My 3-year Old Thinks Deeper than Some Atheists

by Cory Tucholski

It sounds crazy, but I think my three-year old daughter actually thinks more deeply than the average atheist.  She understands a distinction in the divine essence that many atheists fail to see.

I, and other apologists like me, out-of-hand reject statements like, “You’re an atheist to literally thousands of gods.  I’m only an atheist to one more god than you!”  I’ve discussed some reasons here.  One of the most compelling reasons to reject such a statement is the very ontology of the gods under discussion.

Polytheism usually starts with two gods, a male and a female.  The male generally represents Heaven or the Sky, while the female represents Earth.  Immediately, we see that these beings are tied to a material reality, with what Dungeons & Dragons supplements (such as Deities and Demigods) refer to as a “portfolio.”  The portfolio is the area of supreme power for that deity.

Sky and Earth then have children, which become the initial gods of the pantheon.  In Greek mythology, these children are Cronus and Rhea.  Cronus then usurps Sky’s (Uranus) power and becomes king of the entire universe.  This represents another common element of polytheism–the supreme god, always dwelling in or characterized by the Sky, is defeated or rendered impotent.

Cronus and Rhea then gave birth to Zeus, Poseidon, Hades, Demeter, Hestia, and Hera.  None of these gods are the causal agent of the force they control.  Zeus controls thunder, and his lightning bolt was fashioned to harness the already extant power.  Same with the remaining siblings: Poseidon controls the water, Hades shepherds departed souls, Demeter manages the seasons, Hestia the household, and Hera blesses marriage.

The universe, when discussed, is usually already there.  It is never “created” by any god, and the gods master extant powers rather than creating them.  Further, the gods are always seen as finite, as having a definite beginning and it always seems possible that they could have an end, in either death or imprisonment…

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