667. Why is polytheism one of the oldest and most widespread of human beliefs, despite being false?
“The concept of a single God could only have resulted from the evolutionary development of human thought. Incapable of conceiving an immaterial being with the power to act on matter, humankind naturally attributed physical features to God, basically a form and a face. From that point forward, everything that appeared to transcend ordinary human intelligence was regarded as Divine. Whatever humans could not understand was regarded as being the work of a supernatural power, and led to the belief in the existence of as many separate powers as the numerous effects that were witnessed but for which they could not account. However, there have been enlightened human beings in every era who have understood that it would be impossible for the world to be governed by this array of powers without a supreme ruler, and who were led to formulate the concept of the one and only God.”
668. As spirit phenomena have occurred around the world since the dawn of time, could these phenomena have helped prompt a belief in multiple gods?
“Of course, because human beings applied the term god to whatever transcended humanity. Spirits were many gods for them. Whenever individual humans set themselves apart from others by their actions, their genius, or a mysterious power beyond the understanding of their fellow humans, they were made into gods and were worshiped as such after their deaths.” (See no. 603)
In ancient times, the word god had a variety of meanings. It did not represent the Master of Nature as it does today, but was a generic term applied to all beings that appeared to transcend ordinary human beings. As spirit manifestations revealed the existence of intangible beings acting as one of the elementary powers of nature, they called them gods, just as we call them spirits. This is merely a question of words, with the difference being that they built temples and altars out of ignorance, and gave offerings that became highly lucrative for those whose interests were served. For us, spirits are more or less advanced creatures that have shed their human envelope. If we carefully study the different features of pagan divinities, we can easily recognize those of the spirits today at every level of the spirit hierarchy, their physical state in superior worlds, the role assumed by them in human life, and the various properties of the perispirit.
In shining its divine light on our world, Christianity has taught us to only adore the sole object for which this esteem is due. It could not destroy an element of nature and the belief in the existence of spiritual beings around us that has been preserved under different names. Their manifestations have never stopped, but they have been interpreted diversely and often exploited under the shroud of mystery hiding their true nature. While religion has regarded these spirit communications as miraculous, skeptics have labeled them as fraudulent. Spiritism is free from the superstition that has distorted the perception of these phenomena for ages therefore through scientific investigation and serious study it can now reveal one of the most sublime and important principles of nature.