We all worship the same God: version 1.2

September 16, 2012 • 5:54 am

On the advice of readers, Shuggy has updated his chart comparing the gods worshiped by differed faiths. There are new faiths! And new criteria, like bacon cheeseburgers!

I put a low-res version of the chart below, but click twice in succession to go to the third page, which is large and legible. But PLEASE leave any comments/suggestions below, not on the picture page!!!!!

Shuggy is soliciting feedback, and notes:

Here is the Mk II Guide to The One True God. When the WEITers have given their feedback I will make a higher-res  image for a poster. (I rather liked the simplicity of Mk I, but  things like bacon cheeseburger couldn’t be left out.)

One category might summarise several of the last few: “Strange things He demands:” for things lke Mormon baptising  of the dead, etc, but it’s funnier to spell them out and bring out their contradictions.

My own opinion is that we’ve reached a stopping point here, and although one might include other faiths and criteria, it would make the poster too fussy.

What do you think? At any rate, I’m sure Shuggy will make it available in poster quality soon.

51 thoughts on “We all worship the same God: version 1.2

        1. This arose in the feedback to Mk I. I think adding any row with only one answer would lose the point, and an “Exists?” row would hit them over the head with it.

    1. I was stunned by the number of Mormon sects – more than all the other Protestants put together (I exaggerate but only a little). I especially like the Church of Jesus Christ, the Bride, the Lamb’s Wife; the Church of the Firstborn of the Fulness of Times; and the Righteous Branch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (Take that, all you others!)

      Yes, the Magic Underwear is another candidate for the row of Strange Things He Demands, and for your latter day meaning, I assume that’s “not quite wearing”.

  1. Perfect.

    And while I imagine it would be awfully tedious to make a never ending series of version version, one could ponder them for fun/educational purposes. For example, would it be self-defeating or even more funny to include an atheist religion like the church of Flying Spaghetti Monster or the church of the Creeping Ceiling Cat? (Maybe I should go find out.)

    Nitpick for any future versions:
    “Apostacy”: seems to be an apostasy from The Church of Spell Checkers Worldwide.

  2. For Mormons, the number of gods is not “one-ish”, but most definitely “three”, and each member of the Trinity is a physically separate being (I don’t know what it means for gods to be physically separate, but whatever.)

    I’m not sure why the character of the Mormon god(s) counts as “frightening”, at least relative to the others.

    I’d suggest that for the Jewish god, the character should include “legalistic”, since he was always busy making covenants and forbidding this and that, and a lot of Jewish practice seems focussed on either obeying these legal strictures or finding a letter-of-the-law way around them.

    And while it would further clutter the poster, it would be interesting to add views of the afterlife to it. For example, a “What does He say about…the afterlife of the faithful?” could include:

    Judaism — Afterlife?
    Islam — Paradise, possibly with virgins
    Mormonism — One of three heavens, and maybe your own planet
    Hinduism — in the next life you avoid being a bug

    And “…the afterlife of the faithless?”
    Islam — the fires of hell (perhaps sent their by the faithful)
    Mormonism — “outer darkness”
    Protestantism — “heaven eternal terrible torture”
    Hinduism — in the next life you’re a bug

    1. WordPress ate my angle-brackets! That should be “Protestantism — heaven [arrowhead]-[arrowhead] eternal terrible torture”, indicating the huge range of views.

  3. Might want to switch the bacon cheeseburger on the Mormos to “only while ignoring the word of Wisdom.” the text clearly states that meat should only be eaten in winter and time of famine, interpreted today as at least 3 meals a day.

  4. Food? for thought:

    Dispensation of god’s head to practitioners – fleshy biscuits and blood, other cannibalism.

    The preferred name for the gods of the moronic tradition are Elohim. Christian gods prefer JoeHova, Yowee and such (admittedly they spell differently).

    MoreMons reckon their god had physical intercourse with His daughter, thus creating a jebus. (Though, may be controversial within mor[m]on culture.)

