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Author Topic: Gods don't care about individuals???  (Read 9088 times)

Lana288

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Re: God's don't care about individuals???
« Reply #15 on: September 20, 2014, 08:34:53 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?

 
Not really. I've heard the same thing though. It's a little disheartening to hear/read, but people are entitled to their opinions, right?

In my personal experience, Saule's always been there for my petty needs, and is sometimes even semi-directly involved in my day to day life (though not very often). I don't know if it's possible for every person to develop a relationship like that with a diety, but... *shrugs* I also think it takes dedication that many people might not want to expend.

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Re: God's don't care about individuals???
« Reply #16 on: September 21, 2014, 06:07:35 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.

If the gods didn't want to have a personal relationship with individuals, there wouldn't be mysticism, nay? I think that relating to and with the gods can work on multiple levels: on a community or group level, on an individual practice level, and on a deeply personal level. It all depends on the gods in question, since some are very communal and some are very personal in their attributes.

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Re: God's don't care about individuals???
« Reply #17 on: September 21, 2014, 06:49:13 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?

 
Not for me. Quite the opposite. My god, and really any god spirit or force of the Left Hand Path, is by definition focused on the exaltation of the individual. Caring more for the community defeats the purpose.

Of course, few people here would define themselves as LHP, and fewer are any form of Satanist, so take it as a view from the fringe.
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Re: God's don't care about individuals???
« Reply #18 on: September 21, 2014, 06:55:22 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 it a false dichotomy, personally.

Communities are MADE of individuals.  If you ignore the individual, you cannot accurately deal with community.  If you ignore the community, you are missing an integral part of what makes us human.

So - do gods care about individuals?  I believe so, yes.  Communities?  Yes.  Some lean more one way than the other, but they're a dynamic whole, not either/or.

katbast

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Re: God's don't care about individuals???
« Reply #19 on: September 22, 2014, 01:57:37 pm »
Quote from: HeartShadow;159705
.......

 

I don't feel that the gods are interested in every tiny detail of my life. I feel that they are interested in me as a whole. Like HeartShadow just posted, you can't really have communities with out the individuals.

I guess I would look at it as they look after the community as a whole, such as Mars looking over soldiers or Hera looking over married women. But also they look after their followers who take the time to honor them.

PrincessKLS

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Re: Gods don't care about individuals???
« Reply #20 on: October 01, 2014, 01:30:45 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 don't know about the norse or asatru communities but I feel like in Christianity we are to believe our God(s) are so omnipresent, omniscient, etc that they care about the petty and serious needs of individuals and communities. But the more I think about it, in Christianity we are supposed to have at least one guardian angel to guide us and to call upon for us. Also in Catholicism you are given a saint/patron to represent you and guide you throughout life, which basically these ideas are similar to the "new aged" ideas of spirit guides. Anyway, if God or Jesus was so "omni" why would we need spirit guides, angels, and/or saints to guide us? Couldn't we just call upon God or Jesus to help us?
« Last Edit: October 01, 2014, 01:31:09 pm by PrincessKLS »
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Re: Gods don't care about individuals???
« Reply #21 on: October 04, 2014, 10:20:02 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've had personal experiences with Freya and Eris, and I'd say that's close enough to true. It's not accurate to say they care more about the community, but more that they take the bigger picture into account. Christianity also touches on this with their talk on "unanswered prayers" (Garth Brooks even wrote a song on that which topped the charts and I've heard it plenty of times over the years so that despite not listening to country much I could recite many of the lyrics).

Both goddesses made it clear that I wasn't to call on them (or expect the unexpected if I did in the case of Eris with a strong "beware what you wish for" attached and was learned by the other 4 members of our cabal) but do things on my own. Magic was acceptable, prayers were not (an interesting experiment in prayer for me had every single prayer I prayed fail even when it was extremely unlikely to do so--granted, I didn't pray for things like gravity to work :p ). In the case of Freya she wanted me to "grow up" and hoped I'd stand with her one day...but didn't sweat that not every song of hers (me being a song) was going to come out the way she hoped.
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Pix

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Re: Gods don't care about individuals???
« Reply #22 on: October 04, 2014, 10:29:43 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

One of the more interesting theories I've heard of the gods is that they were once spirits or even elementals that grew in power from worship. It's similar to how some into magic would seek to shape elemental spirits or create homunculi or a tulpa (sometimes called a "thought form"), but the power was much more intense with numbers, generations, and even blood spilled (either as a martyr and/or a crusader) so that they became ultra-powerful beings...but still require feeding if they're not to wane from existence.

