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Author Topic: How important is history?  (Read 23467 times)
Freakshow
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« Reply #30: June 06, 2010, 09:46:01 pm »

And I think your logic is flawed.  Change doesn't have to be for the better or for the worse.

So if change is just happening so things can remain the same, the point of change is what? Does that not undermine the very definition of what change is?  Change occurs when something becomes altered from its previous state, thus becoming something different--in other words it is no longer the same.  That said change will have an affect on its target and those involved with said target, thus nothing related to that target will remain the same.  Its a ripple effect.

If change is just happening to remain the same, it goes back to the concept of change for the sake of change being pointless.  If it produces no result, then it was a fruitless effort--literally. 

My logic is not flawed whatsoever.  My logic embraces the reality of definitions.  Unless you can provide another logical statement other than your opinion...

I call my deities out all the time - Dionysus has done terrible things in his mythos, Pan likes to screw with goats, Athena can be downright frigid, and Loki is the crazed uncle who passes out whiskey and car keys to his 14-year-old nephews.

Ok, but poets wrote the myths, not the priests...as opposed to Judeo-Christianity.  Classical mythology is by no means a scripture, nor was it ever understood as such.

What gods govern the internet?

And then the follow-up:

If those gods are from ancient pantheons, is that sphere of influence or interest a change?

The Gods of communication and commerce would have dominion over the internet.  There is no change in deity, sphere of influence or interest.  Mankind may have further developed the means of communication/commerce, but it doesn't change or alter the divine force behind it.

Btw, I'm not asking any of you to accept any of my beliefs, but just asking you to do a little critical thinking outside your box.
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« Reply #31: June 06, 2010, 10:06:57 pm »

Btw, I'm not asking any of you to accept any of my beliefs, but just asking you to do a little critical thinking outside your box.

There's no need to be abrasive. What it comes down to is different definitions of change as applied to divinities. Yours and Moon Ivy's and Darkhawk's all seem to fall within a reasonable range of definition.
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« Reply #32: June 06, 2010, 10:12:58 pm »

So if change is just happening so things can remain the same, the point of change is what? Does that not undermine the very definition of what change is?  Change occurs when something becomes altered from its previous state, thus becoming something different--in other words it is no longer the same.

While that's true, the new, different state does not have to be better or worse than the old state. It may just be different without being measurably better or worse.
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« Reply #33: June 06, 2010, 10:50:36 pm »

So if change is just happening so things can remain the same, the point of change is what? Does that not undermine the very definition of what change is?  Change occurs when something becomes altered from its previous state, thus becoming something different--in other words it is no longer the same.  That said change will have an affect on its target and those involved with said target, thus nothing related to that target will remain the same.  Its a ripple effect.

If change is just happening to remain the same, it goes back to the concept of change for the sake of change being pointless.  If it produces no result, then it was a fruitless effort--literally. 

I didn't say things remain the same.  Of course change changes something.

However, as Randall said, that doesn't mean that the change in the something is necessary better or worse.  Different doesn't necessarily mean better or worse than the original.
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« Reply #34: June 06, 2010, 11:21:40 pm »

Btw, I'm not asking any of you to accept any of my beliefs, but just asking you to do a little critical thinking outside your box.

I have. I've thought long and hard about each and every one of my beliefs - probably far more than necessary, to err on the side of caution. I examine and re-examine everything. I weigh things against my own logic and common sense, empirical evidence, as well as the opinions of those who I admire and respect as intelligent, rational people. What faith I have has been a struggle to obtain, and an even harder struggle for me to hold onto. If I wanted to take an easy, unexamined path, I'd have stayed with the type of Christianity in which I was raised, or I would have immediately believed in the first Pagan path I found without question. My faith is not easy for me, and I think critically about it on a very regular basis.
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« Reply #35: June 07, 2010, 12:04:09 am »


I would point out that I have not expressed an opinion on the matter of change, just pointed out that the definitions presented were nonexistent.
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« Reply #36: June 07, 2010, 06:46:40 am »

Btw, I'm not asking any of you to accept any of my beliefs, but just asking you to do a little critical thinking outside your box.

