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Attempting to Briefly Outline the Epicurean Theology


New Member
I'll try to be brief.

First, we begin with ex nihilo nihil fit or nothing comes from nothing. This dispenses with the idea that the Universe was created and also dispenses with the whole of classical monotheistic inquiry into the things like the problem of Evil, who created the Creator, et cetera. The universe has no center and is infinite in space and time. There are also innumerable particles making up the "stuff" in the universes.

There are no metaphysical Ideal realms for Gods to exist in. The Gods also aren't supernatural and can't do magic from afar or hear your prayers. That means they exist in the same way you and I exist; they are material bings that arose out of natural processes (evolution). Because Nature doesn't appear to make one of a kid, there must many Gods.

Epicurus says that we can know of the Gods via prolepsis. Scholars have long debated what prolepsis actually entails. I am taking it to mean that we have anticipations that Gods exist and we acquire those anticipations in a variety of ways: dreams, non-supernatural spiritual experiences, indoctrination, culture. What we gather from these experiences is that the Gods are Perfected beings. Epicurus reasons that Perfect beings are expert at pursuing the Good, which is pleasure. So they are in a near constant state of of Eudiamonia (happiness) or at least ataraxia (tranquility). They are also self-sufficient because perfect beings do not need of anything. They don't require our prayers and are likely unaware of our problems. They are also incorruptible (immortal in some translations). In either case their perfect natures are unchanging.

So why believe in the Gods at all if they exist somewhere else, aren't creators of the universe, can't hear our prayers or ever know us? Well the point is we already have the anticipation of Gods, so what are we going to do with that fact? Epicurus taught that "Veneration of the Sage is a great blessing to those who venerate them." I, and other Epicureans, would extend that to venerating the Gods as well.

I'll continue this thread if this post gets any traction. =)

Please leave any comments or questions!

Thanks for reading!