> >But can any such line be drawen? > >I cannot see any difference between gods and Valar. > >(IMO, Manwe is probably the same guy as > >our PIE. Djews/Zeus/Jupiter/Ti:wz/Ty:r.) > >And Tolkien says that Valar = angels, > >and Muhammad says that angels are sort of jinns. > > Obviously it can be drawn - it question is only how much sense it'll make. > The line that suggests itself most quickly to me is to say that if > supernatural being is subject to worship it's a god, whereas jinns etc are > spirits one might bargain with, ask for help or even try to trick, but that > one does not worship. I'll be the first to agree that this definition still > leaves us with boundary-drawing problems. This definition sounds reasonable to me as the definiton of these words, but then these words are terms describing the relation of men to these beings, not the beings themselves. (Likewise for example the word _brother_ does not specify separate sort of humans). This point of view provides very good definition of theist and atheist: it does not matter if you believe in gods or not, it matters only if you worship them or not. (Likewise if you belive in the existence of Stalin, this does not make you to be a Stalinist.) > But traditionally we DO draw a line. > It's simply not normal usage to call somebody who believes in ghosts, > but not in any beings worthy of worship, a theist. Even the ghost can be worshiped, especially if they are considered to be souls of ancestors. But this can be solved by assumption that humans do not cease be natural beings even after their death. Likewise the reason why the elves are not considered to be gods is not that they are not worshiped, but that they have material body. From this piont of view we exclude the "mythical beings" with material body from the "supernatural" ones without such body. > BTW, according to my textbook on the world's religions, _Tiwaz_, _Tyr_ isn't > cognate of, _Dyaus_, _Zeus_, _Ju(-piter)_ etc, but of *_deiwos_, _deus_, > _daeva_ etc. Any IEists around to clarify a bit? PIE. _deiwos_ and _dje:ws_ are two separate words derived by diferent sufixes from the same rot _dei_. In sixian conlanguage, _dejos_ means "a day", _dejus_ / _dejas means "god" / "goddess", restricted only to the six deities to whom the six days of sixian week are consecrated. > FYI: In a book about the Wixarica (aka Huichol) Indians of western Mexico I > read a while ago (it was called "Wixarica" with a lengthy subtitle including > "Toltecs", "city-states", "legends" and gods-know-what more; I can't recall > the name of the author) the author argues quite forcibly against the use of > the word "god" about the Indians' "nature relatives" (personifications of > the Sun, the Deer, etc), as the Wixarica thought/think of these more as > benevolent elder siblings than as authoritative parents. IIRC, the bhakti-yogins distinguish several levels of bearing to God: The "zero-th" level is not love, but fear. The first level is love as children's love to their parents: you obey Him and ask His protection and help. The second level is love as parent's love to their children: you love Him regardless of whether He loves you or not. The third level is as the love to the spouse. Of course, this definition of the third level is not accepted by members of sixian conchurch, who are monogamous but polytheists. They consider the gods to be their friends. P.A.