A reader writes:
South Carolina’s number one newspaper has offered a helpful theological fact to assist its readers:
Haley and one of her brothers converted to Christianity as adults; her parents and two other siblings are Sikhs….
Still, some voters were confused by Haley’s campaign Web site, thinking she may be both Sikh and Methodist and were unclear which “Almighty God” Haley was referencing on the site. (Sikhs, like Christians, believe in one omnipotent God, but not the same God.)
In other words, there are two omnipotent, perfect, and perfectly simple Prime Movers, each of whom is identical to his own essence and his own existence. How did Thomas miss this obvious fact?
Yes. Christians often seem to make such odd statements when the One God in question is believed in by non-Jews. Way back when, some Christians heretics, like Marcion made the same weird mistake when it came to Jews. For Marcion, the one Jewish God was the Bad God, while the One Christian God was the good one. Tertullian said Marcion had “a pumpkin, in place of a brain”–a sentiment heartily endorsed by the Church.
These days, it’s Muslims and Sikhs who get told they believe in some whole ‘nother God than the one God by Christians who don’t seem to have really internalized the meaning of the words “one God”. I wrote about this sometime back (here and here). Highly politicized culture warriors and traditionalists hostile to the teaching of Holy Church in Vatican II whose grasp of the Tradition only goes back to 1956 Cleveland seem to be resistant to the obvious logic of the Church’s position on this point. Nonetheless, the fact remains that a person can believe in one God and grasp a few of his attributes like “He’s almighty, compassionate, merciful, the God of Abraham, etc.” Insofar as they do, they believe in the same God we do because *there’s only one God*, not two. This does not in the slightest mean that they grasp all his attributes or his Trinitarian nature, or that all the things they attribute to him are true. But it also does not mean there is some other God out there. There’s just one God. That’s what “monotheism” means. Don’t adopt polytheism just to win a culture war.