Sketches on Atheism

190 thoughts on “A short list of some Gods (who were never envisaged twice, by anyone, anywhere, at any time)

  1. There’s probably a thesis in there, waiting to happen. What are the characteristics of gods that survive, over gods that get ditched? And how do the beliefs that go along with them help or hinder the people who worship them?


    • Good eye! I’d say the principle characteristics of the gods who survive longer is their connection to the more successful societies. Adaptability helps. The Sumerian gods were absorbed into the Akkadian Empire which were in turn absorbed into the Babylonian Empire. The family order was rearranged continually (read the Enuma Elish, its a wild ride of shuffling the deck), but the pantheon lived on for 4,000 years. Who knows, maybe there are a few people who still today water a shrine to Marduk? Ahura Mazda is still around, and he out-dates Jehovah by over a thousand years. Granted, he’s not as popular, but the Indo-Iranians didn’t go on to conquer the world.


    • John, you wrote, “It’s the principle way of demonstrating a religion to be false. If it were true (meaning universal) its deity should have emerged at least twice independently on the planet.”

      I ask you, why must it appear twice? Why does God have to choose two different races and give the same message twice?

      My analogy to prove your statement is false is as follows…

      I work in corporate America. When I want to impart important information to my employees I call my managers into a meeting. I pass on my instructions and they intern pass this down the line to every employee. I only give my instructions one time. I don’t travel to L.A., then Chicago, then Houston, then South Korea, giving the same message.

      The Bible is unique in many ways and though it can be argued there are similarities to other earlier religious belief systems, what is unique so far out distances the others that any similarities are then rendered meaningless.

      So, please answer one simple question and back-up your statement, why must it appear twice? Why does God have to choose two different races and give the same message twice?


      • Yes, you’ve already used that example. Got any new material?

        What is unique in the bible? Could you please be a tad more specific?

        To your question, I’m astounded i should even be asked such a ludicrous thing. Is the claim of your religion that your god is a universal deity, or a regional supernal overseer spirit of Canaanite hill villagers?


      • So you can’t answer why God should have revealed Himself to two different races, giving the same message twice. Perfect.

        One thing that sets the Bible apart is it’s composition, God speaking to man and men giving prophecy as revealed from God, many prophecies that become fulfilled. And yes, He is universal, the beginning and the end.

        Another thing unique is the combination of civil, moral, and ceremonial laws along with rules on public health and cleanliness.

        But I will concede that it’s uniqueness is not proof, in and of itself. To know it’s truth takes spiritual discernment.

        Discernment is the activity of determining the value and quality of a certain subject or event, particularly the activity of going past the mere perception of something and making detailed judgments about that thing. As a virtue, a discerning individual is considered to possess wisdom, and be of good judgement; especially so with regard to subject matter often overlooked by others.

        Spiritual discernment is calling on the Holy Spirit to lead or give direction on a certain matter. It is how the Spirit shows a person what God wants them to do and be. This gift is in contrast to the fruit of the Spirit which is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.


      • My my, “yet incapable” you say, you know better John.

        Perhaps Walt can speak to us from the 1800’s.

        O Me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring;
        Of the endless trains of the faithless—of cities fill’d with the foolish;
        Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)
        Of eyes that vainly crave the light—of the objects mean—of the struggle ever renew’d;
        Of the poor results of all—of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me;
        Of the empty and useless years of the rest—with the rest me intertwined;
        The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?

        That you are here—that life exists, and identity;
        That the powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse.

        Walter “Walt” Whitman (May 31, 1819 – March 26, 1892)

        Or, maybe Apples iPad Air TV Commercial take on old Walt’s poem can speak to us.

        “You don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute, we read and write poetry because we are members of the human race and the human race is filled with passion, medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits necessary to sustain life but poetry – beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.

        That you are here—that life exists and identity,
        That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.”


      • What? “So poetry is your god speaking?” You missed the point.

        I think God gives certain of us insight into Himself. It is those, such as good old Walt, who put it into words that ALL of us with an above average intelligence can understand.

        The marketing gurus in the USA are great at taking insight and turning that into selling products.


