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It seems like a joke

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It seems like a joke

Post  Valencia2014 on Thu Jun 25, 2015 1:14 am

From what I've read on this forum God, the One, or Protogonos(I will call him God from here on) creates and then at a certain point it all "reverts" back if I understand correctly but then it creates again. And this is just a process that occurs over and over again, if I got it wrong please tell me. It just seems like its a big joke to God; we are created and then we go back just to be recreated again, it just seems cruel. Unless of course if every recreation is an advancement over the previous recreation. I don't mean to offend someones beliefs so if I did I offer my apologies, at the moment I'm just frustrated with the world and quite frankly disgusted with humanity.

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Re: It seems like a joke

Post  Thrasyvoulos on Thu Jun 25, 2015 3:36 am

Valencia2014 wrote:From what I've read on this forum God, the One, or Protogonos(I will call him God from here on) creates and then at a certain point it all "reverts" back if I understand correctly but then it creates again. And this is just a process that occurs over and over again, if I got it wrong please tell me. It just seems like its a big joke to God; we are created and then we go back just to be recreated again, it just seems cruel. Unless of course if every recreation is an advancement over the previous recreation. I don't mean to offend someones beliefs so if I did I offer my apologies, at the moment I'm just frustrated with the world and quite frankly disgusted with humanity.

This is a specifically Neoplatonic viewpoint and not necessarily held by all people who practice Classical Hellenic religion. Firstly, I'd like to point out that Protogonus is not the same as The One, because Protogonus means "first-born," is an epithet of the Demiurge (Phanes), and The One is not first-born, because The One is eternal and uncreated. Also, I do not feel comfortable addressing The One as "God." It is most certainly Divine. But it is not a God in that it has thoughts or other faculties of a Person. It is a Principle. The First Principle from out of which flows all other Principles which create, harmonize and sustain the Cosmos.

When things are "reverted" back to the One, this is not necessarily an ontological annihilation of all things. For example, let's consider souls. A soul which exists in a material body has descended into the furthest extremities away from union with the One. But, according to Neoplatonism, being converted back to the One is a possibility for a soul living a life in a material body. The soul is not annihilated and the body is not deprived of an animating soul, if this occurs in life. The soul lives on as an ontologically distinct entity and it continues to animate the body until the body dies. Nor does the soul cease to exist as a distinct entity after the body's death, rather it lives on in union with the One, being united in nature with The Good. This is different from merely being absorbed back into the One, as a drop of water is when it falls into the ocean. This is rather the soul recollecting it's true nature, a nature which is in complete harmony with The One. It's a destruction of false ego, pride, and vice in general, and we say that it is reverted back to The One because this is not a new achievement, but a returning to one's proper, original place, a place which is in complete accord with The One.

There are some which consider time cyclical, that this universe will end and all souls will go back to their origination, only to be reborn again and start the entire process over. This is not necessarily the only or the correct view. Consider Hesiod's Ages of Man. The Gold Race, the Silver, the Bronze, the Heroic and the Iron. This does seem to be referring to a cyclical universe, but the races of man seem to differ from each other and not be merely the same souls being thrust back into the material world over and over. The Gold Race lives on in future ages as virtuous guardian spirits. The Silver Race lives on as "blessed spirits" of the Underworld. And so on. The souls of the previous age are spoken of as though separate and distinct from the souls of the succeeding Age. I would take this perspective as the truth. Once a soul achieves this harmony with The One, this anamnesis/apotheosis/etc, they do not return to the miseries of mortal life, either in this present cycle or in future ones. They live on as blessed spirits, as daimones, as god, you get the point.

Also, this universe has a beginning and may very well have an end from the perspective of linear time, but as far as empiricism is concerned, the existence of many universes in a near-infinite (or possibly even infinite) multiverse is nigh-on certain. Once this universe is over, a new one will begin. But souls which have achieved this union with The One will not cease to exist once this material world is done, nor will the souls which have yet to attain this union. The souls destined to continue in the cycles of rebirth will continue to do so in another universe which exists within the Cosmos, and the souls which have already transcended the desires of the material world will preside over those souls still trapped in bodies as guardians, agathodaimones, and gods, until they too are able to transcend the material world and the grievous circle.

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Re: It seems like a joke

Post  Thrasyvoulos on Thu Jun 25, 2015 3:57 am

Valencia2014 wrote:From what I've read on this forum God, the One, or Protogonos(I will call him God from here on) creates and then at a certain point it all "reverts" back if I understand correctly but then it creates again. And this is just a process that occurs over and over again, if I got it wrong please tell me. It just seems like its a big joke to God; we are created and then we go back just to be recreated again, it just seems cruel. Unless of course if every recreation is an advancement over the previous recreation. I don't mean to offend someones beliefs so if I did I offer my apologies, at the moment I'm just frustrated with the world and quite frankly disgusted with humanity.

