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Author Topic: Gods as Ideas vs Gods as Deities  (Read 16120 times)
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« Reply #30: March 23, 2008, 08:16:40 pm »

Edit: And as a question: How do you see the gods?

My religion is duotheistic- I believe in one God, and one Goddess. They each have many faces, but to me they are all aspects of the one God or one Goddess.

As strange as this may sound, I am absolutely 'in love' as it were with the concept of hard polytheism. I love to read the posts of those on this board who talk of their Gods as individuals with personalities and differences amoungst them. It fascinates me. But at the end of the day I just had to settle for the fact that, when it comes down to it, my little brain cannot seem to comprehend it very well. Duotheism on the other hand, just clicked.
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« Reply #31: March 25, 2008, 07:49:04 pm »

Edit: And as a question: How do you see the gods?

The nature of the gods is something I have been struggling with for some time now, and I do not know that I will ever come to an answer that satisfies me completely.  And, sometimes, I have to wonder if I am ever supposed to find a satisfactory answer or if anyone is.

I can say for sure that they are beings, not idea.

It's on the question of "what sort of beings" that it all falls apart for me.
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« Reply #32: March 27, 2008, 12:03:41 am »

Edit: And as a question: How do you see the gods?

I went from being a monotheistic Christian to being a Duotheistic Wiccan to being being a hard polytheist.  There was a bunch of stuff in between those three steps but I won't subject you to my life story Smiley

Interestingly enough, I became more polytheistic when I started studying Jung, and Campbell. I think a lot of people misunderstand the words "archetype" or "symbol".  They think those words mean something abstract and heady, that doesn't feel "real".  If you read any of Jung's works, you'll see that he didn't relate to archetypes in that way at all.  Archetypes have a powerful energy and a consciousness that can totally pick you up, throw you down, spin you around and take you for a ride.  At least, that was how it was in Jung's inner world.

My boyfriend is a Zen Buddhist.  I have a good friend who is a chaos magician.  Neither of them believe in gods the way I do, and yet they do relate to archetypes.  Both of them are extremely spiritual people.  There's nothing wrong with relating to the gods as energies rather than entities with personalities of their own.  It seems to me like the effect of those energies can be very similar no matter how you understand them. 

Now, what do I believe?  I believe that the universe itself is a conscious entity, engaging in the process of creating itself through evolution.  Every time we evolve, or other beings (even the gods) evolve, then the universe evolves. This is a good thing.  We're all one in the great cosmic happy dance.  The gods are no more or less separate than we are.  They're older, with a deeper understanding of what's going on.  I worship them to gain that understanding....but they are within us as much as they are without. 

In my practical, day-to-day reality, I'm very polytheistic.  I experience the gods as each being their own thing.  I used to be duotheistic...one god, one goddess.  Now it's really hard for me to think of, say, Set and Djehuty as two facets of "the god".  Those are definately two very different Netjeru.  I don't know if this will make sense to you.  Perhaps I am contradicting myself, but I certainly don't have it all figured out.  Some of this is hard to put into words.
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« Reply #33: March 27, 2008, 11:06:52 pm »

But I'm a hard science guy. I believe science offers us the best way to empirically understand the world around us.

The irony for me has always been that my belief in the gods does not come out of faith but out of my own experiences with them, and in that way, my religion is very empirical, which always tosses people for a loop.
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« Reply #34: March 28, 2008, 10:56:33 am »

The irony for me has always been that my belief in the gods does not come out of faith but out of my own experiences with them, and in that way, my religion is very empirical, which always tosses people for a loop.


I was using "empirical" in the sense of "capable of being verified or disproved by observation or experiment" (sense 3 my Merriam Webster's Collegiate, 10th ed); I assume you mean sense 1, "originating or based on observation or experience"? (Though the two meanings do shade into each other a bit.)

Maybe a better phrase for what I meant is "quantifiable reality", as in: Science is the best way to quantifiably understand the world around us.

But that sounds rather more limited than the insights science offers.
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« Reply #35: April 01, 2008, 12:06:58 pm »

Edit: And as a question: How do you see the gods?

God/s exist yet they do not exist. Mm', the question holds many possibilities but let me try my best to explain my own views.

I consider everything to be a part of one, that is that we are not separate entities but common parts of a singular form. Whether that form be classed as an organism or force, energy of element is irrelevant. We and everything else, from the Earth we walk on, to the sun and stars around us, to the very nothingness that is the void of space. Are simply one entity that exists within its own right. I could go into further explanation why I come to these conclusions but I don't believe that is appropriate for the thread at hand, just take; that I believe everything is merely aspects of the one entity of existence. This is sometimes summed up as 'chaos.' Though I often conclude it to be; ' The Void. ' Both can be misleading but again, not the point here, so let's carry on.

As everything is one and not separate there can be no alternative figures, forms or forces that would be 'God/s.' Logically from that, you could say, that I do not believe in God or Gods of any sort. However that is slightly misleading in itself.

