Polytheism and monotheism

Does God exist? Is Allah God? Creation vs. evolution.
Is Religion needed? Logic vs. faith. Morality and ethics.
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Aksel Ankersen
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Re: Polytheism and monotheism

Post by Aksel Ankersen »

CuteCoot wrote:
Aksel Ankersen wrote:Christian Trinity has an important difference, in that Jesus = God, YHWH = God, Holy Spirit = God but Jesus ≠ YHWH ≠ Holy Spirit. I.e. three people are God but those three people are not each other.
All I'm saying is that "The Abaser" = Allah and "The Exalter" = Allah but "The Abaser" ≠ "The Exalter". I.e. two facets are Allah but are not equal or equivalent.
The many names of Allah cannot be different people, but just different ways of looking at the same being, facets if you like.
Facets are frequently represented by faces as in the classical two-faced Janus. I don't accept that the three "persons" of the Christian trinity are people like you and me. They are clearly faces or facets of deity. In the strict monotheism of Islam it is highly sinful to conceive of - let alone publicly suggest that there might be - an essential multiplicity within God's unity. Giving God many names is the nearest Muslims came to acknowledging the truth of "the other side".

I agree with most of that, but with reservations about the Trinity - possibly a moot point as neither of us are Christians.

CuteCoot wrote:
See Sura Ikhlas:
Sorry, but your point that Allah is As-Samad made no sense to me, probably because Arabic generally doesn't.

Oh, well as-Samad means "the eternal" and is one of the 99 names you mentioned.

Allah is As-Samad and they are nowise distinct entities.

Compre this to Jesus on the cross, calling out to his Father.

Cute Coot wrote:
No real contradiction here, Allah is partisan in his favors, he abases some and exalts others. Hence another name for Allah is al-Hakim, i.e. "The Judge".
Of course the two names represent opposites. Hot and cold are opposites but if you put icy cold hands in luke warm water it feels hot. If it's a hot day the same water will feel cool and refreshing when poured over your head. Because the same thing is hot here and cold there doesn't alter the quality of oppositeness of hot and cold. And if you notice carefully how people - even devout people - talk about God/Allah, you will see that He is constantly being judged. So God is both "Judge" and "Judged". I'm talking reality here, not pretense or wishful thinking.

What gave you the impression that devout Muslims judge Allah or for that matter devout Christians judge Jesus/God?
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Brendalee
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Re: Polytheism and monotheism

Post by Brendalee »

Defining God is a judgement, is it not?

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CuteCoot
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Re: Polytheism and monotheism

Post by CuteCoot »

Aksel Ankersen wrote:I agree with most of that, but with reservations about the Trinity - possibly a moot point as neither of us are Christians.
Quite so.
Oh, well as-Samad means "the eternal" and is one of the 99 names you mentioned.
Thanks for the translation.
Allah is As-Samad and they are nowise distinct entities.
To what does "they" point? Allah is singular but His names are plural. Allah is One but His attributes are Many.
Compre this to Jesus on the cross, calling out to his Father.
I cannot see any clear connection but I'll try. Jesus was a man and Christ is God. Jesus is the separateness, the time-bound humanity. His Father is "the eternal" but so is Jesus in His Christ-aspect. And since the Father has often entered the time-space, He also has a time-bound aspect. God could not be "the All" without being everything including time-boundness as a contrast to eternity.
What gave you the impression that devout Muslims judge Allah or for that matter devout Christians judge Jesus/God?
As Brendalee has noted, every definition - and every image or conception - of God contains a judgment. There is a huge denial that God contains Evil, for example. That aspect of "the All" is separated out and given a different name and persona. This amounts to a negative judgment of God masked as a setting aside of what is unsavoury and denying its inclusion in "the All".

And Jesus was not the first or last or only person to ask the question of God: Why hast thou forsaken me?

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Re: Polytheism and monotheism

Post by gupsfu »

debunker wrote:As for the evidence for God, let's wait and see, maybe there will be new scientific advances that make this evidence stronger than it already is or maybe you will wait until you die and burn in hell :) then you will certainly believe :)
After you die, your body either decomposes or gets cremated into ashes. So what's left for our merciful god to burn?
And how are you supposed to feel pain if you no longer even have nerves, much less a brain?

But anyway, I know gullible people are supposed to be rewarded while rational people will get their eternal punishment. It's one of the most disgusting aspects of Abrahamic religions.
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Re: Polytheism and monotheism

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Re: Polytheism and monotheism

Post by Idesigner »

Idesigner wrote:Why montheistic religions defeated pagans and polythestics?

The number one weapon of monotheistics ( Jews, Christians, muslims & few others) was the book.

Their book gave them authenticity and proof. Primitives felt helpless as they had no writings and no books.

