Religion and believers #2 Different forms of Truth

For people who have an eye for religion, it is important to see that there are Christian fundamentalists, Jewish fundamentalists, Hindu fundamentalists,  Buddhist fundamentalists and so on. As in the other groups of such main religions, those fundamentalist groups are even more convinced of their track. For them, there is no doubt that they are the only ones who stick to the truth. But often people do not go into looking what truth really can be or is. Truth is something that is also connected to man’s direct experience and is inherent to the upbringing and general teaching a person received.

Language and several sorts of truths

When there is a search for the absolute truth, people have a sort of earth-hunger, or preference for the essence of things. for making up the truth people take in consideration their own values and historical ideas and they confide in each other, – English believes in English. Often truth is also based on the way people feel themselves or place themselves in its entirety.

The French feel the superiority of this probity. The Englishman is not springing a trap for his admiration, but is honestly minding his business. The Frenchman is vain. Madame de Stael says, that the English irritated Napoleon, mainly, because they have found out how to unite success with honesty. She was not aware how wide an application her foreign readers would give to the remark. Wellington discovered the ruin of Bonaparte’s affairs, by his own probity. He augured ill of the empire, as soon as he saw that it was mendacious, and lived by war. If war do not bring in its sequel new trade, better agriculture and manufactures, but only games, fireworks, and spectacles, – no prosperity could support it; much less, a nation decimated for conscripts, and out of pocket, like France. So he drudged for years on his military works at Lisbon, and from this base at last extended his gigantic lines to Waterloo, believing in his countrymen and their syllogisms above all the rhodomontade of Europe. {Ralph Waldo Emerson on Truth}

For us truth is the connection with the conformity, or behaviour that follows the usual standards that are expected by a group or society to fact or actuality and is about matters to be proven to be or accepted as true, which may be connected to fidelity to an original or standard, but always it has to be considered to be part of or to belong to the ultimate ground of reality, having the quality of being true, genuine, actual, or factual.

For example the name which we give to colours and objects and the language people chose to use and to agree with the vocabulary and grammatical rules. In several languages, we can see that by the years meanings changed but also the acceptance for a word could change as well. In Dutch “hut” (hut, cot, cottage, hovel) and “iglo” (igloo) were a few years ago the normal words to indicate those living quarters of certain people. Today those words may not be used anymore, because they are considered not acceptable, pejorative words which are discriminating. The opposite for “Zwarte” (in French “noir”) or black person, which was a few years ago (in my childhood) a term of abuse, whilst today “neger” (nigger, negro or negress) is considered obloquy or strong abuse and we do have to use the words “zwarte” and “witte” for dark and caucasian or so-called “white” people (though we are not exactly white). Today we are not allowed to use “blanke” (Caucasian or plain) because it is considered reprehensible or objectionable discriminative language. This are only a few examples how language changes but also how ideas or concepts change and also bring changes into truth as well.

People may not forget that there has always been a difference between general truth, civil truth, political truth, denominational or religious truth as well as between Biblical Truth and/or Full Truth, half-truth and shadow- truth. Those last two are the most dangerous ones because they are easily catching people and have them pulled away from the real truth.

Matter of opinion

In Christendom all of them believe they are the holders of the absolute truth, while all others are supposed to be heretics or even the work of the devil himself. What is important to know is that those who say someone else is a heretic, they mostly are seeing that person from their point of view. In fact, they accuse the other of being someone who has an opinion that is opposite to or against their official or popular opinion. Now chiefly the  Roman Catholic Church and main Protestant Churches consider all those who do not belong to their group and/or who maintain beliefs contrary to the established teachings of the Church as heretics. They are all used to sow division among toiling people around the world. The phenomenon affects all countries to one degree or another.

In the past, we have seen that when there were established groups, there came a reaction against certain teachings in such groups what led to division. That way Christianity got divided into Catholics, Trinitarian and non-Trinitarian Protestants. Every time, when there were crisis moments, be it political or health-wise, there came new schisms or separation or division into factions, caused by a disagreement about ideas, aims and beliefs.

Polytheism versus monotheism

The way of how one wanted to look at gods or the Divine Creator Almighty God above all other gods greater than all gods, made many human beings struggle with their faith but also with the organisation to live such faith. Throughout history, there was a continuous search for gods who could be “immortals.” Lots of religious people wanted to have their religion to be about something they easily could recognise and would be about gods who were born, and of whom their parentage is known. Even several Catholics and Protestants preferred to go for such gods that were born, and as such made the Nazarene Jewish preacher Jeshua ben Josef into their god Jesus Christ. (Jesus as a three-headed god in replacement of Zeus). Although they claim to be a monotheist religion, there are groups they call polytheists, though their gods have much more in common or equality with the parent or main god than the gods those Catholics and Protestants worship. For example, their main God (God the Father) is so-called eternal, almighty and all-knowing, but their god Jesus is not eternal, because he was born and died, and at the same time he was not all-knowing and knot able to do everything. Those groups that believe in such a three-headed god or Trinity consider that those Christians who do not believe in the trinity as heretics, whilst it are those Trinitarians who became ardent anti-Non-trinitarians went away from the original Christians of the first century, who were a mix of Jehudiem or Jews (believing in Only One True God of Israel) and converts to the Jewish sect The Way.

