ebonypearl (ebonypearl) wrote,


Most gods are our external, anthropomorphized moral conscience. They are also external, anthropomorphized arbiters of social behavior and protectors of natural, common-use resources. They guard borders and boundaries and remind people of locally specific risks and potentially costly engagements. They frown on over-exploitation of resources, like over-hunting, or over-picking the berries, or polluting the drinking water. They conform to local problems - one reason for deity-reinforced food taboos. People whose gods come from a desert, for example, would have an eating pig taboo because pigs are tasty but they consume more resources than they provide and too many people would die to allow a few to eat pig, so the god will say *no one* gets to eat pig, it's "unclean".

As such, gods can be *useful* in directing human behavior into kind, moral, helpful, conserving, sharing, cooperative directions. A belief in gods triggers moral cognition.

They can also be warped by their "priests" into terrifying beings oppressing their adherents and warring with/killing any who don't toe the line - which seems to be the path the two major monotheistic religions are going right now.

This is why, in Numenism, our founders were very careful to develop a deity system that they hoped would be harder to corrupt while realizing no deity system is free from human corruption.

In Numenism, we have a numenous overarching deity we call Dea Nutrix (the Good Nourisher) because we wanted the concept of something that nourished and cherished us rather than something punitive and restricting. We left it genderless, formless, faceless, amorphous, and omnipresent but generally oblivious deliberately. It goes about its business and we go about ours and while we are Dea Nutrix and it is us and everything else we can perceive and not perceive, it's like breathing. Unless there's an issue, we breathe unconsciously and automatically. If there is an issue, we take practical steps to restore our ability to breathe and that's the end of that. Once breathing is restored, it's back to business as usual.

Then, we allowed a more intimate and personal structure of deity beneath that - the numena. Each person builds their own deity system, whether they select no god or numen or dozens of them is a matter of their personal choices and they are responsible fofr communication, ritual, care and feeding of their choices. They maintain any shrines or altars and conduct any rituals necessary with no need for outside intervention. They can ask for guidance or direction from a Numenous priest or minister or elder, but Numenism is a religious system that is focused on autonomy and seeking knowledge.

With or without deity as guide/goad/external conscience, Numenism added a variety of celebrations and rituals to help our adherents support one another - mutual support and care being the primary reason (in our founders' opinion) for religion to exist. These rituals remind us of the greater good, of community goals, of protecting natural resources and caring for the habitats of all creatures on earth, of exploring as scientifically as we can the world in which we live. Our elders and priests constantly ask if Numenism is on the right track, if what we're doing, teaching, believing is dumb, if new information is available to inform us, and to reach new conclusions based on new information. Sometimes the new information validates us, and sometimes, we need to work to shift our beliefs to match the knowledge as closely as possible.

These things inform and support Numenism, which is why our beliefs can be fluid and flexible. By having an amorphous "supreme" deity that we sometimes acknowledge but mostly ignore (like breathing) and a personalized layer of deity all fitted together with the glue of the scientific methodology, Numenism is based on raw data as much as possible, however fantastical our "stories" may be.

Numenism strives to emphasize our own internal morality in a social and community setting and hopes to wean adherents from a reliance on gods to be our park rangers, border guards, food monitors, moral conscience, and resource apportioners to guiding us into being enlightened enough to do these things for ourselves.

But we're also OK with people needing gods, too. The weaning process is a long slow one, and we don't anticipate it being completed for centuries except in individual instances and in small pockets of communities.

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