For whatever reason, many monotheists seem proud of believing in just one god as opposed to those “pagans” who believe in many. They consider it some kind of a “progress” (well, one is closer to the actual number of gods – zero – so technically it might be correct). But are they really monotheistic?
When you walk into the church I used to attend as a child, what do you see in the very center? Yes, the tabernacle, allegedly containing god himself. But what’s way way above it? What’s surrounded by golden ornaments and votive offerings? A figurine of Mary.
One might get into semantic tricks, sure... Talk about how Catholics don’t worship Mary or any other saint, they just admire their lives. How they don’t pray to them, they pray to Jahwe “through the intercession” of the saints. We all know that’s bullshit.
In ancient Greece sailors had figurines of Poseidon on their ships, they would pray to him before setting sails and they believed that would keep them safe during their journey. Modern Catholic sailors have a picture of saint Nicholas of Myra in their wallet and they pray to him before embarking.
Both ancient polytheists and modern quasi-monotheists believe that there’s a group of beings, immortal (at least spiritually), inhabiting heavens, each having a “domain” assigned to them, who deserve of having their images made, who can listen to their prayers and somehow cause them to come true.
A catholic bishop once really really wanted to trick me into just touching a golden reliquary containing a piece of fabric of John Paul II’s cassock. Would he believe so much in that stupid object having some magic powers if he really believed in just one god and treated all the images and relics of saints as merely reminders of how to be a good person like them? Please...
And don’t even get me started about the god himself being simultaneously three persons. Early Christians were so into the idea of Jesus being a god, but also so into the Jewish teaching of there being just one god, that they invented this idiotic idea that there is indeed just one god, he just happens to technically consist of three separate persons, who are also not so separate.
Honestly, the “best” explanation of the trinity I’ve ever heard was from an actual sermon in an actual church quoting an actual Christian theologian, who basically said that the absurdity of that idea is actually the whole point! It’s a god thing, we can’t comprehend god... So if we think we understand the concept, that means we don’t, and if we accept it regardless of its absurdity – that’s when we somehow really understand it.
What a neat, anti-intellectual bullshit.
As much as they might claim otherwise, what Catholics believe in is actually the same kind of mythology that the ancient pagans believed in.