This thought, being misleading because it would restrain our thoughts to say that something does not exist, yet in reality it can exist. For example; I'll use the concept of Egregore's. For those that are unsure of the term, this concept is generally thought of, a group mind or concept that has developed into a reality due to the larger portion of will and belief that supports it. In other words, the Christian God is real due to the fact that people believe him to be so. As such he is real.

With this in mind, I can also say that I believe in every single God that exists within the known conscious universe. Which is, a rather large claim.

To understand, basically everything can happen, as such if the will and understanding is there, then the God in this instance is also there. Will be or can be there. As such, I can say that I both believe in all the Gods of the world, or that I believe in none of them. Depending on how I feel at the time. Logically however both answers are correct as well as wrong... I love paradoxical thinking.

To sum this up perhaps a little more clearly. Gods exist, as with everything else, that is chosen to exist, they are however a part of the all, that is chaos or perhaps the void. As such they are no different than anything else. Everything is one, the gods both exist and don't and as such we are both a part of them as they are separate entities just as much as they simply do not exist.

God is real because I say he is real but if I choose to say he is not, he is no longer real. My life is my own choosing, my actions are my own, the consequences of those actions are my own but at any time am I able to change those consequences to suit my own actions. We are all that which we choose to be yet we are all that single that exists in its own right without any choice at all, for the reality of the existence is that of understanding without the knowledge. Existence without awareness of existence.

I hope that was at least a little coherent...
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« Reply #36: April 01, 2008, 01:22:42 pm »

Edit: And as a question: How do you see the gods?

I view the gods and goddesses as individuals.  From time to time they hand out harsh lessons about life for me to better myself.  Odin happens to have the harshest lessons to teach from my experience, and this is especially true if you break your word.
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« Reply #37: April 01, 2008, 08:22:06 pm »

And now I'm interested in worship, in a relationship with a god or gods, but in my head they are still....archetypes. Concepts. Not real.

Edit: And as a question: How do you see the gods?

It's certainly entirely possible to work with gods as archetypes and have a full and meaningful practise.  If you'd run across me a bit after starting, that would have been my view.  I believed firmly in the psychological model of magic, with not a shred of doubt.  And I could have convincingly argued that.  Now, I believe with equal certainty, that I was a cocky little sod.  Who was very good at coming up with flowery sounding theories, but didn't have the personal experience to justify doing so.

This isn't an attack on you.  There are certainly those who work in a psychological model who do have justification for doing so.  In a way, it leads me to suggest that you work with the gods as you currently feel most comfortable with.  It's fine to work with them as archetypes, if that's what feels right to you.  If that proves to be what you should be doing, that's fine.  If it's something that later needs revaluating, there's absolutely no shame in changing your practise and/or viewpoint in line with your experiences.

In terms of my own view of the gods, I'm agnostic about whether we're talking about something internal or external now.  I still don't have enough to go on to definitely commit to the latter.  But, equally, I no longer have the comforting belief that there is no chance that the universe contains anything larger then my ego.  I'm actually more willing to commit myself to the hard polytheist position however.  While I still can't say whether gods/godforms are external or internal, I know for me that they absolutely don't feel either interchangable or like they're parts of a greater whole.  Although, obviously, there are people for whom that is the case. 
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« Reply #38: April 01, 2008, 08:26:45 pm »

(Sheesh, I sound like a Chaote - which isn't actually all that far off the mark; I don't identify as one because, as I understand it, Chaos Magic sees all paradigms as simply tools, and changing paradigms is a core principle, whereas I see paradigm-changing as a useful tool rather than a core principle.)

Heh.  On the other hand, it's noticable how many people (myself included) who's background is chaos magic seem to be backing away slowly from that particular viewpoint.  And even some of the people who still publically hold to it have been working in a single paradigm longer then the principle would suggest.  I have a feeling the Chaos Revolution tm is starting to eat its own children.
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« Reply #39: April 09, 2008, 05:30:10 am »

I grew up in an exceedingly dry and academic religious group called Theosophy. I learned plenty about myths, indeed the start of every Sunday children's class began with a story that fit with the theme of the week.
But it was all very dry. There weren't any rituals other than the sounding of a gong, and a very occasional intoned AUM. We were encouraged to meditate, but not to worship.

And now I'm interested in worship, in a relationship with a god or gods, but in my head they are still....archetypes. Concepts. Not real.

I remember as a kid I believed. I had my little alter to Krishna, and I'd intone his name one hundred and eight times before bedtime while counting on my brayer beads. (Lord Krishna, Avatar of Lord Vishnu, Protector of the Universe.)

As I find myself looking into paganism it all sounds very interesting. I want something spiritual in my life. But in the back of my head is the constant little voice saying, "its all very well, but you don't actually believe any of this stuff, do you?"

Edit: And as a question: How do you see the gods?

I apologize if this has been said, I need to sleep, but felt compelled to answer. 

I talk to myself CONSTANTLY, like seriously all the time.  I have whole fake conversations.  Not in a crazy the voices are talking way, but as sort of practice for real life.....
ok it's kinda crazy.

