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Featured I ran into a new term: Henotheism.

Discussion in 'Religious Debates' started by Subduction Zone, May 23, 2021.

  1. Subduction Zone

    Subduction Zone Veteran Member

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    I was watching a video of the Atheist Experience and in this short clip Matt brings up the concept of Henotheism:



    His claim was not that the early Hebrew were monotheistic. They did believe in other gods. But they were not what many people would classify as polytheists, which is usually a belief in multiple gods all with their own specialty. Henotheism is acknowledging that there are other gods but your own god is the best, for . . . um reasons.

    He gave an example of Moses showing that the Hebrew god was more powerful than the Egyptian one. There was no claim that the Egyptian god or gods did not exist. Just that they were less powerful. There are other examples in the Old Testament. Any thoughts?
     
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  2. Rival

    Rival Veteran Member
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    This is a pretty old theory and is a mainstay of many scholars. I'm not sure myself.
     
  3. Secret Chief

    Secret Chief Meghalayan Ape

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    My dad can beat your dad.
     
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  4. Subduction Zone

    Subduction Zone Veteran Member

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    Exactly.
     
  5. Subduction Zone

    Subduction Zone Veteran Member

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    I have heard the claim before. That the Hebrews did believe in other gods. And the Old Testament supports that claim several times. When people are monotheists they do not tend to change gods very easily. If you think that there are multiple gods then if your own god apparently abandoned you it is very easy to switch to other gods.
     
  6. Teritos

    Teritos Active Member

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    Idols have no spirit, they do not breathe. The gods of the Egyptians therefore did not exist according to biblical understanding.
     
  7. Teritos

    Teritos Active Member

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    Hebrews also believed in multiple gods, Solomon was also an idolater. This is nothing unusual.
     
  8. Subduction Zone

    Subduction Zone Veteran Member

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    What? That is a weird misrepresentation. That is only according to your understanding. Not "biblical understanding". It does appear that the ancient Hebrews did believe in other gods. They merely chose their own because it was their own.
     
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  9. exchemist

    exchemist Veteran Member

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    This is well-known, surely? "Our God is a jealous god", "Thou shalt have no other god but me", etc. The God of the Israelites seems at times to be just the one they owe allegiance to, like a king: "Our king is more powerful than your king." But the idea evolves, so that the others become "false" Gods or idols, and eventually they fade from the scene.

    But I'm disappointed. When I saw your thread title I was hoping it might be about poultry worship.:D
     
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  10. oldbadger

    oldbadger Skanky Old Mongrel!

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    For sure.....
    Moses recognised the existence of God's such as Baal, and interestingly Baal's features were struck on the face of the early 1st century Temple shekel.
     
  11. Teritos

    Teritos Active Member

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    They have, but idols are lifeless, they do not exist. The worship of idols is forbidden.
     
  12. Rival

    Rival Veteran Member
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    I'm not sure why you're equating other Gods with idols.
     
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  13. Teritos

    Teritos Active Member

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    According to biblical understanding, there is only one God and he is invisible. For this reason, the gods made by human hands are all idols. They are mostly statues that have no life in them, and thus have no existence. This is what the Bible says.
     
  14. Rival

    Rival Veteran Member
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    But not all Gods have statues or idols. So the idea of 'other Gods' can't be equated with idols. They're not the same.
     
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  15. Teritos

    Teritos Active Member

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    Give me the name of another god who is invisible and is said to have created the whole world. This concept of a God exists only in the Bible.
     
  16. Rival

    Rival Veteran Member
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    The Deist conception of God, as well as plain Theism.

    Amun.
    Amun-Ra in this period (16th to 11th centuries BC) held the position of transcendental, self-created[2] creator deity "par excellence"; he was the champion of the poor or troubled and central to personal piety.
    Amun and Amaunet are mentioned in the Old Egyptian Pyramid Texts.[4] The name Amun (written imn) meant something like "the hidden one" or "invisible".


