Sunday, July 26, 2009

Is Monotheism Inherently Intolerant?

Asherah - Hebrew Goddess

Taking my Mom to church these last few weeks I enjoyed revisiting my protestant roots more than I expected too. I found myself wishing I could have that abiding Christian faith but kept bumping into the wall of monotheism. Yes, I can see one God as a universal creative life force but if “he” is “the father” where is the mother? And is there an inherent intolerance toward others built in to monotheism?

This made the interview with Robert Wright, author of The Evolution of God posted on particularly fortuitous. (see prior post) Wright’s theory is that Israel was polytheistic for a much longer period than is commonly accepted and that monotheism rose out of Israel’s desire to punish its rivals by denying the existence of their Gods.

Wright sites Israelite King Josiah as a belligerent reformer who consolidated his political power by wiping out other people's Gods. Prior to King Josiah, Yahweh’s female counterpart Asherah also had a place at the temple in Jerusalem.

Destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem by Francesco Hayez

Link to: Interview with Robert Wright on
Link to: The Suppression of Ancient Truths by David Larsen