American Idol

god

When the crowd saw what Paul had done, they shouted in the Lycaonian language, “The gods have come down to us in human form!” (Acts 14:11)

Some people are used to being mistaken for gods.  Some have god-like good looks.  Some have brilliant intellects.  Some have astonishing creative talents. Some wield extraordinary influence and power.  And some people—a very rare few—have it all, a full-service divine incarnation made even more glorious by their willingness to associate with the little people.  But enough about me.

Let’s admit it.  We are polytheists.  Even though our religious by-laws sanction only one god for official worship, in practice we prefer a plentifully populated pantheon. The truth is, we’ve never paid much attention to the user manual anyway.  We love our gods and manufacture them with assembly line efficiency.

There are advantages to the single-god system, of course.  It’s nice to have a single heavenly clearinghouse for most issues.  All complaints, blame, questions, appeals, whines, explanations, excuses, and manic high-fives can be sent to the same address.  There’s no need to riffle through the celestial yellow pages to find who’s responsible for this or that thing.  It’s a one-stop religion, which can save a lot of time for stuff we’d rather be doing.

Then again, monotheism has its downsides.  Having only one god can get a bit boring after a while.  Monotheism means you have to deal with the same guy over and over; there’s nobody else up there to talk to (unless you happen to be a Catholic and have hired a bunch of saints to run the switchboard).  After you and God have gotten to know each other, there’s not a lot new to talk about.  You bring your same old shopping list to him and he pretty much ignores it.  It’s a comfortable, low-maintenance relationship but kind of a drag.

No wonder we like a little fling now and then.  We’re not the religious nymphomaniacs that the Hindus are with their 32 million gods. (At least we have a sense of propriety, for crying out loud.)  Besides, most of us would never stoop to worship a rat god, for God’s sake.  Still, those crazy Indians know how to party, and they did come up with both Gandhi and the Kama Sutra, which is more fun than the Song of Solomon by a long shot.  But you probably knew that already.

So if you’re open to a little spiritual fling, I’m available to be worshiped.

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