Gods or God?
1. Mary Lefkowitz responds to the charges by some secular commentators that religion “‘poisons’ human life and causes endless violence and suffering” by stating that the “poison isn’t religion; it’s monotheism. ” 2. “Openness to discussion and inquiry” and “[r]espect for a diversity of viewpoints” are some attitudes that contributed to the Athenian idea of “the cooperative system of government … called democracy. ”
3. The existence of many different gods offers a more reasonable explanation than monotheism of “the presence of evil and confusion in the world. ” A mortal “may have had the support of one god but incur the enmity of another, who could attack when the patron god was away”; however in the monotheistic traditions, “God is omnipresent and always good” and “mortals must take the blame for whatever goes wrong,” even though God permits evil to exist in the world he created. 4.
The separation between humankind and the gods made it possible for humans “to speculate about the character and intentions of the gods. ” Greek theology allowed people to ask hard questions and encouraged others to learn and to seek all the possible causes of events. Such questions brought philosophy and science to the world. 5. Lefkowitz writes, “Ancient Greek religion gives an account of the world that in many respects is more plausible than that offered by the monotheistic traditions.
” In this context, “plausible” seems to mean “reasonable. ” The Greek account may be more “plausible” because “Greek theology openly discourages blind confidence based on unrealistic hopes that everything will work out in the end. ” 6. Lefkowitz certainly makes an excellent point and I definitely agree with her. Religion today seems to be focused too much on blind belief. Thinking seems to create a healthier environment and some “healthy skepticism” would definitely be helpful currently in such a stubborn world.