The reason why souls descend into material generation is not based on a whim of the Divine, rather material generation is caused by an individual soul being, for lack of a better word, deluded by the nature of the material world, and in their delusion, they are drawn to it, over and over again throughout their succession of bodily lives, until they finally remember who they once were (with the help of the Gods) and the chains binding them are broken. This repetitive cycle is the necessary outcome of a soul's actions and desires. Once the soul breaks the delusions, this repetitive cycle ends, and they return to their original place and there remain. And every reincarnation of a soul is an advancement, because the virtue acquired by a soul in one life carries over into the next bodily life, because virtue is inherent to the soul. It just needs to be uncovered.

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Re: It seems like a joke

Post  DavidMcCann on Thu Jun 25, 2015 12:58 pm

Personally, I reject the idea that souls become incarnate because of a delusion. To me, that's Hinduism, not Hellenism. Hellenism, like all Pagan religions, should be world-affirming. Hinduism was once, but got contaminated by the ideas of Jains and Buddhists. As Plato said in the Timaeus, God creates the world and shares it with sentient beings because it's good and he's generous.

The recreation of the cosmos is a different question. Because divinity is eternal, it's only reasonable to believe that the cosmos is eternal. If creation was a good idea, why would God do it x years ago rather than x+1? But a physical cosmos cannot be eternal: the second (?) law of thermodynamics means that it will "run down". The solution to the conflict between a cosmos with a limited life-span and an eternal one is the idea that it's re-created when necessary: the Big Bang detected by the physicists was the last of an infinite number.

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Re: It seems like a joke

Post  Thrasyvoulos on Fri Jun 26, 2015 9:31 am

DavidMcCann wrote:Personally, I reject the idea that souls become incarnate because of a delusion. To me, that's Hinduism, not Hellenism. Hellenism, like all Pagan religions, should be world-affirming. Hinduism was once, but got contaminated by the ideas of Jains and Buddhists. As Plato said in the Timaeus, God creates the world and shares it with sentient beings because it's good and he's generous.

There is much more in common between Hinduism and Hellenism than one might initially think. The two cultures have, after all, been in contact with each other since at least the time of Alexander the Great, and there are legends of Pythagoras having been in contact with Siddhartha Gautama (Buddha), who was some variant of Hindu (Sanatana Dharmist) before he articulated the concept of Buddhism. The two religious systems have very little conflict between them, and certain schools of Hinduism (i.e. Saiva Siddhanta) are practically complete parallels of certain schools of Hellenism (i.e. Orphism). Also, there really is no such thing as a "pure" religion, in the context you speak of, especially so for Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism; they have grown up together and influenced each other for millennia. There are no hard, clear lines separating them, and there never have been, because the whole of their development has been like that of different branches growing from the same trunk of one tree.

There is no legitimate authority that can define what a "pagan" religion should and should not be, if the people who continually get swept under the umbrella of paganism even consider themselves a pagan; I most certainly am no pagan (and the number of Hellenists who reject the term alongside me is not one to overlook), and almost no Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, Sikh, Zoroastrian, First Nation's religious practitioner, etcetera, would ever think of themselves as one, nor would they accept an outsider's demands to fulfill the outsider's expectations of what their religion should be. "Pagan" is too over broad a term, and has lost any useful meaning in the modern era.

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Re: It seems like a joke

Post  DavidMcCann on Fri Jun 26, 2015 1:06 pm

Aktaion wrote:There is no legitimate authority that can define what a "pagan" religion should and should not be, if the people who continually get swept under the umbrella of paganism even consider themselves a pagan; I most certainly am no pagan (and the number of Hellenists who reject the term alongside me is not one to overlook), and almost no Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, Sikh, Zoroastrian, First Nation's religious practitioner, etcetera, would ever think of themselves as one, nor would they accept an outsider's demands to fulfill the outsider's expectations of what their religion should be. "Pagan" is too over broad a term, and has lost any useful meaning in the modern era.
I use "Pagan" as it's used by academics like Michael York and Jordan Paper: as a synonym for what have been called traditional or primal religions. Incidentally, York practices Religio Romana and Paper has been accepted in both the Chinese and Anishnabe religious communities. As for the Hindus, the term Pagan has been used by the US journal Hindu Voice and there was a discussion about its use in the Hindu section of religiousforums.com, with general acceptance. Obviously the Buddhist, Jain, Sikh, and Zoroastrian religions would not accept the label, because they aren't pagan.

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