God or G-d

Discussion in 'Belief and Spirituality' started by Thomas, Jan 20, 2013.

  1. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    Yes. If someone could explain this to me, I'd be interested. As I understand it, it's not the individual person but the universal transpersonal nature that goes on. In the same way as we do physically by reproduction, in that each generation inherits from their forebears, but is not their forebears repeated in a new guise.

    Anyway, that's the way I understand it.

    Personally, I find the doctrine of reincarnation quite pessimistic — but then orthodox Christianity is the most optimistic religion I know — It seems to me the idea of Fred coming back as Harry is a populist and sentimental misconception. The error is magnified when bad people come back as cats or dogs or worms of whatever, as there's no way a cat or dog or worm can transcned itself, so if that's true, there you are stuck. Game over.

    So, by the way, is the assumption that reincarnation is progressive. Look at the origin of snakes and ladders. I find the prospect of being required to live countless number of lives garnering virtue and then, in the penultimate life, making a mistake and being sent back to the very start, to begin all over again ... a soul-rending notion.

    As the Perfect is only possible in God, man can never attain perfection by his own power. Thus each step is, as it were, a portion of the distance remaining, and it remains that way infinitely ... so you never reach the goal, but spend your countless lives walking an infinitely precarious road that stretches away into infinity before you ... it's

    I know reincarnation is very fashionable in the West, and I know many fudge the original doctrine completely, but really, if you apply metaphysical principles to the idea, without grace, you're on a long road that never actually arrives anywhere ...

    ... as I say, if anyone can explain it better, I'd be interested.

    That may well be true for a number of traditions, but not for the Abrahamic.
    "Now to him that is able to establish you, according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret from eternity" (Romans 16:25, emphasis mine. cf 1 Corinthians 2:7, Ephesians 3:9, Colossians 1:26.)
    Christ, being the Logos of God, is the Mystery as such.

    As the stanzas of Dzyan have now been traced to their IndoPersian roots, by which they made their way into Tibet, and their origins are founded in Pudgalavāda or "Personalist" school of Buddhism, which was declared as heretical in India about 300BC. Scholarship seems to indicate that:
    If you are an initiate into the Mysteries of Christ, through the Holy Spirit, then all you need to know will be made known. Modern Theosophy's error is in trying to come up with a 'one size fits all' syncretic and supposedly secret doctrine that lumps all the traditions together, which cannot be done, for reaons which are apparent to anyone with a grasp of fundamental metaphysics.

    Theosophy therefore a priori assumes that Christ must fit somewhere in its flawed model of the cosmos, and thus will not and indeed cannot see Christ for who, and what, He Actually Is, but sees only what it presupposes to be the case.

    Ooh no ... true prayer is higher than meditation, and it's a lot more than science. You can't fool God, He is not susceptible to magicians' tricks or 'secret techniques', your heart is either in the right place or it ain't.

     
  2. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

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    Originally Posted by exile:
    Slander of me does nothing to defend your arguments for God. Look at it however you want to look at it. Either Zarathushtra, who was an Aryan, was the first person to have been divinely inspired by God or he modified existing beliefs and created the concept of a sole God. Either way Zarathushtra was the first person to have conceived of God.

    This may or may not be true, by the same rules you apply in the next sentence. To wit: we have no empirical proof that Zarathustra was the first person to conceive of G-d. There are three contradictory threads of research here. First not everyone dates his lifetime before Atenism or those Hindu monotheistic traditions or even before what may have been and independent “thinning down” of the tribal gods to the L-rd of the OT.

    Second, not everyone interpreting the Gathas are convinced that, like the OT, there are older sections that are not clearly monotheistic, but strongly dualistic.

    Third, it is possible (I believe likely) that there were parallel paths to the notion of G-d, the experience of G-d. The Vedic monotheists or Native Americans or Egyptians developed that system uninfluenced by Zarathustra.