      • By “certain” I mean not everyone will make a conscious effort to connect to God. In order to hear God, you first have to take the time to find Him. Lucky for us that it’s not difficult because God is less than a heartbeat away – He made you and is in you.

        After reading my comment again I misspoke about the “above-average intelligence”, it was late when I wrote that. What I meant was that many highly intelligent people do not believe in God? One cause of atheism is the lack of humility referred to as pride. Someone who is prideful feels that they should be able to figure out everything, and they definitely don’t need God for anything. They do not believe in things that they cannot comprehend.


      • And it might be because atheists find no compelling reasons to believe. Reality tends to bear this out, don’t you think, or you wouldn’t require faith. Imagine the arrogance, the lack of humility, to think reality should arbitrate our beliefs about it.


      • I believe you, that you can find no compelling reasons to believe. You got everything figured out, and if there isn’t something you know then you have a reasonable assumption you can find your answers. But, many others have found compelling reasons to believe. Is it your opinion that since you can not find a compelling reason then those who have are wrong?

        Robert A. Millikan who was honored with the Nobel Prize for Physics said, “Fullness of knowledge always and necessarily means some understanding of the depths of our ignorance, and that is always conducive to both humility and reverence.”

        That “understanding of the depths of our ignorance” is reality, don’t you think? Not simply that since you can not find a compelling reason then it must not be true.


      • So if we move away from the subject of your god and alter the noun to some other god you don’t believe in (for exactly the same reason I have to not believe in yours) , follow the same line of reasoning you present here and see if your non belief translates into what you accuse me of.

        Look, there is a glaring problem trying to answer the question, “How do you know that?” when it comes to justifying any faith-based belief. If you could answer that question without relying wholly and solely on your own subjective criteria immune from reality’s independent arbitration of it, then and only then might you be able to demonstrate a legitimate means that is reasonable… not just for you but for everybody. Because you do not have the means to utilize reality in this way, your method – the same method that empowers all faith-based beliefs (not just religious) – is fundamentally and fatally flawed in the sense there is no means to differentiate any of these beliefs from what is described in medical terms as ‘delusional’. You empower your belief by belief. I empower belief by a different method entirely… one that relies on an independent means to arbitrate it. So do you… if it’s a belief that offers you no compelling reasons to think it is true. You don’t damn yourself for not believing in the beliefs of others, so why assume you can do so by privileging your own as the basis to damn others in the same regard?

        Your thinking is very muddled – and demonstrably so – when it comes to justifying your religious beliefs and you privilege them but not others equally so informed. You compound the thinking errors by holding a privileged bias against atheists who show a methodological consistency you yourself use in all other belief claims… except your own. This is clue about its truth value….


      • I never said you have to believe in my God, you are free to make your own decisions. My point was that just because you can not find a proof, or compelling reason in your mind, that – in and of itself, does not automatically make the proof and compelling reasons in my mind delusional. In my mind and life it works, it is not false. I’m a calm, peaceful and loving family man, so your use of delusional to describe me changes it’s true meaning from an adjective describing psychiatric mental illness to hate speech. Many people fear what they do not understand and sadly lose tolerance of different faiths.

        I also never mentioned other Gods or other belief systems. I never said anyone who doesn’t believe in my God is damned. I never said anyone who believes different than I do is wrong. Sure, men that use God as an excuse to hurt others is wrong, but I never said any peace-loving person who worships a different God than I is wrong.

        You require as proof the need for my faith to have “an independent means to arbitrate it”. My faith is personal, it’s between god and myself. There can be no independent means to verify it.

        You talk about “reality” as if it’s set in concrete. But I find, all around me, that an unchanging reality and an unchanging man exists only in a work of fiction. Some my tend to agree with that statement then somehow still be surprised when their lives, pain, progress, healing, loves, interests and even their spirituality ebb and twist, stand and recede.


      • In my mind and life it works, it is not false.

        Non sequitur.

        But you would know this if you appreciated why the method you use to empower your faith – faith-based belief – is demonstrably unjustified to earn any confidence. You counter this fact – that the method you use never has produced one iota of knowledge and a long, rich history of producing assertions and claims that are factually wrong – with the assertion that it ‘works’. The problem here is that attributing what ‘works’ to the faith-based belief is not evidence you can justify with confidence. All you can do is empower it with more belief. And that’s what you’ve done. It’s a circular, closed method that only empowers what you already believe. And that’s why it doesn’t produce knowledge.

