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Thread: Creating God

  1. #11
    tWebber lee_merrill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carpedm9587 View Post
    As best I can tell, animism sees "gods" in "nature." These gods are/were largely capricious and fickle, wanting to be appeased and honored.
    And if you don't appease them?

    Tylor asserted that people everywhere would be impressed by the vividness of dream images and would reason that dreams of dead kin or of distant friends were proof of the existence of souls. The simple belief in these spiritual beings, independent of natural bodies, would, he thought, expand to include more elaborate religious doctrines, accompanied by rites designed to influence powerful spirits and so control important natural events.
    But I don't see how this supports a point you have made...

    But his cognitive emphasis led him to understate the urgent practicality of the believer’s concern with the supernatural. Tylor’s believers are “armchair primitives” (the creatures of armchair anthropologists), not real individuals caught in the toils of discord, disease, and fear of perdition.


    Note that the sentence at the end is not claiming that the real individuals of the time had all of those characteristics, and does not offer any basis for thinking so. The focus of the statement is about "armchair primitives" versus "real individuals," not a defense that they "believed in perdition."
    But surely the believers here represents the animists, real individuals who believed in perdition.

    Blessings,
    Lee
    "What I pray of you is, to keep your eye upon Him, for that is everything. Do you say, 'How am I to keep my eye on Him?' I reply, keep your eye off everything else, and you will soon see Him. All depends on the eye of faith being kept on Him. How simple it is!" (J.B. Stoney)

  2. #12
    tWebber carpedm9587's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lee_merrill View Post
    And if you don't appease them?
    In general, you don't get what you want. It's not about punishing behavior that is detrimental to the community (e.g., morality). It's about controlling natural outcomes with ritual/rite.

    Quote Originally Posted by lee_merrill View Post
    But I don't see how this supports a point you have made...
    My point was about the animist religions being about controlling nature by ritual/rite designed to please the "nature gods," which is what the statement says.

    Quote Originally Posted by lee_merrill View Post
    But surely the believers here represents the animists, real individuals who believed in perdition.

    Blessings,
    Lee
    There is no reason that I have found to believe that animists believed in "perdition." As far as I know, that concept does not exist in animist religions, even in modern-day tribes. They do believe in a spirit world of some sort, but the concept of "perdition" in the classic sense (i.e., a state of eternal punishment and damnation into which a sinful and unpenitent person passes after death) is not present in these religions). Indeed, that is the entire point of the author cited in the OP - that this concept arises in later religions, which form when societies exceed the size that makes one-to-one relationships between all members impossible.

    Perhaps my OP is a little misleading. The author is not talking about creating the idea of god/gods per se - these ideas exist in the earliest known cultures. It is specifically the notion of a punisher god that is an evolutionary development that appears to be linked to the size of the societies.
    The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy...returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Martin Luther King

    I would unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong. Frederick Douglas

  3. #13
    tWebber lee_merrill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carpedm9587 View Post
    In general, you don't get what you want. It's not about punishing behavior that is detrimental to the community (e.g., morality). It's about controlling natural outcomes with ritual/rite.
    Well, I think if the outcome is that my crops fail, I would consider that a punishment.

    My point was about the animist religions being about controlling nature by ritual/rite designed to please the "nature gods," which is what the statement says.
    Fair enough.

    There is no reason that I have found to believe that animists believed in "perdition."
    Well, that's what he just said.

    As far as I know, that concept does not exist in animist religions, even in modern-day tribes. They do believe in a spirit world of some sort, but the concept of "perdition" in the classic sense (i.e., a state of eternal punishment and damnation into which a sinful and unpenitent person passes after death) is not present in these religions). Indeed, that is the entire point of the author cited in the OP - that this concept arises in later religions, which form when societies exceed the size that makes one-to-one relationships between all members impossible.
    And I still am waiting for the evidence for this claim!

    Blessings,
    Lee
    "What I pray of you is, to keep your eye upon Him, for that is everything. Do you say, 'How am I to keep my eye on Him?' I reply, keep your eye off everything else, and you will soon see Him. All depends on the eye of faith being kept on Him. How simple it is!" (J.B. Stoney)

  4. #14
    tWebber carpedm9587's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lee_merrill View Post
    Well, I think if the outcome is that my crops fail, I would consider that a punishment.
    If I fail to put the oil in my car correctly, and the engine seizes - am I being punished? Or am I just experiencing the natural consequences of not doing things correctly? In the case of animism, failure to execute a rite/ritual correctly (or not at all) means I don't get what I wanted. Is that punishment? Or just a natural outcome of not doing the ritual correctly (or at all?).

    What you are missing, Lee, is the link to social behaviors that threaten the group (e.g., morality). That is what the "punisher god" is all about. If you act immorally - then you are punished in the afterlife (and possibly this life).

    Quote Originally Posted by lee_merrill View Post
    Fair enough.

    Well, that's what he just said.
    Go back and look at the context, Lee. That's not what it says. And there is no evidence I know of that any animism religions believe in perdition as it is defined by modern religions.

    Quote Originally Posted by lee_merrill View Post
    And I still am waiting for the evidence for this claim!

    Blessings,
    Lee
    Then I suggest you listen to the podcast and/or read the article, and then read the paper. That's why I linked it - for those who are interested. It is here.

