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date: 20 October 2018

Abstract and Keywords

Jains dismiss as delusional the belief in a grace-bestowing creator God, yet approach each day reverentially and prayerfully. This seeming paradox is explored, arguing that Jainism’s refusal to treat human life as the only form of conscious, rational life underpins its rejection of a transcosmic God. The meaningful cosmos in Jainism is filled with conscious, intentional beings, some identified as gods, and all of whom are situated within the same existential trajectory seeking release. This essay ponders the diverse understandings of ‘God’ that we find in Jainism and seeks to elucidate this ancient devotional structure, which rests upon, not a creator God, but a meaningful cosmos.

Keywords: Jainism, creator, devas, Jina, nonhuman beings, atheism, theism, cosmology, meaningfulness, devotion

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