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Featured Should gods become imbued into modern objects / technology

Discussion in 'General Religious Debates' started by ideogenous_mover, Dec 10, 2019.

  1. ideogenous_mover

    ideogenous_mover Well-Known Member

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    So when you think about it, probably all of the ancient peoples had their god or gods imbued into whatever technology they had, which was cutting edge at the time. Noah's ark, the pyramids, the Staffordshire hoard, all of this was associated with divine forces. We do nothing like that at all in proper proportion within our age, with modern objects. To truly have the religiosity of the ancients we adore, we would have to imbue our gods into our computers, our skyscrapers, and our cars, and treat them as holy and have special rules for how we use them, but we simply don't. We are dead to the kind of thinking those folks before us would have had about any of these things. Plastic we say is garbage, where most of the ancients were so in awe of mere iron, that it was infested with spirits wherever you go on the map. We whip our jon boat into winter storage, and call it a mere junky boat that we're ready to toss, meanwhile the vikings probably thought their boats had souls. Who includes an iphone and a laptop in their casket to take to the afterlife? We don't have the same attitude about our stuff
     
    #1 ideogenous_mover, Dec 10, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2019
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  2. Heyo

    Heyo Well-Known Member

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    Nope. At least in the early days of computing (also known as the stone age of computing) the machines were seen as something magical or even divine. That's why you needed a Guru to operate them.
     
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  3. Jainarayan

    Jainarayan ॐ नमो भगवते वासुदेवाय
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    Have you read the book American Gods, or seen the Starz tv series? It addresses this very subject. The "old gods" of ancient pantheons, have been replaced by the"new gods" of media, communications, technology, commerce and so on. A war ensues between the two sets of gods in which the old gods try to win back their followers and their supremacy.
     
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  4. BSM1

    BSM1 What? Me worry?

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    Or are we....hmmm....
     
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  5. Erebus

    Erebus Well-Known Member

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    There are technopagans who employ modern technology in ritual. Some also believe in something akin to machine spirits/gods.

    It's not a subject I know much about but the practice definitely exists.
     
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  6. ideogenous_mover

    ideogenous_mover Well-Known Member

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    nope
     
  7. ideogenous_mover

    ideogenous_mover Well-Known Member

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    It would be nice to read some posts where someone raves about something like that... until then I guess we're just stuck with me
     
  8. ideogenous_mover

    ideogenous_mover Well-Known Member

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    I don't get what you mean
     
  9. Jainarayan

    Jainarayan ॐ नमो भगवते वासुदेवाय
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    I haven't read the book, but I like the series. Check out either or both.
     
  10. Quintessence

    Quintessence Tale Weaver
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    I'm unclear on what you mean when you say "imbue gods." For a polytheist, humans do not "imbue gods" or make them permeate certain objects in our world. The gods are already present in all things and aren't ones to be pushed around by some mere human person. We may attempt to sort out which gods are present and what their natures are, but they don't need to be "imbued" when they are already there.
     
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  11. sealchan

    sealchan Well-Known Member

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    Perhaps we relegate our divinations, in the mode of the modern Enlightenment rationalist, to stories about our technologies.

    I've been reading Robert Irwin's overview of the scholarly study of the Arabian Nights and he has made the case for science fiction as a form of fantasy or wonder-tale. The Nights stories contain early forms of stories about other realities and robots and such. These stories flourished in the days when the Islamic world was the torch carrier for the knowledge that the Greeks had developed. They also moved that knowledge forward and their stories seem to have a touch of that later Victorian interest in the possibilities of human technology in quite fantastical circumstances.

    Superheros are now our avatars. Virtual reality our heaven. AI our achieving of godhood...
     
  12. Brickjectivity

    Brickjectivity Veteran Member
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    I am unsure, too.

    I am curious though whether you know for sure what ancient European pagans would have thought about this. Are you getting some of these ideas from other source such as Greece or India?

    What do you mean, IM? I am a little unsure what you are trying to say. I'm really not getting the concept. Some people in various cultures had superstitions about the cutting power of swords, probably because they weren't sure how cutting worked. They didn't know how fire worked, so there were some superstitious ideas about it. Is this kind of where you're going?