  5. It is very funny, and I appreciate the concern of making it over-complicated. However I that including more, in addition to Hinduism, outside the monotheistic trinity (! ?) would be good too. The various septs of Buddhism probably match Hinduism for number of adherents, so would be an appropriate target.

    1. I thought of adding others but decided to stick with those that All Worship the One True God. Even Hinduism’s a bit of a stretch but as I understand it Krishna, Ganesha, Hanuman, Kali, Rama, etc, etc are all manifestations of Brahma, so s/he/they squeak in.

  6. Should be noted that this chart represents the most dogmatic elements of the various belief systems. At the core of each, or rather most, there is a type of experience to be had that precedes belief systems. Requires nothing resembling faith. Only a type of consent. Recently Dr. Sam Harris guided a group meditation in which he attempted to get an entire hall of people to catch glimmers of this experience. He called it experiencing the present moment more “nakedly.” Harris must tread carefully here and his continual careful use of language always impresses me. But what he really means is — less conceptually. Harris is perfect for this mission because his scientific credentials make him a less than easy target for ridicule and derision. Scientists are masters(well-earned and rightly so)of the conceptual so Harris attempting to jam their conceptual valves is an immense undertaking. Harris knows firsthand that that the psychic relief/pleasure that attends a dis-identification from thinking is a skill worthy of cultivation. I applaud his efforts to sluice away the bathwater and keep the baby.

    1. I absolutely agree. You could say that Harris is looking for the Good Part. This is pointing out the Bad Part, the You Musts and the You Mustn’ts and the We/They and the Kill Them.

  7. The Hindu section seems weird to me from India. Must be reflecting American stereotypes.

    Difficult to generalize the diversity of this (thousand religions within one) religion, but here’s my take on it

    Affiliation : Hindu

    Sects : Shaivite, Vaishnavite, Smarta, Shakta, Ganapatya …

    Heresies : undefined.

    Number : Infinite -> Three (trinity) -> One (Brahman) -> None (Nirguna)(depends upon your “progress in realization” and personal interpretation)

    Sex? : both (50-50), some androgynous (ardhanaarishvar) or animal forms.

    Character? : All kinds.
    Holy Book? : Vedas
    HB addenda? : Upanishads, Gitas, Brahmanas, Puranas …

    BFF on earth : Every idiot who calls himself/herself a Guru

    Mary is… : Huh?

    What does he say about

    Alcohol? Depends, generally no, except in Vámamargas.

    Mixed dancing ? Yes. (Idiotic to answer No here. Ever seen a dance on Holi or Dassera festivals?)

    Polygamy ? No, (but tolerated historically, in epics).

    Apostacy? What to?

    Clergy Marrying? Depends on clergy member/type of oath taken.

    Clergy infallible? No

    Women clergy? yes, but rare.

    Male genital cutting butt of jokes

    Female genetal cutting wha?

    Gayness? Frowned on. (gay marriage is a big NO, though).

    Bacon cheeseburger? yep, unless a veggie. NO BEEF!!!.

    Atheists don’t care (unless they are leftists).

    May need to add more snark.

      1. Hinduism is a complex religion, with a vast literature that can allow you to cherry-pick your way out of any argument. Below are some choice cherry-picked arguments and my personal views. Of course there are plenty of material to contradict it.

        The Vedas are the main scriptures of Hindus, the only “revealed” or shruti (heard) texts, but no one knows exactly how to interpret them (they are ‘said’ to be incomplete). All other texts are smrti-s (memorized), and one can easily challenge their views and deviate.

        Hinduism is not a One God(TM) religion, in fact it has nothing in common with Abrahamic religions. For survival purposes however, it has tried to accommodate Islamic values under their rule (Buddhism and explicitly Atheist sects like Charvaaka, Ajivika didn’t survive in India. Evolution under Islamic selection pressure). Hinduism pre-Islam is very different from the Islamic period. See their attitude towards sex from the pre-Islamic Khajuraho temples, the Kamasutra, or Gupta-era paintings where men and women wear identical clothes (both are topless). That was the norm then, before 10 century AD.

