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Author Topic: Gods don't care about individuals???  (Read 9007 times)

Geroth

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Gods don't care about individuals???
« on: September 18, 2014, 10:57:15 pm »
I have recently heard quite a few people say that the gods do not care about the "petty needs" of individuals but rather the needs of communities. I have found this sentiment particularly within the Norse/Asatru community and even some Celtic practitioners as well. I found this quite interesting and at the same time a little disheartening, if true.

Do you find this to be true for you and the deities you honor?

baduhmtisss

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Re: God's don't care about individuals???
« Reply #1 on: September 18, 2014, 11:27:38 pm »
Quote from: Geroth;159311
I have recently heard quite a few people say that the gods do not care about the "petty needs" of individuals but rather the needs of communities. I have found this sentiment particularly within the Norse/Asatru community and even some Celtic practitioners as well. I found this quite interesting and at the same time a little disheartening, if true.

Do you find this to be true for you and the deities you honor?

I find the gods care quite a bit about our needs. Djehuty has always cared about my own. A broken tool is not a useful tool.
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carillion

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Re: God's don't care about individuals???
« Reply #2 on: September 18, 2014, 11:58:59 pm »
Quote from: Raine;159313
I find the gods care quite a bit about our needs. Djehuty has always cared about my own. A broken tool is not a useful tool.



Tool?

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Re: God's don't care about individuals???
« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2014, 12:00:21 am »
Quote from: Geroth;159311
Do you find this to be true for you and the deities you honor?

 
This has not been my experience with the Egyptian or Greek deities. Certainly they do care about the community, there's no denying that, but I don't think it would be accurate to say they didn't care about the individual as well. It doesn't match my personal experience, which I know doesn't mean much outside myself, but it doesn't really seem to match evidence from the popular religion of both cultures, either.

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Re: God's don't care about individuals???
« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2014, 12:23:14 am »
Quote from: Geroth;159311
I have recently heard quite a few people say that the gods do not care about the "petty needs" of individuals but rather the needs of communities. I have found this sentiment particularly within the Norse/Asatru community and even some Celtic practitioners as well. I found this quite interesting and at the same time a little disheartening, if true.

Do you find this to be true for you and the deities you honor?

 
I think the set up is a bit of a false dichotomy. Its not a case of either/or. Of course, the actual nature of such relationships depends on the people and the divinities in question. The gods are under no obligation to deal with individual people, and will favour the community. However, this does not mean that individual relationships cannot be established, even if it is not a priority.

Aster Breo

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Re: God's don't care about individuals???
« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2014, 01:53:23 am »
Quote from: Geroth;159311
Do you find this to be true for you and the deities you honor?

No, not regarding Brighid.
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Morag

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Re: God's don't care about individuals???
« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2014, 02:49:32 am »
Quote from: Geroth;159311
I have recently heard quite a few people say that the gods do not care about the "petty needs" of individuals but rather the needs of communities. I have found this sentiment particularly within the Norse/Asatru community and even some Celtic practitioners as well. I found this quite interesting and at the same time a little disheartening, if true.

Do you find this to be true for you and the deities you honor?

 
How am I to be of any use to my community if I am not taken care of?

Like Raine said, a broken tool is not a useful tool.
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Morag

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Re: God's don't care about individuals???
« Reply #7 on: September 19, 2014, 02:50:04 am »
Quote from: carillion;159315
Tool?

 
Some people consider themselves tools of the gods.
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Juniperberry

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Re: God's don't care about individuals???
« Reply #8 on: September 19, 2014, 03:51:11 am »
Quote from: Geroth;159311
I have recently heard quite a few people say that the gods do not care about the "petty needs" of individuals but rather the needs of communities. I have found this sentiment particularly within the Norse/Asatru community and even some Celtic practitioners as well. I found this quite interesting and at the same time a little disheartening, if true.

Do you find this to be true for you and the deities you honor?



I used to think that as a heathen, and I believed there was evidence for that, but then I started to wonder how much of that was Christian propaganda.

It's sort of funny. Us heathens tend to go on and on dissing 'woo', but then we seem to think the gods only interact through woo and only with 'special' people. It's like no one ever considered that it's in the subtle moments, when life is at it's most natural and simplistic, that the gods are interacting with us individually the most. Or that it's mainly in moments of large crisis that they worry about larger issues/community.
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Naomi J

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Re: God's don't care about individuals???
« Reply #9 on: September 19, 2014, 03:55:03 am »
Quote from: Geroth;159311
I have recently heard quite a few people say that the gods do not care about the "petty needs" of individuals but rather the needs of communities. I have found this sentiment particularly within the Norse/Asatru community and even some Celtic practitioners as well. I found this quite interesting and at the same time a little disheartening, if true.

Do you find this to be true for you and the deities you honor?

I think the issue is often that *all* the gods don't care about every individual.

I grew up in a Christian church, and was taught to believe that there was one god who loved everyone in the world. This always struck me as difficult and unlikely, but that was the doctrine, so.

Contrastingly, I don't think there's any reason why Aset or Freyr or Hermes should have any interest in me. If I started honouring them and got their attention, and then developed a relationship with them, maybe they'd start caring about my needs, petty or not.

