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Forum Lockedwhat makes a god a god

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Akolouthos View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Akolouthos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: what makes a god a god
    Posted: 09-Jun-2009 at 11:47
Hey North and Omar,

Sorry to interrupt, but I wanted to address a couple of things...

Originally posted by Northman


To me it is equal evident that the Qur'an and the Bible both assign physical features to Allah/God and to believe that common people only see/saw God as a spirit is nonsense.
Both the Qur'an and the Bible are using words as He, Lord, King, Father, Thou ie. to address God - if that isn't assigning a physical (human) image, I don't know what is.
That He also could take a spiritual form was never questioned.
 
It would take a hard study of the books to change that perception - something that even the clerics never did - untill recently - like I said.


I'm not sure about Islam, but the fathers always identified human characteristics applied to God in the Scriptures as being applied by way of analogy. God is spoken of "as if" he repented, or "as if" he had a nose to smell a sacrifice. The linguistic economy is adopted to our understanding.

Originally posted by Northman


Another issue I think is totally missing in this discussion is this:
If one belive in God and what is said in the Qur'an or the Bible, then one naturally also accept the exsistance of good and evil angels, spirits and ghosts as described in the holy books.
 
But we never hear or see any reference to them from mainstream religious groups - why is that? 


You hear them all the time in the Orthodox liturgical services, as well as in our prayers. We constantly pray to be delivered from the demons darts and from the devil. It is odd that many Christian denominations have sought to take emphasis off the parts of the faith that deal with the dark side of the spiritual world, but it has not  historically been the case, nor is it the case within Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism. I'll let Omar deal with the Islamic perspective, as I don't know nearly enough about it.

Once again, sorry to interrupt. Smile

-Akolouthos
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Post Options Post Options   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Jun-2009 at 12:04
Originally posted by Northman

No Omar - it's not only valid in Danish history - all Abrahamic religions have the concept of "heaven or hell" - including your own religion of course.

They do now, but they didn't always. The idea comes fairly late into Judaism, probably after the exile. And of course it didn't originate with Judaism.

 
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Post Options Post Options   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Jun-2009 at 12:10
Originally posted by Northman

If one belive in God and what is said in the Qur'an or the Bible, then one naturally also accept the exsistance of good and evil angels, spirits and ghosts as described in the holy books.
 
But we never hear or see any reference to them from mainstream religious groups - why is that?  
 
Well actually you hear references to them all the time, especially among Protestants in the US (angels in particular) and among Catholics of all denominations (saints in particular, but also angels).
 
What you probably don't hear so much (and this is maybe what you meant) is references to them by intellectuals debating.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Northman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Jun-2009 at 16:08

You are not interrupting anything Ako - it's a pleasure to have you with us.
Thank you for your elaboration on the laws on the previous page - a very good read.

Originally posted by Akolouthos


I'm not sure about Islam, but the fathers always identified human characteristics applied to God in the Scriptures as being applied by way of analogy. God is spoken of "as if" he repented, or "as if" he had a nose to smell a sacrifice. The linguistic economy is adopted to our understanding.

How do we know it was an analogy they used - what makes you say that - did they say it directly?
I think that also the old clerics saw God as a human character, how could they not? According to the Bible we are created "in His Image".
As far as I know, that was always translated to mean that he created us like himself - until recently.


@Akolouthos and gcle
Sorry, like you said gcle,  I should have been more specific talking about angles, spirits and ghosts.
I'm well aware of how it's used in services (Christian) - but yes, if we look back on previous discussion here or actually anywhere religion is discussed, their absense is striking.
The only thing we hear occasionally (and with a lot of controversy) is when a priest performs an exorcism to rid someone of an evil demon or similar.
The church accepts the existence of these beings - they are an important element of religious beliefs, yet we hear so little of them, and I was asking why?

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Post Options Post Options   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Jun-2009 at 20:35

Northman, I assume you don't follow US opinion polls?

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Post Options Post Options   Quote Omar al Hashim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-Jun-2009 at 04:11
Originally posted by North

You can do any aftermath you like Omar, but it's evident that common people were/are controlled by religion, maybe even more so today.
The difference is that today, various beliefs pick and chose amongst the +600 laws (plus some extra doctrines) only adhering to what they find "suitable" - or fitting for the occasion.

Yep, because religion is to blame for taking away freedom, and no-one today is ever controlled by trusted figures

Geeze, if we'd just gone back in time to our great-great-grandfathers and liberated them from their oppressive religious rule they would've fallen over to thank us. They wouldn't, say, have grumbled to their kids about impious government and foriegn interference or anything, prompting those kids to try to re-establish religion in government.

