Apophatic vs Cataphatic Theology

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posted on Mar, 9 2013 @ 08:10 AM
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reply to post by BlueMule
 


God is whatever you want God to be, so Apophatic and Cataphatic is both right.

If you want "the indescribable" to be your God, then you are free to see it in that way.
If you want something "imaginable" to be your God, then you are free to see it in that way.


edit on 9-3-2013 by arpgme because: (no reason given)




posted on Mar, 9 2013 @ 08:45 AM
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reply to post by arpgme
 


That's pretty much what I said in the OP. They are both necessary, and they are both incomplete in-and-of-themselves. Like yin and yang. Like baby food and adult food. One doesn't feel that baby food has no place in the world just because one has outgrown it.

edit on 9-3-2013 by BlueMule because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 9 2013 @ 11:20 AM
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reply to post by arpgme
 


If you want "the indescribable" to be your God, then you are free to see it in that way.
If you want something "imaginable" to be your God, then you are free to see it in that way.

Yes, people are (in some countries) "free" to see it however they want; or at least in their hearts, even if there is a state religion...
but those of us who want - and place above all tradition or dogma - The Truth feel somewhat differently about it. I don't want to "believe" something that isn't true. Kind of like "believing" an abusive spouse "loves you", when what they are doing is absolutely NOT love...



posted on Mar, 9 2013 @ 11:58 AM
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Here's Islamic Apophatic belief in short but clear to anyone from simpletons to sufis(mystics)

Surah 112-Say: “He is Allah, the One and Unique; (1) Allah, Who is in need of none and of Whom all are in need; (2) He neither begot any nor was He begotten, (3) and none is comparable to Him.” (4)

a complete little summary of what God is not.
It is so important that understanding this equals understanding 1/3rd Qur'an.
The name of this Surah is Surah Ikhlas.
The Arabic root of the word ikhlas is kh-l-s which means to be purified or refined. The very concept of refining and purifying signifies the burning away of all impurities, leaving nothing but the very essence of that which was
sought, which, in this case, is Allah.



posted on Mar, 9 2013 @ 12:52 PM
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reply to post by logical7
 


I have a great deal of respect for the sufi tradition. Too bad that many muslims regard sufism as an unacceptable distortion of Islamic beliefs and way of life.



posted on Mar, 9 2013 @ 02:14 PM
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reply to post by wildtimes
 


Really, do we have to be that mature?

All kidding aside, I was unaware of the two theological schools of thought as well.
But is seems to me the op's presentation was meant to provoke anamosity rather than to encourage interesting dialog.

The op's presentation of the one as childish and tribalistic and the other as mature and compassionate creates an instant combative stance by the reader. His/her tone is dismissive and insulting.

Apparently maturity and compassion are in the eye of the beholder.

Humans have need to quantify everything. This is not immature it is human nature. Why should it not also invade the realm of religion?



posted on Mar, 9 2013 @ 02:25 PM
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reply to post by BlueMule
 


I've considered this idea, but if the universe is an informational, organic, cosmological unity, fully informed through the evolution of the zero point field or akashic field (record) then God as higher power and as the transcendant Godhead, has had plenty of time to become self aware, but has simply designed things so that there might be a partnership and an active participation with him on the part of his creation (us). This denotes a metaphor more akin to a marriage partnership wherein both the Cataphatic and Apothatic are correct.



posted on Mar, 9 2013 @ 04:24 PM
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Originally posted by 1PLA1

The op's presentation of the one as childish and tribalistic and the other as mature and compassionate creates an instant combative stance by the reader. His/her tone is dismissive and insulting.


Tribalistic? In my way of thinking, we are all one big happy tribe in the Kingdom of God. Despite the coincidentia oppositorum divisions, there is unity underneath. In my way of thinking no one is going to be tortured in hell for all eternity for not having the correct flavor-of-the-age mainstream orthodox beliefs. God would be incomplete if even one person went to the orthodox idea of "hell".

Oh sure I don't have a very high opinion of fundamentalists. I don't hide it. So sue me.

But at least I consider them family.

The reverse isn't true. In mainstream orthodox exoteric Christian thinking, there are really only two tribes of Humanity. There is a tribe of Holy elite that is going to Heaven and there is a demonized unholy tribe of the damned that is going to hell. Guess which one the fundamentalists in this thread would put me in.

That's the real tribalism.

edit on 9-3-2013 by BlueMule because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 9 2013 @ 04:40 PM
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Originally posted by BlueMule

Originally posted by 1PLA1

The op's presentation of the one as childish and tribalistic and the other as mature and compassionate creates an instant combative stance by the reader. His/her tone is dismissive and insulting.