That request could be made of you as well.

I know that many people see the gods as eternal and unchanging, and that gives them a stability people rely on.  Their attributes and authority are all cataloged and they are something to rely on in the constantly changing landscape of individual lives.  People refer to the written legends and mythologies and find applications for their worship and beliefs.  The canon is closed, finite, and unchanging.  It is reliable.

I don't see it that way.  I think that once the stories got written down we lost something.  'The record' was established and we could go check it out at any time.  It (in my opinion) became stagnant and people stopped telling new stories, whether those new stories were true or not.  Everything was held up to the established stories and if they did not fit they were rejected.  EVEN THOUGH the old stories were full of different and often conflicting ideas about the gods, those ideas were now set in stone.  No 'new' different and conflicting views were allowed.  It all stopped.

I don't think the ideas set down in the Eddas or by Homer or on the walls of tombs sprang full blown into existence.  I think they developed and changed and were told with different emphasis at different times.  I think they changed to meet the needs of the group or tribe using them, and I think those changes were divinely approved as either new truths or particularly helpful lies.

I think it's wrong to regard the original source material as the be-all and end-all of the gods' interactions on Earth.  Zeus is still out there screwing around on his wife.  Ares is still present on battlefields.  These things have probably not changed, being part of these gods' basic natures.  But, since we don't hear tales of Zeuslings like Hercules running around maybe he has discovered birth control.  Since soldiers live longer and have more psychological after-care, maybe Ares has become concerned with PTSD. 

These things would be non-canon if there are no older tales of Zeus caring about pregnancy prevention or Ares caring about the mental states of soldiers.  That doesn't mean they couldn't happen, just that there is no way for these developments to have been charted over the years because new stories are not allowed.  I don't even know how bad these examples might be since these are not gods I know much about.  They are examples I grabbed because the names are so well known. 

The stories developed over time as new things were learned about the gods by humans.  Contradictions and changes were accepted and it was no big deal.  Then they were written down and people got gods-in-a-box and stopped there.  It is arrogant and lazy to think that the gods stopped growing or changing because we stopped acknowledging growth and change in them.  It is like insisting that a parent cannot change because their children need them to be the same.  It puts them on pedestals that deny their true reality, enshrining their perceived reality instead.

They're still out there, and they're still doing things.  Just because we froze them in our perception by locking them into written works does not mean that they obeyed our desire for eternal unchangingness.  Some people perceive the new adventures but are stepped on for telling those stories.  By other people, not by the gods themselves.  Relying too heavily on things written centuries or millennia ago might be blinding us to a living reality.

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« Reply #37: June 07, 2010, 07:52:30 am »


My biggest confusion with this viewpoint is that there is NOTHING static inside the universe.  Stars change.  Black holes even change!  Why should gods alone be static?

Change is a basic cornerstone of existence, as best I can tell.  So why would gods be exempt from that?
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« Reply #38: June 07, 2010, 08:16:15 am »

I know that many people see the gods as eternal and unchanging, and that gives them a stability people rely on.  Their attributes and authority are all cataloged and they are something to rely on in the constantly changing landscape of individual lives.  People refer to the written legends and mythologies and find applications for their worship and beliefs.  The canon is closed, finite, and unchanging.  It is reliable.

One problem with this belief is that even if the Gods are truly unchanging, our understanding of them gained by viewing their actions within the universe may be incomplete. Therefore as they do different things, they could appear to change from our point of view without actually having changed at all. Unless some deity chooses to write a book telling us exactly what he or she is, does, believes, etc. in complete detail, we really have no way to tell if a deity is changing or not changing.

