Dualistic cosmology

Dualism in cosmology is the moral or spiritual belief that two fundamental concepts exist, which often oppose each other. It is an umbrella term that covers a diversity of views from various religions, including both traditional religions and scriptural religions.

Moral dualism is the belief of the great complement of, or conflict between, the benevolent and the malevolent. It simply implies that there are two moral opposites at work, independent of any interpretation of what might be "moral" and independent of how these may be represented. Moral opposites might, for example, exist in a worldview which has one god, more than one god, or none. By contrast, duotheism, bitheism or ditheism implies (at least) two gods. While bitheism implies harmony, ditheism implies rivalry and opposition, such as between good and evil, or light and dark, or summer and winter. For example, a ditheistic system could be one in which one god is a creator, and the other a destroyer. In theology, dualism can also refer to the relationship between the deity and creation or the deity and the universe (see theistic dualism). This form of dualism is a belief shared in certain traditions of Christianity and Hinduism.[1] Alternatively, in ontological dualism, the world is divided into two overarching categories. The opposition and combination of the universe's two basic principles of yin and yang is a large part of Chinese philosophy, and is an important feature of Taoism. It is also discussed in Confucianism.

Many myths and creation motifs with dualistic cosmologies have been described in ethnographic and anthropological literature. These motifs conceive the world as being created, organized, or influenced by two demiurges, culture heroes, or other mythological beings, who either compete with each other or have a complementary function in creating, arranging or influencing the world. There is a huge diversity of such cosmologies. In some cases, such as among the Chukchi, the beings collaborate rather than competing, and contribute to the creation in a coequal way. In many other instances the two beings are not of the same importance or power (sometimes, one of them is even characterized as gullible). Sometimes they can be contrasted as good versus evil.[2] They may be often believed to be twins or at least brothers.[3][4] Dualistic motifs in mythologies can be observed in all inhabited continents. Zolotaryov concludes that they cannot be explained by diffusion or borrowing, but are rather of convergent origin: they are related to a dualistic organization of society (moieties); in some cultures, this social organization may have ceased to exist, but mythology preserves the memory in more and more disguised ways.[5]

Moral dualism

Moral dualism is the belief of the great complement or conflict between the benevolent and the malevolent. Like ditheism/bitheism (see below), moral dualism does not imply the absence of monist or monotheistic principles. Moral dualism simply implies that there are two moral opposites at work, independent of any interpretation of what might be "moral" and—unlike ditheism/bitheism—independent of how these may be represented.

For example, Mazdaism (Mazdean Zoroastrianism) is both dualistic and monotheistic (but not monist by definition) since in that philosophy God—the Creator—is purely good, and the antithesis—which is also uncreated–is an absolute one. Zurvanism (Zurvanite Zoroastrianism), Manichaeism, and Mandaeism are representative of dualistic and monist philosophies since each has a supreme and transcendental First Principle from which the two equal-but-opposite entities then emanate. This is also true for the lesser-known Christian gnostic religions, such as Bogomils, Catharism, and so on. More complex forms of monist dualism also exist, for instance in Hermeticism, where Nous "thought"—that is described to have created man—brings forth both good and evil, dependent on interpretation, whether it receives prompting from the God or from the Demon. Duality with pluralism is considered a logical fallacy.

History

Moral dualism began as a theological belief. Dualism was first seen implicitly in Egyptian religious beliefs by the contrast of the gods Set (disorder, death) and Osiris (order, life).[6] The first explicit conception of dualism came from the Ancient Persian religion of Zoroastrianism around the mid-fifth century BC. Zoroastrianism is a monotheistic religion that believes that Ahura Mazda is the eternal creator of all good things. Any violations of Ahura Mazda's order arise from druj, which is everything uncreated. From this comes a significant choice for humans to make. Either they fully participate in human life for Ahura Mazda or they do not and give druj power. Personal dualism is even more distinct in the beliefs of later religions.

The religious dualism of Christianity between good and evil is not a perfect dualism as God (good) will inevitably destroy Satan (evil). Early Christian dualism is largely based on Platonic Dualism (See: Neoplatonism and Christianity). There is also a personal dualism in Christianity with a soul-body distinction based on the idea of an immaterial Christian soul.[7]

Duotheism, bitheism, ditheism

When used with regards to multiple gods, dualism may refer to duotheism, bitheism, or ditheism. Although ditheism/bitheism imply moral dualism, they are not equivalent: ditheism/bitheism implies (at least) two gods, while moral dualism does not necessarily imply theism (theos = god) at all.

Both bitheism and ditheism imply a belief in two equally powerful gods with complementary or antonymous properties; however, while bitheism implies harmony, ditheism implies rivalry and opposition, such as between good and evil, bright and dark, or summer and winter. For example, a ditheistic system would be one in which one god is creative, the other is destructive (cf. theodicy). In the original conception of Zoroastrianism, for example, Ahura Mazda was the spirit of ultimate good, while Ahriman (Angra Mainyu) was the spirit of ultimate evil.

