LONG BEFORE RAPPERS, Rock stars, chart topping singers and social media personalities were turned into pop gods, there was a war of words for centuries and millenniums over the reality of the ancient gods as worshipped in places like Sumer, Babylon, Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, Rome, India and China, and what those gods actually looked like.
This last fact was especially true regarding the appearance of Yahweh, the Almighty God of the Hebrews. While the mystics of the faith knew better, Yahweh was depicted for the “masses” as a patriarchal, father figure and that image carried over into the Christian era with “God the Father”, a Being who reputedly has the appearance of an old man with a long white beard in a monarchial robe and sits on a throne.
So deeply engrained is this latter image that even the more enlightened Jewish and Christian peoples have trouble getting past this medieval icon, which is precisely why patriarchal behaviors persist and why women are still having to fight so hard for change and equal treatment on every front around the world.
The Muslims, to their credit, never attempted to “flesh out” the appearance of their Supreme Deity, for Allah was said to be beyond any image that his followers could conjure or even fathom. In fact, it has always been expressly forbidden in the Islamic faith to create any likeness of Allah, but history has shown Allah to be clearly male in behavior and the suppression of women in Islamic countries continues unabated. In truth, such suppression is a violation of basic human rights.
The point is that people all over the globe have given a name and attributes to their Supreme Deity over the centuries and millenniums and have often fought to the death to proclaim their “God” as the One and Only Creator of the Universe, even though those vanquished were supposedly created by the same God.
In other words, rather than seeing this One Universal Supreme Being as a transcendental entity whom others on the Earth would naturally describe in their own native tongues, thus generating an obvious disparity in one description from another, many peoples, instead, have chosen to go to war over these differences.
Or has that merely been an ulterior motive for desiring to pillage and steal whatever could be taken from one’s neighboring peoples?
Be that as it may, the idea that one’s maker is “the one and only true” Supreme Entity is a concept that has always been narrow minded in the extreme. It is prejudicial and dangerous, as history has shown, time and again.
To label non-believers as “heretics”, “infidels” or other such names – basically, as enemies – is Step One toward the persecution of those persons. Step Two is to actively conspire against them and whip up mob frenzy. It is to incite crusades, jihads, pogroms and so forth in order to eradicate that “enemy”.
Needless to say, this cannot possibly have anything to do with any God of Love.
Over the centuries and millenniums almost every culture on the face of the Earth has come up with a name for their Supreme Being. Besides Yahweh and Allah, as mentioned above, there was Osiris of the Egyptians, Baal of the Canaanites, Marduk of the Babylonians, Brahman of the Hindus, Mithras of the Persians, Ahura Mazda of the Zoroastrians, Zeus of the Greeks, Jupiter of the Romans and so on.
All conspiracy is fear based. Why, though, should one fear what another believes if that belief poses no threat? Fear is what compels us to force people to convert to our religion, fear that sends armies to conquer or eradicate people who think differently. Such fear is rooted in bigotry and xenophobia.
Surely in this day and age, we are global enough in our perceptions to understand that every culture has its own way of looking at life and explaining it. If we can accept that there are other races, lifestyles and languages besides our own, it is no distance at all to accepting that a Supreme Being will have a name and certain basic descriptive attributes that are culturally derived.
It is not difficult to comprehend, either, that might does not make right, nor that the greater the number of adherents to a religion does not necessarily make it “truer” than another.
How can the “popularity” of a particular Supreme Being be proof of anything? Surely, the quasi-religious Nazi movement alone back in WWII tells us everything that we need to know about the topic of numbers and belief.
Christianity has roughly 2.2 billion adherents, Islam 1.6 billion, Hinduism 1 billion, Buddhism half a billion, the Jewish faith 13 million and so on… Yes, there is safety in numbers and comfort in knowing that so many others profess to believe as we believe, but any Supreme Being who is, by definition, universal, infinite, transcendental and, therefore, beyond the limited mental powers of we mortals, is surely not a “Being” who would harbor favoritism. All would be precious in such a God’s heart, especially if that God is a God of unconditional love.
So let us ask ourselves what we believe in our own hearts to be true.
If the answer is what I suspect it is, we might well want to leave off with the pop god conspiracies and emulate the One Supreme Being, the Source of All That Exists, and understand that we are a single species with a singular origin. We are all brothers and sisters on this planet and we always will be.
Even if there is no God and life on Planet Earth arose owing to totally random forces and events, this point holds true. Regardless of our race or religious (or atheistic) predilections, the Earth is our mutual home. We should, therefore, be working together, not conspiring against each other, to protect our home and all the precious life within it.
Let us, therefore, celebrate our oneness and not contest it.