Distinction and multiplication of divine forms

The lower and unprogressive religions practically remain in the polydaemonistic stage, though not without occasionally feeling the stimulus of contact with higher faiths, like some of the West African peoples in the presence of the Mahommedan advance. Among the more progressive races, on the other hand, continual processes of elevation and decline may be observed, and the activities of the greater gods are constantly being enriched with new functions. Personal or social experiences of the satisfaction of some desire or escape from some danger are referred to some particular deity (a god or goddess). Elements of race-consciousness help to shape the outlook on nature or life: and slight differences of linguistic use in the coining of descriptive terms sometimes lead to the multiplication of divine forms.

Exacter observation of nature; closer attention to its contrasts of life and death, or light and darkness, or male and female; the distinction between its permanent objects, and its occasional or recurring operations; the recognition that behind sudden manifestations of power, like the thunder-storm, there are steady forces and continuous cosmic agencies at work—lead to the gradual rise of the higher deities. And from the social side the development of law, the influence of city life, the formation of priesthoods, the connexion of particular deities with the fortunes of dynasties or the vicissitudes of nations, the processes of migration, of conquest and political fusion, the deportations of vanquished peoples, even the sale of slaves to distant lands and the growth of trade and travel, all contribute to the processes which expand and modify different pantheons, and determine the importance of particular deities.

https://cdn.britannica.com/06/59406-004-E25B873A/Brahmin-priest-text-sacrifice-Vedic.jpg
Brāhmaṇa (“Possessor of Brahma”), highest ranking of the four varnas, or social classes, in Hindu India.

In the midst of the bewildering variety, where all types co-exist together and act and react on each other, it is impossible to do more than point out some obvious groups receiving their special forms chiefly from the side (1) of nature, (2) of human life, and (3) from moral or theological speculation. Divine persons, objects or powers, connected with ritual, are not here considered, such as the Brahman priests who claimed to be manushyadevāh (human-gods), or the sacred soma-juice which grew by strange analogies into a mysterious element, linking together heaven and earth.

Connection with  nature

Looking for the truth man saw many things around him. Nature made a great impression on him and it proved to be mightier than him.

On the side of Nature the lowest rank seems to belong to what Usener has designated “momentary” or “occasional” gods. {Götternamen, Bonn, 1896, p. 279 ff. But cp. Dr Farnell’s essay “On the Place of the Sonder-Götter in Greek Polytheism,” in Anthropological Essays presented to Edward Burnett Tylor (1907), p. 81.} They embody for the time being a vague consciousness of the divine, which is concentrated for some single act into an outward object, like a warrior’s spear or the thunderbolt, or the last sheaf of corn into which the Corn-Mother has been driven. {Götternamen, Bonn, 1896, pp. 285, 286 + Frazer, The Golden Bough (2), ii. 170-1.} Above these people found the “special” or “functional” gods, “departmental gods. Such were some of the deities of the Indigitamenta, lists of deities kept by the College of Pontiffs to assure that the correct divine names were invoked for public prayers. , already compared with the Japanese Kami. Among them, for example, were twelve deities of ploughing and harvest operations, who were invoked with Tellus and Ceres. Another class may be seen in the species-deities previously named; the Samoan gods which could become incarnate as a heron or an owl, did not die with particular birds.

Hermes Carrying the Infant Dionysus, marble statue by Praxiteles, c. 350–330 bce (or a Hellenistic copy of his original); in the Archaeological Museum, Olympia, Greece. Height 2.15 metres. © Index Open

The worship of trees, plants and animals is a particular phase of the wider series of nature-cults, only named here because of its frequency and its obvious survivals in some of the higher polytheism’s, where, as in Egypt, the Apis bulls were worshipped; or where, as in Mesopotamia, the great gods are partly symbolized by animal forms; or where, as in Israel, Yahweh might be represented as a bull; or where, as in Greece, such epithets as Dendrites and Endendros preserved traces of the association of Dionysus and Zeus with vegetation; while sacred animals like the serpents of Aesculapius were preserved in the temples.

Monarchical polytheism

File:Shri Surya Bhagvan bazaar art, c.1940's.jpg
An early 20th-century poster of Surya, the solar deity in Hinduism – also an epithet for the major Hindu gods Shiva, Brahma and Vishnu.

