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Old 12-01-2011, 07:24 PM
 
Location: Sitting beside Walden Pond
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I wonder if polytheism helps people feel closer to their god.

Christianity and the Hindu religion both seem polytheistic to me, and their members seem to be very close to their gods. Christians feel they have Jesus constantly walking beside them and guiding them. All I know about the Hindus is that Ghandi prayed to his favorite god Rama as he was dying, so Gandhi must have felt very close to him.

Maybe the polytheistic religions let people have an all-powerful god at a distance, but also keep a personal god close to them at all times.

Islam and Judaism appear monotheistic, but they also seem like social clubs where the adherents just have to follow a bunch of rules. I wonder if their members think their god is as close and personal to them as Jesus is to the Christians.

Since I am an Atheist, I don't have a dog in this fight, but I really am curious what you all think.
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Old 12-01-2011, 10:12 PM
 
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Christianity and Hinduism are idolatrous; Judaism and Islam are not idolatrous.
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Old 12-01-2011, 10:31 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Walter Greenspan View Post
Christianity and Hinduism are idolatrous; Judaism and Islam are not idolatrous.
So a Jew or a Muslim doesn't have the capacity to be idolatrous? To commit idolatry one must simply place something above God in importance in their life.

btw to the OP, Biblical Christianity is monotheistic.
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Old 12-01-2011, 10:33 PM
 
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Originally Posted by jdaelectro View Post
btw to the OP, Biblical Christianity is monotheistic.
The worship of Jesus of Nazareth is idolatrous at it violates the 2nd Commandment prohibition against worshiping other than the one, true G-d.
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Old 12-01-2011, 11:32 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Walter Greenspan View Post
The worship of Jesus of Nazareth is idolatrous at it violates the 2nd Commandment prohibition against worshiping other than the one, true G-d.
Christ is God.
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Old 12-02-2011, 12:08 AM
 
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Originally Posted by jdaelectro View Post
Christ is God.
G-d is G-d and there is only one, true and indivisible G-d.
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Old 12-02-2011, 12:28 AM
 
Location: 30-40°N 90-100°W
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What Jews? Which Hindus?

Not getting into whose right or wrong Hinduism and Christianity's belief that God can, or has been, among us might imply a closer connection or relationship. That the Jewish and Islamic conception is more of God as simply a non-human deity who never experienced our world in direct terms. This is not getting into polytheism vs monotheism because I feel that's a mistake on your part. I think in these discussions it's generally best to judge religions for what they believe and not on what we think they must "really believe." Also I think the "God as one of us" issue is more relevant to what you mean.

As a Christian I would likely agree that the Jewish and Islamic conception of God is more distanced than ours or even the Hindus with their avatars. However I would be uncomfortable making some blanket statement about Muslims or Hindus or whatever. Many Muslim and Jews emphasize a strong mystical connection with God. I imagine there are Sufis who feel closer to God, as they understand that, than many Christians are to God as they/we understand it.
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Old 12-02-2011, 12:36 AM
 
Location: 30-40°N 90-100°W
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Walter Greenspan View Post
G-d is G-d and there is only one, true and indivisible G-d.
Per Jewish understanding yes. Not everyone is going to be Jewish or Muslim though.

You may not like it, you may hate it, but you live in a world where Christians outnumber Jews like 40-50 to one. So in some ways it's very brave and principled of you to hold firm to an almost Medieval Jewish disdain for Christianity. But on another level it's rather foolish, counterproductive, and possibly just bigoted.
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Old 12-02-2011, 12:54 AM
 
Location: University City, Philadelphia
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Most Hindus consider themselves monotheistic.

What, you say????!!!! A religion with 365,000,000 gods?????

A careful, non-prejudiced, and thorough study of Hindu theology and cosmology reveals that all of the Hindu "Deities" and "Avatars" are merely aspects of a single unified God-head.

Many Hindus also believe that Siddhartha Gautama - The Buddha - was the latest Avatar of the god Vishnu.
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Old 12-02-2011, 06:14 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Thomas R. View Post
Per Jewish understanding yes. Not everyone is going to be Jewish or Muslim though.

You may not like it, you may hate it, but you live in a world where Christians outnumber Jews like 40-50 to one. So in some ways it's very brave and principled of you to hold firm to an almost Medieval Jewish disdain for Christianity. But on another level it's rather foolish, counterproductive, and possibly just bigoted.

Thomas, where do you see any disdain in what he said?

Originally Posted by Walter Greenspan
G-d is G-d and there is only one, true and indivisible G-d.



Honestly I see more disdain in what you responded to him.

Walter just stated a truth that is seen as correct in Judaism, Islam and Christianity.
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