Dualist Theology

Discussion in 'Comparative Studies' started by radarmark, Sep 9, 2013.

  1. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    Then surely the divine qualities would belong to the 'nature' (for want of a better term) they share in common (the universal aspect), rather than to the individual aspect of the equals in association?

    Where the crucial distinction lies, it seems to me, is in the 'I am'? It seems to me that no theology/metaphysic has as its Supreme Principle anything other than the One, even though that One be monad and, simultaneously, henad.

    The same could be said, to use an analogy I am conversant with, of the Doctrine of the Trinity. Here we have what appears to be three Gods, and a 'simple' of 'naive' expression of the doctrine could be accused of tritheism, which Scripture expressly refutes: "He that seeth me seeth the Father also" (John 14:9), "I am in the Father, and the Father in me" (John 14:11).

    If I may try and transpose your terms into a Christian context:
    The doctrine of 'non-dualism' is present in Christianity, expressed in apophasis, and can be traced from Scripture onwards. Although it was preached famously in Eckhart, he was building upon a long and venerable tradition of non-dualism within the tradition.

    In more recent times there has been Christianity and the Doctrine of Non-Dualism an anonymous work by 'A Monk of the West', as well as the works of the likes of Bede Griffiths, among others.
     
  2. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    Well said! The dualism that dogs Christianity is the fruit of that 'Greek nonsense'! As a famous Orthodox theologian once said, 'when the Fathers think, they Platonise' ... not entirely true, but a good generalism. Irenaeus, one of the earliest, was not versed in philosophy at all (he had to get Justin to fill in the gaps), and of course Maximus 'baptised' Platonism by turning its axiomatic 'stasis-kinesis-genesis' (rest-movement-becoming) on its head.
     
  3. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

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    Unfortunately the classic church fathers are not taught. That is why I like the "fringe" thinkers... dualism is the ultimate damnation of all Christianity.
     
  4. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    I discovered Patristic Theology from reading the Perennialists.

    I went to a Patristics conference hosted at a Benedictine convent here in the UK. I was the only person there not in orders! Every break a group of nuns would gather round me and ask 'what are you doing here?' ... go figure ... the Orthodox make a great deal of them, we make next to nothing, and I can't fathom the reason why.

    Look at St Maximus the Confessor — he's a giant in Orthodox Theology, yet he was a staunch defender of Rome against his native Constantinople, he said the 'filioque dispute' was the East making something out of nothing, and he told the Eastern Emperors to back off when they started interfering in Church matters ... he and Pope Martin I were kidnapped, tortured and killed by the Eastern faction. Yet the West hardly bothers to mention him. He was virtually unknown a generation ago.

    Same with books, the 'killer texts' of 'deep theology' are all out of print.
     
  5. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Search, be your own guru.

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    There was never a particular name for hinduism and this must have been a problem to describe it. The people around and east of River Indus were known as 'hindus' (derived from Sindhu, the Sanskrit name for River Indus). There were thousands of sects (including jainism, buddhism, and later sikhism) and they were known as 'matas' (opinions) and 'panthas' (ways, roads), or even 'dharmas' (but 'dharma' here did not mean a separate religion, it meant some special rules in addition to the usual). That is why you will find millions of hindus in Punjab and Sindh revering and following Guru Nanak and other sikh gurus.
     
  6. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Search, be your own guru.

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    That is not true in hinduism and 'advaita' is not the majority view in hinduism. Some of the hindu Gods and Goddesses:

    [​IMG]
     
  7. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    OK. Then I think it's back to my comment regarding what is common and what is particular.
     
  8. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    "...dualism is the ultimate damnation of all Christianity."

    --> Wow!
     
  9. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

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    If we had all stayed Jewish, or pagan, that would have been about it. It is dualism that pretty much traps the Western Mind.
     
  10. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Search, be your own guru.

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    The image has a repetition of the Mother Goddess Durga, and has missed out on the six-headed peacock-riding husband of two, Valli and Devasena (daughter of Indra), the other son of Lord Shiva, Kartikeya/Shanmugham/Senthilnathan/Murugan/Subramanya/Velayudhan/Kumaran/Saravanan/Arumugham/Skanda, who is popular in South India. Here is a representation:

    [​IMG]
     
  11. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    Well said!

