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Author Topic: Definition of a God  (Read 10700 times)
sefiru
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« Reply #15: February 22, 2008, 10:25:23 am »


What makes something a *god* to you?  What characteristics are essential?

Do they change, or are they stagnant?

What restrictions are there on who can worship this god, if any?

I recall getting into a heated discussion of this on the old board ... from my point of view, there are two different definitions of "a god."

One is a definition of nature: a powerful, noncorporeal and probably immortal being with perception and abilities far beyond the human.

The other is a definition of role: a being who takes on worshipers, accepts prayers and offerings, gives guidance and emotional/spiritual support, and lays down rules.

The difference between these two definitions is something like the difference between the words "woman" and "wife." Thus, in my view, an entity could be a god in the first sense but not the second sense, if it had no interaction (or no desire for interaction) with mortals. And a mortal being could theoretically become a god in the second sense, though I doubt they would be any good at it.

Oh, that brings up another question: do you believe it is possible, hypothetically, for gods to be bad/incompetent at being gods?
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treekisser
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« Reply #16: February 22, 2008, 12:40:41 pm »



Oh, that brings up another question: do you believe it is possible, hypothetically, for gods to be bad/incompetent at being gods?

*takes out copper rod*

By your definition, it would be a failure to fulfill their role, right? Not offering emotional/spiritual support, ignoring prayers and offerings, etc.
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« Reply #17: February 22, 2008, 02:53:51 pm »

A god has sia -- complete apprehension of Their domain.  They are coextensive with it, understand it fully, and may breathe through it and with it at will.

A god is elemental, by which I mean a god is a pure essence, exactly and precisely what it is, not a composite of other things.  That pure essence is frequently so precise that we (living in a composite world) have to approach it with a wide variety of cultic titles and impressions, some of which appear superficially contradictory, but each reconciliation and understanding of how these things are the same thing leads to a deeper understanding of the Mystery of the god.
That definitly gives me something to think about.

Personally, I try not to 'define' the Divine. I think, we as humans, are not currently capable of understanding or defining what the Divine is. Now saying that, I do think it is possible to have a great relationship with the Divine without really understanding what or who, he, she, it, they are.
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sefiru
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« Reply #18: February 22, 2008, 05:56:21 pm »

*takes out copper rod*

By your definition, it would be a failure to fulfill their role, right? Not offering emotional/spiritual support, ignoring prayers and offerings, etc.

Pretty much.

I sometimes wonder if some of Them have as much trouble with this whole religion thing as some of us do.
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« Reply #19: February 22, 2008, 06:08:29 pm »

Pretty much.

I sometimes wonder if some of Them have as much trouble with this whole religion thing as some of us do.

Could be why a great number of them either disappeared or went quiet for quite a while.  Maybe they just couldn't deal with the world as it was, so went on vacation for a bit.

Would also explain why it seems like the gods that were major before aren't necessarily the ones with oodles of followers now - maybe they just don't know (or want to) deal with modern times.
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AIONIA
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« Reply #20: February 22, 2008, 09:01:35 pm »

Would also explain why it seems like the gods that were major before aren't necessarily the ones with oodles of followers now - maybe they just don't know (or want to) deal with modern times.

If they (mainly the Hellenic gods) were a little picky to start with, maybe they got enough followers and decided they didn't need to campaign for anymore followers. Just start rinsing and repeating.
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« Reply #21: February 23, 2008, 01:02:42 am »

Since this is getting rather heated elsewhere, I thought I'd split this off.

What makes something a *god* to you?  What characteristics are essential?

Do they change, or are they stagnant?

What restrictions are there on who can worship this god, if any?

I make music.

The gods are music.

And, no, that really isn't as flip as it sounds on first reading.
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« Reply #22: February 26, 2008, 09:28:04 am »

I also wonder if there are some Pagans who worship new Gods, you know, Gods who haven't existed before are haven't made themselves known.  Huh

Well, there is this guy: http://www.cultofcthulhu.net/
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AIONIA
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« Reply #23: February 26, 2008, 09:54:10 am »

Well, there is this guy: http://www.cultofcthulhu.net/

You know they're bad ass when they have their own yahoo group.
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« Reply #24: February 27, 2008, 01:23:57 am »

I also wonder if there are some Pagans who worship new Gods, you know, Gods who haven't existed before are haven't made themselves known.  Huh
Well, I have a dude in my "personal pantheon" whom I know I'm not going to find in a historical/cultural pantheon.  Then again, he rejects, with firm amusement, the "god" and "deity" labels (I have a private word I use for deity-type people, and he's fine with that, as are the others, with whom he interacts pretty much as an equal), and "worship" is a pretty misleading word for what I do.

For those who take a soft-polytheistic stance, I imagine it's pretty easy to accept modern-invention deities (such as Asphalta) as being no less "real" aspects of the Divine than traditional/historic deities.  That doesn't work for me - I'm too hard a polytheist - but I'm open to the possibility that a created god-form of that kind might eventually consolidate into a distinct, discrete entity.

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« Reply #25: February 27, 2008, 04:00:05 am »

Well, I have a dude in my "personal pantheon" whom I know I'm not going to find in a historical/cultural pantheon.  Then again, he rejects, with firm amusement, the "god" and "deity" labels (I have a private word I use for deity-type people, and he's fine with that, as are the others, with whom he interacts pretty much as an equal), and "worship" is a pretty misleading word for what I do.

For those who take a soft-polytheistic stance, I imagine it's pretty easy to accept modern-invention deities (such as Asphalta) as being no less "real" aspects of the Divine than traditional/historic deities.  That doesn't work for me - I'm too hard a polytheist - but I'm open to the possibility that a created god-form of that kind might eventually consolidate into a distinct, discrete entity.

Sunflower

Quote from: that site
"Hail, Asphalta, full of grace:
Help me find a parking place."
Sounds like a pretty useful goddess for the urban Pagan!  Cheesy



I'm not a hard polytheist myself, but it's difficult to say what I am exactly. I believe in divine energy and that you can invoke it through working with gods and goddesses, but I feel the images and stories about them are just symbolic of the energy they represent. I believe that energies exists on their own though, not just symbolicly. Energies are making plants grow and other things, but if you depict them as gods and goddesses in myths it is symbolicly.

Not sure if that qualifies me for a soft polytheist or is just a common pantheist view.

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Vale
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« Reply #26: February 27, 2008, 06:48:19 pm »

"Hail, Asphalta, full of grace:
Help me find a parking place."


I've used that one more than once  (not invoking Asphalta though).  Never have trouble parking!
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« Reply #27: February 28, 2008, 10:09:32 am »

I've used that one more than once  (not invoking Asphalta though).  Never have trouble parking!
I've often told my partner that he was favored by the parking lot goddess.  I just never knew her name!   Wink
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« Reply #28: February 28, 2008, 03:56:36 pm »

I've used that one more than once  (not invoking Asphalta though).  Never have trouble parking!


I've prayed for parking spaces, or sent spirits ahead to save me one.
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« Reply #29: June 06, 2008, 01:13:56 am »



I've prayed for parking spaces, or sent spirits ahead to save me one.

I've actually heard of a few different parking-space gods, one mentioned in "Urban Primitive" by Raven Kaldera & Tannin Schwartzstein. Now, the big theological question is are they all aspects of the One Parking Goddess? Or maybe there are different ones for different cities.  Wink
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