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Switch to Forum Live View The King & the Teacher
6 years ago  ::  Jan 31, 2009 - 11:28PM #21
Sacrificialgoddess
Posts: 9,496

HinduGuy wrote:

"I don't perceive Hinduism to be monotheistic given the definition I am accustomed to. If it was, then a Hindu would not be free to walk into any temple as you have just stated."

I am a bit confused by your reasoning. A Hindu is free to walk into any temple and pray to any God, but they are all one and the same, that is what makes it monotheistic, does it not? For example I am a devotee of God Rama. I can walk into a Durga temple and pray to him even though the murti is different. Durga is just a different manifestation of Rama. I have given the example of your mother, it's the same person in various roles.

"However I find your last observation inconsistent with how I have observed Hinduism to be practiced. If making God male or female is idolatry, then there should be be no female or male gods or portrayal of such as male or female or even the concept of gender at all within the Hinduism pantheon. Rama should not be portrayed male, Kali should not be perceived as female and so on. There should be no gender at all associated with Hindu gods in any way. WHICH isn't my experience at all"

The Point of having different images is for us to realize that God could be in any form. We are not locked in to just one form. For example christians insist that God's  name is christ and they have a blue-eyed, blond christ. They are locked into that image. The Pope says God cannot be a woman. He is locked into a male image of God. That is idolatry. Muslims have prohibited any image of God, we Hindus have arrived at the same destination by having so many images and names of God. God Vishnu has more than a 1,000 names, as does God Durga. What they are trying to tell us is that they are all one and the same.


All gods are one god is neither standard monotheism nor standard polytheism.  It is kind of a soft mixture of the two.

Dark Energy. It can be found in the observable Universe. Found in ratios of 75% more than any other substance. Dark Energy. It can be found in religious extremists, in cheerleaders. To come to the conclusion that Dark signifies mean and malevolent would define 75% of the Universe as an evil force. Alternatively, to think that some cheerleaders don't have razors in their snatch is to be foolishly unarmed.

-- Tori Amos
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6 years ago  ::  Jan 31, 2009 - 11:35PM #22
HinduGuy
Posts: 373
"Based on what you have posted, you appear to be vested emotionally in using the Abrahamic definition rather than any other definition. If that is the case, then why is that?"

I hope you are not angry. Anger will kill off any discussion.

I am referring to the definition that currently exists in most dictionaries. If I have to go by the opinion of every tom, dick and harry i will never get anything done, will I?

There is such a thing as giving cover to a bigot. If someone was born out of wedlock and he was mocked as a bastard, that person obviously does not feel that he is a bad person or has done anything wrong. But you won't hear that person running around saying that he is a bastard either. By saying that you are a pagan, you are giving cover to bigotry.

There are 2 ways to define your religion: 1. your religion falls under the definition of the word Pagan & 2. The name of your religion is pagan. As a Hindu, the name of my religion is not pagan, but I fall under the definition of the word pagan. That is what I am protesting, and I am assuming that most of you fall under the first definition. Am I incorrect?
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6 years ago  ::  Feb 01, 2009 - 10:13AM #23
Sacrificialgoddess
Posts: 9,496

HinduGuy wrote:

"Based on what you have posted, you appear to be vested emotionally in using the Abrahamic definition rather than any other definition. If that is the case, then why is that?"

I hope you are not angry. Anger will kill off any discussion.

I am referring to the definition that currently exists in most dictionaries. If I have to go by the opinion of every tom, dick and harry i will never get anything done, will I?

There is such a thing as giving cover to a bigot. If someone was born out of wedlock and he was mocked as a bastard, that person obviously does not feel that he is a bad person or has done anything wrong. But you won't hear that person running around saying that he is a bastard either. By saying that you are a pagan, you are giving cover to bigotry.

There are 2 ways to define your religion: 1. your religion falls under the definition of the word Pagan & 2. The name of your religion is pagan. As a Hindu, the name of my religion is not pagan, but I fall under the definition of the word pagan. That is what I am protesting, and I am assuming that most of you fall under the first definition. Am I incorrect?


Okay, everyone take a drink here.  I am going to use the "U" word.  Pagan isn't a religion in an of itself.  It is an umbrella term.  For it to be a religion, it needs a core creed, which paganism really doesn't have.  I mean, look at Wicca and Asatru and Druidism.  All pagan religions, all radically different.  This goes back to the reason I think the word neopaganism is unnecessary use of the word "neo."  I mean, what religion in the distant past was called "Pagan?"  :rolleyes:

Dark Energy. It can be found in the observable Universe. Found in ratios of 75% more than any other substance. Dark Energy. It can be found in religious extremists, in cheerleaders. To come to the conclusion that Dark signifies mean and malevolent would define 75% of the Universe as an evil force. Alternatively, to think that some cheerleaders don't have razors in their snatch is to be foolishly unarmed.

-- Tori Amos
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6 years ago  ::  Feb 01, 2009 - 10:45AM #24
CreakyHedgewitch
Posts: 1,244
"Based on what you have posted, you appear to be vested emotionally in using the Abrahamic definition rather than any other definition. If that is the case, then why is that?"

