G is for Gods

I had written all my ABC Wednesday posts up to G. I said out loud, to myself, “What should G be for?” The Daughter said, “G is for God!” I thought to myself, “Which god?”

I had a rare opportunity to go to adult education at my church this spring; usually, it clashes with choir rehearsal. The leader of the study was showing a video, and the Christian theologian on the DVD made an interesting observation about how even some of the people of Israel occasionally worshiped many gods, such as Baal (pictured), although they were commanded otherwise, as in Exodus 20:

1 And God spoke all these words:
2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
3 “You shall have no other gods before me.
5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God…

Some modern interpretations of Scripture suggest that “other gods” meant money, fame, power or the like. But many folks, far more versed in this than I, believe that it indicates, for many of the people of Israel, that they had been worshiping other deities, as the first response here suggests.

Of course, the Greeks and Romans had their own gods and goddesses, actually pretty much the same ones, with different names, as one can read here or here, e.g. Sad confession: most of what I know about the Norse gods I learned from Thor comic books. In most traditions, though, there were greater and lesser gods; Zeus/Jupiter/Odin are on a different level than the other deities.

There are multiple gods in other cultures as well. So it is rather amazing that, in this century, about half of the religious adherents worldwide declare themselves monotheists.

Here’s a story from Soulseeds, Searching for God:

A kindergarten teacher was walking around to look at each child’s artwork. As she got to one girl, she asked what the drawing was. The girl replied, “I’m drawing God.”
The teacher paused and said, “But no one knows what God looks like.”
Without looking up from her drawing, the girl replied, “They will in a minute.”

There have been countless visual depictions of God; not sure which ones are correct, if any. The song running through my head is One of Us by Joan Osborne (listen).
***
Neil Armstrong, R.I.P.

New York Times
Treehugger
I Am A Child of Television
Arthur@AmeriNZ

ABC Wednesday – Round 11

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24 thoughts on “G is for Gods

  1. The church and religion was a regular target for late Irish comedian Dave Allen, but he always ended his show with the line ‘May your god go with you’ which I always took to mean that he was tolerant of individual beliefs, no matter which god or how many there were!

  2. That first link to Answers.com is great, I’d never seen all that explained so concisely.Assuming it’s accurate, then it makes perfect sense that when the Jews lost their nation and were enslaved by a stronger power, of course they became fundamentalist and became reduced to one severe religion that became their identity. We see that today with Muslims, as secular Muslims are kicked out of power and discredited by stronger nations we see fundamentalism on the rise. And in the US, as more people lose the “American Dream” they turn to Christian fundamentalism.

    BTW, Joan Osborne deserves to be strangled for foisting that horrible song on the rest of us.

  3. I’d say “not other (little g) gods” says it all! It seems when the Israelites strayed from this command, that’s when life always went a little awry. As it does today, regardless of what “god” we’re worshiping.

  4. I read an article once discussing whether or not the term Nephalim in Genesis and Numbers was in reference to Greek/Roman religion, as that Canaan race, similar to deities like Zeus or Odin, was depicted as “Giant Men” and “Heroes of Old.”

  5. Pbbt. I love the Joan Osborne song.

    And I like to wonder “What if God is all of us?”

    (Snorri Eddas are awesome, btw. If you can get through the Grimm fairy tales you’ll have no problem with the Snorri Eddas.)

  6. I love the story about the girl drawing God and her reply to the teacher. I like the song One of Us very much and haven’t heard it in a while so thanks for the link.

  7. Great post. In my ‘versing’ in the Bible, it is my belief that they DID have a tendency to worship other gods… just look at the Golden Calf story… In terms of the Norse and Greek gods, I learned from three sources – my son who LOVED reading about them, my daughter – who loved studying about them, and Neil Gaimon’s “American Gods” GREAT BOOK, great fun, great perspective.

    Have a great week!

  8. Dear Roger,
    Great and powerful words today. Idolatry is also something that is used by many Christian religions, yet it is forbidden. Loved the respond of the little girl (LOL)!! The teacher was right though!!

  9. That’s a great question, Roger. So many things are done in the name of God — but which god?

    According to the Old Testament, many of the Israelites were majorly into worshiping other gods and in so doing, following some of the most ‘ungodly’ practices, such as child sacrifice, trial by fire and temple prostitution. Actually, according to the Old Testament they copied the religious practices of the other nations around them and there was very little that they did not worship — sun, moon, stars, idols, animals.

    The fact that they were to worship only ONE God and that He was an invisible God, was what was supposed to distinguish the Israelites from all other nations.

  10. I heard, in modern Judaism, that today’s idols are “isms” such as Capitalism, Socialism, Communism etc.

    I put the wrong URL up. I deleted it, and now the correct one for G is up. Sorry.

  11. The Christans, Jews and muslims have all the same God the one and only one ! They only split and it became complicated when Jesus made us to Christians and Mohamed to Muslims. The only once who kept the “original” god of the old bible are the Jews !

  12. The little girls response is precious. The verse comes to mind that we all need to be like little children to come into a relationship with God.
    ann

  13. I echo RIP Neil,

    “Where never lark, or even eagle flew —
    And, while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod
    The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
    – Put out my hand, and touched the face of God”.

  14. I also forgot there were many gods, tend to think only of the God who issued the ten commandments. My kiddo is very familiar with Baal because it is featured prominently on his illustrated Bible storybook.

  15. Very good Roger…Even the Arch Angle Lucifer..(later named Satan) desired to be GOD!! Didn’t work, thanks goodness. But since that time people are always creating a gods to THEIR liking! Thanks for sharing this.

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