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Author Topic: Why bother with gods?  (Read 4134 times)

Riothamus12

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Re: Why bother with gods?
« Reply #15 on: August 09, 2013, 10:25:36 pm »
Quote from: Mata;118433

Thoughts? Outbursts? :)

 
Their essence is tied to the essence of the universe and all things in some way. To become close to them and know them is to know such things better and to yourself better even if you are not yourself a God. They guide us eternally.They are our teachers though they do not always speak to us directly. Some times they must be heard with the heart, not with your ears.
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PaganNotPerfect

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Re: Why bother with gods?
« Reply #16 on: August 10, 2013, 01:11:53 am »
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? :)

 
Different people get different things out of honouring deities. I don't know whether my god (I am a Polytheist, but right now there is only one god I actively worship) is contacting me, or doing anything I request of him, or if it's just coincidence. When it comes to the act of worship, the feeling means more than the possibility.

It's not that I do not endorse science or rational thinking, I endorse and employ them regularly. My beliefs in a religious sense, are an outlet for the soul, that which is not bound by reality. It has grown more than to be just a place to let my spritual side out, so to speak. However, I am not alien to scientific and practical reasoning.

Does Taranis (I call him the Welsh name for him, Taran) really exist? If he does, does he really care about me, an American following an ancient Brythonic path? Does he care if I honour him or not? I don't KNOW those answers. However, I FEEL they are all "Yes.". For me, that is more than sufficient. I get personal satisfaction out of honouring him and will continue to do so. I hope that he welcomes and enjoys the fact that I honour him.

I don't feel that life is about having all of the answers, or even always about finding them. I'd like to think I'm a very intellectually rounded person. I seek intelligent humour, and intelligent conversation. I'm also attracted to British spelling, for some reason. I'm well versed in culture, and philosophy, and am very opinionated about current events.

However, when I honour Taran, I get to drop that, if only for a little while, and go by what feels natural. Doing so is an integral part of my life. It doesn't have to be correct like everything else, although I do try most of the time to be somewhat historically correct, I also have a well rounded UPG to supplement the "holes" in Brythonic Polytheism.

In summation, to me, it's about feeling, when I honour the Gods. Not so much about reality. So, I divorce it from my otherwise, fact based, practicality drivem life. To do so feels good to me. Although I have strong opinions on how some people approach Paganism, I ultimately believe you have to do what feels right to you. Others may criticise, I might, even. But that does not really matter.

If it feels good for you to honour gods, it's not hurting anyone, so do it! If not, that's okay, too. When it comes to spirituality, do what feels right to you.

crazyharry

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Re: Why bother with gods?
« Reply #17 on: August 10, 2013, 12:25:44 pm »
Quote from: Mata;118438
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. :)

 
Yeah, I think I may have misinterpreted your original post, sorry.

You want certainty, huh? Well, I'm fresh out of that. I liked Jack's idea. If you feel the need to be religious/spiritual, but have trouble committing to something you aren't certain of, maybe try going without the commitment for awhile. That's what I did anyway, then I encountered a coincidence that was difficult to explain away as such; now the atheist portion of my cycle tends to be more brief.

When it comes to certainty in religion, I think it's over-rated. The knowledge that you could be completely wrong prevents you from falling to the one true religion complex.

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Re: Why bother with gods?
« Reply #18 on: August 15, 2013, 08:20:40 am »
Quote from: Sage;118553
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Re: Why bother with gods?
« Reply #19 on: August 15, 2013, 05:31:24 pm »
Quote from: Mata;118433


What this has me wondering is, why exactly should one be involved with deities at all?  


I've battled this same thing for many years. I spent a few days thinking about what religion is and what I believed (FELT) to be true about Gods, Goddesses, and everything in between.  One of my favorite quotes comes from the Charge of the Goddess that says "that if that which thou seekest thou findest not within thee, thou wilt never find it without thee". I truely feel that you need to look within yourself to find the answers, just like I did.