    And since then nobody has been able to prove God exists empirically. How is it that if a man claims to be hearing voices he's got brain dysfunctionality, and labeled delusional or mentally ill, but when a man claims he's communicating with God or the spirits he doesn't have brain dysfunctionality? The only reason the psychiatrists don't suppress the God intoxicated ones is because they'd be out of a job. Moreover I don't get the impression the vast majority of well to do citizens claim to be religious. It always seems to be the downtrodden that engage in this supersillious behavior. Constantly preaching "Jesus will save your soul!" or "Gay people are the devil!" in the subway. And I don't think what your experiencing is the spirit. What your experiencing is a self induced ecstasy. Your giving yourself a natural high. The Sufis or whirling dervishes achieved the same spiritual state of mind. The Muslims achieve a similar state of mind with their constant prostrations during prayer.

    To many “hearing voices” is not a requirement for spirituality or the experience of G-d. It can be a small still voice within. Sir Arthur Eddington (he who proved Relativity empirically) and A N Whitehead (he who developed the first serious alternative to Einstein’s math). So believing in G-d (both did) or experiencing G-d (both said they did) and writing theology (both did) does not require what you claim it does.

    There's a big problem with saying God exists because at the get-go we don't have an agreed upon definition of God. Collectively I think we could define God using overlapping traits and my sense is that that God would sound like the God of Zarathushtra and the Abrahamic people and like I said since Zarathushtra there has never been any empirical evidence to show that that God exists. You might have your own interpretation of God that doesn't conform to the majority's which means that in my book you'd be safe from infringing on Zarathushtra's art. The Judaic, Christian, and Muslim interpretation of God, however, have too many traits in common with Zarathushtra's expression and ideally I would hold their respective institutions liable for infringement.

    It is really no big deal if we have no empirical evidence of G-d. Big deal. We have no empirical evidence of the Calculus or quantum (one can never see the infinitesimal in either). “Don’t have an agreed to definition of G-d”—that does not mean we cannot talk about it rationally. See the debate between the pro-consciousness and epiphenominalist types (Dave Chalmers vs Dan Dennett) as the paradigm of a centuries old debate and one these two have carried on (quite profitably for the rest of us) a near-continuous 20 year debate. The two sides do not share a common definition of consciousness.

    Finally, yes there are cross-currents in the Abrahamic faiths. But there are also unique differences and unique outside influences (Baha’is and Sikhs and Quakers and Universalist-Unitarians are quite good examples). One can claim that they all post-date Zarathustra and, hence are indebted to it). But saying that the ideas are stolen is like saying that the IC was stolen from Bardeen and Brattain and they stole the transistor from Fleming and Deforrest (who invented the tube). It just does not work, while the general ideas are shared, the latter do not depend on the former and could be independently discovered (like Lilienfel’s and Heil’s patents for transistors).

    You could be right, maybe you are even (objectively in my mind at least) probably correct in the case of “Western Monotheism”… there are other theisms which do not trace to Zarathustra.

    No matter how much you yourself are deluded into thinking you've found "God" in Zarathustra it historically isn't so. The Egyptian Pyramid texts are older than any Iranian texts and they certainly had a sense of "God", and an ONLY God as well, a God of Gods. That was Amun, the hidden God. Every major religious concept can be found in ancient Egyptian religion I've read and since I can trace Christ-Anointed One theology back to ancient Egypt I just cannot go for your claims for Zara. And you completely leave out the New World where Wankan Tanka represented "God", "Sky Father", "Grandfather", "Grandfather Above" was His name here with the local Native Americans before any contact with Europeans. Zara's just the Iranian version of a fairly universally found idea of an overriding Great Spirit which is conceived as a a Singularity containing all other spirits.

    It is possible that both of you could be true. Judaic final monotheism might be more dependent on Zarathustra than the Egyptians (there is contradictory empirical proof, including the likelihood Moses and the Exodus are really mythological and not literal). And it is probably that the Egyptian religious notions influence a hill people living in the sparsely settled mountains over which they had sovereignty.

    And again you are out of your league trying to sell your atheist perception of theistic spiritual communion with God while not knowing anything about the experience you are claiming expertise in. None of my religious experiences produced "self-induced ecstasy", not a one. I never experienced what Sufis twirling around did, never experienced what meditating Christian monks did, never experience bliss consciousness ever in my spiritual experiences with God. Mine were very much in the lineage of my ancestors who received spiritual visions: They weren't events of pleasure whatsoever but awesome events of overwhelming Power of Other that overrides the "natural" way things usually happen in your own life. If you've ever experienced hearing really good music it will send a shock wave through you that is similar to what it feels like when a spiritual revelation from God courses through your mind from "out of nowhere".

