Anthropomorphism

Discussion in 'Comparative Studies' started by wil, Apr 28, 2015.

  1. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    I don't know where to put this... I suppose this is the place.

    We've got Thor and Zeus....

    We've got many Hindu views of Gods which have various human or animal characteristics.

    We've got Michelangelo and his commissioned ceiling in the chapel...

    We've got "He" and "Him" 'walking', 'talking', 'thinking', getting 'mad', 'vengeful', 'loving', 'spiteful'.

    Even thou I don't believe in a humanistic G!d being, or entity...my most comfortable anthropomorphism is a child me laying cradled in the ample bosom grandmotheresque G!d.

    Do you believe in a G!d made in man's image? With human traits (and foibles)?

    or is it out of convenience of language, or not calling G!d ...'it' that causes you to give G!d gender and human characteristics?

    To you is it metaphor (anthropomorphism) or real?
     
  2. Devils' Advocate

    Devils' Advocate Well-Known Member

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    Short answer. I think humans put the face on God(s) that we are comfortable with. If we are talking Abrahamic, we are made in his image, but the image of him is the one we each choose. Same with all the other Gods in Pantheons of the world.
     
  3. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    I think that is one of the concepts.
     
  4. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    delete post
     
  5. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    No.

    Personally, I wouldn't put Nordic and Greek mythology in the same class, but then I haven't really studied the Nordic myths.

    Suffice to say in Greek mythology, 'all human life is here'. There's an essay on mythology and psychology here. I doubt there's much new in psychology that's news to the Greek myths, and the Greek myths still set the archetypal models for modern psychology.

    As you well know, you and I disagree on the origin and content of myths, as I do not accept your image of hoary old men sitting round the camp fire telling tall tales analogy. I think that's one of your 'nuclear bomb' statements that flattens everything. There are all manner of myths, they're not all the same at all, to be accepted or dismissed in one fell swoop.

    There are myths in my family history, indeed in my own history, as there are in yours, and yes, these grow and take on their own lives in the memory and the telling (like your Catholic Boy Scout Troop – Wil, don't you see that if I applied your thesis of history; personal agendas, hyperbole, exaggeration, story-telling, then you'd be seriously unhappy about the outcome, the dismissal of those seven years as possibly something that perhaps never happened at all, but simply grew as a vehicle of your angst... )

    ... but I would not put them in the same category as Greek or Genesis Mythology.

    But we also have balancing commentaries explaining the psychological and metaphysical aspects of their Gods.

    But then you'd have to include all art, all music, all poetry, all literature to do with the Gods... I think this is subsequent to the main point you're focussing on.

    And we have ancient commentaries on all these references explaining the reasoning to ward against anthropomorphic assumptions.

    One of the values of Tradition is that is presents us with the medicines that preserve against fantasia.

    An anthropomorphic projection of what kind of Deity, that's the question. It holds currency for you. The anthropomorphic image of God as an old man sitting on a throne, I would suggest, holds a lot more relevance with regard to the Christian God, once one begins to contemplate the symbolism.

    Well that's a start, but it goes on from there, and it's more profound that that. I would say it's to do with Immanence and 'interface'.

    I think the question is flawed.

    A metaphor is a figure of speech that identifies something as being in some way the same or similar to something else. The term means "a transfer", "a carrying over", so there is the 'here' and the 'there' of a metaphor. 'All the world's a stage' as Shakespeare said. If you suppose that 'stages' don't exist, then there's no transfer, all the world is not a stage ... so a metaphor is either real, or nothing.

    +++

    The anthropological 'thing' is something that was, then gave way to a more profound understanding, be that Hinduism, Buddhism, the Abrahamics, what have you ... the Hebrew Scriptures one can trace the development from local polytheism to a mature monotheism. The Hindu texts, despite their plethora of gods, is underpinned by a monotheist and non-anthropomorphic metaphysic.

    With the Enlightenment (17th century), man determined that science would give him the keys to control nature, and really he would fashion the world in his own image. In Enlightenment thought 'raw nature' was invariably portrayed as a wanton women, needing to be tamed.

    Then along came the Industrial Revolution and its terrible consequences.

    The average lifespan for man has always been in the 'three score and ten' region. The claim that in antiquity people died in their 30s or 50s is a common misconception, a misreading of the data. The average lifespan was foreshortened because of the high rate of infant mortality. Once you survived childhood, there was every reason to hope for a long life.

    The Industrial revolution did put a spike in the statistics. Not only infant mortality, but in the dreadful conditions of the early factories, and early urban living without fresh water, sanitation, etc.

    This gave rise to the Romance Movement, but the Romantics, in rejecting both tradition and science, were doomed to repeat history and the pendulum swung back unchecked, and thereby gave rise to a new anthropomorphism in its thinking.

    All this kicked off the Sublime in art, the Gothic Novel, spiritualism, spiritism, mesmerism, theosophy, anthroposophy, paganism, New Thought, Wicca, an interest in 'the esoteric' and the movements that flourished across Europe, etc., right through to Gaia and the New Age ... all of it shot through with an incipient anthropomorphism.
     
  6. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    So not metaphor....but convenient replacement for conversational purposes? (for you) And you see the current anthropomorphism as the ebb and flow of social constructs?
     
