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Featured God, Gods, & Societies Around the World

Discussion in 'Interfaith Discussion' started by metis, Apr 16, 2020.

  1. metis

    metis aged ecumenical anthropologist

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    I'm much more tactful than that:cool:, but you're getting close! :D
    Hey, I could have told you a long time ago that you know nothing. .

    But seriously, the mark of a true thinker is knowing that you don't know something and maybe will never know some things, so I'll give you a big star on your forehead for that.:blacksunrays:

    But even more seriously, the above tells me that you are using your religious belief as a form of enlightenment versus just blindly swallowing what you've maybe been told. For what it's worth, that's GREAT imo-- and I mean it.

    But what about verses that say one must believe in order to be saved? How could the ancient Incas believe in Jesus prior to his birth? Are those verses wrong, iyo?

    He was my son, so don't you dare make fun of his age! :mad:

    Interesting, and I mean that in a good way.

    Yep, and I'll wait with baited breath for your clarification.

    BTW, why would anyone eat bait?
     
  2. metis

    metis aged ecumenical anthropologist

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    As some here know, I am an anthropologist, now retired for 18 years, and we as part of our studies in cultural anthropology study religions the world over, past and present. Religion is considered to be one of the "five basic institutions" that all societies have in one form or another.

    The question about God(s), and what this was all about, puzzled me, especially since I grew up in a fundamentalist church that taught us not to believe in "evilution" and to believe in the Bible instead as if they were not compatible. Are all these other religions than Christianity wrong? Is the Bible to be believed and not the Bhagavad Gita or the Quran for examples, and what would I supposedly base my belief on? It's sorta like "if you have one clock you know exactly what time it is, but if you have several clocks you can't tell exactly what time it is."

    [I have some computer issues going on right now, so I'm going to stop and reboot and get back shortly]
     
  3. metis

    metis aged ecumenical anthropologist

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    [OK, I'll continue]

    These questions bothered me since nothing seemed to make much sense, so I pretty much left any decisions and beliefs up in the air, thus pretty much being agnostic. When I turned 30, I converted to Catholicism because I felt that at least I could do that as my wife was and is a very devout Catholic (but not at the expense of other faiths), and I had a strong feeling that I should convert as Something was pulling me in that direction.. I enjoyed the Church, but then after a while so many of my previous doubts resurfaced.

    Then came the movie "Gandhi", plus a close friend of mine spent a summer in India studying him and his affect on Hinduism, and that really got me thinking again about how should I take him and Hinduism in general as compared to Christianity? For example, would God condemn him to "hell" because he wasn't a Christian? That didn't seem right. And is there even such a thing such as "hell"? [that was before I experienced RF :D] So, I studied his teachings and came to tentatively feel that at least he maybe was on the right path that might solve my problem.

    Gandhi often said at interfaith prayer rallies that "I am a Hindu; I am a Christian; I am a Muslim; ...", thus saying prayers compatible with each faith. But it was especially his teaching that "God is Love and Truth" that really influenced me because this tends to be the basis for most religions.

    And then along came my studies of Baruch Spinoza, Albert Einstein, and Fr. Pierre Teihard de Chardin, which also fascinated me. So, I had to add that besides "Love and Truth" that God is also likely "Nature", used in the most broadest sense of the word, namely all the way from the universe/multiverse level down to the subatomic particle level.

    Therefore, to sum this part up, this is the orientation that I lean towards, but I got tons of questions with far fewer answers.

    I'll stop here for comments, plus I gotta get my walk in and then there's coffee or expresso-time with my wife.
     
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  4. KenS

    KenS Face to face with my Father
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    Yes... but I think that is more about the interpretation of the words of the Bible. Moses and Elijah didn't hear about Jesus and yet they (in Christian thought) are in Heaven. They knew that there would be a Savior but didn't know who was that Savior.

    So, if they can be saved, why can't others?

