Transtheism

Transtheism refers to a system of thought or religious philosophy which is neither theistic nor atheistic, but is beyond them. The word was coined by either philosopher Paul Tillich or Indologist Heinrich Zimmer.[1]

Zimmer applies the term to Jainism, which is theistic in the limited sense that gods exist but are irrelevant as they are transcended by moksha (that is, a system which is not non-theistic, but in which the gods are not the highest spiritual instance). Zimmer (1953, p. 182) uses the term to describe the position of the Tirthankaras having passed "beyond the godly governors of the natural order".

The term has more recently also been applied to Buddhism,[2] Advaita Vedanta[3] and the Bhakti movement.[4]

Terminology

Nathan Katz in Buddhist and Western Philosophy (1981, p. 446) points out that the term "transpolytheistic" would be more accurate, since it entails that the polytheistic gods are not denied or rejected even after the development of a notion of the Absolute that transcends them, but criticizes the classification as characterizing the mainstream by the periphery: "like categorizing Roman Catholicism as a good example of non-Nestorianism". The term is indeed informed by the fact that the corresponding development in the West, the development of monotheism, did not "transcend" polytheism, but abolish it, while in the mainstream of the Indian religions, the notion of "gods" (deva) was never elevated to the status of "God" or Ishvara, or the impersonal Absolute Brahman, but adopted roles comparable to Western angels. "Transtheism", according to the criticism of Katz, is then an artifact of comparative religion.

Paul Tillich uses transtheistic in The Courage to Be (1952), as an aspect of Stoicism. Tillich stated that Stoicism and Neo-Stoicism

are the way in which some of the noblest figures in later antiquity and their followers in modern times have answered the problem of existence and conquered the anxieties of fate and death. Stoicism in this sense is a basic religious attitude, whether it appears in theistic, atheistic, or transtheistic forms.[5]

Like Zimmer trying to express a religious notion that is neither theistic nor atheistic. However, the theism that is being transcended in Stoicism according to Tillich is not polytheism as in Jainism, but monotheism, pursuing an ideal of human courage which has emancipated itself from God.

The courage to take meaninglessness into itself presupposes a relation to the ground of being which we have called "absolute faith." It is without a special content, yet it is not without content. The content of absolute faith is the "god above God." Absolute faith and its consequence, the courage that takes the radical doubt, the doubt about God, into itself, transcends the theistic idea of God.[6]

Martin Buber criticized Tillich's "transtheistic position" as a reduction of God to the impersonal "necessary being" of Thomas Aquinas.[7]

Buddhism as transtheistic

Following the term coined by the philosophers Tillich and Zimmer, Buddhism can be regarded as a transtheistic religion[1]. This can be evident by the transcendence of the state of Nibbana (Nirvana) that surpasses all the realms of existence, including the planes of devas and brahmas who are considered gods in Buddhist cosmology. The historical Buddha made it clear that the path to enlightenment does not depend on a god or gods. Although there is acknowledgment of a multitude of gods in the oldest Buddhist scriptures, there is also reference to Maha Brahma, who considered himself to be the all-powerful all-creator god, only to be critiqued by the Buddha as having wrongly perceived his plane of existence as the highest.[8]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ a b In published writings, the term appears in 1952 for Tillich and in 1953 for Zimmer. Since the two men were personally acquainted, it is difficult to say which of them coined the term. Note that the term transtheism is avoided by both.
  2. ^ Antonio Rigopoulos, The Life and Teachings of Sai Baba of Shirdi (1993), p. 372; J. L. (Ed) Houlden, Jesus: The Complete Guide (2005), p. 390
  3. ^ Steven T. Katz, Mysticism and Sacred Scripture, Oxford University Press (2000), p. 177 ; Pulasth Soobah. Roodurmun, Kanshi Ram, Bhāmatī and Vivaraṇa Schools of Advaita Vedānta, Motilal Banarsidass (2002), p. 172
  4. ^ Werner Karel, Love Divine: Studies in Bhakti and Devotional Mysticism (1993), p. 153
  5. ^ Writings on Religion, Walter de Gruyter (1988), p. 145.
  6. ^ Paul Tillich. Theism Transcended (Yale: CT 1952) 185-190, in the Courage to Be, in the Essential Tillich: an anthology of the writings of Paul Tillich, ed. F. Forrester Church (Macmillan: NY 1987) 187-190
  7. ^ Novak, David (Spring 1992), "Buber and Tillich", Journal of Ecumenical Studies, 29 (2): 159–74
    As reprinted in: Novak, David (2005), Talking With Christians: Musings of A Jewish Theologian, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, p. 101
  8. ^ "Teacher of the Devas". www.accesstoinsight.org. Retrieved 2018-01-08.

