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Author Topic: Monotheism and/or Polytheism  (Read 1175 times)

Hariti

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Monotheism and/or Polytheism
« on: October 21, 2017, 01:38:26 am »
So, basically, what it says in the title. Monotheism and/or polytheism. Where would you classify yourself, and why do you classify yourself that-way? How do you define these terms? You can be both!

My personal views actually fall under both categories. I believe that there are many, literally extant and real, Gods. These Gods are people, with physical bodies, with souls, and with distinct personalities and thoughts, who are mortal actors in the world, just like people and animals.

 However, these God are also manifestations of a single truth, from which all reality emanates and to which all reality returns in the end. They are all distinct from one another; they are all divine, and all reflect different aspects of the Divine, but Ganesh and Kali, for example, are as separate from one another as you and I are from one another.

The thing is, I don't think you and I are as distinct from one another as conventional Western culture suggests. I believe that *everone* and everything is, to some extent, part of God and a manifestation of the one true Divine. This applies to animals, plants, microbes, people, inanimate objects, Gods, demons, and everything else in the universe.

I would love to see how other site users conceptualize God and/or Gods and how they enumerate these beings.
"The worshippers of the gods go to them; to the manes go the ancestor-worshippers; to the Deities who preside over the elements go their worshippers; My devotees come to Me." ... "Whichever devotee desires to adore whatever such Deity with faith, in all such votaries I make that particular faith unshakable. Endowed with that faith, a votary performs the worship of that particular deity and obtains the fruits thereof, these being granted by Me alone." - Sri Krishna

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Re: Monotheism and/or Polytheism
« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2017, 06:21:02 am »
So, basically, what it says in the title. Monotheism and/or polytheism. Where would you classify yourself, and why do you classify yourself that-way? How do you define these terms? You can be both!

My personal views actually fall under both categories. I believe that there are many, literally extant and real, Gods. These Gods are people, with physical bodies, with souls, and with distinct personalities and thoughts, who are mortal actors in the world, just like people and animals.

 However, these God are also manifestations of a single truth, from which all reality emanates and to which all reality returns in the end. They are all distinct from one another; they are all divine, and all reflect different aspects of the Divine, but Ganesh and Kali, for example, are as separate from one another as you and I are from one another.

The thing is, I don't think you and I are as distinct from one another as conventional Western culture suggests. I believe that *everone* and everything is, to some extent, part of God and a manifestation of the one true Divine. This applies to animals, plants, microbes, people, inanimate objects, Gods, demons, and everything else in the universe.

I would love to see how other site users conceptualize God and/or Gods and how they enumerate these beings.

The monotheist just has to chime in on this....

Actually, we're not that far apart in concepts; just that I identify different personalities at the core of the issue. I have mentioned (ad nauseum) how I feel that Reality is taking shape in "layers"; that as events draw closer to a point which one of the belligerents (God/good; Satan/evil) recognizes as an existential threat the strategy of last resort is to reach back in time and "replay" history in the hope that some event, some choice will break in a manner which ultimately provides them with a way of escape and potential victory.

And I think that both of these sides have been in that position at various points. I identify one such point as during the life of Jesus. In contrast to most Christian thinking, I now believe that when Jesus originally came...the FIRST iteration...it was with the intention of actually, physically taking the Throne of David and reigning as God with Man from that point on. And that was such a threat to the side which I identify as "evil" that they replayed that whole time track over and over and over again, doing everything possible to make God give up on the nation of Israel or, failing that, to get Jesus to give up on his mission. By the time of what we now see as the "final" iteration (it has since been replayed more times than human mathematical thinking can conceptualize, but no events of note within it have changed) the short-term outcome of the Cross was well known to the principals...but, knowing that it was ultimately the right thing to do, they went through with it anyway. And, on the far side of the singularity, there opened the possibility of the Resurrection....