I hope you are not angry. Anger will kill off any discussion.


I am not angry and if I were for whatever reason, I would be making a point of calming down before I even thought about posting anything online. If the phrase ‘vested emotionally’ is providing you with an interpretation of my also being emotional, then may I ask you please to reread what I posted and do so envisioning a calm tone asking a question based on observation, not reaction.

I am referring to the definition that currently exists in most dictionaries. If I have to go by the opinion of every tom, dick and harry i will never get anything done, will I?


Dictionaries are based on the opinions of every tom, dick and harry that was polled or who submitted responses at the time of the dictionary’s creation or revision. The opinions of those toms, dicks and harrys who haven’t contributed to those dictionaries represents the ever mutating usages of words that are in actual daily use.  English as a language has always been remarkable in this regard. It is constantly changing, adapting and mutating and has down throughout its long fascinating history. As to the challenge to ‘getting anything done’ while having to cope with adapative and even contradictory definitions, all self-identified Neo-/Pagans must do this every day for a whole slew of words associated with the Movement. So please don't expect much sympathy on that score.

The Abrahamic definition most certainly exists. No one here is denying this. It is not however the only valid definition nor in many cases and especially that of living Neo-/Pagans, the appropriate definition to use.

There is such a thing as giving cover to a bigot. If someone was born out of wedlock and he was mocked as a bastard, that person obviously does not feel that he is a bad person or has done anything wrong. But you won't hear that person running around saying that he is a bastard either. By saying that you are a pagan, you are giving cover to bigotry.


That is a strawman’s argument.

Bastardy is a concept that has to do with cultural and religious laws regarding marriage and inheritance coupled with whatever societies’ ethical norm is regarding this state. One may be considered a bastard for legal or religious reasons and yes, it may be implied that this makes them a bad person etc.

That example however is not relevant to self-identifying as a pagan which is not an accident of birth but a deliberate choice. The label of bigotry can only exist if one considers pagan to be negatively defined. You have already expressed your dislike of this term using a singular definition that you apparently believe is applicable to all instances. This does not reflect the reality of all that paganism is considered to be valid today or the reality I have experienced over the last 26 years since I became a self-identified Neo-/Pagan.

There is also this to consider. A bigot is someone who is "intolerant with strong opinions, especially on politics, religion, or ethnicity, who refuses to accept different views"  (To quote one of those dictionaries). So what would be the appropriate term for someone then who consistently refuses to accept different views about the definition of paganism that relate to the living current religious practices of others?

There are 2 ways to define your religion: 1. your religion falls under the definition of the word Pagan & 2. The name of your religion is pagan


There are multiple ways to define my religion or any religion. To date Neo-/Paganism has yet to be defined as a singular shared religion. And in the past, as SG has pointed out, there has never been 'a' religion called paganism. Religious characteristics across the Roman Empire yes, but not a definable religion. (For those that label ancient religions as being pagan, the term neo- does differentiate these from what began in the 20th century. It however optional which is why I always put a / between the two)

It would be more accurate with regards to Neo-/Paganism to state the following.

1. One of the many religions that is identified or defined by individuals or by shared consensus to belong to or fall within or is associated with the modern Neo-Paganism Movement.
2. Using the modern term pagan for a religion is found chiefly amongst individuals self-identifying as Neo-/Pagans who are naming his or her personal belief system, small consensus groups naming their uniquely defined religion(s) or as an alternate name for already named religion(s) or tradition(s) - see point 1.

As a Hindu, the name of my religion is not pagan, but I fall under the definition of the word pagan


In the Abrahamic definition, Hinduism does fall under the term pagan. However something being labelled as not Christian, Jewish or Muslim is such a broad definition by virtue of the scope of what is included as to be really of limited value. Unless one is comparing it to these religions, what is the point?

C.H.

No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.
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6 years ago  ::  Feb 01, 2009 - 12:40PM #25
John_T_Mainer
Posts: 1,658
Hinduguy,

Abrahamic faiths label anyone who does not follow some version of their book as Pagan.  As the Islamics would say, not people of the book.  They mean their book.  They could care less if you have your own book.

You don't like being called pagan, wow you have your own book.  So do most of us.  The Abrahamic faiths don't care about veddic scriptures, the edda, volspula, or the many writings of Budda.  For them you either are based in their bible, or you are some poor deluded primitive in service of Satan (oddly mentioned only in their book).

Welcome to the club, we have T shirts.

You feel that your faith doesn't deserve to be under this umbrella why?  You aren't a poor deluded primitive in service of Satan?  Neither are we. 

Fact: Pagan covers all the non-Abrahamic religions, most especially the ancestral beleifs of the peoples before the birth of Christ.

Judgement: What you read into it is your own.  I am a Pagan, following Asatru, the beleifs of my Northern ancestors.  You are Pagan, following the Hindu teachings of your Indian ancestors.

