What is a good argument to refute polytheism and prove that monotheism is logical, philosophically sound, and true?
Respectfully, I think this would be difficult to do if one belongs to a faith that holds the Trinity as it’s depiction of God.
There are polytheistic faiths which understand their “gods” to be facets or manifestations of a greater holistic reality. The gods are distinct yet connected.
Seeing that the Trinity is a mystery of faith that cannot be truly explained, most polytheists will see it in terms of their own pantheon, or as a “fudge” of trying to explain how three gods are still only one god.
Also, the roles the saints play in Catholicism is similar to the roles of gods and demigods in Polytheistic faiths. Saying they are different because Catholicism proclaims they are different, yet they serve the same roles and functions is a pretty hard sell.
While you might argue through some philosophical logic arguement that there HAD to be ONE first cause, it will be difficult to explain why, in Genesis even God uses the term “us”.
St. Paul’s speech to the Athenians maybe?
I suggest Frank Sheed’s explanation in his book Theology for Beginners.
This is not true. The Trinity is in no way comparable to Polytheism. It is not three Gods who form one, it is one God with three parts. It is also not true that Polytheistic faiths would understand the Trinity in polytheistic terms. This ignores the Ancient Greek concept of the Prime Mover and Logos. Remember what Saint John said in his Gospel, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God…And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we saw his glory, the glory as it were of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” This Word, or Logos, existed with the Father from the beginning, and become flesh incarnate through the person of Jesus Christ, by means of the Holy Spirit, which is why John also says the world was made both “by” and “through” this Word. Think of a printer: There is the blank paper( Flesh), the printer that holds this paper ( The Word, God), and the light that inscribes information on this paper( The Holy Spirit). This might be a faulty analogy, but its a simple example of how we and the world are made through the Word. ( Think also of Genesis, how the light of God moves over the waters and in this way creates them. This light is the Holy Spirit. Jesus fulfilled this creation when he breathed the Holy Spirit onto his disciples. Now the Holy Spirit moves over us like it moved over water and creates our spiritual selves. This can also relate to Baptism, the cleansing of sins the way water cleans, the receiving of the Holy Spirit to fulfill our creation as both physical and spiritual beings.)
You are right in saying that Polytheistic faiths viewed their Gods as personifications of nature. This is abundantly clear in all myths. Think of the " Phaeton" episode in Ovid’s The Metamorphoses, where the constellations are literally brought to life as a lion and crab who attack him on his chariot. In fact, all of Greco-Roman mythology depicts its Gods as rulers of nature, not as its cause. Gaia, the personification of Earth, is the considered the first God, who sprung from Chaos. This is the belief of Earth from nothing. The Gods appeared and violently obtained their rulership, but no one God has absolute power over the other, in the sense that all have their own domain. Even Zeus, the ultimate God and proclaimed ruler of all, can not always interfere with the will of the other Gods or trample on their domains, and he too is bound by the river Styx when he swears an oath to it.
How does this all relate to the logical belief in monotheism over polytheism? Well, even the Greeks began to question their mythology as a means of theology. Remember, this was a time before modern science. In a sense, mythology was a means to measure the world and its causes as much as it was a religious belief system. When science and mathematics began to evolve in their culture, so too did their theology. Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle began to abandon the Gaia myth and questioned the true cause of Earth and its natural cycles. This lead to their belief in an uncaused first cause, and their coinage of the term Logos, which is both the Prime mover and the method by which creation is moved. This is why Paul and the apostles encountered the monument to the " Unknown God" in Greece, and why Paul said, “So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship–and this is what I am going to proclaim to you.” This, coupled with the miracles Jesus worked through them, lead to the rapid expansion of Christianity throughout Greece and the rest of the world.
A long winded and weak response to the question? Yes. But I felt the need to respond to this argument that the Trinity is in any way comparable to Polytheism.
I don’t know of any form of polytheism that does not have a creator god or one source of creation. Try explaining that in polytheism the term god can easily be replaced with the term deity. Then explain how there is one creator deity or substance that gives life to everything else, including other deities. And even when a pantheon of deities are formed there is one leader and several lesser deities. So no matter what faith you believe in there is most often going to be a leader among the supernatural beings.
It is not three gods, it is one God in three persons (manifestations).
Saints are patrons of certain things like music or good health. A patron is not that same as a god. Only God is the God of all things, like music, good health, etc.
It is a good question and just today I wondered, how does one arrive at Monotheism theologically. I’m not sure if there is an answer. Was Abraham monotheistic before God spoke to him? I got the impression he was but it was a long time ago that I read the story.
So for instance, if one has never heard the voice of God saying there is no other God, then what theology leads a person to believe that there is only one. If there was a way to come to it with reason it must have been pretty amazing. But I don’t know what it is.
I will try to start.
If the world is created, then are there 1 or many Gods?
There is great consistency in the creation.
If there were many creators then they must have the same design in mind.
Creation might lean toward the belief that there is one plan, one designer.