    Its commonly known how skycrapers work and how cars work, so they lack mysteriousness. I doubt we could be superstitious about them. We do have the 13th floor superstition, but people know its a superstition.

    Also saying 'Holy' is not something people share in common. To you holy seems synonymous with 'Mysterious'. To ancient people sometimes it could just mean 'Cordoned off' or 'Not for you'. For example the Smithsonian is off limits after hours. It is by some definitions holy after 5 pm.
     
  13. It Aint Necessarily So

    It Aint Necessarily So Well-Known Member
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    For starters, this would be impossible for an atheist. We have no gods to imbue in anything, and I can't force myself to believe that gods exist even were it beneficial.

    So the question is, should I wish I could? Am I missing anything?

    Even if it were an option, I don't see any value there. It seems you do.

    Atheists don't have a concept of the sacred in the religious sense. We simply find value and beauty, and respect certain things on that basis. I could say that life was sacred, but I would only mean it metaphorically. I merely mean that I value and respect life. No god concept is involved, and injecting an imagined god into the mix doesn't make life (or whatever we are considering of value) more valuable.

    We can have spiritual experiences without spirits or gods. Looking out at the night sky at a single star and recognizing what you are experiencing - how connected we are to that star, how far the drop of light has traveled to inform one's eyes of its presence, and the understanding that we are made of stardust, is an authentic spiritual experience with no gods involved. Once again, injecting a god in the mix does nothing extra.

    I have learned to live without a god belief or a religion. I've accepted the very real possibility that we may be all there is for light years, and that things won't get better if we don't make them better, that am likely vulnerable and not watched over, that death will be the end of consciousness and experience, that I am insignificant everywhere but some parts of earth, and that I might be unloved except by some of those around me. I don't expect gods to answer prayers, and I've accepted that I will not see dead loved ones again. I don't claim to know these things for a fact, but I have accepted that they may be (probably are) true, and I'm fine with that.

    My life outside of theism, which began nearly four decades ago when I left Christianity, has been satisfying. What's the incentive to return to such thinking again? Where's the value there?

    I can't identify with this, either. I don't want the religiosity of the ancients, nor do I adore them.
     
  14. Quintessence

    Quintessence Tale Weaver
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    For better or worse, the historical information we have about pre-Christian cultures and religions is limited, fragmented, or written by outsiders. There's a couple main reasons for that, but at the end of the day it means we can only make educated guesses. The guesses we make are biased by our theological perspectives. Because Christianity was so successful in creating a cultural hegemony that erased other theological alternatives from consideration, Western scholarship is biased towards Christianity (or the rejection thereof). Modern scholars are more aware of and sensitive to these cultural biases, but there's still a dearth of good works on polytheist theology from a polytheist-friendly perspective. This is a challenge that all contemporary Pagans inevitably wrestle with as well.

    Personally, I'm not a reconstructionist. I'm not as concerned about definitively finding out what our Pagan ancestors did because I'm not trying to revive a specific polytheist tradition of antiquity. Instead I aim to create a modern polytheist practice that fits in the time and place I exist in.
    What
    would Pagans of antiquity think about contemporary Paganism? It's an interesting question, certainly! In any case, my remarks on much of this come from cumulative years of study of various sources, some scholarly, some contemporary, plus a good dose of critical thinking and life experience. :sweat:
     
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  15. 1213

    1213 Well-Known Member

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    But I think it has not changed. Ancient gods are in many modern things. It is only Christian God that is despised, all others are admired, because they don’t reveal the inconvenient truth about people.

    For example, Gaia is used in many things, and it fits well to modern woman centered world view.
    Gaia - Wikipedia

    Nike, ancient goddess also.
    Nike – Wikipedia

    Also, Lucifer is quite popular in many of its names, for example:
    Devil Companies, Devil Products, Devil Logos?

    Old NASA Moon Orbiter Finds New Life for Artemis Lunar Landing Project

    It is actually quite weird how “progressives” are taking humanity back to darker times.
     
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  16. Brickjectivity

    Brickjectivity Veteran Member
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    I think they would see you as a cross between a pagan and a Catholic. That is the mostly likely response in my imagination. Its nearly impossible for you to have been unchanged by the Catholic culture we live in today. There must be significant changes that they would be noticing about you. Do you think so?

