There’s a fun milestone beyond admitting God wasn’t the only “real god” when interpreting the bible. It turns out Yahweh from the bible (a.k.a “the God” to Christians) used to have at least one goddess as a wife.
“Asherah” (her name) even appears in the bible (40 times by my count); and is believed to be referenced when the bible mentions the “queen of heaven.” There is even archaeological evidence she and Yahweh were worshiped together in the same temples, to support the scriptures that say the same thing, so it’s not even speculation they were together anymore.
It required checking multiple sources and the bible, but I don’t have to be very skeptical anymore. I’ve nearly confirmed with certainty that:
1) “El” was a proto-god for Yahweh
2) El was definitely married to “Asherah”
3) El gradually merged with several other gods and inherited their properties, becoming the familiar composite god of “Yahweh;” therefore El should still be married to Asherah.
4) The scriptures had to be massively edited and reinterpreted as Jews gradually stopped believing there was more than one real god in the universe.
5) Yahweh was given multiple names of existing gods (Elohim, Jehova, YHWH). Meanwhile other gods had to be reinterpreted as Lucifer, demons or false idols, because they now believed there was only one god. And so, Asherah was turned into an enemy god around 7th century BCE, and then into a false god.
(What I still haven’t figured out are all the details of the mythology, but the gist is solid. Suddenly Yahweh has a love life to make my studying ancient desert religions more interesting if I want to come back from studying Shinto. Apparently El was a father god associated with the sky, while Asherah was an Earth goddess so it’s natural dualism.)
I wonder how many Christians have even heard that God was coupled with Asherah? I know Friedrich Nietzsche talked a bit about Asherah, so just how recent is this theory? How long until most Christians understand god was originally a polytheistic god? I’m not even sure it is in my best interests to know how big the gap has grown between me and the knowledge of an average person.
(This drawing was copied from an 800 BC pottery fragment in Israel and the inscription when properly translated is a request for a blessing from “Yahweh and his Asherah.”) Yahweh is the dude on the left and Asherah is to the right.