Theism Check List

A forum for the discussion of heuristic questions relating to Druidry using verifiable methods. Fo-fúair!
Life is short, the art long, opportunity fleeting, experiment treacherous, judgment difficult. — Hippocrates

Sturgeon's Law: Ninety percent of everything is crap.

This is a public forum, viewable by guests as well as members, and is cataloged by most search engines.
Forum rules
If you find a topic of interest and want to continue the discussion then start a new topic under The Hearthfire with a similar name and add a link back to the topic you want to continue.
Locked
User avatar
treegod
OBOD Druid
Posts: 2141
Joined: 26 Apr 2007, 16:28
Gender: Male
Location: Catalonia, Spain
Contact:

Theism Check List

Post by treegod » 01 Sep 2011, 11:28

I get confused when asked "do I believe in Gods/thegods" because I don't know what that means. There are many examples of "gods" and many interpretations, so it makes answering with a simple "yes" of "no" a bit confusing.

Below are a few questions that are usually associated with what the gods are or aren't, but different cultures and differenct people have differing answers to each, making the belief or disbelief in God/gods a bit difficult. If you were to say the gods are unconscious, impersonal, unintentioned, natural and physical, then I would say yes, I believe in the gods.

So, what are your thoughts on who and what the gods are and aren't? And what are the attributes you are accepting/rejecting?

Are the gods conscious or unconscious?

Are the gods personal or are they impersonal?

Are they intentioned or unintentioned?

Natural or supernatural?

Physical or metaphysical?

Concrete of abstract?

Are they found only within certain cultural contexts and/or geographical locations or are they beyond these?

Symbols of realities or realities in themselves?

Embodied or disembodied?

Perfect of imperfect?

Moral, immoral or amoral?

User avatar
mark the compost elf
OBOD Ovate
Posts: 247
Joined: 25 Sep 2008, 12:24
Gender: Male
Location: wigan, well crankwood really
Contact:

Re: Theism Check List

Post by mark the compost elf » 01 Sep 2011, 12:59

Generally, i suppose it is how you deifne a god (obviously the context of your post).

Are the gods conscious or unconscious? -Are they found only within certain cultural contexts and/or geographical locations or are they beyond these?
to me the 'divine' is in everything, everywhere, and in all time. this is the ultimate 'god' that is within us all and we are within. However, i also veiw the existance of other beings, perhaps of my subconcious, or facets of the divine using power not within the material world, or beings of a place, time, object, that seem to have no 'material' basis. so THE god, is in effect unconscious. BUt, the gods, i.e. lesser gods (big bundles of power etc) are aware and conscious and often tricksome.

Are the gods personal or are they impersonal? - Are they intentioned or unintentioned?
i feel they can be both. some are aware of you, others don't care, soem do a task and others just are... perhaps, arhcetype figures are the latter, and an echo within us?

Natural or supernatural? - Physical or metaphysical?
natural and supranatural (within nature but still seperate from it to a degree). Some are more connected with nature than others, seemingly. Some would seem to be more physically interactive than others, some seem no more than a shadow.

I think, some are 'gatekeepers' and as such arte symbols opening on to a new perception of reality (and therefore a reality unto themselves). Morality, depends on their goals and what they are trying to achieve.

To clarify, in essence, IMO there is a divine link between all that is (and is potential), was and will be. From this there are beings who exist in the form of only 'power and thought' , some will clothe themselves with matter when they need to, and from there there are the rest of us - living gods, spirit in matter and the ancestral spirits.

To my mind, no god is worth worshiping, but all are worth respecting and honouring as you would another person or animal. They are worth knowing and exploring, if they wish you to do so.

In all things there is balance, even amogst gods, those who are immorral/ ammoral and moral balance each other out and these concepts are formed from our perception only. Death is not evil and life is not good -they may look that way from our vanmatge point, but then perhaps they are all good merely because they are in existance at all.
From decay comes growth, fungal or otherwise. All stages of death are filled with life and life to be. Creation is made up of ugly beauty that is gorgeous to those who can feel as well as they can see.

