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Author Topic: Why bother with gods?  (Read 4139 times)

Mata

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Why bother with gods?
« on: August 08, 2013, 11:43:38 pm »
I've been mulling this over for a few days... and it's still fermenting, so bear with my (possible) ramble ;)

There's all sorts of ideas about what a god is, and why to worship them. I've noticed that a lot of neo-pagans see it in terms of a personal relationship of sorts, a friends with cosmic benefits, you could say, I suppose.
While there's parallels with this relationship in ancient religions, it wasn't the norm by any means. Gods were more often involved in a business type situation with humans, the whole do et des. I know in ancient Greece, Babylon and Rome, gods were worshiped because they were communal benefactors and "mascots", for lack of a better term lol.

What this has me wondering is, why exactly should one be involved with deities at all? No one lives in a city-state with a patron god who is expected to be venerated simply due to custom. The existence or importance of a particular god is not a given, and not really encouraged. So what does one get from the relationship at all, since it's no longer communal identity? Material benefits? "Spiritual"? Or are they just big life coaches and therapists? heh.

I'm genuinely curious, because I've worshiped several deities throughout the years, on a semi-regular basis, and have never experienced any kind of tangible contact - tangible in the sense that it couldn't be said that it was where I was simply looking for confirmation or messages, therefore attributing coincidences to something involved with a deity. And the subsequent theistic-leaning agnosticism I'm now in has made me wonder what the point is to begin with.

Thoughts? Outbursts? :)
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crazyharry

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Re: Why bother with gods?
« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2013, 11:54:52 pm »
Quote from: Mata;118433
Thoughts? Outbursts? :)

 
I kind of feel like your question is rhetorical; you clearly know where you stand on the issue.

It's just kind of nice to have a deity to believe in, even if it's some sort of weird limbo between belief and disbelief. I don't know, I tend to be fairly atheistic anyway, but then I worship a Goddess who isn't really in the business of answering prayers, so the relationship is a little nontraditional. It's hard to explain what I actually get out of it, but I suppose it gives me some sort of direction in a world where my scruples count for just about nothing. I also seem to get guidance when I look for it, but like you said, that could just be me injecting meaning into coincidence.

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Re: Why bother with gods?
« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2013, 12:08:07 am »
Quote from: Mata;118433

There's all sorts of ideas about what a god is, and why to worship them.

 
There are more ideas of what a God is than there a people.

My GOD has told me what I am to do, part of my worship includes that, the other part is gratitude.
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Re: Why bother with gods?
« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2013, 12:38:38 am »
Quote from: Mata;118433
And the subsequent theistic-leaning agnosticism I'm now in has made me wonder what the point is to begin with.

 
That your agnosticism is currently leaning in the theistic direction suggests you feel, on some level, there's some value in relating with God(s).
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Mata

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Re: Why bother with gods?
« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2013, 12:49:20 am »
Quote from: crazyharry;118434
I kind of feel like your question is rhetorical; you clearly know where you stand on the issue.

It's just kind of nice to have a deity to believe in, even if it's some sort of weird limbo between belief and disbelief. I don't know, I tend to be fairly atheistic anyway, but then I worship a Goddess who isn't really in the business of answering prayers, so the relationship is a little nontraditional. It's hard to explain what I actually get out of it, but I suppose it gives me some sort of direction in a world where my scruples count for just about nothing. I also seem to get guidance when I look for it, but like you said, that could just be me injecting meaning into coincidence.

 
It might seem clear, but it's not to me :p

I can appreciate your response, it's how I've approached religion in the past, and I think it's a perfectly viable tactic.

Unfortunately, it's not been something I can keep up for long, I can go through periods of belief and disbelief, and when I'm on the spiritual down time, I want certainty. Which is rather pointless, I guess, since there's not much of that in life. :)
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Mata

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Re: Why bother with gods?
« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2013, 12:53:35 am »
Quote from: mlr52;118435
There are more ideas of what a God is than there a people.

My GOD has told me what I am to do, part of my worship includes that, the other part is gratitude.

 Ha. That is true. :p
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Mata

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Re: Why bother with gods?
« Reply #6 on: August 09, 2013, 12:58:35 am »
Quote from: MadZealot;118436
That your agnosticism is currently leaning in the theistic direction suggests you feel, on some level, there's some value in relating with God(s).

 
I'll admit it. ;)

But I can't articulate what sort of value it could be, when you get down to the heart of the matter with sentiments aside; hence the question.

At times I feel like religion and gods in general is a way to alleviate anxiety. Then you have the other times when I don't think that. Argh, feelings, and all that junk. heh.
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Gilbride

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Re: Why bother with gods?
« Reply #7 on: August 09, 2013, 07:30:57 am »
Quote from: Mata;118433
What this has me wondering is, why exactly should one be involved with deities at all?


No reason at all, unless you feel compelled to, which plenty of people do. IMO it's not a cost benefit analysis kind of thing.

Plato says at one point in the Republic that people shouldn't be allowed to start their own temples in response to commands from deities in dreams. What does this imply? That people were starting their own temples in response to commands from deities in dreams frequently enough to irritate Plato. And what does that imply? That a fair number of ancient pagans may have had more personal relationships with the gods than the "official" version of the religion would account for.

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Re: Why bother with gods?
« Reply #8 on: August 09, 2013, 10:32:57 am »
Quote from: Mata;118433
What this has me wondering is, why exactly should one be involved with deities at all?


I really dislike "should" questions in religion.  I am not one with the authority to impose obligations on others, after all.

