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Author Topic: why polytheism?  (Read 626 times)

arete

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why polytheism?
« on: September 10, 2018, 02:39:54 pm »
Why are there multiple Gods? Why doesn't exist only one God that gathers all the power? Why do we have a different God ruling the sky and a different God ruling the sea? According to christians, Jesus Christ is the only God on earth who rules everything (both sky and sea etc.) (his power comes from the Father). Isn't one God enough?

LadyBug

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Re: why polytheism?
« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2018, 06:06:35 pm »
Why are there multiple Gods? Why doesn't exist only one God that gathers all the power? Why do we have a different God ruling the sky and a different God ruling the sea? According to christians, Jesus Christ is the only God on earth who rules everything (both sky and sea etc.) (his power comes from the Father). Isn't one God enough?

Why do you assume all Gods aren't just the same Deity seen through the billions of individual sets of eyes that inhabit the Planet?

If there is only one Deity that created ALL of us in its image, doesn't it make sense that it in itself is far too complicated for the human mind to comprehend? Humans HATE what they can't comprehend; therefore we as a species tend towards wanting Humanized Gods.

I think it makes sense that we break an "All Knowing Infinitely Complicated" deity into smaller, easier to digest portions. If there exist more than one god we don't have to try to comprehend that the same Deity welcomes people that lived good lives and punishes those that did not (God vs. Devil). The human mind can understand two separate beings being responsible for Love and War way easier than it can understand one god being responsible for both their love for their partner/children/friends/pets AS WELL AS Hitler/Mass Murders/Genocide.

Tl;dr: I think Humans are WAY too simple to understand any one Deity so they broke it down into its building blocks and worship those since they are easier to understand.

Sefiru

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Re: why polytheism?
« Reply #2 on: September 10, 2018, 06:26:59 pm »
Isn't one God enough?

Why would 'enough' even come into it? Usually we talk about having 'enough' food or money - material things that can be wasted, or should be shared fairly with the people around us. I don't think there's a limited amount of deity that we need to conserve.

And anyway, Gods are usually thought of as persons, not commodities. It would be like asking, "isn't one friend enough?" the word 'enough' just doesn't make any sense in this context.

EnderDragonFire

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Re: why polytheism?
« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2018, 08:23:04 pm »
Why are there multiple Gods?

What are you asking, exactly? I see this being two possible questions:

Are you asking why *I* have chosen to believe in multiple Gods, as a philosophical and theological stance?

OR, are you asking what the metaphysical cause for the existence of multiple gods, if such is supposed, might be?

To put it another way, are you asking "Why are there multiple Gods?" or are you asking "Why do you believe in multiple Gods?"
"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

Jack

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Re: why polytheism?
« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2018, 11:56:45 pm »
Why are there multiple Gods? Why doesn't exist only one God that gathers all the power? Why do we have a different God ruling the sky and a different God ruling the sea? According to christians, Jesus Christ is the only God on earth who rules everything (both sky and sea etc.) (his power comes from the Father). Isn't one God enough?
I suspect it's a matter of nomenclature. Many monotheistic traditions have allowance for other powers but for one reason or another reserve the word 'god' for a single, specific one, or ignore the lay beliefs in other powers, or both.

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arete

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Re: why polytheism?
« Reply #5 on: September 11, 2018, 08:47:38 am »
Why would 'enough' even come into it? Usually we talk about having 'enough' food or money - material things that can be wasted, or should be shared fairly with the people around us. I don't think there's a limited amount of deity that we need to conserve.

And anyway, Gods are usually thought of as persons, not commodities. It would be like asking, "isn't one friend enough?" the word 'enough' just doesn't make any sense in this context.
one God ''enough'' for the explanation/creation of the universe.

LadyBug

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Re: why polytheism?
« Reply #6 on: September 11, 2018, 08:49:06 am »
one God ''enough'' for the explanation/creation of the universe.

So one person created in the image of the one god is enough to do every job on the planet?

arete

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Re: why polytheism?
« Reply #7 on: September 11, 2018, 08:49:49 am »
What are you asking, exactly? I see this being two possible questions:

Are you asking why *I* have chosen to believe in multiple Gods, as a philosophical and theological stance?

