I've always like Taoism's focus on balance and harmony, so I've always thought the idea of two deities representing two opposites that complement and balance each other out interesting (similar to the yin and yang representing the opposite aspects of the world which together form the united whole: yin represents femininity and darkness, among other things, while yang represents masculinity and light, also among other things,) especially because life in the real world really hinges on balance.
I'd imagine obsequious zealots of one half of the unified duology opposing the other half, i.e. overzealous followers of a god of light and the sun might hate the goddess of night and the moon (for the night is dark and full of terrors, as the Red Woman would say,) without recognizing the need for balance, as eternal day would scorch the world sterile, just as an eternal night would freeze it; but with the caveat that what can be frozen can be thawed, reflecting the female capacity to bring about new life (look up parthenogenesis if you think a male is mandatory for this.) Some casual observers of Taoism see the female association with darkness as a form of misogyny, but they overlook the necessity of night to balance temperature, and that there are nocturnal animals who depend on the protection of darkness to survive (our own mammalian ancestors among them.) There are animals that can survive being frozen solid, but there are none that can survive being burned to ashes.
Are you implying that if, for instance, the Christian god, I am that I am or whatever, would actually appear for real in a public place and start announcing commandments that people would become less religious? Surely not. Believing in a proven God who has actually shown himself is still believing in him.
Certainly. Such a being would probably not even be able to convince a sizeable number of people that it was, in fact, God.
This is also the reason why, the more religious someone is, the fewer defined attributes their deity has, turning from specific descriptions like "Zeus hurls the thunderbolts from the sky!" to "God is omniscient!" which is about as non-specific as you can get. The pagans were fairly secular in their outlook even though they had gods everywhere, heck, their GODS were worldly and spent a large part of the time drinking, feasting, and screwing anything that moved.
"The pagans (latin root paganus
, meaning 'country dweller' - it only came to mean 'non-christian' once Christianity became the dominant religion of Europe,)" weren't a single cohesive group, and different cultures had different pantheons, different rituals and differing levels of devotion. Some cultures had priestly classes, others didn't. The ancient Britons who erected stone circles (Stonehenge simply being the largest of them,) obviously didn't have that secular an outlook on life, considering they also put a great deal of effort into the tombs of their dead (or at least their honored/high ranked dead.) Throughout the Americas, you see "pagan" religions building grandiose monuments for religious reasons. Direct contact with the Aztecs confirms a priestly class and pyramids devoted to religion, religious beliefs fervent enough that they justified human sacrifices (a common thread in the religions of all the Mesoamerican and South American civilizations,) the translation of the Maya language led to the understanding that these were also a deeply religious people. The Nazca Lines serve no reasonably imaginable secular purpose, the Moche civilization seems to have revolved around a religion of death and human sacrifice.
At any rate, if a monotheistic religion's one true God did appear before humanity to prove his own existence (which he wouldn't do because gods don't exist,) I think he could easily prove himself by just killing half the world's population in an instant, leave them dead for a sufficient period of time (several days or even a week,) that their loved ones could no longer reasonably believe it was merely a big prank, then resurrect them. Or turn them into pillars of salt. Or even just make everyone have faith in him, free will be damned. How does anyone argue that he's not god once they're filled with overflowing zealous faith?
Edited by AGX-17, 06 December 2012 - 05:58 PM.