On monotheism

There’s a thing that constantly annoys me when I watch religious discussions on Youtube, and that’s the assumption that monotheism is somehow an unqualified plus for a religion, regardless of how it defines God. This is not only a logical fallacy, but a very dangerous thing to assume, and it’s actually quite easy to explain why, with an example one of my friends provided more than a decade ago, if I remember correctly.

He asked “how is God different from a super-devil?”

You see, a devil is by definition a powerful spiritual being, and according to Christian belief, he’s also only one. He’s powerful, omnipresent, transcends physical matter, and has great knowledge. It’s not much of a stretch to enhance the devil and make him omniscient and omnipotent. So, what’s the difference between such a being and God, my friend asked?

“Holiness”, he proceeded to answer his own question. “God is holy, and devil is not. Even with enhanced attributes, a super-devil is utterly devoid of holiness, and that’s why he is unworthy of worship. We do not worship God because He is omnipotent or omniscient or because He can walk on water or what not, but because He is holy”.

I want you to keep that in mind now, because when people talk about the three monotheistic religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, the issue of monotheism invariably crops up, and it’s almost a contest where the most monotheistic one wins, and my friend’s wise observation is not even mentioned, but let me ask you: if there’s a monotheistic religion that worshiped some super-devil, calling him God, how would you discern it from a monotheistic religion that worships God, the holy one?

Sure, a super-devil would request obedience to himself in his religion. He would request unwavering loyalty and servility. He would want them to pray to him and to glorify him above all else. But what, indeed, with holiness?

If you disregard monotheism, servility, obedience to commands and outward piety, how would you distinguish between followers of a holy God and followers of an unholy one?