Why Monotheism Is Better Than Polytheism

Why is monotheism better than polytheism?

Recent years have shown an upsurge in various pagan groups throughout Europe and America. Most of these groups are appearing either as a response to degenerate Christianity or as a form of Marxism.

And most of these groups espouse some form of polytheism. It is for this reason that arguments against paganism which the first Christians used should be revisited. Paganism has been a non-issue for Christians for so long that they have forgotten why the polytheistic religions are false.

Monotheism is better than polytheism because it exalts a perfect god. Polytheistic religions raise up an array of flawed gods and pretend that those are the ideal. In doing so, polytheists exalt the flaws of those gods. Meanwhile, monotheists exalt a perfect standard and try to meet it.

Below, we’ll cover how one of the greatest Fathers of the Christian Church confronted paganism, and you’ll gain some greater understanding of how to confront any neo-pagans who may try to harass you.

An Exposition of the Orthodox Faith (John of Damascus) > Book I

John of Damascus was one the most influential theologians of the early church, and he is highly regarded within the Orthodox churches. He lived at a time when the use of art as a medium for spreading and preserving the religion was under assault from many corners.

His defense of artwork as a religious medium can be pointed to as the reason for the existence of murals, stained glass, and architectural styles which are often used by the Catholic and Orthodox churches.

His Exposition of the Orthodox Faith serves as the keystone of his defense of the Christian religion.

Chapter 5. Proof that God is one and not many.

The gist of the argument in favor of one god and not many is this: if there are many gods, then those gods must be inadequate. Their lack of perfection proves that they cannot be gods. Instead, they must only be very powerful and, therefore, conquerable creatures. Assuming, of course, that they exist.

Monotheism is affirmed by Judeo-Christian scriptures

We have, then, adequately demonstrated that there is a God, and that His essence is incomprehensible. But that God is one and not many is no matter of doubt to those who believe in the Holy Scriptures.

In order to prove the proper number of gods, one must first prove that any might exist at all. All-too many people fail to grasp this on account of the collapse of thinking which characterizes modernity.

So it is not enough that Christians are able to defend the faith against atheism, but we must also confront the many other strange cults which have arisen in the present day.

The First Commandment

For the Lord says in the beginning of the Law: “I am the Lord your God, which have brought you out of the land of Egypt. You shall have no other Gods before Me.”

Various Protestant factions have transformed into universalizing churches which espouse a worldview that is no more complex than:

“Well, like, can’t we all just get along? That’s what Jesus would want.”

These people are not Christians, nor can they be; it is on this account that they lie about Our Lord and they break the first of His commandments.

Jesus does not want people to “get along with each other.” What He wants is for us to follow His commandments.

The Emphasis

And again He says, “Hear, O Israel, the Lord your God is one Lord.”

God is hidden, he exists outside of the universe, and His presence may only be discerned through those things which He has created. It is for this reason that His being is not immediately apparent. Therefore, people tend to forget Him,a dn they need frequent reminders.

Monotheism without ambiguity

And in the Book of Isaiah the prophet we read, “For I am the first God and I am the last, and beside Me there is no God. Before Me there was not any God, nor after Me will there be any God, and beside Me there is no God.”

Verses such as these have been instrumental in constructing the Christian Trinity. That Jesus was God alongside the Father and the holy Spirit means that God must be threefold, yet the Old Testament repeatedly affirms that God is one. So the Trinity is necessary for Christianity as the simplest expression of this relationship.

Eternal Life

And the Lord, too, in the holy gospels speaks these words to His Father, “And this is life eternal, that they may know You the only true God.”

God names Himself as bot existence and the capacity for existence. To come closer to God is to come closer to sustained existence. Therefore, as prolonged life will arise as a reward for one’s movement toward acceptance of the Lord.

What got us here won’t get you there

But with those that do not believe in the Holy Scriptures we will reason thus.

People who are not Christians do not accept the same standards of proof that Christians use. It is for this reason that they cannot be convinced of Christian views using Christian writings.

