Are all gods one god?


I saw a Tweet the other day that said, All Gods are One God. There was a Pagan-themed picture with it. I have been thinking about it since.

If all those entities with individual names and powers and personalities are just avatars or facets of one god, then, well, why? Why appear in different guises to different people over time? That seems inefficient and certainly brand-diluting to say the least.

Are they physical manifestations so that our eyes are not burned out and our minds blown? Or could these different names represent different beings who adopted a conveniently powerful moniker for their own gain?

You can see, I have lots of questions.

My view of Deity has always been twofold; Goddess is immanent and is all matter in the universe, while God is transcendent and is all energy in the universe. My cosmology simply does not address the idea of different gods and goddesses, and I have tended to think of various members of various cultural pantheons as representations of a concept they “rule”. They are part of my magical correspondences, like herbs or crystals or wand wood.

I have had success casting spells in the name of Lakshmi, in her role as Great Provider and Great Mother. But if she is just an emanation, reflection, facet or avatar of Goddess, that might be okay. But what if I’m wrong, what if that Tweet is wrong? Should we just deal with one entity and eschew the rest, acknowledge a polytheistic cosmology but practice monotheistically?

What are your thoughts?

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4 thoughts on “Are all gods one god?

  1. Short answer: No. Slightly longer answer: Hell no. Long answer: Polytheism is the acknowledgment of *many* Gods. That’s the poly- part in polytheism. The Gods are Many, The Gods are Real, and the Gods are Here. Anything that seeks to diminish the pluriformity of the divine, is quite simply not polytheism. The idea that All Gods are One God, and All Goddesses are One Goddess, and that both are ultimately One (gender-neutral) God is reducing the Many, and thus is no longer polytheism. it is theological monism (which is different from philosophical monism, which doesn’t necessarily deny polytheism, but discussing that would be beyond the topic at hand). It is an attempt to undermine polytheism and the pluriformity of the Divine by reducing the Gods and Goddesses away, one by one. Even if that may not be a conscious goal of the person holding such beliefs.

    In my perhaps not-quite-humble opinion, your theological dualism is only slightly less reductive than theological monism because instead of One there are Two. Which is not Many, and thus not polytheism, and still reductive. Now I do respect your right to believe as you do, and to practice and worship accordingly, as I indeed do also for theological monists; but we will disagree theologically, and I will not accept any attempt to call it polytheism.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Excellent points. I call myself a bitheist, knowing I am not truly a polytheist.
      As an aside, I once had a Christian confuse Pagan with Atheist, and she said “Well, then you’re all right” when I told her I did believe in a creator. I wonder if this motto “all gods are one god” is an attempt to dress up polytheism for the (perhaps more fundamentalist) Christians in the U.S..

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      1. I believe that it is mostly because of the fact that Western societies have existed under the boot of monotheism for so very long that the way people think of religion is using monotheism as the “default”. This even occurs at academic levels, and is often an unconscious bias. Monotheism, in the West Christianity specifically, has ingrained this idea into our cultures that monotheism is inherently more sophisticated than polytheism/paganism , and that the latter are more primitive and superstitious, things of a past age that should just go away.

        This ingrained monotheist superiority complex in our societies affects everyone who is part of it, even those who practice no-polytheistic paths. This attitude is so ubiquitous, everywhere around us, everyday, all day, that it permeates the entire worldview of Western societies – even among atheists and agnostics, ironically enough. It manifests in the idea that some atheists like to express as follows: “monotheists did away with all but one God, so we just take the next step and do away with the last one.” It is an idea of religious evolution from primitive animism, to superstitious polytheism, to dogmatic monotheism, to rational atheism, one stage being better, more evolved, than the last.

        Since we too are members of these societies, we too are confronted constantly with these attitudes and ideas, and it can be very difficult to rid oneself of them, even when practicing a non-monotheist path. The ones who insist that all Deities are really One Deity are most likely still dealing with this monotheist bagage and haven’t been able yet to throw off those shackles. That is, I think, why these people do as they do.

        To discuss a further specific problem in regards to this, in Indonesia, a Muslim majority country, it is the law that only monotheist religions are recognised and free from being proselytism and missionaries (I’m sure this mostly just applies to Islam, but by the letter of the law it goes for all monotheisms). This also leads to Hindu communities claiming that they really just worship One God in many forms, even if that’s not necessarily the case (and there are Hindu theologies ad sects who do hold such ideas), just to be left alone and have their religion recognised.

        So in some instances it can be a forced thing, to appease the monotheists, but here in the West I mostly think it’s people still dealing with monotheist bagage.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I agree with the baggage comment, as most Wiccans & Pagans are converts from Christianity, including me.
        I am shocked when people gloss over the first of the Ten Commandments, You shall have no other gods before me. This clearly indicayes the existence of more than one deity, and is really more about being loyal to your Patron Deity, in this case, Jehovah, who is a harvest deity (manna being a great example of his purview.)

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