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OfflineViveka
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Why monotheism?
    #2581143 - 04/20/04 02:48 AM (12 years, 7 months ago)

An easy question to ask:

Why did the Hebrews aim to establish the first monotheistic religion?

They still borrowed the mythologies and religious tradtions of other cultures, the Sumerians for instance, yet they altered all of the traditions to fit their single-GOD paradigm.

Not such an easy question to answer.


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Offlineempath
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Re: Why monotheism? [Re: Viveka]
    #2581221 - 04/20/04 03:12 AM (12 years, 7 months ago)

Hmm. I think it was to make a one god, more of a power figure. Much easier to glorify/praise if it was boiled down to one omniscent creator than everything being split up to a bunch of deities. By having the same traditions/beliefs as other religions may have served as a point of reference to make it easier to convert people into thinking it was better. I dunno.


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InvisibleZero7a1
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Re: Why monotheism? [Re: Viveka]
    #2581225 - 04/20/04 03:13 AM (12 years, 7 months ago)

Primitive government maybe?


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Offlinewoleb
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Re: Why monotheism? [Re: Zero7a1]
    #2581463 - 04/20/04 05:54 AM (12 years, 7 months ago)

Perhaps someone experienced mystical visions and cosmic vibrations (yes, an Allen Ginsberg quote) explaining, or having been interpreted as saying that there is only one God, and therefore that person/people felt the need to spread the word.
I think, providing the whole God-showed-himself-to-man thing is true, that the reason Hebrew rituals had pagan elements is because there were no other rituals that the people were familiar with, so adapted the only ones they knew.

Just a guess.


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InvisibleZero7a1
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Re: Why monotheism? [Re: woleb]
    #2609273 - 04/28/04 12:43 AM (12 years, 7 months ago)

maybe it also had to do with the development of the human personality, as humans became more self aware, as more independent from their brethren. So they needed a force that would unite them on a personal level.


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OfflineChiefThunderbong
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Re: Why monotheism? [Re: Viveka]
    #2609314 - 04/28/04 12:54 AM (12 years, 7 months ago)

Alien being on a power trip?


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Offlinephi1618
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Re: Why monotheism? [Re: Viveka]
    #2609475 - 04/28/04 01:31 AM (12 years, 7 months ago)

Two points:
First, Zoroastrianism developed independently, and perhaps earlier, than Judaism, so this development was not unique.

Second, in the old testament, it is not apparent that the Israelites deny the existance of the polytheistic gods, but that their god differs from the other gods in that he is 1) more powerful, 2) interested primarily, rather than incidently, in the affairs of humans, 3) very jealous of his followers loyalty. The idea of only one god in the sense we have today developed over a long period of time, particularly after the fall of the Roman empire and the gradual decline of the various Pagan religions.


Other than that, I think I'm going with the egomaniacal alien theory.


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InvisibleRavus
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Re: Why monotheism? [Re: phi1618]
    #2609851 - 04/28/04 02:41 AM (12 years, 7 months ago)

Yes, and before Judaism an attempt at monotheism was also made in Egypt, when a woman pharaoh whose name I forget tried to make the sun god the only universal god and wipe out all the other gods. This failed after she died

Monotheism was just a gradual increase in evolution. I believe as we evolve, we need less and less gods to explain things. There used to be a god for rain, for sun, for earth, animal gods and feuding gods, but as we learned more science and explained these things we only needed one god. One day, after we've explained the universe and existence, I believe no god will be needed at all


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OfflineParabolaChair
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Re: Why monotheism? [Re: Ravus]
    #2610266 - 04/28/04 03:52 AM (12 years, 7 months ago)

There were a number of reasons to assert monotheism on a political level, such as coralling people under banner, etc.

On a spiritual and philosophical level I would say that the monotheistic god doesn't disprove the existence of other gods, but rather in saying that he is the one god (and i forget the exact quote) that all other gods and idols are him and thus, people should put their faith towards the direct source of the divine, instead of his subordinates.