        The non sequitur is the conclusion: that ‘it is not false’. You have no means in your method to justifiably deduce this. It is simply another assertion empower only by faith-based belief with no independent means to verify. I use the term ‘reality’ to demonstrate that there is no means outside of your belief to do this essential task if you want to claim a justified true belief (which is what constitutes knowledge).

        I understand that you attribute positive changes in your life to accepting the religious faith you hold. And you have every right to believe what you want. The problem arises any time you act on faith-based beliefs. If it’s for positive effect, there are better reasons; if it’s for negative effect, there is a requirement to stop. It’s the latter that continues to be a steady source of unwarranted and unjustified influence in the public domain without any sense from those who continue to empower it that it should cease. Hence, the criticism of unjustified beliefs presented as if true.


      • I don’t know about all that Tildeb. It reminds me of what my dad would say, “A fart is still a fart even if it smells like a rose”.

        Or perhaps Gary Marcus can help us with his insight in an article in The New Yorker; “Until last week, I would have said that your best hope for being more than a bodiless brain in a chemical stew was the fact that no scientist was yet capable of sustaining a viable brain in a jar.”

        But seriously, I really don’t expect you to ever understand, since you clearly don’t now. When you say, “[my] faith-based belief is not evidence you can justify with confidence”, clearly the concept of God working in the lives of those who love Him is beyond your analytical thinking. It’s a truth that you have never experience, hence does not fit into your reality.

        You seem to acknowledge the good that comes from faith is OK but the bad isn’t, so all faith is wrong because it can produce “negative effects”. If everyone who believed in God, any God, would follow a simple to understand command from Him to love your neighbor as yourself then there would be no negative effects. But some men succumb to greed and thirst for power and riches and they will use God, twisting the truth and the command to love into a warped sense of right and wrong, that indeed produces a negative effect to those being hurt.


  2. I love clearing up atheist misconceptions.

    The misconception here is the usual, “Blame God for the evil that men.”

    If John Zande becomes more than a legend in his own mind and a bunch of yokels make up a bunch of names for him, does John Zande cease to exist or become a fraud?

    John Zande might want to clear things up by splitting off a couple of yokels from the herd of yokels, teach them the truth, and then send them back to the herd to spread the Good News about the real John Zande.

    Oh, gee… That’s what God did.

    Say… If John Zande acts like God, does that mean that John Zande is, God?


  3. I love trying to find the source of things. I’ve seen this list all over atheist websites so I thought I’d try to find the source. Your source (Francois Tremblay’s site) does not give their source.

    But RationalResponders gives the list, it was compelled by “Pikachu” and originally posted on Infidelguy message board. 2006

    Tremblay tells us the list was inspired by HL Mencken’s 1922 essay called “Memorial Service” where he lists 189 “pagan” gods. Here is a link to that essay.

    Curious: Why did you put up the list today? Feeling that big whole in your life?

    Also, what did you mean by “never envisaged twice, by anyone…”

    Fudo-myoo (in the Buddhist list), for instance, is a guardian deity in Japanese Vajrayana Buddhism and still envisioned to this day.


    • It’s the principle way of demonstrating a religion to be false. If it were true (meaning universal) its deity should have emerged at least twice independently on the planet. Here’s how I worded it last year:

      if any single religion were in fact true, we would have, indeed should have already seen that religion emerge naturally and entirely unassisted wherever humans were found regardless of their isolation or epoch. Its deity (or deities) would wear a single hat, carry a single name and speak a single language audible to the deaf, coherent to infants, understood by the demented, and intelligible to the senile. Its dramas and narratives would be recognised and repeated by cloistered populations in every corner of the planet, and its edicts would have penetrated all tribal, domestic and international legal code mindless of earthly or socioeconomic borders. If any single religion were true a single and unchangeable objective moral writ would underwrite all human populations, dietary conventions would be unchaste by oceans, and norms of etiquette, civility and protocol would not deviate with geography or era.
      No religion has however emerged twice anywhere on the planet. No single deity has been envisaged by two populations separated by time and geography, and not a solitary person in history has arrived independently at Mithraism, Christianity, Islam, Zoroastrianism, Manichaeism, Scientology or Judaism without it first being taught to them.