        Post-Islam there is a 180° turn in attitude towards sex, women wear ghunghats (Hindu adoptation of the purdah) in North India. South Indian sects are more conservative than North India, which had a much greater Islamic influence. Similarly, Hinduism promoted in the West is more similar to Christianity than what is followed by tradition (Krishna replaces Christ, they even sound similar).

        At this point of time, a system called Nyaya-vaisheshika (judgement, specifics) was developing, very similar to modern science, to set standards on what can be accepted as truth and what not, based on standards of evidence. This process was cut short and discontinued and nearly disappeared. This left the field open for lots of sects, and no quality control.

        Each sect has chosen one deity and called it One God, to comply with Islamic standards, or before that, to emulate Zoroastrian beliefs that percolated from the west. Shaivites follow Shiva (and they don’t like the BhagavadGita), Vaishnavites follow Vishnu. Shaktás follow the Goddess Shakti. Ganapatyas follow Ganesha, Smartas ( from Smrti – see above) combine all these, call them manifestations of Brahman. Each of these sects have their own Gita (Shiva Gita, Bhagavad Gita, Devi Gita, Ganesh Gita, Avadhuta and Guru Gita …. smartas read all of them.)

        What one follows is based on one’s position in society (usually caste, but not always). The laymen follow personal gods of their own, for short term goals. Higher level people choose one of the three Gods or Goddesses. Scholars maintain monotheism by uniting these three into one (tri-murti or Guru). This represents the Sa-guna brahman – with attributes dimension – existential space. Ascetics “go” beyond this into the Parabrahman (beyond brahman). One may say Hindus are monotheist, their ultimate God being Parabrahman, also called Nirguna Brahman : but nirguna brahman – a sanskrit word different from Brahmaa – is a neuter gender noun which literally means “no (nir) attributes(strings or gunas – see etymology of “Gunny bag”) dimension/expanse”; the dimension where space (Brahmaa : expanse – masculine gender – the physical quantity), Time (Kála or Maheshvara) and energy(Vi-snu – pervade through all) do not matter. This “god” is also called neti-neti (neither this nor that – undefinable). It is as good as saying : My one God is No God (undefined).

        Atheism is not just allowed in Hinduism, it is considered the highest, and most difficult (it certainly was, before Science and awareness came about), and thus generally discouraged, except in initiates. I first heard this in a speech by some guru (Chinmayananda, unless my memory fails me) on the local spiritual (Asthaa) channel, before I even knew what an Atheist was.

        Sanskrit uses genders arbitrarily, like most Indo-european languages, and somehow unlike English. Grammatical gender != sex, unless a real person. Many so-called Gods and Goddesses have etymologies which render them as quantities or entities, not personified God-beings. Brahman is one of them, from root Brh – expansive, and the male and neuter genders qualify it as two distinct concepts. Shakti means “ability to do”(literally : power) from verb shaknoti ( (s)He can ). etc. Names are not chosen arbitrarily.

        Hindu philosophy has its flaws – it believes the world is unreal, and only exists because we exist. Reincarnation is a direct inference of its concept of cycles of existence. This and many other points make it weird. It is however, very malleable and fluid, and concepts can be challenged.

        Maybe you should consider putting in some simpler religion (Sikhism?), instead of trying to summarize this monstrosity. It contradicts the “same God” theme.

  8. A couple more suggestions as to accuracy and expansion:

    Mormon sects are FLDS, COC, LDS

    And a couple of the answers under Judaism can be changed due to the vast differences between the spectrum of Orthodox to Reconstructionist. The Reconstructionist sect is often referred to as Humanist, so it can’t really be its own “heresy”. Mixed dancing would only refer to Orthodox/Hasidic/Haredim communities, and the Atheists section can be changed to “we don’t care” for any sect other than Orthodox/Hasidic. There are plenty Jews, especially in the Reform and Reconstructionist sects that are more along the lines of pantheism, therefore (by Dawkins’ definition), atheist. Same goes for the Bacon Cheeseburger option, which would only apply to about half adherent Jews.