In a bitheistic system, by contrast, where the two deities are not in conflict or opposition, one could be male and the other female (cf. duotheism). One well-known example of a bitheistic or duotheistic theology based on gender polarity is found in the neopagan religion of Wicca. In Wicca, dualism is represented in the belief of a god and a goddess as a dual partnership in ruling the universe. This is centered on the worship of a divine couple, the Moon Goddess and the Horned God, who are regarded as lovers. However, there is also a ditheistic theme within traditional Wicca, as the Horned God has dual aspects of bright and dark - relating to day/night, summer/winter - expressed as the Oak King and the Holly King, who in Wiccan myth and ritual are said to engage in battle twice a year for the hand of the Goddess, resulting in the changing seasons. (Within Wicca, bright and dark do not correspond to notions of "good" and "evil" but are aspects of the natural world, much like yin and yang in Taoism.)

Radical and mitigated dualism

  • Radical Dualism – or absolute Dualism which posits two co-equal divine forces. Manichaeism conceives of two previously coexistent realms of light and darkness which become embroiled in conflict, owing to the chaotic actions of the latter. Subsequently, certain elements of the light became entrapped within darkness; the purpose of material creation is to enact the slow process of extraction of these individual elements, at the end of which the kingdom of light will prevail over darkness. Manicheanism likely inherits this dualistic mythology from Zoroastrianism, in which the eternal spirit Ahura Mazda is opposed by his antithesis, Angra Mainyu; the two are engaged in a cosmic struggle, the conclusion of which will likewise see Ahura Mazda triumphant. 'The Hymn of the Pearl' included the belief that the material world corresponds to some sort of malevolent intoxication brought about by the powers of darkness to keep elements of the light trapped inside it in a state of drunken distraction.
  • Mitigated Dualism – is where one of the two principles is in some way inferior to the other. Such classical Gnostic movements as the Sethians conceived of the material world as being created by a lesser divinity than the true God that was the object of their devotion. The spiritual world is conceived of as being radically different from the material world, co-extensive with the true God, and the true home of certain enlightened members of humanity; thus, these systems were expressive of a feeling of acute alienation within the world, and their resultant aim was to allow the soul to escape the constraints presented by the physical realm.

However, bitheistic and ditheistic principles are not always so easily contrastable, for instance in a system where one god is the representative of summer and drought and the other of winter and rain/fertility (cf. the mythology of Persephone). Marcionism, an early Christian sect, held that the Old and New Testaments were the work of two opposing gods: both were First Principles, but of different religions.[8]

Theistic dualism

In theology, dualism can refer to the relationship between God and creation or God and the universe. This form of dualism is a belief shared in certain traditions of Christianity and Hinduism.[1]

In Christianity

Cathars expelled
The Cathars being expelled from Carcassonne in 1209. The Cathars were denounced as heretics by the Roman Catholic Church for their dualist beliefs.

The dualism between God and Creation has existed as a central belief in multiple historical sects and traditions of Christianity, including Marcionism, Catharism, Paulicianism, and Gnostic Christianity. Christian dualism refers to the belief that God and creation are distinct, but interrelated through an indivisible bond.[1] In sects like the Cathars and the Paulicians, this is a dualism between the material world, created by an evil god, and a moral god. Historians divide Christian dualism into absolute dualism, which held that the good and evil gods were equally powerful, and mitigated dualism, which held that material evil was subordinate to the spiritual good.[9] The belief, by Christian theologians who adhere to a libertarian or compatibilist view of free will, that free will separates humankind from God has also been characterized as a form of dualism.[1] The theologian Leroy Stephens Rouner compares the dualism of Christianity with the dualism that exists in Zoroastrianism and the Samkhya tradition of Hinduism. The theological use of the word dualism dates back to 1700, in a book that describes the dualism between good and evil.[1]

The tolerance of dualism ranges widely among the different Christian traditions. As a monotheistic religion, the conflict between dualism and monism has existed in Christianity since its inception.[10] The 1912 Catholic Encyclopedia describes that, in the Catholic Church, "the dualistic hypothesis of an eternal world existing side by side with God was of course rejected" by the thirteenth century, but mind–body dualism was not.[11] The problem of evil is difficult to reconcile with absolute monism, and has prompted some Christian sects to veer towards dualism. Gnostic forms of Christianity were more dualistic, and some Gnostic traditions posited that the Devil was separate from God as an independent deity.[10] The Christian dualists of the Byzantine Empire, the Paulicians, were seen as Manichean heretics by Byzantine theologians. This tradition of Christian dualism, founded by Constantine-Silvanus, argued that the universe was created through evil and separate from a moral God.[12]

