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Pantheism | Freethinkers Community | Pantheist Network …

About Pantheism.comPantheism.com is an educational site, providing information, news, groups, and connections. Celebrate your views, discuss the nature of Nature, learn about the history and flavors of Pantheism (there are many!), find or start a local event, and in general, hang out with fellow freethinkers and travelers. more

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Pantheism | Freethinkers Community | Pantheist Network …

World Pantheism Revering the Universe, Caring for Nature …

Do you feel a deep sense of peace, belonging, and wonder in Nature or under a clear night sky? You may be a scientific pantheist.Scientific pantheism respects the rights not just of humans, but of all living beings.It focuses on saving the planet rather than saving souls.It encourages you to make the most and best of your one life here.It values reason and the scientific method over adherence to ancient scriptures.Take our popular quiz to find out if it suits you:-Atheist, Agnostic, Pagan, Deist, Pantheist or What?

We relate closely to some of the central challenges of our era. At a time when the balance of our Earth is under unprecedented threat, scientific pantheism is one of the few forms of spirituality in which Nature plays a central part. For us, Nature is a source of peace and beauty, as well as the focus for our care and vigilance. Nature was not created for us to use or abuse. Nature created us, we are an inseparable part of her. We have a duty to live sustainably, to care for Nature and to halt and reverse the harm that humans have done to her.

Sign the Earth Pledge

Scientific pantheism is the only form of spirituality we know of which fully embraces science as part of the human exploration of Earth and Cosmos. We wonder at the picture of a vast, creative and often violent Universerevealed by the Hubble Space Telescope. We regard stargazing as a spiritual practice. We oppose climate change denial and evolution denial, especially in education.

Scientific pantheism has a joyous affirmative approach to life. It has a healthy and positive attitude to sex and life in the body. We wont tell you what you should be smoking or doing in the bedroom. We fully accept diverse gender choices, and we oppose all forms of discrimination.

Scientific pantheism moves beyond God and defines itself by positives.Atheism and Agnosticism both define themselves negatively, in relation to a God that they deny or doubt. These are useful starting points but they dont take us very far. Most people also need positive beliefs and feelings about their place in Nature and the wider Universe. We take Nature and the Universe as our start and finish point, not some preconceived idea of God. We do not believe in a supernatural creator god, let alone one that watches or judges us. Most of us avoid god-language or religious words like church, worship, divinity and so on. We regard them as misleading. Those of us who do use those kinds of words do so metaphorically, in a similar way to how Einstein used the word.

Get the Scientific Pantheism handbook.

Our beliefs and values are summarized in our Pantheist Statement of Principles.The statement was drawn up by fallible humans. It is not required dogma it is simply a notice on our door, to show what we are about so people can decide if it suits them or not. These are the key elements:

Many people feel the need to belong to a religious community. Research shows that such groups provide mutual support and friends and are good for physical and mental health. Theres no good reason why groups of like-minded non-theistic folk should not enjoy similar benefits.

In the WPM we are spiritual but not religious. We dont have churches, priests, or prescribed dogma and rituals. But we do aim to provide a home base for people who love Nature and the Universe and do not believe in supernatural entities.

Two of the major benefits our members and friends say they value are gaining new like-minded friends and finding a place where they can share their enthusiasms without fear of being ostracized or feeling isolated. There have been many local meetings of members across the USA and in other parts of the world, where people have found a rare level of fellowship and stimulation.

The WPMs short term goals are to:

In the longer term, as resources permit, we hope to:

If you would like to help promote these goals, please consider becoming a WPM member. Volunteering is another great way of supporting the WPM.

All who agree with our principles are encouraged to join our Facebook page (with more than 160,000 fans), or join our Facebook discussion groupwith more than 10,000 members.

We use the name pantheism because the term encompasses a long and venerable history dating back to Heraclitus and Marcus Aurelius and extending to Einstein, D. H. Lawrence and beyond.

Our beliefs (see the Statement of Principles) are entirely compatible with atheism, humanism, agnosticism, universalism, and symbolic paganism (viewing magic, gods and spirits as symbols rather than objective realities). We offer a home to all forms of naturalistic spirituality however you may choose to label it. Other paths that approximate include philosophical Taoism, modern Stoicism, Western forms of Buddhism that celebrate Nature and daily life without supernatural beliefs, and Unitarian Universalists who do not believe in supernatural beings.

You are free to adopt the terms and practices you prefer and draw on other traditions for inspiration or celebration. Some call this a religion (a positive one), while others call it a philosophy, a way of life, or a form of general spirituality. Its up to you.

Please explore our pages. If you have any questions, please contact us.

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World Pantheism Revering the Universe, Caring for Nature …

Pantheism – Wikipedia

Pantheism is the belief that reality is identical with divinity,[1] or that all-things compose an all-encompassing, immanent god[2]. Pantheist belief does not recognize a distinct personal anthropomorphic god[3] and instead characterize a broad range of doctrines differing in forms of relationships between reality and divinity.[4]

Pantheism was popularized in Western culture as a theology and philosophy based on the work of the 17th-century philosopher Baruch Spinoza,[5]:p.7 particularly his book Ethics, published in 1677.[6] The term “pantheism” was coined by mathematician Joseph Raphson in 1697[7][8] and has since been used to describe the beliefs of a variety of people and organizations.

Pantheistic concepts date back thousands of years, and pantheistic elements have been identified in various religious traditions.

Pantheism derives from the Greek pan (meaning “all, of everything”) and theos (meaning “god, divine”). The first known combination of these roots appears in Latin, in Joseph Raphson’s 1697 book De Spatio Reali seu Ente Infinito[8], where he refers to the “pantheismus” of Spinoza and others.[7] It was subsequently translated into English as “pantheism” in 1702.

There are a variety of definitions of pantheism. Some consider it a theological and philosophical position concerning God.[5]:p.8

Pantheism is the view that everything is part of an all-encompassing, immanent God.[9] All forms of reality may then be considered either modes of that Being, or identical with it.[10] Some hold that pantheism is a non-religious philosophical position. To them, pantheism is the view that the Universe (in the sense of the totality of all existence) and God are identical (implying a denial of the personality and transcendence of God).[11]

Pantheistic tendencies existed in a number of early Gnostic groups, with pantheistic thought appearing throughout the Middle Ages.[12] These included a section of Johannes Scotus Eriugena’s 9th-century work De divisione naturae and the beliefs of mystics such as Amalric of Bena (11th12th centuries) and Eckhart (12th13th).[12]:pp. 620621

The Roman Catholic Church has long regarded pantheistic ideas as heresy.[13][14] Giordano Bruno, an Italian monk who evangelized about an immanent and infinite God, was burned at the stake in 1600 by the Roman Inquisition. He has since become known as a celebrated pantheist and martyr of science[15], and an influence on many later thinkers.

In the West, pantheism was formalized as a separate theology and philosophy based on the work of the 17th-century philosopher Baruch Spinoza.[5]:p.7 Spinoza was a Dutch philosopher of Portuguese descent raised in the Sephardi Jewish community in Amsterdam.[17] He developed highly controversial ideas regarding the authenticity of the Hebrew Bible and the nature of the Divine, and was effectively excluded from Jewish society at age 23, when the local synagogue issued a herem against him.[18] A number of his books were published posthumously, and shortly thereafter included in the Catholic Church’s Index of Forbidden Books. The breadth and importance of Spinoza’s work would not be realized for many years – as the groundwork for the 18th-century Enlightenment[19] and modern biblical criticism,[20] including modern conceptions of the self and the universe.[21]

In the posthumous Ethics, “Spinoza wrote the last indisputable Latin masterpiece, and one in which the refined conceptions of medieval philosophy are finally turned against themselves and destroyed entirely.”[22]. In particular, he opposed Ren Descartes’ famous mindbody dualism, the theory that the body and spirit are separate.[23] Spinoza held the monist view that the two are the same, and monism is a fundamental part of his philosophy. He was described as a “God-intoxicated man,” and used the word God to describe the unity of all substance.[23] This view influenced philosophers such as Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, who said, “You are either a Spinozist or not a philosopher at all.”[24] Spinoza earned praise as one of the great rationalists of 17th-century philosophy[25] and one of Western philosophy’s most important thinkers.[26] Although the term “pantheism” was not coined until after his death, he is regarded as the most celebrated advocate of the concept.[27] Ethics was the major source from which Western pantheism spread.[6]

The first known use of the term “pantheism” was in Latin (“pantheismus” [7]) by the English mathematician Joseph Raphson in his work De Spatio Reali seu Ente Infinito, published in 1697.[8] Raphson begins with a distinction between atheistic “panhylists” (from the Greek roots pan, “all”, and hyle, “matter”), who believe everything is matter, and Spinozan “pantheists” who believe in “a certain universal substance, material as well as intelligence, that fashions all things that exist out of its own essence.”[28][29] Raphson thought that the universe was immeasurable in respect to a human’s capacity of understanding, and believed that humans would never be able to comprehend it.[30] He referred to the pantheism of the Ancient Egyptians, Persians, Syrians, Assyrians, Greek, Indians, and Jewish Kabbalists, specifically referring to Spinoza.[31]