    And a question: why no Sikh column? There are twice as many Sikhs as there are Jews.

  9. What it’s really missing is a column for rationalists.

    Name: N/A
    Affiliation: None of the above (aka atheist)
    Sects: One per person
    Heresies: Mayo on fries
    Number: Zero
    Sex: Yes, please!
    Character: Yup — gods are fictional characters
    Can say name? Beeltjuice! Beetlejuice! Beetlejuice!
    Can write name? Sure — gods mostly hide in books.
    Can make image? As well as you can make images of dragons and goblins.
    Holy Book? The dictionary.
    HB addenda? The library. All of it.
    BFF on earth? Cats. Definitely not squids.
    who is his… master.
    Mary is… My English teacher from seventh grade.
    Alcohol? Sure, but moderation isn’t a bad idea.
    Mixed dancing? Yowza, with lust!
    Polygamy? That’s up to the consent of the adults involved.
    Divorce? So sorry it didn’t work out!
    Conversion? Just grow up and come to your senses.
    Apostasy? You get served mayo with your fries.
    Clergy marrying? What clergy, and who cares if they do or don’t marry?
    Clergy infallible? Only the Magic 8-Ball is infallible.
    Women clergy? What sane woman (or man) would want to be in a clergy?
    Male genital cutting? Currently subject to much debate largely driven by vestigial religousness.
    Female genital cutting? NO.
    Gayness? Whatever tickles your pickle!
    Bacon cheeseburger? I CAN HAZ NAO PLZ? KTHKBAI!
    Atheists? Sane.



      1. I’m afraid so. Now, kindly go inflict upon yourself that most disgusting punishment for heresy.



        P.S. But, so long as you’re doing the Belgium thing, could you bring back some beer with you? That’d be swell! They might not know how to serve fried potatoes, but they do know a thing or three about brewing…. b&

      2. Not just Belgians, Nederlanders too.

        Can we avoid the heresy by calling it frietsaus rather than mayo?

        Is having chocolate sprinkles sandwiches also heretical?


  10. I would suggest a factual correction in the Hinduism column. There are as many female goddesses in Hinduism as male gods. Almost all gods are married to goddesses. Here in my place, in India, there are more temples for Goddesses than Gods. 🙂

  11. Okay, I’ve got a suggestion. What about the REAL advocates of “we all worship the same God?”

    I’m talking about the Spiritual — as in “I’m spiritual but not religious.” You can discover the influence of this large group in adherents of all the religions on the charts, but the group itself could certainly be said to have its own identity, too.

    Name: “Spirit” (or use whatever name you want, they’re all equal manifestations of the Ultimate)

    Affiliation: Spiritual

    Sects: all sects, just be “open”

    Heresies: Science; Telling other people they’re wrong

    Number: Many in One

    Sex: all, but mostly female

    Character: ill-defined but tolerant

    Can say name: sure, they’re all metaphors

    Can write name: sure, it’s all poetry

    Can make image: sure, it’s all art

    Holy book: any traditional scripture which inspires a connection with Spirit

    HB addenda: any book whatsoever which inspires a connection with Spirit

    BFF on earth: all of us

    Who is his: manifestation of divine


    Mary is: the female principle; a feminist

    What does he say about

    alchohol?: your choice
    mixed dancing?: your choice
    polygamy?: your choice
    divorce?: your choice
    conversion?: never — that’s intolerant!
    apostasy?: just a different path to God

    Clergy marrying?: yes
    Clergy infallible?: only if they’re following what their heart knows is true
    women clergy?: yes!
    male genital cutting?: your choice
    Gayness?: your choice
    bacon cheeseburger?: your choice
    atheists?: spiritually unevolved fools

  12. A few comments about the Judaism part:
    1. As an atheist, humanist Jew, it’s very nice to hear that Humanism is a heresy specifically of Judaism….
    2. The attitudes of the different “sects” as you call them regarding some of the categories are very different from each other. You say about women clergy “it depends” – and this does exist only in the reform and conservative sects. But you can’t then say “NO” on mixed dancing, since those sects (and also some of the orthodox) have no problem with that what so other. Same goes for “gayness” – if it’s only the orthodox, it’s not “not really”, it’s a capital n no. If it’s reform, then it’s fine.
    3. Divorce is not hard to get, accept in very specific cases, and only for women (men can get divorce without a problem).