However, I think that my side has also been backed into that corner, and even after the events above which we now refer to as a triumph. Going mainly on UPG here, and it's kind of hazy, but I think that it was tied up with the writings of the man we now refer to as the Apostle Paul and the Protestant Reformation. I think that Satan was able to manufacture a split, and that while Heaven thought that things were going along pretty well what was actually happening on this side of the split was corruption and a falling away. In that initial iteration, Saul was a nobody. But, after events had progressed and Heaven realized that everything was threatening to fall apart, they began to replay events themselves, looking for some kind of a break point to change the outcome...and, in the process of doing so, on one side of the split they identified Saul/Paul and, on the other side, Martin Luther. While there was still damage and a lasting fracture within the groups calling themselves Christian, a way forward had been generated.

It would be false modesty for me to claim anything other than that I believe the process is approaching another "node" right now, and that I think I'll personally have a front row seat. But one of the consequences of approaching a "node", as I see it, is that it looks as if the (eventual) losing side is "winning", because they have more freedom of action to attempt to change events. Contrariwise, the opposing side must hold to their course and not be dissuaded, regardless of how hopeless things look in the short term, if they are to pierce to the heart of the matter and win. Once that node has been crossed...things get interesting.

And that's a buildup to my thoughts that the personalities which I call "God" are at the heart of this node. The Father, the Son, the Spirit (which I identify as a corporate identity for the Mother and the seven Daughters) are the personalities which have pushed and driven events. I'm not saying that other deities don't exist, although I believe that attempts to contact them are always subject to interception and interference with malevolent intent. So the Family represents the core personalities, but "God" is an umbrella concept for the team as a whole. And I think that they do work as a team, with each personality taking a special interest in his or her specialty and tapping into the unique strengths of the other members...and not just them, but also deities, angels, and even humans which they trust.

You see, I think that for those personalities, both human and divine, which align with them, it is possible to step up and become a part of the team. I've mentioned how I quite frequently make suggestions as to how I think the final outcome should eventually be sculpted, and I think that those suggestions are taken quite seriously. But I'm a long, long way from being the only one. UPG is very strong on this, that the details of the thermionic vacuum tube—the first reliable amplifier of electrical signals—were first envisioned by Lee DeForest, not by anyone in the Family. And that made possible voice transmission by radio, radar, the first computers...the entire history of electronics in the 20th century rests upon this one invention. And that's the tip of the iceberg; I get the very very strong feeling that several if not all of the Family members are rabid Star Trek fans....

I didn't touch on what I feel the goals of the opposing belligerents are in regards to these "nodes". For the enemy, I think that the goal is to wedge in and drive people apart...husbands from wives, generations of parents from children, races of white from black, a nation from their God...anything with the end goal of eventually driving individuals into ultimate isolation to the point where they despair of ever truly regaining contact...and that is Hell. On the other hand, I think that my team's goal is that, once the gold has been refined by passing through the fire, it becomes possible on the back side of these "nodes" to reach out and establish contact with others...both in this world and the next.

Got to get to work; I'm late. See you later.
« Last Edit: October 21, 2017, 06:27:57 am by ehbowen »
--------Eric H. Bowen
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Re: Monotheism and/or Polytheism
« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2017, 08:44:48 am »
So, basically, what it says in the title. Monotheism and/or polytheism. Where would you classify yourself, and why do you classify yourself that-way? How do you define these terms? You can be both!

My personal views actually fall under both categories. I believe that there are many, literally extant and real, Gods. These Gods are people, with physical bodies, with souls, and with distinct personalities and thoughts, who are mortal actors in the world, just like people and animals.

 However, these God are also manifestations of a single truth, from which all reality emanates and to which all reality returns in the end. They are all distinct from one another; they are all divine, and all reflect different aspects of the Divine, but Ganesh and Kali, for example, are as separate from one another as you and I are from one another.

The thing is, I don't think you and I are as distinct from one another as conventional Western culture suggests. I believe that *everone* and everything is, to some extent, part of God and a manifestation of the one true Divine. This applies to animals, plants, microbes, people, inanimate objects, Gods, demons, and everything else in the universe.