Therefore, they view humanity similar to how a rancher views cattle. The herd is more important than any one individual, but at the same time all individuals are looked after. Still, the gods (in this theory) do nothing for free...though it may seem like it. That is if they perform some minor miracle (or at least make you think it was them who did it) then your belief feeds them, and if they can trick you into believing everything you do is because of them then so much the better, it's a rich feast.

This is interesting to me because of all the prayers over sports events (though I have read the part of the brain excited by sports is right by the part excited by religion) so that all the planning, strategy, and training don't matter to those involved, only God's blessing. And, of course, those who give thanks for the food that they put on their own plate. Every time they do that the gods prayed to or thanked are satiated.

Which isn't exactly a bad deal as long as it's more or less aware. That is if rubbing the ego so to speak brings about protection or even wishes (such as described in the prosperity gospel) then I see nothing wrong with a fair exchange of services...but sometimes people lose faith in themselves or become too dependent to stand on their own feet as a result and that's not a good end for them.
« Last Edit: October 04, 2014, 10:31:13 pm by Pix »
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dionysiandame

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Re: God's don't care about individuals???
« Reply #23 on: October 07, 2014, 02:15:52 pm »
Quote from: Septima;159353
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'm not a Heathen so I can only say the following from an "outsider looking in" kind of perspective but the bolded is where I think a lot of this tends to come from that coupled with mythology that may or may not feature the gods being involved with the daily lives of mortals.

I also think there are several cultural reasons for this as well though I see them more in American Heathens than others;

1.Backlash against perceived "socialist" policies and concepts. So self-reliance becomes code for "not accepting government aid/welfare/foodstamps/etc." despite the fact that these programs still require the individual to work in some way. Combine this mental imagery with theology and seeking the gods' aid becomes an act only for the slothful or lazy, regardless of the actual circumstances.

2. A desire to distance oneself from the cultural influences of mainstream Christianity which can stress prayer and seeking G-d's protection at all times as a shield when RAWR hammer and battle and Amon Amarth and History Channel's Vikings all that jazz.

3.  Political conservatism and/or libertarianism seems to form a simmering undercurrent in some groups I've been a member of (primarily for lurking purposes.) See #1.

4. A complete misunderstanding of cultural context and the fact that often what is written is only a fraction of what actually "was" and even now we are continuously having to edit "history" as more information comes to light and academics branch out into fields once considered off-limits. I'd LOVE LOVE LOVE (You hear me? LOVE) to read a book on how Northern European women practiced folk-religion even post Christianity as that can give tantalizing clues as to how the less written of access their mysteries and gods in their day to day lives.
« Last Edit: October 07, 2014, 07:28:39 pm by SunflowerP »
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Megatherium

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Re: God's don't care about individuals???
« Reply #24 on: October 07, 2014, 03:52:41 pm »
Quote from: dionysiandame;161503


I'm not a Heathen so I can only say the following from an "outsider looking in" kind of perspective but the bolded is where I think a lot of this tends to come from that coupled with mythology that may or may not feature the gods being involved with the daily lives of mortals.

I also think there are several cultural reasons for this as well though I see them more in American Heathens than others;

1.Backlash against perceived "socialist" policies and concepts. So self-reliance becomes code for "not accepting government aid/welfare/foodstamps/etc." despite the fact that these programs still require the individual to work in some way. Combine this mental imagery with theology and seeking the gods' aid becomes an act only for the slothful or lazy, regardless of the actual circumstances.

2. A desire to distance oneself from the cultural influences of mainstream Christianity which can stress prayer and seeking G-d's protection at all times as a shield when RAWR hammer and battle and Amon Amarth and History Channel's Vikings all that jazz.

3.  Political conservatism and/or libertarianism seems to form a simmering undercurrent in some groups I've been a member of (primarily for lurking purposes.) See #1.

4. A complete misunderstanding of cultural context and the fact that often what is written is only a fraction of what actually "was" and even now we are continuously having to edit "history" as more information comes to light and academics branch out into fields once considered off-limits. I'd LOVE LOVE LOVE (You hear me? LOVE) to read a book on how Northern European women practiced folk-religion even post Christianity as that can give tantalizing clues as to how the less written of access their mysteries and gods in their day to day lives.


I think you've hit the nail on the head here. Being interested in heathenry, I was quite impressed with the idea that Heathens were working hard to move away from their "Christianized" worldview and to try and truly understand how pre-Christian Germanic speaking people viewed the world. But there more I read (of the actual source material and academic works) and compared that to what actual Heathens said, I began to find a lot of discrepancies.

