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Axes
The Dime
wilowisp
If one were to create a schema for religion, similar to the political graphs in the current meme-age, what would be the y-axis, and what would be the x-?

Right now, I'm thinking x- would be something like "attitude towards the physical", with indifference in the middle and ranging out to negative and positive. y- would be 'state of the divine', with one end of the spectrum being totally subjective, and the other being totally objective.

Any comments anyone?

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I think two of the most important axes in my own perceptions/development/philosophizing have been the immanence-transendence scale and the one-multi scale. You could take the latter in a number of ways - mono vs. polytheism, one authority vs. negotiations between individuals, valuing conformity vs. valuing diversity, but I think there is a pattern where all of these sort of line up into a general orientation of spirituality oriented towards the One or towards the Many. For example, I am more of a shamanistic pagan than a Wiccan at least in part because of my impression that the latter deals mostly with two main gods. For me that's just not enough to cover my experience, at least in part because the sort of "division" between God and Goddess to me already feels so painfully fixed in the physical world that I prefer it not be like that in my spiritual world as well. I know that's way oversimplifying Wicca, but I still think it's a lot different an orientation from talking to/working with whatever creature happens to call on you on a given day or phase of your life.

I think there are many many possible axes out there though and I'm sure others see different things first, too.

Ok, wow, awesome. The issue of trascendence vs. immanence is indeed a big one. I feel like the one-multi scale vs. my 'objective vs. subjective' scale can have a big ol' fashioned Mac dialogue between the two of them to come to some sort of agreement. Perhaps, though, that's my personal bend that mono-theism (in the belief of one god, or simply of one, pure, untainted divine) lends itself more towards an objective idea of what divinity is, while polytheism/pantheism/etc. inherently tend to allow a more personal, subjective interpretation of it. That maybe be just true in a more modern context, though. And I'm sure at least three people will descend upon me with counter-examples.

Which leads me to a second point of interest. These 'axes' clearly are an oversimplification, but in that, I hope it reveals some of the factors that dwell either consciously or unconsiously in people's faith. What made me leap to the scales I did? What does that say about my world view or my interpretation of faith? And of course, where would I put myself on my own graph?

A good conversation is rarely one that comes to a unified agreement. I want to hear all the different views.

I agree - the axes are very much an oversimplifaction, for religion and politics as well. The Irish newspapers demonstrate the fact that there really aren't just 2 sides to the political spectrum, even though here there sometimes seems to be just 2 sides to the religious spectrum (Catholic-Protestant). And that's another thing about the axes idea is that it can show us which aspects of a society are overly polarized.

Although I would have a hard time limiting myself to only 2 axes for religion, one of them would very likely be strength of belief/level of personal importance of religion. Over the short span of my life I've already swing around wildly on that axes.

Hmm...one-multi and objective-subjective...they probably do have a great degree of overlap. I think I can see what you mean on that one. I mean, a lot of it depends on the particular context and whatnot. I know folks who essentially have one "reality map" for themselves but who simply see other maps as interpretations of the same thing that they believe. Some days I fall into that category. Example, my friend out east (C) definitely talks about God, capital G as a sort of single force. But he also sees each religion as expressing its own version of God. On the other hand there is a weird axis for him that I can't quite get my head around...I think I would call it personal vs. impersonal maybe? Like the difference between a Christian god as a sort of personified consciousness who will either bless or curse you and the description of brahman in the Upanisads which is more of a sort of interweaving energy flow. For him it seems to be both are sort of "God" for him in their own way. For me I tend to split the conscious will from the energy.

Dealing with lots of axes, btw, seems to become easier as I learn more about multivariate statistics. :) All about learning to think in 5 or 6 dimensions...2 or 3 at a time of course but it does add up to something when you go, "now to that add another layer..." Even if I can't visualize it I can at least conceptualize it now.

Much simpler in my mind...

(Anonymous)
One axis is labelled "Scientists who will die on the end of Gungnir when Ragnarok comes" and the other is "Mono-theists who will die on the end of Gungnir when Ragnarok comes." Now sound the Gjaller horn and let's get on with the blood shed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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