User avatar
treegod
OBOD Druid
Posts: 2141
Joined: 26 Apr 2007, 16:28
Gender: Male
Location: Catalonia, Spain
Contact:

Re: Theism Check List

Post by treegod » 01 Sep 2011, 21:36

Thanks, Mark.

It's interesting the varying views one person can hold about the gods; I can see that there may be a variety of beings - all with their own natures and functions - that might be called gods. In some ways I can agree with some points, and other disagree; it goes to show I can't accept or reject such ideas outrightly.

I reject traditional views and belief systems of the gods, so in a way I am an atheist. However I derive some use from the term and the depictions of many gods, so I still have some sympathy with theistic ideas.

In traditional terms many gods are associated with natural phenomena, and for me these are "gods" - albeit unconscious, unintentioned and impersonal (any god depicted in that way are symbols IMO). I also see the use of myths as symbols for psychological processes going on within us all, as archetypes. Or a third idea comes to me: the idea that spiritually developed humans are in a way "gods". Each of these "categories" gives different answers to the above questions.

User avatar
Bart
OBOD Ovate
Posts: 267
Joined: 06 Mar 2011, 19:01
Gender: Male
Contact:

Re: Theism Check List

Post by Bart » 02 Sep 2011, 08:29

For me all holy forces are based in nature, and with nature I mean physics. I do think there is a bigger scheme, but that is a feeling.

So:
what are your thoughts on who and what the gods are and aren't? And what are the attributes you are accepting/rejecting?

Are the gods conscious or unconscious?
Define consciousness. If it an ability to self reflect than a lot of people will qualify. I think there is a level of consciousness in nature.

Are the gods personal or are they impersonal?
Nature is the force that is, we are part of nature. How personal do you want to be.

Are they intentioned or unintentioned?
I do think there is a bigger scheme. I just don't know it. On a number of occosians I got the feeling I was there with a purpose, not always for me, but also to steer someone else. (this is fluffy I know, even I can go of the wagon)

Natural or supernatural?
everything is natural, supernatural is just something we don't know.

Physical or metaphysical?
define meta physical. Does it have a body? does a force need a body to do anything? Ask huricane Irene. She had no body, but became very physical.

Concrete of abstract?
I don't get this one? Probably I thing it is concrete.

Are they found only within certain cultural contexts and/or geographical locations or are they beyond these?
I think all expressions originate from one source. I even think the multiverse is part of the scheme. The local expressions are expressions from the one source.

Symbols of realities or realities in themselves?
real

Embodied or disembodied?
the force is strong in this one (LOL, I think everything is linked, so every body is an expression)

Perfect of imperfect?
irrelevant.

Moral, immoral or amoral?
Who's moral?

User avatar
mark the compost elf
OBOD Ovate
Posts: 247
Joined: 25 Sep 2008, 12:24
Gender: Male
Location: wigan, well crankwood really
Contact:

Re: Theism Check List

Post by mark the compost elf » 02 Sep 2011, 12:21

i like this thread - i must admit it is something i have thought about a lot, and the seeming contradictions in my above post come from where an experience has changed my mind. Is there a fixed theory that can encompass every thing, or would that merely be ' it is what it is, was and will be'?

Again, i can agree with you Treegod and with you Bart, but again i think we would all itch on certain points, were we having this debate in the flesh (as it were).

This topic makes me wonder, how many peop;e on here have sought to clarify thier beliefs and understandings, how many just accept what is and how many cautiously skirt round the ideas expressed so they can avoid any form of inner conflict?
From decay comes growth, fungal or otherwise. All stages of death are filled with life and life to be. Creation is made up of ugly beauty that is gorgeous to those who can feel as well as they can see.

