HOW DO YOU UNDERSTAND DEITY?

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How do you conceive of Deity?

I try to avoid having any conception
13
8%
Monotheistic
6
4%
Duotheistic
6
4%
Polytheistic
28
16%
Pantheistic
64
37%
Other (please post description)
54
32%
 
Total votes: 171

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Merlyn
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Poly-pantheist

Postby Merlyn » 28 Oct 2004, 13:49

Isn't a poly-pan a type of squash or something?
:-)

I guess so, if it's the season for spiritual harvest :D
This has really been an eye opener to me. I truly thought my Poly-pantheist view was rare at best. Perhaps others have found my name for it "fits" and I can see why. The OBOD Druid course takes us through these realms and we become aware of them in a very personal way. They nourish us, each differently, but make us whole.
Some time ago I was working with these ideas (a couple of years back) and a very helpful person asked me to describe my views on deity. He tried hard to put me in one of the categories Philip has polled. But I truly did not fit in any of them.
So we made a new one... Poly-pantheist. I feel it is what allows us to be "inclusive" as Druids, and understand clearly what we find on our path.

Very interested in these results
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ac o wybod, gwybod yn gyfiawn;
ac o wybod yn gyfiawn ei garu;
ac o garu, caru Duw.
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Underground River
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Postby Underground River » 28 Oct 2004, 13:55

Hmmm, no monotheists here...interesting...very interesting...
If you were a monotheist, would you feel unusual?
I get all confused when people talk about polypantheists. It is very difficult to pin a word on a deity or deities. :grin:
I guess I am an atheist technically because I don't think there are any deities. However, I really can't claim to know for sure. :lol:
This whole conversation gets me all confused so I will stop now.
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Kernos
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Postby Kernos » 28 Oct 2004, 15:34

A complex question, Philip. All these words people use, like deity, creator, faith, and theism pigeon holes, beliefs and religions, all these words are confusing to me and really don't seem to resonate with how I FEEL in relation to the universe - whether that is my woods, the sea, or the stars in the sky or my imagination when looking at a galaxy or trying to conceive everything at once.

Deity is a difficult concept. In the simplest form, "a power greater than I" of course I believe (I have a lot of trouble with the word 'believe') - I know! The cops, the electric company, the sun, gravity are all powers greater than I. Even my spouse is most of the time.

Do I believe that the named historical deities are individual entities who concern themselves with humanity? No. I consider these to be anthropomorphized forces or aspects of nature or idealized human archetypes (like good and evil)

Do I believe in a creator or creators? No. Except for my ancestors in personal terms. I am agnostic on how the universe came to be. I THINK it is self-creating. I also think thought is a manner of creating and may enhance the universe. No one knows how we or the universe was created. I think saying one knows is hubris and that using faith as knowing is a cop-out.

I feel I am circling around your question, "How do you conceive of deity".

Words do not suffice - but I suppose forces of Nature in relationship to me approaches how I conceive Deity.

I support the hypothesis that the Earth is one of uncountable life-bearing worlds in the universe and that if it were snuffed out in a blink it would make no difference to the universe except as the natural evolution of Nature. Nature doesnt need us, but we need Nature.

My other belief is that all is Gray. IE, neither black nor white, but everywhere in between. And I feel any belief system should be heuristic and able to change as new discoveries are made.

So, pigeonholers, what am I? Does my belief system have a name?

Kernos
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Postby Brennus » 28 Oct 2004, 16:28

I have already posted this under 'the wrath of the gods' heading, but I'll repost it here for convenience.

All gods and spirits are aspects of nature.
Therefore, if there were only one god/goddess, nature is it.
Whichever form our individual worship may take, nature is always our highest divinity.

I believe in a great many gods and spirits, but they take whichever form we choose for them. Wether they have a form somewhere else, or we cannot perceive the form in our current state, I do not know. For those of you who have studied hinduism, you may find the best description under the term 'Visvarupa'. An avatar of one god, representing an aspect thereof. However and whatever you perceive, nature is always at the root of it.

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Postby Selene » 28 Oct 2004, 16:58

After considerable thought, I have concluded that "Other" is the only possible answer for me because my concept of Deity is not static. I have thought of myself a Deist* since I was a teenager and usually perceive Deity in a pantheistic or monotheistic sense, but there have been times when any of the other variants have felt appropriate as well. The duotheist and polytheistic perceptions are relatively new to me, coming mostly since I joined OBOD, but I have come to recognize that these concepts are equally as valid for me in certain situations.

