Christian Shared Experiences

A believing community has a creed, a code, and a ceremony that they share.  Roman Catholics respect their teachers, who are presumed to be telling the truth, so that there is docility to Church teaching, admitting the ability to be taught.  There are central beliefs which all Catholics must give the fullest level of assent, the defined dogma, such as the Trinity, One God with three persons, and belief in Jesus Christ, two natures both divine and human.  Jesus was a real person who died and rose from the dead.  The magisterium comes in the form of papal documents and ecumenical worldwide councils.

Polytheism

Polytheism is opposed to monotheism, since there is not one God, but many Gods.  In other words, there is not one transcendent ultimate God, but a series of many Gods.  Thus, many ancient religions, like the Greeks and Romans, had a variety of Gods for all occasions.  The Israelites were continually fighting against the variety of Baal Gods in Canaan.  Many ancient native religions also had a variety of Gods to answer their many questions.

Monotheism

Monotheism that maintains that there is only one transcendent God.  The Israelite belief in Yahweh, their one God, was the prime example of monotheism.  Islamic faith with its belief in one God, Allah, is another later example of monotheism.  Christianity took from Judaism its monotheism, but changed the Yahweh monotheism into a triune God of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

The beautiful prayer of King Hezekiah (Isa 37:15-37:20)

“King Hezekiah prayed to Yahweh.

He said.

‘O Yahweh of hosts!

God of Israel!

You are enthroned above the cherubim!

You alone are God

Of all the kingdoms of the earth.

You have made heaven and earth.

Incline your ear!

O Yahweh!

Hear!

Open your eyes!

O Yahweh!

See!

Hear all the words of King Sennacherib

That he has sent to mock the living God!

O Yahweh!

The kings of Assyria have laid waste

All the nations with all their lands.

They have hurled their gods into the fire.

They were no gods,

But the work of human hands,

Wood with stone.

So they were destroyed.

O Yahweh!

Our God!

I pray you,

Save us

From his hand!

Thus all the kingdoms of the earth

May know that you,

O Yahweh,

Are God alone.’”

Once again, this beautiful prayer of monotheism is almost word for word from 2 Kings, chapter 19. There is no doubt or question that there is only one God, Yahweh. There are no other gods, since this is the monotheistic religion of Yahweh. There might have been some ambiguity in the past, but not here. This is a personal direct prayer to Yahweh. King Hezekiah cries out to Yahweh, who is almighty in heaven, above all the kingdoms of the earth. He has made heaven and earth as its creator. Now the personal plea comes, as King Hezekiah asks Yahweh to listen to how King Sennacherib of Assyria has mocked Yahweh. It is true that he has destroyed many nations and many gods, but those gods were manmade gods of sticks and stones. King Hezekiah wants Yahweh to show his glory to all the nations of the world by saving Jerusalem.