No, I’m not talking about the video game. Although that game kicked some serious ass. I’m talking about a “real” god of war. We are all familiar that in a monotheistic religion, the worshiped god has full responsibility for everything in the universe. In polytheistic religions different burdens are divided among all gods. There are gods of fertility, of love, of thunder, of fire, of oceans, of death, and of course, of war. There are numerous gods of war, like Mars from Roman mythology, Odin from Norse, Ares from Greek, Anhur from Egyptian, Chi You from Chinese, and Hachiman from Japanese, to name a few. There are many other gods associated with war in other ways, like Pallas Athena from Greek mythology, but who is more of a god of strategic warfare than plain, cold war. Wars were so common in ancient times (like they wouldn’t be today…), that many gods of different aspects of war existed in one religion. But those who would be defined solely as gods of “war”, had may similar traits. They were quite brutal to their nature. Well of course a god of war has to be, we can’t have a bunch of hippies running around trying to pose as gods of war with flowers in their hands instead of swords. These gods were ruthless, and often came in conflict with other gods who viewed them to be too insensitive and not being a team player. Even gods of death were less ruthless than these gods of war. Gods of death seldom were ruthless, more depressed actually. Who wouldn’t be when your job is being the mortician of every human being on the planet? But I digress. I want to talk to you about one specific god of war. One among many ruthless, violent, brutal, merciless, bloodthirsty gods of war: Yahweh Sabaoth.
Judaism evolved from Mesopotamian mythology. Judaism was unique in the sense that it only believed in one god. Eventually, that is. In the very beginning Judaism was still polytheistic. You just don’t jump from a hundred gods to one overnight. In this mythology, many gods were present. Just like other mytholgies, we had gods of thunder, fire, oceans, darkness, you name it. They also had a god of war, named Yahweh Sabaoth, “he who musters armies”. As you’ve probably guessed by now, this god of war named Yahweh is the same god worshiped in the monotheistic version of Judaism to come. This god of war somehow managed by being the merciless and brutal god he is, to wipe out all other gods from society. Tribes who gave in more to the god of war than other gods, were fueled in their anger and brutality by their most beloved god, wiping out tribes who didn’t favor this god, and thus were more peaceful. In the end Yahweh Sabaoth prevailed, and the other gods sank into oblivion. We can still see traces of this polytheistic society in the Bible. In the very beginning, Yahweh clearly states in Genesis 1:26 “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness”. It is also pretty obvious Yahweh reveals the existence of other gods in the ten commandments, when saying “I am the LORD thy God. Thou shalt not have strange gods before me”. This sort of jealousy could only stem from the fact that IF man worshiped other gods, it’d be bad for Yahweh since these gods did exist, and would gain arrogance from worship, just like him. If no other gods existed, there would be no reason for him to be jealous.
Talking about jealousy, yes, Yahweh is the most jealous god I’ve ever heard of. Not only that but he is the greatest source for genocide ever encountered in fiction. He kills people left and right. He even admits his own jealousy himself, since two verses after telling us not to worship other gods, he says “You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me” (Exodus 20:5). About the genocide part, Yahweh has actually slaughtered far over 2 million persons in the Bible. Who needs Satan (who for the record killed an astounding ten persons in the Bible) when we have a god like this? What comes to Satan, you should really know that he didn’t exist in early Judeo-Christian mythology. The snake in the garden of Eden does, yes. But whoever wrote that fairy tale never meant the snake to be a demonic creature who once was an angel. The snake thing is probably only a primitive add to the story to try and explain why humans seem to have a natural fear for snakes. Monkeys do have that too by the way. Never did the snake tempt monkeys, not that I’ve heard at least. Satan developed since if we had an omnipotent god who ruled everything by himself, that meant he was also to be held responsible for the evil in the world. This was unacceptable, so over the centuries Satan started to develop. But more of that some other time.
Going back to the verse from Exodus in the last paragraph. Yahweh holds a grudge, another petty human feeling, when saying that we inherit the sins of our great-great-grandparents. Well this is of course logical… if you drink milk through your nose. So I have to suffer since my dad or his dad sinned? Gosh, darn the luck. That just makes me so sad… No wait. What’s this? In Deuteronomy 24:16 it says “Fathers shall not be put to death because of their children, nor shall children be put to death because of their fathers. Each one shall be put to death for his own sin”. Huh… so which is it? Well, that the Bible doesn’t agree with itself is nothing new. And none of these verses agree with the fact that one sin, the original sin, has not been passed on to only one or two generations, but all the way from Adam and Eve to us, hundreds of generations later.
He slaughters millions. He is jealous. He holds grudges. He isn’t really that omniscient either: “They have set up kings, but not by me; they have made princes, and I knew it not.” (Hosea 8:4). All in all it seems that he had all the same values and personal attributes as the barbaric and ignorant people who dwelt in the Palestinian desert thousands of years ago. There are humans who are less murderous, less jealous, less vindictive and less of a complete ass than this dude. Well, maybe he then really is omnipotent, since he was able to create a creature superior to him.