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Atheism, Christianity

The Diminishing of the Gods

A thorough study of the history of gods reveals a pattern we’d expect if gods are not real.  The farther we move back in time (and the farther we move away from science) we see more and bigger claims of divine intervention.  Gods have been responsible for thunder, lightning, rain, comets, and holding up the very earth itself.

The Christian god in particular has been finding himself with less and less to do these days.  I do give him credit for going on the Old Testament style warpath with his prophet George W. Bush.  (At least he’s consistent about what land he likes his chosen people to take over.)  But outside of that, he’s skulking around back woods churches and megachurch healing services, occasionally poking his divine finger into someone’s colon and magically curing them of something that sometimes cures itself.

But we haven’t seen any pillars of fire from heaven in quite some time.  And nobody’s ridden into outer space in a magic chariot lately, either.  The only wine I’ve ever seen came from grapes.  There have certainly been no instances of large bodies of water parting.  And there hasn’t been a good “death of the firstborn” style plague in over two thousand years.  Frogs do occasionally fall from the sky, but in those cases, they were clearly not magical frogs, and tended to be hiding in trees before their plunge.  And rivers have occasionally turned to blood, but it’s always been attributable to instruments like Zulu swords tapping into natural sanguine reserves.

I’ve always been amused by theological attempts to explain this puzzling lack of godly intervention.  I have often been told that such feats of godly power are garish, and effectively eliminate the need for faith to believe.  This seems odd to me, since the very same god felt perfectly comfortable flooding the entire planet, stopping the orbit of the earth, and… well… showing off by creating billions and billions of galaxies so distant that their only possible use for humans is to inspire awe at their creator’s garish displays of power.  If he’s not into gaudy, he’s definitely done a 180.  Which is odd, since I am also told he does not change.  Ever.

It is also odd that he has stopped performing miracles involving natural phenomena that have been explained.  After the discovery of comets, for instance, he hasn’t made one magical comet appear.  Isn’t that strange?  No more omens in the sky, even though he could perfectly well create a comet out of nothing and send it streaking across our sky to portend doom and gloom.  But he doesn’t.

It’s almost enough to make a person think gods — and the Christian god, too — have simply been the human explanation for that which was not understood.



5 thoughts on “The Diminishing of the Gods

  1. If you haven’t started reading Eric McDonald’s blog, you should.

    Posted by thephilosophicalprimate | January 21, 2011, 10:35 pm
  2. Where can I find a bigger version of that picture? I cannot quite read the first word of the link.

    Posted by Alex SL | January 26, 2011, 4:42 am
  3. Even between the Old and New Testament there is a noticeable decline in God’s awesomeness. But you know how it is when you move from a sole proprietor to a partnership: you lose that personal touch.

    Posted by jonjermey | January 27, 2011, 4:48 pm
  4. Thanks!

    Posted by Alex SL | January 28, 2011, 10:56 pm

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