References

  • Ruth Reyna, Dictionary of Oriental Philosophy, Munshiram Manoharlal (1984).
  • Heinrich Robert Zimmer, Philosophies of India, ed. Joseph Campbell (1953).

External links

Agnostic theism

Agnostic theism, agnostotheism or agnostitheism is the philosophical view that encompasses both theism and agnosticism. An agnostic theist believes in the existence of a god or gods, but regards the basis of this proposition as unknown or inherently unknowable. The agnostic theist may also or alternatively be agnostic regarding the properties of the god or gods that they believe in.

Antitheism

Antitheism (sometimes anti-theism) is the opposition to theism. The term has had a range of applications. In secular contexts, it typically refers to direct opposition to the belief in any deity.

Apatheism

Apatheism (; a portmanteau of apathy and theism) is the attitude of apathy towards the existence or non-existence of god(s). It is more of an attitude rather than a belief, claim, or belief system.An apatheist is someone who is not interested in accepting or rejecting any claims that gods exist or do not exist. The existence of god(s) is not rejected, but may be designated irrelevant.Scientist and philosopher Ian von Hegner has argued that apatheism is an alternative to positions such as theism, atheism, and agnosticism, with implications that have been overlooked in modern philosophical discussions. Philosopher Trevor Hedberg has called apatheism "uncharted territory in the philosophy of religion."

God in Jainism

In Jainism, godliness is said to be the inherent quality of every soul. This quality, however, is subdued by the soul's association with karmic matter. All souls who have achieved the natural state of infinite bliss, infinite knowledge (kevala jnana), infinite power and infinite perception are regarded as God in Jainism. Jainism rejects the idea of a creator deity responsible for the manifestation, creation, or maintenance of this universe. According to Jain doctrine, the universe and its constituents (soul, matter, space, time, and principles of motion) have always existed. All the constituents and actions are governed by universal natural laws and perfect soul, an immaterial entity cannot create or affect a material entity like the universe.

Godhead

Godhead (from Middle English godhede, "godhood", and unrelated to the modern word "head"), may refer to:

Deity

Divinity, the quality of being God

Conceptions of God

Godhead in Judaism, the unknowable aspect of God, which lies beyond its actions or emanations

Godhead in Christianity, the substantial essence or nature of the Christian God

Godhead, the concept of God in Mormonism

God in Hinduism

Brahman, the divine source of being, through which all emanates

Paramatma, the "oversoul" or supreme spirit

Three godheads (Ayyavazhi) or Trimurti, Brahmā, Vishnu and Śhiva

Svayam Bhagavan or Supreme Personality of Godhead, the divine person from whom all emanatesOther uses:

Godhead (band), an American industrial rock band

Godhead (album), an album by Scottish dream pop band Lowlife

Godhead, the second single taken from Nitzer Ebb's 1991 album Ebbhead

Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, a book by A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Godhead Trilogy, science fiction series by James K. Morrow

Ignosticism

Ignosticism or igtheism is the idea that the question of the existence of God is meaningless because the term god has no coherent and unambiguous definition. It may also be described as the theological position that other theological positions assume too much about the concept of god.

