Polytheism

People don’t just believe that there exists a god; they also believe that there is only one. Disbelievers understandably focus on the existence claim, but the uniqueness claim can also be subjected to critical scrutiny. Why are believers so convinced there is only one God? What reason is there to make this assumption? Polytheism was the common opinion for much of human history–what with all the conflicting forces that seem to exist in the world. Now uniqueness is the dogma, with little or no supporting argument. Creationism certainly doesn’t require monotheism. In fact, of course, the uniqueness dogma is traditionally somewhat wavering, because of the doctrine of the trinity and the angels and whatnot–various godlike entities distinct from the Head Honcho. I really don’t know why theists cleave to the one-god hypothesis, unless to rule out rival gods from alien peoples. Is it just psychologically more comfortable? Is it because you only have one dad? And what are the identity conditions for gods anyway? When do you have one or many? How are gods to be individuated?

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