      As to the list, its incomplete. Wiki is a good source for the gods. I’ve compiled a list of Middle Eastern deities which is much longer than this one, but gave up after that. There are just too many and there’s only so much time for copy n’ pasting.


      • No people, no culture “separated by time and geography, and not a solitary person in history has arrived independently at” Water. Instead, each has their own word for it. Only in English do we call it “water”.

        Your argument works if names are the essence and that name must have certain sounds. And I don’t think that is the argument you want. No?


      • What “water”?

        I mention “names” but they’re a minor, although not an ignorable, detail. No two gods share the same character, the same messages. Yes, we can have some common theme, fertility for example, but that is easily explained through anthropological lenses.


  4. What a large and interesting list! But I’m not clear what you’re trying to suggest … the celestial deity tea-party is bigger than we could ever have imagined? Not enough chairs to go around.


      • It’s surprisingly cold wet here with not a hummingbird in sight. How’s paradise? Still supping on cocktails in idyllic tropical beachland?

        No real point? I simply don’t believe you! I think you may be trying to suggest that the chance of any one of the millions of gods you mention existing is slim to none. But if you had to put a buck on it, which one would you go for? Bet you harbour feelings for a favourite deity …


      • Vele’s, of course… The Slavic god of musicians, trickery and magic!

        Paradise is an oven and has been for the last 3 weeks. My Carmen Miranda fruit-bowl hat melted.


    • It’s evidence of human beings wanting answers to question that, at that time, they could not find answers to. Dreaming of supernal authority figures is merely the extension of family/group systems. What would have been truly unique (apart from the same deity emerging twice in two separate populations) is if any culture dreamed up and worshiped an infant god; a deity that was, essentially, helpless.


      • It may be as you said, and/or, sensing some “Other presence” they developed these anthropomorphic stories. So the list would not be evidence as you claim, given this other possibility.


      • Regretfully the gods live on through this age of reason because one cannot disprove a negative. If there’s a mind willing to believe in the nonsense then the nonsense will live…. but that nonsense will never be (has never been) a uniform package of supernal silliness. The fact that it hasn’t/isn’t is just another reason to conclude the gods are human inventions. You know this as well as I do.


      • Indeed, I think they are human inventions too. I am trying to work on the argument, nothing else. But if I have disturbed a coffee house of buddies, I will stop contributing on this thread.


      • @ john zande,
        If the “point” you think this visual makes is against a certain type of theism, I am sure you are right. Other generalization may fail, however. And this list, as I already pointed out, does not include only such theist gods.


    • “A list of many names for gods in many cultures, even if each god is described differently, is no evidence against the possibility of a real god inspiring all these.

      Sabio, think about it. Your one “real god” would have to be a cruel god by allowing many images of different gods after he threatened his followers with punishment for worshiping false gods. And besides, why all the mystery? Surely he would have been smart enough to know that by not revealing himself but supposedly to a handful of people in the form of a burning bush, a donkey, etc., that he would be open to misinterpretations by a nomad people who were often malnourished and dehydrated.


      • It’s vitally important to Sabio that woo is always left some wiggle room as a possibility so that it can be inflated as required to fit with Mystery. It’s the naturopathic requirement, donchaknow.


      • @LBWoodgate:
        If the deities in the list were purported to all be theist deities who were all powerful, all loving and desire all humans to know clearly who they were, then indeed there would be problems. Theists will often try to slip away from those problems you rightly point out but conveniently whittling down their “god” to a mere principle or presence — as I propose here.

        Some of the deities in this list are not this classic type.
        I hope that is clear.

        [Ah, yes, I am (as always) ignoring the gross generalization, pseudo-psychoanalysis and sophomoric character assaults typical of tildeb who thrives best in echo-chambers.]


      • Jesus is in this list, which i wouldn’t have included. I’m still confused about Blood Clot Boy, too… but on the whole the visual works to serve the point.


