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Anthropomorphism

Tuesday February 11, 2020 01:00 AM To Wednesday April 13, 2022 01:00 AM

New York, US

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Many religions have different opinions on some phenomena. Therefore, it is not always correct to think that only one of the existing views is right. It is much more appropriate to study the issue from different perspectives and learn a set of facts in order to form your own opinion. Anthropomorphism is a phenomenon that passes human qualities to the gods and objects of nature. The aim of this essay is to define what anthropomorphism means and further focus on the beliefs of Xenophanes, Prodicus, and Spinoza, who claimed that anthropomorphism is an incorrect worldview with descriptive essay helper.

Anthropomorphism is one of the philosophical concepts that helped the ancient thinkers to explore the world around them and fully understand the unexplained phenomena. The essence of this lays in the fact that people endowed objects of nature with different properties and abilities that are usually used by human beings during their life. According to this principle, inanimate objects, living beings, and fictional entities that do not have human nature may receive physical and emotional human qualities. Anthropomorphism was used both in literature and visual arts as well as in researches, conducted to explore some aspects that were inexplicable to humans. Most often it occurs in various myths and religious scriptures. Ancient people used this technique to understand, for example, how gods looked like. In addition, they gave animals and plants human qualities to understand how their minds are arranged. Pagan religions created human images for almost all the anomalies of nature, which frightened or attracted people. Thus, anthropomorphism was one of the main ways that the ancient people used to learn the world around them. Additionally, it should be noted that this method is used up to these days in order to study the psychology of animals. In this case, psychic phenomena are declared for animals if people show the same. However, anthropomorphism had both supporters and critics.

Regarding Xenophanes, who is one of the founders of the Eleatic school, he was one of the people who criticized anthropomorphism, so it is important to consider his opinion in order to study this aspect. According to his doctrine, mythology, which was the main religion, is a product of human imagination rather than the fact that can be used to study different phenomena of the world. He argued that people hide the truth when they create gods that look like human beings but possess more force. His main argument was that if animals could use their imagination and create their own gods, the gods would look just like the animals that created them. It should be said that Xenophanes was one of the most daring thinkers as he criticized even Homer, who supported the anthropomorphic mythology.

Nevertheless, in spite of his sharp criticism of the mythology that existed at his time, he did not support the atheist movement. Xenophanes states that the god exists and he is the only one. Moreover, he believed that the god does not have an anthropomorphic look, because he is the creature that is all around the world and the one who created the surroundings. The material world has more divine features for him than for philosophers, who adhere to the idea of anthropomorphism. Thus, Eleatic thinkers along with Xenophanes, who was one of their leaders, had many complaints about the mythology, created by the people at that time. They strongly criticized the concept of anthropomorphism and had many arguments in favor of their views. The main of them is that any creature may create a god who looks like him but it is just a product of his imagination. According to their opinion, anthropomorphism may not be used to explore the world.

Prodicus, who is a representative of sophists, also criticized the structure and the features of mythology, which was widely spread, that is why his opinion should be also taken into account. First of all, it should be said that this school has a strong interest for naturalism in science. Prodicus argues that Greek religion worships natural phenomena but it is represented only by the humanization of natural objects. Therefore, according to the followers of sophists, most ancient people worshiped the original sources of all good things in life. They state that at first people began to worship the sun, the moon, rivers, and seasons, but later they transformed these primary sources of religion into the gods, who inhabited the Olympus. Prodicus also adds that this aspect appeared due to a human desire to glorify the first inventors. In this way, they decided not to worship the wine itself, but instead created the god Dionysus, who gave this beverage to people. Thereby, with a help of these arguments, Prodicus states that Greek mythology has naturalistic roots. Sophists criticized the anthropomorphic view of religion, as they believed that it originated from worshiping people who discover something. According to their teachings, people simply forgot about original human-natured gods, who live on Olympus.

It should be noted that contemporaries attributed Prodicus to people with the atheistic worldview. On the one hand, it may be called a true statement, because he actually denied gods, worshiped by almost all members of the community at that time. He thought they were the wrong gods and their nature was initially human, so they were anthropomorphic. On the other hand, it is wrong to call him an atheist, because he did not deny that there are gods in general. He distinguished four main gods by the number of traditional elements. Additionally, Prodicus argued that it is also necessary to worship the sun and the moon. Thus, he suggested people return to the original sources and worship the creatures that were originally the gods of the people as well as deny the deification of human-discoverers. Not being an atheist, he criticized anthropomorphism in terms of naturalism and negated the gods, created by people with their imagination.

Lastly, the supporters of rationalism school also discussed the role of anthropomorphism in human life. Spinoza, who was one of the members of this community, expressed his opinion on this subject and conveyed the thoughts of all his colleagues. First of all, he states that human and divine existence has no purpose and it is wrong to think that something in the world has a certain task and duty. He criticized people who believed that their purpose is to worship God or that God's aim was to create facilities for the human race. In addition, he says that the reason why people use anthropomorphism and make the God look like them is that they try to comprehend the facts that are impossible for understanding.

At the same time, he was not an atheist, who would totally reject God, but he claimed that God, invented by people, is not something that actually exists. To prove his point of view, he used his own evidence of the structure of the substance. According to Spinoza, God is not an anthropomorphic creature with human feelings and goals, but rather a substance that does not have the will and consequently cannot have a purpose for existence. Thereby, the world does not live to achieve an abstract goal but follows a simple causal chain. Spinoza criticized people for using their own evaluation when they talk about God so strongly that he denied even the truth of such antonymous concepts as good and evil or beauty and ugliness. Spinoza considered it wrong that a person acts as a measurement criterion, because human judgments are strongly personal and people are prone to incorrect assessment. These factors are the reasons why anthropomorphism contradicts the concept of God. The doctrine of Spinoza also provides a description of godlike properties and attributes that he considers to be more correct than the features, in which the supporters of anthropomorphism believe. He included such statements on his list as God actually exists, God is one, God is real only for the reason that lies within him, and there is no particular reason for the existence of anyone or anything. Moreover, according to Spinoza, nothing in the world may exist without God and God possesses an absolute power and freedom. Thus, Spinoza had his own opinion, which was based on the knowledge of the school of rationalism. He denied anthropomorphism and argued that it is wrong to use the theory of substance when explaining how the world was created.

In conclusion, anthropomorphism is a concept that was common in mythology, as all gods have features of human beings. Despite a high prevalence of this way of thinking in culture, many schools and movements have sharply criticized anthropomorphism for various reasons. The representatives of the Eleatic school stated that this phenomenon is a manifestation of human selfishness and it is incorrect to put a man in the center of the universe, since God represents the whole material world. Sophists affirmed that veritable gods are heavenly bodies and traditional elements rather than people-explorers, who settled on Olympus. The rationalism school supporters also argued that God is not an anthropomorphic being. Thus, anthropomorphism is a huge layer of culture, which still has numerous inconsistencies.

 


 

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New York
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Start Date: 2020-02-11 01:00:00
End Date: 2022-04-13 01:00:00