    I'm not so sure pagans weren't dualists, although reconstituted neo-paganism today tends to a more holistic view, but my knowledge is a bit thin on that one.

    Certainly, the schism with Judaism hurt us a lot, but nevertheless, it's through the Judeo-Christian line that we escape the trap.
     
  12. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

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    No, no. All the "oracle" and "mysteries" answers gave us Gnosticism. Pagans (at least in Greece) were pretty dualistic. Jewish theology (at least all that is not, IMHO, kabbalah or hasidic in foundation... meaning cohen, kook, buber, baeck, and rosenzweig in the XXth century) is still pretty dualistic. The more it focuses on the now, the present, and not the afterlife, the less it is dualistic.
     
  13. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    Having read your answer, did a bit of looking round, and realised that we might not all treat dualism the same way. Indeed, dualism covers a multitude of sins!

    Here (thanks to N.T. Wright) are some of them:
    1. Theological/ontological duality. The postulation of heavenly beings other than the one god, even if these beings exist at his behest and to do his will. This is what I regard as a 'primary dualism' ...

    2. Theological/cosmological duality. If pantheism is classic monism, the differentiation between creator and created order is often seen as a sort of dualism.

    3. Moral duality. The positing of a distinction between good and evil in the realm of human behaviour. Most religions maintain some such distinction, but some forms of pantheism have tried to remove it.

    4. Eschatological duality. The distinction between the present age and the age to come, usually reckoning the present age as evil and the age to come as good.

    5. Theological/moral duality. Expressed classically in Zoroastrianism and some forms of Gnosticism, this view postulates that there are two ultimate sources of all that is: a good god and a bad god. In 'hard' versions, the two are locked in struggle for ever; in 'soft' versions, the good one will eventually win.

    6. Cosmological duality. The classic position of Plato: the world of material things is the secondary copy or shadow of the 'real' world of the Forms, which are perceived by the enlightened mind. In many different versions, this view filtered down as a mainline belief of the Greco-Roman (and the modern Western) world: that which can be observed in the physical world is secondary and shabby compared with that which can be experienced by the mind or spirit. (In some modern versions the order is reversed, putting the material first and the spiritual second.)

    7. Anthropological duality. The human-centred version of cosmological dualism. Humans are bipartite creatures, a combination of body and soul, which are arranged in a hierarchy: soul ahead of body in many religions and philosophies, body ahead of soul in many political agendas.

    8. Epistemological duality. The attempt to differentiate sharply between that which can be known by means of human observation and/or reason and that which can be known only through divine revelation.

    9. Sectarian duality. The clear division of those who belong to one socio-cultural-religious group from those who belong to another.

    10. Psychological duality. Humans have two inclinations, a good one and a bad one; these are locked in combat, and the human must choose the good and resist the evil.
     
  14. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

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    My primary concern is metaphysical duality, which I consider theological (your #1), ontological (your #2) and cosmological (your #6). In fact it is Plato, Descartes, and Kant I find as the best argumenters for their side. The rest are mere results. However, there is one exception we can start a thread on. "Epistemological duality" can really be (in a real demented manner) the cause of the three in which I am interested.
     
  15. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    Oh dear, I hardly dare imagine where that would end up!
     
  16. A Cup Of Tea

    A Cup Of Tea An ordinary cup of tea

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    Thanks, Thomas, I'm trying to understand duality and that list is helpful.
     
  17. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Search, be your own guru.

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    Nice list, Thomas.
     
  18. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

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    Indeed, if you have not noticed I thrive on critically difficult texts (Star of Redemption, Process and Reality, Joyce, and Pynchon). I never said my answers (what few I have formulated) and my responses are even rational by most definitions.
     
  19. A Cup Of Tea

    A Cup Of Tea An ordinary cup of tea

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    But they are thought provoking. I will admit that it's often over my head, like this and Star, but when I do get it it's good...
     
  20. stranger

    stranger lost in the night

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    I agree, good list. I was drawn mostly to 6 and 8. A Cup of Tea, I'm finding that almost everything is over my head these days. :)
     

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