Monotheism and Literacy

As one looks down the halls of history at the various religions that have existed, it is easy to see that monotheism arises as literacy spreads across a culture.  The ability to read and write fundamentally changes an individual’s existence.  The way they think, reason, perceive, and understand after gaining the ability to read and write is fundamentally different than before these skills were acquired.  Reading and writing create a type of logical reasoning that cannot be comprehended without those skills.  

A community before the advent of widespread literacy is dependent upon story and symbolism.  In such a pre-literate world, the mind is subject to the mythical– the sun is a force, a tree decides to sprout leaves in spring, the sea is a god, etc.  

The skills of reading and writing provide a person and a community the tools to begin the journey of rationally considering the once mythical elements.  More importantly, they allow thoughts to be analyzed and ideas to be processed.  Finally, in a literate world, a person is no longer fully dependent on another for mediation between self and the divine.  In the literate world, I can communicate with God and God with me.  

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