Very interesting question and it's great to read all the different responses!

Selene
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*"Deist: One who believes in the existence of a God or supreme being but denies revealed religion, basing his belief on the light of nature and reason."
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Postby colm » 28 Oct 2004, 17:42

Warmest Greetings,

My view of Deity changes and grows as I do. As I learn and read and experience, my perception of what is real and what is right grows and changes with me.

I think that there is Be-ing that came before us. I percieve this Be-ing as pure energy. I do not believe that the Be-ing is either male or female, but incorporates all. I think along the lines of Edgar Cayce that all things came from this energy at some point in time. I think that the Be-ing gave of itself to create new energy to learn and grow from It's own creation. I think that a chain of splitting and creating then occured and that each of us and each and everything occurring in nature occured from this Source.

I think that this being the case that there were at some point other Be-ings that probably were indeed more closely connected to the original source i.e. multiple deities. I also believe that since we are all a part of this source that as we come together our energies increase as we then become a bigger part of the whole. We are all connected and must reconnect with the energies and Be-ings around us, plant, animal, mineral etc.

I think that as is the nature of humans we MAY tend to personify this into a more human form so as to be able to more closely identify. I myself often refer to this Source as God/Goddess in order to better relate.

I by no means think that this is the only explanation, it is just the one that works for me now. I believe that everyone no matter what their beliefs are equally as right or as true as my own. The wonderful thing about it is that because of the Nature of the Source (or lack of one as you may see it) is that it is completely up to the individual who percieves it to decide what is right for them.

Blessings,
Colm

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Postby Ruadh » 28 Oct 2004, 17:55

Hi,

I chose Other because I am both polytheistic and pantheistic. Poly-Pan :D !

The polytheist in me worships certain members of the Tuatha Dé Danaan.

The pantheist in me sees the Universe/Nature as the Creator - and all things are of the Universe/Nature. I do not see creation itself as being an act of "intelligent design" nor do I see the Universe/Nature as a single all knowing, all powerful entity. The Universe/Nature does not need our worship. It will continue doing it's job of creation/destruction whether we pray to it or not.

Peace,
Ruadh

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Alferian
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Postby Alferian » 28 Oct 2004, 18:04

I'm another one of those poly-pan people. Isn't a poly-pan a type of squash or something? :grin:
Ha! :-) That's a patty-pan squash. I like that. Pattypantheism. Has a ring to it.

I voted for pantheism too, but feel basically as Frank stated it so well. The polytheistic deities are, for me, what Jung called psychoid phenonmena: that is, they are both "outward" and "inward" and play off of the archetypes that structure our unconscious minds (our souls, if you will).

I also agree with Ildanach about pan-entheism, which Judy Harrow defines this way:
Panentheism is the belief that Spirit both pervades and transcends the World of Form; the two are like concentric circles. In short, panentheism holds that Deity includes the entire universe -- and more. The World of Spirit is the world of all possibilities. The World of Form contains those possibilities which have become manifest.... The Greek word Entheos refers to the indwelling Deity... The plural form is Entheoi, the indwelling Gods, the Ancient Ones who live and move in our hearts today as They did for our earliest ancestors. (Spiritual Mentoring: A Pagan Guide p. 27)
Good writing, Philip! I look forward to reading the book...

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Postby Lily » 28 Oct 2004, 18:13

I consider myself an agnostic leaning on pantheism, still waiting for an epiphany. hope this helps.
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Postby CelticDao » 28 Oct 2004, 19:01

Dagnabbit! I think I'm gonna vote MONOtheistic, for the following reason:

I believe there is only ONE single Divinity. However, I believe that Divinity manifests in any number of forms, including the God and Goddess simultaneously. So, the Christian Trinity, and the Wiccan Trinity (there's a new phrase!) are THE SAME DIVINITY.
Namasté Y'all.
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Postby Explorer » 28 Oct 2004, 19:13

Hi Philip,

I consider myself an atheist...
- I believe that there are forces of nature that are not (yet) discovered and perhaps cannot be completely discovered.
- I believe that one ore more of those forces stimulate complexity. Perhaps it is the motor behind the evolution theory, random mutations seem too random to me to justify the complexity that we see in nature.
- I do not believe this force of nature has consiousness. I think it is just part of nature like the force of gravity is.
- I believe that all the forces of nature combined can be indistinguishable from deity to people, just as advanced technology can be indistinguishable from magic to primitive societies.
- I believe that these forces are affecting us and reside in us in some way, because we are part of the universe and part of nature.
- I believe that it doesn't really matter how we perceive deity, because we do not know it anyway and any perception really just seems to be there to please our minds and work with it.