Book is proof, without book means trying to claim a house without documents. :D

To modern man it looks absurd as we all know those books are full of pig shitts. :D

Ancients can not cope and argue when faced with books as they really belived its all from god . Others got it and they dont.

Sprituality of pagans did not stand a chance when their opponents had book on their side.Their oral traditions was no match.

Johny came lately Mohemmed invented his own book, claim it was from god and won over lots of pagans of Arabia.

Books can be changed, reinterpreted or rewrote and can be made up as they go along. Pretty flexible!! Images are smashed & gone.

Even world is divided between people of book and people witjout book.

Even sikhs with their 14-15 th century book did not do bad
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Re: Polytheism and monotheism

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charleslemartel
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Re: Polytheism and monotheism

Post by charleslemartel »

debunker wrote:As for the evidence for God, let's wait and see, maybe there will be new scientific advances that make this evidence stronger than it already is or maybe you will wait until you die and burn in hell :) then you will certainly believe :)
Ahhh..I most certainly want to believe; unfortunately though, there is not a shred of any evidence for me. I cannot silence the skeptic inside me, can I? :)
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Re: Polytheism and monotheism

Post by crazymonkie_ »

Idesigner wrote:The number one weapon of monotheistics ( Jews, Christians, muslims & few others) was the book.
Which polytheists also had.
Their book gave them authenticity and proof. Primitives felt helpless as they had no writings and no books.
Not all polytheistic religions were completely oral. See: Greeks, Romans, Hellenistic, Indian (take your pick, please!), Persian, and others. Though many 'primitives', such as the highly credulous Franks, *did* believe that writings had special powers. There are actually really old Bibles in places like Ireland which have bits of the pages missing because the people believed the *book* was magic and couldn't read it for the stories or moral guidance or whatever.
Book is proof, without book means trying to claim a house without documents. :D
A book of religious beliefs is only proof that someone believes those things. Not that it's true.
To modern man it looks absurd as we all know those books are full of pig shitts. :D
That's not the reason *I* don't believe the books. I don't believe the books because they're full of undocumented assertions that aren't backed up anywhere but in the books. Like how the Gospels claim there was an eclipse and earthquake when Jesus died, yet there's not a single account of these things. And that's even ignoring the fact that the crucifixion supposedly happened during Passover, which is always during a new moon, and hence, an eclipse couldn't have happened anyway.
Ancients can not cope and argue when faced with books as they really belived its all from god . Others got it and they dont.
Very sad and very true. But that doesn't really make the case for monotheism- it only makes the case that there were many ignorant people at the time. Well... duh.
Sprituality of pagans did not stand a chance when their opponents had book on their side.Their oral traditions was no match.
Actually, they did just fine when compared to equally, or even less, educated monotheists. Neo-platonism, Stoicism, even Epicureanism (which the early Christian church stepped on HARD when they got power) were busy giving the early Christians a resounding metaphysical thrashing because they had their own traditions, books, philosophical systems, etc. The oral traditions of most polytheists had, for the most part (save on the far edges of various empires) been in written form, discussed and dissected, for centuries or longer.
Johny came lately Mohemmed invented his own book, claim it was from god and won over lots of pagans of Arabia.
Indeed. Most of the early converts, it seems, were in it for the cash. It turned serious pretty quickly though.
Books can be changed, reinterpreted or rewrote and can be made up as they go along. Pretty flexible!! Images are smashed & gone.
Not canonized 'scripture.' It's set, unchangable, for all time. Islam even goes so far as to say, in some cases, that the book is not the book if it's not in the same *language* in which it was originally written down. Which is just one more step of setting in stone.

Icons are an entirely different issue. And they're not all 'smashed and gone.' Been to a museum lately? I suggest you get over to London, Amsterdam or Berlin. They've got TONS of old images of gods, stories of gods, temples to them, and many of the stories have been re-collected and translated into modern languages after (in some cases) being lost to history for centuries or millenia. That it was, in many cases, Biblical scholars who were trying to back up the 'history' of the Hebrew Bible, and found that it didn't in most cases (save a few minor details) was just extra irony.
Even world is divided between people of book and people witjout book.
Disturbing. This is no way to run things- it's exclusionary and can turn very deadly quickly. I mean, what's the difference between someone saying "I will show these people 'the truth' and, using their logic and knowledge, they will come to my conclusions" and "I have tried to show these people 'the truth' but they're not listening- obviously they are evil or tempted by some evil spirit- thus I will forcibly convert them or kill them."

Surprisingly, it's an almost non-existent line. Which is why it's better to just junk something that takes an anti-logical tack, or that works backwards from a conclusion to evidence and ignores or demolishes that which will not back up its claims. In this category are all current literalist monotheisms, any variation on Platonic thought, any variant of Hegelian thought, etc. There are a lot- but religion paints the broadest target because it often tries to make the world as it wants it to be, making life a living hell for many of us.