Jainism

Jainism (), traditionally known as Jain Dharma or Arihant Dharma, is an ancient Indian religion. Followers of Jainism are called "Jains", a word derived from the Sanskrit word jina (victor) and connoting the path of victory in crossing over life's stream of rebirths through an ethical and spiritual life. Jainism is a transtheistic religion, and Jains trace their spiritual ideas and history through a succession of twenty-four victorious saviours and teachers known as tirthankaras, with the first being Rishabhanatha, who according to Jain tradition lived millions of years ago, the twenty-third being Parshvanatha in 900 BCE, and twenty-fourth being the Mahāvīra around 500 BCE. Jains believe that Jainism is an eternal dharma with the tirthankaras guiding every cycle of the Jain cosmology.

The main religious premises of Jainism are ahiṃsā (non-violence), anekāntavāda (many-sidedness), aparigraha (non-attachment) and asceticism. Devout Jains take five main vows: ahiṃsā (non-violence), satya (truth), asteya (not stealing), brahmacharya (celibacy or chastity), and aparigraha (non-attachment). These principles have impacted Jain culture in many ways, such as leading to a predominantly vegetarian lifestyle that avoids harm to animals and their life cycles. Parasparopagraho Jīvānām (the function of souls is to help one another) is the motto of Jainism. Ṇamōkāra mantra is the most common and basic prayer in Jainism.Jainism has two major ancient sub-traditions, Digambaras and Śvētāmbaras; and several smaller sub-traditions that emerged in the 2nd millennium CE. The Digambaras and Śvētāmbaras have different views on ascetic practices, gender and which Jain texts can be considered canonical. Jain mendicants are found in all Jain sub-traditions except Kanji Panth sub-tradition, with laypersons (śrāvakas) supporting the mendicants' spiritual pursuits with resources.

Jainism has between four and five million followers, with most Jains residing in India. Outside India, some of the largest Jain communities are present in Canada, Europe, Kenya, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Suriname, Fiji, and the United States. Major Jain festivals include Paryushana and Daslakshana, Mahavir Janma Kalyanak, and Dipawali.

Kathenotheism

Kathenotheism is a term coined by the philologist Max Müller to mean the worship of one god at a time. It is closely related to henotheism, the worship of one god while not rejecting the existence of other gods. Müller coined the term in reference to the Vedas, where he explained each deity is treated as supreme in turn.

Khuda

Khuda or Khoda (Persian: خدا‎) is the Persian word for "Lord" or "God". Originally, it was used in reference to Ahura Mazda (the name of God in Zoroastrianism). Other Iranian languages also use it.

Monad (philosophy)

Monad (from Greek μονάς monas, "singularity" in turn from μόνος monos, "alone") refers, in cosmogony, to the Supreme Being, divinity or the totality of all things. The concept was reportedly conceived by the Pythagoreans and may refer variously to a single source acting alone, or to an indivisible origin, or to both. The concept was later adopted by other philosophers, such as Leibniz, who referred to the monad as an elementary particle. It had a geometric counterpart, which was debated and discussed contemporaneously by the same groups of people.

Nontheism

Nontheism or non-theism is a range of both religious and nonreligious attitudes characterized by the absence of espoused belief in a God or gods. Nontheism has generally been used to describe apathy or silence towards the subject of God and differs from an antithetical, explicit atheism. Nontheism does not necessarily describe atheism or disbelief in God; it has been used as an umbrella term for summarizing various distinct and even mutually exclusive positions, such as agnosticism, ignosticism, ietsism, skepticism, pantheism, atheism, strong or positive atheism, implicit atheism, and apatheism. It is in use in the fields of Christian apologetics and general liberal theology.

Within the scope of nontheistic agnosticism, philosopher Anthony Kenny distinguishes between agnostics who find the claim "God exists" uncertain and theological noncognitivists who consider all discussion of God to be meaningless. Some agnostics, however, are not nontheists but rather agnostic theists.Other related philosophical opinions about the existence of deities are ignosticism and skepticism. Because of the various definitions of the term God, a person could be an atheist in terms of certain conceptions of gods, while remaining agnostic in terms of others.

Olofi

Olofi or Olofin is the name given to one of the three manifestations of the Supreme God in the Santería religion. Olofi is the ruler of the Earth.

