Anthropomorphism

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

  1. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    Greetings Wil,
    Do I *personally* hold such a belief? Or is it a commonly held belief, particularly among those either with an axe to grind (straw man) or who can't be bothered (or who don't have the capacity) to explore the subject in greater depth and detail?
    To the first, no my personal view of G!d is far broader and far more encompassing than any "body" could contain.
    To the second, I do believe an anthropomorphic "G-d" is a convenient symbol commonly ascribed by many, including atheists.
    I do hold to linguistic tradition, but I also recognize it is a limitation of language. We have to have a way to convey a thought to another, even to ourselves...but in that process sometimes nuance falls to the side. How does one explain, in a simple and concise manner without constant re-explanation, a G!d that is male and female, both and neither, and transcends even the need for "housing" or "containing" in any form of "body?" I haven't yet found a simple way to convey that concept, and I suspect the Sages over the millenia never quite found a way either.
    Loaded question, methinks. Is love real?

    You made a statement later in the discussion that I not only agree with, but I think is central to your question.
    Humans think in symbols. Stated another way, rational thought in humans is done through a set of shared symbols. It would hardly be appropriate to expect humans of 3,000 years ago to explain things with 21st century symbolic language, any more than to expect us today to explain in symbolic language that includes concepts we have yet to even begin to imagine.
    How does one explain the unseen? What is love?....if "love" even exists!
    It is trite to blithely say that words fail to adequately describe the unseeable, unknowable, unfathomable mystery...but yet, in reality that is the conundrum we face, the quandary we find ourselves attempting to overcome. I think the ancients probably had a far better grasp of the IS as a concept, their minds were not clouded by "unreality." They had a firm grasp of the here and now, their minds weren't clouded with unfounded worries and fears and other gross imaginings. So they could "see" G!D for what "He" IS without added cultural clutter, or rather, they could sense the presence within / among the nature of which they were an integral part. That is where I find agreement with the Buddhist teaching of not mistaking the pointing finger for the moon it is pointed at.
    All of our cultural expressions of "G!d," whether monotheist, polytheist, atheist, deist, antagonist, protagonist, inflationist, deflationist...every single one...are pointing fingers. NONE of them are the moon.
     
  2. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    Well, well, great to see you around the forums! We had a drive by by SG recently as well....

    We are keepin a light on for you all!

    Great response....no loaded questions...and I look to hear more from other folks!
     
  3. Namaste Jesus

    Namaste Jesus Praise the Lord and Enjoy the Chai Staff Member

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    I have been know to think of God in human terms, but I have no knowledge of this 'G!d' you speak of.
     
  4. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    Then clearly you haven't engaged in much interfaith dialogue. ;)

    Don't confuse the finger for the moon. Don't confuse the symbol for the thing.
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2015
  5. Namaste Jesus

    Namaste Jesus Praise the Lord and Enjoy the Chai Staff Member

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    LOL!!! I'll be sure to let the Christian, Hindu and Jewish members of my Temple know that we need to talk more.
     
  6. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    Then let the Jewish members explain to you why "G!d" is spelled the way it is.
     
  7. Namaste Jesus

    Namaste Jesus Praise the Lord and Enjoy the Chai Staff Member

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    Actually, it was the father of one of the Jewish members of our Temple, that originally got me to thinking about this after he had expressed his dislike for alternative spellings of God. By the way, the official title of that member's father is, Rabbi Segal.......
     
  8. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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  9. Namaste Jesus

    Namaste Jesus Praise the Lord and Enjoy the Chai Staff Member

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    Thanks for your concern, lol, but as I told you on another thread. I'm fully aware of all of that. Lots of articles everywhere on why this, why that. Everyone has an opinion. I'm just expressing mine.
     
  10. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    That's just it NJ...you say it offends you, you say the son of a Rabbi has issues with alternate spellings...

    I don't understand either at all. I don't understand what offends you, nor what your Jewish congregant has issues with. Being a discussion forum this is a perfect opportunity to educate me as to what the concern is... It was enough for you and he to comment on...If I piss folks off I'd like to know why.
     
  11. Devils' Advocate

    Devils' Advocate Well-Known Member

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    What. We have the same argument going on in two different threads at once? Geez I would'a thunk one was more then enough!
     