The term was first used in English by a translation of Raphson’s work in 1702. It was later used and popularized by Irish writer John Toland in his work of 1705 Socinianism Truly Stated, by a pantheist.[32][12]:pp. 617618 Toland was influenced by both Spinoza and Bruno, and had read Joseph Raphson’s De Spatio Reali, referring to it as “the ingenious Mr. Ralphson’s (sic) Book of Real Space”.[33] Like Raphson, he used the terms “pantheist” and “Spinozist” interchangeably.[34] In 1720 he wrote the Pantheisticon: or The Form of Celebrating the Socratic-Society in Latin, envisioning a pantheist society that believed, “All things in the world are one, and one is all in all things … what is all in all things is God, eternal and immense, neither born nor ever to perish.”[35][36] He clarified his idea of pantheism in a letter to Gottfried Leibniz in 1710 when he referred to “the pantheistic opinion of those who believe in no other eternal being but the universe”.[12][37][38][39]

In the mid-eighteenth century, the English theologian Daniel Waterland defined pantheism this way: “It supposes God and nature, or God and the whole universe, to be one and the same substanceone universal being; insomuch that men’s souls are only modifications of the divine substance.”[12][40] In the early nineteenth century, the German theologian Julius Wegscheider defined pantheism as the belief that God and the world established by God are one and the same.[12][41]

Between 178589, a major controversy about Spinoza’s philosophy arose between the German philosophers Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi (a critic) and Moses Mendelssohn (a defender). Known in German as the Pantheismusstreit (pantheism controversy), it helped spread pantheism to many German thinkers.[42] A 1780 conversation with the German dramatist Gotthold Ephraim Lessing led Jacobi to a protracted study of Spinoza’s works. Lessing stated that he knew no other philosophy than Spinozism. Jacobi’s ber die Lehre des Spinozas (1st ed. 1785, 2nd ed. 1789) expressed his strenuous objection to a dogmatic system in philosophy, and drew upon him the enmity of the Berlin group, led by Mendelssohn. Jacobi claimed that Spinoza’s doctrine was pure materialism, because all Nature and God are said to be nothing but extended substance. This, for Jacobi, was the result of Enlightenment rationalism and it would finally end in absolute atheism. Mendelssohn disagreed with Jacobi, saying that pantheism shares more characteristics of theism than of atheism. The entire issue became a major intellectual and religious concern for European civilization at the time.[43]

Willi Goetschel argues that Jacobi’s publication significantly shaped Spinoza’s wide reception for centuries following its publication, obscuring the nuance of Spinoza’s philosophic work.[44]

During the beginning of the 19th century, pantheism was the viewpoint of many leading writers and philosophers, attracting figures such as William Wordsworth and Samuel Coleridge in Britain; Johann Gottlieb Fichte, Schelling and Hegel in Germany; Knut Hamsun in Norway; and Walt Whitman, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau in the United States. Seen as a growing threat by the Vatican, in 1864 it was formally condemned by Pope Pius IX in the Syllabus of Errors.[45]

A letter written by William Herndon, Abraham Lincoln’s law partner in 1886, was sold at auction for US$30,000 in 2011.[46] In it, Herndon writes of the U.S. President’s evolving religious views, which included pantheism.

“Mr. Lincoln’s religion is too well known to me to allow of even a shadow of a doubt; he is or was a Theist and a Rationalist, denying all extraordinary supernatural inspiration or revelation. At one time in his life, to say the least, he was an elevated Pantheist, doubting the immortality of the soul as the Christian world understands that term. He believed that the soul lost its identity and was immortal as a force. Subsequent to this he rose to the belief of a God, and this is all the change he ever underwent.”[46][47]

The subject is understandably controversial, but the content of the letter is consistent with Lincoln’s fairly lukewarm approach to organized religion.[47]

Some 19th-century theologians thought that various pre-Christian religions and philosophies were pantheistic. They thought Pantheism was similar to the ancient Hindu[12]:pp. 618 philosophy of Advaita (non-dualism) to the extent that the 19th-century German Sanskritist Theodore Goldstcker remarked that Spinoza’s thought was “… a western system of philosophy which occupies a foremost rank amongst the philosophies of all nations and ages, and which is so exact a representation of the ideas of the Vedanta, that we might have suspected its founder to have borrowed the fundamental principles of his system from the Hindus.”[48]

19th-century European theologians also considered Ancient Egyptian religion to contain pantheistic elements and pointed to Egyptian philosophy as a source of Greek Pantheism.[12]:pp. 618620 The latter included some of the Presocratics, such as Heraclitus and Anaximander.[49] The Stoics were pantheists, beginning with Zeno of Citium and culminating in the emperor-philosopher Marcus Aurelius. During the pre-Christian Roman Empire, Stoicism was one of the three dominant schools of philosophy, along with Epicureanism and Neoplatonism.[50][51] The early Taoism of Laozi and Zhuangzi is also sometimes considered pantheistic.[37]

Cheondoism and Won Buddhism which arose in the Joseon Dynasty of Korea is also considered pantheistic.

In 2007, Dorion Sagan, the son of famous scientist and science communicator, Carl Sagan, published a book entitled Dazzle Gradually: Reflections on the Nature of Nature co-written with his mother, Lynn Margulis. In a chapter entitled, “Truth of My Father”, he declares: “My father believed in the God of Spinoza and Einstein, God not behind nature, but as nature, equivalent to it.”[52]

In a letter written to Eduard Bsching (25 October 1929), after Bsching sent Albert Einstein a copy of his book Es gibt keinen Gott (“There is no God”), Einstein wrote, “We followers of Spinoza see our God in the wonderful order and lawfulness of all that exists and in its soul [Beseeltheit] as it reveals itself in man and animal.”[53] According to Einstein, the book only dealt with the concept of a personal god and not the impersonal God of pantheism.[53] In a letter written in 1954 to philosopher Eric Gutkind, Einstein wrote “the word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses.”[54][55] In another letter written in 1954 he wrote “I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly.”.[54]

In the late 20th century, some declared that pantheism was an underlying theology of Neopaganism,[56] and pantheists began forming organizations devoted specifically to pantheism and treating it as a separate religion.[37]

Pantheism is mentioned in a Papal encyclical in 2009[57] and a statement on New Year’s Day in 2010,[58] criticizing pantheism for denying the superiority of humans over nature and seeing the source of man’s salvation in nature.[57] In a review of the 2009 film Avatar, Ross Douthat, an author, described pantheism as “Hollywood’s religion of choice for a generation now”.[59]

In 2015, Los Angeles muralist Levi Ponce was commissioned to paint Luminaries of Pantheism for an area in Venice, California that receives over a million onlookers per year.[60] The organization that commissioned the work, The Paradise Project, is “dedicated to celebrating and spreading awareness about pantheism.”[61] The mural painting depicts Albert Einstein, Alan Watts, Baruch Spinoza, Terence McKenna, Carl Jung, Carl Sagan, Emily Dickinson, Nikola Tesla, Friedrich Nietzsche, Ralph Waldo Emerson, W.E.B. Du Bois, Henry David Thoreau, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Rumi, Adi Shankara, and Laozi.[62]

There are multiple varieties of pantheism[12][63]:3 and various systems of classifying them relying upon one or more spectra or in discrete categories.

The philosopher Charles Hartshorne used the term Classical Pantheism to describe the deterministic philosophies of Baruch Spinoza, the Stoics, and other like-minded figures.[64] Pantheism (All-is-God) is often associated with monism (All-is-One) and some have suggested that it logically implies determinism (All-is-Now).[23][65][66][67][68] Albert Einstein explained theological determinism by stating,[69] “the past, present, and future are an ‘illusion'”. This form of pantheism has been referred to as “extreme monism”, in which in the words of one commentator “God decides or determines everything, including our supposed decisions.”[70] Other examples of determinism-inclined pantheisms include those of Ralph Waldo Emerson,[71] and Hegel.[72]

However, some have argued against treating every meaning of “unity” as an aspect of pantheism,[73] and there exist versions of pantheism that regard determinism as an inaccurate or incomplete view of nature. Examples include the beliefs of Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling and William James.[74]

It may also be possible to distinguish two types of pantheism, one being more religious and the other being more philosophical. The Columbia Encyclopedia writes of the distinction:

Philosophers and theologians have often suggested that pantheism implies monism.[76] Different types of monism include:[78]

Views contrasting with monism are:

Monism in modern philosophy of mind can be divided into three broad categories:

Certain positions do not fit easily into the above categories, such as functionalism, anomalous monism, and reflexive monism. Moreover, they do not define the meaning of “real”.

