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Catholicism isn't really a monotheistic religion

(22 Posts)
Bags Fri 10-May-13 10:10:36

The Myth of Monotheism

janthea Fri 10-May-13 11:28:32

Fascinating article, bags

Lilygran Fri 10-May-13 12:01:33

Very simplistic and not in the least original!

Bags Fri 10-May-13 12:30:04

It's not 'original' in the sense that it had all been said before in one form or another. Not simplistic either. I think that view is too dismissive.

j08 Fri 10-May-13 14:05:11

Flip me Bags! You don't half expect a lot! #toolongandtoosquishedup

petallus Fri 10-May-13 14:36:26

Read the first quarter of the article thoroughly, skimmed through the rest. Mmm! Not quite sure why any of it matters but I think the author is bending over backwards to make his point that Catholicism is not monotheistic.

I think of God as being at the top of a hierarchy, with angels (including the devil who, of course, was one) and saints, also the Virgin, as further down in the pecking order.

Incidentally, I've often thought that the Christian insistence on making a split between good and evil is unhelpful. From a psychological point of view it is better for people to acknowldge, understand and modify/control the 'bad' within them rather than struggle to 'cast it out'.

I rather like some Indian deities which have good/bad sides (sometimes nurturing, sometimes murderous).

Finally, I don't know why atheists have to take such patronising tones to believers, hinting that they are weak for craving outside guidance and not being up to facing the truth about death.

There must be more to it than that!

Bags Fri 10-May-13 15:57:07

"Finally, I don't know why atheists have to take such patronising tones to believers, hinting that they are weak for craving outside guidance and not being up to facing the truth about death."

Where is this in the article, petallus? I seem to have missed it.

I thought it a well written article looking at so-called monotheistic religions in a historical light and looking at the evidence for praying to/worship of more than one god. What's patronising about that?

As lily says, none of this is new! Quite apart from its being obvious to anyone who thinks about it, it has been written about many times before. This piece just happened upon my attention today.

petallus Fri 10-May-13 17:06:41

In the first two paragraphs we have:

pointlessness of the ritual
lack of belief in ourselves
desire for guidance from 'outside'
almost childlike
very alien

The thing is Bags the writer is talking here about the needs of the religious, the implication being that as an atheist he is above it all, that is he does NOT require guidance from outside from fatuous, pointless ritual which appeal to the childlike Christians.

I think some Christians at least have a faith which goes deeper than the need for reassurance.

Bags Fri 10-May-13 18:12:24

Reread those bits. Not patronising as far as I'm concerned. He's just expressing thoughts in what seems to me a perfectly reasonable way.

Do you find radio four's Thought for the Day patronising as well?

Stansgran Fri 10-May-13 19:03:58

It always fascinates me how fascinated atheists are by religion. Why just not get on with being an atheist and let the religious carry on without the microscope on them. Could atheists build something as beautiful as the aghia Sofia or as ugly as the sacre coeur?

petallus Fri 10-May-13 19:07:32

I haven't listened to Thought for the Day for years. I seem to remember it used to be religious bods talking in a fairly conventional manner about Christianity. Is it different now?

I think the article was quite subtle in its condescension. I personally don't feel patronised by the article obviously. I'm one of the tough guy atheists who manage without having to be looked after by an all powerful God (parent figure) grin

j08 Fri 10-May-13 19:14:17

It's not often that Thought for the Day is religious these days! grin Any old stuff seems to be acceptable.

j08 Fri 10-May-13 19:17:01

Quote petallus "I think some Christians at least have a faith which goes deeper than the need for reassurance"

I think I would be quite happy if this little life were simply rounded by a sleep. But there's still the wanting to know.

j08 Fri 10-May-13 19:18:55

Oh! I've just googled "monotheistic".

Might have to read the article.

j08 Fri 10-May-13 19:30:06

Well, I've read it. Not the bit about the Muslim religion. Can't be bothered with that at the moment ('enders on soon).

He/She seems to be objecting to the saints and Mary. I don't believe in praying to any particular saint - like St Anthony if you lose something. Or to Mary. Maybe that's why I'm not Catholic. But I don't think Catholics confuse the saints, or Mary, with their actual God. In fact, I'm sure they don't.

Pointless article.

My version of God encompasses Mary, the saints, the already dead. And the rest of us when our time comes. smile

Ana Fri 10-May-13 19:45:53

He's expressing his thoughts, yes. But I'm sure the majority of believers in any of the major religions accept that all the saints, demi-gods and add-ons are incidental to the principle god of that religion.

Bags Fri 10-May-13 19:53:37

He's not objecting to the saints and Mary, just pointing out that they are like gods in polytheistic religions so it is disingenuous to say (or imply) that Catholicism is a monotheistic religion. Which fits in perfectly with what ana says as well. They may be demis or semis or hemi-demi-semis (you should have heard my friedm who worked at OUP on the heirarchy of editors there!), but they are still gods and/or have godlike qualities, so for all the talk about One God, they are not at all dissimilar to, say, the Greek or Roman 'families' if gods, or the Scandinavian, etc.

It's an intellectual point. That's all. I like that kind of stuff because I think it helps understanding, not just of how religions work, but of human nature.

j08 Fri 10-May-13 20:04:48

Objecting was the wrong word. REferring to.

Like I say, pointless. (sorry)

j08 Fri 10-May-13 20:05:00

sorry about the caps

j08 Fri 10-May-13 20:06:03

I don't think they should refer to God as "God". It's not appropriate.

Bags Fri 10-May-13 20:13:12

If you find it all pointless, why are you still on the thread, jings. I've no objection to your saying it's pointless, I just think that's pointless.

In answer to the question of why atheists find religion fascinating and why some of us talk about it so much, there are lots of reasons. We may simmer down a bit when the bishops bugger off out of the House of Lords – i.e. stop interfering and thinking they have a right to interfere, in secular politics – and when Muslim leaders stop demanding sharia law courts instead of having to follow the same laws as everyone else. When religious people stop wanting and expecting special treatment becuase of their religion, I expect we'll stop noticing them. They do tend to push themselves into atheists' orbits and atheists are getting sick of it.

And saying so.

Atheists also like to discuss philosphical things, many of which include what have been and sometimes still are religious ideas. You don't have to be religious yourself to be interested in the psychology and/or the history of it.

Bags Fri 10-May-13 20:16:19

PS why not "God", jings? Seems sensible to use inverted commas when you don't actually believe something exists. Mind you, we don't do it for unicorns, do we? Or even Flying Spaghetti Monsters? Hmmm.