*theism: how many gods are there?

quetzalcoatlMost of the debate tends to be around theism versus atheism. But there is so much more! Let's review the full set of hypotheses:

- x = 0: atheists think there is no god.
- 0 ≤ x ≤ Infinity: agnostics think there may be between zero and an infinity of gods. Interestingly, the set of natural numbers plus infinity is called "supernatural numbers".
- x = 1: monotheists think there is one God.
- x ∈ ℕ*, x > 1: polytheists think there is more than one god.
- x ∈ ℚ: in some polytheist religions, gods can procreate with humans, which gives demigods. If demigods then procreate with humans, does that make quartergods? This is of course assuming the divinity of humans is zero. ℚ is called the set of rational numbers, which doesn't make this position especially more rational than the others...

So where do I stand? I think x ∈ ℂ: there is a number of imaginary gods. I guess that makes me a complexotheist.

Archived comments

  • Bertrand Le Roy said on Wednesday, April 7, 2010

    Ah! I forgot. Some people believe x = 3 & x = 1. I'm not sure what to do with that.
  • Ludovic Chabant said on Thursday, April 8, 2010

    The holy trinity is the least of your problem, actually. Some religions like the Mayans had very free-form definitions of their gods (probably because it kept shifting as they met/fought/absorbed neighbouring tribes). Some gods could be, depending on the situation, one god or several. Very schizophrenic (but pretty awesome).Also, I'd be curious as to what happens when the number of Gods tends towards infinity. I mean, do they take up space? Do they have an effect on matter? Etc.
  • Jason Bunting said on Sunday, October 17, 2010

    Well, I have my own beliefs, which don't really need to factor into this discussion necessarily, but one thing I cannot get is how anyone can claim that there is no God. All of the reasons they give are hollow and meaningless. You have some that claim they *know* a God exists because that God has somehow made itself known to that person, but an atheist can't have that claim. They may try to say that science proves the lack of a God, but anyone that knows anything about the history of science realizes that the actual quantity of truth is very small - science has theories. Whether these theories are, in actuality, accurate reflections of reality (i.e. true) are anyone's guess. Scientists revise theories each time new information reveals that various aspects of a given theory are no longer possible (probable?). Ever look into chaos theory or string theory? In a world that we really don't have any understanding of, how can someone throw out the possibility of something they don't currently consider a possibility? Not being able to conceive how a God may exist does not prevent such a being from existing. Celia Green said, "Now if you see that it is inconceivable that anything should exist, it is evident that at least one inconceivable fact is there. That is to say, that which exists is not limited to the conceivable. Since the inconceivable is there, it is impossible to set any limit to the quantity of inconceivableness which may be present in the situation. Now were the existence of anything consistently to remind you of the fact of inconceivability, since it is impossible to live without interacting with a large number of existing things, it would be impossible for you to feel in the same way about the conceivable."
  • bleroy said on Monday, October 18, 2010

    @Jason: ah, you did get a few things wrong. There are a few possible causes for someone to believe God is talking to them, amongst which brain damage, hallucinations and plain delusion. Sure we cannot make such a claim but why would we need to? Science does not prove the lack of a God and people who would claim otherwise, I'm afraid, would have a poor understanding of science. Science does not actually deal with proof (that would be mathematics). It deals with evidence, which is quite a different thing. You also seem to hold a common misconception about scientific theories. Theories in science are not speculations as the common meaning of the word usually signifies. To the contrary, to hold the status of scientific theory, a hypothesis needs to have been thoroughly and independently verified against empirical evidence. Whether they are correct is not by a long stretch "anyone's guess". Scientific theories are, by far, the closest things we have to facts (if you exclude mathematical truth, which alone holds the status of certainty). Scientists do revise theories, but not because they are "no longer possible". Several things can happen: new facts can invalidate the old theory, yes, or something simpler or more universal can be discovered. What many non-scientists don't understand is that science not being final, its ability to adapt to new facts is precisely what makes it a lot more likely than anything to approach truth. As a matter of facts, I know a thing or two about chaos and string theories. What specifically about them do you think supports your thesis? What is that thesis specifically by the way? "How can someone throw out the possibility of something they don't don't currently consider a possibility" you ask. What makes you think we don't consider it? Like many others, I've also considered the hypothesis that there is a teapot orbiting the Sun between the orbits of Uranus and Neptune. Still seems unsupported. Why don't *you* consider the possibility of the existence of Zeus? There are many things out there, conceivable and inconceivable. Scientist and atheists alike embrace that. It does not mean you should believe anything and everything: we all have our threshold about the amount of evidence we require in order to believe something. Ours just happens to be a little higher than most people's.