In 1896, J. H. Worman, a theologian, identified seven categories of pantheism: Mechanical or materialistic (God the mechanical unity of existence); Ontological (fundamental unity, Spinoza); Dynamic; Psychical (God is the soul of the world); Ethical (God is the universal moral order, Fichte; Logical (Hegel); and Pure (absorption of God into nature, which Worman equates with atheism).[12]

More recently, Paul D. Feinberg, professor of biblical and systematic theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, also identified seven: Hylozoistic; Immanentistic; Absolutistic monistic; Relativistic monistic; Acosmic; Identity of opposites; and Neoplatonic or emanationistic.[83]

Nature worship or nature mysticism is often conflated and confused with pantheism. It is pointed out by at least one expert in pantheist philosophy that Spinoza’s identification of God with nature is very different from a recent idea of a self identifying pantheist with environmental ethical concerns, Harold Wood, founder of the Universal Pantheist Society. His use of the word nature to describe his worldview may be vastly different from the “nature” of modern sciences. He and other nature mystics who also identify as pantheists use “nature” to refer to the limited natural environment (as opposed to man-made built environment). This use of “nature” is different from the broader use from Spinoza and other pantheists describing natural laws and the overall phenomena of the physical world. Nature mysticism may be compatible with pantheism but it may also be compatible with theism and other views.[4]

Nontheism is an umbrella term which has been used to refer to a variety of religions not fitting traditional theism, and under which pantheism has been included.[4]

Panentheism (from Greek (pn) “all”; (en) “in”; and (thes) “God”; “all-in-God”) was formally coined in Germany in the 19th century in an attempt to offer a philosophical synthesis between traditional theism and pantheism, stating that God is substantially omnipresent in the physical universe but also exists “apart from” or “beyond” it as its Creator and Sustainer.[84]:p.27 Thus panentheism separates itself from pantheism, positing the extra claim that God exists above and beyond the world as we know it.[85]:p.11 The line between pantheism and panentheism can be blurred depending on varying definitions of God, so there have been disagreements when assigning particular notable figures to pantheism or panentheism.[84]:pp. 7172, 8788, 105[86]

Pandeism is another word derived from pantheism, and is characterized as a combination of reconcilable elements of pantheism and deism.[87] It assumes a Creator-deity that is at some point distinct from the universe and then transforms into it, resulting in a universe similar to the pantheistic one in present essence, but differing in origin.

Panpsychism is the philosophical view held by many pantheists that consciousness, mind, or soul is a universal feature of all things.[88] Some pantheists also subscribe to the distinct philosophical views hylozoism (or panvitalism), the view that everything is alive, and its close neighbor animism, the view that everything has a soul or spirit.[89]

Many traditional and folk religions including African traditional religions[90] and Chinese folk religion[92] can be seen as pantheistic, or a mixture of pantheism and other doctrines such as polytheism and animism. According to pantheists, there are elements of pantheism in some forms of Christianity.[93][94][95]

Ideas resembling pantheism existed in East/South Asian religions before the 18th century (notably Sikhism, Hinduism, Confucianism, and Taoism). Although there is no evidence that these influenced Spinoza’s work, there is such evidence regarding other contemporary philosophers, such as Leibniz, and later Voltaire.[96][97] In the case of Hinduism, pantheistic views exist alongside panentheistic, polytheistic, monotheistic, and atheistic ones. In the case of Sikhism, stories attributed to Guru Nanak suggest that he believed God was everywhere in the physical world, and the Sikh tradition typically describes God as the preservative force within the physical world, present in all material forms, each created as a manifestation of God. However, Sikhs view God as the transcendent creator[101], “immanent in the phenomenal reality of the world in the same way in which an artist can be said to be present in his art”[102]. This implies a more panentheistic position.

Pantheism is popular in modern spirituality and new religious movements, such as Neopaganism and Theosophy.[103] Two organizations that specify the word pantheism in their title formed in the last quarter of the 20th century. The Universal Pantheist Society, open to all varieties of pantheists and supportive of environmental causes, was founded in 1975.[104] The World Pantheist Movement is headed by Paul Harrison, an environmentalist, writer and a former vice president of the Universal Pantheist Society, from which he resigned in 1996. The World Pantheist Movement was incorporated in 1999 to focus exclusively on promoting naturalistic pantheism – a strict metaphysical naturalistic version of pantheism,[105] considered by some a form of religious naturalism.[106] It has been described as an example of “dark green religion” with a focus on environmental ethics.[107]

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Pantheism – Wikipedia

Pantheism | Definition of Pantheism by Merriam-Webster

Pantheistic ideasand most importantly the belief that God is equal to the universe, its physical matter, and the forces that govern itare found in the ancient books of Hinduism, in the works of many Greek philosophers, and in later works of philosophy and religion over the centuries. Much modern New Age spirituality is pantheistic. But most Christian thinkers reject pantheism because it makes God too impersonal, doesn’t allow for any difference between the creation and the creator, and doesn’t seem to allow for humans to make meaningful moral choices.

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Pantheism | Definition of Pantheism by Merriam-Webster

Panentheism – Wikipedia

Panentheism (meaning “all-in-God”, from the Ancient Greek pn, “all”, en, “in” and Thes, “God”)[1] is the belief that the divine pervades and interpenetrates every part of the universe and also extends beyond time and space. The term was coined by the German philosopher Karl Krause in 1828 to distinguish the ideas of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (17701831) and Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling (17751854) about the relation of God and the universe from the supposed pantheism of Baruch Spinoza.[1] Unlike pantheism, which holds that the divine and the universe are identical,[2] panentheism maintains an ontological distinction between the divine and the non-divine and the significance of both.

The religious beliefs of Neoplatonism can be regarded as panentheistic. Plotinus taught that there was an ineffable transcendent God (“the One”, to En, ) of which subsequent realities were emanations. From “the One” emanates the Divine Mind (Nous, ) and the Cosmic Soul (Psyche, ). In Neoplatonism the world itself is God (according to Plato’s Timaeus 37). This concept of divinity is associated with that of the Logos (), which had originated centuries earlier with Heraclitus (c. 535475 BC). The Logos pervades the cosmos, whereby all thoughts and all things originate, or as Heraclitus said: “He who hears not me but the Logos will say: All is one.” Neoplatonists such as Iamblichus attempted to reconcile this perspective by adding another hypostasis above the original monad of force or Dunamis (). This new all-pervasive monad encompassed all creation and its original uncreated emanations.

Baruch Spinoza later claimed that “Whatsoever is, is in God, and without God nothing can be, or be conceived.”[5] “Individual things are nothing but modifications of the attributes of God, or modes by which the attributes of God are expressed in a fixed and definite manner.”[6] Though Spinoza has been called the “prophet”[7] and “prince”[8] of pantheism, in a letter to Henry Oldenburg Spinoza states that: “as to the view of certain people that I identify god with nature (taken as a kind of mass or corporeal matter), they are quite mistaken”.[9] For Spinoza, our universe (cosmos) is a mode under two attributes of Thought and Extension. God has infinitely many other attributes which are not present in our world.

According to German philosopher Karl Jaspers, when Spinoza wrote “Deus sive Natura” (God or Nature) Spinoza did not mean to say that God and Nature are interchangeable terms, but rather that God’s transcendence was attested by his infinitely many attributes, and that two attributes known by humans, namely Thought and Extension, signified God’s immanence.[10] Furthermore, Martial Guroult suggested the term “panentheism”, rather than “pantheism” to describe Spinoza’s view of the relation between God and the world. The world is not God, but it is, in a strong sense, “in” God. Yet, American philosopher and self-described panentheist Charles Hartshorne referred to Spinoza’s philosophy as “classical pantheism” and distinguished Spinoza’s philosophy from panentheism.[11]

In 1828, the German philosopher Karl Christian Friedrich Krause (17811832) seeking to reconcile monotheism and pantheism, coined the term panentheism (from the Ancient Greek expression , pn en the, literally “all in god”). This conception of God influenced New England transcendentalists such as Ralph Waldo Emerson. The term was popularized by Charles Hartshorne in his development of process theology and has also been closely identified with the New Thought.[12] The formalization of this term in the West in the 19th century was not new; philosophical treatises had been written on it in the context of Hinduism for millennia.[13]

Philosophers who embraced panentheism have included Thomas Hill Green (18391882), James Ward (18431925), Andrew Seth Pringle-Pattison (18561931) and Samuel Alexander (18591938).[14] Beginning in the 1940s, Hartshorne examined numerous conceptions of God. He reviewed and discarded pantheism, deism, and pandeism in favor of panentheism, finding that such a “doctrine contains all of deism and pandeism except their arbitrary negations”. Hartshorne formulated God as a being who could become “more perfect”: He has absolute perfection in categories for which absolute perfection is possible, and relative perfection (i.e., is superior to all others) in categories for which perfection cannot be precisely determined.[15]

Earliest reference to panentheistic thought in Hindu philosophy is in a creation myth contained in the later section of Rig Veda called the Purusha Sukta,[16] which was compiled before 1100 BCE.[17] The Purusha Sukta gives a description of the spiritual unity of the cosmos. It presents the nature of Purusha or the cosmic being as both immanent in the manifested world and yet transcendent to it.[18] From this being the sukta holds, the original creative will proceeds, by which this vast universe is projected in space and time.[19]

The most influential[20] and dominant[21] school of Indian philosophy, Advaita Vedanta, rejects theism and dualism by insisting that “Brahman [ultimate reality] is without parts or attributes…one without a second.”[22] Since Brahman has no properties, contains no internal diversity and is identical with the whole reality it cannot be understood as an anthropomorphic personal God.[23] The relationship between Brahman and the creation is often thought to be panentheistic.[24]

Panentheism is also expressed in the Bhagavad Gita.[24] In verse IX.4, Krishna states:

By Me all this universe is pervaded through My unmanifested form.All beings abide in Me but I do not abide in them.