The Cathars, a Christian sect in southern France, believed that there was a dualism between two gods, one representing good and the other representing evil. The Roman Catholic Church denounced the Cathars as heretics, and sought to crush the movement in the 13th century. The Albigensian Crusade was initiated by Pope Innocent III in 1208 to remove the Cathars from Languedoc in France, where they were known as Albigesians. The Inquisition, which began in 1233 under Pope Gregory IX, also targeted the Cathars.[13]

Gnosticism

Gnosticism is a diverse, syncretistic religious movement consisting of various belief systems generally united in the teaching that humans are divine souls trapped in a material world created by an imperfect god, the demiurge, who is frequently identified with the Abrahamic God. The demiurge may be depicted as an embodiment of evil, or in other instances as merely imperfect and as benevolent as its inadequacy permits. This demiurge exists alongside another remote and unknowable supreme being that embodies good.

Bogomils, Paulicians and Cathars are typically seen as being imitative of Gnosticism. Whether or not the Cathari possessed direct historical influence from ancient Gnosticism is a matter of dispute. The basic conceptions of Gnostic cosmology are, however, to be found in Cathar beliefs (most distinctly in their notion of a lesser creator god). Unlike the second century Gnostics, they did not apparently place any special relevance upon knowledge (gnosis) as an effective salvific force.

In Hinduism

The Dvaita Vedanta school of Indian philosophy espouses a dualism between God and the universe by theorizing the existence of two separate realities. The first and the more important reality is that of Shiva or Shakti or Vishnu or Brahman. Shiva or Shakti or Vishnu is the supreme Self, God, the absolute truth of the universe, the independent reality. The second reality is that of dependent but equally real universe that exists with its own separate essence. Everything that is composed of the second reality, such as individual soul (Jiva), matter, etc. exist with their own separate reality. The distinguishing factor of this philosophy as opposed to Advaita Vedanta (monistic conclusion of Vedas) is that God takes on a personal role and is seen as a real eternal entity that governs and controls the universe.[14] Because the existence of individuals is grounded in the divine, they are depicted as reflections, images or even shadows of the divine, but never in any way identical with the divine. Salvation therefore is described as the realization that all finite reality is essentially dependent on the Supreme.[15]

Ontological dualism

Yin yang
The yin and yang symbolizes the duality in nature and all things in the Taoist religion.

Alternatively, dualism can mean the tendency of humans to perceive and understand the world as being divided into two overarching categories. In this sense, it is dualistic when one perceives a tree as a thing separate from everything surrounding it. This form of ontological dualism exists in Taoism and Confucianism, beliefs that divide the universe into the complementary oppositions of yin and yang.[16] In traditions such as classical Hinduism, Zen Buddhism or Islamic Sufism, a key to enlightenment is "transcending" this sort of dualistic thinking, without merely substituting dualism with monism or pluralism.

In Chinese philosophy

The opposition and combination of the universe's two basic principles of yin and yang is a large part of Chinese philosophy, and is an important feature of Taoism, both as a philosophy and as a religion, although the concept developed much earlier. Some argue that yin and yang were originally an earth and sky god, respectively.[17] As one of the oldest principles in Chinese philosophy, yin and yang are also discussed in Confucianism, but to a lesser extent.

Some of the common associations with yang and yin, respectively, are: male and female, light and dark, active and passive, motion and stillness. Some scholars believe that the two ideas may have originally referred to two opposite sides of a mountain, facing towards and away from the sun.[17] The yin and yang symbol in actuality has very little to do with Western dualism; instead it represents the philosophy of balance, where two opposites co-exist in harmony and are able to transmute into each other. In the yin-yang symbol there is a dot of yin in yang and a dot of yang in yin. In Taoism, this symbolizes the inter-connectedness of the opposite forces as different aspects of Tao, the First Principle. Contrast is needed to create a distinguishable reality, without which we would experience nothingness. Therefore, the independent principles of yin and yang are actually dependent on one another for each other's distinguishable existence.

The complementary dualistic concept seen in yin and yang represent the reciprocal interaction throughout nature, related to a feedback loop, where opposing forces do not exchange in opposition but instead exchange reciprocally to promote stabilization similar to homeostasis. An underlying principle in Taoism states that within every independent entity lies a part of its opposite. Within sickness lies health and vice versa. This is because all opposites are manifestations of the single Tao, and are therefore not independent from one another, but rather a variation of the same unifying force throughout all of nature.

