Thursday, December 15, 2016

The One True God and the Invented Ones

Implicit in Christian monotheism was a critique of pagan polytheism. According to the Christians, the Greek and Roman gods were human inventions. Look at the gods of Homer. Each of them seems to embody a human quality: Aphrodite is the goddess of sexual desire, Ares is the god of conflict, and so on. The gods have the same petty vanities and jealousies as their human counterparts. Their virtues are human virtues writ large. As classical scholar Mary Lefkowitz puts it, "The life of the gods is a highly idealized form of what human life would be if mortals were deathless, ageless, and strong." Ironically, this criticism of invented deities, which seemed valid when it was launched against ancient polytheism, is today leveled against Christianity. As Daniel Dennett and Richard Dawkins would have it, the Christians too have invented their God. But the Christian God is not like human beings at all. He is outside space and time. He does not have a body. He is a purely spiritual being. He can be comprehended only dimly by humans, who resort to anthropomorphic images and analogies.

Dinesh D’Souza
What's So Great About Christianity (page 50)