Many schools of Hindu thought espouse monistic theism, which is thought to be similar to a panentheistic viewpoint. Nimbarka’s school of differential monism (Dvaitadvaita), Ramanuja’s school of qualified monism (Vishistadvaita) and Saiva Siddhanta and Kashmir Shaivism are all considered to be panentheistic.[25] Caitanya’s Gaudiya Vaishnavism, which elucidates the doctrine of Acintya Bheda Abheda (inconceivable oneness and difference), is also thought to be panentheistic.[26] In Kashmir Shaivism, all things are believed to be a manifestation of Universal Consciousness (Cit or Brahman).[27] So from the point of view of this school, the phenomenal world (akti) is real, and it exists and has its being in Consciousness (Cit).[28] Thus, Kashmir Shaivism is also propounding of theistic monism or panentheism.[29]

Shaktism, or Tantra, is regarded as an Indian prototype of Panentheism.[30] Shakti is considered to be the cosmos itself she is the embodiment of energy and dynamism, and the motivating force behind all action and existence in the material universe. Shiva is her transcendent masculine aspect, providing the divine ground of all being. “There is no Shiva without Shakti, or Shakti without Shiva. The two … in themselves are One.”[31] Thus, it is She who becomes the time and space, the cosmos, it is She who becomes the five elements, and thus all animate life and inanimate forms. She is the primordial energy that holds all creation and destruction, all cycles of birth and death, all laws of cause and effect within Herself, and yet is greater than the sum total of all these. She is transcendent, but becomes immanent as the cosmos (Mula Prakriti). She, the Primordial Energy, directly becomes Matter.

Taoism says that all is part of the eternal tao, and that all interact through qi.

The Reverend Zen Master Soyen Shaku was the first Zen Buddhist Abbot to tour the United States in 19056. He wrote a series of essays collected into the book Zen For Americans. In the essay titled “The God Conception of Buddhism” he attempts to explain how a Buddhist looks at the ultimate without an anthropomorphic God figure while still being able to relate to the term God in a Buddhist sense:

At the outset, let me state that Buddhism is not atheistic as the term is ordinarily understood. It has certainly a God, the highest reality and truth, through which and in which this universe exists. However, the followers of Buddhism usually avoid the term God, for it savors so much of Christianity, whose spirit is not always exactly in accord with the Buddhist interpretation of religious experience. Again, Buddhism is not pantheistic in the sense that it identifies the universe with God. On the other hand, the Buddhist God is absolute and transcendent; this world, being merely its manifestation, is necessarily fragmental and imperfect. To define more exactly the Buddhist notion of the highest being, it may be convenient to borrow the term very happily coined by a modern German scholar, “panentheism,” according to which God is (all and one) and more than the totality of existence.[32]

The essay then goes on to explain first utilizing the term “God” for the American audience to get an initial understanding of what he means by “panentheism,” and then discusses the terms that Buddhism uses in place of “God” such as Dharmakaya, Buddha or AdiBuddha, and Tathagata.

Panentheism is also a feature of some Christian philosophical theologies and resonates strongly within the theological tradition of the Orthodox Church.[33] It also appears in some Roman Catholic mysticism[citation needed] and in process theology. Process theological thinkers are generally regarded in the Christian West as unorthodox. Furthermore, process philosophical thought is widely believed to have paved the way for open theism, a movement that tends to associate itself primarily with the Evangelical branch of Protestantism, but is also generally considered unorthodox by most Evangelicals.

In Christianity, creation is not considered a literal “part of” God, and divinity is essentially distinct from creation (i.e., transcendent). There is, in other words, an irradicable difference between the uncreated (i.e., God) and the created (i.e., everything else). This does not mean, however, that the creation is wholly separated from God, because the creation exists in and from the divine energies. In Eastern Orthodoxy, these energies or operations are the natural activity of God and are in some sense identifiable with God, but at the same time the creation is wholly distinct from the divine essence.[citation needed] God creates the universe by His will and from His energies. It is, however, not an imprint or emanation of God’s own essence (ousia), the essence He shares pre-eternally with His Word and Holy Spirit. Neither is it a directly literal outworking or effulgence of the divine, nor any other process which implies that creation is essentially God or a necessary part of God. The use of the term “panentheism” to describe the divine concept in Orthodox Christian theology is problematic for those who would insist that panentheism requires creation to be “part of” God.

God is not merely Creator of the universe, as His dynamic presence is necessary to sustain the existence of every created thing, small and great, visible and invisible.[34] That is, God’s energies maintain the existence of the created order and all created beings, even if those agencies have explicitly rejected him. His love for creation is such that He will not withdraw His presence, which would be the ultimate form of annihilation, not merely imposing death, but ending existence altogether. By this token, the entirety of creation is fundamentally “good” in its very being, and is not innately evil either in whole or in part. This does not deny the existence of spiritual or moral evil in a fallen universe, only the claim that it is an intrinsic property of creation. Sin results from the essential freedom of creatures to operate outside the divine order, not as a necessary consequence of having inherited human nature.

Many Christians who believe in universalism mainly expressed in the Universalist Church of America, originating, as a fusion of Pietist and Anabaptist influences, from the American colonies of the 18th century hold panentheistic views of God in conjunction with their belief in apocatastasis, also called universal reconciliation.[citation needed] Panentheistic Christian Universalists often believe that all creation’s subsistence in God renders untenable the notion of final and permanent alienation from Him, citing Scriptural passages such as Ephesians 4:6 (“[God] is over all and through all and in all”) and Romans 11:36 (“from [God] and through him and to him are all things”) to justify both panentheism and universalism.[citation needed] Panentheism was also a major force in the Unitarian church for a long time, based in part on Ralph Waldo Emerson’s concept of the Over-soul (from the synonymous essay of 1841).[citation needed]

Panentheistic conceptions of God occur amongst some modern theologians. Process theology and Creation Spirituality, two recent developments in Christian theology, contain panentheistic ideas. Charles Hartshorne (18972000), who conjoined process theology with panentheism, maintained a lifelong membership in the Methodist church but was also a Unitarian. In later years he joined the Austin, Texas, Unitarian Universalist congregation and was an active participant in that church.[35]

Some argue that panentheism should also include the notion that God has always been related to some world or another, which denies the idea of creation out of nothing (creatio ex nihilo). Nazarene Methodist theologian Thomas Jay Oord (*1965) advocates panentheism, but he uses the word “theocosmocentrism” to highlight the notion that God and some world or another are the primary conceptual starting blocks for eminently fruitful theology. This form of panentheism helps in overcoming the problem of evil and in proposing that God’s love for the world is essential to who God is.[36]

“Gnosticism” is a modern name for a variety of ancient religious ideas and systems prevalent in the first and second century AD. The teachings of the various gnostic groups were very diverse. In his Dictionary of Gnosticism, Andrew Phillip Smith has written that some branches of Gnosticism taught a panentheistic view of reality,[37] and held to the belief that God exists in the visible world only as sparks of spiritual “light”. The goal of human existence is to know the sparks within oneself in order to return to God, who is in the Fullness (or Pleroma).

Gnosticism was panentheistic, believing that the true God is simultaneously both separate from the physical universe and present within it.[citation needed] As Jesus states in the Gospel of Thomas, “I am the light that is over all things. I am all … . Split a piece of wood; I am there. Lift up the stone, and you will find me there.”[38] This seemingly contradictory interpretation of gnostic theology is not without controversy, since one interpretation of dualistic theology holds that a perfect God of pure spirit would not manifest himself through the fallen world of matter.

