Does Somebody Have To Be Wrong?

Discussion in 'Pagan' started by Acorn_Thornpicker, Jun 9, 2006.

  1. Acorn_Thornpicker

    Acorn_Thornpicker Eclectic Pagan

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    Aloha!

    I'm just posting to ask your opinions on this: does there have to be only one true faith? Can't a few of us be right? Can we all be right? Perhaps we've just got a few things mixed up, or misread a few signals along the way...?

    Now, I'm asking this in the neopaganism forum because pagans, while (in general) sharing a few basic philosophical links, have an incredibly vast range theologically. Yet, most pagan religions do not claim they are the sole path.

    My current thought is that perhaps many of us are right. The deities/pantheons all exist, keeping seperate of other systems, and each deity/pantheon helps, guides, listens to their followers. They work in the system they/He/she wish(es).

    I am in no way trying to proselytize, so I suppose I'm just throwing this out hypothetically. Any comments?

    Thank you! :)
     
  2. bgruagach

    bgruagach eclectic Wiccan

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    The idea of "one true way" is really more inherent in monotheistic religions than polytheistic ones. And since many Pagan religions are polytheistic of one sort or another it is true that the "one true way" idea tends to be discounted as unrealistic.

    There are always exceptions though and I'm sure if we looked we could find Pagan religions that are monotheistic, or Pagan religions (monotheistic or polytheistic) who do teach that their religion is the "one true way," as well as mainstream monotheistic religions that don't push the "one true way" idea.
     
  3. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    Kindest Regards, Acorn Thornpicker, and welcome to CR!

    My humble observation, is that I agree with Bruce when speaking of dogma. I think there is also an element of "cliquish" elitism to be considered. Afterall, we follow the paths we do because we believe them to be the best path. I think we tend to gravitate towards other persons who share similar views. In the extreme, this can lead to "only one." Of course, all of this presumes truth is relative and not objective.

    Objectively, there can only be one truth.

    My two cents, :)
     
  4. bgruagach

    bgruagach eclectic Wiccan

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    I think you're referring to me. I'm Ben, not Bruce. (Sorry for the confusion -- I forgot to type my name at the end of my post previously.)

    If objectively there can only be one truth then perhaps what is being classified as relative truth is actually objective truth -- the objective truth that no single religion has a complete or accurate understanding and that only by examining all religions might we come even close to that objective truth in its totality.

    The idea that there can only be one objective truth also does not necessarily mean that there can only be one Deity, any more than it also means there is only one single human being. (Clearly there are lots of human beings, so why can't there also be lots of deities?)
     
  5. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    Kindest Regards, Ben!

    OOOPS! You have my most sincere red-faced apology!

    I agree, in that I do not think any one religion has the story completely correct.

    Not sure I follow on the "lots of dieties" part, but then it is not my place here. Lots (and LOTS) of interpretations of the one truth, perhaps. For all I know, perhaps there is no Diety, although my personal experiences lead me to believe otherwise. Just as I am certain your experiences confirm your beliefs. Are either or both of us "wrong?" Hard to say, but I doubt it. Is either one of us completely correct (objectively true) in our belief, I doubt that even more.

    I do hope this does not in any way come across as antagonistic. It is merely my point of view.

    To the OP:
    It is important to delineate whether one is speaking of objective or relative truth. Objectively speaking, the answer is yes, by definition of the word "truth." Relatively speaking, the answer is no, there does not have to be only one truth, depending how elitist one's clique is. That is about as condensed as I can think to form my answer.
     
  6. bgruagach

    bgruagach eclectic Wiccan

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    I've seen some argue that according to their logic there is only one ultimate Truth (since we have just one physical reality -- and this one truth is the ultimate explanation for everything) that therefore it follows there can only be one God.

    I was just trying to point out that this logic doesn't necessarily follow. Perhaps the One Truth is actually a committee of divine beings.
     
  7. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    Kindest Regards, Ben!

    Yep, I agree 100% on this point.
     
  8. RubySera_Martin

    RubySera_Martin New Member

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    I was reading this thread and the question occurred to me: Where does the idea of objective truth come from? Is there any religion outside of Christianity that is terribly concerned with The Truth? Possibly this would include anybody who grew up in a land dominated by Christianity.

    If I were to tell you that where I live we are presently having a partly cloudy day I would be telling the truth. If I would give you the name of the place where I live as my residence, I would be telling the truth. So what, exactly, do we mean by The Truth?
     
  9. RubySera_Martin

    RubySera_Martin New Member

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    I am reminded of a story I read some time ago about the person known as the Buddha. When he was dying he was asked whether any other religion is okay, too. He thought so, so long as they have The Way. And he did not know of any other religion that did.

    I believe all religions do. But they each express it differently.
     
