Friday, December 28, 2007

Nature of "The Divine"?

First a quick definition. When I use the term “the divine” I mean whatever you conceive of as the gods or higher spiritual beings.

I have found on this forum a diversity of opinions on the actual nature of the divine. It has peaked my curiosity and I would like to see more discussion on this issue so let me pose some questions about to you wonderful people.

1. When you think of the divine do you understand the beings to be distinct, independent beings? For example, if you worship/believe in Zeus is Zeus a self-sustained being of tremendous power or otherworldliness? Or is Zeus dependent on human interaction or some other source for existence? If not independent, then what is the divine dependent on and how does that affect our relationships with the divine?

1a. Or the corollary, do you view the divine as some sort of arch-typical being (ala Jungian belief)? Or human construct?

2. How do you communicate or interact with the divine? Is directed personal communication enough? (Prayer, a ritual for the god, talking, thinking to the god, etc.) Is indirect personal communication enough? (Thinking about concerns, worship, etc but not directly for the benefit of the divine.)

3. What do you expect in response from the divine? Do you expect a change in the behaviors, situations, or attributes of the world? (Weal or woe.) Do you expect nothing? Do you expect a purely experiential state? (Religious ecstasy, oneness with the world, etc.)

4. And finally. Is there only one divine or many? If only one, what of other supposed divine beings and experiences? If many, what distinguishes one from another? Is the whole question subjective?

I think these four questions should given a basic framework of how everyone conceives of the divine. And will help me to understand the way other people think when I'm debating with them.

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