  7. Devils' Advocate

    Devils' Advocate Well-Known Member

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    Why is that? Do you think the people who worshiped those Gods were less sincere in their beliefs?
     
  8. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Sorry, I don't understand, what's not a metaphor?

    Who's current anthropomorphism?
     
  9. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    No, simply that I've not spent as much time on the Nordic myths as I have the Greek.
     
  10. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    You said my question was flawed.....
    And yes, I am bringing up all literature, song, poetry...which uses "He" or "Him" referencing a view of G!d as male and human (larger than life)...the picture of G!d reaching out from cherubs toward a finger of Adam simply has got to be the most recognizable depiction of the topic in the western world.... (unless hollywoods Morgan Freeman has taken over)

    The general publics current anthropomorphism.... I was raised in Sunday school with a old male santa clausy god... America cringes whenever anyone say 'She' or depicts a black man as G!d... (hollywood gets away with it....cause....hollywood)
     
  11. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Because I don't support the flat either/or of the question. It's not a case of a metaphor or real.

    Do you think all those who utilise such imagery believe that God actually is male, human, and larger than life?

    Do you therefore assume everyone thinks that's what God is actually like, because they know the picture?

    Oh, no, I wasn't talking about the general public.

    I think you underestimate the general public. Do you believe God is actually a cuddly, big-boobed grandmum? No, but it's a comforting/useful image for you. Same thing for the general public.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2015
  12. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    Too funny Thomas...you know what I think....I am asking what others think.

    I am asking why it says "He" and what folks think of as G!d today.
     
  13. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Really? I'm quite serious. Sure you're not evading the question?

    No, I really don't. You constantly lambast me for assuming I know what you think, and I am also cautious of you reading your own answers into my responses, so now I'm asking you to clarify the question, so I can answer as best I can.

    I'll go first.

    You asked the question: Is it metaphor or real?
    My answer: It's metaphor and real.

    My question: Do you suppose that a metaphor necessarily points to an unreality?
     
  14. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    First you said my question was flawed...then you say it is both? I am confused.

    Evading....everyone knows I do not believe in a Santa Claus version of G!d keeping lists, nor a 'loving' G!d, I don't believe in a G!d with our attributes, nor that throws plagues and bounty around. Nor do I believe in G!d as spirit or any kind of entity.

    I believe G!d as a universal truth/law/principle... not as a being that makes choices...

    I believe that 3,000 years ago they explained things the best they could with the knowledge they had at the time.
     
  15. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I woke up this morning thinking I'd got it wrong ... then the train of thought I was following came to mind, so I can understand how you might be confused. I was coming at the meaning of 'metaphor' in the context of 'Biblespeak', rather than simply answering the question 'Do I believe God has head, hands and feet?' which is what I assume you were asking. Mea culpa.

    But long story short:
    Nor do I. It's not the God of the Abrahamic Traditions. I think that comment shows an obdurate lack of insight or understanding. You might well know people who think that way, but you really shouldn't let them shape your thinking. it brings you down to their level.

    Ah ... that rather is the God of the Abrahamic Traditions. So you don't believe in the God of the Bible. At last! I've been telling you that for ages!

    (And the God you read into the Bible by the way, is your projection, based on selective snippets taken out of context. As ever, without context and sitz im leben, you're bound to get it wrong, you'd be the first to assert that!)

    Nor do I. It's not the God of the Abrahamic Traditions. I do believe in man with divine attributes, or rather, I believe in the Immanence of the Transcendent, that is the God of the Abrahamic Traditions – the shekinah, or the pneuma or the barakah, according to your tradition of choice.

    Again, I find that interpretation of Scripture shallow.

    Again, that is the God of Abraham and Moses, of Christ, of Mohammed (pbuh), that definitively is the God of the Abrahamic Traditions. So once again, you really don't believe in the God of the Bible. At last! I've been telling you that for ages!

    This is what I mean about 'contemporary anthropomorphism' and your 'God of the gaps'. Ancient anthropomorphism saw God in physical forms, contemporary anthropomorphism sees God in mental constructs. I assume from this and other comments that you have made that you believe that, in time, science will discover 'the universal theory of everything' and render the idea of God redundant.

    And yet scholars still plumb the writings of the ancients for their wisdom. It's a shame you can't see that.

    Anyway, as it's clear your God bears little, indeed no relation to the God of Christ or the Bible as far as I can see, there's no point in me labouring over the minutiae ...
     
  16. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    You do realize my perceptions were made by the Sunday school teachers and Preachers words from the pulpits just like most Children do not? But they say a picture is worth a thousand words....so I'll stop there.... (note the thousand words are in the article) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/fiona-finn/god-seen-in-photograph-of_b_5666269.html

    http://images.huffingtonpost.com/2014-08-10-1005882_10201160464311689_86884851_n-thumb.jpg
     
  17. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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  18. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Do you believe the photograph is of God?

    I'm pretty sure not. Nor do I, as I'm sure you know.

    So what's your point?
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2015
  19. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    Tis folks that do... They are all not me and you.... We differ (you'll agree)... others differ from what we agree on...
     
  20. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    LOL, I would have though that was obvious. Just look around IO!

    You haven't responded to the points I made in #15, so I assume our discussion is done.
     

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