The Personal God

Discussion in 'Belief and Spirituality' started by Tariki, Nov 26, 2013.

  1. Tariki

    Tariki New Member

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    Often a contrast is drawn between the "western" approach to God as a Person and the "eastern" impersonal/non-theistic approach. Thus a lot of Western religion centres around the relationship between our own "persons" and the Person of God, while the Eastern appears to concentrate more on being "one" with Reality.

    My own experience has led me to the conclusion that much of this supposed contrast is caused by the total confusion as to what we mean by a "person".



    As a starting point I would observe that if we, as we so often seem to do, identify ourselves purely with the empirical ego, and then identify the empirical ego with the "person"..........when we then say God is "personal" (or a person) we are in fact asking for big big trouble.

    Some have observed that the empirical ego is in fact the source and centre of every illusion......and not just the Buddha!

    As Thomas Merton has observed, and I agree with him, "suffering, as both Christianity and Buddhism see, each in its own way, is part of our very ego-identity and empirical existence."

    So we have "person" and we have the "ego self", we have who we see ourselves as being, and there is what we perhaps truly are.

    Any thoughts?
     
  2. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

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    Is it really an east versus west thing? Pure land buddhism is about as personal a theology as is possible. And process theology (a XXth century very western approach) is radically non-personable. Where does Hinduism fit in? If buddhism is eastern, it must be also. There are personal, non-personal, and atheist perspectives therein.
     
  3. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Search, be your own guru.

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    Hinduism is like plastic clay, make it in the form that you want. :D
     
  4. Gordian Knot

    Gordian Knot Being Deviant IS My Art.

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    Tariki said "So ........ we have who we see ourselves as being, and there is what we perhaps truly are."

    This, for me, is what it is all about. How honest can we be with ourselves concerning how we desire to perceive ourselves with who we are. It is what I believe is one of the Great Quests of life. Honesty with oneself.
     
  5. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

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    GK, your post is perhaps pver my head. I believe that both Aup and I were both objecting to your and Tariki's concepts as being too small for g!d or some substitu idea.

    Tariki said "So ........ we have who we see ourselves as being, and there is what we perhaps truly are."

    Perhaps becoming... never being.


    This, for me, is what it is all about. How honest can we be with ourselves concerning how we desire to perceive ourselves with who we are. It is what I believe is one of the Great Quests of life. Honesty with oneself.

    If we see ourselves as a being and not a becoming, I believe that is an error. Honesty with ourselves is critical. However, seeing ourselves as an object (a being) is quite differnt from seeing ourselves as a process (becoming),
     
  6. Tariki

    Tariki New Member

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    radarmark,

    Could you read through my OP again and try to take in the words "Often a contrast is drawn" and further on "supposed".

    Also, that the only idea I actually supported was that of Merton's in the quote I gave.

    Other than that I offered no concepts, either small or large. I asked questions.

    Again, as a Pure Land Buddhist I would just say that within its fold are those who would see Amida as him/her out west who will come to greet the devotee at death to transport them to the Pure Land........and others who understand Amida as a personification of Reality-as-is and the Pure Land as Now when seen with enlightened eyes.

    Again, that Nagarjuna, who initiated the Madhyamaka philosophy ( if such it can be called) also wrote hymns of devotion to Amida and apparently saw no contradiction.
     
  7. Tariki

    Tariki New Member

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    Perhaps to clarify.....

    Who would seek to distinguish between a Person and the empirical ego?

    Is there a difference?

    Are Individualism and Personalism one and the same?

    What do we actually mean when God is spoken of as personal?

    etc etc etc.
     
  8. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

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    Fine, just let me point out that pure land creates a very personal g!d. Maybe you are using "empirical ego" different than I. To me it means a sensible or perceivable self. Like Hume, I utterly dismiss the notion.

    Who would seek to distinguish between a Person and the empirical ego? I experience (another) person but do not experience “empirical ego”.

    Are Individualism and Personalism one and the same? Again, what do you mean by these terms? If you mean (per classic English philosophy) the existence of an individual and a person, no they are not the same. Why? A person can be perceived, one can interact with it. Individualism is usually taken to mean “a person is the highest good” (see Rand). I accept the former and utterly reject the latter.