Tribalistic? In my way of thinking, we are all one big happy tribe in the Kingdom of God. Despite the coincidentia oppositorum divisions, there is unity underneath. In my way of thinking no one is going to be tortured in hell for all eternity for not having the correct mainstream orthodox beliefs. God would be incomplete if even one person went to the orthodox idea of "hell".

Oh sure I don't have a very high opinion of fundamentalists. I don't hide it. So sue me.

But at least I consider them family.

The reverse isn't true. In mainstream orthodox exoteric thinking, there are really only two tribes of Humanity. There is a tribe of Holy elite that is going to Heaven and there is a demonized unholy tribe of the damned. Guess which one the fundamentalists in this thread would put me in.

That's the real elitism. That's the real tribalism.

edit on 9-3-2013 by BlueMule because: (no reason given)


A much kinder, gentler post.
I agree with you about exoteric thinking. However, truth is truth whether someone uses it to hit others over the head or they live it by example.

Creation is much more complex than most people can imagine, but the truth is simple and straight-forward. One either believes or one doesn't. One sides with God or one doesn't. Faith is the final arbiter. Where one puts one's faith is the determining factor.



posted on Mar, 9 2013 @ 05:01 PM
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Originally posted by 1PLA1
One sides with God or one doesn't.


Whose God?

Whose idea of God?

Yours?

The one that your family, your culture, your tribe, your political party happens to believe in?

They say all politics is local. Maybe all religion is too, eh?

Kinda lucky for you, in that case, don't you think? That you just so happened to have been born in the right era, the right culture, the right family, the right psychological type. Such a tiny elite, in the grand scheme of things.

What if you want to have faith in the God of another culture? In that case, is one still siding with God?

If one believes that the God of their local culture IS God, then one is a cataphatic theologian. One believes that their cultural idea of God is God. That's bordering on idolatry. That's tribalism.

If one believes that God is too big to be contained by a name, an image, cultural and conceptual borders, then one is an apophatic theologian. One is much more likely to tolerate other religions, one is much more likely to experience unconditional love and charity, and one is much more likely to see God manifesting in other religions. In turn, that enables one to gain insights into their own religion that most other people don't have.

"If you can't see God in all, you can't see God at all." - Siri Singh Sahib

edit on 9-3-2013 by BlueMule because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 9 2013 @ 06:30 PM
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reply to post by 1PLA1
 


The op's presentation of the one as childish and tribalistic and the other as mature and compassionate creates an instant combative stance by the reader. His/her tone is dismissive and insulting.

Did you read my first response? Of course it creates a "combative stance"!
I've already addressed this issue. Nevertheless, the info in the OP was enlightening for me. I knew that there were "negative" descriptions, and also that there are "positive" descriptions. I just didn't know the two schools of thought had names, is all..



posted on Mar, 9 2013 @ 09:56 PM
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Originally posted by BlueMule
reply to post by logical7
 


I have a great deal of respect for the sufi tradition. Too bad that many muslims regard sufism as an unacceptable distortion of Islamic beliefs and way of life.


the sufi philosophy is a part of islamic belief but not the sufi sects as they claim things without authority for it and deny the need of obligatory acts of prayer, charity and fasting that makes them appear to have elitism.
Mysticism in itself is subjective and so impossible to become a religion also only few reach it.
The idea of self proclaimed achievement of 'higher' truth and so no need to do obligatory acts appears arrogant to me as it conflicts the idea that an enlightened person should be more humble.
IMO a single person may have both theology, apophatic in belief but appear cataphatic in words because of the limitation of language and knowledge.
This story may clear what i mean