I would love to see how other site users conceptualize God and/or Gods and how they enumerate these beings.

My view is similar in that in my theology there is an underlying unity to all that is.  The All is God.

I am agnostic as to how individual gods exist, but they at least exist as cultural constructions and in personal experience.  They are distinct in that way -- I think the early descriptions of Yahweh are distinct from the Nicene one for example, and that they led to different experiences --but even abstract concepts and subjectivity are also in my opinion a part of the unity that is the one universe/omniverse/God.

Each person's subjective realm/experience is also a god/a part of the All.  Our experiences including that of God(s) are parts of our minds and thus ourselves even if there is a universe and gods outside of our minds.

As an example, I presume that I exist outside of your mind.  Insofar as you interact with me you have experiences of me.  Those subjective experiences you have of me are a part of you, and you are a part of the unity that is all.

One can focus on parts (polytheism) or the whole -- which I suppose in this case is monism.
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Re: Monotheism and/or Polytheism
« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2017, 05:54:01 pm »
So, basically, what it says in the title. Monotheism and/or polytheism. Where would you classify yourself, and why do you classify yourself that-way? How do you define these terms? You can be both!

I'm primarily a polytheist with slight henotheistic leanings.

I tend to classify my particular perception of Powers as "currents"--from my semi-Hellenistic perspective, there is an "Aphrodisiac current" that flows through Inanna, Ishtar, Astarte, etc and (for me personally) culminates in Ariadne as an aspect of Aphrodite. Similarly, there is a "Dionysiac current" that touches on numerous goddesses and centers around a cult of ecstatic lament and personal salvation revolving around the god Dionysos. And for me, both of those currents entwine to form a syncretic all-gendered Power who sometimes acts as a single being and sometimes acts as two or three or more deities. My devotion is almost entirely to this Power (or deityblort as I sometimes flippantly call Them); They are the one I outright worship even if I interact with other Powers.

So for me, my gods are both many and one, but I also acknowledge, based on my experiences and on the experiences of others who have similar systems, that other Powers and "currents" exist, some intersecting with the ones I work with, but others not so much. The Dionysiac/Aphrodisiac current that I follow can be said to include aspects of many deities in Minoan Crete and Hellenic Greece and the Ancient Near East, but, for example, I would not claim that Loki or Tlaloc are a part of it (and, for that matter, Artemis, Athene, and Hephaistos have only tangential connections, to give some Hellenic examples). I would also not say they are not real to their followers, and I accept that someday I may be called to work with apparently unrelated gods.
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Re: Monotheism and/or Polytheism
« Reply #4 on: October 22, 2017, 12:52:37 am »
I would love to see how other site users conceptualize God and/or Gods and how they enumerate these beings.

I think I fall fairly close to you on the spectrum. I perceive gods as different, distinct entities... but in a vast cosmic sense everything is probably One, including you and me and the grass and the sea etc etc since I do believe everything has some sort of spirit. So... philosophically I guess you could argue for monotheism even though I don't think of this One-ness as a god. But in practice I would say I'm a polytheist.

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Re: Monotheism and/or Polytheism
« Reply #5 on: October 22, 2017, 04:08:20 am »
I think I fall fairly close to you on the spectrum. I perceive gods as different, distinct entities... but in a vast cosmic sense everything is probably One, including you and me and the grass and the sea etc etc since I do believe everything has some sort of spirit. So... philosophically I guess you could argue for monotheism even though I don't think of this One-ness as a god. But in practice I would say I'm a polytheist.

