There are at least twenty distinct options on God, found throughout history and afoot right now.
We can say there is considerable ‘variety’ in the approach to God as long as we admit that ‘variety’ is just a pretty word for disagreement.
By J. H. McKenna, Ph.D | HUMANIST Plus
What does disagreement show?
Theological disagreement shows us that humanity has never ever agreed about Who or What or Whether God is. Your own view of God (find it in the list below) will always be a minority opinion, outnumbered by all the other opinions combined.
Here are the twenty:
Polytheists say there are many Gods, as many as you like, into the millions if you prefer, perhaps billions, one for every pair of human eyes. You may worship and adore all the Gods.
Henotheists admit many Gods too, but you may only have time to devote yourself to one, and that’s okay because these are not self-doubting, jealous Gods.
Kat-henotheists also acknowledge many Gods, but you should dedicate yourself to a single God at a time, moving from one God to another God at different phases of your life, perhaps the phases offered in As You Like It by Shakespeare’s intellectualist idler, Jaques, who espies seven stages of life, beginning with infancy and ending in the second childishness of old-aged senility—‘sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.’ There are Gods aplenty for each stage.
Trinitarians affirm one God but this God is to be worshiped and adored in three persons: Father, Son (Jesus), and Holy Ghost. To other monotheists like Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, Baha’is and Caodais, and to polytheists and atheists too, Trinitarian math is elusive (1+1+1=1?) and susceptible to being labelled a petite polytheism of three distinct Gods. Trinitarians vigorously defend the oneness of three.
Dualists acknowledge two Gods, one very very Good and the other one very very Evil. The need for two rests upon the world’s oscillation between beauty and ugliness, delight and dread, kindness and cruelty, irises and ebola viruses. In a family of Dualists you may hear the following dialogue: Child: ‘Mommy, did our good, loving and compassionate God create the talon, the fang and the claw?’ Mom: ‘No, sweetie, the other God, the God of cruelty, made those.’ As if you needed to be told, you should adore the very very Good God.
Monotheists declare there has only ever been one good God to worship and adore. Several distinct and opposing monotheistic religions claim this God and define him in many different ways, with many different hues.
Dystheists say there’s one God who is not really all that good, given conspicuous evidence from our bloody red in tooth and claw, predator-prey natural world. Adore with caution.
Pantheists state that God is identical to the many things of the physical, material world, and when you adore the many things of the material world you adore God.