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Featured What is a deity?

Discussion in 'Religious Debates' started by RayofLight, Apr 10, 2021.

  1. RayofLight

    RayofLight They/Them

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    So a lot of people have different opinions on the topic...for those of you who believe in a god or gods a deity or deities? What is true monotheism and what is true polytheism? For atheist why don't you believe in a god? What would to you qualify as one? Discuss
     
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  2. Good Boy

    Good Boy burp

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    Only thing that registers as a deity is infinity as far as flesh n blood go that’s another ball game
     
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  3. Meandflower

    Meandflower Active Member

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    Polytheists think of deities very different from what a monotheist think a deity is.

    A monotheist think a deity is a creator of the universe/universes.
    A polytheist believes that it is possible to be a god without having created the universe/universes

    A monotheist believes that powerful beings that did not create the universe is not God. For example angels
    A polytheist believes that some powerful beings that did not create the universe is Gods.

    So many gods in polytheistic religions is similar to angels. The different is monotheist believe only the creator of the universe is God and polyteists believe powerful beings that did not create the universe is Gods.
     
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  4. Unveiled Artist

    Unveiled Artist You are safe

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    When I think of deities, I think of Greek, Roman gods. Mythology. I'm not sure how Jews see god since they don't define him. I don't know the christian god, because they define him by a human incarnation-which isn't a deity/god by definition. Creator/god never made sense to me. I think of something like Star Trek or someone coming from the skies and shaping the world. So, in these respects, I don't believe these things exist. Why? It just doesn't line up with how I see and experience reality. People use god to mean different things, but from its origin, I don't believe gods/deities exist.

    I don't think there is a true monotheism and true polytheism unless going my strict definition.
     
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  5. Brickjectivity

    Brickjectivity Veteran Member
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    Family tree of the Greek gods - Wikipedia
    The above article helped me to understand how the Greeks thought about this. It shows the family tree of the gods. Notice that it reads like a philosophical exploration of where everything comes from. If you start from the bottom of the tree and read up the tree its like someone took cards and wrote on them the things we ponder such as 'Death' and 'Time' and attempted to arrange them in a meaningful tree. The sky comes from the Earth. The ocean waves (Poseidon) comes from Time (Cronos) which comes from Chaos (the void) by way of the Titans. Sleep (Hypnos) comes from the night as do Dreams, Retribution, Aging, Affection and Doom. So it reads like a way of trying to grasp the hidden relationships between all of these mysterious things and not just to grasp them idly but to harvest some truth from them.
     
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  6. Evangelicalhumanist

    Evangelicalhumanist "Truth" isn't a thing...
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    A deity is nothing more than a human explanation for something that cannot yet be understood. And because we, as humans, like to attribute intentionality to just about everything ("everything happens for a reason"), that explanation must be rendered in intentional form -- that is, something that we would recognize as having intention. In other words, a "person," like us.

    So, boil that down a little, when we are confronted with something important but unfathomable (volcano, hurricane, drought, disease) it works out to "I dunno, it must be God."

    Religion, then, comes about by trying to figure out how to get that "God" to change its mind.
     
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  7. Windwalker

    Windwalker Veteran Member
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    For myself, I see God as All That Is. That means I can't think of God in terms of 'a deity', except in terms of a purposeful "Face" we put upon the Infinite in order to try to speak to ourselves as humans in a dualistic relationship with reality.

    In other words, when I choose to relate to God as 'other', a 2nd person relational experience of dualistic separation, God is the "Holy Other". Yet God is also the Fabric of reality upon which all exists, so there is the 3rd person view of God, perceiving "it" in objective understanding. And then there is of course God within, or the Mind of Christ, Spirit, Enlightenment. So that is God in 1st person experience. God can be understood all these ways, but is not defined by them.

    As far as monotheism goes, that to me means the Godhead, or the Absolute, the Infinite. Polytheism is the 2nd person Face of Spirit, and so is Monotheism, just with one instead of many different faces. Understanding that, makes it easier to see God in many forms, even as the lilies of the field.
     