The higher elemental gods sometimes, like the sun, as the Indian Sūrya, the Egyptian Rê, the Babylonian Shamash (Samas), the Greek Helios, retain their distinct connexion with the visible object. It was naturally more easy for a relatively spiritual worship to gather round a god whose name did not immediately suggest a familiar body. No one ever thought of confessing sin, for instance, to a river. But the daily survey of the sun (occasionally also the function of the moon as measurer of time), together with his importance for life, secured him a high moral rank; and , united with the Theban Ammon, became (under the New Empire) the leading god of Egypt for a thousand years, “He who hath made all, the sole One with many hands.” Other deities, like Zeus, rise to the head of a monarchical polytheism, in which their physical base is almost, if not quite, forgotten in cosmic and moral grandeur. The gods are often arranged in groups, three, seven and twelve being frequent numbers. Egyptian summaries recognized gods in the sky, on earth and in the water; gods of the north and south, the east and west, gods of the field and the cities. Indian theologians classified them in three zones, earth, air and sky. Babylonian speculation embraced the world in a triad of divine powers, Anu the god of heaven, Bel of earth and Ea of the deep; and these became the symbols of the order of nature, the divine embodiments of physical law.

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Next: Religion and believers #3

Preceding

Religion and believers #1 Lots of groups to be taken interest in

Oppressive language of anti-Jehovah people does more than represent violence

Christian in Christendom or in Christianity

Those willing to tarnish

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Additional reading

  1. Gates to different belief systems in this world
  2. Words in the world (Our World)Words in the world (Some View on the World)
  3. Different principle about the origin and beginning of everything
  4. Is religion like a physical trait
  5. An other trait for faith in Jesus and his God
  6. Concerning the humans who are a warlike species
  7. How do you define religion?
  8. Religious matters
  9. Religions and Mainliners
  10. Religious Practices around the world
  11. People Seeking for God 3 Laws and directions
  12. People Seeking for God 6 Strategy
  13. People Seeking for God 7 The Lord and lords
  14. Science, belief, denial and visibility 1
  15. Science, belief, denial and visibility 2
  16. Religion…..why the competition?
  17. Souls and Religions with Nirvana and light
  18. Ideas about Religiosity
  19. Facilitations of science and loss of peace of mind
  20. A look at On Science & Religion
  21. Science, belief, denial and visibility 1
  22. Reconciling Science and Religion
  23. Looking to the East and the West for Truth
  24. Being Religious and Spiritual 1 Immateriality and Spiritual experience
  25. Being Religious and Spiritual 2 Religiosity and spiritual life
  26. Being Religious and Spiritual 3 Philosophers, Avicennism and the spiritual
  27. Being Religious and Spiritual 4 Philosophical, religious and spiritual people
  28. Being Religious and Spiritual 7 Transcendence to become one
  29. Being Religious and Spiritual 8 Spiritual, Mystic and not or well religious
  30. Being religious has benefits even in this life (Our World)Being religious has benefits even in this life
  31. Looking for True Spirituality 1 Intro
  32. Looking for True Spirituality 2 Not restricted to an elite
  33. The Question is this…
  34. Faith because of the questions (Our World)Faith because of the questions (Some View on the World)
  35. Inner feeling, morality and Inter-connection with creation
  36. Honest-hearted people are losing faith in humanity and humanity losing faith in God
  37. Religion and the essence of devotion
  38. Religion power and authority for mankind
  39. The battle between action and belief
  40. Approachers of ideas around gods, philosophers and theologians
  41. Facilitations of science and loss of peace of mind
  42. Today’s thought “Nature declaring God” (December 27)
  43. Today’s Thought “Idols are nothing against the first and the last God” (June 20)
  44. Today’s thought “nonsense surrounding the many gods” (July 28)
  45. False opposite true worship which exalts the God of Israel
  46. The Right One to follow and to worship
  47. El-Shaddai God Almighty Who no-one may see and live
  48. Memorizing wonderfully 55 Exchanging the truth of God for a lie
  49. Standing within proximity of the glory of God

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Related

  1. Unbelief hurts
  2. Systems stink
  3. Religion
  4. Religion Vs. Spiritual
  5. Religion vs Spirituality, Part One
  6. Religion vs Spirituality, Part Two
  7. Cult or True Religion
  8. A Warning Against Conformity and Tradition
  9. 64% Hindus say it’s important to be Hindu to be ‘truly’ Indian: Pew survey
  10. Decoding Pew Survey on Indian Society
  11. Has convenient methodology affected the results of Pew’s report on religious tolerance and segregation in India?
  12. Religion, Peace, and War
  13. Ancestral Journeys: Religion and Belief in Colonial America
  14. Truth is not a philosophical discussion

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