    Some of the greatest theologians (in the sense it was originally meant, as a philosophical discipline) who never had “Power of Other” (see Rabbi Baeck or Hans Krug, for example). Revelation is not required to believe in G-d or even knowingly discuss H-s or H-r existence.

    Until you realize you cannot make any judgments of theism without experiencing it, you will only continue on in atheist delusion that you know what you're talking about. Referring to others who are similarly convicted of not knowing their subject matter yet claiming expertise does nothing to prove your point. "A-theism", "Without God" says it all to those who have experienced God phenomena. I mean it's like you atheists think you can blot out the Sun from our world with mere words of negation, words of straw bosses sitting on the sidelines giving orders to the construction workers on how they should do their jobs, i.e. you're out of the picture frame looking at it from a distance and yet claiming to be part of the Big Picture. Not so, and continuing to think you know God when you don't have a clue will continue to make you make mistakes in your research conclusions like with Iranian religion which is core to many Aryan ideas but is in no way the igniter of all world God conception. Egyptian Pyramid Texts--older by far and the Americas inhabited for at least 40,000 years out of contact with the Old World. Great Spirit. Where did that idea come from? That's what you need to factor in.

    Experiencing the G-d phenomena may be a requirement for something. But it is not for mysticism (see the atheist practitioners of Ch’an or Yoga), let alone theism (most self-identified Christians and Jews would not and have not demanded “Power of the Other”.

    At the most “experiencing the G-d Phenomena” and the “Power of the Other” are requirements for a claim to the Western Idea of Prophecy, or belonging to a Western religious school of mysticism. But as requirements for either theism or spirituality? Not hardly.

    The truth is somewhere in between us all.
     
  3. A Cup Of Tea

    A Cup Of Tea Well-Known Member

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    I say
    You answer
    and
    But then you also say
    and
    You can't have it both ways, either there is a clear and universal definition of 'God' and it was invented at one point, as opposed as evolved into it, or there are many definitions of 'God' which has been invented or evolved separately. You can prove just as much as anyone can prove 'God' at all.

    I can understand conviction, but you know nothing, so why state this is fact, as truth, as absolute!?

    I'll be honest, I'm very prejudice against atheists, and statements like yours are the reason. You act as, in my eyes, you know better then others, that you are free from the subjective and the emotional. But I say that you are just as much human as everyone here, and you just as flawed, and you are just as much a slave to your associations and your pride and your fear as everyone here. This is what I see when you write, this is why I have a hard time respecting your opinion on these things.
     
  4. exile

    exile Interfaith Forums

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    Thomas, Skinker, Radarmark, and Nice Cup of Tea. Though I don't agree with your viewpoints, I respect your right to believe in whatever you want to believe in, and I appreciate your responses. To reiterate my standpoint I don't believe that God is anything more than a concept. Everyone has their own personal interpretation of God, but it is the overlapping conceptions of God based on consumer recognition that I am concerned with which I suspect would share enough traits with the Zarathushtrian conception of God to be deemed confusable (in I.P. Law terms) or characteristic (in Cultural Heritage Law terms). We can circularly argue that Zoroastrainsim isn't the first monotheism even though that fact, though nothing is absolute, has been well established by the academic community for a long time that Zoroastrianism was the first monotheism. Egyptian worship is well established to have been polytheistic. Atenism shares some traits characteristic of monotheism, but its monolatrous nature among other points detracts from this, and would not fit the collective definition of god today. One of the first things wikipedia says about Wankan Tanka is that his worshippers were not monotheistic, and the Zarathushtrian and Abrahamic God wasn't a concrete sky deity they were in general abstract concepts. Though the Jews believed Yahweh to exist somewhere beyond the heavens, and the Persians believed Ahuramazda was clothed in the sky neither of these Gods were considered sky fathers. The concept of a sky father is more in line with Zeus, Jupiter, or Deva-pitar. I don't claim to be any less human than the rest of you. The difference between us is that my inspiration derives from the heart soul spirit and mind of a man named Zarathushtra whereas you seem to claim to be divinely inspired. I repeat God to me is no more than a concept. This much I am absolutely certain I can prove to a court of law. The way I see it in a court of law the burden would rest on your shoulders to prove otherwise. If you can do that then great. Otherwise, according to Human Rights Laws the Aryan community has the right to its cultural expressions, and their cultural expressions must be protected from being exploited by third parities including the Abrahamic institutions (religious institutions can be held liable for copyright infringement) who utilize cultural expressions characteristic of the Aryan cultural heritage including:

