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Ultimate Reality Higher Power. Or The Nature of God. The Metaphysical Mystery Behind All That Is. Ultimate Reality cannot be discerned by empirical methods God is beyond reach of the senses. Personal Impersonal Invisible Eternal Natural (immanent) Supernatural (transcendent)

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Ultimate Reality Higher Power

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Ultimate reality higher power l.jpg

Ultimate RealityHigher Power

Or

The Nature of God


The metaphysical mystery behind all that is l.jpg

The Metaphysical Mystery Behind All That Is

Ultimate Reality cannot be discerned by empirical methods

God is beyond reach of the senses


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Personal

Impersonal

Invisible

Eternal

Natural (immanent)

Supernatural (transcendent)

All present (omnipresent)

All powerful (omnipotent)

All knowing (omniscient)

Creator

Preserver

Destroyer

Loving

Merciful

Just

Judge

Wrathful

Characteristics vs. Names

Characteristics (the nature of a god)


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God

Allah

Yahweh

Jehovah

Brahma

Vishnu

Shiva

Tao

Buddha Nature

Brahman

Kami

Names we give to the higher power


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What is a god?


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Beliefs about Ultimate Reality

  • Theism: belief in a personal god

    • Monotheism = one God

    • Polytheism = many gods

  • Atheism: belief that there is no personal god

  • Dualism: there are two powers, good vs. evil

  • Deism: god is no longer active in this world or our lives

  • Pantheism: all (pan) is god and god is all

  • Agnosticism: “not knowing”


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Kinds of gods:From female to male…

  • Venus of Willendorf: Goddess of fertility?

  • Gods of the sun

  • Gods of the earth

  • Gods of fire

  • Warrior goddesses

  • Storm gods

  • Gods of life

  • Gods of death


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From many to one…

The evolution of human belief about the Higher Power:

From nature gods to the creator God of nature


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Personal or Impersonal

Animism: all life is filled with spirit

Monism: Higher Power as a singular, non-personal force or energy behind life:

  • Chi (life force)

  • Buddha Nature (potential for awakening)

  • Tao (the “way” of nature)

  • Brahman: “not this, not that”

  • “The Force”


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Which comes first…

Is God the source of energy…

(personal: God has power)

Or

The manifestation of (vehicle for) energy?

(impersonal: God is power)


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Personification & Anthropomorphism

  • Personification: in our minds we personify higher power, making it out to be a “person” much as we are

  • Anthropomorphism: in our language we attribute human characteristics to our gods; we envision God as having a body much like our own

    • God “hears”

    • God “speaks”

    • God “sees”

    • God “walks in the garden”

    • We attribute gender to this god: “He” (or “She”)


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Some books of interest:

  • God Against the Gods:The Historyof the War Between Monotheismand Polytheism by Jonathan Kirsch

  • A History of God:The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam by Karen Armstrong


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