I mean that kind of situation would be unparalleled. Imagine common people trying to control the state through religion. We'd have to be living in a dream world to see a popular revolution to overthrow a freedom-loving secular government and replace it with an evil-oppressive religious one.
To me it is equal evident that the Qur'an and the Bible both assign physical features to Allah/God and to believe that common people only see/saw God as a spirit is nonsense.
Both the Qur'an and the Bible are using words as He, Lord, King, Father, Thou ie. to address God - if that isn't assigning a physical (human) image, I don't know what is.
That He also could take a spiritual form was never questioned.
 
It would take a hard study of the books to change that perception - something that even the clerics never did - untill recently - like I said.

Yep, because I'm going to believe your opinion on historical anthropomorphism in Islam over 8th century religious writers who've spent their whole life studying Islam. No offence North, there are muslims who refuse to use a plastic toothbrush because the prophet used a siwak (a soft wooden toothbrush). People who spend their life accusing things of being latter innovations without any suggestion of common sense, and these people do not believe in an anthropomorphic God.
Anthropomorphic heresies have arisen and dissappeared, extremist anti-Anthropomorphic heresies have arisen and dissappeared, people have been killed over the usage of the word "created" vs "word", whole libraries have been written on the subject.

But, its perfectly evident that everyone is simply mistaken, and all this literature magically came into existance in 1900.

I don't mean to be sarcastic North but you are leaving me with little other choice. I mean can't you see the cunning plot by none other than our arch rival Napoleon to take over all of Europe by means of the EU? Its perfectly evident, once you account for being tricked by historians re-interpreting history as if Napoleon wasn't behind it all.

Your argument is simplistic when applied to Christianity - where there is some truth in what you say about common beliefs. When applied to Islam its just... there almost no point replying.
Originally posted by North

Another issue I think is totally missing in this discussion is this:
If one belive in God and what is said in the Qur'an or the Bible, then one naturally also accept the exsistance of good and evil angels, spirits and ghosts as described in the holy books.
 
But we never hear or see any reference to them from mainstream religious groups - why is that? 

We've had several discussions about Jinn on AE. Red Clay even swore he met one.


Edited by Omar al Hashim - 10-Jun-2009 at 04:12
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Post Options Post Options   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-Jun-2009 at 11:26
Must have been quite a tonic for him.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Northman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-Jun-2009 at 13:04
Originally posted by Omar

But, its perfectly evident that everyone is simply mistaken, and all this literature magically came into existance in 1900...........
Your argument is simplistic when applied to Christianity - where there is some truth in what you say about common beliefs. When applied to Islam its just... there almost no point replying.
No - everyone is not mistaken, but your mistake is that you assign the knowledge of people who have studied theology in depths, to equate the beliefs of commoners.
You cannot assign your knowledge of Islam or Ako's knowledge of Christianity to common people - and certainly not commoners a century or more ago. 
I don't know why it's so hard to accept that the fundamental texts were written more than two millenia ago, the Qur'an more than one millenium ago, and our view and understanding of the world has changed a bit since then - leaving some of those texts somewhat outdated.
Is it because the old texts you believe in have to be right down to the last word? 
Is that also why we cannot apply any new views to Islam? 
 
Yes - my arguments are simple, I'm a simple man - religion has never been, and shouldn't be, rocket science for crate chickens.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Akolouthos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-Jun-2009 at 22:34
Originally posted by Northman

Originally posted by Omar

But, its perfectly evident that everyone is simply mistaken, and all this literature magically came into existance in 1900...........
Your argument is simplistic when applied to Christianity - where there is some truth in what you say about common beliefs. When applied to Islam its just... there almost no point replying.
No - everyone is not mistaken, but your mistake is that you assign the knowledge of people who have studied theology in depths, to equate the beliefs of commoners.
You cannot assign your knowledge of Islam or Ako's knowledge of Christianity to common people - and certainly not commoners a century or more ago. 
I don't know why it's so hard to accept that the fundamental texts were written more than two millenia ago, the Qur'an more than one millenium ago, and our view and understanding of the world has changed a bit since then - leaving some of those texts somewhat outdated.
Is it because the old texts you believe in have to be right down to the last word? 
Is that also why we cannot apply any new views to Islam?
  


I cut that last line off for the purposes of my reply; I hope you don't mind.

Part of what entrances me so much about Christianity -- and I'm sure it's a reason for Omar's love of Islam -- is how little the core doctrines have changed over the millenia. The applications change, to be sure, precisely because the culture changes; the fundamental teachings and standards that are being applied do not.

