Author Topic: Many gods?  (Read 1661 times)

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Offline BasilCan

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Many gods?
« on: August 26, 2007, 09:45:28 PM »
Here is a good question that was emailed to me by a friend.

"Does the Orthodox Church recognize other gods, besides the True God - the God of the Holy Trinity?"

You know, I have looked through some english translations of our liturgical texts and they seem to imply that, while inferior, there are other gods besides the God of Abraham, Isacc and Jacob (the One True God)

Basil

Offline GabrieltheCelt

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Re: Many gods?
« Reply #1 on: August 26, 2007, 10:12:15 PM »
Here is a good question that was emailed to me by a friend.

"Does the Orthodox Church recognize other gods, besides the True God - the God of the Holy Trinity?"

You know, I have looked through some english translations of our liturgical texts and they seem to imply that, while inferior, there are other gods besides the God of Abraham, Isacc and Jacob (the One True God)

Basil
It would seem pretty odd if Orthodox Christians believed in other gods, don't you think? The saints evangelized peoples and countries in the name of the Holy Trinity, not Ganesh or Buddha. Now, having said that, the Orthodox Church recognizes that people everywhere have worshipped God as they understand Him. It is not our place to condemn, but to educate. Because every society has a name for a God or a Creator, and while to me, this is proof that God exists, it does not validate the 'many gods' theory.
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Offline GiC

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Re: Many gods?
« Reply #2 on: August 26, 2007, 10:26:13 PM »
This point was addressed to some degree by one of my professors, the ancient Jews were polytheists and one deity (the deity above refered to as 'the God of Abraham, Isacc and Jacob') eventually won out over the others...the Old Testament becomes decidedly more monotheistic as it evolves, but through most of the pentateuch we see Yahweh portrayed not as a lone God, but as a God above all other Gods. There has been other research which has suggested that much of the pentateuch's conflicts represent conflicts between differing cults within Judaism...smoothed out and edited by later compilers after one side came out on top.
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Offline Eleos

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Re: Many gods?
« Reply #3 on: August 26, 2007, 11:36:34 PM »
What do you mean by "recognize other gods"?  Do you mean that we believe other gods exist?
"The Unity of the Church, as Your Holinesses well know it, is the will of God and ought to be an inspiring example to all men. It should always be a help and not a hindrance to the unity of men of different religions."-Emperor Haile Selassie To the Conference of Oriental Orthodox Churches 1965

Offline Maksim

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Re: Many gods?
« Reply #4 on: August 26, 2007, 11:59:30 PM »
It's certainly possible to worship anything, including fallen spiritual beings such as Satan.  And people can and do refer to such beings as "a god". 

Various Roman emperors (most famously, Caligula) were worshipped as "gods" during their own lifetimes.  They really existed and really claimed divinity....but that only serves to illustrate how little it means to be "a god" when compared to God Himself.

Offline Eleos

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Re: Many gods?
« Reply #5 on: August 27, 2007, 12:31:08 AM »
It would seem pretty odd if Orthodox Christians believed in other gods, don't you think?
Where did he say "believe in other gods?"  Isn't it different to say that we "believed in other gods" and "there are other gods"?
"The Unity of the Church, as Your Holinesses well know it, is the will of God and ought to be an inspiring example to all men. It should always be a help and not a hindrance to the unity of men of different religions."-Emperor Haile Selassie To the Conference of Oriental Orthodox Churches 1965

Offline Thomas

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Re: Many gods?
« Reply #6 on: August 27, 2007, 08:55:44 AM »
"there are other gods besides the God of Abraham, Isacc and Jacob (the One True God)"

Basil

I have always been taught  both in protestant and Orthodox Churches that it is the mere acknowledgement that people worship/have worshipped other "gods" than the God of Abraham, Isacc and Jacob (the One True God).  One only has to look at the Epistles of Paul when the other "dieties" are acknowledged as being worshipped.  Does that mean they are real? NO!  Paul points the way to the "unknown god" that the Athenians worshipped and sacrificed to just to assure that in their superstitions they did not forget a god that existed out there.  St. Paul used that opening to explain the One True God of Abraham, Isacc and Jacob. One has only to look at the power and perfection of the One True God , His condescension in become man and offering to us thru Theosis to partake of his nature to see all the other gods disappear into the midst of superstition and fear of nature in their imperfection and imaging of the worse that was in man in their  godhood.

Thomas

« Last Edit: August 27, 2007, 08:56:03 AM by Thomas »
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Offline Didymus

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Re: Many gods?
« Reply #7 on: August 27, 2007, 09:32:44 AM »
BasilCan

Thomas is right (great name mate;))

Even the Holy Bible speaks of other gods but they are false gods or people who are doing God's work (eg, the Apostles) whose miracles make these people appear to be like gods when considered from a heathen's point of view.

The idea that the ancient children of Israel were polytheists is wrong. Some may have adopted the false gods of the Egyptians whilst in Egypt yet the people as a whole still worshipped the one true God of their fathers who are now also our fathers. The bulk of the first five books was given to the Prophet by God on Mount Sinai however it was later given again to the Prophet Ezra (or Esdras) who had to write it again.
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