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  8. Saint Frankenstein

    Saint Frankenstein Veteran Member
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    Yes, these are good points. God in the Abrahamic religions is defined as the Creator of the universe and the source of all life and existence. He is defined as transcendent of the physical universe, beyond all time, all-powerful and so on, while still taking an active interest in mortal affairs. A strict distinction is made between the Creator and creator, as well, so there is no pantheism or monism, really.
     
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  9. aketo

    aketo Active Member

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    I leave it to theists to define what a deity is to them.

    The words for deities (such as "god") can be used to mean literally anything; you could have the entire universe being called a "god" like in most forms of pantheism. So really it's up to the individual.

    I guess technically that makes me an igtheist (not too precise, but for lack of a better word).
     
    #9 aketo, Apr 10, 2021
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  10. Wild Fox

    Wild Fox Well-Known Member

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    The problem is there is a huge variation in what a deity is? There is no one definition or conception. Look and the variation in paganism for example. It ranges from those who see a deity as described in the oral or written text. So Thor can be see as a human like entity with a hammer and rides in a chariot pulled by two goats all the way to others see Thor as the symbolic forces of the sky. The goddess Boann can be seen as a woman figure that slept with the Dagda in Newgrange all the way to the sum of the aspects of the river (from the living to the nonliving aspects of the river and its influence to the surrounding land) Boyne that supported life to those who life depended on it. Others can describe a god that is unknowable, omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, who exists outside of our universe yet is also intimately involved with this universe. This last god is undefinable because this kind of god is unknowable. Your guess is as good as mine.

    Humans neurologically are designed for anthropomorphism which allows us to identify with what we believe in. The degree of anthropomorphism influences how someone defines a god or goddess.
     
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  11. Wild Fox

    Wild Fox Well-Known Member

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    Polytheistic religions is not similar to angels at all. Poor analogy. It is true that many polytheistic religions see the gods and goddesses are within the natural world then outside our universe in some unknowable location outside of any way to find evidence. The concept of god is the universe is pantheism not polytheistic.
     
  12. Meandflower

    Meandflower Active Member

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    Yes, thats true
     
  13. Wild Fox

    Wild Fox Well-Known Member

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    The comparison of gods and goddesses to angels is not only totally incorrect but totally misguided hopefully from a lack of understanding or worse derogatory.
     
  14. Meandflower

    Meandflower Active Member

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    No I think you are wrong. Many polytheists believe in gods that did not create the universe/universes.
    Many of the polyteistic gods is also believed to be powerful created beings, beings within the physical universe. Angels is believed by monotheists to be powerful created beings. Angels is also believed to be beings within the physical universe.

    Do you see the similarity?

    The monotheistic God is believed to have created the physical universe/universes and the monotheistic God is the source of all life and existence. He is defined as transcendent of the physical universe, beyond all time, all-powerful just as @Saint Frankenstein wrote. The monotheists God is not a physical being. The monotheist God is not created and is eternal.

    The biggest difference between many polytheistic gods and angels is that angels is messangers of the monotheistic God. They serve God only and obey his commandments. Polytheistic gods work often on their own and do not serve anyone.
     
    #14 Meandflower, Apr 10, 2021
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  15. Saint Frankenstein

    Saint Frankenstein Veteran Member
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    Not really. In Abrahamic monotheism, the pagan gods would be seen as being on the level of angels. They're usually not seen as the Creators of the universe, and as existing within time (they were created at some point). Angels and saints fulfill many of the functional roles of pagan gods in Abrahamic religions - you can pray to them for help, venerate (honor) them and they are holy beings but still not God. Some Jewish traditions even believed that various nations and tribes had an angel assigned to them to watch over them (like a national guardian angel). You see this with saints whose patronage is a country, too (like Joan of Arc is a patroness of France).
     
  16. Willamena

    Willamena Just me
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    'God' is hard to define, because to say "God is..." or "God isn't..." is to instigate a lie. 'God' neither is nor isn't--those terms apply to how we think about, and more importantly talk about, for commuication purposes, things. The world. 'God' does not conform to our words, or our standards of verbal interaction. That's what it means for God to be ineffable.

    We experience the world through a medium that we call the mind. For every thing that we experience, acknowledge, and encounter through that medium, we assign a symbol (an idea and a word) to express what it means, both to us as an individual and as a community, a culture, and a people. Occasionally we find things to which words cannot be ascribed.