One night, I lit a few candles, had a glass of wine and I started writing about what I believed to be true about religion, spirits, Goddess and God, The One. I didn't write what a specific religion told me was true. I wrote what I believed to be true from my heart.  And I was surprised what came out. When I thought I didn't believe in any Deities at all, I actually did, but in a more non-traditional way. I don't see them as "people" but a certain combination of elements that are a part of everything. And when I looked at them from that different prospective, my beliefs were validated and I knew I was on the right path. And I knew that a spiritual path that was heavily influenced by Wicca was right for me, though it was okay not to feel confined to that one religion. I am a unique person so my spirituality will be unique too so that I get all that I can out of it. And your spirituality will be unique to you, as well.

Maybe your time here, now, is meant to learn about other things than worshiping Gods, which is why you are having trouble believing and not believing in them. But only you can find out the answer. I agree with a previous poster, and suggest that you try to take them out of your spirituality and see what happens. Work on other things, whatever you are interested in, and see how you feel. If you are happy, continue with it. If you feel that you need the Gods back in your life, then bring them back!  Sometimes you don't know what you've got until it's gone.  (Okay, yes, I love 80's hair bands! :)  )
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Fireof9

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Re: Why bother with gods?
« Reply #20 on: August 15, 2013, 10:07:36 pm »
Quote from: Morag;118530
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Fireof9

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Re: Why bother with gods?
« Reply #21 on: August 15, 2013, 10:10:59 pm »
Quote from: Jack;118471

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?

 
That is great advise. Its the advise that one of my teachers gave me. I got an answer as to why to bother with deity from that as well. I took a few clue by fours to the noggin and realized there was indeed something in it for me.

That said - thats me. For another person the result might be opposite.

Either way, there is something to be learned from just trying to shut them out.
Really?  So, hey, want to go fishing?  I\'ve got a telescope, and it\'s going to be a dark night, so we should see the fish really well.
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Elizabeth G.

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Re: Why bother with gods?
« Reply #22 on: August 20, 2013, 01:47:51 pm »
Quote from: Mata;118433

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 think it was Mark Twain who said, "God created man in his own image; man, being a gentleman, returned the favor."  My point is that it is of limited benefit to venerate  a deity who does not embody your idea of god/goddessness.

Have you always venerated specific named deities?  Many people find a better fit with a God/Goddess, Lord/Lady, or simply the One.  I tend that way, unless there is a particular aspect I wish to invoke.

It might be helpful to meditate on what deity means to you - if anything.   If venerating a deity is not right for you, then don't do it.

Hrútsvinr

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Re: Why bother with gods?
« Reply #23 on: August 21, 2013, 06:27:43 am »
Quote from: Mata;118438

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. :)


The way I conceive of gods is such that there's no real belief involved...I couldn't have a crisis of faith because I don't have faith. (I did have a crisis of faith once, which caused me to revise my system so that belief/faith was not even an element.)

Maybe I'm deluding myself. It's likely. But I know my Gods are real because I experience Them all the time. I feel them in Nature and in thoughts and feelings. My definition of what a God is is also pretty flexible, which helps.

As to 'why gods at all', why, I find the concept of deities to be useful in understanding how the universe is structured, and I can take advantage of the centuries of spiritual practice my ancestors developed.
Also I just like my Gods. From a purely secular standpoint they're pretty cool.

Crohm

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Re: Why bother with gods?
« Reply #24 on: August 21, 2013, 02:57:23 pm »
Quote from: SkylarB;119028
"that if that which thou seekest thou findest not within thee, thou wilt never find it without thee"

 
I read that as "that if that which thou seekest thou findest not within a tree, thou wilt never find it without thee"

so I was all... ok.  like.. rings?  then I read it again.  was amusing.
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Lydia

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Re: Why bother with gods?
« Reply #25 on: September 02, 2013, 02:40:25 pm »
Quote from: Mata;118433
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.