If there is a "should" involved, that is between the obligator and the obliged.

Quote
And the subsequent theistic-leaning agnosticism I'm now in has made me wonder what the point is to begin with.

 
Meaning is not something that can be found; meaning is something you have to go to the effort to create.  If the meanings that you create include the meaningfulness of gods, well, then, there you go.
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we rise and fall
as our ashes turn to dust
we shine like stars    - Covenant, "Bullet"

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Re: Why bother with gods?
« Reply #9 on: August 09, 2013, 11:11:47 am »
Quote from: Mata;118433
I'm genuinely curious, because I've worshiped several deities throughout the years, on a semi-regular basis, and have never experienced any kind of tangible contact - tangible in the sense that it couldn't be said that it was where I was simply looking for confirmation or messages, therefore attributing coincidences to something involved with a deity. And the subsequent theistic-leaning agnosticism I'm now in has made me wonder what the point is to begin with.


If you don't feel like you've ever gotten anything out of your relationships with deities, there may not be any good reason why you should continue.

Why not stop working with deities and engage in some atheism or non-theistic spiritual work and see if you feel like you're missing anything?
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missgraceless

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Why bother with gods?
« Reply #10 on: August 09, 2013, 04:25:05 pm »
Quote from: Mata;118433
I've noticed that a lot of neo-pagans see it in terms of a personal relationship of sorts, a friends with cosmic benefits, you could say, I suppose.

I've got a fairly personal relationship with Kuan Yin; I pray to Her every day and keep a mini set of mala beads with me at all times.

Quote
So what does one get from the relationship at all, since it's no longer communal identity? Material benefits? "Spiritual"? Or are they just big life coaches and therapists? heh.

To me, my relationship is almost that of a big sister, someone to go to for advice and help. I don't know how much you know about Kuan Yin, but She is the goddess of compassion. I keep a permanent shrine to Her, with fresh flowers when I can, and if I have a problem, I talk to Her.

My boyfriend broke his back (yes, broke ) last week and I prayed that he wouldn't need surgery, which is what the doctor feared. We found out from the MRI last night that he did break two vertebrae, but it will heal with 8 weeks of physical therapy. Some people would call it luck or coincidence, but I believe Kuan Yin answered my prayer.
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Re: Why bother with gods?
« Reply #11 on: August 09, 2013, 05:26:05 pm »
Quote from: Mata;118433
What this has me wondering is, why exactly should one be involved with deities at all?

 
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Why bother with gods?
« Reply #12 on: August 09, 2013, 05:28:22 pm »
Quote from: Morag;118530
The sex is amazing.

Bahahahahahah. Best answer yet.
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Re: Why bother with gods?
« Reply #13 on: August 09, 2013, 05:34:58 pm »
Quote from: Mata;118433
I've been mulling this over for a few days... and it's still fermenting, so bear with my (possible) ramble ;)

There's all sorts of ideas about what a god is, and why to worship them. I've noticed that a lot of neo-pagans see it in terms of a personal relationship of sorts, a friends with cosmic benefits, you could say, I suppose.
While there's parallels with this relationship in ancient religions, it wasn't the norm by any means. Gods were more often involved in a business type situation with humans, the whole do et des. I know in ancient Greece, Babylon and Rome, gods were worshiped because they were communal benefactors and "mascots", for lack of a better term lol.

What this has me wondering is, why exactly should one be involved with deities at all? No one lives in a city-state with a patron god who is expected to be venerated simply due to custom. The existence or importance of a particular god is not a given, and not really encouraged. So what does one get from the relationship at all, since it's no longer communal identity? Material benefits? "Spiritual"? Or are they just big life coaches and therapists? heh.

I'm genuinely curious, because I've worshiped several deities throughout the years, on a semi-regular basis, and have never experienced any kind of tangible contact - tangible in the sense that it couldn't be said that it was where I was simply looking for confirmation or messages, therefore attributing coincidences to something involved with a deity. And the subsequent theistic-leaning agnosticism I'm now in has made me wonder what the point is to begin with.

Thoughts? Outbursts? :)

I venerate several entities, some of them saints, some of them spirits.  I believe that all living things partake of the divine nature, so I work with these beings very much like many neo-pagans work with their own deities.

Technically speaking, I'm an agnostic.  I do not believe in the supernatural.  But I also don't believe in objective truth -- if there is objective truth, I don't think it can be discovered, only hinted at.

I tried the purely agnostic/atheist route.  It simply didn't work for me.  It all makes perfect sense to me philosophically, but it doesn't accord with my own experience.  My whole life I have had experiences with other beings, seemingly spiritual ones.  There have been times when I've hit rock bottom, and it's in those times that the saints and spirits come to me the most and really did help me, started a process of healing (a process that is not yet completed).

For me, religion is an innate part of my experience of the world.  I can accept what agnostics and atheists say philosophically, but I can't deny the way I experience the world.  I have tried, and I was hopelessly incomplete and frustrated.  It is not natural, at least for me, to live like that, it's like living without breathing.  It would be different perhaps if my experiences were different.

I have come across quite a few spiritual people online who are technically agnostics but practice spirituality because of the experiential factor.  That is the route I have taken.  I can accept science, I can even accept atheistic arguments are often logical and convincing.  What I can't do is cut out my experience of the world, which is more important to me than an objective truth I don't believe exists in the first place.
« Last Edit: August 09, 2013, 05:38:07 pm by EclecticWheel »
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Re: Why bother with gods?
« Reply #14 on: August 09, 2013, 09:58:13 pm »
Quote from: Morag;118530
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