In traditional religions

Uralic peoples

In a Nenets myth, Num and Nga collaborate and compete with each other, creating land,[18] there are also other myths about competing-collaborating demiurges.[19]

Comparative studies of Uralic peoples and Kets

Among others, also dualistic myths were investigated in researches which tried to compare the mythologies of Siberian peoples and settle the problem of their origins. Vyacheslav Ivanov and Vladimir Toporov compared the mythology of Ket people with those of Uralic peoples, assuming in the studies, that there are modelling semiotic systems in the compared mythologies; and they have also made typological comparisons.[20][21] Among others, from possibly Uralic mythological analogies, those of Ob-Ugric peoples[22] and Samoyedic peoples[23] are mentioned. Some other discussed analogies (similar folklore motifs, and purely typological considerations, certain binary pairs in symbolics) may be related to dualistic organization of society—some of such dualistic features can be found at these compared peoples.[24] It must be admitted that, for Kets, neither dualistic organization of society[25] nor cosmological dualism[26] has been researched thoroughly: if such features existed at all, they have either weakened or remained largely undiscovered;[25] although there are some reports on division into two exogamous patrilinear moieties,[27] folklore on conflicts of mythological figures, and also on cooperation of two beings in creating the land:[26] the diving of the water fowl.[28] If we include dualistic cosmologies meant in broad sense, not restricted to certain concrete motifs, then we find that they are much more widespread, they exist not only among some Uralic peoples, but there are examples in each inhabited continent.[29]

Chukchi

A Chukchi myth and its variations report the creation of the world; in some variations, it is achieved by the collaboration of several beings (birds, collaborating in a coequal way; or the creator and the raven, collaborating in a coequal way; or the creator alone, using the birds only as assistants).[30][31]

Fuegians

All three Fuegian tribes had dualistic myths about culture heros.[32] The Yámana have dualistic myths about the two [joalox] brothers. They act as culture heroes, and sometimes stand in an antagonistic relation with each other, introducing opposite laws. Their figures can be compared to the Kwanyip-brothers of the Selk'nam.[33] In general, the presence of dualistic myths in two compared cultures does not imply relatedness or diffusion necessarily.[29]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ a b c d e Rouner, Leroy (1983). The Westminster Dictionary of Christian Theology. Westminster John Knox Press. p. 166. ISBN 978-0-664-22748-7.
  2. ^ Zolotarjov 1980: 42
  3. ^ Zolotarjov 1980: 43
  4. ^ Gusinde 1966: 71, 181
  5. ^ Zolotarjov 1980: 54
  6. ^ "Egypt and Mesopotamia"
  7. ^ Knight, Kevin. "Soul". Catholic Encyclopedia (Online ed.). Retrieved 13 December 2017.
  8. ^ Enrico Riparelli, Il volto del Cristo dualista. Da Marcione ai catari, Peter Lang, Bern - Berlin - Bruxelles - Frankfurt am Main - New York - Oxford - Wien 2008, 368 pp. ISBN 978-3-03911-490-0
  9. ^ Peters, Edward (2011). Heresy and Authority in Medieval Europe. University of Pennsylvania Press. p. 106. ISBN 978-0-8122-0680-7.
  10. ^ a b Russell, Jeffrey (1998). A History of Heaven: The Singing Silence. Princeton University Press. p. 53. ISBN 978-0-691-00684-0.
  11. ^ The Catholic Encyclopedia: An International Work of Reference on the Constitution, Doctrine, Discipline, and History of the Catholic Church. Robert Appleton Company. 1912. p. 170.
  12. ^ Hamilton, Janet; Hamilton, Bernard; Stoyanov, Yuri (1998). Christian Dualist Heresies in the Byzantine World, C. 650-c. 1450: Selected Sources. Manchester University Press. pp. 1–2. ISBN 978-0-7190-4765-7.
  13. ^ Chidester, David (2001). Christianity: A Global History. HarperCollins. pp. 266–268. ISBN 978-0-06-251770-8.
  14. ^ Etter, Christopher. A Study of Qualitative Non-Pluralism. iUniverse Inc. P. 59-60. ISBN 0-595-39312-8.
  15. ^ Fowler, Jeaneane D. Perspectives of Reality: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Hinduism. Sussex Academic Press. P. 340-344. ISBN 1-898723-93-1.
  16. ^ Girardot, N.J. (1988). Myth and Meaning in Early Taoism: The Theme of Chaos (hun-tun). University of California Press. p. 247. ISBN 978-0-520-06460-7.
  17. ^ a b Roberts, Jeremy. "Yin and Yang". Ancient and Medieval History. Facts on File. Retrieved 19 March 2017.
  18. ^ Vértes 1990: 104, 105
  19. ^ Zolotarjov 1980: 47–48
  20. ^ Ivanov & Toporov 1973
  21. ^ Ivanov 1984:390, in editorial afterword by Hoppál
  22. ^ Ivanov 1984: 225, 227, 229
  23. ^ Ivanov 1984: 229, 230
  24. ^ Ivanov 1984: 229–231
  25. ^ a b Zolotaryov 1980: 39
  26. ^ a b Zolotaryov 1980: 48
  27. ^ Zolotaryov 1980: 37
  28. ^ Ivanov 1984: 229
  29. ^ a b Zolotarjov 1980: 56
  30. ^ "Zolotarjov 1980: 40–41"
  31. ^ Anyiszimov 1981: 92 – 98
  32. ^ Gusinde 1966:71
  33. ^ Gusinde 1966:181

