Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Pagan Monotheism

Arguing that "the religion of Abraham and his fellow Hebrews was not, strictly speaking, monotheistic at all, but 'monolatrous,'" Boston University Provost Colin Wells suggests that "as any student of ancient philosophy can tell you, we see the first appearance of a unitary God not in Jewish scripture, but in the thought of the Greek philosopher Plato" — How Did God Get Started?

The author calls the meme that "[t]he Greek tradition of pure reason has always clashed with the monotheistic tradition of pure faith" a "tidy tale" that is "nearly all wrong" and calls for "a new narrative explanation to take its place," noting also that "we gain something with the advent of reason, but we also leave something behind." He also reminds us, "New atheist rants notwithstanding, the historical record shows that faith and reason stand equally ready to be invoked by the peaceful and the violent, the tolerant and the intolerant, alike."

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2 Comments:

OpenID danightman said...

The problem with that interpretation of history, and behind the interpretation is the philosophical and metaphysical assumptions behind it, is that, once again, the idea that man "evolved" a sense of one God, and before that was superstitious and worshiped natural elements and idols.

There are very few professionals that seem to look at it from the Biblical and theological view, which sees worship of the true God as being first before being distorted into pantheism and then idolatry. That's the point of view I have of history, which is why I like the views of the blog "Just Genesis" even if I don't entirely agree with all of them. He believes that the evidence shows that the Horite line of ancient priests had a religion that, in a limited sense, anticipated the Trinity and even expected the coming of Christ in the flesh.

I also think that, as we head closer to the Second Coming, we will not only have a keener awareness of the meaning of the Book of Revelation, but also of Genesis. This will lend a greater sense of faith to those who believe, but will make them more easily rejected by those living under the strong delusion [2nd Thes, 2:10] of modernity.

12:47 PM  
Blogger The Western Confucian said...

Good points. My quasi-perennialism leads me to the understanding that Man did not "evolve" a sense of one God, but rather returned to that knowledge after the Fall, which is why I appreciate the site you linked to and the ideas you expressed.

I think Lao Tzu and others the world over "in a limited sense, anticipated the Trinity and even expected the coming of Christ in the flesh," as you say.

11:05 PM  

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