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44478.  Tue Jan 10, 2006 5:51 am Reply with quote

Q: How many gods do the Christians worship?

A: It’s one these days (provided you’re charitable enough to overlook Jesus, the Holy Ghost, the BVM, and all the “small gods” like St Christopher, who Christians regularly pray to). However:

“For the first two centuries of its existence, Christianity included people who believed in one god, in two, in 12, in 30, and in 144.”

- Source: Fortean Times 206, February 2006, p.63: a review by Noel Rooney of “Lost Christianities” by Bart D Ehrman (Oxford University Press).

44489.  Tue Jan 10, 2006 6:49 am Reply with quote

Q: How many gods do the Christians worship?

A: It’s one these days (provided you’re charitable enough to overlook Jesus, the Holy Ghost, the BVM, and all the “small gods” like St Christopher, who Christians regularly pray to).

Saints are not 'small gods', but venerated holy men. They are not worshipped, but church-goers ask them for guidance. Praying for guidance is not the same as worship, is it?



44535.  Tue Jan 10, 2006 10:14 am Reply with quote

If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck.....


44541.  Tue Jan 10, 2006 10:26 am Reply with quote

Quite. Saints are supernatural beings who can be induced to intervene in the affairs of humanity if you pray to them, which sounds aw'fy like a species of god to me.

44542.  Tue Jan 10, 2006 10:26 am Reply with quote


I don't think any of the Saints tried to walk like a god....just follow the teachings of the church and pass on it's teachings.



44545.  Tue Jan 10, 2006 10:37 am Reply with quote

Ok, go with me on this one

Imagine that god is the best looking girl/guy in school, the saints would be gods friends.

If there's something that you feel that you can't ask got in person, you can ask gods friends to ask god for you.

The friends can't actually do for you what god can.

Stop imagining god in a plaid mini-skirt!

44550.  Tue Jan 10, 2006 10:50 am Reply with quote

Who put her in a skirt?

I had her in hot pants!!!



Quaintly Ignorant
44610.  Tue Jan 10, 2006 2:07 pm Reply with quote

There are several differences between the Jewish, Muslim and Christian translations of the original scrolls. During the last two and a half thousand odd years the Bible has been retranslated several times from the original text and adjusted in order to better fit with "current" theology. Even the translation of the word GOD is still a fundamental problem. As everybody is probably aware, the Christian Bible's old testament is for all intents and purposes the Jewish Torah. But the differences between the Torah and the Christian bible starts early with the first verses in Genesis 1 showing that "God's divine word" has somewhere along the line been adjusted by man:

In the Torah is written :
Gn:1:1:"In the beginning Elohim created the heavens and the earth"

Genesis 1:1 says that "In the beginning Elohim created the heavens and the earth." Of all the names given to God in the Hebrew Bible, Elohim is curious because unlike the others it uses a plural noun to identify God, while the other names, like El or Yahweh, are singular. Just why was the Hebrew God known both as El ("God") and as Elohim ("Gods")? While the Hebrew term El, is best understood as a title, meaning "God", the Supreme God of the Hebrews also had a personal name, Elyon (which is often rendered as "the Most High" in English.

And in the Christian bible is written :
Gn:1:1: In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

I have heard it argued by Christians that the plural form can be explained as the trinity being present in scripture since the earliest written books, thus adding weight to their theology. If this is so, why has the name been changed within the accepted translations?

Consider that even at present, parts of the translations of the Dead Sea Scrolls are still unpublished due to leaders of the Roman Catholic Church who are unwilling to publish it in its entirety.

A major problem to, eventually, reconstruct the Bible is the fact that many of the other pseudepigraphical books seem polytheistic in nature and can't be reconciled as canonical. In other words, if some or all of these books should be added to the cannon the whole Christian, Muslim and Jewish beliefs would seem much more contradictory.

I seem to be inviting e-jihad or an e-crusade.

44622.  Tue Jan 10, 2006 5:09 pm Reply with quote

What is the difference between God and Big Bang?

Quaintly Ignorant
44649.  Tue Jan 10, 2006 7:05 pm Reply with quote

God would be viewed as having a consciousness and the Big Bang would be viewed as a natural, somewhat inevitable occurence. Our imaginings of God being as an omnipresent, omniscient being. Looking at it another way, the big bang has left an echo, that is, a uniform temperature pervading all of the sapce which was created from it. It is what we hear in the static we pick up in radio devices, the white noise. In this way it can be viewed as omnipresent, I suppose.

I prefer to look at "God" as everything, all matter and all energy are simply small parts of a larger machine, in much the same way as our cells make us up the universe is made up of everything within it. Religion has very little to do with this I feel and any romantic notions of an omnibenevolent father figure are here for our comfort. In other words, God is to us as we are to the bacteria which inhabit us.

gerontius grumpus
44670.  Tue Jan 10, 2006 7:42 pm Reply with quote

I wonder if the church's promotion of saints arose from peoples' unwillingness to let go of the idea of a pantheon of gods.

