Blog 8 - AOS ch 8

There are many ism’s within religion, but they’re usually not mutually exclusive. In Neolithic and Paleolithic times the majority of people didn’t distinguish so much between supernatural/sacred and the natural/profane. There has been an evolving distinction since that time and a parallel narrowing down of the amount of gods and such. Before this transition, people always associated everything in the physical world, including their senses and emotions as part of or controlled by spirits and gods.

The main ism’s of religion are dualism, pantheism and monism, monotheism, panentheism, and polytheism.

In dualism, it is believed that a cosmic order must be maintained by two equal gods or spirits or powers. In some forms of dualism these forces complement each other and are not seen as eternal enemies. While in other forms of dualism they are seen as being in a never-ending battle for dominance. 

Pantheism is the belief that everything in the universe is just a piece of the divine. God is in everything and everything is in god. This is a part of monism, which states that there is only one substance to everything, and that is god.

Monotheism is the belief that a single god created everything but doesn’t necessarily dwell within everything like in pantheism. According to many believers, the mono god micro and macro manages the universe, yet is not bounded by it. The mono god can transcend the universe. It doesn’t need its creation but created the universe out of love. Deists believe in one god but don’t believe god micro manages or that evolution is necessarily a lie.

Panentheism is a kind of merge between monotheism and pantheism. It’s the belief that there’s one god but that a god is not separate from its creation. God can transcend but is also a part of the universe. The world and god affect each other.

Polytheism is the belief in many gods. In one area, it evolved through Zeus into a monarchial polytheism, wherein Zeus absorbed many other gods and became a king of gods. This is one of the trends that led to monotheism.

In the spirit of Xenophanes, we create gods in our own image. Men are not the dreams of gods, but gods are the dreams of men.


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