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OfflineMarkostheGnostic
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Re: Why monotheism? [Re: Viveka]
    #2610620 - 04/28/04 08:48 AM (12 years, 7 months ago)

The Patriarch Abraham is credited with the religious experience of YHVH, Whose Name was not revealled until the prophet Moses (the 'burning bush' theophany). ALL religions begin with the religious experience of their founder. The theology about YHVH developed as the mentality of the Hebrews developed across time. Today's Kabbalistic thought represents the most subtle and sophisticated treatment of the inner (esoteric) level of Judaism, which is to say, about YHVH.


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γνῶθι σαὐτόν - Gnothi Seauton - Know Thyself


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OfflineMarkostheGnostic
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Re: Why monotheism? [Re: Ravus]
    #2610621 - 04/28/04 08:55 AM (12 years, 7 months ago)

"During the reign of the Eighteenth Dynasty king Akhenaten (c. 1352- c.1336 BC), the emphasis of religion changed radically. Akhenaten, who began his reign as Amenhotep IV, attempted to elevate a single deity, Aten, from the vast Egyptian pantheon to the status of sole god. Old traditions of worship, ritual and art were swept away, and a new capital was built. But neither Akhenaten's new religion, nor his city, survived him." - Ancient Egypt, Oakes & Gahlin, p.156

Akhenaten's wife was Nefertiti, whom you might be confusing with the pharoah (who was always male - the embodiment of Osirus while the Queen was the embodiment of Isis).


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γνῶθι σαὐτόν - Gnothi Seauton - Know Thyself


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Offlineeve69
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Re: Why monotheism? [Re: MarkostheGnostic]
    #2610901 - 04/28/04 11:59 AM (12 years, 7 months ago)

Shaivism and other Dravidian Indian religions were monotheistic before Judiasm.


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InvisibleZero7a1
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Re: Why monotheism? [Re: MarkostheGnostic]
    #2611124 - 04/28/04 01:23 PM (12 years, 7 months ago)

Why dont you expand on this "single founder" principle. It seems to be the core for "why monotheism". Maybe we can get a better understanding of the why monotheism at all by looking into this.

Why would a whole nation of people back behind one leader? For solitary vision? For security? I think you can see a correlation between group mentality and why people believe what they do.


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OfflineAlan Stone
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Re: Why monotheism? [Re: Viveka]
    #2611532 - 04/28/04 03:37 PM (12 years, 7 months ago)

I think it's based on mystical experience, too. Once you experience existance as a singularity, that helps you on the road to one God.


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It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.

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Invisiblesilversoul7
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Re: Why monotheism? [Re: Viveka]
    #2611616 - 04/28/04 03:50 PM (12 years, 7 months ago)

Many scholars believe that the Hebrews started out as henotheists, meaning they believed in many gods, but worshipped only one, and believed that that one god was their protector. Then they probably discovered that they could feel superior to others if instead of saying our god is better than your god, they could say our god is the one true god, while your gods are all false gods. This, of course, led to religious intolerance, and probably pissed off a lot of other people.


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OfflineMarkostheGnostic
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Re: Why monotheism? [Re: silversoul7]
    #2612337 - 04/28/04 06:30 PM (12 years, 7 months ago)

Ancient Hebrews believed YHVH to have His Asherah - His Divine Consort - which was apparently absorbed into the expanding Patriarchal stage of human development which characterized a possible global trend from the early Matriarchate that extends much further back into history. According to the Jungian Erich Neumann, the individual's development from the 'Great Round,' the 'Great Mother,' and thence to the 'Great Goddess,' (our individual development in the womb, and our various stages of individuation from psychophysical oneness with this unconscious identification, up through relationship with (female) or identification with (male) the Father, is a 'recapitulation' of a historical trend in the development of human consciousness.

The word Elohim used in Genesis denotes plurality, but may suggest 'Chokmah,' GOD's Wisdom (or Breath - Ruach). I do not believe that mystical experience results in anything other than an experience of Unity or Union, or at least Communion with a singular Reality - with and/or without attributes, personal and/or transpersonal - but One, Alone, Mono- in essence.


