As the poet said, ‘Only God can make a tree’- probably because it’s so hard to figure out how to get the bark on. 

WOODY ALLEN

The Gods

Ahura Mazda 


The first monotheistic religion we know about was probably the one started by Akenaten, the father of Tutenkhamun. Aten, the visible sun-disk which traverses the sky each day, was one of a pantheon of Egyptian gods until Akenaten promoted him to the position of ‘sole god’. Akenaten lived around 1350BC. Soon after his death, the cult was wiped out.
 
Zoroastrianism is generally believed to have been founded around the 7th Century BC, though the BBC’s Religions web page says that 'an approximate date of 1200-1500 BC has been established through archaeological evidence and linguistic comparisons with the Hindu text, the Rig Veda'. It was much more successful than Akenaten’s effort: once one of the largest religions on Earth, with up to 3.5 million adherents, around 5% of the world’s population (though these figures are wild estimates).
 
According to Zoroastrianism, Ahura Mazda (Wise Lord) is the one true God, the god of goodness, whose light, which he created, fills the universe. The sun and moon are his eyes. He and his six archangels - whose names are Good Mind, Truth, Power, Devotion, Health and Life - and his army of lower angels, are continually at war with his evil twin Ahriman and his devils.
 
There are about 5,000 Zoroastrians in Britain today. The only Zoroastrian temple in the whole of Europe is in Hampstead.
 
 

Yahweh, God, Allah


The next big player in the 'God' stakes was Yahweh who has pretty much won out over the years with his alter-egos of the Christian God and Allah. However it wasn’t always that way, not even in Judaism. Judaism borrowed a lot from Mesopotamian polytheism. Early Hebrew texts mention three forms of worship; very similar to the earlier Zoroastrianism: teraphim (family gods), the worship of sacred stones and the worship of numerous (mostly borrowed) great gods. The word 'Sabbath' comes from a babylonian word 'Shabbatum' which was originally the day of Kayawanu, an evil god who would scupper any attempts to work on that day (he was the god that the Romans associated with the god and planet Saturn). So it became unlucky to work on a Saturn-day.
 
Yahweh probably became a supreme god who hated all the other gods thanks to the situation of the Israelites as a small tribe, often surrounded by powerful enemies. They needed an angry but powerful god in order to ensure their survival.
 
The first words spoken by God to Moses when he is asked for his name. It means: 'I am what I am'.

EZEKIEL 23:20

There she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses.

JOSIAH GILBERT HOLLAND (1819-1881)

God gives every bird his worm, but he does not throw it into the nest.

Myriotheism is the belief in, or worship of, an infinite number of gods.

Unusual Gods


Carnea - Roman
Goddess of door handles. She was made offerings of pork and white beans. She is also the goddess of the bodily organs, especially the heart.
 
Abeona - Roman
Goddess who protects children when they leave the parents’ home for the first time
 
Consus - Roman
God of Grain Storage. His animal is the mule. 
 
Fabulinus - Roman
God who taught children their first word. An offering was made to him on this occasion.
 
Epimethus - Greek
One of the Titans. Brother of Promethus, his name means ‘afterthought’. He is a dull and stupid. He accepted the gift of Pandora’s Box from Zeus, allowing evil to enter the world.
 
Saritor - Roman
God of Weeding and Hoeing.
 
Aegle - Greek
One of the apple-cheeked nymphs who polishesd the Golden Apples till they shined with Heavenly light.
 
Chimata-no-kami - Shinto
He started out as a phallic god, but later switched to being the god of crossroads. His name means 'Village boundary God'; and he apparently came into being one day when the deity Izanagi took off his trousers.
 
Centzon Totochtin – Aztec
400 drunken immoral rabbits that like to meet up for frequent parties.

Zi gu – Taoism
Goddess of toilets. She was murdered in the bathroom by the jealous wife of Li Jing. Whenever Li Jing went to the toilet from then on, he would hear Zu Gu weeping and see visions of Zu Gu fighting with his wife.
  
 

Belief in God


Surveys about belief in God of course give varying results, but here are some figures:

A USA Today poll found that 83 % of Americans believe that God answers prayers.

A survey of Royal Society fellows found that only 3.3 % believed in God while 68.5 % of the general UK population described themselves as believers.

In a 2004 survey from the BBC: Those willing to die for their God, or their beliefs, included more than 90% in Indonesia and Nigeria, and 71% in Lebanon and the US. In most of the countries covered, over 80% said they believed in God or a higher power. In Nigeria the figure was 100%, in the US 91% with the UK scoring lowest at 67%. 

AESCHYLUS (525BC-456BC)

When a man's willing and eager, the gods join in.

Weeping and Laughing


Crying and weeping are mentioned 596 times in the Bible (618 if you count wailing and gnashing) - more than any other single concept except I, God, you, Jesus, Death and Good.

Of the thirteen uses of the word ‘laughed’ in the Bible, nine involve people being ‘laughed to scorn’, two are bitter or ironic laughs, and one involves someone being frightened to admit to having laughed ironically. No one smiles in the Bible.

Indra the Hindu
god of weather and war is sometimes described as having 1000 testicles.

Selu, a Cherokee Goddess, created corn by rubbing her belly and defecating.

Egyptians thought that the God Babi was able to open the sky as his penis was the bolt on the doors of heaven.

Most classical African religions believe in a God who created the world & its inhabitants but then retired from active intervention in human affairs.

Many Japanese people are unaware that Emperor Hirohito ever renounced his divine status.

According to Hindu theology, each cow contains 330 million gods.

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Bog is the Slavonic name for God.

Enthusiasm was originally not something you would want to be accused of. It meant frenzied possession by a god.

For the first two centuries of its existence, Christianity included people who believed in one god, in two, in 12, in 30, and in 144.

Harriet Beecher Stowe claimed that Uncle Tom's Cabin was dictated to her by God.

The Aztecs called gold 'the excrement of the gods'.