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Author Topic: A Variety of Theism  (Read 542 times)


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A Variety of Theism
« on: October 21, 2020, 05:05:32 pm »
I have been exploring varieties of theism in my search to understand my relationship to the term "God" or even "gods."  At different times in my life I have worshiped different concepts of "God," and sometimes I still use that language.

I took a look at my practices as they have evolved over the years and, inspired by reading on a variety of theisms, I began to describe my own theism.

My best understanding of what a god is, for my purposes, is anyone (perhaps anything) I choose to worship in that way.

I am uncertain of any platonic One or high God, and actually I am quite skeptical of that.  I am agnostic, maybe even atheistic, about the One. But I have my own understanding of what a Supreme God is for my own practice.

The Supreme God is the one who at that moment is my central focus of devotion and/or adoration, awe, etc.  All other gods or venerated spirits begin to move to the margins, or else become windows or glimpses into the Supreme deity of that moment.

In a different prayer or ritual, one of those lesser gods may become the Supreme Focus, with the former Supreme God vanishing in significance or otherwise moving to the side.

Which God is central or most important is subjective to the intention and/or experience of the worshipper.

This perspective and practice began taking shape years ago, but I am only articulating it in recent times.

It is hard to say that monotheism or polytheism sum up my views or practice in any neat way, but I am sympathetic to polytheism and consider such a view compatible with my religious devotions.

The gods may be objectively distinct even if in a ritual trance I perceive one as "God" for me, and the others become aspects of that one God.

I do not know why I worship in this manner other than that it feels most comfortable to me, and it enables me to worship in different ritual contexts with my Four gods with different emphases.

If I'm addressing "God" (the benevolent sky spirit would have been my childhood idea of God and sometimes that's still Whom I'm invoking) with the Four as angels or intercessors, I know I'm working with the Four equally as an integrated whole, each one an aspect of the God I refer to as the Multitude (that's another story), and this is the most Catholic-looking aspect of how I practice.

For other rituals I focus on one individual among the Four to the exclusion of the others, unless the others in some way point back to the central God.  Emotionally speaking, it is as though the central God has become Supreme, "God of gods."

"God," in my prayers, is more like an office than a person.  Different entities fill in that office depending on whom I'm addressing in prayer or ritual.

This sensibility has allowed me at times to comfortably worship with psalms that sometimes mentioned the existence of gods, and sometimes emphasized only one god.

I interpreted the monotheism as hyperbole and interpreted the polytheistic elements literally.  Now I have gravitated away from the psalms and have written all the prayers I use today.

I appreciate any thoughts on the above.  Perhaps someone has heard of something similar I could learn from?  Please do also talk about your own variety of theism if you wish.

The most similar theism I have heard of thus far involves worshipping one god at a time, kathenotheism, and I hear it has a place in some varieties of Hinduism.
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Re: A Variety of Theism
« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2020, 05:21:59 pm »

My best understanding of what a god is, for my purposes, is anyone (perhaps anything) I choose to worship in that way.

The gods may be objectively distinct even if in a ritual trance I perceive one as "God" for me, and the others become aspects of that one God.
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