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γνῶθι σαὐτόν - Gnothi Seauton - Know Thyself


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OfflineMarkostheGnostic
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Re: Why monotheism? [Re: Zero7a1]
    #2612417 - 04/28/04 06:54 PM (12 years, 7 months ago)

It is more than a social reality in question here. If anything, ancient Hebrews at the times of Abraham, later Moses and Jesus were influenced - even from a psychological perspective - by far more than reason or group identity. The 'Mana Personalities' that I mentioned were so powerful according to the scriptures, that miraculous-synchronistic events took place around them constantly. Now, If one employs the 'organ of faith,' one is able to entertain the addition of supernatural-paranormal 'magickal' phenomena, and further, mystical phenomena. Like the story of 'The Rainmaker' that Jung related from his friend Richard Wilhelm in 'The Secret of the Golden Flower,' the 'Mana Personality' mediates, constellates, harmonizes the Tao, or GOD, in such a WAY as to magnify a prevailing condition of cosmic harmony in a certain location. It is like a 'field effect,' like the random particles that arrange along symmetrical lines of force when a magnet is placed beneath a sheet of paper holding iron filings. Order, cosmic lawfulness, symmetry, harmony, the Higher Self, Tiphereth (Kabbala), Christ, The Way, The Tao.

This is not to say that this phenomenon does not and has not taken place in other places, in other cultures, or on other planets for that matter. The prevailing Western religious cultures are however Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The major difference is that the outer or exoteric traditions speak of Ultimate Reality in Personal-Theistic terms (although the inner, esoteric teachings recognize a Transpersonal Godhead above the God-with-attibutes. Western esoteric religion thus has affinities with certain Eastern formulations in Yoga, Advaita, Buddhism, and Taoism as examples).


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γνῶθι σαὐτόν - Gnothi Seauton - Know Thyself


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OfflineMarkostheGnostic
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Re: Why monotheism? [Re: woleb]
    #2612445 - 04/28/04 07:03 PM (12 years, 7 months ago)

Probably true. The Cherubim with outstretched wings over the 'Mercy Seat' on the Ark of the Covenant, may have been Egyptian or Assyrian in appearance. Traditions change. Effeminate, guilded, gossamer-winged angels blowing long metal trumpets are a far cry from the older depictions of numinous, terrible, awe-inspiring beings blowing ram's-horn shofars - the universe-rending Cosmic Vibration of Apocalyptic Vision.


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γνῶθι σαὐτόν - Gnothi Seauton - Know Thyself


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Invisiblesilversoul7
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Re: Why monotheism? [Re: Viveka]
    #2612596 - 04/28/04 07:44 PM (12 years, 7 months ago)

I just want to add that it seems a lot of people here speak from a personal bias about how the "mystical experience" inherently leads to monotheism. Does that mean that the Maya and Aztecs, who consumed mushrooms, salvia, and peyote, did not have mystical experiences?


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"It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong."--Voltaire


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Invisibleredgreenvines
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Re: Why monotheism? [Re: silversoul7]
    #2612782 - 04/28/04 08:26 PM (12 years, 7 months ago)

On Salvia I frequently experience no-separation which yogis might call oneness, probably Abraham found something that he ate, probably a mushroom which gave him access to this state.
it is indescribable (of course)
one can revere this state (comunion) and still have little to say about it afterwards except that "He is everywhere" "She is in all of us" and "we are blessed" and one could go on and on about "creation" which is an ongoing aspect of what is experienced.
Personally I think this ecstacy thing gave rise to the One God Idea.
I think it comes from a mushroom or dmt bearing bushes or something he ate or drank.

Only a few Aztecs were being initiated to the good stuff I think. same as now, not for everybody , well you can probably share maryjane with your neighbour but not something that takes you into a totally non-dualistic state. Even after that - so what if the gods are all one and pervade every aspect of everything, no need for it to be less than many.

Actually in Judaism the term Elohim is used more than "Yihaveh" (meaning that which is and continues (stuff of ongoing creation) which is respectfully never (perverted by being) uttered out loud or even whispered in the mind - instead they read it as "Adonai" meaning my lord) and Elohim is a plural term meaning "gods"(male or mixed gender plural).

So getting right down to it the one god issue relates more easily back to a state of onegod or a godhoodness of no-separation, and it does not deny other emanations when returning to the land of duality and distinctions.


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