For example, take a deity concerned with fertility. When the Earth was fairly empty of humans, this deity was doing everything in its power to get humans to breed and produce lots of children. These days, the Earth is pretty full and this deity no longer works at getting humans in general to breed or to all produce lots of children. Has the deity changed or is the deity's goal simply different that we interpreted a couple of thousand years ago when we thought it was "get people to breed and produce lots of children"? Perhaps it was more like "get people to fill the Earth as fast as possible" or even "produce X major genetic lines".
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« Reply #39: June 07, 2010, 10:30:14 am »


^ What she said.
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« Reply #40: June 07, 2010, 10:34:34 am »

That request could be made of you as well.

Pssst. Judging from his sig that's not likely to happen.
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« Reply #41: June 07, 2010, 10:40:47 am »


Totally agree. To me, this seems much more logical.
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« Reply #42: June 07, 2010, 01:16:57 pm »

One problem with this belief is that even if the Gods are truly unchanging, our understanding of them gained by viewing their actions within the universe may be incomplete. Therefore as they do different things, they could appear to change from our point of view without actually having changed at all. Unless some deity chooses to write a book telling us exactly what he or she is, does, believes, etc. in complete detail, we really have no way to tell if a deity is changing or not changing.

This is pretty close to where I come down on it, as it happens.

I actually suspect gods of having natures more set and unchanging than other things - see also my past discussions of gods as elemental.  But that makes those natures in some ways harder to divine from Their interactions with a composite world, because the reactions of an elemental principle are so circumstance-dependent.

When bloodshed, slaughter, and accruing personal glory through battle were nigh-synonymous, Ares's opinions about them could easily be deduced.  Nowadays we can make the distinction between blood, death, and prowess in various circumstances and have to guess at His ideal battlefield based on our assumptions about His priorities.  (Dogfighting in a fighter: displaying warriorly chops, yes; mass slaughter and property destruction, no; bloodshed, present on a kill but not readily apparent.  Um!)
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« Reply #43: June 07, 2010, 04:44:29 pm »

That request could be made of you as well.

Oh, I have thought outside my box, trust me.  However, it just doesn’t hold up to logic in the end, nor is anyone’s argument very convincing.

People refer to the written legends and mythologies and find applications for their worship and beliefs. … The canon is closed, finite, and unchanging.

Therein lies the problem:  mythology is not canon, dogma, or creed nor was it ever intended as such.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:  poets are NOT priests.  Mythology is nothing more than a compilation of fictional stories akin to a modern day novel.  The epics were written for entertainment, not theological discourse.  Theology remained with the priests and the philosophers.

I think it's wrong to regard the original source material as the be-all and end-all of the gods' interactions on Earth.

Of course the Gods are still involved with the world!  (Remember…the Gods don’t change, LOL!)

My biggest confusion with this viewpoint is that there is NOTHING static inside the universe.  Stars change.  Black holes even change!  Why should gods alone be static?

I never knew that the stars and black holes were the Gods?  The Gods are not static, for the state of perfection is a well-oiled machine that flows impeccably and flawlessly.  If something is perfect, it has no faults, and if it has no faults there is no reason for it to change in order to become better nor is it in the position to potentially become worse due to change. 

One problem with this belief is that even if the Gods are truly unchanging, our understanding of them gained by viewing their actions within the universe may be incomplete. Therefore as they do different things, they could appear to change from our point of view without actually having changed at all. Unless some deity chooses to write a book telling us exactly what he or she is, does, believes, etc. in complete detail, we really have no way to tell if a deity is changing or not changing.

For example, take a deity concerned with fertility. When the Earth was fairly empty of humans, this deity was doing everything in its power to get humans to breed and produce lots of children. These days, the Earth is pretty full and this deity no longer works at getting humans in general to breed or to all produce lots of children. Has the deity changed or is the deity's goal simply different that we interpreted a couple of thousand years ago when we thought it was "get people to breed and produce lots of children"? Perhaps it was more like "get people to fill the Earth as fast as possible" or even "produce X major genetic lines".

On the nose!

Pssst. Judging from his sig that's not likely to happen.

Oh, aren't you cute...
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« Reply #44: June 07, 2010, 04:57:39 pm »


Why are you starting with the assumption that the gods are perfect?  Is that a standard part of Religio Romana, or your own personal belief?
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