The biggest change has been in the modern popular approach to religion, wherein individuals who have no theological training presume a right to argue theology with those who have devoted their lives to the study of such things. As with everything else, a "commoner", to borrow your phrasing, is certainly entitled to his own beliefs, but I would posit that to inform them he must consult those who have a certain level of expertise in the field. I wouldn't trust a layman who happens to enjoy reading things like the Da Vinci Code, The God Delusion, or even the Church Fathers to promulgate canon law any more than I would trust a churchman to who happens to enjoy cooking his own dinner to head up a major restaurant.

The problem is that because religion happens to be intensely personal, people recoil from the idea of submitting their opinions to the examination of people who might disagree with their fundamental presuppositions. It's rather like -- to adopt and adapt an analogy from one of graham's posts a year or so ago -- expecting to arrive at a proper political position every time one takes a random poll.

-Akolouthos
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Scorpius Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Jun-2009 at 02:22
The God is The God. There is no making.

What makes you recognize The God is another story.
It is your heart, it is your intelligence, it is your wisdom, it is your judgment, it is a lot of things
I cannot comprehend.

Here is a little story that always makes me smile : )

One day a group of eminent scientists got together and decided that Man had come a long way and no longer needed GOD. So they picked one scientist to go and tell Him that they were done with Him.

The scientist walked up to GOD and said,"GOD,we've decided that we no longer need You. We are to the point that we can clone people and do many miraculous things,so why don't you just retire??"

GOD listened very patiently to the man and then said,"Very well, but first, how about this, let's have a Man Making Contest."

To which the scientist replied,"Okay, Great!"

But GOD added,"Now we are going to do this just like I did back in the old days with Adam"
The Scientist said,"Sure, No problem" and bent down and grabbed himself a handful of dirt.

GOD just looked at him and said,"No,no no--- You go get your own dirt!"





Edited by Scorpius - 11-Jun-2009 at 02:33
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Omar al Hashim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Jun-2009 at 07:53

Hey Scorpius! Its great to see you again.

Originally posted by Northman

No - everyone is not mistaken, but your mistake is that you assign the knowledge of people who have studied theology in depths, to equate the beliefs of commoners.
You cannot assign your knowledge of Islam or Ako's knowledge of Christianity to common people - and certainly not commoners a century or more ago.

But when we are specifically talking about beliefs of the common people in the early Islamic period we have them recorded in great detail. Imam Malik, the founder of the Maliki school of law, used the example of the people of Madinah as a source of deriving law.
Not only that, but you were specifically talking about anthropomorphism, which was a great subject of religious argument in the Abbasid period, and which we have vast amounts of recorded knowledge about.

Now if you say, do I know what Mr X from village Y in valley Z believed in 1807 then of course I have no idea. But I do know that the definition of God that is being taught now, and the definition of God being taught in the 8th century is the same. In fact, muslims have always been very strict in teaching the same definition since revelation.

Furthermore I don't see any real distinction between common people and theologians in a religion that has no clergy. The 'theologians' came from the common people, they would sit in public mosques and give public lectures, in fact the most notable early period theologians are notable now, because they were famous in their own time with the common people.

I don't know why it's so hard to accept that the fundamental texts were written more than two millenia ago, the Qur'an more than one millenium ago, and our view and understanding of the world has changed a bit since then - leaving some of those texts somewhat outdated.
Is it because the old texts you believe in have to be right down to the last word?
Is that also why we cannot apply any new views to Islam?

We believe that Islam was created to re-teach mankind the message of Jesus and eariler prophets. Correcting what was forgotten and reaffirming that which wasn't.
If humans went and changed the religion to suit ourselves we would be defeating the point. We would not be teaching or practicing the message as revealed.
That is why we do not allow new views to be applied to Islam. Islam is, by definition, God's message preserved, and we believe that one, and exactly one "old text" is right down to the last word - the Quran.

If you wish to talk about Shariah law, then the majority of the methodology and rulings were derivied by men, such as Imam Malik. It is presently a matter of hot debate about how much law is outdated, and how much some legal implementations are actually adhering to revelation.

"O Byzantines! If success is your desire and if you seek right guidance and want your empire to remain then give the pledge to this Prophet"
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Balaam Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Jun-2009 at 09:51
I'd like to quote the character Itsuki Tachibana from Initial D

"Do you know what a god is? A god is actually human. But he can do what other humans can't."

I like to think of that as what makes a god. Smile
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