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OfflineDavid_Scape
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Do All Religions Essentially Point to Monothesim?
    #1728204 - 07/18/03 06:27 PM (13 years, 6 months ago)

Does Buddhism and all other main religions seem to point to a central energy source or god of some sort? I was arguing with my father about this (I was'nt really taking an antagonistic view.), and I believe he was using this argument to rebute other religions in favor for the bible's god. I dont know MUCH about buddhism, but does it somehow imply monotheism?

And a side question: Is the bible (or old testament) the oldest religious text? Because i was under the impression that the oriental religions were older.


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OfflineMalachi
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Re: Do All Religions Essentially Point to Monothesim? [Re: David_Scape]
    #1728237 - 07/18/03 06:38 PM (13 years, 6 months ago)

no and no.


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The ultimate meaning of our being can only be fulfilled in the paradoxical leap beyond the tragic-demonic frustration. It is a leap from our side, but it is the self-surrendering presence of the Ground of Being from the other side.
- Paul Tillich


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OfflineDavid_Scape
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Re: Do All Religions Essentially Point to Monothesim? [Re: Malachi]
    #1728284 - 07/18/03 07:01 PM (13 years, 6 months ago)

heh, i got deja vue with your post Malachi. Except i was expecting a simple: "No."

but, uh, please elaborate. I gotta kick start a thread here to get some info. :laugh:


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Invisiblesilversoul7
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Re: Do All Religions Essentially Point to Monothesim? [Re: David_Scape]
    #1728354 - 07/18/03 07:25 PM (13 years, 6 months ago)

Buddhism doesn't really have much to say about God, but Hinduism, from which Buddhism is derived, is at the same time polytheistic, trinitarian, monotheistic, and pantheistic. There are millions of individual gods in Hinduism--in fact, there's about 1 god for every 5 people in India. But all these Gods are all aspects of one of the 3 main Gods--Brahma, the creator; Vishnu, the sustainer; and Shiva, the destroyer(whose spirit possessed me during my 5-gram trip). All of these Gods, however, are all one in the same--in fact, everything is all one entity. And that entity is called the Atman(the "all-that-is"). Buddhism shares this belief that all is one. So Buddhism would be more pantheistic than monotheistic.


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OfflineMalachi
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Re: Do All Religions Essentially Point to Monothesim? [Re: silversoul7]
    #1728383 - 07/18/03 07:32 PM (13 years, 6 months ago)

yeah what silversoul said and also monotheism is in conflict with monism (everything is made up of the same spiritual stuff- eastern) cause the one deity is seperate from the rest of creation.


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The ultimate meaning of our being can only be fulfilled in the paradoxical leap beyond the tragic-demonic frustration. It is a leap from our side, but it is the self-surrendering presence of the Ground of Being from the other side.
- Paul Tillich


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Offlinerecalcitrant
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Re: Do All Religions Essentially Point to Monothesim? [Re: Malachi]
    #1728566 - 07/18/03 08:42 PM (13 years, 6 months ago)

The Greeks seemed to have more than one god.
The First Nations seemed to have more than one god.
That religion with Thor and Odin...
even christianity says confusing stuff like the father, son, and holy spirit.


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OfflineMarkostheGnostic
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Re: Do All Religions Essentially Point to Monothesim? [Re: David_Scape]
    #1728826 - 07/18/03 10:49 PM (13 years, 6 months ago)

Monotheistic means 'one God,' and Buddhism is not interested in discussing the Ultimate Reality in terms of theism. While it is true that in Christianity, there is God and Godhead, the former indicates 'attributes' like love, vengeance, jealousy, counselor, judge, savior, etc. Godhead refers not to the Personal attributes of God, but rather to God's Transcendent Nature of which we can say nothing without being completely presumptuous. It is clear that the ancients projected their own personalities onto Deity. Once the projections are withdrawn, one is left with Mystery. The path of Christian mysticism is the 'via negativa,' which means that we cannot posit anything about the Godhead. This mystical path is close to the path in Hinduism which recognizes a Transpersonal Godhead and a Personal God. The Transpersonal Godhead of either religion is closer to Buddhism.

The Buddha didn't deny the existence of God/Godhead (Saguna Brahman/Nirguna Brahman), but his teaching was not about what God does for us, but what WE can do in life to relieve suffering. Buddhism is closer to Hindu Advaita (non-dualism) which means that Ultimate Reality is a Oneness. This is not monotheism, but monism. The physical universe of space-time, and eternity, are One. The Buddhists say 'Nirvana is Samsara, Samsara is Nirvana.' Samsara is the universe, Nirvana, like the Christian 'via negativa,' is Unconditioned, Void, Empty - of all describing concepts and words. Nirvana is not 'nothing,' it is Pure Mind when all form, all thought is absent. Nirvana is compared to a clear, cloudless sky (wherein thoughts are clouds). Nirvana is Pure Consciousness, called 'the Clear Light of the Void.' The Realization of Nirvana is the supreme goal of Buddhism (which releases one from the cycle of rebirth), but out of Compassion, a Buddhist may decide to return again and again until all sentient beings are freed from the suffering of rebirth. Such a Buddhist is called a Bodhisattva.