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Re: Polytheism and monotheism

Post by Idesigner »

I.D.Sprituality of pagans did not stand a chance when their opponents had book on their side.Their oral traditions was no match.
C.M.Actually, they did just fine when compared to equally, or even less, educated monotheists. Neo-platonism, Stoicism, even Epicureanism (which the early Christian church stepped on HARD when they got power) were busy giving the early Christians a resounding metaphysical thrashing because they had their own traditions, books, philosophical systems, etc. The oral traditions of most polytheists had, for the most part (save on the far edges of various empires) been in written form, discussed and dissected, for centuries or longer.
I was talking about unsophisticated and primitive pagans who did not stand a chance against craftiness and cocksureness of mon-god-religionists. Unfortunately many Pagans lacked coherent arguments and often had very poor oral traditions. Many lacked writing and script, this w handicap was fully exploited by monomaniacs .

Greeks and Romans had gods, scripts , philosophers, logic and books. Still they lacked single minded belief of Monomaniacs who proclaimed that they got all from their almighty god. No amount of logic of Socratese or Plato can defeat faith of Monotheist. They evolved very defensive logic of god's plan in long term, gods knows best, "temporary setbacks now but things will be lot better up there somewhere". :D Many Pagan beliefs lack this so called sophistication.If their gods did not deliver they threw them in pacific ocean. They were very vulnurable when christians went to Pacific Islands.

Watch how sufis convert pagans to Islam in no time. They know all magic, cheap tricks , miracles to attract tribals.

Hindus adopted script and put it in form of books long time ago and preserved their belief system.In process they did invent defense mechanism of not blaming their gods, blaming others, karmas and what not.

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Re: Polytheism and monotheism

Post by crazymonkie_ »

Again: You're very, very wrong.

Polytheism lost not because the groups were ignorant, and monotheism didn't win because they were more focused in terms of their philosophy. I'll deal with the latter error first: In the more cosmopolitan polytheistic societies, there already were groups with focused philosophies well before monotheism got big. That the polytheistic groups argued with each other is mostly irrelevant, as their arguments were idealistic in nature, rarely (except in the case of some frightening fanatics, like the followers of Serapis) physical. Yet even so, most of them agreed in the way their societies were organized and run. The monotheists, on the other hand, tended not to think that way.

Though here I'm really just working from the early Christian viewpoint; Judaism had special dispensation from Rome to worship as they chose after the Temple was (apparently accidentally) destroyed and everyone was kicked out of Judea and Galilee, and kept their heads down. Islam worked off the efforts already taken by Christianity to destroy the 'pagans' and 'heretical' Christians. Monotheism was already established; a literary legacy was already there. Thus I often disregard Islam in terms of how ignorant polytheists were, and how much of an advantage they supposedly had based upon their book and 'focused' philosophy.
Greeks and Romans had gods, scripts , philosophers, logic and books. Still they lacked single minded belief of Monomaniacs who proclaimed that they got all from their almighty god. No amount of logic of Socratese or Plato can defeat faith of Monotheist.
Here I definitely agree with you. The Greeks and Romans had a LOT. Most of it's lost today thanks to the Christian Church (the one begun by Constantine), and it's all due to the faith that Christians re-cast as the highest and best virtue. Basically: "Shut up. Mystery of God."

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Re: Polytheism and monotheism

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@ guptsu
After you die, your body either decomposes or gets cremated into ashes. So what's left for our merciful god to burn?
And how are you supposed to feel pain if you no longer even have nerves, much less a brain?
But your Highness, we, the gullible people, believe that God created us the first time and He can easily recreate us the second time.

Anyway, I happen to think (this has nothing to do with my religion) that I always existed and always will! I think I was in a dormant state since forever, an then I woke up at birth, and then I will die and stay dormant until the judgement day when I wake up again.

@ Charles

I really hope the evidence you're waiting for won't be the Hell Fire :) :)
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Re: Polytheism and monotheism

Post by crazymonkie_ »

debunker wrote:But your Highness, we, the gullible people, believe that God created us the first time and He can easily recreate us the second time.
That's not what he's talking about though. He asked how the 'mind' can survive the death of the brain.

If there's some disembodied mind out there that's independent of a human brain, or a 'mind' that somehow doesn't get damaged when the brain does (IE- some human being who has, say, a traumatic brain injury and still keeps the same personality/intellectual capacity) I'd love to hear about it. It would turn neuroscience on its head.

