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View Diary: Is there a God? (With Poll) (279 comments)

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  •  "God" as "the creator" is an Abrahamic focus (21+ / 0-)

    The OT begins with a creation story (and then supplies a second one later on). So Abrahamic religions focus on "God" as equivalent to a "creator".

    But most other religions do not. Asian religions commonly assume there are many universes that come and go, and the creation of this particular universe is not central part of the religion. There may be stories about it -- e.g. Brahma is dreaming this universe -- but Brahma isn't a terribly important Hindu deity (there are no big temples dedicated to Brahma) compared to Shiva (who destroys worlds) or Vishu (who protects them).

    God(s) aren't the centerpiece of Buddhism at all, which is about enlightenment and compassion. Buddhism accepts whatever local gods people believe in a syncretistic strategy. These gods eventually become Bodhisattvas, "Saints" -- enlightened beings. Creation is even less important to Buddhism, and is associated with Maya (illusion).

    In Taoism, nature and nature's ways (Tao) play a central role but the question of where nature came from is not a centerpiece of the religion. As in ancient Greek religion, nature may have come from some "Primal" entities such as Night, Chaos, Mist or whatever -- but you get the sense that people are just trying to answer the questions of children with these speculations, and have no great religious concerns about what happened way back in the primal mists.

    •  Admittedly, my focus is limited. (6+ / 0-)

      I know very little about non-Abrahamic religions. Good post.

      Note to Boehner and McConnell: "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows." --Bob Dylan-- (-7.25, -6.21)

      by Tim DeLaney on Sat May 18, 2013 at 10:33:16 AM PDT

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    •  Does Anyone Know if the Great Spirit Concept (7+ / 0-)

      of Native Americans predates European contact?

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Sat May 18, 2013 at 11:15:39 AM PDT

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      •  Native Americans were/are very diverse (4+ / 0-)

        linguistically and culturally, and there are many different NA spiritual beings and creation stories. I think white European culture syncretized some of these to its own religious ideas.

      •  Given the tremendous diversity of cultures for (6+ / 0-)

        1000s of years between the East & West Coasts (not to mention between Northern Alaska & Souther Chile), that concept certainly existed for some at some point...but how to quantify it would seem a mystery to me...especially since European contact & disease spread often disrupted the continuity of oral traditions that had spanned millenia.

        I'd posit that any intellectual endeavor or accomplishment that was achieved in the old world, was also independently achieved in the Americas at some point...at some time.

        If people can develop the intellectual concept of zero (as was documented in the Americas), of nothingness, they can develop any intellectual concept.  

        The Americas greatest political dynasty...the Kaan

        by catilinus on Sat May 18, 2013 at 11:59:38 AM PDT

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      •  Good question, (3+ / 0-)

        and one that my anthropology teacher would have answered "no" to. She said that a lot of of the creator deities in native cultures got translated as great spirits and that the concept was easily assimilated when natives were converted.

    •  Various opinions in ancient China.... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blueoasis, paradise50

      Especially among "Daoists," who were by no means ideologically united. At one point, Zhuangzi Chapter 2 makes fun of the whole idea that the universe "began" at some point, reducing it to absurdity with an endless regression:

      There was a beginning. There was a beginning before that beginning. There was a beginning previous to that beginning before there was the beginning. There was existence; there had been no existence. There was no existence before the beginning of that no existence. There was no existence previous to the no existence before there was the beginning of the no existence. If suddenly there was nonexistence, we do not know whether it was really anything existing, or really not existing. Now I have said what I have said, but I do not know whether what I have said be really anything to the point or not.
      (In the original, that passage is fiendishly difficult but delightful, one of the parts that seems certain to be from "Zhuangzi" himself, whoever he was.)

      "They smash your face in, and say you were always ugly." (Solzhenitsyn)

      by sagesource on Sat May 18, 2013 at 05:52:13 PM PDT

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