Manichaeism, being another gnostic sect, preached a very different doctrine in positioning the true Manichaean God against matter as well as other deities, that it described as enmeshed with the world, namely the gods of Jews, Christians and pagans.[39] Nevertheless, this dualistic teaching included an elaborate cosmological myth that narrates the defeat of primal man by the powers of darkness that devoured and imprisoned the particles of light.[citation needed]

Valentinian Gnosticism taught that matter came about through emanations of the supreme being, even if to some this event is held to be more accidental than intentional.[citation needed] To other gnostics, these emanations were akin to the Sephirot of the Kabbalists and deliberate manifestations of a transcendent God through a complex system of intermediaries.[citation needed]

While mainstream Rabbinic Judaism is classically monotheistic, and follows in the footsteps of Maimonides (c. 11351204), the panentheistic conception of God can be found among certain mystical Jewish traditions. A leading scholar of Kabbalah, Moshe Idel[40] ascribes this doctrine to the kabbalistic system of Moses ben Jacob Cordovero (15221570) and in the eighteenth century to the Baal Shem Tov (c. 17001760), founder of the Hasidic movement, as well as his contemporaries, Rabbi Dov Ber, the Maggid of Mezeritch (died 1772), and Menahem Mendel, the Maggid of Bar. This may be said of many, if not most, subsequent Hasidic masters. There is some debate as to whether Isaac Luria (15341572) and Lurianic Kabbalah, with its doctrine of tzimtzum, can be regarded as panentheistic.

According to Hasidism, the infinite Ein Sof is incorporeal and exists in a state that is both transcendent and immanent. This appears to be the view of non-Hasidic Rabbi Chaim of Volozhin, as well. Hasidic Judaism merges the elite ideal of nullification to a transcendent God, via the intellectual articulation of inner dimensions through Kabbalah and with emphasis on the panentheistic divine immanence in everything.[41]

Many scholars would argue that “panentheism” is the best single-word description of the philosophical theology of Baruch Spinoza.[42] It is therefore no surprise, that aspects of panentheism are also evident in the theology of Reconstructionist Judaism as presented in the writings of Mordecai Kaplan (18811983), who was strongly influenced by Spinoza.[43]

Several Sufi saints and thinkers, primarily Ibn Arabi, held beliefs that have been considered panentheistic.[44] These notions later took shape in the theory of wahdat ul-wujud (the Unity of All Things). Some Sufi Orders, notably the Bektashis[45] and the Universal Sufi movement, continue to espouse panentheistic beliefs. Nizari Ismaili follow panentheism according to Ismaili doctrine. Nevertheless, some Shia Muslims also do believe in different degrees of Panentheism.

Al-Qayyuum is a Name of God in the Qur’an which translates to “The Self-Existing by Whom all subsist”. In Islam the universe can not exist if Allah doesn’t exist, and it is only by His power which encompasses everything and which is everywhere that the universe can exist. In Aya al-Kursii God’s throne is described as “extending over the heavens and the earth” and “He feels no fatigue in guarding and preserving them”. This does not mean though that the universe is God, or that a creature (like a tree or an animal) is God, because those would be respectively pantheism, which is a heresy in traditional Islam, and the worst heresy in Islam, shirk (polytheism). God is separated by His creation but His creation can not survive without Him.

The Mesoamerican empires of the Mayas, Aztecs as well as the South American Incas (Tahuatinsuyu) have typically been characterized as polytheistic, with strong male and female deities.[46] According to Charles C. Mann’s history book 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus, only the lower classes of Aztec society were polytheistic. Philosopher James Maffie has argued that Aztec metaphysics was pantheistic rather than panentheistic, since Teotl was considered by Aztec philosophers to be the ultimate all-encompassing yet all-transcending force defined by its inherit duality.[47]

Native American beliefs in North America have been characterized as panentheistic in that there is an emphasis on a single, unified divine spirit that is manifest in each individual entity.[48] (North American Native writers have also translated the word for God as the Great Mystery[49] or as the Sacred Other[50]) This concept is referred to by many as the Great Spirit. Philosopher J. Baird Callicott has described Lakota theology as panentheistic, in that the divine both transcends and is immanent in everything.[51]

One exception can be modern Cherokee who are predominantly monotheistic but apparently not panentheistic;[52] yet in older Cherokee traditions many observe both aspects of pantheism and panentheism, and are often not beholden to exclusivity, encompassing other spiritual traditions without contradiction, a common trait among some tribes in the Americas.

The Sikh gurus have described God in numerous ways in their hymns included in the Guru Granth Sahib, the holy scripture of Sikhism, but the oneness of the deity is consistently emphasized throughout. God is described in the Mool Mantar, the first passage in the Guru Granth Sahib, and the basic formula of the faith is:

(Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 1)

Ik Oankar Satnaam KartaaPurakh Nirbhau Nirvair AkaalMoorat Ajooni Saibhan GurPrasad

One primal being who made the sound (oan) that expanded and created the world. Truth is the name. Creative being personified. Without fear, without hate. Image of the undying. Beyond birth, self existent. By Guru’s grace~

Guru Arjan, the fifth guru of Sikhs, says, “God is beyond colour and form, yet His/Her presence is clearly visible” (Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Ang 74), and “Nanak’s Lord transcends the world as well as the scriptures of the east and the west, and yet He/She is clearly manifest” (Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Ang 397).

Knowledge of the ultimate Reality is not a matter for reason; it comes by revelation of the ultimate reality through nadar (grace) and by anubhava (mystical experience). Says Guru Nanak; “budhi pathi na paiai bahu chaturaiai bhai milai mani bhane.” This translates to “He/She is not accessible through intellect, or through mere scholarship or cleverness at argument; He/She is met, when He/She pleases, through devotion” (GG, 436).

Guru Nanak prefixed the numeral one (ik) to it, making it Ik Oankar or Ek Oankar to stress God’s oneness. God is named and known only through his Own immanent nature. The only name which can be said to truly fit God’s transcendent state is SatNam ( Sat Sanskrit, Truth), the changeless and timeless Reality. God is transcendent and all-pervasive at the same time. Transcendence and immanence are two aspects of the same single Supreme Reality. The Reality is immanent in the entire creation, but the creation as a whole fails to contain God fully. As says Guru Tegh Bahadur, Nanak IX, “He has himself spread out His/Her Own maya (worldly illusion) which He oversees; many different forms He assumes in many colours, yet He stays independent of all” (GG, 537).

In the Bah’ Faith, God is described as a single, imperishable God, the creator of all things, including all the creatures and forces in the universe. The connection between God and the world is that of the creator to his creation.[53] God is understood to be independent of his creation, and that creation is dependent and contingent on God. Accordingly, the Bah’ Faith is much more closely aligned with traditions of monotheism than panentheism. God is not seen to be part of creation as he cannot be divided and does not descend to the condition of his creatures. Instead, in the Bah’ understanding, the world of creation emanates from God, in that all things have been realized by him and have attained to existence.[54] Creation is seen as the expression of God’s will in the contingent world,[55] and every created thing is seen as a sign of God’s sovereignty, and leading to knowledge of him; the signs of God are most particularly revealed in human beings.[53]

In Konkky God is named Tenchi Kane no Kami-Sama which can mean Golden spirit of the universe Kami(God) is Also seen as infinitely loving and powerful. This spirit creates new galaxies, winks out brilliant stars, and allowes our hearts to beat.- Shine From Within, an introduction to the Konko Faith

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Panentheism – Wikipedia

Pantheism – Pantheism and panentheism in ancient and …

Early Greek religion contained among its many deities some whose natures might have supported pantheism; and certainly the mystery religions of later times stressed types of mystical union that are typical of pantheistic systems. But in fact the pantheism of ancient Greece was related almost exclusively to philosophical speculation. For this reason it is more rationalistic, possessing a style quite different from the pantheisms thus far examined.

The first philosophers of Greece, all of whom were 6th-century-bce Ionians, were hylozoistic, finding matter and life inseparable. The basic substances that they identified as the elements of realitythe water proposed by Thales, the boundless infinite suggested by Anaximander, and the air of Anaximeneswere presumed to have the motive force of living things and thus to be a kind of life, a position here called hylozoistic pantheism.

Impressed by the absolute unity of all things, the adherents of another philosophical position, that of Eleaticism, so-named from its centre in Elea, a Greek colony in southern Italy, found it impossible to believe in multiplicity and change. The first step in this direction was taken by Xenophanes, a religious thinker and rhapsodist, who, on rational grounds, moved from the gods and goddesses of Homer and Hesiod to a unitary principle of the divine. He believed that God is the supreme power of the universe, ruling all things by the power of his mind. Unmoved, unmoving, and unitary, God perceives, governs, and apparently contains, or at least he embraces, all things. So interpreted, Xenophanes provides an instance of monistic pantheism, inasmuch as, in this view, the Absolute God is united with a changing world, while the reality of neither is attenuated. This paradox may have encouraged Parmenides, possibly one of Xenophanes disciples (according to Aristotle), to accept the changeless Absolute, eliminating change and motion from the world. Reality thus became for him a unitary, indivisible, everlasting, motionless whole. This position is basically that of absolutistic monistic pantheism in that it views the world as real but changeless. Insofar as the change and variety of the world are only apparent, Parmenides also approaches acosmic pantheism.

