There was a time when the gods were animals or took their forms, and the gods were natural phenomena or took their forms. Anansi the spider, who played tricks for kicks and Thunder Thor, who didn’t.
Others took animal forms at will – Isis the bird, for example, or Zeus the chauvinist pig.
Through the march of time humanity replaced the old gods with new ones, and those with yet more new ones – gods of id and ego, of higgs-boson. People came to consider themselves to be ‘spiritual’ rather than religious and revelled in the freedom this gave them to pick and choose their own rituals, ignorant of the true price of belief.
In a universe as fiendishly complex as the one we call home, there is a place for everything that exists, even if you can’t see it (especially if you can’t see it). And if it can be imagined, well let’s just say that fantasy is a form of existence. Somewhere deep in one of these pockets, far from the warmth of human affection, dwell the dejected, rejected gods of old. Some are so long in the tooth we have no surviving names for them.
There are no second acts in deified lives as Father Fitzgerald puts it.
But amongst these ragged hordes there are some we know well – some by many names. There is that old pigeon fancier, one-eyed Odin, and also the sprightly form of the Amun Ra, god of all the gods of the upper and lower kingdoms.
And like an optical illusion that is both rabbit and duck, both co-exist in the same space.
There’s a facetious theory that I’ve just invented goes like this: if you go searching for something, and you know roughly the form it will take, you’re almost certain to find it. And if you don’t want to see something, odds are you’ll never let yourself.
So it is that man found the atom, then realised it could be subdivided, and those subdivisions in turn could be subdivided, and even those sub-subdivisions could be broken apart to find, inter alia, bits of string, the singularity-aping infinites of somethingness and nothingness, room for God. Or maybe just further magnitudes of subdivision, new particles and a whole new universe of ignorance for the scientists to get excited about.
Or it could just be a hammer and that’s fine too.
That’s why the dinosaurs were giant reptile-looking sumbitches that died out but also grew feathers and flew away (hence why those who’ve seen Jurassic Park are wary of angering chickens) but also were just a joke left in the ground by some mischievous deity to mess with palaeontologists.
That’s why the devout atheists are wrong about religion and why the sceptical religious are wrong about science: both can co-exist in the same space.
Just don’t try to see it all at once; you’ll go cross-eyed.