User avatar
DaRC
OBOD Ovate
Posts: 5209
Joined: 06 Feb 2003, 17:13
Gender: Male
Location: Sussex
Contact:

Re: Theism Check List

Post by DaRC » 02 Sep 2011, 13:06

mark the compost elf wrote:i like this thread

+1 :grin:
mark the compost elf wrote:Is there a fixed theory that can encompass every thing, or would that merely be ' it is what it is, was and will be'?
IME that is the problem, certainly within the Abrahamic religions it is something they focus on, I believe that it is this focus that allows people to use it as an excuse for conflict.
mark the compost elf wrote:This topic makes me wonder, how many people on here have sought to clarify their beliefs and understandings, how many just accept what is and how many cautiously skirt round the ideas expressed so they can avoid any form of inner conflict?
Hmmm what do you mean by clarify their beliefs? I've certainly meditated upon it and come to these conclusions:
a) it's a complex subject
b) I can't prove my beliefs so there is a transrational element to my beliefs
c) My beliefs are no more accurate or correct than someone else's and this is part of the grand mystery that is life

So to answer the questions:
Are the gods conscious or unconscious?
I think there is a great spiritual energy in the universe, let's call it Nature, of which we are all part. To us it is an unconscious God, however there a channels for this energy which I term the Gods and culturally I use the Heathen Gods. I shall use the term Cultural Gods. These are conscious of us.

Are the gods personal or are they impersonal?
See above - both.

Are they intentioned or unintentioned?
IME the Cultural Gods have intentions if we attract them, if Nature has intentions we've no way of knowing currently.

Natural or supernatural?
Define supernatural - I tend to work within the theory that all of universe is natural it's just that there are areas people don't know or understand and they tend to call these areas supernatural.

Physical or metaphysical?
I think metaphysical but able to affect the physical.

Concrete or abstract?
Never concrete, as in static and immutable, but not entirely abstract either.

Are they found only within certain cultural contexts and/or geographical locations or are they beyond these?

Nature is found everywhere but the Cultural Gods are cultural expressions. As they are expressions of humanity they are separated by culture but contain common patterns.

Symbols of realities or realities in themselves?
Both.

Embodied or disembodied?
Disembodied - that is until I meet an embodied one :D .

Perfect of imperfect?
A subjective human concept and I'm not sure it can or should be applied to the Cultural Gods as it encourages hubris in people.

Moral, immoral or amoral?
Nature, with respect to humans, is amoral but the Gods provide moral lessons for humanity even if some behave in an immoral way.
Most dear is fire to the sons of men,
most sweet the sight of the sun;
good is health if one can but keep it,
and to live a life without shame. (Havamal 68)
http://gewessiman.blogspot.co.uk Image

User avatar
Mountainheart
OBOD Bard
Posts: 385
Joined: 24 Nov 2008, 22:26
Gender: Male
Location: Yorkshire
Contact:

Re: Theism Check List

Post by Mountainheart » 02 Sep 2011, 13:56

My answer to all your questions is 'Don't know'.

I sense there is something. What that something is, who knows? Every theological system is human guesswork in response to the je ne sais quoi that we call 'G/god/ess'.

IMO

Thx
David

User avatar
treegod
OBOD Druid
Posts: 2141
Joined: 26 Apr 2007, 16:28
Gender: Male
Location: Catalonia, Spain
Contact:

Re: Theism Check List

Post by treegod » 02 Sep 2011, 21:32

Bart wrote: everything is natural, supernatural is just something we don't know.
I'm of the same opinion here. Being a naturalist "supernatural" just doesn't work for me as an explanation of what is.
Physical or metaphysical?
define meta physical. Does it have a body? does a force need a body to do anything? Ask huricane Irene. She had no body, but became very physical.
This connects, in a way, to the "concrete/abstract" question. Simply put, concrete is anything that is tangible and abstract anything that isn't. Though I think there are some physical phenomena aren't tangible.

It's interesting that you mention the hurricane- I was reading about "concrete nouns" and "abstract nouns"; any physical object is counted as a "concrete noun" but
Physical processes that aren't objects (though are nouns), such as hurricanes, life, athletics etc, can be counted as abstract nouns.