So, atheist, but holding my believes lightly...

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Postby Samhain » 28 Oct 2004, 19:20

Since I'm from a Wiccan background, my belief system tends to be duo-polytheistic, i.e., I believe in the literal existence of the Lord and Lady but I also believe in the literal existence of many Gods and Goddesses. My experience with Deity has taught me not to worry about the apparent contradiction in that viewpoint.

I doubt if the answers you'll get on this messageboard will provide an accurate overview of what most OBODies believe. IMO, the regulars on this messageboard tend to be younger, less educated and more inclined to agnosticism than most OBODies I've met. And many of the regulars on this message board seem to believe that an interest in Paganism should be philosophical rather than religious. Many of them are somewhat unfriendly toward those of us who see Druidry and other forms of Paganism as specifically religious paths (which is why I and a number of other Pagans seldom post here anymore). So while the responses you get from this message board will reflect the spiritual outlook of a particular group, I believe that group will be the message board regulars, rather than OBODies as a whole. Just my opinion.

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Postby Loosh » 28 Oct 2004, 19:21

All of the above.

I certainly feel the poly-pan elements of deity in Nature. But also the dualistic yin-yang, male-female polarity as a manifestation of the One Great Spirit (trying to avoid GOD as it implies masculinity). I see intelligent life as part of divine nature. There is no separation from the Great Spirit. We live, move and exist as beings within the Great Spirit. (When there is a perceived separation from the Divine here comes the woes: sin, sickness, the devil, etc.) This allows the inclusion other life-forms throughout the universe(s) to partake equally of the Divine.
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Postby Ruthie » 28 Oct 2004, 20:11

I choose "other".
I don't really believe in deity, because using that word carries a connotation of a personality. I prefer to use "The Divine" or "Divinity", which is more an adjective than a noun.
Aside from that, I'm a pretty firm pantheist, believing that there is a force in the Universe which fights against entropy.
Here on Earth, we see it easily as Life, an impossibly complicated and intricately-ordered system, capable of reproducing that order out of less orderly things. Birds eat all manner of seeds and berries, yet always produce more birds, for example.
We see it in our own planet as a whole, keeping an equilibrium, perhaps as a function of that very Life on it.
We see this force in the Great Spot on Jupiter. A single storm (chaotic in it's own right) which is self-maintaining for centuries.
We see it in our galaxy, delicate spiral arms swirling about in time with the motion of the center.
So I don't believe in something even remotely resembling a god in any form, but something more like a Desire to BE - a creative force which by it's nature, produces order from chaos. That is what the Divine is to me.
I hope I have answered your question.

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Postby Explorer » 28 Oct 2004, 20:19

Hi Moon Cloud,
That's interesting, I seem to feel exactly the same as you do. I also had the force in mind that counters enthropy. But I call it atheism and you call it pantheism. I wonder where the difference lies.
greetings,
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Postby Drui na Samhna » 28 Oct 2004, 20:31

I voted for the monotheistic view of God. I believe there is a Creator, a Supreme Being, and while we may partake of his nature with some divine spark of our own, he is (as a "personality" or "sentient being") separate from us and remote at times. I believe he created us and everything else, but not that he micromanages the Universe (although I think he is aware of all that happens).
I. ABRED
I feel it is our burden (because of our free will) to make do on our own, although God may intervene directly on occasion in order to keep things from getting too far off course. I do believe in classes of spiritual beings that are available to aid us whether you call them angels, daemons, or gods (with a little "g"), but there is only one Supreme Being. I believe that human spirits may eventually become like unto "gods" but not "God".
II. GWYNVYD
I believe that as "gods" we are destined to to create and manage our own little worlds or galaxies but all will still remain under the dominion of the one Supreme Being. (The mundane world, ABRED, is the training ground for GWYNVYD.) As "gods" we may also render assistance to those who dwell in ABRED.
III. CEUGANT
I do not believe that we merge with God or become co-rulers with God. God alone traverses the Circle of Ceugant.
IV. (or "0") ANNWVYN
I do believe in the Devil as a force of evil/entropy/devolution with great powers who can actively intervene in worldly affairs, but again God is supreme over all. God does not do away with the Devil because it is part of our evolution to resist him (lest we dwell with the Dark Lord in Annwvyn, beyond the Three Circles, and away from the presence of God). There is the hope, however, that in God's infinite mercy all lost souls (perhaps even Lucifer himself) will progress to the Circle of Gwynvyd.
NOTE: I use then masculine pronoun for God because it is traditional, but I feel God is genderless and beyond classification in our current level of understanding.