  10. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    Kindest Regards, RubySera!

    ob·jec·tive (əb-jĕk'tĭv)
    adjective

    1. Of or having to do with a material object.
    2. Having actual existence or reality.
    3.
    1. Uninfluenced by emotions or personal prejudices: an objective critic. See synonyms at fair1
    2. Based on observable phenomena; presented factually: an objective appraisal.
    4. Medicine Indicating a symptom or condition perceived as a sign of disease by someone other than the person affected.
    5. Grammar
    1. Of, relating to, or being the case of a noun or pronoun that serves as the object of a verb.
    2. Of or relating to a noun or pronoun used in this case.

    noun

    1. Something that actually exists.
    2. Something worked toward or striven for; a goal. See synonyms at intention
    3. Grammar
    1. The objective case.
    2. A noun or pronoun in the objective case.
    4. The lens or lens system in a microscope or other optical instrument that first receives light rays from the object and forms the image.


    Synonyms

    * concrete
    * corporeal
    * material
    * phenomenal
    * physical
    * sensible
    * substantial
    * tangible
    * concrete
    * real
    * substantial
    * substantive
    * tangible
    * disinterested
    * dispassionate
    * equitable
    * fair
    * fair-minded
    * impartial
    * indifferent

    ---
    rel·a·tive (rĕl'ə-tĭv)

    [Middle English, from Old French relatif, from Late Latin relātīvus, from Latin relātus past participle of referre, to relate; see relate.]
    adjective

    1. Having pertinence or relevance; connected or related.
    2. Considered in comparison with something else: the relative quiet of the suburbs.
    3. Dependent on or interconnected with something else; not absolute. See synonyms at dependent
    4. Grammar Referring to or qualifying an antecedent, as the pronoun who in the man who was on TV or that in the dictionary that I use.
    5. Music Having the same key signature. Used of major and minor scales and keys: A minor is the relative minor of C major.

    noun

    1. One related by kinship, common origin, or marriage.
    2. Something having a relation or connection to something else.
    3. Grammar A relative pronoun.

    Synonyms

    * comparative
    * conditional
    * conditioned
    * contingent
    * dependent
    * reliant
    * subject
    * kin
    * kinsman
    * kinswoman
    * relation
    ---


    truth (trūth)

    [Middle English trewthe, loyalty, from Old English trēowth.]
    noun: pl., truths (trūTHz, trūths)

    1. Conformity to fact or actuality.
    2. A statement proven to be or accepted as true.
    3. Sincerity; integrity.
    4. Fidelity to an original or standard.
    5.
    1. Reality; actuality.
    2. often Truth. That which is considered to be the supreme reality and to have the ultimate meaning and value of existence.

    synonyms:

    truth, veracity, verity, verisimilitude These nouns refer to the quality of being in accord with fact or reality. Truth is a comprehensive term that in all of its nuances implies accuracy and honesty: “We seek the truth, and will endure the consequences” (Charles Seymour) Veracity is adherence to the truth: “Veracity is the heart of morality” (Thomas H. Huxley) Verity often applies to an enduring or repeatedly demonstrated truth: “beliefs that were accepted as eternal verities” (James Harvey Robinson) Verisimilitude is the quality of having the appearance of truth or reality: “merely corroborative detail, intended to give artistic verisimilitude to an otherwise bald and unconvincing narrative” (W.S. Gilbert)

    Synonyms

    * accuracy
    * correctness
    * exactitude
    * exactness
    * fidelity
    * veraciousness
    * veracity
    * veridicality
    * verity
    * truthfulness
    * veracity
    * actuality
    * fact
    * factuality
    * factualness
    * reality

    (*** all from ask.com dictionary)

    ---

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Truth

    A rather extensive encyclopedia article detailing what I am speaking of. This is one of the first lessons taught in Philosophy 101.
    ***
    Let's say, for the sake of argument, that you live at 101 Farmer's lane. That is what you know your address to be, that is your truth. I knew that property when Farmer Brown and his wife and family used to farm that property years ago. I still think of it as a part of Brown's farm. That is my reality and my truth. No less true than your truth. Provided of course, that we view truth as relative. In point of fact, neither of us is completely true, because that land was know by others by different names and uses etc long before farmer Brown came along, and that land will be known by still others for different reasons long after you have moved on and your grandkids have grandkids. Neither of us has the whole, complete objective truth.

    The closest to objective truth about this property that either one of us can attain, is the geographic coordinates, longitude by latitude (or is it the other way?). That would be the only thing that could conceivably in this example serve as objective, irrefutable and undeniable truth to not only you and I, but to any and everyone who has any concern about this property. With the caveat that they must understand geographic coordinates, without which "the truth" is of no use to them.

    I hope this helps. :)

    Probably better under the philosophy section, but since it was asked...
     
  11. RubySera_Martin

    RubySera_Martin New Member

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    Thanks, Juantoo. I moved it to the Philosophy section so I can discuss it further. It's under the title "What is Objective Truth?"
     
  12. littlemissattitude

    littlemissattitude Creative Thinker

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    I've long referred to this theory as "everything is true". And I'm awfully fond of it sometimes, because I tend to be intellectually allergic to the idea that there is only One True Way and anyone who does not choose it (which ever "it" the individual latches onto) is doomed to eternal torment.