      • You’d think that would make sense to people, right?? You try to present logic to these people but instead of them thinking of a way from point A to point B they go from point A to X to M to infinity to the beach and arrive back at point A thinking that they’ve gone somewhere when indeed they went in a squiggly circle. Their arguments seem to consist of insults, preaching, more preaching, telling others to move out of the country and, you guessed, more preaching (because as we all know that’s a legit argument ;).

        And the argument for having different words for water meaning that this list doesn’t disprove god is a pointless one. Of course we have different words, people in different areas are going to develop differently. But just because you have a word for it doesn’t make it true. The thing they all have in common is, as John pointed out, at one point in these people’s lives, they couldn’t explain something so they used the conception of god(s). Furthermore, if you delve into scripture, most religions (now a days) claim that there is one true god based on the word of god. So wouldn’t it stand to reason that if god told you his/her real name (through whatever crazy book you want to believe) that there then wouldn’t be SO many words for god? Because if there was a real god, I highly doubt, based on most depictions, that he would allow fantasies of other gods. Just saying. Peace out and live by logic and reason~


      • @laryter
        (1) Many religions are not theistic.

        (2) That people would make up dissimilar sounds (words) to describe shared experiences — be they awe, fear, some magical presence [which I don’t believe in] or hope for life after death — should not be surprising. Without a deity caring what sound people use, we wouldn’t expect them the same — instead, yet another anthropomorphism.


      • I think the larger point being made here is that if there was any truth to any god then there would be a striking, unignorable similarity between belief systems and their “concept” of the central deity. If this had occurred between (at least) two isolated populations we’d have (perhaps) some interesting evidence that something was going on.


      • “Many religions are not theistic.”

        This hardly seems relevant to my questions posed to you Sabio and the other part of your comments are mere jibber-jabber. Such lofty utterances I have often found serve more the self-grandiose nature of the speaker than they actually convey any concrete substance that people can latch onto.


      • Ah, if that is the “larger point”, then I think we more clearly disagree.
        The problems:
        (1) The phrase “any god” – the types of religions and gods are huge. Nontheist gods present problems here.
        (2) “similarities” abound

        It is good to be clearer on where we disagree.

        But I think I have had enough here today. I don’t want to argue for argument’s sake, and it seems all your readers want to agree with you so I doubt my points will be heard correctly. So I will join you on another post some other day. I do enjoy your posts.

        Off to work on our broken oil heater and maybe sneak in some bass guitar practice, electronic robot work and then off to my daughter’s play tonight! 🙂 Have a good day folks.


  5. Hey John – I’ve seen this list before and I’ve always thought it was fascinating! In the very least it is good to post so people realize that god creation has been so incredibly common – and I agree that your main point is very instructive.

    By the way, I always love reading all the comments on your blog, especially if I’m in a bad mood. The quips are always enough to cheer me up! 🙂


      • Jessica,

        Human beings are good at conjuring gods because God is the means and end of human nature.

        Even the uneducated Stone Age barbarian brute knew what atheists refuse to know: that God exists.

        That God exists is a self-evident truth.

        Atheism is a lie because it denies an almost obvious truth: that God exists.


      • That not everyone agrees that God’s existence is a self-evident truth is also self-evident. Who am I to say that my experience is more valuable that someone else’s? I believe the most important thing is that we all continue to ask questions.

        I was also thinking of the gods we make for ourselves — the things we place great value in that do not always deserve such stature.


      • Jessica,

        If someone holds that a self evident truth is false, then that person is in error.

        Atheists are therefore in error because the existence of God is self-evident (understood through reason).

        There is no requirement that everyone be in total agreement about the existence of God.

        The existence of anyone or anything is not contingent on whether others approve of that existence.

        No one’s experience or opinion has any more value than anyone else’s. And that is why atheism is so dangerous.

        Atheism requires that there be no objective basis for truth or morality because everything is just personal opinion.

        Only God is higher than man.

        So it is only God who can authoritatively say what is true or false with respect to faith and morals.