For example, the Eddas and Sagas are "Christianized bullshit". However, the same people who refer to them as such, are also perfectly willing to use them for the justification of their own points of view. Or the fact that people are dead-set against the worship of Loki because "there is no historical evidence for a cult", but worship of other figures "with no historical evidence of a cult", such as Sifa, Heimdall, etc. goes on without so much as a peep.

In the past few months I think I have finally begun to understand the strong degree to which modern Heathenry (especially in America? Perhaps?) defines itself by its opposition to not only Christianity, but also modern Pagan traditions, New Age practices, and perhaps even more broadly, aspects of American culture associated with the political left.

I think a lot of ideas that get waved around in modern Heathenry say far more about modern Heathens than they do about historical Germanic religions. In addition to understanding how Christianity, Atheistic naturalism, and even Greco-Roman religion can shape one's interpretation of Heathenry, I think modern Heathens have to be equally aware how the "We ain't Pagans, RAWR!" attitude among modern Heathens has utterly warped both our interpretations of how Pre-Christian religions in Germanic-speaking areas of Europe functioned, and how these traditions can and should be adapted to modern times.

Finally, to get back to the original point in the thread - I think it may have been possible that historical Heathens did not have as a direct relationship with their Gods as many modern North American Christians do. I think it is also possible that some Gods, and some people who interact with Gods are more comfortable with a relatively "distant" relationship.

However, I think trying to make a blanket statement that "Gods don't care about individuals" without any further qualification is curious. If one thinks the Gods are "too busy" to deal with individuals, then why on earth would the very small groups that modern Heathens tend to worship in be sufficient in size to attract a God's attention? Gods don't care about individuals, but they do care about "kindreds" of four people?
:confused:
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Juniperberry

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Re: God's don't care about individuals???
« Reply #25 on: October 07, 2014, 04:07:27 pm »
Quote from: Megatherium;161522
I think you've hit the nail on the head here. Being interested in heathenry, I was quite impressed with the idea that Heathens were working hard to move away from their "Christianized" worldview and to try and truly understand how pre-Christian Germanic speaking people viewed the world. But there more I read (of the actual source material and academic works) and compared that to what actual Heathens said, I began to find a lot of discrepancies.

For example, the Eddas and Sagas are "Christianized bullshit". However, the same people who refer to them as such, are also perfectly willing to use them for the justification of their own points of view. Or the fact that people are dead-set against the worship of Loki because "there is no historical evidence for a cult", but worship of other figures "with no historical evidence of a cult", such as Sifa, Heimdall, etc. goes on without so much as a peep.

In the past few months I think I have finally begun to understand the strong degree to which modern Heathenry (especially in America? Perhaps?) defines itself by its opposition to not only Christianity, but also modern Pagan traditions, New Age practices, and perhaps even more broadly, aspects of American culture associated with the political left.

I think a lot of ideas that get waved around in modern Heathenry say far more about modern Heathens than they do about historical Germanic religions. In addition to understanding how Christianity, Atheistic naturalism, and even Greco-Roman religion can shape one's interpretation of Heathenry, I think modern Heathens have to be equally aware how the "We ain't Pagans, RAWR!" attitude among modern Heathens has utterly warped both our interpretations of how Pre-Christian religions in Germanic-speaking areas of Europe functioned, and how these traditions can and should be adapted to modern times.

Finally, to get back to the original point in the thread - I think it may have been possible that historical Heathens did not have as a direct relationship with their Gods as many modern North American Christians do. I think it is also possible that some Gods, and some people who interact with Gods are more comfortable with a relatively "distant" relationship.

However, I think trying to make a blanket statement that "Gods don't care about individuals" without any further qualification is curious. If one thinks the Gods are "too busy" to deal with individuals, then why on earth would the very small groups that modern Heathens tend to worship in be sufficient in size to attract a God's attention? Gods don't care about individuals, but they do care about "kindreds" of four people?
:confused:


I am in love with this entire post, but especially the bolded portions.

(And I have to spread some rep around before giving it to you again. :( )
« Last Edit: October 07, 2014, 04:08:13 pm by Juniperberry »
The pace of progress in artificial intelligence (I’m not referring to narrow AI) is incredibly fast. [...] The risk of something seriously dangerous happening is in the five year timeframe. 10 years at most.--Elon Musk

I am in the camp that is concerned about super intelligence," [Bill] Gates wrote. "First the machines will do a lot of jobs for us and not be super intelligent. That should be positive if we manage it well. A few decades after that though the intelligence is strong enough to be a concern. I agree with Elon Musk and some others on this and don\'t understand why some people are not concerned."