References

  • Anyiszimov, A. F. (1981). Az ősközösségi társadalom szellemi élete (in Hungarian). Budapest: Kossuth Könyvkiadó. ISBN 963-09-1843-9. Title means: “The spiritual life of the primitive commune”. The book is composed out of the translations of the following two originals: Анисимов, Ф. А. (1966). Духовная жизнь первобытново общества (in Russian). Москва • Ленинград: Наука. The other one: Анисимов, Ф. А. (1971). Исторические особенности первобытново мышления (in Russian). Москва • Ленинград: Наука.
  • Gusinde, Martin (1966). Nordwind—Südwind. Mythen und Märchen der Feuerlandindianer (in German). Kassel: E. Röth. Title means: “North wind—south wind. Myths and tales of Fuegians”.
  • Ivanov, Vyacheslav; Vladimir Toporov (1973). "Towards the Description of Ket Semiotic Systems". Semiotica. The Hague • Prague • New York: Mouton. IX (4): 318–346.
  • Ivanov, Vjacseszlav (=Vyacheslav) (1984). "Nyelvek és mitológiák". Nyelv, mítosz, kultúra (in Hungarian). Collected, appendix, editorial afterword by Hoppál, Mihály. Budapest: Gondolat. ISBN 963-281-186-0. The title means: “Language, myth, culture”, the editorial afterword means: “Languages and mythologies”.
  • Ivanov, Vjacseszlav (=Vyacheslav) (1984). "Obi-ugor és ket folklórkapcsolatok". Nyelv, mítosz, kultúra (in Hungarian). Collected, appendix, editorial afterword by Hoppál, Mihály. Budapest: Gondolat. pp. 215–233. ISBN 963-281-186-0. The title means: “Language, myth, culture”, the chapter means: “Obi-Ugric and Ket folklore contacts”.
  • Vértes, Edit (1990). Szibériai nyelvrokonaink hitvilága (in Hungarian). Budapest: Tankönyvkiadó. ISBN 963-18-2603-1. The title means: “Belief systems of our language relatives in Siberia”.
  • Zolotarjov, A.M. (1980). "Társadalomszervezet és dualisztikus teremtésmítoszok Szibériában". In Hoppál, Mihály. A Tejút fiai. Tanulmányok a finnugor népek hitvilágáról (in Hungarian). Budapest: Európa Könyvkiadó. pp. 29–58. ISBN 963-07-2187-2. Chapter means: “Social structure and dualistic creation myths in Siberia”; title means: “The sons of Milky Way. Studies on the belief systems of Finno-Ugric peoples”.

External links

Chinese creation myths

Chinese creation myths are symbolic narratives about the origins of the universe, earth, and life. In Chinese mythology, the term "cosmogonic myth" or "origin myth" is more accurate than "creation myth", since very few stories involve a creator deity or divine will. Chinese creation myths fundamentally differ from monotheistic traditions with one authorized version, such as the Judeo-Christian Genesis creation myth: Chinese classics record numerous and contradictory origin myths.

Some Chinese cosmogonic myths have familiar themes in comparative mythology. For example, creation from chaos (Chinese Hundun and Hawaiian Kumulipo), dismembered corpses of a primordial being (Pangu and Mesopotamian Tiamat), world parent siblings (Fuxi and Nüwa and Japanese Izanagi and Izanami), and dualistic cosmology (yin and yang and Zoroastrian Ahura Mazda and Angra Mainyu). In contrast, other mythic themes are uniquely Chinese. While the mythologies of Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Greece believed primeval water was the single element that existed "in the beginning", the basic element of Chinese cosmology was qi ("breath; air; life force"). Birrell explains that qi "was believed to embody cosmic energy governing matter, time, and space. This energy, according to Chinese mythic narratives, undergoes a transformation at the moment of creation, so that the nebulous element of vapor becomes differentiated into dual elements of male and female, Yin and Yang, hard and soft matter, and other binary elements."

Chukchi people

The Chukchi, or Chukchee (Russian: Чукчи, sg. Чукча), are an indigenous people inhabiting the Chukchi Peninsula and the shores of the Chukchi Sea and the Bering Sea region of the Arctic Ocean within the Russian Federation. They speak the Chukchi language. The Chukchi originated from the people living around the Okhotsk Sea. According to most recent genomic research ("Who we are and how we got here. Ancient DNA and the New Science of the human past", by David Reich. Pantheon books, New York, 2018), Chukchi people are the closest cousins of the First Americans in Asia.