    Another problem, that I see, is that it is mostly man who is deciding who is going to Heaven and yet it is God and God alone that does the judging and no one on earth has read whose name is in the Book of Life.
     
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  5. PureX

    PureX Veteran Member

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    I was fortunate to stumble onto Taoism years ago, as I was one of those people who just couldn't let go of all these question, either. It took me 20 years to mature to the point where I could finally grasp the very simple and basic concept that forms the basis for taoist philosophy, but once I was finally able to do that, those unanswered questions became a joy and a gift, instead of the ongoing thorny annoyance that they had been, before. I have finally realized that my 'unknowing' is an amazing gift that affords me the possibility of authentic, effortless, self-determination.

    Hot dog!
     
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  6. GoodbyeDave

    GoodbyeDave Well-Known Member

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    That's not what I was taught in my anthropology classes! As the philosopher Thomas Reid observed, there are many things we know without being told, but the existence of the divine is not one of them. If it were there would be no atheists.
     
  7. MNoBody

    MNoBody Well-Known Member

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    hey, ought there not be some examples found of people groups who naturally evolved with no religion due to being cut off from others, there ought to be one at least that has no beliefs based on the invisible principle then to support the idea?
    or, has the research shown that there is no people group who were free from such religious ideas of a 'divinity', that was invisible?
     
  8. Left Coast

    Left Coast Peanut Butter Enthusiast
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    Sure, although that's the case with everyone in the conversation.

    They (assuming they existed) were Jews. How would people completely outside the Abrahamic tradition learn that there would someday be a Jewish Messiah or "Savior" or what such a person would "save" them from or what that even means?

    On that I agree. If the Christian God exists, it is 100% up to him whether he condemns people to torture for eternity. Which again leads to the question: why would a loving and just deity torture anyone for a thought crime, much less someone who's never even heard of the concept they're supposedly expected to believe in?
     
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  9. metis

    metis aged ecumenical anthropologist

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    I very much appreciate your bent on this. I have studied both Hindu and Buddhist theology for many years now, and so much of what they teach I use on a regular basis because they seem logical to me.

    In Buddhism, the FNT and the EP just make so much sense, and the Hindu teaching of "We are That" I find, not only interesting, but it makes sense to me. OTOH, I'm not going to the extreme of saying that the latter must correct simply because it makes sense to me.
     
  10. metis

    metis aged ecumenical anthropologist

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    We're talking about "institutions", not whether those institutions are intrinsically correct or not. Every society in the world, at least since written history, has a majority segment of their society who do believe in a deity or deities, and attempts to eradicate religion has always failed, such as in the Marxist countries.

    BTW, I got my information of such from the American Anthropological Association since I used some of their materials in my Intro to Anthro course. But, as anthropologists, we don't get into what's supposedly "right" or "wrong " on such matters. Here I can do that but not when I taught that course.
     
  11. metis

    metis aged ecumenical anthropologist

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    As oft been said, if there were to be no god(s), humans would have invented one/them anyway.

    There seems to be something intrinsic in human nature that seems to push so many people in that direction, and some have even gone so far as to call it a "God gene". However, I'm not one of them.

    But what I have posted in the past and still "believe" is this: "Whatever caused this universe/multiverse I'll call 'God' and pretty much leave it at that". I don't pretend to know the answers--only some of the questions.
     
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  12. metis

    metis aged ecumenical anthropologist

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    Let me just mention in my finishing off for today that even though I have a very loosey-goosey "theology", there is one thing that I'm adamant about for myself at least, namely that since I tend to believe that God (or the Gods) are likely to be Love, Truth, and Nature, I much prefer an activist role versus just a theological one. Namely, my need to try and put Love, Truth, and Nature into action and not just some nice thoughts.

    Jesus' Sermon On the Mount, for example, is a call to action, not just some nice beliefs, and I long have felt this way even before knowing anything about Gandhi.

