Christianity: monotheistic or polytheistic?

Discussion in 'Comparative Studies' started by citizenzen, Mar 6, 2009.

  1. citizenzen

    citizenzen Custom User Title

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    I've just been part of a thread in the Christianity section where I heard several opinions that took me totally by surprise. I'd like to open that discussion up to a larger group.

    I grew up under the notion that Christianity was a monotheistic religion. Not only did that mean to me that there was one God that Christians believed in, but (and this is where it just might be my naiveté) that meant that the gods that other religions worshipped were also non other than the one God.

    Today I found out that there isn't just the one God. Allah, for instance is a different God. In fact, there are apparently a number of other Gods out there. Isn't that the definition of polytheism?

    Is it time we stopped referring to Christianity as a monotheistic religion?
     
  2. seattlegal

    seattlegal Why do cows say mu?

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    Sectarianism does tend to produce the effect and/or the appearance of polytheism.

    {i.e., trying to stuff God into a box.}
     
  3. Netti-Netti

    Netti-Netti New Member

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    What about Judaism?
    God has taken his place in the divine council;
    in the midst of the gods He holds judgment.
    ~Psalm 82
     
  4. Postmaster

    Postmaster New Member

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    Heres something thats always stuck in my mind. The angels that we have today in Judaism, Islam and Christianity were once Pagan Gods that Zoroastra reintroduced in Monotheism as angels. God to me is a single diety of who has the highest point of authority.
     
  5. Bandit

    Bandit New Member

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    yes. the one and only box:D, all the other boxes are the wrong boxes.

    you still make me smile.
     
  6. citizenzen

    citizenzen Custom User Title

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    And the only point of authority, if you're practicing monotheism.

    For all religions. We are looking at the same thing but from different angles.

    Buddhists talk about a vast formless field wisdom and love. Doesn't that sound like God?



    I don't mean to single out Christians. I just live in America and they are my frame of reference.
     
  7. Paladin

    Paladin Purchased Bewilderment

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    CZ,

    Check out Brother David Steindl-Rast in his talk on God and Buddhism, you might have to scroll down on this page to find the audio file.
     
  8. citizenzen

    citizenzen Custom User Title

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    Exactly. Nice link.
     
  9. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    Ah, ask 6 rabbis and get 7 answers...

    I have seen Pagans puzzle over Satan as a second god in the Christian / Islamic "pantheon." Which of course makes the typical Christian or Muslim bristle, but there is something to what is said.

    Then there is the complexity of the trinity puzzle, which even Christians cannot agree on, and for which Islam dismisses the notion that Jesus can be equated with G-d.

    Perhaps. I want to believe. Thankfully I'm not the only one.

    To some. My jury is still out, but I'm inclined to think not. At this point in my walk I think these are attributes *of* G-d, not the essense of G-d.
     
  10. citizenzen

    citizenzen Custom User Title

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    It's interesting that your jury would be out and inclined not believe me on the account of the difference between "attributes" and "essences".

    If you ever post that you have had a deeply personal and moving experience, a communion with God so-to-speak, I will not doubt you.

    This world needs a few more people getting in touch with It. It's not an exclusive club. New members welcome.
     
  11. bananabrain

    bananabrain awkward squadnik

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    netti - this is a mistranslation, based on the multiple meanings of the word translated as "gods". more properly, this can be understood as "exalted ones", in other words angels and (presumably) qualified souls in heaven.

    b'shalom

    bananabrain
     
  12. Dondi

    Dondi Active Member

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    The Bible is clear that there is only one God.

    "I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me:" - Isaiah 45:5

    "Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me," - Isaiah 46:9

    The mention of gods over and over are only in the sense that they are idols, that they occupy the thoughts and devotion of men that would normally go to the LORD God.

    "For all the gods of the people are idols: but the LORD made the heavens." - I Chronicles 16:26

    "And have cast their gods into the fire: for they were no gods, but the work of men's hands, wood and stone: therefore they have destroyed them." - Isaiah 37:19

    "Hath a nation changed their gods, which are yet no gods? but my people have changed their glory for that which doth not profit." - Jeremiah 2:11

    It is a point of contention that the term 'gods' are used. God doesn't like competition, especially when there is nothing to compete with.