There was once a free-spirited
shepherd who possessed neither
money nor the desire for it. All he had
was a pure and kind heart, a heart that
beat with the love of his Lord. All day
long he wondegreen with his flock through pastures, plains, and fields,
singing and talking all the while to his
Beloved God: “Oh, dear Lord, where are You to whom I dedicate my life?
Oh God, for whom I live and
breathe, by whose grace I exist, I
would sacrifice my sheep for the
sight for You¦.” One day Musa ” the prophet Moses ”
was passing by a pasture on his way
to the city. He noticed the shepherd,
who was sitting by his flock with his
face tilted up to the sky, addressing
God: “Where are You so that I may sew Your clothes, mend Your socks,
and make Your bed? Where are You
so that I may comb Your hair and
kiss Your feet? Where are You so
that I may polish Your shoes and
bring You milk to drink?” Musa approached the shepherd and
asked him, “Whom are you talking to?” “To the One who has created us. The
One who is Lord over day and night,
earth and sky.” Musa became enraged with the
shepherd’s reply. “How dare you talk to God like that! What you are
saying is blasphemous. You should
stuff cotton in your mouth if you
cannot control your tongue. Then, at
least, no one would hear your
outrageous insulting words, which have poisoned the very
atmosphere. You must stop
speaking like that at once, lest the
Almighty punish the entire human
race for your sin!” The shepherd, who has arisen upon
recognizing the prophet, stood
shaken. With tears running down his
cheeks, he listened as Musa continued: “Is the Almighty God a mere human
being that He should wear shoes
and socks? Is He an unformed infant
in need of milk to make Him grow?
Of course not! God is complete in
Himself, needless of all! By speaking with the Lord as you have
done, you disgrace not only
yourself but all the rest of Gods
creatures. You are naught but a
deifier of religion and an enemy of
God. Go and ask for forgiveness, if you have any sense left!” The simple shepherd did not really
understand what he had said to God
that was so rude, or why the prophet
had called him an enemy. Yet he knew
that a prophet of God must know
better than anyone else. Barely able to contain his sobs, he told Musa, “You have set fire to my soul. From now
on my mouth is sealed!” With a deep sigh, he turned away from his flock
and walked toward the desert. Feeling proud that he had corrected a
wayward soul, Musa was continuing
on his way toward the city when the
Almighty addressed him: “Why did you come between Us and Our loyal servant? Why did
you separate the lover from the
Beloved? We have sent you so that
you could unite one to the other,
not break their ties.” Musa listened to the heavenly words in
awe and humility. “We did not create this world in order to profit from it; creation is for
the benefit of the creatures. We
have no need of praise or worship;
it is the worshipers who benefit
from it. Remember that in Love,
words are only the outer husk and mean nothing. We pay no heed to
the beauty of the phrase or the
composition of the sentence. We
look only at the inner condition of
the heart. In that way We know the
sincerity of Our creatures, even though their words may be artless.
For those who burn with Love have
burned their words as well.”

www.seekeraftertruth.com/musa-the-shepherd/



posted on Mar, 10 2013 @ 08:21 AM
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reply to post by logical7
 


Thanks for your insights, isn't that a Rumi poem?

Yes a single person may have both. I keep saying, it's like how the Dao has both yin and yang to be complete, and so both kinds of theology are incomplete in-and-of-themselves. People need both to be enlightened.

Religious fundamentalists don't have both, because they are not comparativists or mystics. They have not be initiated into apophatic insight by the Holy Spirit.

edit on 10-3-2013 by BlueMule because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 10 2013 @ 10:49 AM
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Cataphatic exositors have some link to a direct, positive, experience of the Divine.


Anaphatic theologians have no link to any actual experience of the Divine; thus they deny that anyone ever did either.



posted on Mar, 10 2013 @ 11:03 AM
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The king of a northern realm heard rumors from the traveling merchants of a wondrous thing called "Elephant." This thing was used by the Great king of the South. His armies conquered via the strength of "Elephant," His palaces and temples and roads had been built by "Elephant" as well.

So this northern king assembled his wisest sages. They were all elderly and blind, but extremely wise. Since they couldn't describe "Elephant" to the king, he bundled all five of them up, and sent them on a long and dangerous journey to visit the King of the South, and spy out "Elephant". After all, the northern king was beginning to fear that his own realm might be invaded by southern armies, and would have no defense against such an awesome force.

So the five sages arrived, after many misadventures (after all, they were blind) at the palace of the King of the South. He had them led into a walled garden, where his favorite Elephant was kept. Each of them, wanting to impress their own king with some bit of hidden knowledge or insight, wrote his own report in a letter. Each sealed his letter, and runners carried them back by the same circuitous route the the northern monarch.

Imagine the northern king's surprise when he opened the letters. The letter of the first blind sage stated categorically that "Elephant is a large serpent, several yards long, which breathes out blasts of hot air through its mouth, and can even shout like a trumpet."

The second sage had written, "Elephant is a large warm pillar, made of living skin, but so thick and strong that I could barely wrap my arms around it. Even while I was attempting to embrace it, it rose up from the earth and moved over, before coming down near the same spot---it nearly crushed me!"

The third wise one had written "Elephant is a large fan, that flaps in the heat, and creates a cooling breeze just above your head."

The fourth sage wrote that "Elephant is a long curved, hard crescent, ending in a sharp point. It may in fact have been the moon itself."

The fifth scholar stated "Elephant is a piece of rope, that swishes back and forth; it is impossible to hold on to, and if you grab it, it shouts like a trumpet!!!!"

The king didn't know what to make of this, and had all of his wise men put to death when they returned, since they could not agree. He also built the walls of his cities even higher, just in case "Elephant" ever invaded his realm.


Were the sages wrong?
Was the king correct, that he had been lied to?
Did the king ever gain an understanding of "Elephant?"



posted on Mar, 10 2013 @ 11:05 AM
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Originally posted by tovenar

Cataphatic exositors have some link to a direct, positive, experience of the Divine.


What's an exositor?