    God
    angels
    Devil
    demons
    the christ
    heaven
    hell
    the resurrection
    judgment day
     
  5. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    I don't believe there has EVER been a clear and universal defintion of G!d, using our limited language to define the undefinable is lacking on its surface. The Hindus use how many gods to attempt to identify G!d...all the visions, all the aspects. The attempt in itself it is an exercise in futility.

    Of course this makes agnostics and atheists crazy...but the fact is you are not going to be able to tell the masses about the intracies of the splitting the atom or making a silicon chip....one needs a level of education and experience to understand the higher concepts in any field. To me the experience and understanding of G!d, once known is something everyone repeatedly asks you to explain, but explanation to them is impossible.....personal experience and understanding is required. Why is that considered ok in science and a cop out in spirituality?
     
  6. A Cup Of Tea

    A Cup Of Tea Well-Known Member

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    'NiceCupOfTea' and 'A Cup Of Tea' are two different people, sorry for the confusion.

    I think you have to define what the academic community is, I think, I don't see any such unity.

    Referencing wikipedia is just hurting your case here, it leads us to believe you don't have any reliable sources. Wikipedia is fun and filled with facts to search out, but claims like that are a bit wonky.

    No. And neither am I dawning lines in the sand, I attempt to see what we have in common so that we might easily meet on common ground.

    I don't see your logic, you attempt to prove to disprove God, by making us prove God? Neither party can prove anything about God, to my mind. To treat God like a physical object would be missing the point. I don't see atheists as more intelligent for not grasping what other people feel/believe/know/trust. I would more highly respect a person for saying "Wow, I don't understand that at all, I wonder what that's like".

    I agree on all accounts.
     
  7. exile

    exile Interfaith Forums

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    I think I see what your getting at. And I think that maybe your misinterpreting what I've said or I wasn't clear enough. I'm not trying to disprove God. At this point I don't think its necessary in order to prove my point. "Man" and "dog" are concrete concepts. God to some may be an abstract concept to some like "life-giver" or God can be a concrete concept like "an old man with a beard who sits on a throne in the clouds and watches our every move" right? So can we agree that God is a concept?
     
  8. A Cup Of Tea

    A Cup Of Tea Well-Known Member

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    I guess...but I'm not sure where you're going with this?
     
  9. exile

    exile Interfaith Forums

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    When I say Zarathushtra invented God what I really mean is he invented the concept God. And a cultural expression can be a concept. Copyright Law doesn't extend to concepts or cultural expressions. But Human Rights Law does. I would assume that under ideal circumstances to prove ownership of any cultural expression I would have to prove that not God, himself, but the cultural expression God in the sense of "a single omnipotent omniscient creator of the universe who sometimes is portrayed anthropomorphically and who fathered mankind" was an original creation of the Aryan community. I'm pretty confidant that the combined weight of all the evidence shows this. See I don't need to disprove God. The burden would fall you the defendant to prove that God exists or is a universal cultural expression. The problem is that there was a creolization over the centuries and this cultural expression God was adopted by other cultures. So the next question is how to treat those cultures. Do we equate them with "bio-pirates" or "fakelorists" or not? But also one has to understand that these third party's are not so innocent themselves. Over the centuries they've directly or indirectly contributed to the subjugation and demise of the Aryan cultural heritage or Zoroastrianism.
     
  10. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

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    Okay, both exile and skinker (and probably a lot of others) will not like the subject of this post. Let us call it monotheistic parallelism; by which I refer to the independent development of monotheistic beliefs. That is, the concept of there being only one Supreme Being is not uniquely the property of Abrahamic Religions (I include Zoroastrianism in this because of its direct or indirect influence, including Mithraism and Manichcheism).

    First of all, we can just look at the classic western philosophers. The classic Greek philosophers developed what we call theology as part of their metaphysics, from the time of Heraclitus to Classic Greek Theology to the Neoplatonists. While they may have had contact with Zoroastrians, it was as the enemy (Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle all were strongly anti-Persian), not as a theological influence. Instead, they relied on reason to develop and argue for the existence of a single deity.