QI Individual
44671.  Tue Jan 10, 2006 7:43 pm Reply with quote

mckeonj wrote:
What is the difference between God and Big Bang?

God is a dogma. The Big Bang is a theory.

The first will never change. The second will be changed as soon as evidence for a better theory comes along.

That's why the first is religion, and the second is science.

44690.  Tue Jan 10, 2006 8:34 pm Reply with quote

gerontius grumpus wrote:
I wonder if the church's promotion of saints arose from peoples' unwillingness to let go of the idea of a pantheon of gods.

Well, I've no idea, but it's a damn good piece of wondering :)

44698.  Tue Jan 10, 2006 8:53 pm Reply with quote

God would be viewed as having a consciousness... Our imaginings of God being as an omnipresent, omniscient being

What if God was all consciousnesses?

45041.  Thu Jan 12, 2006 5:19 am Reply with quote

Another QI thing about deities is Roman.
Q: How many gods did the Romans worship?
A: the obvious answer is anywhere between 12 (main gods) or: It depends at what period of time you want to study.
The real answer is however none. (Presumably none at any rate).
This is not a new theory, but not very widely known. The notion of the many roman gods is wrong interpretation of the old texts. For instance all the references to Janus and temples of Janus in Rome are actually what is now called sotoportego's; or passageways under houses, something everyone who has visited italy will vividly remember.
The misconception is validated by the standard work on roman religion by Kurt Latte: Römische Religionsgeschichte, München, 1960.
More reasons why this is wrong: for instance, iff you were to replace every occurance of the word Mars by army, all the texts would still be comprehensible.
Why would an ara built for Mars be an altar, and an ara Pacis simply be a monument for peace?
Templums are simply buildings with an open hall.
A templum fortunae might actually be simply a place for gambling, the templum fortunae muliebris where no woman who has known more than one man may enter might just as well have been a ladies club.
And iff you were to believe every templum was a tempel, what would you say the templum cloacis venerated?

I'll paste an excerpt of a new course here, called populi imperium.
Iff you want to know more, I'd be happy to put you in contact with proffesor Waelkens, who give Roman Law at the university of Leuven, and is quite an expert on the reception of law and religion.

"The control of the non-civil jurisdiction is a delicate matter to write about, because it is a rich source of tales and myths and it is a bit a shame to undermine its poetry. This is the world of the ius sacrum, for most historians the sacred world of the Roman religion. The Senate appointed the pontiff (pontifex maximus) and the sacerdotes. As a lot of Roman terminology has been adopted in younger times by the Catholic Church, many historians thought it was already religious in the Republic. In many publications templa are churches, statues Roman divinities, comme­morations are consi­dered as holydays and procedures as prayers. No ancient society without religion, said the nineteenth century, so Rome needed a Roman religion. But ius sacrum is law and still at the end of the Republic serious jurists like Sulpicius Rufus, Trebatius Testa and Antistius Labeo wrote about this kind of law.

We have no explicit sources about Roman “religion” in the Republic and all public experiences of it can be explained as lay practices. Gaius wrote that the populus decided what was sacer and we remember that the meaning of that populus evolved from “the army” to “the citizens”. In fact, in the ancient law texts the sacerdotes were responsible for the law and were thus lawyers. The statues in public places did not appeal to divinities, but symbolized the great compromises of the Roman society. Perhaps one day Jupiter has been a god, but in the Republican buildings he symbolized the welcome of the Patricians. Ceres stood for the Plebeians and Juno for the Samnites. It is amusing to record that for most Roman “saints” you can nominate liberties: Mercurius represented the commerce, Justitia the lawsuits, Mars the soldiers, Fortuna the access to the wealth of Rome, and so on. The funniest divinity is Janus. While during wartimes the opposite doors (januae) of the office of the consuls on the forum had to stay open for the sake of transparency, the name of that blowhole was given to the folkloristic Roman soldier who looked at once through two opposite doors. But what about the famous places in Rome where Janus Clusius, Janus Geminus, Janus Junonius, Janus Quirinus and so on were adored? Janus is the Latin word for a gate. You simply could pass through these jani without kneeling. In the actual excava­tions of the Roman forum, next to the templum cloacis, you can read on a poster: “In this temple the Romans veneered Venus Cloacis.” The maid of the sewers! Isn’t easier to believe that this temple was not a church? But the Senate could not begin a session with­out a sooth­sayer watching the birds! Don’t forget the Republic was a military regime. The bird-watchers were the meteorological wings of the Roman legions, without whose advice no battle was launched. Wasn’t it a more appropriate way to open the session than a hammer-blow? Thus, no religion? Not in the law. Before the arrival of the transcendental philosophies from the Middle-East, a religio was a burial. Only later the Romans gave this name to the life after death and to the… religions.

Since in later times people were only interested in the Roman civil law, the exact impli­ca­tions of the ius sacrum were forgotten. Until the Empire we find still traces of this kind of law and judges who cognized cases in “sacred” matters. Those judges could legitimate interven­tions of the army"


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