    There are continuous archeological investigations, new dig sites and computer simulations. Its even possible somebody will reconstruct lost languages or find a description in an ancient library. Through effort the knowledge of the past is becoming a more complete puzzle.

    Do you think increased knowledge of the past will much change neopagans? I think they have found what they are looking for. Maybe they are concerned that something could have been lost, but they don't seem to be looking for anything in particular at least not in threads here.
     
  17. Quintessence

    Quintessence Tale Weaver
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    Yes, there's a lot of contemporary Pagan culture that is reactionary against organized religions, and in particular Protestant Christianity (to some extent Catholicism as well). I think I have a bit less of that because although I was "raised" Catholic, I left it very early and started developing a practice that was loosely Pagan before I had a clue that contemporary Paganism was a thing. But without guides or teachers, I was really unfocused until I learned Paganism was a thing. The lack of polytheistic cultural grounding definitely comes at cost. Theology was a huge struggle for me early on. It sometimes still is.



    I've noticed a couple schools of thought on that. As a general rule, most of the contemporary Pagan community is open and accepting of new discoveries whether from the physical sciences or the social sciences like anthropology. That said, the early history of many movements (such as Wicca) did have problems with demonstrably false historical narratives. These false narratives had their defenders, but for the most part folks have moved on from the "9 million witches died" nonsense and all that in favor of the actual facts. I suppose that's a plus of contemporary Paganism being non-dogmatic, if not anti-dogmatic. Maybe one positive influence of the Catholic/Protestant overculture - many Pagans really hate dogma because they hated it in those Christian religions they grew up with. :D
     
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  18. ideogenous_mover

    ideogenous_mover Well-Known Member

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    I see.. I wasn't actually expecting confusion or resistance at all, so I'm not certain how to reply. Perhaps my choice of words when saying 'imbue gods' is a bit off, but essentially that's how I would understand an object that is made to be divine or holy. To that end, I would think the examples are sufficiently copious. The holy grail, the holy lance, the cross, the menorah, excalibur, the cauldron of regeneration, stonehenge, at the end of the day, though these objects are 'imbued' with holy or divine properties, they represent mere physical objects.

    I think the act of making a sword might be an apt one, as the whole concept seems to be about hammering out impurities using the great power of heat, while seeming to 'imbue' it with power. In a documentary about viking swords, I believe I heard someone say that they (or maybe they meant their vendors) might have used bear bone as a carbon source, or the bones of their ancestors. (which gets steel) Surely, such carbon sources, if they were used, were seen as representing powerful gods or spirits. In the Staffordshire hoard, in the uk, a pile of objects was discovered that was made of gold embedded with garnet, so the garnet literally made the gold shine, surely motifs relevant to many important objects in myth. As I recall, some of these objects were twisted about strangely, possibly so that whatever king who owned them couldn't use them in the afterlife. Elsewhere for example, there might be helmets decorated with the image of the boar, which was surely a pagan symbol of strength.

    Not familiar at all with that.. definitely sounds worth noting
     
    #18 ideogenous_mover, Dec 10, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2019
  19. Brickjectivity

    Brickjectivity Veteran Member
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    Then in answer to your opening question I think no, and I'll explain why. Every example I can think of is either used as a children's story or is used to keep peasants afraid. Consider the sword, again. Both in Viking lands and in Japan superstitions about swords were spread, making the people fear them. They were simple iron somehow given the power to cut through other cutting tools, rumored to break armor and to possess warriors. The blades were themselves said to contain souls. Somebody spread these stories not for good but for ill.

    If we did this with modern technology we'd be spreading fear and dread of the police and of the technical people. We could do it, because now we have some very scary devices such as robot dogs and killer drones. We could dumb down the population, end representative government, go totally N. Korea. Make everyone believe that the president has super powers. I think that is the equivalent of these stories of powerful objects. I think such things should be left in fiction.
     
  20. ideogenous_mover

    ideogenous_mover Well-Known Member

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    Ok, but what about other things, not made for fighting. The blacksmith surely put the same kind of gusto into wheel spokes etc

    Surely there are a range of physical materials found in a church that considered holy, whether they are chalices or things people wear, or things that part of the church building. Or even the wine and the bread, (though I suppose that's limited to Catholicism) those are objects as well, but they are 'imbued' with a god
     
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