A third fundamental position is that of the Ephesian critic Heracleitus, among whose cryptic sayings were many that stressed the role of change as the basic reality. Heracleitus continued the hylozoistic tendencies of the Ionian philosophers. Fire, his basic element, is also the universal logos, or reason, controlling all things; and since fire not only has a life of its own but exercises control to the boundaries of the universe as well, the system is more complex than hylozoistic pantheism. In view of the circumstance that everything is either on the way from, or to, fire, this basic element is actually or incipiently everywhere. Since the divine works here from within the universe, indeed from within a single, but basic, aspect of it, the system is an instance of immanentistic pantheism.

The philosopher Anaxagoras, one of the great dignitaries at Athens in the golden age of Pericles, approached the problem somewhat in the manner of Heracleitus. Nous (or Mind) he held to be the principle of order for all things as well as the principle of their movement. It is the finest and purest of things and is diffused throughout the universe. This, like the preceding system, is an instance of immanentistic pantheism.

From the standpoint of the typology here employed, Plato may be regarded as the first Western philosopher to treat the problem of the absoluteness and the relativity in God with any degree of adequacy. In the Timaeus an absolute and eternal God was recognized, existing in changeless perfection in relation to the world of forms, along with a World-Soul, which contained and animated the world and was as divine as a changing thing could be. Although the material can be variously interpreted, panentheists hold that Plato has adopted a dual principle of the divine, uniting both being and becoming, absoluteness and relativity, permanence and change in a single context. To be sure, he envisioned the categories of absoluteness as situated in one deity, and those of relativity in another; but the separation seems not to have pleased him, and in the tenth book of the Laws, by invoking the analogy of a circular motion, which combines change with the retention of a fixed centre, he explained how deity could exemplify both absoluteness and change. Plato thus may be viewed as a quasi-panentheist.

Aristotle, on the other hand, with his exclusivistic, transcendent God, exemplifying only the categories of absoluteness, anticipated the absolute God of Classical Theism, existing above and beyond the world.

Stoicism, one of the foremost of the post-Aristotelian schools of thought, represents an immanentistic pantheism of the Heracleitean variety. First of all, the Stoics accepted the decision of Heracleitus that an indwelling fire is the principal element entering into all transformations and is also the principle of reason, the logos, ordering as well as animating all things, but that, second, there is a World-Soul, which is diffused throughout the world and penetrates it in every part. Rather than approximating Platos spiritual World-Soul, the Stoic World-Soul is more like the Nous of Anaxagoras. The Stoics were Materialists, and their diffuse World-Soul is, thus, an extended form of subtle matter. That everything is determined by the universal reason is an unvarying theme in Stoicism; and this fact suggests that Stoic pantheism, despite its immanentism, stresses the categories of absoluteness rather than those of relativity in the relations holding between God and the world.

The life of reason brings human beings into harmony with God and with nature and helps them to understand human fate, which is the place of the species in the universal system. Although the view is an amalgam of several types of pantheism, this particular mixture has retained its identity. It is therefore useful to call this position, or any similar combination of themes, by the name Stoic pantheism.

Plotinus, the creator of one of the most thoroughgoing philosophical systems of ancient times, may be taken to represent Neoplatonism, an influential modification of Platos attempt to deal with absoluteness and relativity in the divine. Plotinus system consists of the Onethe absolute God who is the supreme power of the systemthe intermediate Nous, and the World-Soul (with the world as its internal content). His World-Soul follows the Platonic model. The system really blends pantheism with classical theism, since the categories of absoluteness apply to the One, and the relativistic categories apply to the World-Soul. The doctrine of emanation, whereby the power of the One comes into the world, is a clear attempt to bridge the gap between absoluteness and relativity. For Plotinus, as for classical theism, there is immanent in each human being an image of the divine, which serves as well to relate humanity to God as does the divine spark in Stoic pantheism. Even classical theism may thus contain a touch of immanentistic pantheism. This view, or any similar combination of themes, is an instance of emanationistic or Neoplatonic pantheism.

Though Scholasticism, with its doctrine of a separate and absolute God, was the crowning achievement of medieval thought, the period was, nonetheless, not without its pantheistic witness. Largely through Jewish and Christian mysticism, an essentially Neoplatonic pantheism ran throughout the age.

The only important Latin philosopher for six centuries after St. Augustine was John Scotus Erigena. Inasmuch as, in his system, Christs redemptive sacrific helps to effect a Neoplatonic return of all beings to God, Erigena can be said to have turned Neoplatonism into a Christian drama of fall into sin and redemption from its power. When Erigena said that, even in the stage of separation from God, God in his superessentiality is identical with all things, he advanced beyond a strictly Neoplatonic pantheism to some stronger form of immanentistic or monistic pantheism.

In the two principal writings of the esoteric Jewish movement called the Kabbala, known for its theosophical interpretations of the Scriptures, a mystically oriented system of 10 emanations is presented. A Spaniard, Avicebrn, a Jewish poet and philosopher, similarly presented a Neoplatonic scheme of emanations. And in Spain, Averros, the most prominent Arabic philosopher of the period, represented an Aristotelian tradition that is heavily overladen with Neoplatonism. For Averros, the active intellect in a human being is really an impersonal divine reason, which alone lives on when that person dies.

The German Meister Eckhart, probably the most significant of philosophical mystics, developed a markedly original theology. From his Stoic pantheism there arose his most controversial thesisthat there resides in every person a divine, uncreated spark of the Godhead, making possible both a union with God and a genuine knowledge of his nature. But Eckhart also distinguished between the unmanifest and barren Godhead and the three Persons who constitute a manifest and personal God. Thus, the system has similarities to both Stoic and Neoplatonic pantheism.

Cardinal Nicholas of Cusa, whose broad scholarship and scientific approach anticipated the coming Renaissance, continued the tradition into the 15th century. The learned ignorance, in which an individual separates himself from every affirmation, can have positive results, in Nicholas view, because each human being is a microcosm within the macrocosm (or universe), and the God of the macrocosm is thus mirrored in all of his creatures. He also held that, in reference to God, contradictions are compatiblehis coincidence of opposites doctrine, in which God is at once all extremes. Clearly, Nicholas wished to ascribe to God both the categories of transcendence and those of immanence without distinction. But in fact he displayed some preference for the categories of the absolute, insisting, for example, that the creatures of the world can add nothing to God since they are merely his partial appearances. Despite this bias toward absolutism, and even to acosmism, Nicholas can be appropriately viewed as espousing an identity of opposites pantheism.

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Pantheism – Pantheism and panentheism in ancient and …

World Pantheism Revering the Universe, Caring for Nature …

Do you feel a deep sense of peace, belonging, and wonder in Nature or under a clear night sky? You may be a scientific pantheist.Scientific pantheism respects the rights not just of humans, but of all living beings.It focuses on saving the planet rather than saving souls.It encourages you to make the most and best of your one life here.It values reason and the scientific method over adherence to ancient scriptures.Take our popular quiz to find out if it suits you:-Atheist, Agnostic, Pagan, Deist, Pantheist or What?

We relate closely to some of the central challenges of our era. At a time when the balance of our Earth is under unprecedented threat, scientific pantheism is one of the few forms of spirituality in which Nature plays a central part. For us, Nature is a source of peace and beauty, as well as the focus for our care and vigilance. Nature was not created for us to use or abuse. Nature created us, we are an inseparable part of her. We have a duty to live sustainably, to care for Nature and to halt and reverse the harm that humans have done to her.

Sign the Earth Pledge

Scientific pantheism is the only form of spirituality we know of which fully embraces science as part of the human exploration of Earth and Cosmos. We wonder at the picture of a vast, creative and often violent Universerevealed by the Hubble Space Telescope. We regard stargazing as a spiritual practice. We oppose climate change denial and evolution denial, especially in education.

Scientific pantheism has a joyous affirmative approach to life. It has a healthy and positive attitude to sex and life in the body. We wont tell you what you should be smoking or doing in the bedroom. We fully accept diverse gender choices, and we oppose all forms of discrimination.

Scientific pantheism moves beyond God and defines itself by positives.Atheism and Agnosticism both define themselves negatively, in relation to a God that they deny or doubt. These are useful starting points but they dont take us very far. Most people also need positive beliefs and feelings about their place in Nature and the wider Universe. We take Nature and the Universe as our start and finish point, not some preconceived idea of God. We do not believe in a supernatural creator god, let alone one that watches or judges us. Most of us avoid god-language or religious words like church, worship, divinity and so on. We regard them as misleading. Those of us who do use those kinds of words do so metaphorically, in a similar way to how Einstein used the word.

Get the Scientific Pantheism handbook.

