Thursday, February 28, 2013

Atheist Meme #2: On the many Gods of Man

I received this meme from an Atheist over twitter:


The picture lists about 230 names of deities from different cultures and time periods, followed by a quote by Stephan F. Roberts. Now if you are like me the first thing you will ask yourself is :Who is Stephan F. Roberts? I recognize names such like Russel, Nietzsche, Frey or Dawkins but  Roberts? Is this a new Atheist philosopher I do not know? Of course a quick Google search produces this link. As it turns out this is just a guy who thought about this "witty" phrase, and time has enshrined it in the pantheon of Atheism "arguments" against theists. This only shows you the depth of contemporary Atheism's thought.

The meme itself is trying to make an argument I have heard many times. It goes like this: Throughout history there have been many deities. In fact almost each culture has developed their own idea of an omnipotent being. How are you certain that your God IS the right God? What about the others you dismiss?

I could go into a long explanation but I will let solid Catholic doctrine do the talking. Here is what  the Catechism of the Catholic Church, has to say about this:

    I.      THE DESIRE FOR GOD

27 The desire for God is written in the human heart, because man is created by God and for God; and God never ceases to draw man to himself. Only in God will he find the truth and happiness he never stops searching for.

28 In many ways, throughout history down to the present day, men have given expression to their quest for God in their religious beliefs and behavior: in their prayers, sacrifices, rituals, meditations, and so forth. These forms of religious expression, despite the ambiguities they often bring with them, are so universal that one may well call man a religious being.
40 Since our knowledge of God is limited, our language about him is equally so. We can name God only by taking creatures as our starting point, and in accordance with our limited human ways of knowing and thinking.

41 All creatures bear a certain resemblance to God, most especially man, created in the image and likeness of God. The manifold perfections of creatures—their truth, their goodness, their beauty—all reflect the infinite perfection of God. Consequently we can name God by taking his creatures’ perfections as our starting point, “for from the greatness and beauty of created things comes a corresponding perception of their Creator.”

Catholic Church. (2000). Catechism of the Catholic Church (2nd Ed.) (13–14). Washington, DC: United States Catholic Conference.

So as you see it is quite simple, the multiplicity of Gods in many cultures is the result of man's desire to know God. Responding to this desire many cultures have given expression to their own, sometimes warped, always incomplete idea of a supreme being. So in a sense all "Gods" are a "shadow" of the one true God.

Of course now the question of how to know the One True God from this list becomes simple. You look at which one in this list revealed Himself into human history. A quick historical review yields of course Jesus the Christ, who "Became flesh and dwelt among us." (John 1:14).

One last comment about this meme. Looking at the list itself you will find some amusing points. For example, the list includes Yahweh, Jesus and El. Whomever composed this list didn't know that El is just the ancient name of Yahweh, . (This is why the names of archangels end with El such as in Gabri-el, Rapha-el, Micha-el and of course the name of the Jewish people Isra-el). Also some significant contemporary deities are missing like Ya, and Haile Selassie, the Rastafarian deity.

I hope this helps :-)

"Viva Cristo Rey!!"