The Supreme God has three manifestations: Olodumare, the Creator; Olorun, ruler of the heavens; and Olofi, who is the conduit between Orún (Heaven) and Ayé (Earth).

Outline of theology

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to theology:

Theology is the critical study of the nature of the divine. It is taught as an academic discipline, typically in universities, seminaries and schools of divinity.

Paul Tillich

Paul Johannes Tillich (August 20, 1886 – October 22, 1965) was a German-American Christian existentialist philosopher and Lutheran Protestant theologian who is widely regarded as one of the most influential theologians of the twentieth century.Among the general public, he is best known for his works The Courage to Be (1952) and Dynamics of Faith (1957), which introduced issues of theology and modern culture to a general readership. In academic theology, he is best known for his major three-volume work Systematic Theology (1951–63) in which he developed his "method of correlation", an approach of exploring the symbols of Christian revelation as answers to the problems of human existence raised by contemporary existential philosophical analysis.

Possibilianism

Possibilianism is a philosophy which rejects both the diverse claims of traditional theism and the positions of certainty in strong atheism in favor of a middle, exploratory ground. The term was invented by Robbie Parrish, a friend of neuroscientist David Eagleman who defined the term in relation to his book of fiction Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives.

Post-monotheism

In the philosophy of religion and theology, post-monotheism (from Greek μόνος "one" and θεός "god," with the Latin prefix "post-" as in "after" or "beyond") is a term covering a range of different meanings that nonetheless share concern for the status of faith and religious experience in the modern or post-modern era. There is no one originator for the term. Rather, it has independently appeared in the writings of several intellectuals on the Internet and in print. Its most notable use has been in the poetry of Arab Israeli author Nidaa Khoury, and as a label for a "new sensibility" or theological approach proposed by the Islamic historian Christopher Schwartz.

Post-theism

Post-theism is a variant of nontheism that proposes that the division of theism vs. atheism is obsolete, that God belongs to a stage of human development now past. Within nontheism, post-theism can be contrasted with antitheism.

The term appears in Christian liberal theology and Postchristianity.

Frank Hugh Foster in a 1918 lecture announced that modern culture had arrived at a "post-theistic stage" in which humanity has taken possession of the powers of agency and creativity that had formerly been projected upon God.Denys Turner argues that Karl Marx did not choose atheism over theism, but rejected the binary "Feuerbachian" choice altogether, a position which by being post-theistic is at the same time necessarily post-atheistic. For example, at one point Marx argued "there should be less trifling with the label 'atheism,'” as he insisted "religion in itself is without content, it owes its being not to heaven but to the earth, and with the abolition of distorted reality, of which it is the theory, it will collapse of itself."Related ideas include Friedrich Nietzsche's pronouncement that "God is dead" and the transtheism of Paul Tillich or Pema Chödrön.

Religious philosophy

Religious philosophy is philosophical thinking that is inspired and directed by a particular religion. It can be done objectively, but may also be done as a persuasion tool by believers in that faith.

There are different philosophies for each religion such as those of:

Aztec philosophy

Buddhist philosophy

Christian philosophy

Hindu philosophy

Islamic philosophy

Jain philosophy

Jewish philosophy

Sikh philosophy

Taoist philosophy

Zoroastrian philosophy

Syntheism

Syntheism is a new religious movement founded by Swedish cyberphilosophers Alexander Bard and Jan Söderqvist that is focused on how atheists and pantheists can achieve the same feelings of community and awe experienced in traditional theistic religions. The Syntheist Movement sees itself as the practical realisation of a philosophical ambition for a new religion dating back as far as Baruch Spinoza's pantheism in the 17th century and, most directly, British-American philosopher Alfred North Whitehead's pioneering work towards a process theology in his books Religion in the Making in 1926 and Process and Reality in 1929.Syntheism may also be viewed as a response to the lack of atheistic and pantheistic belief systems in Western cultures, while being more abundant in Eastern cultures, for example as Zen Buddhism, Dzogchen Buddhism, Advaita Vedanta Hinduism, Zoroastrianism and Jainism.

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