Is God great?

Just a thought-experiment.

Monotheistic faith seem to emphasize that their respective deity is great. In particular in the Islamic world the respective phrase is used quite a lot. I assume that’s “great” in the sense of big or in the form of another special, but nondescript, quality. I also think that I have finally found out why this emphasis is placed by monotheistic believers ;)

Clearly, if you take the overall number (and greatness) of all possible, alleged and worshiped1 deities we have a number that approaches ∞ (infinity). If we now take any monotheistic faith, they explicitly claim the existence of a single (1) deity only and argue that there are no others – much like an atheist does with their one deity, by the way.

Anyway, if we keep this strictly mathematical we must conclude that ∞-1 is still and you cannot sensibly compare ∞-1 with . Accordingly a believer of a monotheistic conviction is in fact no different from an atheist – or rather, the difference is so minuscule that it should be negligible by mathematical standards.

Alas, if a quality such as “greatness” is introduced, it’s not a question of quantity anymore. Now it’s no longer about deity X versus infinitely many other deities, now it’s an infinitely great deity X versus infinitely many negligible deities. I suppose this bumps the value of deity X in a believers mind to a size way beyond even the summary value of the remaining infinitely many possible, alleged and worshiped deities.

Anyway. My conclusion from this is that people of faith2 and those without faith share more than both of them would consider or admit at first. Namely they share the profound disbelief in ∞-n deities, where n stretches from 0 for atheists and 1 for monotheists to something higher for other faith systems.

// Oliver

  1. in past, present and future []
  2. monotheistic or not does not matter []
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