  12. Namaste Jesus

    Namaste Jesus Praise the Lord and Enjoy the Chai Staff Member

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    Since you ask, but against my better judgment, a while back the father of one of our Jewish members, Rabbi Segal, spoke at our Temple. During that service someone brought up the issue of how to address God. I do not have a written transcript of what was said, but the gist of it went something like this.

    Rabbi Segal:
    Many of our people refuse to include the 'o' when writing out the word God. Many say this is out of respect. Others say it goes against our religious doctrine. Still others say they don't write it out because the word is sacred and anything it's written on can never be discarded.

    I do not personally interpret Jewish law in this manner, but for the sake of argument, let's say all of that is true. Do you honestly think you can sidestep this or any other perceived religious mandate by altering the spelling? Is this supposed to fool God or something? "Oh, just leave out the 'o' God'll never know who you mean". Talk about disrespect. Look, just spell it out. God knows your reasons for doing so and be respectful enough to God and those of differing faiths, to spell it correctly when you do.


    That's the opinion of a respected Rabbi of more than 50 years. It also happens to be one that I share. Make of it what you will.
     
  13. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    That is the opinion of one respected Rabbi...and as we know in Judaism (and darn near anything else) it is not hard to find opposing experts.

    I now know where you are coming from.... and third hand maybe I know where he is coming from to. But nobody I know that does this thinks they are fooling G!d or anyone else. They are simply honoring a tradition that is older than all of us.

    I am still wondering where it is, what it is you are taking offense. Did you read the Chabad article on the topic? Actually I got juggling to do...but I should start a thread in the Judaism section so this can continue there....
     
  14. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    With due deference to Ravi Segal, I have NEVER used the honorable method G!d as an attempt to "fool" G!d. Quite the opposite, it is a conscious and deliberate honor to G!d. So if G!d "knows my reasons for doing so," and Ravi Segal does not, then I presume Ravi Segal's presumption of me is mistaken, and therefore does not apply.

    Stated another way, somewhat tongue in cheek, "ask 6 Ravis and get 7 different answers."

    Please share my comment with Ravi Segal.
     
  15. EdgyDolmen

    EdgyDolmen Active Member

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    I do not define god as a being nor as a proper name (although old habits die hard) I generally do not use upper case at all. That is my right. I need not satisfy anyone else. If someone spells D!ety thusly, should I be offended? Why? My spiritual relationship is not with that person...
     
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  16. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    Fair enough, and I never personally had any issues with how a person referred to Diety/Divinity/G!d as long as it wasn't irreverent or dishonorable...again the symbol is not the thing, and ultimately the word on a page is only to convey a concept. The reality must be experienced...always. Apart from that, anything else is just instruction.

    Stated another way, the menu is not the meal.
     
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  17. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    Still wondering how you find this offensive.... Maybe you, I and the good Rabbi find a time to nosh and discuss this.
     
  18. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Hey, Wil ...

    What do your Jewish friends say on the question of anthropomorphism? You're quite dismissive of the God of Israel here, how do they respond to that?
     
  19. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    I don't have any Jewish anthropomorphites...(none yet that have surfaced in conversation) I've got some in all denominations ortho, con, ref, recon, renewal... and then the last group which can be in any of the latter four, those that are basically non practicing, show up for family functions and high holy days and do the holiday stuff around the house.

    They will speak in physical terms for convenience and reference, especially during seders... and I'd say about a fifth of them are agnostic/atheist? (haven't done a poll). It is my Christian and Atheist friends who believe and vocalize the most strongly in a larger than life physical being in our image. (and believe in the G!d of Israel, as literally written in the bible)
     
  20. Aussie Thoughts

    Aussie Thoughts Just my 2 cents

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    I can't say that I agree with NJ on this, but I can't say that I disagree with him either. I mean, it strikes me as a bit odd, but it doesn't offend me personally if the 'o' is left out of the word God. I'm not even sure I would class it as disrespectful, but I can see how some might find the practice perhaps, for lack of a better word, contemptuous. Especially if it were done by someone not of a faith that traditionally does this. In any event, I don't think just because someone points that out, there is cause to get upset and start throwing stones.

    I'd say to avoid conflict, when posting in one of the religious categories that traditionally leaves the 'o' out of the word God, then do so. Otherwise, include it.
     
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