But even then, it very much depends on the deity. And on your relationship with them. My goddess is very interested in me, but not hugely interested in my day to day life. If I ask her to look over a part of my life for me, she might get interested. But mostly she has much  bigger things to worry about, being a land and sovereignty goddess. She has mountains to inhabit. She does care about me, but in a very 'foreign'  way, and often her needs come first in our relationship. This is not a 'God loved the world so much that he gave his only son' type relationship. I'm not loved unconditionally or the most important thing in Beara's world, and that's fine with me. I'd be backing off very fast from any deity who did treat me like that.

So does the deity that I serve care about my needs? Yes and no. I think it depends on the god, basically.

But I certainly believe that gods care about communities and about their tribes as a whole. They've always been known as patrons of tribes, at least in Northern Europe. Many of their tribes may not exist anymore, and I suspect that's why patronage of individuals happens in modern Paganism. But two of the deities I honour have living breathing descendants of their original tribes to worry about, and entire areas named after them to look after. They certainly care about those, IMO.
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Re: God's don't care about individuals???
« Reply #10 on: September 19, 2014, 06:56:42 am »
Quote from: Geroth;159311
Do you find this to be true for you and the deities you honor?

 
Short answer: nope. Long answer: Hells nope.

Seriously though, since when are the needs of the individual automatically "petty," and since when must a god sacrifice tending the community to look after an individual? I think plenty of gods are "big" enough to do both.
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Re: God's don't care about individuals???
« Reply #11 on: September 19, 2014, 07:14:27 am »
Quote from: Geroth;159311
I have recently heard quite a few people say that the gods do not care about the "petty needs" of individuals but rather the needs of communities. I have found this sentiment particularly within the Norse/Asatru community and even some Celtic practitioners as well. I found this quite interesting and at the same time a little disheartening, if true.

Do you find this to be true for you and the deities you honor?

 
I don't find this to be true personally, though it's only a few deities that care about  me personally since I have some sort of a relationship with them. Do they care about their community? Yes. But that doesn't mean they can't care for people on a personal level too. If humans have the capability of working for the needs of their community and have individual relationships that are more personal with people in that community, then gods are perfectly capable as well.

Maybe people dislike the idea of gods taking interest in a person's life because it makes them seem 'special' and they wonder why a god won't do the same for them. Except they seem to forget that people are building blocks of communities and helping individual people will often help the community. It's amazing to think how one little thing can affect the whole sometimes.

Septima

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Re: God's don't care about individuals???
« Reply #12 on: September 19, 2014, 08:41:25 am »
Quote from: Geroth;159311
I have recently heard quite a few people say that the gods do not care about the "petty needs" of individuals but rather the needs of communities. I have found this sentiment particularly within the Norse/Asatru community and even some Celtic practitioners as well. I found this quite interesting and at the same time a little disheartening, if true.

Do you find this to be true for you and the deities you honor?


I agree, you do tend to find this sentiment within the Heathen community and I have heard many prominent people within the scene say this. I don't know where this belief comes from and it quite honestly bugs me. Some have said to me that "the gods should not be your first port of call when things get rough" as it goes against one of the NNV, that of self-reliance. Others say the gods have "more important things to do than worry about our lives", as if they are distant, uncontactable and uncaring. If that's the case I ask, why do they honor them? Aren't they just wasting their time?  

I can say, I have worked with a few Germanic deities, namely Freya and Thor and both of them took an active interest in my life as an individual. Do they care about communities? Absolutley. However individuals do matter to them too and in my experience they are more than willing to help out when a sincere need arises.

Nyktelios

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Re: God's don't care about individuals???
« Reply #13 on: September 19, 2014, 11:13:50 am »
Quote from: Geroth;159311
Do you find this to be true for you and the deities you honor?

It really depends, people have widely differing opinions on the matter.

There's an argument to be made that the Mediterranean mystery cults like those of Isis and Jesus the Christ gained such a following because they offered much more personal relationships with the divine than the traditional state cults did. The Olympian gods had the reputation of being cold and aloof when it came to the troubles of humankind. Isis and Jesus were figures who offered compassion and a personal loving relationship, rather than the cold respect and piety that the traditional gods expected.

I think it really depends on the deity in question. Many cultures had household gods and spirits that protected the family and had an intimate relationship with them, while the major gods were like a royal family that the common people did not have much access to. Deities generally patronized certain groups of people, not necessarily individuals. To use Roman religion as an example, Juno was patroness of married women, Mars was patron of soldiers, Vulcan was patron of smiths and craftsmen, etc. Just because you were a smith didn't mean Vulcan was your BFF.

Many people are mentally conditioned by Christian society, so they may project the "God loves me" idea on gods that were not traditionally that intimately involved in the lives of individuals. I'm more of the opinion that the gods aren't so much beings that literally exist as individuals, but are very complex symbols we use to relate to the Infinite, so I figure people can use them in whatever way works for them.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2014, 11:15:32 am by Nyktelios »

baduhmtisss

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Re: God's don't care about individuals???
« Reply #14 on: September 19, 2014, 11:04:52 pm »
Quote from: carillion;159315
Tool?

I should have explained that statement further, but Morag Is correct. I consider myself a tool for my Diety. There are some who share this view, and others who would disagree with it.
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