Qualities of the True God

The Deity is perfect , and without blemish in goodness, and wisdom, and power, without beginning, without end, everlasting, uncircumscribed, and in short, perfect in all things.

Here’s a convenient list of the qualities which are encompassed by God:

  • Perfection
  • Good
  • Wise
  • Omnipotent
  • Eternal
  • Enduring
  • Unenclosed
  • Lacking nothing

What Is and What Is Not

Should we say, then, that there are many Gods, we must recognize difference among the many. For if there is no difference among them, they are one rather than many.

In order for a thing to exist, it must be different from other things. These differences are boundaries which separate one thing from others and allow the bounded being to possess an identity.

Most humans have a subtle awareness of this, although they lack the udnerstanding they need in order to grasp it. So the need to maintain one’s difference as a form of ego-preservation reveals itself as a countercultural fashion statement.

Differences Prove Inadequacies

But if there is difference among them, what becomes of the perfectness? For that which comes short of perfection, whether it be in goodness, or power, or wisdom, or time, or place, could not be God.

How many flaws is something allowed to have before it is no longer called God? And if God is permitted to have flaws, then what sort of people will arise that follow it? A people which must, in its exaltation of an imperfect being, exalt imperfection itself. And what do you suppose will become of a people that pretends flaws are to be exalted?

God As Perfection

But it is this very identity in all respects that shows that the Deity is one and not many.

The Judeo-Christian understanding of God holds that He is the perfect being. Now, if God is perfect, then those things which make up His being must themselves be in accord. If this were not so, then a part of God would be in conflict with the rest, and this disharmony would lead to His disintegration.

God Is Not Contained

Again, if there are many Gods, how can one maintain that God is uncircumscribed? For where the one would be, the other could not be.

If multiple gods exist, then they must exist in different places. Yet if they exist in different places, then they must have limits to their power. They will not be able to do things where they are not.

So pagan gods are not only imperfect in character, but in power as well.

The Many Gods Destroy Themselves

Further, how could the world be governed by many and saved from dissolution and destruction, while strife is seen to rage between the rulers? For difference introduces strife.

Suppose that there were many gods. Now, these gods would possess different domains. Therefore, they would inevitably come into conflict with one another. As a result of these conflicts, some would come out as winners, and others would be losers.

After enough time had passed, one god would triumph over the others so consistently and completely as a result of these constant conflicts that the religion which began as a polytheistic one would transform into monotheism. One god would eventually kill all the others.

Who Says Who Gets What?

And if anyone should say that each rules over a part, what of that which established this order and gave to each his particular realm? For this would rather be God.

Pagan gods are designated as the gods of things; Thor is the god of thunder, Tengri was the god of the sky, Hubal was the god of the moon, Poseidon was the god of the sea, and so on.

Now, what makes this assignment? Why is Hephaestus the god of smithing and not of gardening? It is because something greater than the gods assigned their jobs to them.

And in the case of the pagan gods, that thing is a human.

Zero, One, or Many

Therefore, God is one, perfect, uncircumscribed, maker of the universe, and its preserver and governor, exceeding and preceding all perfection.

Many people do not understand this.

God is not a thing in the universe. God created the universe, so wherever He is, it must not be the universe. If this were the case, then God would have existed within the thing which He created. Yet God created the universe at a point in time long ago, while He Himself is eternal. So God must not exist in any place. Instead, God must be self-contained.

Divine Mitosis

Moreover, it is a natural necessity that duality should originate in unity.

Before two things can exist, one thing must exist to then give rise to the other; and the first will be the older of the two. This premise can be used to create many arguments against polytheism.

Gene Botkin

Gene is the director of the Theosis Christian Project. He studied physics and military science before founding the Project. Gene is currently pursuing his doctorate in systems engineering at an engineering college in the Ozarks. The Theosis Christian Project is his attempt to expand Holy Orthodoxy in America.

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