However when I'm really at a loss, or when I'm sitting at my alter trying to get something, I talk to *insert your label for god or personal god or belief system here*  I have always talked to her.  Well I used to call her Jesus, but I've always (i'm gonna use God here to save space)  talked to God, just like I would talk to my best friend.  I haven't quite figured out a name or an identity or if I even want one for my path, but I talk to them, constantly and plainly.  I curse, I cry, I laugh, I tease, I joke.  And most important, I almost always find the answer I'm looking for.  For instance if I can't figure out why I'm having so much trouble with something, I start to talk it out with God and eventually the answer just appears.  At the very least, I ALWAYS feel better. 
What I'm saying is having a personal relationship with God (and again, that's just a label to save space, if you choose to have a specific diety, or one chooses you, or you worship God and Goddess, the name is not the important part here) sometimes it's as easy as picking up the phone.  My guess is, she'll answer. 

(*side note on the "You don't really believe this" comment.  One of the books I read made the most amazing and path affirming statements I have ever read.  It was talking about a skeptic refuting pagan experiences, like speaking with the gods and communing with spirits, by saying they were all imagination.  Aside from those of us who have had an experience and just know that we didn't do that, the book said....It doesn't matter.  Not in an "it floats your boat so do it" way, but in the sense that just because we created something with our minds makes it no less real.  I'm not saying that's what everyone does.  But to me it was profound because I was able to let go of all the shaking doubts I had, let what I experienced be real.  I wish I had the quote because the way I say it sounds dissmissive, but truely, it helped me to redefine the way I look at my own power.)    *the book was "A Complete Idoiots Guide to Paganism"* 
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« Reply #40: April 09, 2008, 08:28:37 am »

Also, I don't see why you couldn't just begin with an agnostic ritual: "I don't know who's out there, or whether anyone's out there at all, but I'm doing this to honor you anyway. If you want to talk to me, I'm listening."

hahahaha I just love you for that comment now. Made me sincerely smile for the first time today Cheesy Excellent advice in my opinion.
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« Reply #41: April 09, 2008, 10:06:39 am »

How do you see the gods?

I have a pantheistic view of the Divine.  For me They are in everything.  I have a very close relationship with Them.  I revere, love, and respect Them and I work with Them, but worship is way too strong a word for me.
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« Reply #42: April 09, 2008, 01:05:31 pm »

I have a pantheistic view of the Divine.  For me They are in everything.  I have a very close relationship with Them.  I revere, love, and respect Them and I work with Them, but worship is way too strong a word for me.
One book I really loved, because it helped me understand how I relate to God vs. how I used to, is the book "How to know God" by Deepok Chopra.  I didn't necessarily agree with everything he says, but he did give me a lot to think about.
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« Reply #43: April 13, 2008, 08:47:00 am »

Edit: And as a question: How do you see the gods?

I read a lot of things here, that occupy my mind too, that I think about in pretty the same way.

When I started out, I was rather fluffy. The all gods are one - Avalon stuff.
But then I learned that they are not all the same.
So for that I'm a hard polytheist. And I believe in the great Power that's flowing through the whole existence.

What I'm struggling with, is too that 'compartment' (I liked that!) with the oh so sober voice in it.
There are times I easily could switch to a very dry view of the world - but thanks goodness, I experienced too much to forget that there is more.

My personal problem with worship is, it never seemed to work out for me, it never felt right.
And the way I see the gods meanwhile makes worship dispensable. Still there are times I also wish I could just jump into a nice, cosy, fluffy religious view of things - it would make everything so much easier, but I can't.

I don't know if I can put in words what I believe about the gods and still make sense to somebody reading it, but I'll try. Gods - both: they contain archetype, but they're beings. If they need worship to exist, I don't know. But if the archetypes were not anymore important to anyone, because let's say mankind came to an end, those beings would loose a big part of what we think they are. And might come back closer to what they really are.

Are they all mighty? I don't think so - not in an absolute sense. In a sense like a parent is allmighty for a child, or I'm allmighty for my pets - possible. If you can reach to, where another can't, if you know, what another doesn't - that makes you different, not necessarily all knowing, allmighty. It puts them on a very different plane and level from us. They can protect me, help me, teach me.

Most times I talk to the ones, that take care of me, in a normal way, not a 'prayer' way. Just like I would to my Mother. Like: 'Hey, that was a bad day, could you send me some help and I have a question what was that bs about?' Kind of that. The answers I often get out of the cards - sometimes directly. But *quoting a bit hp* Even in the magical world, hearing voices is not a good sign  Wink No just joking. It's the intuition path the answers choose to come to my mind.

Oh my, I hope I make at least a little sense here. It's hard to put in words (and in the words of a foreign language.)

My advice would be, to build that way of interaction that helps you the most.
If it's something old and well known from childhood - great. We never totally loose what we learned then.
Ritual is important to ourselves, because it gives us a structure. I don't think it's too important for them - though the relationship itself might be very important.
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« Reply #44: April 13, 2008, 01:38:03 pm »

hahahaha I just love you for that comment now. Made me sincerely smile for the first time today Cheesy Excellent advice in my opinion.
Like that kind of fun too, hope nobody's offended, but one of the best jokes on agnostics I ever heard was:

An agnostic on her/his deathbed: 'God if you exist, save my soul if I have one.'
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