Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Philosophy and Monotheism

i have just been reading one of my fantasy fiction books entitled "Dust of Dreams" by Steven Erikson and came across a paragraph that i thought was very interesting and would be grateful for your responses;

"There is no single god. There can never be a single god. For there to be one face, there must be another. The Nah'ruk (For all purposes we shall argue that they are, in our terms, a different culture or religion) did not see it in such terms of course. They spoke of forces in opposition, of the necessity of tension. All that binds must be bound to two foci, at the minimum. Even should a god exists alone, isolated in its perfection, it will come to comprehend the need for a force outside itself, beyond its omniscience. If it all remains within, - exclusively within, that is - then there is no reason for anything to exist, no reason for creation itself. If all is ordered, untouched by chaos, then the universe that was, is and will ever be, is without meaing. Without value. The god would quickly comprehend, then, that its own existence is also without meaning, and so it would cease. It would succumb to the logic of despair."

"I don't understand"

"In its knowledge, the god would understand its necessity for that which lies outside itself, beyond its deirect control. In that tension meaning will be found. In that struggle value is born. If it suits you and your kind, Destriant, fill the ether with gods, goddesses, First Heroes, spirits and demons. Kneel to one or many, but never - never - hold to a belief that but one god exists, that all that is resides within that god. Should you hold such a belief, then by every path of reasoning that follows, you cannot but conclude that your one god is cursed, a thing of impossible aspirations and deafening injustice, whimsical in its cruelty, blind to mercy and devoid of pity. Do not misunderstand me. Choose to live within one god as you like, but in so doing be certain to acknowledge that there is an "other", an existence beyong your god. And if your god has a face, then so to does that other. In such comprehension, Destriant, will you come to grasp the freedom that lies at the heart of all life; that choice is the singular moral act and all one chooses can only be considered ina moral context if that choice is free."

Just wondering what you make of this extract as i found it really interesting and wondered what your thoughts are??


Paul Geddes


  1. An interesting quote in a way.

    It certainly brings out one of the key arguments for theological Gnosticism; a la the Manichees, Cathars and other perfecti of the inner world (the world beyond).

    This is the idea that the singular creator God is a thing of cruelty and material imperfection and that the true God is a God of interior spirtual perfection and freedom.

    Of course this idea has its dangers. Not only does this kind of perfectionism suggest a horrible social distinction between the 'saved/perfect' and the 'damned/imperfect' More importantly in the end it argues that at the heart of creation itself is a profound tension between two hostile Gods - the violent God of 'the one' and 'the Other God', who contests the legimacy of this God in the name of what is other to it.

    'The other God' becomes a God of refusal; a God of a rejection of the whole, of connection, sharing, communion and the ethical as a social phenomenon. It becomes the God of radical individualism, of the Protestant God who says no to all forms of beloning and community other than to himself.

    It the context of Judeo-Christian monothesism
    it ends up arguing that the Jewish God is a figure of cruelty and that we should fight the 'madness of Moses and his law' in the name of what is other to the law.

    What is other to the law? Well, in the end the worry is that it the exact opposite to the law of Moses. It is a counter-law that says there is no injustice and that in the end everything is permitted.

    The Nazis were Gnostics is just this sense

    Neil Turnbull

  2. Interesting indeed! Well it's very stark and oppositional, the only way a god exists is purely in antagonism to another. A god in isolation will be without challenge and go so far as to seek it out. The moral consequence of this seems radically voluntaristic; morality is the domain of singular choice without context. I think indeed that the end result of that road is psychopathy!