Friday, 16 September 2016
In SM Stirling's Against The Tide Of Years (New York, 1999), Chapter Eleven, when a Nantucketer says, "'...by God...," (p. 169), a Babylonian prince wonders, "Which god does he swear by?" (ibid.)
If there were many gods, then each would have to be identified by a particular name whereas, if there is only one, then the single word "God" suffices just as, if there were only one surviving male human being, then he could be addressed indifferently either as "John" or as "Man," although he might still prefer "John." Some monotheists continue to insist on a particular divine name: Allah; Jehovah; Krishna.
Someone pinned a cartoon on the noticeboard in the Lancaster University Religious Studies Department -
a man in pajamas kneels in prayer beside his bed;
above the bed hovers a large male figure with a beard, a horned helmet and a hammer;
the man: "Oh, I'm sorry, Thor! I thought when I said 'God," I'd get, well, you know...Jehovah!"