    Ahura Mazda of Zoroastrianism.

    The Greek worship of 'the unknown God', referenced in your own scriptures.
     
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  17. Teritos

    Teritos Active Member

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    He is only one god of many from Egypt, he does not have the characteristics of an Almighty God who has power over everything. And there is a picture of him, he is like every other god from Egypt.
     
  18. Rival

    Rival Veteran Member
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    So? Your God is Jesus and he is depicted on crucifixes and stained glass. An image is not meant to be an exact representation of a God. It's only shallow theology that has this. So as long as your God, Jesus, is being depicted on stained glass and can yet be described as 'invisible', then so can Amun.

    Amun is also literally described as a Transcendent Creator God who creates the other Gods/has Emanations of Himself. You can't really ask much more than that, I'm afraid.

    In the Old Kingdom record, Amun was conceptualized as a hidden, primordial deity, a great one, who existed before creation came into being and who was associated with the throne of Egypt.

    Assmann's preliminary summary of the motifs and characteristics by which the post-Amarna, Amun-Re theology may be recognized most clearly has following points :

    "1. the emphasis on the oneness and hiddenness of the god ;
    2. the predication of the god as 'i.ba' in connection with the concept of hiddenness ;
    3. the formula of the 'one who makes himself into millions', with all its variants ;
    4. the concept of the god dwelling in the world as 'ba', image and body, who has created the world as earth, heaven and underworld for these three constituent elements of his self ;
    5. the theory of the 'life-giving elements', i.e. the concept that god sustains and gives life to the world not only by, but also as light, air and water ;
    6. the idea of all-prevasiveness in the form of air, as is expressed in the formula (Jmn) mnw m jht nbt [(Amun) enduring in all things] ;
    7. the role of this god as god of time and fate in connection with (num 8)
    8. his personal aspect as 'ethical authority'." - Assmann, 1995, p.133

    Hence, oneness characterized all possible transformations of Amun-Re :

      • before creation : Amun (here "Re" should not be added, because there was no Sun god in existence yet) is a primordial god, "existing" before existence (like Atum in Nun) ;
      • during creation as sole creator : Amun-Re is the creator, transforming the primeval word into the cosmos (as Atum hatched out the primordia egg by himself) ;
      • after creation as pantheon : Amun-Re is "hidden" behind all other deities who are his images, forms, manifestations, transformations and names.

    The distinction between :

    • an absolute unity, or ultimate, primordial cause, which remains identical with itself and unopposed to anything (but out of which "sui generis" creation unfolds) and
    • a (self-created) creator, the first cause or first number, is explicit in the difference between pre-creation (with its Ogdoadic inertness rooted in Nun) and the "first time" of Atum-Re, who creates himself out of himself and all the rest of existence out of his own body. Atum splits as soon as he emerges, and so his creativity is always tangential (mythical, fugal), for it was the Ennead -sprang out of him-, which ruled the affairs of the world. Hence, the first cause is Re, the final manifestation of Atum, self-creating himself in eternity-in-everlastingness.
    Hence, the oneness of Amun-Re covers pre-creation, the creator and creation. It is an all-encompassing oneness, also to be found in the Memphite theology of the period.

    ANCIENT EGYPT : Amun and the One, Great & Hidden (sofiatopia.org)
     
    #18 Rival, May 23, 2021
    Last edited: May 23, 2021
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  19. Viker

    Viker Filia Diaboli, in a shroud of metaphor and mystery

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    Idols are only representations of gods not gods themselves.
     
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  20. Teritos

    Teritos Active Member

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    Making pictures of Jesus is not allowed, Orthodox and Catholics do that but not all Christians. Jesus is the visible appearance of God, like in the OT the Angel of the Lord, who is Jesus. God can manifest Himself and thus become visible, but His actual form is invisible and formless. The God you named does not have the characteristics of an Almighty God, only one possesses that. There is only one Almighty God who created everything, everyone else cannot be God according to biblical understanding.
     
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