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(not the current ones : Abraham and that crowd)

for having invented monotheism, which has been a powerful force for evil in the world.

But it's a bad rap.

In most times and places, a given community had their own private god (or gods). In their interaction with other groups, it was pretty easy to respect each other's religion (you have your god, I have mine). Cosmopolitan civilisations can work quite well on this basis.

The comic genius of the Jews was evident very early on. Their version is subtly different : Our god, Yahweh (or El or whatever-his-name-isn't) is not only our own, private god : he's the only god that exists! You other folks are literally godless. You may think you have a god, more fool you.

But this is not a problem in itself; the Jewish god makes no claim to universalism (though Jewish exceptionalism is sometimes a bit problematic).

The problem is when the godless get Yahweh. It's astonishing how powerful the monotheistic narrative turns out to be. And the problem is that we have two principal Jewish heresies that claim universalism.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Mon Oct 18th, 2010 at 06:59:13 AM EST
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