    "All the world is one bright pearl."* You, as an ascribing mind, are on the surface of the pearl, since you have ascribed yourself. Everything you ascribe, everything you imagine to be, and everything imagined to be not yet ascribed, is on the pearl. The entire world is the surface of the pearl, yet we imagine that much more lies beneath the surface, something that sustains the surface, because a surface must be sustained. A mind must have a support. But if a support can be imagined, it is only the surface of the pearl. It is an epistemological model.

    The surface of the pearl is everything: the universe. Everything that is; everything that we know and imagine; everything that could be, should be, and would be; everything that was and will be. Everything devised by our minds.
    * http://www.thezensite.com/ZenTeachings/Dogen_Teachings/Shobogenzo/004ikkam.pdf

    Without substance, the surface of the pearl collapses, yet here it is. Yet, again, when you find that there is nothing sustaining the surface, and that what is left, as shiny as it is, remains, you can begin to surrender the need for such a word and idea as 'God'.

    Monotheism means 'only god,' it is the idea that something beneath the surface sustains and informs all that is (on the) surface.

    Polytheism I am not so familiar with, but I imagine it to be constituant on the surface.

    Pantheism is the most appealing. It is the shiny surface of the pearl.

    Just one atheists' opinion, drunk with delusion.
     
    #16 Willamena, Apr 11, 2021
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2021
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  17. ChristineM

    ChristineM "Be strong" I whispered to my coffee.
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    ^^^ this ^^^
     
  18. blü 2

    blü 2 Well-Known Member
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    I'm an igtheist. That's to say, as far as I can tell, the notion of a real god ─ one with objective existence, one that exists in the world external to the self ─ is incoherent.

    As evidence, I cite the non-existence of any objective test that could determine whether any real candidate we found was God, or a god, or not.

    Nor is there any coherent concept of 'godness', the real quality a real god would have and a real superscientist who could create universes, raise the dead, travel in time and so on, would lack.

    So it seems obvious to me that the only manner in which God exists / gods exist is as a concept or thing imagined in individual brains.

    Since supernatural beings are found in just about all known societies, I assume they're either the direct result of an evolved trait, probably beneficial to tribal identity and solidarity (along with language, customs , stories, heroes &c), or an artifact of some other evolved trait such as curiosity and the appetite / need for answers and explanations, for weather, luck, fertility, birth, death and so on.

    As for "true polytheism", Christian Trinitarianism is incoherent as monotheism (and interestingly, not only is it officially monotheism, but it's officially incoherent too), but is coherent as polytheism, Father, Jesus and Ghost as a partnership or club. It's the nearest polytheism to hand in the West, but you're not allowed to say so.
     
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  19. Wild Fox

    Wild Fox Well-Known Member

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    Well in pagan religions the god of the Abrahamic religion is just one other god in a world of many. To compare Hertha, Morrigan, Odin, Dagda, or Frigg to angels or worse saints is the true prejudice and hubris of many that follow the Abrahamic religions. Reminds me of the current republican party of America. Say they are lower than the Abrahamic god and therefore they are. I spent a great deal of my life following the Abrahamic god and am quite aware of these manipulative techniques. Since leaving that faith I have found just how limited their view was and how deceived. These words are spoken from someone who has no real understanding of the other gods and just places their well taught judgement on them.

    So Joan of Arc is the same concept as Jesus is he not. Man lifted up to something more for others to believe in.
     
  20. Wild Fox

    Wild Fox Well-Known Member

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    That is ok I know you are wrong having experience both sides. Yes the gods and goddesses (always left out by Abrahamic followers) were created from this universe and are a part of this universe the same as the Abrahamic god. Show me how you know there is something outside of this universe and I will listen. Otherwise it is just words with no meaning. To say that polytheistic gods and goddesses (always left out by Abrahamic followers since they only have a male god) work on their own and do not serve anyone is as true for the Abrahamic god as it is for any god or goddess that humans have worshiped. But you would not know that unless you were willing to leave the Abrahamic god and truly open yourself to the others. Then and only then would you realize the folly of what you have said.
     
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