  13. Superb!

    Obligatory nit-picks:
    I agree with the others on the spelling of “apostasy”.
    At “Mormon” and “Number” the word “infinite-ish” has an extra “n”.
    At “Protestant” and “Mary” I would not hyphenate “No-one”.

  14. Great chart, however, having grown up in India, I can point out a number of inaccuracies in the mythology in the “Hinduism” column.

    1) Gender: “Mostly male” is probably incorrect: The Shakt sects treat the mother goddess as “Supreme” and the other sects put at least the three main goddesses as equal partners to the main three gods. This whole idea of the supremacy of the female gods has been a rather unfortunate thing because of the goddess/whore sexism it often brings about.

    2) Alcohol: There are several sects (especially the Shaiva ones) in which alcohol and meat are consumed as religious rituals. These sects are, though, usually referred to as he Vama-maargi (literally, “left leaning”) sects.

    3) Mixed dancing is perfectly fine in most sects: in fact even in some of the most conservative Vaishnava sects (where meat and alcohol are a big no no) it is an important part of many religious rituals. See Dandia Raas for an example.

    4) Technically, depending upon who you ask, you cannot “convert” into Hinduism. This is usually taken to ridiculous extremes: there are ultra-conservative temples in South India that do not allow entry to foreign ISKCON members because they were not “born Hindu”.

    5) Bhagvada Gita is not so much of a universally acknowledged religious text across sects (It is a manifestly Vaishnava text, so the Shaiva sects would have a problem with it). The Veda are more or less considered the primary religious books across the theistic sects, though I have never met a religious Hindu who actually reads them.

    1. “Technically, depending upon who you ask, you cannot “convert” into Hinduism.”
      I rather like that, particularly in contrast to Muslims and the various pestilential evangelical Xtian sects.

      “This is usually taken to ridiculous extremes: there are ultra-conservative temples in South India that do not allow entry to foreign ISKCON members because they were not “born Hindu”.”
      ISKCON? The Hare Krishnas? I totally sympathise with the temples, there. Who would want their comfortable social rituals disrupted by a bunch of half-stoned totally whacked-out Western cultists who could just as easily have decided to be Moonies or Scientologists?

  15. I will admit that this is one of my very few soapboxes, but I cannot let one thing slide by. The horrific, excruciatingly painful (no anesthesia allowed) mutilation of young girls is WAY more than ‘only a little.’ The removal of the clitoris and stitching the vagina almost shut is to be certain that women can never enjoy sex. It also causes several medical conditions that last their entire lives. One of the most common results is damage to the bladder, most often during pregnancy and delivery (and I bet that labor is not fun), which results in a constant leakage of urine. And if a woman sustains this damage, she is considered to be ‘unclean’ and is cast out of her family and town/city and dumped somewhere along a road without provisions and forbidden to ever try to communicate with any of ‘The Faithful’, nor can any of them communicate with her. I understand that this chart is just light humor, but I cannot believe that FGM is a joking matter.
    I have always been somewhat amazed that these people who worship their infallible god, but obviously they don’t think he got the genitalia right?

  16. The “holy book” column for Catholicism and Protestantism seem to have been reversed…The Apocrypha is pretty much a Protestant thing.

    1. I think “apocrypha” in this case refers to parts of the bible that are not accepted by Protestants, since bible production is such a Protestant thing.

      Sirach is an example – canon in RC and Orthodox churches (as part of the Septuagint), but not in the Protestant bibles (or in the Hebrew bible).


      It might not be fair to call those non-canon-for-Protestants books “apocrypha,” but that seems to be how they’re referred to now. So in the bible market, RC bibles “include the apocrypha” or are simply “Bible + Apocrypha.”

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