Megatherium

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Re: God's don't care about individuals???
« Reply #26 on: October 07, 2014, 10:32:55 pm »
Quote from: Juniperberry;161523
I am in love with this entire post, but especially the bolded portions.

(And I have to spread some rep around before giving it to you again. :( )


Well, thanks a bunch!

I do think that there is some utility in trying to minimize Christian or modern Pagan elements in Heathenry, because there are potentially useful ideas (such as "distant" Gods, the primacy of ancestors, a world-accepting POV etc.) which are not common in most modern North American religious traditions, and can therefore easily be overlooked.

However, I also think that modern Heathenry can be so anti-Pagan/Christian that it almost seems to be the point of the religion for some people.
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Juniperberry

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Re: God's don't care about individuals???
« Reply #27 on: October 08, 2014, 11:21:33 pm »
Quote from: Megatherium;161578
Well, thanks a bunch!

I do think that there is some utility in trying to minimize Christian or modern Pagan elements in Heathenry, because there are potentially useful ideas (such as "distant" Gods, the primacy of ancestors, a world-accepting POV etc.) which are not common in most modern North American religious traditions, and can therefore easily be overlooked.

However, I also think that modern Heathenry can be so anti-Pagan/Christian that it almost seems to be the point of the religion for some people.

I know for me that at first it was so great to find a religion that I felt I could really relate to. It was exciting, I was passionate about it...it was like falling in love. You set it on a pedestal, you're in denial about the flaws, you think everyone should love it the way you do. But at some point you do begin to see the cracks. It's like moving in with your partner and realizing they  have a million annoying habits. And then committing to it just the same because of something bigger being in the space between you two, connecting you both.  

And that's the point when you're living your religion... in an  actual mature relationship, one where you can see the flaws yet chose to support the good, and even guide the bad into being a better version of itself.

For me, the religion of heathenry is that partner in the spiritual that I've currently married self with. It's just as flawed and as human as myself. The gods*, the spiritual truth--the woo if you will-- is that intangible space between that connects us.



*I have my opinions on that which aren't relevant here.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2014, 11:22:24 pm by Juniperberry »
The pace of progress in artificial intelligence (I’m not referring to narrow AI) is incredibly fast. [...] The risk of something seriously dangerous happening is in the five year timeframe. 10 years at most.--Elon Musk

I am in the camp that is concerned about super intelligence," [Bill] Gates wrote. "First the machines will do a lot of jobs for us and not be super intelligent. That should be positive if we manage it well. A few decades after that though the intelligence is strong enough to be a concern. I agree with Elon Musk and some others on this and don\'t understand why some people are not concerned."

dragonfaerie

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Re: God's don't care about individuals???
« Reply #28 on: October 11, 2014, 11:11:51 am »
Quote from: Megatherium;161522
If one thinks the Gods are "too busy" to deal with individuals, then why on earth would the very small groups that modern Heathens tend to worship in be sufficient in size to attract a God's attention?

It's been my experience that the Gods aren't too busy to deal with individual concerns, just that they aren't Pez dispensers. When I've come needing real help, and not just being lazy or superficial, I've gotten it. When I've combined my magic and prayer with mundane action to further a goal, I've gotten it.

To me, the Gods are a lot like good parents. They'll help you when you need it, when it's something they know you can't quite pull off alone, but they aren't going to do all the work for you. And they want you to understand the personal power you already have in making things happen for yourself.

So at the risk of snark, I feel like folks who believe the Gods don't care about us personally are just asking for the wrong help the wrong way.

Karen

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Re: God's don't care about individuals???
« Reply #29 on: October 11, 2014, 03:59:01 pm »
Quote from: dragonfaerie;161911
It's been my experience that the Gods aren't too busy to deal with individual concerns, just that they aren't Pez dispensers. When I've come needing real help, and not just being lazy or superficial, I've gotten it. When I've combined my magic and prayer with mundane action to further a goal, I've gotten it.

To me, the Gods are a lot like good parents. They'll help you when you need it, when it's something they know you can't quite pull off alone, but they aren't going to do all the work for you. And they want you to understand the personal power you already have in making things happen for yourself.

So at the risk of snark, I feel like folks who believe the Gods don't care about us personally are just asking for the wrong help the wrong way.

Karen

 
I had a much longer post a couple days ago, but my computer wiped it out before I could post it.

Yours is much more succinct and straight to the point and says precisely what I had wanted to say.
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