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Saturday, December 23, 2006

God Is Dead. Long Live The Gods!

The world stands in dire need of new gods, and preferably lots of them. The current fad of worshipping one single all-powerful deity is clearly not working - all the major monotheistic religions are in crisis. Believers have been losing faith in the Judaeo-Christian God for centuries. In spite of the shrill evangelical movement, Western society is still largely secular - one of this year's runaway best-sellers is The God Delusion by the militantly atheist Richard Dawkins. In the Islamic world, one of the root causes of extremist anger - according to some scholars - is the feeling that Allah has not delivered: if he is indeed all-powerful, why are his followers subject to the political will of America and Israel?

Part of the problem is that a single God is too remote. Omniscience notwithstanding, we stand little chance of catching his eye, let alone interacting with him in any useful way.

Benrik Limited has devised a range of more accessible gods, more suited to our 21st-century requirements. They are inspired by the lares and penates, the Roman household gods. These, of course, were little wooden figurines that every Roman household kept in a special shrine, called the lararium, and prayed to every morning. Unlike the all-in-one monotheistic God, the lares and penates were fit only for particular purposes: ensuring the family was properly fed, for instance, or protecting travellers against peril. Full Story

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