If you don't have an example, you're just begging the question again.
Anyway, I happen to think (this has nothing to do with my religion) that I always existed and always will! I think I was in a dormant state since forever, an then I woke up at birth, and then I will die and stay dormant until the judgement day when I wake up again.
That's fine that you think that and all, but if I were talking about such serious matters, I'd be looking for some MAJOR proof outside of the books written with specific religious beliefs in mind.
I really hope the evidence you're waiting for won't be the Hell Fire :) :)
Stop with the smilies, man. You're freaking me out.

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Re: Polytheism and monotheism

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Well CM, I clearly began with the assumption of God's existence. If God exists, then He can do anything, including restoring your mind along with your brain... that if we asume that when we wake up again our bodies will have the same physical construction (for example, we could be just souls rather than bodies).
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Re: Polytheism and monotheism

Post by crazymonkie_ »

I kind of figured that. Presuppositionalism doesn't really help in debates with skeptics or those with opposing, or even differing, views, though. One must work upward from the base. Hence this thread. One can never say 'God, therefore, God.' Definitions- positive ones, not just negative definitions like 'outside/beyond time/space' or 'not matter/energy' are necessary. With those in mind, we can then work out if *that* definition of 'god' is true or not logically. Though if you're going the Neoplatonist route, you can just shoot yourself in the foot and say 'god is beyond all logic and human comprehension.' I'll leave you to figure out just what's wrong with that approach if you don't know already (oh I truly, truly hope you do.)

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Re: Polytheism and monotheism

Post by debunker »

CM,

I wish I had half your energy!
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Re: Polytheism and monotheism

Post by crazymonkie_ »

Oh, you have no idea how much energy I have. I've got a nutty schedule.

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Re: Polytheism and monotheism

Post by charleslemartel »

debunker wrote: @ Charles

I really hope the evidence you're waiting for won't be the Hell Fire :) :)
Since it boils down to pure speculation, I think it is more likely and more logical that God, if existed, would in fact reward the skeptics for using the brains he gave us and punish the believers for being so gullible.

If Satan exists, I find it more plausible that books like Quran etc which contain so much hatred and violence have been authored by him rather than the creator God. No creator will create people hell bound by default as it is natural to be compassionate and caring about one's creation. I think if the creator God existed, he would create each of us heaven bound by default and will reward us for being curious, for using the faculties he bestowed upon us most diligently, and for not falling in the trap of Satan.
Islam is a funny religion which is misunderstood by its scholars and correctly understood by ordinary Muslims.
Faith is keeping your eyes shut when looking at the world, and/or keeping your eyes open only for the beauty of the world.

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Re: Polytheism and monotheism

Post by BlacKStaR »

[quote=Could you make your point without insulting other members? This thread has been (unusually for FFI) civil so far.[/color][/quote]


Shutup Aksel.[/quote]
No, I won't.

You show contempt and disrespect for Christians and Muslims (here for instance) and atheists (this thread) and yet you promote Hinduism as the be all and end all of spirituality.

I must say your arrogance in this matter would make you a very good Islamist, the only real difference being the letter and not the spirit of your beliefs.
[/quote]

Shut Up Aksel.
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Re: Polytheism and monotheism

Post by crazymonkie_ »

charleslemartel wrote:Since it boils down to pure speculation, I think it is more likely and more logical that God, if existed, would in fact reward the skeptics for using the brains he gave us and punish the believers for being so gullible.
That's actually one of the more light-hearted theories about god as depicted in the monotheistic scriptures- that he's actually a total dick who's messing with everyone. A sadist, basically. Which would clear up a lot of things.
If Satan exists, I find it more plausible that books like Quran etc which contain so much hatred and violence have been authored by him rather than the creator God.
Not Milton's Satan! That guy was freaking awesome. Oh, and also: In the Bible, Satan only kills a few people. God kills thousands. In a war of ideas, Satan wins. In a war of attrition (which is the advantage of having eternity on your side) God wins.
No creator will create people hell bound by default as it is natural to be compassionate and caring about one's creation.
One certainly hopes not. Though there are quite a few verses that talk about 'the elect' in the Epistles. Interestingly enough, the number is about the same as those that say we're saved by works, grace, or a combination of the two. Hence Calvinism.
I think if the creator God existed, he would create each of us heaven bound by default and will reward us for being curious, for using the faculties he bestowed upon us most diligently, and for not falling in the trap of Satan.
Then you, sir, are an old-school Universalist! In the words of Thomas Starr King, a 19th century Unitarian (I think), "Universalists believe that God is too good to damn people, and the Unitarians believe that people are too good to be damned by God." Though it's important to remember that Unitarian-Universalism hasn't been a specifically Christian organization since 1961, when the United Church of Christ splintered from the UU Association peacefully. UUs don't like to talk about it much, though.

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