    As for further evidence, I have found no source on animism that makes any reference to beliefs in perdition as being part of the faith. Outside of this paper and its implications, that's the best "evidence" I can provide you with. You are, after all, asking me to prove a negative.
    Last edited by carpedm9587; 11-04-2018 at 06:11 PM.
    The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy...returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Martin Luther King

    I would unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong. Frederick Douglas

  5. #15
    tWebber lee_merrill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carpedm9587 View Post
    If I fail to put the oil in my car correctly, and the engine seizes - am I being punished?
    No, but if my crops fail because I failed to propitiate a deity, then I would consider that a punishment.

    What you are missing, Lee, is the link to social behaviors that threaten the group (e.g., morality). That is what the "punisher god" is all about. If you act immorally - then you are punished in the afterlife (and possibly this life).
    If my crops fail, that could threaten the group, though. Negligence on my part can be morally culpable.

    Go back and look at the context, Lee. That's not what it says.
    'Tis too!

    Then I suggest you listen to the podcast and/or read the article, and then read the paper. That's why I linked it - for those who are interested. It is here.
    Well, it required me to subscribe, so I read as far as I could before making a contribution. I was hoping you would give me some relevant data.

    You are, after all, asking me to prove a negative.
    Yep! Because you made a negative claim.

    Blessings,
    Lee
    "What I pray of you is, to keep your eye upon Him, for that is everything. Do you say, 'How am I to keep my eye on Him?' I reply, keep your eye off everything else, and you will soon see Him. All depends on the eye of faith being kept on Him. How simple it is!" (J.B. Stoney)

  6. #16
    tWebber carpedm9587's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lee_merrill View Post
    No, but if my crops fail because I failed to propitiate a deity, then I would consider that a punishment.
    Perhaps you are too used to thinking from the perspective of a punisher god - and an authoritative stance in general. If I say to my sons, "mow the lawn this weekend and I'll take you to the movies, and they don't mow the lawn, not taking them to the movies is not a punishment. They simply have failed to do what I have asked and are not reaping the benefit. From the perspective of animism, conducting rites/rituals is how you achieve something you want (good weather, good crops, good health). If you don't do it right, you just don't get what you want.

    And again - we are not talking about punishment for immoral action against the group. Different concept.

    Quote Originally Posted by lee_merrill View Post
    If my crops fail, that could threaten the group, though. Negligence on my part can be morally culpable.
    You continue to impose "punisher god" thinking on an animistic religion. First of all, the these cultures, the rites and rituals were typically performed by the group, or the shaman as representing the group or conjunction with the group.

    Quote Originally Posted by lee_merrill View Post
    'Tis too!
    I'll leave you to this one. I have long since learned there is no swaying someone who has adopted a particular interpretation of a text that fits their existing perspective. I think you are taking the sentence out of context, and attributing to it far more importance than it's use suggests. My evidence to that is the complete lack of any reference to perdition beliefs in any descriptions of animism that I have found. So, if you'd like to convince - you'll need to find a reasonably authoritative source that attributes perdition beliefs to animist religions.

    Quote Originally Posted by lee_merrill View Post
    Well, it required me to subscribe, so I read as far as I could before making a contribution. I was hoping you would give me some relevant data.
    I have - the absence of any reference to perdition beliefs in animism descriptions.

    Quote Originally Posted by lee_merrill View Post
    Yep! Because you made a negative claim.

    Blessings,
    Lee
    Lee - you seem to be attempting to make the positive claim that animism beliefs included the concept of perdition. I'm finding no such evidence in the literature, which is the only evidence I can provide for rejecting your claim. You are pointing to one sentence who's focus is on "armchair anthropologists" (as opposed to field work) and using that one sentence to defend the claim "they believed in perdition." Since there is NO reference to perdition beliefs in any of the literature I have examined, I conclude you are most likely wrong. If you want me to conclude differently, provide some evidence for these perdition beliefs.
    The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy...returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Martin Luther King

    I would unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong. Frederick Douglas

  7. #17
    tWebber lee_merrill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carpedm9587 View Post
    If you want me to conclude differently, provide some evidence for these perdition beliefs.
    Well, I found a place, and I've said my say, so I think I will leave it at that!

    Blessings,
    Lee
    "What I pray of you is, to keep your eye upon Him, for that is everything. Do you say, 'How am I to keep my eye on Him?' I reply, keep your eye off everything else, and you will soon see Him. All depends on the eye of faith being kept on Him. How simple it is!" (J.B. Stoney)

  8. #18
    tWebber carpedm9587's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lee_merrill View Post
    Well, I found a place, and I've said my say, so I think I will leave it at that!

    Blessings,
    Lee
    Fair enough, Lee. Since I think you are reading into that single line more than was intended by the author, we will have to agree to disagree. If I get a sec, I'll see if I can find the author's contact information and ask for a clarification.
    The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy...returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Martin Luther King

    I would unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong. Frederick Douglas

  9. #19
    tWebber lee_merrill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carpedm9587 View Post
    If I get a sec, I'll see if I can find the author's contact information and ask for a clarification.
    Alrighty, sounds good.

    Blessing to you,
    Lee
    "What I pray of you is, to keep your eye upon Him, for that is everything. Do you say, 'How am I to keep my eye on Him?' I reply, keep your eye off everything else, and you will soon see Him. All depends on the eye of faith being kept on Him. How simple it is!" (J.B. Stoney)

  10. #20
    tWebber carpedm9587's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lee_merrill View Post
    Alrighty, sounds good.

    Blessing to you,
    Lee
    Thanks for a very civil discussion, Lee. You're always a pleasure to exchange ideas/views with. You keep it about the ideas/views.
    The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy...returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Martin Luther King

    I would unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong. Frederick Douglas

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