    Even when Jesus quoted scripture,

    He was using the term 'gods' loosely to make a point when He was addressing the charge of blaphemy, sort of a play on words. Because when you go to the passage that Jesus quotes, it is a psalm that has God mocking those who think themselves as gods, but deal unjustly:

    Basically it was a hit on those accusing Him of blasphemy that they are hypocrites.
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2009
  13. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    Namaste BB, thanks and how about in eden where they ate of the fruit and will now be G!ds like us. Who is G!ds and us a similar mistranslation?

    And Yahweh v. Elohem, can you provide your translations for this as well.

    Lastly with all our old testament mistranslations, and us being lazy americans not willing to learn the hebrew, which is the best english translation of the Torah (or the bible with the best OT) in your opinion?
     
  14. bananabrain

    bananabrain awkward squadnik

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    i tend to recommend a combination, starting with aryeh kaplan's "the living Torah", which is most readable and contextually least likely to mislead, but including the JPS and the koren "jerusalem" bible (which is quite literal).

    in genesis 3:5, which is what i presume you're referring to, it refers to "celestial beings", hence the plural is not the "royal we", which it is when G!D Uses it. rashi makes the interesting comment:

    "and you will be like angels: Creators of worlds" based on the midrash pirkei de-rabbi eli'ezer. genesis rabbah elucidates why this might be a problem: " For G!D Knows: Every craftsman hates his fellow craftsmen. G!D Ate of the tree and created the world", although we're hardly suggesting G!D literally Eats - instead of which, G!D Uses the Tree as the raw material of Creation, which is why, presumably, its structure is part of us and everything we build.

    when they actually eat it, the targum yonatan says something quite interesting here:

    "Man has become like one of us: he is unique among the earthly beings, just as I Am Unique among the heavenly beings, and what is his uniqueness? To know good and evil, unlike the cattle and the beasts."

    as for the other Divine Names, you will find that each time one is used it is an indication of the type of Divine activity being utilised; the E-Name being with the attribute of strict judgement, the Y-Name being that of mercy. the E-Name appears the kabbalistically significant number of 32 times during the first six days of Creation, as G!D Uses the Tree to configure the universe. or, if you prefer, they are just different Names, just as one might call G!D Father, King, Mother, Sovereign, Eternal, Lord, Friend, Beloved or whatever.

    b'shalom

    bananabrain
     
  15. soma

    soma New Member

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    The Christian’s consciousness of acceptance that there is one God and that He created all things is a conceptual truth that frees the mind to think of God all the time. This relaxes the emotions so we can praise everything as good because it came from God. This kind of encounter Jesus revealed to be the key to reality, a connection to God or pure consciousness that has the ability to bring into physical being that which is spiritual and ultimately real. Jesus’ words were not meant to be an end in themselves, but a vehicle to lead a person to encounter the all-pervading God that is beyond the grasp of the mind and all words. Jesus had the ultimate experience with God consciousness and his consciousness was interchangeable with God’s. He is beyond the normal mundane world of time and space and is the living expression of pure consciousness where everyone can find fulfillment. Jesus said, “I and the Father are one.” This is where the formless becomes visible and the pure consciousness of God becomes expressed in the unit consciousness of an individual in the form of Christ consciousness.

    Christian Mysticism
     
  16. john4dlg

    john4dlg Interfaith Forums

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    There is only one god in both Christianity and Islam. You can find several verses in the Bible and in the Quran.
     
  17. soma

    soma New Member

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    I agree there is only one God so why do we Christians talk about our God better than other gods? I guess the maturity of Christian thought is in question.
     
  18. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    Those are the Christians that believe in Polytheism.

    Of course G!d recognizes other G!ds in Christianity, to Adam and Eve about the tree...they have become G!ds like us...
     
  19. shawn

    shawn New Member

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    Well......what is a God (god) anyway?
    For all we know the gods they are referring to in scriptures could be very technically advanced beings who came to earth and exploited the primitive ancestors who would see such beings as gods due to their technological prowess.
    Who can say authoritatively?

    I believe there is a God, or a Source which/who permeates all of creation, but this is a far different being than most cultures refer to when talking about the gods of antiquity.
     
  20. soma

    soma New Member

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    God is just an idea or thought that each one of us thinks and develops. We develop our thoughts by reading different enthusiasts on the subject, progressive or not because God is in the mind, but also beyond our thinking. It seems Christianity and our minds get stuck in the thoughts and not the transcending of our mind.Christianity and human mentality seems to naturally get stuck with the thoughts developed into religions and forgets the Divinity within or consciousness without.
     

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