    IMO, "Love" implies that I and we were made by Whatever whereas we didn't have to be made at all. One common denominator with most religions is what is called "the Golden Rule"-- do no harm. Unfortunately a lot of other stuff often got mixed in to sometimes obscure that very basic simple message of "Love".

    IMO, "Truth" means for us to accept the facts as they are, not what we may want them to be. Therefore, using this approach, science offers no threat-- actually quite the opposite as they should be compatible even though they come from different perspectives.

    And, imo, "Nature" is to realize what's in our world as it exists, but then try to improve upon it in our little area of the world to try and leave it at least somewhat better than it was when we got here. "Nature" is not always pretty, and we have to accept that this is the way it is. There's a commentary in Judaism that I long have felt is interesting, namely that when God made all He said it was "good", thus not using the word "perfect". If it were "perfect", the world would only be His, not ours, thus there are things we can do to make the world "better".

    Anyhow, @KenS (and others), feel free to comment on my posts, and don't hold back so as to not try and hurt my feelings. Being married for 53 years now, I'm at used to being harassed! :(
     
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  13. KenS

    KenS Face to face with my Father
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    You are the best at making me smile and laugh!

    So that is the big question in which I am not qualified to answer so I'll just make a stab in the dark.

    There are some verses that really throw me for a loop and some that are irrevocable.

    So, I'll start with the fact that NO ONE knew Jesus before Jesus ever came on the scene. (I think there is a key here). They knew of a Savior, waited for a Savior and expected a Savior but didn't know who.

    I know that he was slain from the foundation of the world! Gen 3:15 was the first mention at the inception of the first sin. Blood was shed by God... even as Levi was in the loins of Abraham, all mankind was in the loins of Adam. He promise was, "I will clothe you (animal skin type and shadow of righteousness) and not by your works or any law (fig leaves sewed by man trying to cover his nakedness (sin)).

    So God's righteousness gift was there from the beginning. Even as all nations are blessed by Abraham, all nations were blessed by the blood shed by God to clothe mankind.

    We do know that Jesus went to preach to those held until Jesus was crucified 1 Peter 3:19 By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;

    So, though they didn't know Jesus, then had their opportunity to give their lives to Jesus even though they didn't know him.

    These were all the righteous people before Jesus came on the scene.

    A couple of extra points:
    1. I know that whatever the judgment is, God will judge correctly
    2. No one on this earth knows who is in the Book of Life - Jesus is the only one who opens the Book. So I'm not the judge
    3. We know Paul said that God will judge those that aren't in The Law, by their own Law.Romans 2:14For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a lawunto themselves:
    4. We know that those who do good is of God 3 John 1:11 Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God.
    So, if God gave the opportunity to those who did not know Jesus before Jesus came on the scene, does that translate into God will NOT give the opportunity to those who did not know Jesus AFTER Jesus to know Him? (My thought, this isn't God speaking or thinking). I know He doesn't have an exception of people -- so is there an opportunity since all sin has been paid for except for the one of not wanting a Savior? (John 16)

    I also have heard of so many who cried out to Jesus on their way to eternal separation and were saved... so "after" they died, apparently there still was an opportunity. Is that another door of opportunity?

    So if they do good and serve "God who made this world" - is there a venue that God provided?

    Certainly the thief on the cross received salvation at the very last moment.

    Of course, I do not know and leave it up to God but, hey, we love solving the unsolvable questions.

    We know His mercy is higher that the Heaven from the earth, we know He has placed transgressions as far is the east from the west but people want it to be from the north to the south and count them all.

    Why, then, is it important to preach Jesus? Because of His mercy! Those who do evil, know they are doing evil, have no hope because the know they are evil can still reach the mercy of God and be "born-again".

    Hindu's talk about "born-again", American Indians talk about the Great Spirit, etc etc. So, at the least, I know God will judge correctly but however His judgment, His mercy is there because Jesus was slain from the foundation of the world.. so His judgment will never match ours since we do not know all things.
     