OR, are you asking what the metaphysical cause for the existence of multiple gods, if such is supposed, might be?

To put it another way, are you asking "Why are there multiple Gods?" or are you asking "Why do you believe in multiple Gods?"
this ''what the metaphysical cause for the existence of multiple gods, if such is supposed, might be?'' why religions speak of many gods? is there a possibility that only one allmighty god created the universe?

arete

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Re: why polytheism?
« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2018, 08:55:23 am »
So one person created in the image of the one god is enough to do every job on the planet?
no. and that is why there are other gods. it depends on the image I guess.

ehbowen

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Re: why polytheism?
« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2018, 09:35:23 am »
Why are there multiple Gods? Why doesn't exist only one God that gathers all the power? Why do we have a different God ruling the sky and a different God ruling the sea? According to christians, Jesus Christ is the only God on earth who rules everything (both sky and sea etc.) (his power comes from the Father). Isn't one God enough?

I actually have another take on the issue (as usual!). From my perspective it's not so much One God (which one?) as it is, God is One.

I posted in our resident Goddess's thread a few weeks back how I see the personalities of the Godhead I worship. And yet I say, honestly, that I worship One God. The personalities are not clones; these are not Stepford Kids. I get the sense that "behind the scenes" there have been some titanic disagreements and even "cat fights". But they are One in the way that a jury is one; when they render a verdict as God they do so speaking with unanimity. Their various personalities complement and serve as a check upon the impulses of the others. And they do not air their disagreements in public; when they emerge from the "jury room" they speak with one voice.

Basically, they love each other too much to let temporary disagreements send them off half-cocked. And they love the personalities that they are responsible for, and they listen to us. That doesn't mean that they do what we ask exactly when we ask it...my own life is testimony enough to that!...but, seeing the chain of actions down through time, they are setting things up now to maximize the positive impact of what will eventually be revealed.

You might say that their unanimity has several layers, and that looking down through time we become a part of it through our own free decisions. In The Beginning, they looked at the various founding phases of the cosmos and said, "It is Good." Eventually, I believe that all of us will get a glimpse of the Big Picture and that we will agree, "It is Good," as well.
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Where's the KABOOM? There was supposed to have been an Earth-shattering KABOOM!

Darkhawk

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Re: why polytheism?
« Reply #10 on: September 11, 2018, 09:47:12 am »
this ''what the metaphysical cause for the existence of multiple gods, if such is supposed, might be?'' why religions speak of many gods? is there a possibility that only one allmighty god created the universe?

Why does there have to be a metaphysical cause for such things?

Personally, I don't understand how anyone can look at the messy, contradictory chaos of the actual universe and say, "Yeah, that was not at all done by committee.  There is clearly only one mind at work here.  The consistency speaks for itself."  Atheism seems more empirically plausible to me in this universe than monotheism.

Looked at from an in-theology principle, though, if ya want a universe that's anything other than an undifferentiated mass ya have to invent the concept of difference, and once difference exists, once there is an Other, then ya get things that differ.  Monotheisms are for singularities.
as the water grinds the stone
we rise and fall
as our ashes turn to dust
we shine like stars    - Covenant, "Bullet"

ehbowen

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Re: why polytheism?
« Reply #11 on: September 11, 2018, 10:30:10 am »
Personally, I don't understand how anyone can look at the messy, contradictory chaos of the actual universe and say, "Yeah, that was not at all done by committee.  There is clearly only one mind at work here.  The consistency speaks for itself."  Atheism seems more empirically plausible to me in this universe than monotheism.

Looked at from an in-theology principle, though, if ya want a universe that's anything other than an undifferentiated mass ya have to invent the concept of difference, and once difference exists, once there is an Other, then ya get things that differ.  Monotheisms are for singularities.

Well, in the Borg theory of monotheism, or "How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Blob", the physical universe actually started just a couple dozen centuries ago with a garden and a pair of humans with no fashion sense whatsoever. But then, once that thread was firmed up and "Good", contact was made with Others who had come to entirely different ways of dealing with the ongoing struggle against chaos. They were "rolled in" to the physical reality and the thread grew. And grew. And grew. Now it reaches back (at least) thirteen billion years and as far outward as the finest telescopes can see. Hmm. What's next?