Experiences of the Divine come in more flavors than just positive. FYI



Anaphatic theologians have no link to any actual experience of the Divine; thus they deny that anyone ever did either.


I'm an apophatic theologian, mystic, and comparativist who has had actual experiences of the Divine, and I don't deny that anyone else ever did either. So I guess that makes me living proof that you are wrong.

edit on 10-3-2013 by BlueMule because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 10 2013 @ 01:12 PM
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Originally posted by BlueMule
reply to post by logical7
 


Thanks for your insights, isn't that a Rumi poem?

Yes a single person may have both. I keep saying, it's like how the Dao has both yin and yang to be complete, and so both kinds of theology are incomplete in-and-of-themselves. People need both to be enlightened.

Religious fundamentalists don't have both, because they are not comparativists or mystics. They have not be initiated into apophatic insight by the Holy Spirit.


I don't know if its a poem by Rumi.
I want to ask you, if God prefers mystics over others?
The story i posted shows otherwise.

I also don't know what you mean by fundamentalists. Do you mean the violent ones or just anyone who follows all fundamentals of their religion?



posted on Mar, 10 2013 @ 04:44 PM
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Originally posted by logical7

Originally posted by BlueMule
reply to post by logical7
 


Thanks for your insights, isn't that a Rumi poem?

Yes a single person may have both. I keep saying, it's like how the Dao has both yin and yang to be complete, and so both kinds of theology are incomplete in-and-of-themselves. People need both to be enlightened.

Religious fundamentalists don't have both, because they are not comparativists or mystics. They have not be initiated into apophatic insight by the Holy Spirit.


I don't know if its a poem by Rumi.


I'm pretty sure it is. link


I want to ask you, if God prefers mystics over others?
The story i posted shows otherwise.


Does the Dao prefer yin or yang?

It's not about preference.

The shepard in the poem was a mystic, btw.

'Yet now, my state defies speech
nay, not mine, it's out of reach.'

That's a mystical state being alluded to in the poem... that makes him a mystic. As Rumi was.

'Say no more, cause when the veil is pulled aside
Whatever they thought was, will not abide.'


I also don't know what you mean by fundamentalists. Do you mean the violent ones or just anyone who follows all fundamentals of their religion?


Violent ones, and also ones who discriminate or demonize others who follow a different religious path... who don't tolerate. Ones who cling to cultural phraseology, cultural norms, cultural rules... who exist only in the narrow exoteric cataphatic layer of their cultural religion... rather than working their way inward toward the transcendent center.



edit on 10-3-2013 by BlueMule because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 10 2013 @ 06:26 PM
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Originally posted by BlueMule

Originally posted by tovenar

Cataphatic exositors have some link to a direct, positive, experience of the Divine.


What's an exositor?

Experiences of the Divine come in more flavors than just positive. FYI



Anaphatic theologians have no link to any actual experience of the Divine; thus they deny that anyone ever did either.


I'm an apophatic theologian, mystic, and comparativist who has had actual experiences of the Divine, and I don't deny that anyone else ever did either. So I guess that makes me living proof that you are wrong.

edit on 10-3-2013 by BlueMule because: (no reason given)


Wow. Your knowledge is so air-tight that there's no room for additional information to get in. Impressive. You certainly don't need anyone else's input. I'm surprised you even bothered to start a thread on this.

Just decided to help out the less-evolved, eh?

Or maybe just because you needed to demonstrate your superiority one more time; just to make sure it's still there.

.



posted on Mar, 11 2013 @ 06:34 AM
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Originally posted by tovenar

Originally posted by BlueMule

Originally posted by tovenar

Cataphatic exositors have some link to a direct, positive, experience of the Divine.


What's an exositor?

Experiences of the Divine come in more flavors than just positive. FYI



Anaphatic theologians have no link to any actual experience of the Divine; thus they deny that anyone ever did either.


I'm an apophatic theologian, mystic, and comparativist who has had actual experiences of the Divine, and I don't deny that anyone else ever did either. So I guess that makes me living proof that you are wrong.

edit on 10-3-2013 by BlueMule because: (no reason given)


Wow. Your knowledge is so air-tight that there's no room for additional information to get in.


There is room for the definition of exositor. Still waiting on that.


Impressive. You certainly don't need anyone else's input. I'm surprised you even bothered to start a thread on this.

Just decided to help out the less-evolved, eh?

Or maybe just because you needed to demonstrate your superiority one more time; just to make sure it's still there.

.


I'm not superior. Everyone is in the same boat. We all need Divine Grace. We all fall short in one way or another.

If you spent more mental energy studying the comparative fields (comparative mysticism, comparative mythology, comparative religion) and less energy constructing numerous fantasy lives and thinking about 'bugging out', maybe you would be more knowledgable. Just sayin'.

/shrug

edit on 11-3-2013 by BlueMule because: (no reason given)





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