Greta wrote: ↑
November 27th, 2018, 10:48 pm
I'm not sure why monotheism defeated polytheism.
First, because it's exclusive. "I, your God an a jealous God." That sort of god is not only intolerant of other gods, he/she/it (well, let's be blunt: he
) forbids socializing, mingling, fraternizing, intermarrying, eating, partying, or shooting the breeze with the congregants of other gods. The relations of these people with their neighbours are business or hostilities - that's it.
Was it simply a matter of everyone claiming that their deity was the greatest and most powerful?
No. Many peoples never claimed that, when their armies
actually were the most powerful. The Israelites claimed it, even when their armies were routed and decimated. They claimed it, even when they were at the mercy of great big empires. The leaders needed to keep saying that, in order to keep their people from deserting them: "If you go over to the Assyrians, Jehovah will smite you. If you hold out, Jehovah will reward you with lots more children and oxen." (Don't believe me: there's a whole big book keeps repeating this theme for like 900 years of ups and downs.)
Might it be that, in this competition, the Abrahamics essentially said, "My god is bigger than yours. Mine is bigger than the whole universe!"? (At the time the "universe" would have consisted largely of the Middle East, the Roman and Carthaginian empires, some surrounding, the Sun, the Moon and the dome of stars above). My guess is that no one could think of anything bigger than the universe so God won.
No he didn't! He kept losing and losing and losing. The competition wasn't about who could tell the bigger lie; it was about who carried the bigger stick. And that - after dispossessing and maybe exterminating a couple of little insignificant local tribes - was not Israel. Jehovah was never going to win any contests of size, strength, magic or moral suasion. That changed when a Turkish tax collector got involved with this new sect...
By a complete fluke, the Mithra-lookalike Israel maybe produced and maybe sent to the gallows collected enough followers to keep going after his death. By a fluke, that Saul character turned out to be a shrewd and zealous publicist. By a fluke, the Roman religion was running out of steam and the Roman conquests were getting out of hand. By a fluke, Constantine needed a really convincing victory to save his career.
History turns on flukes.
In addition, as with bracket creep, God benefits from scope creep in that, the larger the universe becomes, the more "He's" posited to encompass.
Sure, but that wouldn't have happened if Christianity had caught in Judea, instead of Rome. Once their chosen god had imposed on a biggish empire, and all opposition and dissent killed off, the new god was able to claim a growing universe. Of course, lots of Asians still aren't convinced.