God Of The Month
The age of god-making is over. It's been over for a long time. Instead of inventing new gods, people and peoples simply accept old ones.
Nowhere is this more evident than in the West. Westerners, including Americans, are too lazy to create new deities. They have a tendency to adopt existing personalities and modify them, yea, Americanize them. This is consistent with the origin itself of Yahweh, who was borrowed by the Hebrews from previous cultural mythologies and modified to suit their needs.
We can only speculate as to the precise reasons for the decline of god-making. People no longer manufacture gods, in my estimation, for three primary reasons: cross-cultural factors which have caused a settling of the mindset of fighting nationalist wars with a god on one's side, the increase in the degree of certainty regarding what were once high mysteries by the advent of science, and a polarization of confrontational attitudes in the human psyche which sparked nationalist wars for millennia into an attitude of acceptance that certain gods will not go away any time soon.
The worldwide publishing and distribution of Bibles and Korans and the availability of books in bookstores and libraries worldwide have contributed to the third reason. Humans now have a rather defeatist attitude in relation to the fact that the God of Christianity and the God of Islam are just too big and too popular to fight, so they live with the fact that both deities are an intrinsic component of the geopolitical matrix.
Dudes Who Rule
My God is bigger than your God. My God is better than your God. My God can beat up your God. My God can out-create your God. My God kicks your God's ass!
Each nation has created a god, and the god has always resembled his creators. He hated and loved what they hated and loved, and he was invariably found on the side of those in power. Each god was intensely patriotic, and detested all nations but his own. All these gods demanded praise, flattery, and worship. Most of them were pleased with sacrifice, and the smell of innocent blood has ever been considered a divine perfume. All these gods have insisted upon having a vast number of priests, and the priests have always insisted upon being supported by the people, and the principal business of these priests has been to boast about their god, and to insist that he could easily vanquish all the other gods put together. - First paragraph of "The Gods," by Robert Ingersoll
One thing I learned in school was the way writing themes are used to develop plots and story lines. A basic theme was conflict. The teacher drew on the chalkboard these conflicts: Man vs. Man, Man vs. Nature, Man vs. Himself. One he didn't include was God vs. Man.
The inventors of Yahweh utilized the God vs. Man theme to the extreme. Their Yahweh literature, specifically the Bible, is replete with manifestations of God (Yahweh) against Man: God's strategies vs. Man, God's attitude towards Man, and God's attacks on Man.
My God is bigger than your God. My God is better than your God. My God can out-create your God. My God can beat up your God. My God kicks your God's ass!
Until this attitude, which is like the attitude children have regarding their fathers in their youth and adolescence, withers away, the world will be plagued by religious wars. Hostilities like the U.S. military's holocaust in Southeast Asia and Osama Bin Laden's destruction of the World Trade Center and partial destruction of the Pentagon will be possible, and probable. When humans universally realize their individual pet deities do not exist and neither do the pet deities of their theological opponents, humanity will be on the path to world peace.
Sure, we could have wars over other issues at that point, after wars for religion and for imperialism have abated. But wars are fought in proportion to the zealousness for each cause. People won't be as zealous for matters less emotional than religion and nationalism. The degree of zealousness in a battle is directly proportional to the depth of a tradition in the collective human or nationalist psyche and the corresponding attempt to defend and preserve that tradition. Another keystone function of this intensity of dedication is the alleviation of insecurity which fervent belief in a God brings to humans in general. They like to think they know the answer and have discovered the one true God, even if deep down in their consciousness they harbor doubts and force themselves to continue believing.