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Author Topic: Theodicy and the Limiting Case  (Read 577 times)

EnderDragonFire

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Re: Theodicy and the Limiting Case
« Reply #15 on: November 26, 2018, 11:37:02 pm »
The context was a tweet in which he was responding to someone who was attempting to argue that Hinduism as a whole has a "godhead" concept.  Not a lot of space for detail in a tweet

Yeah, that's reasonable. Tweets are a poor medium for serious conversation. He is also correct that Indian religion is diverse, and occasionally mutually hostile.

Trying to lump all Hindus in the same box is like trying to lump Southern Baptists, High Church Lutherans, Greek Orthodox Christians, the LDS Church, and Messianic Jews in the same box. Yeah, sure, they all share some core theological ideas and values, but the differences are equally large. Some of those groups don't even call themselves Christians, just like the ISKON movement doesn't (typically) call itself Hindu.

Don't get me wrong, I am firmly of the opinion that Hinduism really is a religion, not a group of religions, but it's nonetheless a diverse religion with no clear Orthodoxy.
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Re: Theodicy and the Limiting Case
« Reply #16 on: November 30, 2018, 01:12:23 am »
...text-based religions question themselves all the time. Christians, even very devout ones, will engage in Biblical criticism. I’d even go so far as to say they are notorious for it. The same is true of Islam, Buddhism, and also Hinduism. I’d be surprised if Judaism did not have similar traditions. Even non-text-based religions undergo reforms. One could even argue that questioning religion is a normal part of faith.

Biblical criticism is an ethical mandate in Judaism. Jewish culture is well known for being intellectually argumentative both about the Torah itself and about...well, everything, really.

Many Jewish quotes and proverbs speak of the Torah as the source of all good and emphasize that studying it is the best path to virtue and personal wholeness, but it's implicit here that one should study the text critically--not just read and regurgitate it, but get together with other scholars and argue about it, with great passion and at great length. Such scholarly discussions of Torah form the setting for many Jewish folktales about the wisdom of rabbis and scholars in general: "So these two rabbis were having an argument about the Torah..."

None of this is to say that there isn't morally questionable "received wisdom" that's become enshrined in Jewish lore over the millennia which later generations have had to work hard to reform, mind you--that happens in every organized religion. But the path to challenge those old dogmas is something that already exists in the Jewish framework: just read the Torah and make a new argument.
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EnderDragonFire

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Re: Theodicy and the Limiting Case
« Reply #17 on: November 30, 2018, 02:09:59 pm »
But the path to challenge those old dogmas is something that already exists in the Jewish framework: just read the Torah and make a new argument.

Well, that makes sense to me. I don't think I phrased myself well in my comment to Yei; I didn't mean to suggest that one cannot be critical of religious texts within Hinduism, but rather that one shouldn't be skeptical of the validity of those texts.

There are thousands of interpretations of pretty much every text within the "canon" of Hinduism (canon being used loosely here, since there's no centralized authority to declare an official canon). In fact, most single verses from a given text will have dozens of interpretations.

What I was really trying to get at in my post to Yei was that text based religions don't normally ask "why should we trust this book." Correct me if I am wrong, but I doubt it's normal for Jews to outright challenge the Torah itself as a valid source of doctrine, rather, I would think that they challenge the way other Jews interpret the Torah.

That's how it is in Hinduism. A Shiavist isn't going to get the same meaning out of a passage from the Gita that a Vaishnavist is going to get, but neither of them would ever dare to say that the Gita itself is false, uninspired, deceptive, or invalid.

"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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