Christianity also acknowledged transmigration (similar to Hindu reincarnation and Buddhist rebirth) until the Council of Chalcedon in 531 AD, when it was decided to make the doctrine a heresy, because it afforded too much time for a believer to get saved.

The Hindu Vedas are older than the Hebrew Bible. So is the Babylonian Gilgamesh Epic, from which the Old Testament draws some ideas.



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γνῶθι σαὐτόν - Gnothi Seauton - Know Thyself


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OfflineRhizoid
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Re: Do All Religions Essentially Point to Monothesim? [Re: David_Scape]
    #1729256 - 07/19/03 02:26 AM (13 years, 6 months ago)

In the Old Testament, Jehovah himself acknowledges the existence of other gods in many places. But he insists that the people of Israel should worship only him. Same thing in Islam: Allah is said to be the only god worthy of worship. And mainstream Christianity and Hinduism are of course polytheistic in essentially the same way.

So what is commonly called "monotheism" was originally just a question of being loyal to one particular god (or trinity of gods), rather than the belief that no other gods exist. The latter is nothing more than a consequence of the fact that belief in the existence of other gods has faded over the years.


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OfflineMarkostheGnostic
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Re: Do All Religions Essentially Point to Monothesim? [Re: Rhizoid]
    #1730019 - 07/19/03 02:18 PM (13 years, 6 months ago)

The commandment 'I Am the Lord thy God; Thou shalt have no other gods beside me,' was a commandment against idolatry - worshiping other gods was worship of anything other than the Creator of the Universe, which meant all kinds of spiritual entites.
Christianity's Trinitarian theology is not polytheistic because the 3-in-1 formula is 'Una Substantia Tres Personas,' (One Substance in Three Persons) which does not mean 3 Gods. Psychologically, the 'Threeness' suggests dynamism or some kind of Eternal Movement (Jung), rather than an inert, 'Infinite sea of gray tapioca,' as one person put it. The Name of God in Genesis - Elohim - is a plural word, and Tertullian, who invented the word Trinity, also based his ideas on this. It is not without problems as you clearly demonstrate.

Jewish Kabbalists recognize that God was sometimes worded as 'Father-Mother,' as in the Aramaic Name 'Abwoon.' The first two spheres that manifest out of Oneness in the Kabbalistic Tree of Life are the Supernal Father and Supernal Mother (Wisdom and Understanding). The Wiccans, in their own tradition honor God as God and Goddess, and at least one Wiccan Magician - Alex Sanders - identified this similarity. But above all is the One.

Except for a radical dualism as in Zoroastrianism where there were two co-eternal opposites of Good and Evil, the vast majority of religious humanity, past a certain point of our collective development (post-animistic, post-polytheistic), intuit the 'One' in some form or another.


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OfflineDavid_Scape
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Re: Do All Religions Essentially Point to Monothesim? [Re: MarkostheGnostic]
    #1730581 - 07/19/03 06:44 PM (13 years, 6 months ago)

Markos and/or Rhizoid: do you agree with Malachi's statement:

Quote:

...also monotheism is in conflict with monism (everything is made up of the same spiritual stuff- eastern) cause the one deity is seperate from the rest of creation.




?
and thanks for the responses, too.


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OfflineDavid_Scape
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Re: Do All Religions Essentially Point to Monothesim? [Re: David_Scape]
    #1730601 - 07/19/03 06:55 PM (13 years, 6 months ago)

I mean, in the bible, god was described as ominipotent and all pervasive, right? So, would'nt there be no difference bettween monotheism and monism relative to the christian bible?


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OfflineMarkostheGnostic
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Re: Do All Religions Essentially Point to Monothesim? [Re: David_Scape]
    #1730694 - 07/19/03 08:07 PM (13 years, 6 months ago)

The Hindu Bhagavad Gita speaks of the spiritual and material energies of God - Shakti and Shiva in Union (Yoga) is one way to put it. They are the dynamic and static aspect of God, which Hindus are wise enough to see as both Personal and Transpersonal. But this is theistic Hinduism. The philosophies of Shankara and of Advaita are monistic, not monotheistic. There may be room for Isvara - a personified savior, but not always and not even necessary.

In Judao-Christian-Islamic thought, the Creator is separate from His creation. God may be Immanent within creation - Present to creation, but God is "wholly other" than creation. Creation is imperfect, God is not imperfect. Kabbalism goes to great philosophical lengths to suggest how the Infinite God voided Himself, or 'contracted' Himself to a 'point' - what we today would call a 'singularity.' From this singularity, God's Ideas poured forth into form, into a creation of space-time. I believe that we might call this Divine Fiat the 'Big Bang.' God's Essence is utterly Transcendent and formless and has no manifestation or extension in space-time, according to Biblical theology.


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Re: Do All Religions Essentially Point to Monothesim? [Re: David_Scape]
    #1731818 - 07/20/03 06:05 AM (13 years, 6 months ago)

Monism says that creator and creation are made of the same stuff. But I don't think theism (mono- or poly) is in conflict with monism by logical necessity. Some flavors of theism are in conflict with monism, but that's only because they are packaged together with dualism.


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