Most Americans consider Monotheism a no-brainer. It goes right along with truth, justice and the American way. To question monotheism is tantamount to desecrating the flag, the One God and the one nation indivisible for which it stands. It is heresy of the worst kind to even question that there is One God. After all, the three great western religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, are founded upon this assumed principle.
Only pagans and atheists doubt this absolute truth. And more enlightened moderns remind us that physicists are seeking the Unifying Principle of physics in order to reconcile the laws of mechanical physics with the relativity of Einsteinian quantum physics. They are sure there can’t be two sets of laws running the natural world. But until they find that ONE, we must assume that there are at least two kinds of physics, maybe more!
But consider for a moment how this doctrine came into being, without even looking at the assumed truthfulness of it. When you examine western religion, you have to examine western politics right along with it. Moses and Mohammed were political leaders with a religious foundation. Later, Constantine in Christianity would play the same role as Moses and Mohammed. All three of these men found Monotheism to be very useful for ruling the masses, whether Jews, Muslims or Christians.
ONE GOD, ONE CHURCH, ONE WAY, ONE BISHOP, ONE EMPEROR
You see, Monotheism is often a cover for Mono-supervision. The early Christian Bishops, beginning with Clement of Rome and later Ignatius of Antioch in Syria, emphasized the doctrine in a utilitarian or practical manner. They weren’t arguing from evidence, but from usefulness. They reasoned that if there was only One God, there could be only one ruling Bishop in each church; eventually, this would be applied to the whole church, and Rome would be seen as the seat of the One head Father (patros) of the Church Universal. Today we know it as the Papacy (papa) or Head Father.
This wasn’t so bad until it was applied to doctrinal matters. The One God sent His One Son to reveal the One Way to the One Church which was ruled over by the One Bishop in Rome, and secondarily by the One Bishop in each major city. Eventually the eastern Christians rejected this, and around 1000 AD, dismissed Roman One-Man authority and formed the Orthodox Church. They were really the original Protestant Reformers, preferring the term ‘orthodox’ (straight teaching) to the heretical notion of Catholicism (According to the One or Whole).
NOT ONE POPE, BUT ONE BIBLE!
Sixteenth century Protestants, with Luther as their leader, would also later separate from the same Roman Episcopal (Bishop) Supervision with its corrupt teachings. The Protestants, however, would retain the doctrine of Trinitarian Monotheism for their own version of Mono-Supervision, replacing the One Pope with the One Bible. The irony is that the 66 books of the Bible were originally chosen by the early Bishops who were thought to be the only true earthly Mono-Supervisors of Truth.
Protestants ever since have been trying to find a way to justify and defend the Christian Bible without the original doctrine of inspired Bishops. Protestant criteria for an inspired Bible are never uniform and always wishy washy. Fortunately, most Protestant parishioners just accept the doctrine of the inspired Bible without much question.
UTILITARIAN AMERICAN MONOTHEISM
One can hardly blame Moses, Mohammed and Constantine for their insistence on Monotheism as the foundation for their one society with one law and one God. Rulers and rule-makers know that societies run much more smoothly with minimal problems when there is a single authority.
Even the founding Fathers of America knew this. They jettisoned the notion of a Triune Christian Monotheism, but kept the notion of a single vague Mono-deity, sometimes called Deism. He was an omnipotent guiding divinity that was mostly absent but very sympathetic to republican, democratic capitalism. Doctrinaire Christians acquiesced, feeling that they could do away with Trinitarian language as long as they got to keep their One God. This One God was eventually ironically invoked by both the North and the South in the Civil War, placed on the dollar bill, into the pledge of allegiance and in the prayers of the senate. One God, One Nation, One People, One form of government, One manifest destiny…
TALIBAN MEETS THE BAPTISTS
One of the biggest problems with Monotheism is that it creates Mono-Meism. Mono means one, usually me or mine. When you find a Monotheist, you will find someone who thinks his or her way is the only way, especially in matters of religion and morality. They will take pride in their one-minded stubbornness, deriding those who believe in two or more ways, sometimes saying, “By God, I aint no relativistic Darwinian humanist. I believe in the One True God and His One Word and His One Way!”
This reminds me of the story by Dr. Suess where the two Zax meet, one going North and one going South. They meet up belly to belly, nose to nose and neither will budge "out of my tracks, for I am North going Zax and I am a south going Zax." Fortunately, in the story, people just build freeways and cities around them, leaving them in their stubborn trax. Historically, that is usually what happens with religious Zaxists, but todays Zaxists have missiles and atomic weapons.
SOME MONOTHEISTS ARE NICER
Now I am not equating the Baptists with the Taliban, so don’t say that I am. I would much rather have a Baptist ruler or neighbor than a Taliban ruler or neighbor, but I am not so sure that some of the Baptists I know wouldn’t be a lot like the Taliban if America didn’t have laws against religious intolerance.