I think I would too, honestly. Most Hindus don't consider themselves polytheistic (or Pagan, for that matter) but it seems like the most accurate description for my beliefs, which are not particularly atypical for Hinduism. *Shrug*
"The worshippers of the gods go to them; to the manes go the ancestor-worshippers; to the Deities who preside over the elements go their worshippers; My devotees come to Me." ... "Whichever devotee desires to adore whatever such Deity with faith, in all such votaries I make that particular faith unshakable. Endowed with that faith, a votary performs the worship of that particular deity and obtains the fruits thereof, these being granted by Me alone." - Sri Krishna

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Re: Monotheism and/or Polytheism
« Reply #6 on: October 22, 2017, 09:13:45 am »
I think I fall fairly close to you on the spectrum. I perceive gods as different, distinct entities... but in a vast cosmic sense everything is probably One, including you and me and the grass and the sea etc etc since I do believe everything has some sort of spirit. So... philosophically I guess you could argue for monotheism even though I don't think of this One-ness as a god. But in practice I would say I'm a polytheist.

If it helps, I think there's one greater power out there that everything comes from, but I don't think it's a deity, so monotheism does not seem like the right word. I'm a polytheist, and also a "there's lots of other stuff out there that isn't deities but doesn't have a physical body on this plane" sort of person, for which there is not really a handy term.
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Re: Monotheism and/or Polytheism
« Reply #7 on: October 22, 2017, 02:22:56 pm »
So, basically, what it says in the title. Monotheism and/or polytheism. Where would you classify yourself, and why do you classify yourself that-way? How do you define these terms? You can be both!
I don't have an interesting answer for this.

I have a reaaally hard time wrapping my head around the idea of absolute monotheism, as it seems so abstract, whereas I perceive the idea of several or many different entities distinct from each other to be much more inmediate, more "obvious", I think, because that's the nature of our own life.

I think... I think I'm being dragged by a simple Rule of Cool there.



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Re: Monotheism and/or Polytheism
« Reply #8 on: October 22, 2017, 06:04:35 pm »
If it helps, I think there's one greater power out there that everything comes from, but I don't think it's a deity, so monotheism does not seem like the right word. I'm a polytheist, and also a "there's lots of other stuff out there that isn't deities but doesn't have a physical body on this plane" sort of person, for which there is not really a handy term.

Yeah, exactly! Let's just go with 'weirdos' maybe. I like weirdos.

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Re: Monotheism and/or Polytheism
« Reply #9 on: October 22, 2017, 09:55:17 pm »
So, basically, what it says in the title. Monotheism and/or polytheism. Where would you classify yourself, and why do you classify yourself that-way? How do you define these terms? You can be both!

I would love to see how other site users conceptualize God and/or Gods and how they enumerate these beings.

I'm definitely on the polytheist side of things, too. It seems to resonate with my experiences of the gods, and it makes sense of the world to me. It wasn't something I consciously decided on, either. I just took it as fact that many gods were a Thing when I began worshipping Isis all those years ago, and I never really questioned what that meant to me until much later when I began digging into it a little more. All I knew was that the theology of Wicca at the time (late 90s/early 00s), in that Eclectic Wicca 'All Gods Are One God' thingie, just didn't work for me, so I left Wicca behind for polytheism. If I'd been presented with a different type of Wicca without that theology, I might've been able to make it work, but there you go. The gods take you where you need to be, and where I needed to be was elsewhere.

I have, in the past, thought about whether there was anything beyond the gods, some sort of supreme Source of all things, but the conclusion I've come to is that if such a Thing exists, it would be incomprehensible and unreachable to humans, so it's probably not worth worrying about whether it exists at all. So I just stick to polytheism as what makes the most sense to me.
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Re: Monotheism and/or Polytheism
« Reply #10 on: October 23, 2017, 04:58:16 am »
I would love to see how other site users conceptualize God and/or Gods and how they enumerate these beings.

My pantheon consists of many gods, and one supreme God.  These Forces are all worthy of worship, even those within my pantheon who have been called "angels", "devils", or "archdemons"... but the supreme God is most worthy of worship, above all others.

