Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind: serialised in quotes XXIII: monotheists are more fanatical and missionary than polytheists

Thus [because polytheists promoted their favourite god] was born monotheistic religions, whose followers beseech the supreme power of the universe to help them recover from illness, win the lottery and gain victory in war.

The big breakthrough came with Christianity. This faith began as an esoteric Jewish sect that sought to convince Jews that Jesus of Nazareth was the long awaited messiah. However, one of the sect’s first leaders, Paul of Tarsus, reasoned that if the supreme power of the universe has interests and biases, and if He bothered to incarnate Himself in the flesh and to die on the cross for the salvation of humankind, then this is something everybody should hear about, not just Jews. It was this necessary to spread the good word—the gospel—about Jesus throughout the world.

Monotheists have tended to be far more fanatical and missionary than polytheists.

Over the last two millennia, monotheisits repeatedly tried to strengthen their hand by exterminating all competition.

Today most people outside East Asia adhere to one monotheist religion or another, and the global political order is built on monotheist foundations.

The monotheist religions expelled the [[polytheistic] gods through the front door with a lot of fanfare, only to take them back in through the side window. Christianity, for example, developed its own pantheon of saints, whose cults differed little from those of the polytheistic gods.

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