    #33 KenS, Apr 17, 2020
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2020
  14. metis

    metis aged ecumenical anthropologist

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    I'm going to apologize in advance as I have to leave very shortly. For those items I don't address but you want me to, ask them and I'll get to them tomorrow.

    But it wasn't clear exactly what this "Savior" was about in terms of an "earthly" one or a more "spiritual" one. That dispute is still on today.

    I will deal with this shortly.

    This is where you and I can definitely find common ground, with only some hesitation. For example, how does one know that it's God and not Gods?

    Ya, I love being driven nuts! I think it's called "delirium".:emojconfused:

    I agree, and one thing that Gandhi used to say about all too many Christians is that "they elevated the man and forgot his message". One thing that's truly interesting about Jesus is how often he downplayed himself as being a humble servant as he continually preached his Message of "Love" and forgiveness-- sometimes referred to as the "law of love".

    IOW, "it's the message" more than he himself, imo, that's so crucial for us to follow. Thus, I often find myself being more comfortable at times with secular humanists than some theists that can be as nasty as the day is long.

    Gotta go, so thanks for your opinions, and I'll get back with ya tomorrow.

    May God, or the Gods, bless. :)
     
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  15. Tambourine

    Tambourine Well-Known Member

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    As far as I know, what does or doesn't count as "religion" is a widely debated question.

    Are modern Westerners who don't go to church, don't observe lent or other religious festivals, don't interact in a ritual and spiritual manner with fellow members of their faith, and don't feel it necessary to follow the command of their religious heads following the Christian "religion" or not? Demographics say "yes", but what would a Christian say about it?

    Is Shamanism a "religion", or a spiritual and medical practice? Is Daoism a "religion", a philosophy, a set of spiritual practices, a cultural tradition, neither, all of the above?
     
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  16. KenS

    KenS Face to face with my Father
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    Now.. THAT part sounds like Jesus

    YES!

    But, interestingly enough, there are two Golden rules:

    Active: Do unto others and
    Passive: Confuscius Don't do unto others what you don't want done unto you.”

    Jesus is the active one


    I understand what you are saying but I wouldn't follow that path, The woman with the issue of blood decided not to accept science and what it said it would be and chose not to accept facts as they were, but rather opted for a violation of science and got a miracle.

    After all, I'm a miracle type of guy! :D

    So, for me, facts is science and as thing are but are changeable Truth doesn't change and has no variableness of turning.

    YES! We are to take care of the Garden that God gave us.
     
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  17. KenS

    KenS Face to face with my Father
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    Because Abel was not a Jew, Enoch was not a Jew, Noah was not a Jew etc.... God is the God of all humanity and not just the Jews. In reality, the Law was given by Moses but in Abraham ALL nations would be blessed

    That's what we are talking about.. post #33/

    PS... I don't think God tortures anyone even for a thought crime no more than any natural judge tortures someone when they send some to prison for murder.

    Jesus was already tortured in our stead out of love and for the love for us. (Christian view)
     
  18. MNoBody

    MNoBody Well-Known Member

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    re·li·gion
    /rəˈlijən/ noun: religion
    1. the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods.
      "ideas about the relationship between science and religion"
    -a particular system of faith and worship.
    • a pursuit or interest to which someone ascribes supreme importance.
      "consumerism is the new religion"
     
  19. Left Coast

    Left Coast Peanut Butter Enthusiast
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    Those are all figures in Jewish Scripture, known nowhere else. You're not really addressing the issue. People outside the Ancient Near East can't be expected to have known about the alleged promises of some deity in another part of the world that they've never heard of.

    So the bottom line is, you don't seem to know the answer to the conundrum. Which I can appreciate, at least that's an honest answer.

    That analogy indicates that you do think people should be punished for thought crimes, even if the punishment isn't torture. Why?
     
  20. Tambourine

    Tambourine Well-Known Member

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    Yes, that is a dictionary entry.

    I hope you don't believe that academics base their entire fields on dictionary entries.
     
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