      • Someday, SOM, I hope you discover the difference between validity of form and the knowledge value of premises. A valid form does not produce knowledge. And that’s where the confidence you have in your beliefs evaporates in the light of knowledge adduced from reality that demonstrates your beliefs to be delusional. Lucky you.


      • Deb,

        Your confused understanding of philosophy is no match for simple reasoning or common sense.

        The basis for all my arguments consists of facts, the obvious, simple reasoning and common sense.


      • But who is God? And how can I (read “we”) find Him? Is He different in one country than in another? Is access to truth based on perspective, and location, and culture? As John stated, mankind has been looking for and creating gods for a very long time.

        (I would agree that that statement in itself is an argument for the existence of God, but I am getting off track.)

        This, however, is my struggle with religion, and why I believe what matters most is where our hearts are rather than whether or not we claim the existence of God. I never meant to imply to that His existence is contingent on others’ acknowledgment of it. Of course not. But you say that atheists are in error because “the existence of God is self-evident (understood through reason).” But that is YOUR reason that is telling you so, which is based on your genetic makeup and life experiences…

        I guess I’m just trying to see things from more than one perspective and keep an open mind…


      • Jessica,

        Knowing that God exists is a matter of reason. Finding God is a matter of religion.

        The One True God is the same for everyone because he is the First Cause, the Creator of the universe.

        That is the definition of God.

        Likewise the truth is the same for everyone. That is because we are all created equal.

        So by nature, the truth must be the same for everyone.

        With regard to religion, only God can reveal God.

        Judaism and Christianity are the only religions that were revealed by God.

        Therefore if one is searching for the true religion, one would do well to start there.


      • Haven’t we established that there was no revelation? The Patriarchs never lived and Moses is a myth. Who, then, got revealed to?

        SOM, you also better stop using the First Cause line of reasoning. It’s no longer a valid argument. In 2012 researchers led by Xiao-song Ma and Prof. Anton Zeilinger of the Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information at the University of Vienna published a paper in Nature Physics (April 22) detailing their experiments into Quantum Entanglement which (as a side project) proved retrocausality. They managed to get the effect before the cause. Strange, but true.


      • John,

        “We” must mean you and the rat in your pocket singing in echo chamber three part harmony with all your atheist buddies.

        “You” and that includes your rat, don’t get to wink Revelation out of existence.

        You don’t get to negate the experience, knowledge and insights of billions of human beings obtained over thousands of years.

        For your personal opinion in this matter to even approach credibility, demands a frontal lobotomy.


      • And here’s a timely review over at Edge of why we need to retire the story-telling notion we use about cause and effect.

        W.D. Hillis writes,

        “The notion of cause-and-effect breaks down when the parts that we would like to think of as outputs affect the parts that we would prefer to think of as inputs. The paradoxes of quantum mechanics are a perfect example of this, where our mere observation of a particle can “cause” a distant particle to be in a different state. Of course there is no real paradox here, there is just a problem with trying to apply our storytelling framework to a situation where it does not match.

        Unfortunately, the cause-and-effect paradigm does not just fail at the quantum scale. It also falls apart when we try to use causation to explain complex dynamical systems like the biochemical pathways of a living organism, the transactions of an economy, or the operation of the human mind. These systems all have patterns of information flow that defy our tools of storytelling.”


  6. Damn. Now you have me questioning whether I’m really an atheist. Surely in that list there’s a bronze-age god who is really desperate for a follower — and I’ve always been fond of Ganesha. Lots of arms and legs are a plus, so you’d think Cthulhu would work, but somewhere I missed out. Why did you do this to me?


    • Apologies. You might find some refuge in the warm embrace of Kabta, the god of shaping bricks. I could suggest Blot Clot Boy but in all truth i’m not entirely sure what he’s all about.


  7. Over the top? Sheesh, that could apply to so many Christians on this platform. Anything specific?
    If what you say is on the button, I feel sure SOM would not mind realizing that he had been rumbled.