Dualism

Dualism may refer to:

Mind–body dualism, a philosophical set of views about the relationship between mind and matter, which begins with the claim that mental phenomena are, in some respects, non-physical

Property dualism, a philosophy of mind and a subbranch of emergent materialism

Epistemological dualism, a philosophical concept also known as representative realism, indirect realism, and the veil of perception

Dualism (Indian philosophy), views in Hindu and Buddhist philosophy that are similar to but distinct from Western mind–body dualism

Dualistic cosmology, the moral, spiritual, or religious belief that two fundamental concepts exist, which often oppose each other

Soul dualism, the belief that a person has two (or more) kinds of souls

Ethical dualism, the attribution of good solely to one group of people and evil to another

Dualism (law), a principle in contending that international and domestic law are distinct systems of law, and that international law only applies to the extent that it does not conflict with domestic law

Dualism (politics), the separation of the responsibilities of cabinet and parliament

Duality (mathematics)

Duality (physics), media with properties that can be associated with the mechanics of two different phenomena, such as wave-particle duality

Dualism (cybernetics), systems or problems in which an intelligent adversary attempts to exploit the weaknesses of the investigator

Dualism (Indian philosophy)

Dualism in Indian philosophy refers to the belief held by certain schools of Indian philosophy that reality is fundamentally composed of two parts. This mainly takes the form of either mind-matter dualism in Buddhist philosophy or consciousness-matter dualism in the Samkhya and Yoga schools of Hindu philosophy. These can be contrasted with mind-body dualism in Western philosophy of mind, but also have similarities with it.

Another form of dualism in Hindu philosophy is found in the Dvaita ("dualism") Vedanta school, which regards God and the world as two realities with distinct essences; this is a form of theistic dualism. By contrast, schools such as Advaita ("nondualism") Vedanta embrace absolute monism and regard dualism as an illusion (maya).

Dystheism

Dystheism (from Greek δυσ- dys-, "bad" and θεός theos, "god"), is the belief that a god, goddess, or singular God is not wholly good (eutheism) as is commonly believed (such as in the monotheistic religions of Christianity and Judaism), and is possibly evil. Definitions of the term somewhat vary, with one author defining it as "where God decides to become malevolent". The broad theme of dystheism has existed for millennia, as shown by trickster gods found in polytheistic belief systems and by the view of the God of the Old Testament through a nonreligious lens as angry, vengeful and smiting. The modern concept dates back many decades, with the Victorian era figure Algernon Charles Swinburne writing in his work Anactoria about the ancient Greek poet Sappho and her lover Anactoria in explicitly dystheistic imagery that includes cannibalism and sadomasochism.

Index of metaphysics articles

Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy that investigates principles of reality transcending those of any particular science. Cosmology and ontology are traditional branches of metaphysics. It is concerned with explaining the fundamental nature of being and the world. Someone who studies metaphysics can be called either a "metaphysician" or a "metaphysicist".

Kabbalah

Kabbalah (Hebrew: קַבָּלָה, literally "reception, tradition" or "correspondance":3) is an esoteric method, discipline, and school of thought of Judaism. A traditional Kabbalist in Judaism is called a Mequbbāl (מְקוּבָּל). The definition of Kabbalah varies according to the tradition and aims of those following it, from its religious origin as an integral part of Judaism, to its later adaptations in Western esotericism (Christian Kabbalah and Hermetic Qabalah). Jewish Kabbalah is a set of esoteric teachings meant to explain the relationship between God, the unchanging, eternal, and mysterious Ein Sof (אֵין סוֹף, "The Infinite"), and the mortal and finite universe (God's creation). It forms the foundation of mystical religious interpretations within Judaism.Jewish Kabbalists originally developed their own transmission of sacred texts within the realm of Jewish tradition, and often use classical Jewish scriptures to explain and demonstrate its mystical teachings. These teachings are held by followers in Judaism to define the inner meaning of both the Hebrew Bible and traditional rabbinic literature and their formerly concealed transmitted dimension, as well as to explain the significance of Jewish religious observances. One of the fundamental kabbalistic texts, the Zohar, was first published in the 13th century, and the almost universal form adhered to in modern Judaism is Lurianic Kabbalah.

Traditional practitioners believe its earliest origins pre-date world religions, forming the primordial blueprint for Creation's philosophies, religions, sciences, arts, and political systems. Historically, Kabbalah emerged, after earlier forms of Jewish mysticism, in 12th- to 13th-century Southern France and Spain, and was reinterpreted during the Jewish mystical renaissance of 16th-century Ottoman Palestine. Isaac Luria is considered the father of contemporary Kabbalah; Lurianic Kabbalah was popularised in the form of Hasidic Judaism from the 18th-century onwards. During the 20th-century, academic interest in Kabbalistic texts led primarily by the Jewish historian Gershom Scholem has inspired the development of historical research on Kabbalah in the field of Judaic studies.

List of philosophies

Philosophies: particular schools of thought, styles of philosophy, or descriptions of philosophical ideas attributed to a particular group or culture - listed in alphabetical order.