If you had a term that defined non-Hindu, then all the Abrahamic faiths, plus Asatru, Wicca, Druidism, Native American, Aborigianal, African, Sikh, Buddist faiths would all be covered by that word.  That would be fact.  What we read into that is still our own.  To a Hindu it might imply some lesser status, to us it simply defines your side of the us/them lines we all draw.
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6 years ago  ::  Feb 01, 2009 - 3:32PM #26
Sacrificialgoddess
Posts: 9,496
Brilliant, John.  Once again, you simplify things I struggle to say.  :)
Dark Energy. It can be found in the observable Universe. Found in ratios of 75% more than any other substance. Dark Energy. It can be found in religious extremists, in cheerleaders. To come to the conclusion that Dark signifies mean and malevolent would define 75% of the Universe as an evil force. Alternatively, to think that some cheerleaders don't have razors in their snatch is to be foolishly unarmed.

-- Tori Amos
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6 years ago  ::  Feb 02, 2009 - 8:21PM #27
Bran th' Blessed
Posts: 34
I call myself Pagan and Neo-Pagan all the time and I have an understanding of those words based upon modern usage within our, yes, Pagan community.  If we reject the word, then those who use it as a perjorative have won the debate.  If we claim the word and fill it with the meaning and value we want it to have, we redeem it from those who use it negatively.  We change the value of the word within our community and gradually within the whole of the world.  And that is our victory.

I am, as you say all or most Hindus are, someone who believes that all human gods are manifestations of one divine power that is immanent within all of us, and indeed all that is.  But this one absolute being is too transcendent and incomprehensible for us to grasp, either in ourselves or the world around us, so we make our own god images that are not the absolute one but are as close as we can come to it.  It is rather like the parable of the blind men describing the elephant.  We see only what we can comprehend in the spiritual and cultural context of our lives.  These gods (and goddesses) are not imaginary beings.  They are the very real faces of God as the divine reaches out to humankind in an effort to commune with us.  As a Hindu, you will understand what I am saying.  Tat tvam asi!  Members of the Abrahamic religion do not take my views as kindly, but it does not change the way the world is.  There is one or there is not.  All gods (and goddesses) are human manifestations of that one, or they are not.  What we argue amongst ourselves cannot change that.

Blessed Be!
Bran th' Blessed
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6 years ago  ::  Feb 02, 2009 - 8:38PM #28
Bran th' Blessed
Posts: 34
Regarding God as King and God as Teacher, I understand what you're saying, but I see that some humans need and choose this Kingly God while other humans need and choose the Teacher.  I think deity has a great appetite for diversity.  Humans have ALL known centuries of monarchy and imperialism, including the peoples of India, but we are all growing out of that phase of our childhood toward a time of democracy, socialism, and communism.  And I sense in today's religions, in spite of their fundamentalist facades, a strong and growing undercurrent of ecumenicalism and universalism.  I think tolerance of diversity is increasing in all the religions of our electronically cosmopolitan world.  It is obvious that we are one people, the children of the Earth.

Bran th' Blessed
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6 years ago  ::  Feb 05, 2009 - 6:47PM #29
costrel
Posts: 6,226

John_T_Mainer wrote:

Fact: Pagan covers all the non-Abrahamic religions, most especially the ancestral beleifs of the peoples before the birth of Christ.


Forgive me for shouldering into a thread like this, but if one takes a look at the Old English or Anglo-Saxon language (before the heavy influence of Latin, Greek, and French), one begins to understand how the early medieval people whose language we have inherited viewed religion. According to J.R. Clark Hall's A Concise Anglo-Saxon Dictionary, the recently-Christianitized Anglo-Saxons used "tha cristnan" ("Christian") for themselves (the Angles or English), to differentiate between themselves and the Danes. In addition, they used the word "God" for the biblical god and the word "godgield" to refer to a pre-Christian god as well as to pre-Christian religious practices (the latter also having a separate word, "godgildlic").

What we see here are the Anglo-Saxons using specific words to define what they once were and once worshipped from what they were then and worshipped then, as well as using the term "Christian" as a word to specifically refer to themselves, the Angles. I don't know if this will help with the discussion or not, but I thought I'd add it to the discussion.

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6 years ago  ::  Feb 05, 2009 - 6:47PM #30
costrel
Posts: 6,226

John_T_Mainer wrote:

Fact: Pagan covers all the non-Abrahamic religions, most especially the ancestral beleifs of the peoples before the birth of Christ.


Forgive me for shouldering into a thread like this, but if one takes a look at the Old English or Anglo-Saxon language (before the heavy influence of Latin, Greek, and French), one begins to understand how the early medieval people whose language we have inherited viewed religion. According to J.R. Clark Hall's A Concise Anglo-Saxon Dictionary, the recently-Christianitized Anglo-Saxons used "tha cristnan" ("Christian") for themselves (the Angles or English), to differentiate between themselves and the Danes. In addition, they used the word "God" for the biblical god and the word "godgield" to refer to a pre-Christian god as well as to pre-Christian religious practices (the latter also having a separate word, "godgildlic").

What we see here are the Anglo-Saxons using specific words to define what they once were and once worshipped from what they were then and worshipped then, as well as using the term "Christian" as a word to specifically refer to themselves, the Angles. I don't know if this will help with the discussion or not, but I thought I'd add it to the discussion.

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