Our beliefs and values are summarized in our Pantheist Statement of Principles.The statement was drawn up by fallible humans. It is not required dogma it is simply a notice on our door, to show what we are about so people can decide if it suits them or not. These are the key elements:

Many people feel the need to belong to a religious community. Research shows that such groups provide mutual support and friends and are good for physical and mental health. Theres no good reason why groups of like-minded non-theistic folk should not enjoy similar benefits.

In the WPM we are spiritual but not religious. We dont have churches, priests, or prescribed dogma and rituals. But we do aim to provide a home base for people who love Nature and the Universe and do not believe in supernatural entities.

Two of the major benefits our members and friends say they value are gaining new like-minded friends and finding a place where they can share their enthusiasms without fear of being ostracized or feeling isolated. There have been many local meetings of members across the USA and in other parts of the world, where people have found a rare level of fellowship and stimulation.

The WPMs short term goals are to:

In the longer term, as resources permit, we hope to:

If you would like to help promote these goals, please consider becoming a WPM member. Volunteering is another great way of supporting the WPM.

All who agree with our principles are encouraged to join our Facebook page (with more than 160,000 fans), or join our Facebook discussion groupwith more than 10,000 members.

We use the name pantheism because the term encompasses a long and venerable history dating back to Heraclitus and Marcus Aurelius and extending to Einstein, D. H. Lawrence and beyond.

Our beliefs (see the Statement of Principles) are entirely compatible with atheism, humanism, agnosticism, universalism, and symbolic paganism (viewing magic, gods and spirits as symbols rather than objective realities). We offer a home to all forms of naturalistic spirituality however you may choose to label it. Other paths that approximate include philosophical Taoism, modern Stoicism, Western forms of Buddhism that celebrate Nature and daily life without supernatural beliefs, and Unitarian Universalists who do not believe in supernatural beings.

You are free to adopt the terms and practices you prefer and draw on other traditions for inspiration or celebration. Some call this a religion (a positive one), while others call it a philosophy, a way of life, or a form of general spirituality. Its up to you.

Please explore our pages. If you have any questions, please contact us.

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World Pantheism Revering the Universe, Caring for Nature …

Pantheism – Wikipedia

Pantheism is the belief that reality is identical with divinity,[1] or that all-things compose an all-encompassing, immanent god[2]. Pantheist belief does not recognize a distinct personal anthropomorphic god[3] and instead characterize a broad range of doctrines differing in forms of relationships between reality and divinity.[4]

Pantheism was popularized in Western culture as a theology and philosophy based on the work of the 17th-century philosopher Baruch Spinoza,[5]:p.7 particularly his book Ethics, published in 1677.[6] The term “pantheism” was coined by mathematician Joseph Raphson in 1697[7][8] and has since been used to describe the beliefs of a variety of people and organizations.

Pantheistic concepts date back thousands of years, and pantheistic elements have been identified in various religious traditions.

Pantheism derives from the Greek pan (meaning “all, of everything”) and theos (meaning “god, divine”). The first known combination of these roots appears in Latin, in Joseph Raphson’s 1697 book De Spatio Reali seu Ente Infinito[8], where he refers to the “pantheismus” of Spinoza and others.[7] It was subsequently translated into English as “pantheism” in 1702.

There are a variety of definitions of pantheism. Some consider it a theological and philosophical position concerning God.[5]:p.8

Pantheism is the view that everything is part of an all-encompassing, immanent God.[9] All forms of reality may then be considered either modes of that Being, or identical with it.[10] Some hold that pantheism is a non-religious philosophical position. To them, pantheism is the view that the Universe (in the sense of the totality of all existence) and God are identical (implying a denial of the personality and transcendence of God).[11]

Pantheistic tendencies existed in a number of early Gnostic groups, with pantheistic thought appearing throughout the Middle Ages.[12] These included a section of Johannes Scotus Eriugena’s 9th-century work De divisione naturae and the beliefs of mystics such as Amalric of Bena (11th12th centuries) and Eckhart (12th13th).[12]:pp. 620621

The Roman Catholic Church has long regarded pantheistic ideas as heresy.[13][14] Giordano Bruno, an Italian monk who evangelized about an immanent and infinite God, was burned at the stake in 1600 by the Roman Inquisition. He has since become known as a celebrated pantheist and martyr of science[15], and an influence on many later thinkers.

In the West, pantheism was formalized as a separate theology and philosophy based on the work of the 17th-century philosopher Baruch Spinoza.[5]:p.7 Spinoza was a Dutch philosopher of Portuguese descent raised in the Sephardi Jewish community in Amsterdam.[17] He developed highly controversial ideas regarding the authenticity of the Hebrew Bible and the nature of the Divine, and was effectively excluded from Jewish society at age 23, when the local synagogue issued a herem against him.[18] A number of his books were published posthumously, and shortly thereafter included in the Catholic Church’s Index of Forbidden Books. The breadth and importance of Spinoza’s work would not be realized for many years – as the groundwork for the 18th-century Enlightenment[19] and modern biblical criticism,[20] including modern conceptions of the self and the universe.[21]

In the posthumous Ethics, “Spinoza wrote the last indisputable Latin masterpiece, and one in which the refined conceptions of medieval philosophy are finally turned against themselves and destroyed entirely.”[22]. In particular, he opposed Ren Descartes’ famous mindbody dualism, the theory that the body and spirit are separate.[23] Spinoza held the monist view that the two are the same, and monism is a fundamental part of his philosophy. He was described as a “God-intoxicated man,” and used the word God to describe the unity of all substance.[23] This view influenced philosophers such as Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, who said, “You are either a Spinozist or not a philosopher at all.”[24] Spinoza earned praise as one of the great rationalists of 17th-century philosophy[25] and one of Western philosophy’s most important thinkers.[26] Although the term “pantheism” was not coined until after his death, he is regarded as the most celebrated advocate of the concept.[27] Ethics was the major source from which Western pantheism spread.[6]

The first known use of the term “pantheism” was in Latin (“pantheismus” [7]) by the English mathematician Joseph Raphson in his work De Spatio Reali seu Ente Infinito, published in 1697.[8] Raphson begins with a distinction between atheistic “panhylists” (from the Greek roots pan, “all”, and hyle, “matter”), who believe everything is matter, and Spinozan “pantheists” who believe in “a certain universal substance, material as well as intelligence, that fashions all things that exist out of its own essence.”[28][29] Raphson thought that the universe was immeasurable in respect to a human’s capacity of understanding, and believed that humans would never be able to comprehend it.[30] He referred to the pantheism of the Ancient Egyptians, Persians, Syrians, Assyrians, Greek, Indians, and Jewish Kabbalists, specifically referring to Spinoza.[31]

The term was first used in English by a translation of Raphson’s work in 1702. It was later used and popularized by Irish writer John Toland in his work of 1705 Socinianism Truly Stated, by a pantheist.[32][12]:pp. 617618 Toland was influenced by both Spinoza and Bruno, and had read Joseph Raphson’s De Spatio Reali, referring to it as “the ingenious Mr. Ralphson’s (sic) Book of Real Space”.[33] Like Raphson, he used the terms “pantheist” and “Spinozist” interchangeably.[34] In 1720 he wrote the Pantheisticon: or The Form of Celebrating the Socratic-Society in Latin, envisioning a pantheist society that believed, “All things in the world are one, and one is all in all things … what is all in all things is God, eternal and immense, neither born nor ever to perish.”[35][36] He clarified his idea of pantheism in a letter to Gottfried Leibniz in 1710 when he referred to “the pantheistic opinion of those who believe in no other eternal being but the universe”.[12][37][38][39]

In the mid-eighteenth century, the English theologian Daniel Waterland defined pantheism this way: “It supposes God and nature, or God and the whole universe, to be one and the same substanceone universal being; insomuch that men’s souls are only modifications of the divine substance.”[12][40] In the early nineteenth century, the German theologian Julius Wegscheider defined pantheism as the belief that God and the world established by God are one and the same.[12][41]

Between 178589, a major controversy about Spinoza’s philosophy arose between the German philosophers Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi (a critic) and Moses Mendelssohn (a defender). Known in German as the Pantheismusstreit (pantheism controversy), it helped spread pantheism to many German thinkers.[42] A 1780 conversation with the German dramatist Gotthold Ephraim Lessing led Jacobi to a protracted study of Spinoza’s works. Lessing stated that he knew no other philosophy than Spinozism. Jacobi’s ber die Lehre des Spinozas (1st ed. 1785, 2nd ed. 1789) expressed his strenuous objection to a dogmatic system in philosophy, and drew upon him the enmity of the Berlin group, led by Mendelssohn. Jacobi claimed that Spinoza’s doctrine was pure materialism, because all Nature and God are said to be nothing but extended substance. This, for Jacobi, was the result of Enlightenment rationalism and it would finally end in absolute atheism. Mendelssohn disagreed with Jacobi, saying that pantheism shares more characteristics of theism than of atheism. The entire issue became a major intellectual and religious concern for European civilization at the time.[43]

Willi Goetschel argues that Jacobi’s publication significantly shaped Spinoza’s wide reception for centuries following its publication, obscuring the nuance of Spinoza’s philosophic work.[44]

During the beginning of the 19th century, pantheism was the viewpoint of many leading writers and philosophers, attracting figures such as William Wordsworth and Samuel Coleridge in Britain; Johann Gottlieb Fichte, Schelling and Hegel in Germany; Knut Hamsun in Norway; and Walt Whitman, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau in the United States. Seen as a growing threat by the Vatican, in 1864 it was formally condemned by Pope Pius IX in the Syllabus of Errors.[45]

A letter written by William Herndon, Abraham Lincoln’s law partner in 1886, was sold at auction for US$30,000 in 2011.[46] In it, Herndon writes of the U.S. President’s evolving religious views, which included pantheism.