    Second, both the Sanatana Dharma and its offshoot, Buddhism, have distinctly monotheistic schools. You should read up on both Vaishnavism and Amitabhaism as discussed in Indian or Japanese academia. There is an undeniable tendency towards strict monotheism. Neither of these groups own much to Abrahamic Religions, Vaishnavic tendencies began along the hinterlands of the Hindu Kush and Amitabaism along those of the Himalayas. The former evolved early in the Vedas, predating any overt Zoroastrian influence. The latter, especially the Chinese and Japanese Pure Land schools, are quite indigenous though there was some later connections with both Manicheiam and Thomasian Christianity in China. Regardless, it is clear that most Eastern academics find Hindu and Buddhist Monotheism unique in origins (per the texts themselves).

    Third, there is a strong monotheistic tradition in Native American Religions. The extra clutter of “lesser deities” is quite parallel to angels-demons and devas. There is no way that Abrahamic religions due to the long geographical separation. The indigenous Americans developed the concept of a single supreme deity all on their own, much as they developed the uniquely American pueblo construction.

    Fourth, some later Enlightenment philosophers, like Spinoza and Liebnitz developed a unique approach to theism, Pantheism-Panentheism. The former is the belief that the D-vine and the Universe are one in the same and the latter that the D-vine is the Universe and a little more (“something beyond”). Neither of these are compatible with Abrahamic prophetic religions (fundamentalists, in any of the religions); yet they remain valid rational definitions of a single supreme deity which do not depend on the existence of any Abrahamic notion of G-d or revelation or prophecy. The latest of these philosophical constructions (from the earliest Greek philosophy through the metaphysics of the New England mystics) is Process Theology. Again, there is no direct linking to Abrahamic prophetic religions, but a great deal of linkage to the mystical and liberal modernist movements within them. The G-d of Process Theology may be seen as a primordial creator god, not as required by faith, but as required by metaphysical reasoning (in the classic Greek sense of both) which by the action of H-s or H-r creation calls that creation back to its original nature. Obviously the “non-theistic” Religions of Daoism and Buddhism and the Sanatana Dharma are very close to (and a much discussed topic in) Process Theology.

    Now we can come up with lots of references on both sides of this issue. But if you get to the works embedded above and scan them (and look up some of their primary sources) it should be obvious that it is very possible (likely, IMHO) that monotheism does not all trace back to one book or one idea or one revelation. The two strongest cases are those of the Native Americans (because of their geographical separation from any Abrahamic taint) and the philosophers from Heraclitus to Cobb (one of the leading living Process Theologians) due to the nature of the justification on reason, not revelation. I am just claiming that it is incorrect to claim exclusivity for any Abrahamic verison of monotheism.
     
  11. exile

    exile Interfaith Forums

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    I wouldn't call the Great Spirit a strong monotheism, but I admit it demands more investigation. But I do recall that Great Spirit should actually be defined as Great Mysteries.

    Mother Earth created man, and see this <http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/634239/Wakan-Tanka>

    As far as the Greek philosophers it could be argued that Plato and Aristotle were very much so influenced by the Zarathushtrians and the Magi and they were not antagonistic towards either. Both Plato and Aristotle were students of the Magi. Socrates was also associated with Diotema who brought the Greeks over to the Medes. There are several sources that can support this. The evidence also suggests that Heraclitus was heavily influenced by the magi. He called his god "Wisdom" like Mazda Ahura is "Wise Lord." He like the Zarathushtrians believed the dead should not be cremated and instead were to be left to the beasts. He believed in hero-spirits that watch over the dead like the Fravashis. He also associated wise souls with Zeus and inferior souls with Hades like the righteous are associated with Mazda Ahura and sinners are associated with Angra Mainyu. And fire, the symbol of Ahura Mazda, was responsible for the creation.
     
  12. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    Thank you. Comments like this help us keep discussion on an even keel.
    OK. You are an atheist, we get that. What I would sugest you have missed is that your thesis is similarly a construct.

