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Amun-Ra of the ancient Egyptian religion
Zeus of the ancient Greek religion
Odin accompanied by his ravens
Indra on his elephant mount, Airavata
The Abrahamic god Yahweh, as depicted by Michelangelo.
Baal welding a thunderbolt

Generally speaking, a god (or "deity") is a being with supernatural powers who receives worship. Not all religions worship a god or gods. There have been an immense number of Gods worshipped throughout history. The Bhakti tradition in Hinduism considers there to be millions of gods. [1] Many gods are no longer worshipped because their corresponding religion has become extinct. This may also be the fate of currently active religions. Attributes of gods supposedly include:


There are countless gods, including those of Norse mythology, Greek titans, Greek Olympians, Egyptian mythology, Roman mythology, etc. There are thousands or millions of gods in eastern religions.

Greek pantheon[edit]

Greek gods such as Hermes and Dionysus have limited powers and occupying a hierarchical pantheon. They often squabble with fellow gods, and exhibiting human traits such as anger and jealousy.

Abrahamic god (Yahweh/Jehovah)[edit]

Main Article: Yahweh

In contemporary times, the most popular concept of God is based on the Abrahamic god Yahweh. The original concept of Yahweh has given rise to the Abrahamic religions, including Judaism, Christianity and Islam. While based on a common origin, these religions have significant disagreements about the nature of God.

"Then he said, "I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob." At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God."

Exodus 3:6 Bible-icon.png

Christian theology has traditionally defined God (Yahweh) to be the omniscient, omnipotent, and omnibenevolent lone creator of the entire universe. However, some early books of the Bible seem to imply a finite god: In Genesis 18:20-21 Bible-icon.png, God must personally visit Sodom and Gomorrah to see if they are as wicked as he has been told. In Judges 1:19 Bible-icon.png, the men of Judah are unable to defeat the people of the plains, in spite of the fact that God was on their side. God's failure in this passage is attributed to the iron chariots of the enemy (this is the basis for the name of IronChariots.org). These is also considerable evidence that Yahweh was one god among many, particularly in early chapters of the Bible.

Muslims worship the Abramhamic god (Allah simply means "God" in Arabic) and agree with Christians on many of his attributes. However, Muslims reject the concept of the Trinity.


By far the most straightforward argument against the existence of a god is that there is no evidence for it. An important principle of science is that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

In the case of the Christian god, we are asked to explain the existence of a vast, complex, incomprehensible universe by inventing an even more vast, complex, incomprehensible being, which also happens to be intelligent enough to "plan" the entire history of the universe and still micromanage the details enough to answer prayers, account for who will go to heaven and hell, and deal with minutiae like how people deal with seemingly arbitrary rules about sex.

Treated purely as an explanatory device, introducing a god into the universe raises far more questions than it answers. It brings up the obvious question of who created God. Science tends to reason from the complex to the simple, finding explanations of natural phenomena by breaking them down into basic rules. Of all the things we know of in the universe, intelligence in particular is one of the most complex and mysterious phenomena observed. To suppose that we could "explain" the universe by introducing a universe-spanning intelligence is completely backwards from the way science normally operates.

All this would be strictly academic nitpicking if there were any positive evidence for the existence of a god. Yet when pressed for evidence, apologists are notoriously vague. Rather than pointing to specific reasons why anyone should believe in such an improbable being, they point to the Bible as a historically accurate text; they bring up philosophical vagaries such as the first cause argument and the argument from design, and they threaten hell by means of Pascal's wager. No test is ever proposed to demonstrate or falsify the existence of God; God's existence is merely assumed to be a default position (which also invokes argumentum ad populum).

"If he is infinitely good, what reason should we have to fear him? If he is infinitely wise, why should we have doubts concerning our future? If he knows all, why warn him of our needs and fatigue him with our prayers? If he is everywhere, why erect temples to him?"

Percy Bysshe Shelley

Capitalization of "God"[edit]

As a point of grammar, the word "God" is usually capitalized when it refers to a particular god as a proper name; whereas "god" is in lowercase when it refers to one or more of a set of objects. For example: "I do not believe in your god."

Reverential religious texts often take the capitalization a step further when they are talking about their own gods, going so far as to capitalize pronouns that refer to the god. For example: "I love Him"; "We are saved by His grace".

A concept in flux[edit]

"The concept of God, even within the same religious tradition, mutates as human societies change. The reaction of nonbelievers changes with it.[...] This flexibility is what keeps the concept of God-of the divine-alive."

Chris Hedges[2]
"the idea of God formed in one generation by one set of human beings could be meaningless to another [...There is no fixed concept of God] instead the word contains a whole spectrum of meanings, some of which are contradictory or even mutually exclusive.[3]"

See also[edit]


  1. [1]
  2. I Don't Believe in Atheists, 2008
  3. Karen Armstrong, A History of God

External Links[edit]