User avatar
treegod
OBOD Druid
Posts: 2141
Joined: 26 Apr 2007, 16:28
Gender: Male
Location: Catalonia, Spain
Contact:

Re: Theism Check List

Post by treegod » 02 Sep 2011, 22:18

DaRC wrote: Are the gods conscious or unconscious?
I think there is a great spiritual energy in the universe, let's call it Nature, of which we are all part. To us it is an unconscious God, however there a channels for this energy which I term the Gods and culturally I use the Heathen Gods. I shall use the term Cultural Gods. These are conscious of us.
I like your use of "Cultural gods", that has been my view too.
Natural or supernatural?
Define supernatural
Just for people to know, the questions above are for people to say what they think about these words. I didn't choose them for any particular meaning but because they are often used to describe the gods and their attributes. Interpret them as you will :tiphat:

User avatar
treegod
OBOD Druid
Posts: 2141
Joined: 26 Apr 2007, 16:28
Gender: Male
Location: Catalonia, Spain
Contact:

Re: Theism Check List

Post by treegod » 02 Sep 2011, 22:24

dhonour wrote:My answer to all your questions is 'Don't know'.
In all honesty that's my answer too. And if I describe the "gods" I am decribing my opinion of them, not what they are or aren't in reality. For me it's a creative exercise to describe something. I describe the "gods" in psychological and naturalistic ways, that any depiction is symbolic rather than literal. That's just a useful explanation for me to work with, not something by which the gods are defined.

So, aside from "don't know", do you have any theological guesswork that you sometimes use to describe what you think of G/god/ess? Could any of the words above be applied to your experience/explanation of them?

User avatar
Mountainheart
OBOD Bard
Posts: 385
Joined: 24 Nov 2008, 22:26
Gender: Male
Location: Yorkshire
Contact:

Re: Theism Check List

Post by Mountainheart » 03 Sep 2011, 09:04

treegod wrote:
dhonour wrote:My answer to all your questions is 'Don't know'.
In all honesty that's my answer too. And if I describe the "gods" I am decribing my opinion of them, not what they are or aren't in reality. For me it's a creative exercise to describe something. I describe the "gods" in psychological and naturalistic ways, that any depiction is symbolic rather than literal. That's just a useful explanation for me to work with, not something by which the gods are defined.

So, aside from "don't know", do you have any theological guesswork that you sometimes use to describe what you think of G/god/ess? Could any of the words above be applied to your experience/explanation of them?
Hi Treegod,

Doesn't sound like we are far apart in our approaches.

I too see 'God/ess' as fully natural: emergent with the emergence of the cosmos; not the creator.

For me 'God/ess' is a property that is intrinsically an aspect of consciousness: he/she/it is both the sum of all consciousness (not just human) and also the source of all consciousness. If each individual entity in nature can be seen as a water molecule, then 'God/ess' is the sea.

Looking at your specific questions:

I get confused when asked "do I believe in Gods/thegods" because I don't know what that means. There are many examples of "gods" and many interpretations, so it makes answering with a simple "yes" of "no" a bit confusing.

Are the gods conscious or unconscious? Neither in the way we define those words. We understand being conscious as being aware of particular happenings at a particular point in time. God/ess is 'the eternal now' as Paul Tillich puts it: outside time and outside awareness as we perceive it.

Are the gods personal or are they impersonal? Impersonal but personal IMO. God/ess is not externally 'looking out for me'; but is something which is as much a part of my being as my thoughts are; so God/ess is intensely personal because I am God/ess.

Are they intentioned or unintentioned? Again both; for the same reason as my last answer.

Natural or supernatural? Natural

Physical or metaphysical? Both

Concrete of abstract? Both

Are they found only within certain cultural contexts and/or geographical locations or are they beyond these? Beyond and within

Symbols of realities or realities in themselves? God/ess is a reality but all we can understand and say are symbols of that reality. We cannot know what God/ess really is we can only perceive that God/ess is.