    Now I am sure you would jump to the 'evidence' (I only highlight that because you actually don't bring any evidence other than your own conceptual appreciation of the evidence, which you present as infallible data. And herein lies the problem, it's not infallible. Not everyone, in possession of the same data as yourself, arrives at the same conclusion.

    And your conclusions, and thus your concept of the tradition I'm defending, Christianity, is deeply flawed, for the following reason:

    Zarathushtrianism is a very weak monotheism, and in light of later developments, it's not a monotheism at all, as man's understanding of the term has grown.

    So what you are faced with is that I can (and must) allow the possibility of Abraham and/or his followers, and the founder of what we term 'Greek Philosophy' (Perhaps Thales, perhaps not) and his followers, having had traffic with the ideas of the Zarathushtrians, which informed their thinking.

    But informed does not necessarily means determined.

    My contention is, I suppose, threefold:
    1: We cannot say Zarathushtra 'invented' the concept of monotheism, because monothesim — the concept of a single over-arching deity that is unique in its characteristics — is evident all round the globe and indeed in some instances predates Zarathushtra.
    2: It is evident from a number of sources; scientific, philosophical and theological (which, as Radarmark has pointed out, was 'Philosophy' without the bifurcation into separate schools), that Zarathushtras' antecedents most probably brought the idea with them, even if they chose to prefer polytheism, and his doctrine is a distillation of received ideas.
    So again, to claim Zarathushtra invented the concept of monotheism is patently insupportable.
    3: Zarathushtra's monotheism is so weak, from the Abrahamic perspective, that we can only conclude, in the light of Biblical scholarship, that one of two things happened:
    a) They refined his monotheism beyond the inherent limitations of its own system. This refinement, the statement that, whereas for Zarathushtra the Power of Good is at war with the Power of Darkness, for Abraham and his descendants, there is no 'Dark Power' other than man's concupiscence. (The matter of Fallen Angels is immaterial in this instance.)
    b) They rejected his monotheism because of its inherent flaws.

    In conclusion then, I'm saying that Zarathushtra's concept of monotheism was fundamentally flawed because it does not allow for the Absolute nature of God. Study of the Hebrew Scriptures, the New Testament, the Koran and, notably, NeoPlatonism will soon show that the latters' idea of monotheism, of a single Godhead, was so radically different to that of Zarathushtra that they would have rejected it outright.

    It's not monotheism as I understand it.

    God bless,

    Thomas
     
  13. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    I'm afraid you're quite wrong there.

    A concept is not an hypostasis.
    God is not an hypostasis.
    The Trinity is not an hypostasis.
    The Incarnation is an hypostasis of the human and the Divine.

    God bless,

    Thomas
     
  14. exile

    exile Interfaith Forums

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    Your welcome. I'm not here to make enemies. I'm here to hone my knowledge.

    Whether I'm an atheist or not is not essential to my point. Like I've stated previously I think we can all agree that God is at the very least a concept or cultural expression, and cultural expressions can be protected by law. Hence it is possible that a cultural expression like God could be protected. The only way it couldn't be protected is if it wasn't an original creation. If it is truly a universal concept or if God can be proven to exist. To prove this is not my burden.

    No evidence is infallible unless its based on empirical deduction. But evidence doesn't have to be absolute in a court of law and I'm confidant that the combined weight of the evidence would show that the Zoroastrian conception of God predated all other conceptions of God apart from maybe Atenism, but the Zoroastrian conception of God shares more in common with the collective conception of God, one based on consumer recognition, than Atenism.

    Haug appears to have seen a strict monotheism in the Gathas. He saw Angra Mainyu as an abstract concept and a way to explain evil, a negation of good. Mazda Ahura is represented as the absolute or supreme creator in the Gathas. He created Angra Mainyu and Angra Mainyu chose evil.

    The clearest statements of monotheism appear in the post-exilic period. We're not even sure whether Abraham was a monotheist. Moses leaves us open to the possibility that there were other gods that existed apart from Yahweh. The Old Testament is rampent with monotheistic statements. If your going to pick out one particular point in the Old Testament and use it to define the entire scripture then you might have a point, but that's not really how the Judaic belief system is defined. In Zechariah Satan is defined as the "Adversary" of Yahweh. Just like Satan is not considered equal to Yahweh Angra Mainyu is not considered equal to Ahura Mazda. If the God of the OT the NT and the Koran was truly absolute there wouldn't be a satan period. But people need a way to explain evil in the world.

