Several people have asked me recently about why, when I left the faith, I didn’t simply start to believe in a different kind of God.  I had come to think there was not an all-powerful, loving, and active God in the world simply because, after lots of reading, arguing, and thinking, I could no longer explain all the pain and misery in the world.  But why would God have to be all-loving, all-powerful, and active?  Why not believe in a different kind of God?

I dealt with this question on the blog some years ago, and would like to revisit it now.

Certainly in the realm of my expertise, the ancient world, there were very different views of the divine that could indeed explain why there is suffering.  In antiquity everyone except Jews acknowledged that there were *lots* of other deities, at all kinds of level and of all sorts of temperament.  Some divine beings could be hateful, malicious, and antagonistic.   Can’t do much about that.  Even with the good ones – if you got them angry, things could go very wrong indeed.

Even the religion that became Judaism started out

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