James
Last edited by Drui na Samhna on 06 Nov 2004, 05:43, edited 1 time in total.
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Ruthie
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Postby Ruthie » 28 Oct 2004, 21:14

Hi Explorer,
Hmmm, maybe I stand corrected?
You see, I know there is this thing, a force or a desire in the Universe, but I see it as something halfway between "science" and "God".
Not something completely un-mysterious, and not something that can ever be quantified or measured, but something which can only be felt and "believed-in", based on our observations.
It's the Mystery, and I insist on giving it a capitol "M".
Just grabbed the Webster's.
Atheism: the belief that there is no God.

Pantheism: the doctrine or belief that God is not a personality, but that all laws, forces, manifestations, etc. of the self-existing universe are God; the belief that God is everything and everything is God.
So I'm in there somewhere, I guess. I prefer to use "g" instead of "G" for the word. It doesn't mean "I'm a god and so are you," it means more that everything that exists, even intangible things like ideas or emotions, are informed about their existance by this something. So while I agree that nobody is driving the giant bus that is our Universe, I think the bus knows where it's heading all by itself, and it definately has a destination in mind.
So that's why I'm hesitant to say "athiest"
How about an Ism-ist? We could call it "Istism" and it would mean belief, just really non-specific belief. :grin:
Anyhow, I don't really think a label should keep us from agreeing with each other.

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Why Druids make the best soup

Postby Philip » 28 Oct 2004, 21:21

Fantastic!
Thank you all for replying. I hope more come in, and of course the responses confirm my experience that the one thing you can count on with Druids is that you won't have any tedious agreement on major subjects!
That is what makes Druidry so alive and interesting - just as life is varied and full of diversity, so are our views. That's why Druids make the best soups!
Blessings,
Philip /|\ :-D

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Postby Explorer » 28 Oct 2004, 21:29

Hi Explorer,
Hmmm, maybe I stand corrected?
And maybe I ;-).

I guess it is just mostly a matter of definition eh?
Based on your descriptions I must be somewhere between atheism and pantheism then. I value, honor and feel connected to all those things that pantheism describes as 'god'. I just have a hard time swallowing Divinity.
Somebody (was it Lily?) on the board once said something like 'I do not worship deity, but I celebrate nature'. That's also how I feel about it. And for me 'Nature' seems to contain the very same things as the 'pantheistic god'.
Anyhow, I don't really think a label should keep us from agreeing with each other.
I can't agree more...
blessings,

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Postby Wolfwalker » 28 Oct 2004, 21:49

As one who uses the term Mother Earth in other than the anthropomorphic sense and adheres to a Creator, as well as the Moon Goddess, and many types of natural forces and spiritual powers, I would have to say other, since strictly this in not pantheism, due to the non earth-based nature or aspects of some of these. In divinination and working medicine work I rely on spirit guides of the human (Otherworldly) variety as well as animal totem and guiding spirits.
It comes I suppose from sharing the faith path between the Red Road of my Native North American ancestors who married Scot and Welsh Celts, which led me to druidry. I communicate with the ancients at my sacred fire but do not understand them in the sense of "divine" as deities, though I would hedge my bets about which of the tradtional pagan gods, like Loki, Thor, Athena, Area, Odin, Zeus, and others are well and exist in the 'world of today' as surely as either of us!
I find earthly and supernatural as well as supra-natural forces at work in this life, some of which defy decription in our modern language, the truly appropriate terms having long since been lost in the annals of time. I wish you good fortune in your investigations and the writing of your book.
BB, Peter
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