    In any case I don't need to prove that these concepts or cultural expressions are exact cognates only that the share enough similar traits to be deemed confusable or characteristic.

    Like if I say Ahuramazda and people think "God" or "a single omnipotent omniscient creator of the universe who fathered mankind" and if I say Yahweh or Jesus and people think the same thing then my case has pretty much been vindicated.

    We know that Zarathushtra invented monotheism because his antecendants were polytheistic. The Jews were polytheistic before they came into contact with the Persian Zarathushtrians. The Greeks had their own polytheistic beliefs before they came into contact with the Persians in Asia Minor. Evidence suggests that as far back as Thales to the plantoic school the Greeks were absorbing Zarathushtrian ideas. As far as theories that put forth that the idea God pre-dated Zarathushtra that would be extremely hard to prove. There's no historical linguistic evidence of this.
     
  15. exile

    exile Interfaith Forums

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    It should also be noted that the Zarathushtis and Parsis never themselves recognized a dualism in their religion. They've always held Ahuramazda to be absolute. And mind you we are isolating one expression here, but there are a host of expressions that the Zarathushtrians and the Abrahamic people have in common.
     
  16. A Cup Of Tea

    A Cup Of Tea Well-Known Member

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    I feel you are jumping back and forth on this. If you don't think that you being an atheist has anything to do with this, why have you brought up the issue so many times? I'm also still stuck back a few pages ago, where you called all my friends here delusional. Can you respect a person intellectually who is delusional when the topic is linked to that delusion? I don't think I could.

    Also, believing that God is a force, active or no, in the universe is very different from being a concept that someone can invent. Working from this perspective, as I think many on this board are, will render one immune from any of your arguments.

    The court of law you keep coming back to will be the domain of man, and as men, we have very different opinions on the subject. How can you feel confident that you can prove your theory in a court of law when the likelihood is determined by what kind of people are sitting in the court that day.

    Also, about the aryans, are there a unity in the peoples concerning this, or are they satisfied with the choices their ancestors made when they converted to Judaism, Christianity and Islam?

    EDIT: I'll have to get back to you on the reply you made to me earlier.
     
  17. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

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    Well, the classic Greek philosophers were not discussing Zoroastrianism then. They (especially Aristotle) go to great lengths to describe the group they are discussing as strict dualist shamans. By your definition they could not have be referring to Zoroastrianism. And Plato goes out of his was to denigrate "those of the East" in terms of politics and ethics, very little love shown there for anything Persian.

    PS, there are plenty in academia that do not agree with the claim that Zoroastrianism is strictly monotheistic (see Zaehner, 1955; Boyd & Donald, 1979; Genoli, 1980; Herrenschmidt, 1987; DuBlois, 2000; Sethna, 2001; or Kroonen & Messen, 2010). Please notice I source my claims and wish you would.

    The wisdom of Heraclitus is an entirely different sort of creature (see DeLaguna, 1921 and 1922). And the G-d of the Greeks is entirely different than the G-d of Zarathustra--there is reference to finding H-m or H-r by reason alone (The Unmoved Mover) not with myth or faith (Aristotle is very clear on this, the Neoplatonists a little less so). Irregardless, classic Greek theology was monotheistic, unrelated to Zoroastrianism, and based on a type of logical reasoning one finds no evidence of in the Gathas (see Versnel, 2011).
     
  18. exile

    exile Interfaith Forums

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    I'm just going by what psychiatrists tell me. "A delusion is a belief based on false foundations." Being that there is no foundation for such a belief I'd have to call the belief in God delusional. Whether or not I'm an atheist isn't really important to my point, but the denial in the existence of God is because if there really is a God then that would mean that God is a universal concept. So far as I can tell traits of monotheism are isolated cases and I don't see this as evidence of the belief of one God being hardwired in our neural circuitry. Man modified existing concepts and developed original concepts of that were exclusive to them. They didn't just wake up one day and think "oh there's only one God." Zarathushtra initially created the concept of one God and his concept more closely resembles our concept of one God than Akenaten's concept of god. The Jews and the Greeks came to appreciate this revolutionary concept after making contact with the Persian Zarathushtrians and adopted it into their own belief systems, but by then it had lost is novelty.