[tongue only very slightly in cheek!]
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Where's the KABOOM? There was supposed to have been an Earth-shattering KABOOM!

Riothamus12

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Re: why polytheism?
« Reply #12 on: September 11, 2018, 12:55:53 pm »
Why are there multiple Gods? Why doesn't exist only one God that gathers all the power? Why do we have a different God ruling the sky and a different God ruling the sea? According to christians, Jesus Christ is the only God on earth who rules everything (both sky and sea etc.) (his power comes from the Father). Isn't one God enough?

Honestly, the one question I keep asking myself is how many are there really? They could all exist as distinct Deities, there could just be a comparative handful with many faces, or they could all be aspects of one. Perhaps that is not important, what's important is that they exist in some form and that they reign over the universe and they guide us. Though to me, the reason I tend to lean on polytheistic modes of spirituality is that it seems to have a complexity that some monotheistic ones seem to lack. They seem to give me a better picture of the various functioning parts of the universe and what fits where. There is a certain sense of naturalism to it that lends itself to contemplating the relationships between things. To certain monotheisms are akin to someone who would look at a car and say "this thing works", where as many polytheisms would show me diagrams, blueprints, and charts explaining precisely why it works and what my role in maintaining the vehicle is. This is not to say monotheistic religions are wrong or foolish,  but rather that I don't jive well with certain interpretations of them and that looking at things in an undifferentiated fashion does not necessarily always work the best.  I think just about all religions are in their own way true and all of them connect to the Divine. The real problem to me is when people stop asking questions about the Divine regardless of what path they follow. Which is the other thing. To me polytheisms and animisms naturally lend themselves to asking questions. This is not say that monotheistic religions do not lend themselves to asking questions as there are many rabbis, Sufi mystics, Sikhs, and Christian philosophers who would prove such a statement incorrect.

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EnderDragonFire

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Re: why polytheism?
« Reply #13 on: September 11, 2018, 03:19:55 pm »
why religions speak of many gods? is there a possibility that only one allmighty god created the universe?

Why do religions speak of multiple Gods? I would say that it's because of the culture, values, and circumstances in which that particular religion arose. People design religions to answer the question they have and to explain the things that happen in their lives. Polytheism, like monotheism, just happens to be what made the most sense to some groups of people.

Polytheism and monotheism (and atheism) are all equally old, and equally widespread. There is a misconception that the Abraham religions are the only monotheistic religions, and that it naturally arose and replaced older polytheistic systems. Social Darwinists often liken this to an evolutionary change, with either atheism or Christianity as the "superior," logical end point.

The *reality* however, is that both Monotheism and Polytheism have been around since the dawn of civilization, and have long co-existed and interacted with one another. The ancient Persians were monotheists, as were the Jews, the Bantu, the Yaruba, the Nauruans, along with many others. Polytheism was equally widespread in the ancient world, with Taoism, Shinto, the Greeks, the Egyptians, the Maya, and many other cultures believing in many gods. Some ancient philosophies are atheistic, including forms of Jainism and Buddhism.

Many religions actually have multiple forms. Hinduism, for example, runs the gamut from Monotheism to Polytheism to Atheism, depending on your school of thought.

I don't know precisely WHY one group of people chooses one theistic approach over the others, but it's sufficient to say that all three are extremely ancient and widespread. 

As for your second question, "Is there a possibility that only one allmighty god created the universe?"

Of course that's a possibility. There's no evidence for one God, or for multiple Gods; they are equally (un)likely. There is also no way to disprove the existence of God or Gods, so the question will fundamentally remain an unknown, and all options will remain valid, including the one you are proposing...

...unless of course God or Gods chose to reveal themselves in an objectively testable way at some point in the future, which seems rather unlikely to me, given that they haven't done so so far.
"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

ehbowen

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Re: why polytheism?
« Reply #14 on: September 11, 2018, 03:46:26 pm »
...unless of course God or Gods chose to reveal themselves in an objectively testable way at some point in the future, which seems rather unlikely to me, given that they haven't done so so far.

IMHO, They're saving the best for last....
--------Eric H. Bowen
Where's the KABOOM? There was supposed to have been an Earth-shattering KABOOM!

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