Wednesday, May 4, 2011

God is NOT a Pagan Title

God is NOT a Pagan Title
Rabbi Yehudah ben Shomeyr

I’m sore! My arms have been pulled out of their socket in this tug-of-war between those who say, “Don’t say the Sacred Name!” and “You must say the Hebrew Names and Titles of YHWH!” The shear lunacy of it all! Look, I do not care if you say what you think the Sacred Name is or not. I don’t care if you say “Elohim” or “God.” Heck, you even have those who claim “Yahweh” is a pagan name. You can’t please anyone, no matter where you turn you feel that you are damned if you do and damned if you don’t; you will always have some one wag their finger at you condemning you. I am so tired of people condemning others for saying the English word “God” or “Lord” and people saying that they are pagan names. HOGWASH! You are comparing apples to oranges. First off, God is not a name but a title. Second to say that the English word “God” comes from the name of a pagan deity in another language just because it is phonetically similar is illogical, linguistically and grammatically deficient on so many levels. If this were true Jews today would not use or say such titles, they would be replaced with something else. What I am about to say may offend some, though this is not my intention. My intention is to make an extreme analogy so as to highlight the absurdity and flawed logic of those who dogmatically teach that “God” is a pagan name. It’s just as absurd as claiming that the Greek word, “pisto or pistis” meaning “faith” is where we get the English slang word for urine which is “piss” and that we shouldn’t say “piss” or “pissed off” because it is a crass or a “cuss” word, but because when we use it, we are renouncing or “casting off” our faith by equating our faith with bodily human waste. See how cultish and illogical such thinking can be!?

It may shock you that before G-d revealed His true Name He was known by “pagan” names! Since Canaan was a descendant of Hamm, one of Noach’s three sons, and was the Land and People whom Israel (Shem’s descendants) conquered, and seeing as they were distant relatives of one another, it stands to reason their language, culture and expressions for and worship of the Most High were similar, even after the incident at Babel.

“In archeological and critical historical religious literature the authors (usually agnostic, atheist or secular) often attempt to make one believe other cultures are older and predate that of Scriptural writ, simply because physical evidence found is often older than the earliest Biblical manuscripts. They claim that the Biblical writers took traditions and stories from these so called older cultures and adopted them as their own creation story and flood account and so on. However, if one believes the inerrancy of Scripture one would easily realize that the entire world was at one time one people, language and culture until the confounding of the languages at the Tower of Babel. Thus, in the post Babel world everyone took the shared traditions and legends from the Creation to the Flood and all the prophecies of redemption and messiah that lies therein and molded into what each people group has become. This is why every people group has a creation and flood story.  Just because most all cultures have legends of virgin births, god-men messiahs, and just because they appear in Christianity and Nazarene Judaism in the truthful events does not mean they were gleaned from a pre-Biblical pagan culture of Mesopotamians, Canaanites or what have you. No, we did not rip stories from them and claimed them as our own holy history, they ripped stories from us.”
-- Where Did Paganism Come From? By Rabbi Yehudah ben Shomeyr

Even with Abraham, G-d was not known as YHWH.

Exd 6:2-4 And God spake unto Moses, and said unto him, I [am] the LORD (YHWH): And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by [the name of] God Almighty (EL SHADDAI), but by my name YAHWEH was I not known to them. And I have also established my covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their pilgrimage, wherein they were strangers.

In other words, G-d was known to Abraham by one of His Canaanite, generic “pagan” names, another common one was El Elyon (G-d Most High). El Shaddai was letting Abraham know that He was displeased with the Canaanites and He was planning on giving their land to him and his descendants.

It is no surprise G-d had so-called “pagan” names like El Elyon and even sometimes Ba’al (Lord). These were more titles and descriptions than they were proper names.

Bottom line is, that the English title “God” is NOT pagan.