For me however, it is not about "belief" or "faith", it is about relationships, and how my connection to these Forces affects the present and the future.  What these Forces represent and how they relate to nature- or more importantly, individual and collective human Nature- is far more relevant than whether or not some aspects of these Forces originate from elsewhere in the cosmos or within some transcendental plane of existence.  I embrace God(s), I experience God(s), I worship God(s), I pay homage to God(s)... and I utilize God(s) as a constant source of motivation, inspiration, strength, power, wisdom, and beauty...  and to help me achieve my dreams and goals and ambitions. 

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Re: Monotheism and/or Polytheism
« Reply #11 on: October 23, 2017, 08:13:39 am »
My pantheon consists of many gods, and one supreme God.  These Forces are all worthy of worship, even those within my pantheon who have been called "angels", "devils", or "archdemons"... but the supreme God is most worthy of worship, above all others.

One thing which has been a barrier from my God to many people, at least in my experience, is the repeated emphasis upon "worship" and "praise", which finds such widespread expression in the songs and hymns used in Christian worship services. They are left with the impression of a narcissist who wants to surround himself with sycophantic toadies 24/7.

That's actually, IMHO, a much better picture of Satan. At least as of this present juncture of the space-time continuum; I'm not going to say that things have been the same since the dawn of eternity. I believe that my God is and has been going through a growth process and that this is reflected in his preferences in this area. There is a place for ceremony and ritualized protocol; IMO that is the Throne Room in Heaven. But outside of there...well, I now feel that when I do next see my Girlfriend face to face, if I start kneeling and bowing and scraping it's going to make her nervous and embarrassed more than anything else.

So why all the Scriptural emphases on worship and praise? Well, I think that it's tied up with Satan's ongoing attempt to drive wedges between beings and deities. I mentioned above that sycophancy was more suited to Satan's personality; well, that was one of the wedges. We were looking at my God through that "filter", and the wedge was made more effective because, at least for a time, my God went along with it.

You see, these "wedges" are more effective when they do have some ring of Truth, and Truth is that there is a real need for praise and worship. But that worship needs to be grounded in honesty and reality, not just empty repetition. I am no fan of what one of my minister friends refers to as "seven-eleven" songs...the same seven words, repeated over and over eleven times. I prefer the great hymns, which were grounded in personal experience ("It Is Well With My Soul") and Scriptural reality ("A Mighty Fortress Is Our God"). I think that, to my God, these perform much the same positive function as a well-timed sideline cheer at a football game: They remind him of the importance of what is at stake and encourage him to continue putting forth his very best effort until the mission has been accomplished.

In my way of thinking, God is human too...at least in this sense: He can get so frustrated from working on a problem with no apparent response that it becomes tempting to turn away and focus his attentions elsewhere. While he doesn't solicit sycophancy, he does appreciate encouragement. And, for our part, we need to give it. If you have a kid who brings home a straight-A report card and a parent who berates him for not being studious enough then who has the problem, the kid or the parent? (One might say that the kid's problem IS the parent....) After all, God is good. He is mighty. He is loving, patient, and all the rest. If we refuse to acknowledge this, it shows that we have the problem, not God.

Worship is simply the healthy recognition of reality.

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Re: Monotheism and/or Polytheism
« Reply #12 on: October 23, 2017, 10:20:12 am »
So, basically, what it says in the title. Monotheism and/or polytheism. Where would you classify yourself, and why do you classify yourself that-way? How do you define these terms? You can be both!

Monist polytheist pan(en)theist. I think pantheism and panentheism are perfectly compatible in Hindu thought. From Wiki https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monism Substance monism ("stuff monism") asserts that a variety of existing things can be explained in terms of a single reality or substance.[3] Substance monism posits that only one kind of stuff (e.g., matter or mind) exists, although many things may be made out of this stuff. That one "stuff" or substance is Brahman.

Quote
...I believe that there are many, literally extant and real, Gods. These Gods are people, with physical bodies, with souls, and with distinct personalities and thoughts, who are mortal actors in the world, just like people and animals.

