&DS, the elders, various books....
Good post, very interesting stuff.
Perhaps monotheism would not be a problem if the concept worshipped and emulated was a kind and loving one. It would seem that placing in the position of absolute purity and holiness a ruthless killing-machine, is a guarantor of disaster.
Some may say Jesus fixes this problem. However, the end result is commonly believed to be pretty much the same punishment and destruction; so Jesus is like Christmas wrapping a land-mine.
All the problems one reads about in the newspaper or watches on the evening news appear to be FUNDAMENTALIST muslims, christians, etc.
good point. I guess what I was getting at is that fundmentalism is a natural result of monothesism. I've never heard of a fundamentalist polytheist. I vaguely remember hearing about the Egyptian roots of monotheism in my class.
I've never heard of a fundamentalist polytheist.
Ever herd of the Mormons?
I think Akhenaton's reform was henotheistic rather than monotheistic: he advocated the unique worship of Aton/Atum (the sun-disk) but did not deny the existence of other deities. Aton worship did influence Israelite thought (Psalm 104 is directly inspired from an Egyptian hymn to Aton) but it is hardly the main cause for the emergence of Israelite henotheism (mainly Josiah's reform in the late 7th century BC) and monotheism (Deutero-Isaiah in the Exilic period, 6th century BC). Before that, and long after the time ascribed to Moses, there is evidence of Canaanite polytheism in the Bible texts (e.g. Deuteronomy 32:8ff).
Oh, and I think fundamentalist polytheism is quite possible too (see the Hindu nationalist party in India).