Embodied or disembodied? Neither. God/ess does not exist as something distinct from his/her/its constituent parts: as the forest does not exist without trees.

Perfect of imperfect? Neither: God/ess is outside such classifications

Moral, immoral or amoral?: amoral

Thx for the discussion! How do you react to my responses?

David

User avatar
Islamicelt
Posts: 27
Joined: 28 Nov 2011, 19:41
Gender: Female
Location: Madison, Wisconsin
Contact:

Re: Theism Check List

Post by Islamicelt » 30 Nov 2011, 20:59

My Abrahamic POV

Are the gods conscious or unconscious? Conscious

Are the gods personal or are they impersonal? This is actually a very interesting question. I feel that, if you look at Abrahamic texts, God seems pretty impersonal through most of the Hebrew Bible. He is personal in the sense that He personally chooses certain prophets, appears to them in certain ways, gives them personal messages, etc. etc...but God and His relationship with His creation tends to be a very strict and impersonal kind of relationship. It wasn't really until, in my opinion, the coming of the prophet Jesus that God started being seen as a more personal and warm God. In my conclusion with all of this, I've simply started to see God as being a Being with both Negative and Positive qualities. God is not always warm and personal like people like to think He is. God embodies both negativity (jealousy, rage, anger, destruction) and also positivity (love, guidance, protection, creation). God has no EVIL side to Him though since God is simply a balance.

Are they intentioned or unintentioned? As in did I create God or was He intended to be created? I believe God was never created and has always been present

Natural or supernatural? both. God created the natural world and, therefore, the natural world is part of God. God, however, is supernatural.

Physical or metaphysical? metaphysical

Concrete of abstract? I believe He concretely exists but that He Himself is very abstract. He's God. My human mind even come close to understanding all that He is.

Are they found only within certain cultural contexts and/or geographical locations or are they beyond these? Qur'an 10:47- "And for every nation is a messenger...." meaning beyond all boundaries. God does not belong to one people or nation alone. He belongs to all of us.

Symbols of realities or realities in themselves? I believe God is real in Himself.

Embodied or disembodied? disembodied

Perfect of imperfect? perfect

Moral, immoral or amoral? God comes across as all 3 at times. Sometimes God does immoral things in order to bring about a greater good or a greater balance. Not everything that God does is positive all in itself but, much like a parent would do for a child they are raising, they do "negative" things in order to get a positive ending. For example, He destructs in order to create. He punishes in order for people to learn. Etc.

There is still so much more where this comes from. I don't know that I could ever explain God using a list of vocabulary words. These also change according to situation sometimes too.

I also have to agree with dhonor in the sense that I dont know at all. I know a side of God that He has chosen to show through His signs and texts, prophets, etc. God evolves tremendously through His texts and over time. All I can do is live a good life and try to be a good person and hope that I am doing it right.
Qur'an 13:2 "And it is He who spread out the earth, and set thereon mountains standing firm and (flowing) rivers: and fruit of every kind He made in pairs, two and two: He draweth the night as a veil o’er the Day. Behold, verily in these things there are signs for those who consider!"

http://islamicelt.blogspot.com/

User avatar
treegod
OBOD Druid
Posts: 2141
Joined: 26 Apr 2007, 16:28
Gender: Male
Location: Catalonia, Spain
Contact:

Re: Theism Check List

Post by treegod » 01 Dec 2011, 00:14

Thanks for your answers Islamicelt. Very interesting ideas on the attributes and morality of God.

There was a hymn I remember from church which went "God is good, we sing and shout it..." Which I could believe, because if an all-powerful God says he's "good", who can argue? In a way God comes before morality, so is amoral, but invented morality.