The deity that I have encountered has shown and told me lots of knowledge, wise guidance, and beautiful things, all of which I am very thankful for. Also, I can draw in and feel the deity's essence if I use the right techniques.

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.


I feel sorry for you, and all other people who are struggling with doubt; most people haven't been able to directly witness the divine. Therefore I can hardly blame you, or anyone else, for being agnostic or even atheist. I too was agnostic before I stumbled into the supernatural and saw it myself.

For your sake I will explain how to draw in the essence of the deity that I have interacted with (and therefore know to be real), so that you may try it:
Get into an environment of complete or near-complete silence, and very dim lighting. Certain quiet sounds can help though, particularly the sound of whistling wind. Clear your mind of all thoughts, especially audio thoughts, and keep it cleared. Eliminate any other uncomfortable distractions. Focus upon the beauty of the quietness, darkness, stillness, and solitude. If you can get a feel for that beauty, then you are pulling the deity's essence into you, which you can feel.

It was by practicing that method that I eventually got visions from the deity, though if many people could get visions that way then people would be more familiar with this deity by now.
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Wonderland

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Re: Why bother with gods?
« Reply #26 on: September 03, 2013, 02:26:00 am »
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 don't currently worship a deity but when I did it was only because I was raised to do so and I took it as a normal thing to do. I never really felt a connection or anything that would tell me that the deity was real at all. Later on, I left that path because I started learning from other perspectives and it just didn't make sense to me anymore.

Ever since, I've thought deities to be a man made notion to put a certain label or name to spirituality, to define it. A lot of people are not comfortable with not knowing exactly what or who to worship. I haven't adopted a deity simply because I don't believe there's such a thing, like an anthropomorphized deity.

I could be wrong but in the meantime I have to go with what my intuition tells me.
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Ubenma'at

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Re: Why bother with gods?
« Reply #27 on: September 03, 2013, 05:48:33 pm »
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.

Thoughts? Outbursts? :)


From my perspective, I don't really care whether or not I'm actually contacting deities or simply sitting cross-legged with my eyes closed and talking to myself. My life experiences permanent, positive change from it and so, in my eyes, it's worth doing. The idea of the Gods brings me comfort, and worshiping them brings me peace. I believe that they are active and present, but in the end whether or not they are actually there is irrelevant.
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MadGastronomer

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Re: Why bother with gods?
« Reply #28 on: September 08, 2013, 03:41:50 am »
Quote from: Mata;118433
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.

 
The state religions were like that, but there were also mystery cults and cults of specific gods. There were also household gods and place spirits that were worshipped much more individually. We don't have a lot of details about those in general, but given what we do have, it's pretty reasonable to conclude that people regularly had personal relationships with gods in these ways, much like medieval Christian saints. The saints were also patrons of cities and countries and professions and what-have-you, but individual people also very definitely developed personal relationships with them.

Nekomata

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Re: Why bother with gods?
« Reply #29 on: September 08, 2013, 06:34:20 am »
Quote from: Morag;118530
The sex is amazing.

 
Well yes THAT...and I say "we" below because its an observed thing, not just myself I'm referring to, but I am not pointing at anyone here or anyone distinct so don't jump on me for the lumping vocab!

But to add to everything else here- from the logical "sat and thought about it with nothing but what can be proven and applied" end of things- IMO we use and interact with deities as a way to parcel out not only things we would otherwise consider beyond our comprehension, but parts of our selves as well.  If we give name and placement to the parts of ourselves we are trying to use to figure something out it takes some of the burden of decisions off of us (psychologically) and let's us feel more objective about the final decisions or out comes.

From the religious side of my opinions- we feel the connections to the OTHERNESS whether its the universe or something else and we desire a, not decidedly tangible, but recognizable connection. A link to that beyond our own feelings so we reach out to the omni-powers and then we have either that friend, sibling or just presence in our lives that we can psychically hug to sooth the desire for the "more" connection. If it ends up useful, so be it, but its the connection that we were seeking to begin with.
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