    I think we in Western cultures have a lot of trouble with the idea that everything might be true because our whole system of thought is seriously dualistic. Things are thought of as either being or not being, true or false, good or evil, and trying to envision a reality in which that isn't true tends to short-circut our analytical synapses. We can't see how one can be a Christian and a Buddhist, as one example. But some Eastern cultures don't seem to have as much trouble with that sort of concept. In Japan, for example, it isn't at all uncommon to use the rituals of one tradition for one event and the rituals of another for another event. No contradiction is perceived.

    So, while my mind was trained in Western ways of thought and it is hard for me to envision that everything could be true, I'm inclined to leave that possibility open as I try to figure out how the universe works.
     
  13. bgruagach

    bgruagach eclectic Wiccan

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    I prefer to think of it as "everything has SOME truth, but none has it all." All religions and philosophies are not necessarily equal but neither is any religion or philosophy so perfect that it is clearly superior to all others.

    ; )

    Ben Gruagach
     
  14. Therapon

    Therapon New Member

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    'The truth is One and the paths are many', is a favorite saying of mine. This means that whereas there is One ultimate reality the paths to it, the religions, can be many. This dos'nt mean that everyone is right, paths that don't accept the above saying as a guide to their spiritual life, I would consider to be false and possibly dangerous.

    Pagans tend to emphasise the antiquity of their traditions. Hindus, many of which have accepted the Pagan label, call their religion; Sanatan Dharma (The Eternal Religion). Neoplatonism which is the underlying philosophy of Western Paganism is often called the Perrennial (eternal) Philosophy.

    I also believe that polytheism is the true nature of religion and conversely anything else is false. So I suppose what I am saying is that some religions are true religions and some are false religions, some religions are eternal and some of human construction and are therefore temporal. Paganism the former all else the latter.:cool:
     
  15. AletheiaRivers

    AletheiaRivers New Member

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    I think the one thing that keeps me a monotheist (panentheist) is Occam's razor. It's simpler. ;)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occam's_Razor

    I imagine that it's possible that there are dozens (or more) "gods" that had no first cause, but I have a hard time wrapping my head around it. I fully admit that if I pose the question "Who created all those Gods?" then I'd have to answer the question "Who created God? And who created that God?" It would be turtles all the way down. It has to stop somewhere.

    So, could there be multiple gods that had no first cause and who are all involved in creation, etc? Yup.

    Am I more inclined to believe that there is one original Source? Yup.

    Comes down to choice. :D
     
  16. Therapon

    Therapon New Member

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    I can't believe that there are many Gods with no first cause, I don't know any Polytheist that believes that? In the Classical Polytheistic Tradition (Hellenismos) this goes back to Socrates as elucidated by Plato. Also the poets Homer and Hesiod placed Phanes (Eros/Cupid) as the first God and pantocrater (See my avatar for a pic of Phanes). Of course this has been ripped off by so-called monotheists, so you may believe your first cause is representative of monotheism and think yourself a monotheist because you believe in one first cause...but you would be sadly mistaken:p
     
  17. AletheiaRivers

    AletheiaRivers New Member

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    What or who would the polytheists that you know say created or emanated the "many Gods?" Do they even think about it? Where did those Gods come from?

    Either they are self existent, or they were created.

    If they were not created / emanated, then they had no first cause.

    You don't have any idea what I believe my "first cause" to be like, so you have no room to say that I'm sadly mistaken.

    Monotheism = One God

    Duotheism = Two Gods

    Polytheism = Three or more Gods

    Those are the definitions I'm using. It's easy. Is there ultimately one God, ultimately two Gods or ultimately three or more Gods?

    If you care to know, my view of God is a Neoplatonic-like panentheism

    Who knows, we might have had a nice conversation. :p
     
  18. bgruagach

    bgruagach eclectic Wiccan

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    Not all Pagan religions consider there to have been a starting point to reality and therefore not all Pagan religions include the idea of a "first cause." The Pirahã people of Brazil for instance do not have a creation myth. The myths of Ireland are another example where there are no creation myths (except where they were brought in by outsiders such as the Norse.) I understand there is similarly no creation story in Korea although there is a myth about how the nation of Korea started (the first King, Dan-Gun) -- but in the story Korea as a place was assumed to have always been there.

    In cultures where reality is believed to have always existed there is no need to assume a "first cause."
     
  19. AletheiaRivers

    AletheiaRivers New Member

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    I understand and appreciate that. I don't agree with it, but I have no problem with it. :)

    In my little philosophical mind I would say that, in those cultures, reality is "God" (as that reality had no beginning). I know they wouldn't say that, but from a philosophical standpoint, that is how it could be defined.

    I'm defining "God" as that which cannot be reduced, the "bottom turtle." Whether that turtle has transcendent sentience or personality, I'm not saying. I'm simply using the term "God" to mean that which we cannot reduce.
     
  20. Dondi

    Dondi Active Member

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    Have you been reading "Yertle the Turtle" again?
     

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