Mandaeism

Mandaeism or Mandaeanism (Arabic: مندائية‎ Mandāʼīyah) is a gnostic religion with a strongly dualistic cosmology. Its adherents, the Mandaeans, revere Adam, Abel, Seth, Enos, Noah, Shem, Aram, and especially John the Baptist. The Mandaeans are Semites and speak a dialect of Eastern Aramaic known as Mandaic. The name 'Mandaean' is said to come from the Aramaic manda meaning "knowledge", as does Greek gnosis. Within the Middle East, but outside of their community, the Mandaeans are more commonly known as the Ṣubba (singular: Ṣubbī) or Sabians. The term Ṣubba is derived from the Aramaic root related to baptism, the neo-Mandaic is Ṣabi. In Islam, the "Sabians" (Arabic: الصابئون‎ al-Ṣābiʾūn) are described several times in the Qur'an as People of the Book, alongside Jews and Christians. Occasionally, Mandaeans are called "Christians of Saint John".According to most scholars, Mandaeaism originated sometime in the first three centuries AD, in either southwestern Mesopotamia or the Syro-Palestinian area. However, some scholars take the view that Mandaeanism is older and dates from pre-Christian times.The religion has been practised primarily around the lower Karun, Euphrates and Tigris and the rivers that surround the Shatt-al-Arab waterway, part of southern Iraq and Khuzestan Province in Iran. There are thought to be between 60,000 and 70,000 Mandaeans worldwide. Until the 2003 Iraq war, almost all of them lived in Iraq. Many Mandaean Iraqis have since fled their country because of the turmoil created by the 2003 invasion of Iraq and subsequent occupation by U.S. armed forces, and the related rise in sectarian violence by Muslim extremists. By 2007, the population of Mandaeans in Iraq had fallen to approximately 5,000.The Mandaeans have remained separate and intensely private. Reports of them and of their religion have come primarily from outsiders: particularly from Julius Heinrich Petermann, a scholar in Iranian studies, as well as from Nicolas Siouffi, a Syrian Christian who was the French vice-consul in Mosul in 1887, and British cultural anthropologist Lady E. S. Drower. There is an early if highly prejudiced account by the French traveller Jean-Baptiste Tavernier from the 1650s.

Manichaeism

Manichaeism (;

in Modern Persian آیین مانی Āyin-e Māni; Chinese: 摩尼教; pinyin: Móní Jiào) was a major religion founded by the Iranian prophet Mani (in Persian: مانی‎, Syriac: ܡܐܢܝ /mɑni/, Latin: Manichaeus or Manes from Koine Greek: Μάνης; c. 216–274) in the Sasanian Empire.Manichaeism taught an elaborate dualistic cosmology describing the struggle between a good, spiritual world of light, and an evil, material world of darkness. Through an ongoing process that takes place in human history, light is gradually removed from the world of matter and returned to the world of light, whence it came. Its beliefs were based on local Mesopotamian religious movements and Gnosticism.Manichaeism was quickly successful and spread far through the Aramaic-speaking regions. It thrived between the third and seventh centuries, and at its height was one of the most widespread religions in the world. Manichaean churches and scriptures existed as far east as China and as far west as the Roman Empire. It was briefly the main rival to Christianity before the spread of Islam in the competition to replace classical paganism. Manichaeism survived longer in the east than in the west, and it appears to have finally faded away after the 14th century in south China, contemporary to the decline of the Church of the East in Ming China. While most of Manichaeism's original writings have been lost, numerous translations and fragmentary texts have survived.

An adherent of Manichaeism is called a Manichaean or Manichean, or Manichee, especially in older sources.

Mazdak

Mazdak (Persian: مزدک‎, Middle Persian: 𐭬𐭦𐭣𐭪, also Mazdak the Younger; died c. 524 or 528) was a Zoroastrian mobad (priest), Iranian reformer, prophet and religious activist who gained influence during the reign of the Sasanian emperor Kavadh I. He claimed to be a prophet of Ahura Mazda and instituted communal possessions and social welfare programs. He has been seen as a proto-socialist.

Nga (god)

Among the Nenets people of Siberia, Nga was the god of death, as well as one of two demiurges, or supreme gods.

According to one story, the world threatened to collapse on itself. To try to halt this cataclysm a shaman sought the advice of the other demiurge, Num. The shaman was advised to travel below the earth, to Nga's domain and call upon him. The shaman did as told and was wed with Nga's daughter. After that point he began to support the world in his hand and became known as "The Old Man of the Earth."

In another myth, Num and Nga create the world, collaborating and also competing with each other — the myth is an example of dualistic cosmology.

Num (god)

Among the Nenets people of Siberia, the male Num was the sky god, the good creator of earth and the high god of the Nenets. Num is one of two demiurges, or supreme gods. The Nenets believed earth and all living things were created by the god Num and every heavenly sphere is ruled by one son of the Num god. Nga was his malevolent son.