Also, the morals in the Abrahamic scriptures are for human use, and God, being beyond morals, doesn't necessarily have to be subject to them. And any qualities we see God as having are our own limited perceptions, so we can say "such-and-such" about g/God/ess/es, but there will always be something about Him/Her/It/them beyond our perceptions. :wink:

User avatar
treegod
OBOD Druid
Posts: 2141
Joined: 26 Apr 2007, 16:28
Gender: Male
Location: Catalonia, Spain
Contact:

Re: Theism Check List

Post by treegod » 01 Dec 2011, 01:01

There are three types of "gods" as I see them: psychological forces or archetypes; forces of nature (fon); and human potential, all of which can be reflected in myth, story, imagination and symbol.

Are the gods conscious or unconscious?

The fon, often seen as gods, are unconscious and without intention, as are the archetypes within the human psyche.

Within the human the archeytypes and forces of nature attain consciousness.

Are the gods personal or are they impersonal?

Fon and archetypes are impersonal. As above, they attain personality through human consciousness.

Are they intentioned or unintentioned?

Without intention as fon and archetypes. Intention comes through human consciousness.

Natural or supernatural?

Natural. As a naturalist the supernatural doesn't exist. And anything that might be described as "supernatural" is an unknown part of nature.

Physical or metaphysical?

Physical, for all three.

Concrete of abstract?

Concrete, though may be understood through abstractions. For example, archetypes only appear through abstracted images, though they may have very concrete influences in ours lives.

Are they found only within certain cultural contexts and/or geographical locations or are they beyond these?

FON might be located in particular places, and in fact might actually be those places, but they are not restricted to culture. Archetypes and human consciousness are not restricted by culture or geography.

Symbols of realities or realities in themselves?

Realities in themselves though they are often represented by symbols.

Embodied or disembodied?

Embodied.

Perfect of imperfect?

The realist in me says "nothing can be perfect" but the pragmatists in me says "they're perfect enough for what they need to do." Human consciousness could strive a little more towards perfection though.

Moral, immoral or amoral?

FONs and archetypes are amoral, though they may be represented as either moral or immoral. But I believe that the more developed human consciousness is the more a sense of morality and conscience are developed too.

whitehorse
Posts: 12
Joined: 18 Jul 2009, 21:11
Gender: Male
Location: Siluria, Cymru (turn left at the gnarled beech tree)
Contact:

Re: Theism Check List

Post by whitehorse » 11 Dec 2011, 18:25

treegod wrote:There are three types of "gods" as I see them: psychological forces or archetypes; forces of nature (fon); and human potential, all of which can be reflected in myth, story, imagination and symbol.

FONs and archetypes are amoral, though they may be represented as either moral or immoral. But I believe that the more developed human consciousness is the more a sense of morality and conscience are developed too.
I agree. Forces of Nature can create, preserve and destroy. The archetypes are our racial and ethnic memories, invisible traits, forces and orientations, clothed according to our particular culture and mythology and manifesting out of the 'other world' of the unconscious to correct some hidden imbalance or lack in our personalities, imparting wisdom as they lead us to psychic wholeness. As I Jungian buff I know that mythology is 'all about' archetypes.

As for potential of creativity in us, we are co-creators with Nature itself. Nature writ large, Universal Nature is our source and that to which we must return (to be re-cycled as it were); in it we live and move and have our being, so without supernaturalistic abstraction, I think Nature in the absolute 'big' sense is the manifestation of 'Supreme Being' ('Being' rather than a being) the sum of all physical and psychic processes in the universe, and whatever mystery or potential existed primordially before the universe. And in the individual person of any sentient life form in the universe, Nature has evolved the capacity to know itself, to think and reflect and act. However physically big the universe, I think that makes 'thinking things' quite special. How does it feel to be a mind-cell of the supreme being?

Talking of Nature with a capital 'N', when theists talk about their Supreme God in totalising and absolute terms I really suspect that their God with a capital 'G' is a synonym, symbol and personification of Nature. Their God and Nature are both omnipresent, omnipotent, creative and probably eternal in some sense.

Locked

Return to “The Skeptical Druid”