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All The “isms”

January 2nd, 2010 3 comments

In researching philosophies of religions I came across many “isims” so I put together the definitions of all the isims I came across here. Enjoy:

Agnosticism: a (meaning “without”) gnosis (“knowledge”). Agnosticism is the position where one claims they cannot know whether a God or Gods exists. This lack of knowledge may be viewed as temporary (weak agnosticism) or permanent (strong agnosticism).

Animism: A belief that natural phenomena such as rocks, trees, thunder, or celestial bodies have life or divinity. The doctrine that all natural objects and the universe itself have souls. a belief that natural phenomena such as rocks, trees, thunder, or celestial bodies have life or divinity.

Atheism: a (“without”) the (“deity”, or “god”). Disbelief in any supernatural deity.

Autotheism: The viewpoint that, whether divinity is also external or not, it is inherently within ‘oneself’ and that one’s duty is to become perfect; divine. This can either be in a selfish, wilful, egotistical way or a selfless way following the implications of statements attributed to ethical, philosophical, and religious leaders such as Jesus, Buddha, Mahavira, and Socrates. The doctrine of God’s self-existence. Deification of one’s self; self-worship.

Deism: the belief that a god created the world and then left it to run on its own. Popular during the Enlightenment period. The analogy often used to explain it is that of a clock maker who constructs the watch and then leaves it, allowing it to operate on its own.

Dualism: The doctrine that reality consists of two basic opposing elements, often taken to be mind and matter (or mind and body), or good and evil. Dualism denotes a state of two parts. The word’s origin is the Latin duo, “two” . The term ‘dualism’ was originally coined to denote co-eternal binary opposition, a meaning that is preserved in metaphysical and philosophical duality discourse but has been diluted in general usage.

Eutheism: the belief that there is a god, and that this god is good. (Omnibenevolence) is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as “unlimited or infinite benevolence”. It is sometimes held to be impossible for a deity to exhibit this property along with both omniscience and omnipotence, because of the problem of evil. It is a technical term used in the academic literature on the philosophy of religion, often in the context of the problem of evil and in theodical responses, and even in such context, the phrases “perfect goodness” or “moral perfection” are often preferred.

Existentialism: A philosophy that emphasizes the uniqueness and isolation of the individual experience in a hostile or indifferent universe, regards human existence as unexplainable, and stresses freedom of choice and responsibility for the consequences of one’s acts.

Fatalism: The doctrine that all events are predetermined by fate and are therefore unalterable.

Hedonism: The doctrine which holds the standard of the good and morality as whatever gives pleasure per se. This theory substitutes ethical purpose for ethical standard, stating (in essence) “the proper value is whatever you happen to value.” Objectivism rejects this formulation.

Henotheism: Devotion to one god, while accepting the existence of others. Much of the Old Testament is henotheistic.

Humanism: is a perspective common to a wide range of ethical stances that attaches importance to human dignity, concerns, and capabilities, particularly rationality. Although the word has many senses, its meaning comes into focus when contrasted to the supernatural or to appeals to authority. Since the nineteenth century, humanism has been associated with an anti-clericalism inherited from the eighteenth-century Enlightenment philosophes. Twenty-first century Humanism tends to strongly endorse human rights, including reproductive rights, gender equality, social justice, and the separation of church and state. The term covers organized non-theistic religions, secular humanism, and a humanistic life stance. The doctrine emphasizing a person’s capacity for self-realization through reason; rejects religion and the supernatural.

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Mysticism and Religion

February 10th, 2009 No comments


I’ve asked a Teresa so many questions, she has decided to publish some of the questions and answers online, here’s one that I asked:

Teresa SilverthornEthanEthan: I’ve heard of mysticism but I always thought it was an offshoot of an established religion. I never heard of  mysticism that was not affiliated with a religion. Why is that the case?

Teresa: The first word that comes to mind, when looking at this question is fear.

When I received this question, I spent many hours pondering history.  Specifically, the constant effort made by society towards religious growth, and its ultimate, predictable and continual subjection to criticism by the competing forces of worship.

Even in current times, there have been attempts to  break through the paper ceiling that society and organized religion have created.   Consider the New Age movement, which, according to my personal knowledge, gained ground in the late 1970’s.  (Perhaps it was earlier than that, but I only heard about it during that time.)  It had promise, but was soon degraded by Christianity and was, therefore, considered to be for kooks and fringe dwellers. To this very day, the New Age Movement is barbed and questioned by anyone who has been in contact with it’s competition.

Even Scientology has had a rough time in the media.  I’m not familiar with it enough to defend it, but consider it for those who are brave enough to venture beyond traditional viewpoints and try something new. Interestingly, traditional religious viewpoints have affected its social image, as well.  Many people  have  taken an immediate dislike to Scientology, only because they feel it’s expected of them.

As far as mysticism widening it’s boundaries beyond  the implied barbed wire of its own religious sect, history accounts for several reasons why it is  not too common.  The Inquisition, the witch trials, social persecution, and the crucifixion come to mind.  To this day, with all respect to the Roman Catholic Church, I am increasingly offended by the carnage displayed at their altar which directly implies to their community:

This is what happened to the last mystic who tried to change things”

Admittedly, it was not easy for me to cut my roots to organized religion and become an independent, universal mystic.  Although I have respect for the truths of all religions, I identify myself with none of them. This freedom has allowed me the experiences and revelations I’ve had, to be an overview rather than a horizontal perspective…

Many Thanks

to

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