According to one story, the world threatened to collapse on itself. To try to halt this cataclysm a shaman sought the advice of Num. The shaman was advised to travel below the earth, to Nga's domain and call upon him. The shaman did as told and was wed with Nga's daughter. After that point he began to support the world in his hand and became known as "The Old Man of the Earth."

In another myth, Num and Nga create the world, collaborating and also competing with each other — the myth is an example of dualistic cosmology.The word Num means heaven in Nenets.

Sexual polarity

Sexual polarity is a concept of dualism between masculine and feminine. More generally, the term may be used to denote mutual opposition between sexual ideologies.

"the very dichotomy man/woman as an opposition between two rival entities may be understood as belonging to metaphysics"

Metaphorical symbolism of sexual polarity is deeply intertwined in cultural understandings of nature. Conceptions of male and female poles are developed through history in relation to each other.

Soul dualism

Soul dualism or multiple souls is a range of beliefs that a person has two or more kinds of souls. In many cases, one of the souls is associated with body functions ("body soul") and the other one can leave the body ("free soul" or "wandering soul"). Sometimes the plethora of soul types can be even more complex. Sometimes, a shaman's "free soul" may be held to be able to undertake a spirit journey.

Vokil

The Vokil, Ukil or Uokil were a dynastic clan of 1st millennium Danube Bulgaria.

They contributed four monarchs listed in the Nominalia of the Bulgarian khans. According to the Nominalia, they "ruled on that side of Danube for 515 years with shaven heads". The first Bulgarian supreme Khan of the Vokil lineage listed in Nominalia was Kormisosh (r. 737–754) and the last was Umor (r. 766).

Zoroastrianism

Zoroastrianism, or Mazdayasna, is one of the world's oldest religions that remains active. It is a monotheistic faith (i.e. a single creator God), centered in a dualistic cosmology of good and evil and an eschatology predicting the ultimate destruction of evil. Ascribed to the teachings of the Iranian-speaking prophet Zoroaster (also known as Zarathustra), it exalts a deity of wisdom, Ahura Mazda (Wise Lord), as its Supreme Being. Major features of Zoroastrianism, such as messianism, judgment after death, heaven and hell, and free will may have influenced other religious systems, including Second Temple Judaism, Gnosticism, Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism.With possible roots dating back to the second millennium BCE, Zoroastrianism enters recorded history in the 5th century BCE. Along with a Mithraic Median prototype and a Zurvanist Sassanid successor, it served as the state religion of the pre-Islamic Iranian empires for more than a millennium, from around 600 BCE to 650 CE. Zoroastrianism was suppressed from the 7th century onwards following the Muslim conquest of Persia of 633–654. Recent estimates place the current number of Zoroastrians at around 190,000, with most living in India and in Iran; their number is declining. In 2015, there were reports of up to 100,000 converts in Iraqi Kurdistan. Besides the Zoroastrian diaspora, the older Mithraic faith Yazdânism is still practised amongst Kurds.The most important texts of the religion are those of the Avesta, which includes the writings of Zoroaster known as the Gathas, enigmatic poems that define the religion's precepts, and the Yasna, the scripture. The full name by which Zoroaster addressed the deity is: Ahura, The Lord Creator, and Mazda, Supremely Wise. The religious philosophy of Zoroaster divided the early Iranian gods of Proto-Indo-Iranian tradition, but focused on responsibility, and did not create a devil per se. Zoroaster proclaimed that there is only one God, the singularly creative and sustaining force of the Universe, and that human beings are given a right of choice. Because of cause and effect, they are responsible for the consequences of their choices. The contesting force to Ahura Mazda was called Angra Mainyu, or angry spirit. Post-Zoroastrian scripture introduced the concept of Ahriman, the Devil, which was effectively a personification of Angra Mainyu.Zoroastrianism's creator Ahura Mazda, through the Spenta Mainyu (Good Spirit, "Bounteous Immortals") is an all-good "father" of Asha (Truth, "order, justice"), in opposition to Druj ("falsehood, deceit") and no evil originates from "him". "He" and his works are evident to humanity through the six primary Amesha Spentas and the host of other Yazatas, through whom worship of Mazda is ultimately directed. Spenta Mainyu adjoined unto "truth", oppose the Spirit's opposite, Angra Mainyu and its forces born of Akəm Manah ("evil thinking").Zoroastrianism has no major theological divisions, though it is not uniform; modern-era influences having a significant impact on individual and local beliefs, practices, values and vocabulary, sometimes merging with tradition and in other cases displacing it. In Zoroastrianism, the purpose in life is to "be among those who renew the world...to make the world progress towards perfection". Its basic maxims include:

Humata, Hukhta, Huvarshta, which mean: Good Thoughts, Good Words, Good Deeds.

There is only one path and that is the path of Truth.

Do the right thing because it is the right thing to do, and then all beneficial rewards will come to you also.

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