I believe not only in the Hindu deities, but that many other deities from many other pantheons exist. Some are the personification and manifestation of Brahman, e.g. Shiva and his forms; Vishnu and his avatars; Devi/Goddess and her forms. Others are individuals. Some are immortal, others not.

Quote
However, these God are also manifestations of a single truth, from which all reality emanates and to which all reality returns in the end. They are all distinct from one another; they are all divine, and all reflect different aspects of the Divine, but Ganesh and Kali, for example, are as separate from one another as you and I are from one another.

Some gods and goddesses are manifestations, avatars, incarnations, and/or forms of the three who are in turn direct manifestations of Brahman. Those would be Krishna, Rama, Narasimha, et. al. of Vishnu; Kalabhairava, Dakshinamurti, Nataraja, et. al. of Shiva; Parvati, Durgā, Kali, Lakshmi (and Radha, Sita, Bhumi); Saraswati; et. al. of Devi.

Gods such as Ganesha, Hanuman, Murugan (aka Kartikeya aka Skanda aka Subramaniya); the Vedic gods (Indra, Surya, Vayu, Varuna); Thor and the Æsir and Vanir are individual "demi-gods" and not necessarily immortal. For example, Hanuman is chiranjiva, "long-lived" but not immortal. Hanuman will live as long as the name Rama is spoken. But of course we are all manifestations of Brahman, Brahman being the only thing that exists.

śivāya vishnu rūpaya śivaḥ rūpaya vishnave
śivasya hridayam viṣṇur viṣṇoscha hridayam śivaḥ
Vishnu's appearance is Shiva; Shiva's appearance is Vishnu
Vishnu is the heart of Shiva; Shiva is the heart of Vishnu - Skandopanishad
 

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Re: Monotheism and/or Polytheism
« Reply #13 on: October 23, 2017, 01:34:46 pm »
Monist polytheist pan(en)theist. I think pantheism and panentheism are perfectly compatible in Hindu thought. From Wiki https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monism Substance monism ("stuff monism") asserts that a variety of existing things can be explained in terms of a single reality or substance.[3] Substance monism posits that only one kind of stuff (e.g., matter or mind) exists, although many things may be made out of this stuff. That one "stuff" or substance is Brahman.

I believe not only in the Hindu deities, but that many other deities from many other pantheons exist. Some are the personification and manifestation of Brahman, e.g. Shiva and his forms; Vishnu and his avatars; Devi/Goddess and her forms. Others are individuals. Some are immortal, others not.

I guess I should have clarified that I, myself am also pantheistic. I simply don't interact with deities from other belief systems, and thus they don't factor much when I describe my beliefs. I had a brief period where I venerated Sirona, and anther period where I was involved with Shinto deities, but that has been some time ago. Generally, I don't involve anyone who isn't a Deva or Bodhisattva in my practices. I respect the fact that there are other good, benevolent Deities out there, but I don't think I am in need of them. This is because I believe that Krishna can and will answer my prayers, and will direct me to other Gods if I need to work with them for something.

I have a policy of respecting the holy sites and objects of all religions, and not just for the sake of their followers. I believe that there are many Gods in the world, and I try to avoid offending them or upsetting them. In most cases, I actually intentionally *avoid* contact with non-Hindu deities, by stepping very carefully when I encounter spaces which are sacred to other religions. This is actually why I decided to drop my Archaeology major at college, after 3 years in the program. I still *like* archaeology, but in the USA, it often involves violating and disturbing the holy sites of other cultures. This not only strikes me as offensive and disrespectful, but also as potentially dangerous.
"The worshippers of the gods go to them; to the manes go the ancestor-worshippers; to the Deities who preside over the elements go their worshippers; My devotees come to Me." ... "Whichever devotee desires to adore whatever such Deity with faith, in all such votaries I make that particular faith unshakable. Endowed with that faith, a votary performs the worship of that particular deity and obtains the fruits thereof, these being granted by Me alone." - Sri Krishna

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