Came by my mail, a reminder of the nature of monotheism that has coincided with reminders from Christian sources that there is quite some confusion over the nature of God. Over the years I have heard many christians, relating something they have heard in a sermon, speaking about the Christian God as if it where one among many. Thus the distorion that there is a Muhammedan God, a Jewish God, etc. I suspect this distortion is entering sermons so as to keep an arms length from other religions. Yet monotheism has been raised to overcome the destructive tendencies of dualism and polytheism. While many decry the state of inter-religious conflict over recent centuries, it is important to note the far greater imposts held over the citizenship of the pre-monotheistic societies. The most well-know of these is the state of Arab society pre-muhammed in which baby girls where buried alive.
So monotheists should accept the definition found in the Book of Isaiah in the Bible. Note that here God is responsible for evil and good, an issue many people have difficulty, wanting God to only be responsible for good. But that is dualistic. It is to that dualism, as inherent in Zorasterianism (the religion of my father-in-laws ancestors – bless them all.) that Isaiah refers the following to Cyrus, King of Persia under the Zoroastrian religion.
“45:1 Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him;…
45:4 For Jacob my servant’s sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me.
45:5 I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me: 45:6 That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else.
45:7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.” (King James Bible, Isaiah)
Yet monotheism was not only about solving social injustice, it was about moving societies forward. It was never about dominating another society just for the sake of it, but recognising that those polytheistic societies had entered the cul-de-sac of civilisation.
Whether we are theists or atheists, we are all living off the fruits of the monotheistic religious ascendancy. In otherwords, No maths without muslims.
That present day society including religion needs to get itself out of another potential cul-de-sac is the whole purpose of the Baha’i Faith.