    I would be a tad disappointed; he seems so much more likeable as a christian dickhead


    • “Where is the graveyard of dead gods? What lingering mourner waters their mounds? There was a time when Jupiter was the king of the gods, and any man who doubted his puissance was ipso facto a barbarian and an ignoramus. But where in all the world is there a man who worships Jupiter today? And who of Huitzilopochtli? In one year – and it is no more than five hundred years ago – 50,000 youths and maidens were slain in sacrifice to him. Today, if he is remembered at all, it is only by some vagrant savage in the depths of the Mexican forest. Huitzilopochtli, like many other gods, had no human father; his mother was a virtuous widow; he was born of an apparently innocent flirtation that she carried out with the sun. When he frowned, his father, the sun, stood still. When he roared with rage, earthquakes engulfed whole cities. When he thirsted he was watered with 10,000 gallons of human blood. But today Huitzilopochtli is as magnificently forgotten as Allen G. Thurman. Once the peer of Allah, Buddha and Wotan, he is now the peer of Richmond P. Hobson, Alton B. Parker, Adelina Patti, General Weyler and Tom Sharkey.”

      -H.L. Mencken


  8. It’s incomplete – I looked all through and nowhere did I find the name Paul McGrath. Oh, hang on, is this the list of forgotten gods? Excuse me, after all these years we still sing about McGrath down Villa park – what a player!


  9. Your short list is missing some of my native gods. Who have never manifested in any other culture as far as I know, but make a lot more sense, than the monotheistic gods like the ones in the Bible and in the Quran.

    Like for example Ilmatar who gave birth to the universe, since it is the females who give birht to living entities not males. Yes? Then there are Tapio, Äinemöinen, Lieckiö, Ilmarinen, Turisas, Tontu, Capeet, Rongoteus, Pellonpecko, Wirancannos, Egres, Köndös, Ukko, Rauni, Käkri, Hijsi, Wedhen Eme, Nycres. etc. etc. These are written the same way as in the original source form from 16th century when they were first listed. At that point Finland had been a “Christian nation” for several hundred years since crusades against the Baltic Finnish tribes and the first reformist Lutheran Bishop was angry at how people still worshipped all these ancient gods so he listed them. (The Catholic pirests had been uninterrested in forcing people to give up their old gods as long as they showed up for the sunday masses.)

    Many of the listed names are pseudonyms, since the idea that one should not call a god by its name invain is rather universal. It manifests the fear of the mysterious and unpredictable nature of gods and other supernatural entities. It is curious though, how people even when they acknowledge this, still tend to think they have a clue what their gods want from them and on what sort of nature any god has. I mean, it must be the pan-ultimate form of wishfull thinking, that one first wants there to be an afterlife, then concludes, that the forces wich could muster such an alternative existance must be very strong (even omnipotent), but for them to give any person existance to the netherworld they must also be benevolent. But by wich logic even if we could even establish, that there is such a thing as afterlife (wich we can not), any entity that created the universe, or/and makes access to such existance possible is actually benevolent, nor that such an entity is even required for it to exist? Even, if we could establish there ever was a manifestation, or revelation from such a god (wich there is not), we have no particular reason to believe, that this entity is in any way “benevolent”, or willing to let any human individual to enter that secondary level of existance.

    The mere appearance of the obvious wishfull thinking involved in all such religious thinking alone reveals, that the many different names for gods are not so much just a difference in language for the same revealed truth, but merely a cultural phenomenon reappearing by the many culturally dependant forms of same fear and similar forms of wishfull thinking.


    • I like your gods, Raut, and Köndös has to be the best name ever conceived of! The list, though, isn’t mine and it is missing heaps of gods… even hundreds of Sumerian deities. One day i’ll sit down and over eighteen bottles of wine compile my own list.

      Your last point is what i think is the strongest evidence against all the gods. The fact that none appeared twice in (at least) two separate cultures is damning. Language appeared independently, a sense of fair play appeared independently, tool technology, construction, agriculture, irrigation, clothing: all these things, and more, arose naturally within disparate human populations, yet never the same god.


  10. Wow! You’ll forgive me for not having read this post, right? I believe I got the point when I read ‘Adad’…it’s a great read nonetheless. They say a picture says more than a thousand words, but I think in this case a thousand words paint the entire picture (in other words: ‘The Creation of Adam’ by Michelangelo is a fine cartoon, but not nearly as convincing as the picture this post paints…)


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