    What do we actually mean when God is spoken of as personal? Probably that we can perceive h!s presence. I know this is not what you would expect. A personal g!d is usually taken to be someone we can relate to as if sh! were a person. Drivel! We can experience g!d’s presence, but the notion of limiting that presence to some “interpersonal relationship” (like we would have with a therapist) is (JMHO) repulsive (see Miamonides).
     
  9. Gordian Knot

    Gordian Knot Being Deviant IS My Art.

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    Wow, am I striking out on the whole communicating thing today! If at first you don't succeed.....

    Radar said "GK, your post is perhaps pver my head. I believe that both Aup and I were both objecting to your and Tariki's concepts as being too small for g!d or some substitu idea."

    My comment said nothing about a god whatsoever. So what concept was I mentioning as being too small for god if my comment never referred to one?

    Radar also said "If we see ourselves as a being and not a becoming, I believe that is an error. Honesty with ourselves is critical. However, seeing ourselves as an object (a being) is quite differnt from seeing ourselves as a process (becoming)"

    I spoke of being honest with oneself, and that process being a sacred goal. That concept is not a static one, it is an evolving one. It is a process of becoming that lasts a life time. Doesn't that agree with what you said was appropriate?

    I must be missing the point somehow, but I do not understand how. Is it because I have taken gods out of the process?
     
  10. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Search, be your own guru.

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    I have not yet got into the meaning of the topic (Radar, have I objected to anything? :)). Hinduism has both 1. personal Gods and Goddesses (Ishta -chosen, apart from the full community of Gods and Goddesses), as well as 2. impersonal (Brahman), as also 3. no Gods (since Brahman can be taken not as a God but what constitutes the universe and all things contained in it). I had Shiva and Rama as my 'ishta' at one time, Shiva also being the 'kula-deva' (family God). The 'Kula-devi' of earstwhile Jodhpur royal family was 'Chamunda', that of Bikaner was 'Karni' of the rat temple fame, and 'kula-deva' of Udaipur was 'Eklinga ji' (a form of Shiva).

    Chamunda, Karni, and Ekling ji.
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  11. Tariki

    Tariki New Member

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    Many thanks for all the responses.........I must be away for a few days.

    :)
     
  12. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    GK,

    I'm sorry to hear these conversations are stressing you out. Yes, it is good to debate and bad to argue. What would you say is the difference between debating and arguing?
     
  13. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    Ah....language again...

    the ebb and flow of what is me and ye....the conceptual oneness drifts away when the reality stick hits us in the head
     
  14. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    It seems to me a good place to start is to clearly define, as best we can, what we mean by Person.
     
  15. Gordian Knot

    Gordian Knot Being Deviant IS My Art.

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    Does it make any difference? Anything I suggest, someone will come back with 'that is my definition'. People supposedly want to define terms and at the same time they put up as many road blocks as possible to block that goal.

    It all depends on what the definition of 'is' is, right? (Bill Clinton).

    Now you see, this is me being shitty. Just so there is no misunderstanding, not once before have I been shitty. This post is me being shitty.

    No I am not pissed off at any one person, and certainly not you Nick. I'm frustrated with the situation, so I'll be signing off for a bit till I can regain my equilibrium, and my sense of humor at the absurdity of it all.
     
  16. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    Well the highest court in our land...after going thru all the lower courts...has determined a corportation it a person...

    Which is funny, as I think G!d incorporates all...
     
  17. A Cup Of Tea

    A Cup Of Tea Well-Known Member

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    part of the process unfortunately, discussion is though business. I don't think anyone have thought that you were shitty, I never did (maybe radar did but he reads too fast sometimes, me thinks (sorry radar)). As long as you think people are interested in what you have to say (they are) I hope you keep coming back.
     
  18. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Search, be your own guru.

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    Is that a reality or an illusion?
    Absurdity or fun (that being life)?
     
  19. Tariki

    Tariki New Member

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    Well, I might well have been over wordy, but that was exactly where I WAS trying to start.

    :)
     
  20. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    Whoops! Sorry, Tariki, you're right!

    Oxford Dictionary defines it as 'a human being regarded as an individual'.

    Boethius' classic definition "an individual substance (in the philosophical sense) of a rational (that is able to reason and reflect) nature" might do as a starting point, as long as we look at it from a pre-scientific (and thus not artificially narrowed) reasoning?

    I like the Thomist idea of person as something intrinsically active, something self-manifesting, something self-communicative, through relationality.

    Person as a rational, being-in-itself, a being-for-itself, and a being-in-relation.
     

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