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 Dystheism and Misotheism

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mike lewis



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PostSubject: Dystheism and Misotheism   Fri 10 Aug 2012, 10:03 am

Quote :
Arthur Schopenhauer wrote: "This world could not have been the work of an all-loving being, but that of a devil, who had brought creatures into existence in order to delight in the sight of their sufferings."

Dystheism (Greek δύσ θεος "bad god"), is the belief that a god is not wholly good, and is possibly evil. Trickster gods found in polytheistic belief systems often have a dystheistic nature. One example is Eshu, a trickster god from Yoruba mythology who deliberately fostered violence between groups of people for his own amusement, saying that "causing strife is my greatest joy."

Dystheists may themselves be theists or atheists, and in the case of either, concerning the nature of the God of Abrahamic faiths, will assert that God is not good, and is possibly, although not necessarily, malevolent, particularly to those who do not wish to follow that faith.

Such attitudes have often stemmed from ideas similar to that of Mikhail Bakunin, who stated that "if God really existed, it would be necessary to abolish him" as a result of [God's] perceived antagonism to freedom.



Quote :

Misotheism is the "hatred of God" or "hatred of the gods" (from the Greek adjective μισόθεος "hating the gods", a compound of μῖσος "hatred" and θεός "god"). In some varieties of polytheism, it was considered possible to inflict punishment on gods by ceasing to worship them. Thus, Hrafnkell, protagonist of the eponymous Icelandic saga set in the 10th century, as his temple to Freyr is burnt and he is enslaved states that "I think it is folly to have faith in gods", never performing another sacrifice, a position described in the sagas as goðlauss "godless". Jacob Grimm in his Teutonic Mythology observes that:

It is remarkable that Old Norse legend occasionally mentions certain men who, turning away in utter disgust and doubt from the heathen faith, placed their reliance on their own strength and virtue. Thus in the Sôlar lioð 17 we read of Vêbogi and Râdey á sjálf sig þau trûðu, "in themselves they trusted".

In monotheism, the sentiment arises in the context of theodicy (the problem of evil, the Euthyphro dilemma). A famous literary expression of misotheistic sentiment is Goethe's Prometheus, composed in the 1770s.

A related concept is dystheism (Greek δύσθεος "ungodly"), the belief that a god is not wholly good, and is possibly evil. Trickster gods found in polytheistic belief systems often have a dystheistic nature. One example is Eshu, a trickster god from Yoruba mythology who deliberately fostered violence between groups of people for his own amusement, saying that "causing strife is my greatest joy."

Some Dualist interpretations of Christianity would conclude that demons are gods in those subsets of religions. In that context, misotheism is encouraged for one third of all deities but not the other two thirds. The concept of the Demiurge in some versions of ancient Gnosticism also often portrayed the Demiurge as a generally evil entity.

Many polytheistic deities since prehistoric times have been assumed to be neither good nor evil (or to have both qualities). Thus dystheism is normally used in reference to the Judeo-Christian God. In conceptions of God as the summum bonum, the proposition of God not being wholly good would of course be a contradiction in terms.

A historical proposition close to "dystheism" is the deus deceptor (dieu trompeur) of Descartes' Meditations on First Philosophy, which has been interpreted by Protestant critics as the blasphemous proposition that God exhibits malevolent intent. But Kennington states that Descartes never declared his "evil genius" to be omnipotent, but merely no less powerful than he is deceitful, and thus not explicitly an equivalent to God, the singular omnipotent deity.


The evil demon, sometimes referred to as the evil genius, is a concept in Cartesian philosophy. In his 1641 Meditations on First Philosophy, René Descartes hypothesises the existence of an evil demon, a personification who is "as clever and deceitful as he is powerful, who has directed his entire effort to misleading me." The evil demon presents a complete illusion of an external world, including other minds, to Descartes' senses, where in fact there is no such external world in existence. The evil genius also presents to Descartes' senses a complete illusion of his own body, including all bodily sensations, when in fact Descartes has no body. Most Cartesian scholars opine that the evil demon is also omnipotent, and thus capable of altering mathematics and the fundamentals of logic.

The evil demon has a parallel with Berkeley's concept of a consensus reality supported by God. It is one of several methods of systematic doubt that Descartes employs in the Meditations.

"summe potens & callidus"(translated as "most highly powerful and cunning")
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PostSubject: Re: Dystheism and Misotheism   Fri 10 Aug 2012, 4:13 pm

Jesus christ..

Quote :
René Descartes hypothesises the existence of an evil demon, a personification who is "as clever and deceitful as he is powerful, who has directed his entire effort to misleading me." The evil demon presents a complete illusion of an external world, including other minds, to Descartes' senses, where in fact there is no such external world in existence. The evil genius also presents to Descartes' senses a complete illusion of his own body, including all bodily sensations, when in fact Descartes has no body. Most Cartesian scholars opine that the evil demon is also omnipotent, and thus capable of altering mathematics and the fundamentals of logic.

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mike lewis



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PostSubject: Re: Dystheism and Misotheism   Fri 10 Aug 2012, 5:04 pm

Prometheus (Goethe)
Shroud your heaven, Zeus,
With cloudy vapours,
And do as you will, like the boy
That beheads thistles,
With oak-trees and mountain-tops;
You must my Earth
Now abandon to me,
And my hut, which you did not build,
And my hearth,
Whose glow
You begrudge me.

I know of nothing poorer
Under the sun, than you, Gods!
You are barely nourished
By sacrificial offerings
And prayerful exhalations
Your Majesty
And would starve, were
Not children and beggars
Hopeful fools.

When I was a child,
And did not know the in or out,
I turned my wandering eyes toward
The sun, as if beyond it there were
An ear to hear my lament,
A heart like mine,
To take pity on the afflicted.

Who helped me
Against the Titans' mischief?
Who delivered me from Death,
From Slavery?
Did you not accomplish it all yourself,
Holy, burning Heart?
And glowed, young and good,
Deceived, your thanks for salvation
To the sleeping one above?

I should honour you? For what?
Have you softened the sufferings,
Ever, of the burdened?
Have you stilled the tears,
Ever, of the anguished?
Was I not forged as a Man
By almighty Time
And the eternal Fate,
My masters and yours?

Do you somehow imagine
I should hate life,
Flee to the desert,
Because not every
Flowering dream may bloom?

Here I sit, forming people
In my image;
A race, to be like me,
To suffer, to weep,
To enjoy and delight themselves,
And to mock you –
As I do!
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