    I'm not sure what Greek concept of God Radarmark is referring to. Though Heraclitus' version of God was not an exact cognate of Zarathushtra's he and his successors were clearly influenced by the Zarathushtrians. Most of them suffered or died because their concepts were a break from the traditional Greek heritage which was a polytheistic belief system full of amoral Gods contrary to the high ethical standard that the God of the Persian Zarathushtrians demanded of them.

    The first instructs him in the magianism of Zoroaster [Zarathushtra], the son of Oromasus [Av. Mazda Ahura OPer. Ahuramazda], which is the worship of the Gods, and teaches him also the duties of his royal office; the second, who is the justest, teaches him always to speak the truth; the third, or most temperate, forbids him to allow any pleasure to be lord over him, that he may be accustomed to be a freeman and king indeed,--lord of himself first, and not a slave; the most valiant trains him to be bold and fearless, telling him that if he fears he is to deem himself a slave; whereas Pericles gave you, Alcibiades, for a tutor Zopyrus the Thracian, a slave of his who was past all other work. – Trans. Jowett, Benjamin, Plato, Alcibiades I

    Plato, the greatest authority upon famous doctrines, states that the Magiau religion, or Magia, known by the mystic name of Machagistia, is the most uncorrupted form of worship in things divine, to the philosophy of which, in primitive ages, Zoroastres [Zarathushtra], a Bactrian, made many additions drawn from the mysteries of the Chaldeans. – Ammaianus Marcellinus

    Plato) having ascertained that the Pythagoreans derived the principles of their doctrine from Egypt, went there, and after a through training in geometry and priestcraft departed. Going then to Phoenicia he there fell in with some Persians and among them learned the doctrine of Zoroaster [Zarathushtra] – Pseudo-Plato, Anonymous Life of Plato (ed. Westermann, Paris, 1862), pg. 7 (g. 231)

    Pherecydes and others regard the first source of creation as the highest principle. They are followed by the Magians [Magi] and also by some later philosophers, such as Empedocles and Anaxagoras, who ascribed to love and to mind, respectively, the original creative impulse. - Aristotle, Metaphysics (ed. Christ) XIV, 4, 1091b. (C.24)

    in the first book of his [dialogue] On Philosophy Aristotle declares that the Magi are more ancient than the Egyptians. Furthermore, he asserts that the Magi believe in two principles, namely a good demon and an evil demon, the one called Zeus or Oromasdes [Mazda Ahura], the other Hades or Arimanius [Angra Mainyu]. This is confirmed by Hermippus in the first book of his On the Magi, by Eudoxus in his Voyage Around the World, and by Theopompus in the eighth book of his Philippica. – Diogenes Laertius, The Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosphers

    You can read about Haugs interpretation here Essays on the Sacred Language... Considering Mary Boyce referenced Haug on this point I'm assuming its still valid.
     
  19. exile

    exile Interfaith Forums

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    Could you briefly sum up each one of these scholars argument against strict monotheism. I've only read Genoli's book on Zoroaster's time and homeland, and I recall him arguing that Zoroastrianism is monotheism because Ahura Mazda will eventually overcome Angra Mainyu. The way I see it though even if your going to reject Haugs interpretation neither Zoroastrianism or the Abrahamic religions present strict monotheisms. God has an adversary in all these scriptures.
     
  20. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

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    No, let me repeat what I said, all of the above reject Haugs thesis of Zorastrianism being monotheistic, they all consider it dualistic. The point is that you relate a thesis that may be correct (like Zorastrianism being monotheistic or Zarathustra predating all religious leaders) as if they were decided science. My point is things just are not that cut and dried.

    P.S. What I said about Plato and Aristotle is that they do not think about Zarathustra the way you do, in context (citations will follow) they considered the Magi a dualistic shamanistic cult, and were probably speaking of some "popularized, unpure Gnostic variant" (per Kroonen & Messen).

    Because you believe the reference is to Zarathustra with all the trappings of Zoroastrianism, you read them that way. I will put together a list of Aristotle's comments with references.

    It really does not matter because Aristotle's Unmoved Mover is not, repeat, not logically related to Ahura Mazda except that Th-y are "one G-d).
     

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