“Mr. Lincoln’s religion is too well known to me to allow of even a shadow of a doubt; he is or was a Theist and a Rationalist, denying all extraordinary supernatural inspiration or revelation. At one time in his life, to say the least, he was an elevated Pantheist, doubting the immortality of the soul as the Christian world understands that term. He believed that the soul lost its identity and was immortal as a force. Subsequent to this he rose to the belief of a God, and this is all the change he ever underwent.”[46][47]

The subject is understandably controversial, but the content of the letter is consistent with Lincoln’s fairly lukewarm approach to organized religion.[47]

Some 19th-century theologians thought that various pre-Christian religions and philosophies were pantheistic. They thought Pantheism was similar to the ancient Hindu[12]:pp. 618 philosophy of Advaita (non-dualism) to the extent that the 19th-century German Sanskritist Theodore Goldstcker remarked that Spinoza’s thought was “… a western system of philosophy which occupies a foremost rank amongst the philosophies of all nations and ages, and which is so exact a representation of the ideas of the Vedanta, that we might have suspected its founder to have borrowed the fundamental principles of his system from the Hindus.”[48]

19th-century European theologians also considered Ancient Egyptian religion to contain pantheistic elements and pointed to Egyptian philosophy as a source of Greek Pantheism.[12]:pp. 618620 The latter included some of the Presocratics, such as Heraclitus and Anaximander.[49] The Stoics were pantheists, beginning with Zeno of Citium and culminating in the emperor-philosopher Marcus Aurelius. During the pre-Christian Roman Empire, Stoicism was one of the three dominant schools of philosophy, along with Epicureanism and Neoplatonism.[50][51] The early Taoism of Laozi and Zhuangzi is also sometimes considered pantheistic.[37]

Cheondoism and Won Buddhism which arose in the Joseon Dynasty of Korea is also considered pantheistic.

In 2007, Dorion Sagan, the son of famous scientist and science communicator, Carl Sagan, published a book entitled Dazzle Gradually: Reflections on the Nature of Nature co-written with his mother, Lynn Margulis. In a chapter entitled, “Truth of My Father”, he declares: “My father believed in the God of Spinoza and Einstein, God not behind nature, but as nature, equivalent to it.”[52]

In a letter written to Eduard Bsching (25 October 1929), after Bsching sent Albert Einstein a copy of his book Es gibt keinen Gott (“There is no God”), Einstein wrote, “We followers of Spinoza see our God in the wonderful order and lawfulness of all that exists and in its soul [Beseeltheit] as it reveals itself in man and animal.”[53] According to Einstein, the book only dealt with the concept of a personal god and not the impersonal God of pantheism.[53] In a letter written in 1954 to philosopher Eric Gutkind, Einstein wrote “the word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses.”[54][55] In another letter written in 1954 he wrote “I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly.”.[54]

In the late 20th century, some declared that pantheism was an underlying theology of Neopaganism,[56] and pantheists began forming organizations devoted specifically to pantheism and treating it as a separate religion.[37]

Pantheism is mentioned in a Papal encyclical in 2009[57] and a statement on New Year’s Day in 2010,[58] criticizing pantheism for denying the superiority of humans over nature and seeing the source of man’s salvation in nature.[57] In a review of the 2009 film Avatar, Ross Douthat, an author, described pantheism as “Hollywood’s religion of choice for a generation now”.[59]

In 2015, Los Angeles muralist Levi Ponce was commissioned to paint Luminaries of Pantheism for an area in Venice, California that receives over a million onlookers per year.[60] The organization that commissioned the work, The Paradise Project, is “dedicated to celebrating and spreading awareness about pantheism.”[61] The mural painting depicts Albert Einstein, Alan Watts, Baruch Spinoza, Terence McKenna, Carl Jung, Carl Sagan, Emily Dickinson, Nikola Tesla, Friedrich Nietzsche, Ralph Waldo Emerson, W.E.B. Du Bois, Henry David Thoreau, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Rumi, Adi Shankara, and Laozi.[62]

There are multiple varieties of pantheism[12][63]:3 and various systems of classifying them relying upon one or more spectra or in discrete categories.

The philosopher Charles Hartshorne used the term Classical Pantheism to describe the deterministic philosophies of Baruch Spinoza, the Stoics, and other like-minded figures.[64] Pantheism (All-is-God) is often associated with monism (All-is-One) and some have suggested that it logically implies determinism (All-is-Now).[23][65][66][67][68] Albert Einstein explained theological determinism by stating,[69] “the past, present, and future are an ‘illusion'”. This form of pantheism has been referred to as “extreme monism”, in which in the words of one commentator “God decides or determines everything, including our supposed decisions.”[70] Other examples of determinism-inclined pantheisms include those of Ralph Waldo Emerson,[71] and Hegel.[72]

However, some have argued against treating every meaning of “unity” as an aspect of pantheism,[73] and there exist versions of pantheism that regard determinism as an inaccurate or incomplete view of nature. Examples include the beliefs of Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling and William James.[74]

It may also be possible to distinguish two types of pantheism, one being more religious and the other being more philosophical. The Columbia Encyclopedia writes of the distinction:

Philosophers and theologians have often suggested that pantheism implies monism.[76] Different types of monism include:[78]

Views contrasting with monism are:

Monism in modern philosophy of mind can be divided into three broad categories:

Certain positions do not fit easily into the above categories, such as functionalism, anomalous monism, and reflexive monism. Moreover, they do not define the meaning of “real”.

In 1896, J. H. Worman, a theologian, identified seven categories of pantheism: Mechanical or materialistic (God the mechanical unity of existence); Ontological (fundamental unity, Spinoza); Dynamic; Psychical (God is the soul of the world); Ethical (God is the universal moral order, Fichte; Logical (Hegel); and Pure (absorption of God into nature, which Worman equates with atheism).[12]

More recently, Paul D. Feinberg, professor of biblical and systematic theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, also identified seven: Hylozoistic; Immanentistic; Absolutistic monistic; Relativistic monistic; Acosmic; Identity of opposites; and Neoplatonic or emanationistic.[83]

Nature worship or nature mysticism is often conflated and confused with pantheism. It is pointed out by at least one expert in pantheist philosophy that Spinoza’s identification of God with nature is very different from a recent idea of a self identifying pantheist with environmental ethical concerns, Harold Wood, founder of the Universal Pantheist Society. His use of the word nature to describe his worldview may be vastly different from the “nature” of modern sciences. He and other nature mystics who also identify as pantheists use “nature” to refer to the limited natural environment (as opposed to man-made built environment). This use of “nature” is different from the broader use from Spinoza and other pantheists describing natural laws and the overall phenomena of the physical world. Nature mysticism may be compatible with pantheism but it may also be compatible with theism and other views.[4]

Nontheism is an umbrella term which has been used to refer to a variety of religions not fitting traditional theism, and under which pantheism has been included.[4]

Panentheism (from Greek (pn) “all”; (en) “in”; and (thes) “God”; “all-in-God”) was formally coined in Germany in the 19th century in an attempt to offer a philosophical synthesis between traditional theism and pantheism, stating that God is substantially omnipresent in the physical universe but also exists “apart from” or “beyond” it as its Creator and Sustainer.[84]:p.27 Thus panentheism separates itself from pantheism, positing the extra claim that God exists above and beyond the world as we know it.[85]:p.11 The line between pantheism and panentheism can be blurred depending on varying definitions of God, so there have been disagreements when assigning particular notable figures to pantheism or panentheism.[84]:pp. 7172, 8788, 105[86]

Pandeism is another word derived from pantheism, and is characterized as a combination of reconcilable elements of pantheism and deism.[87] It assumes a Creator-deity that is at some point distinct from the universe and then transforms into it, resulting in a universe similar to the pantheistic one in present essence, but differing in origin.

Panpsychism is the philosophical view held by many pantheists that consciousness, mind, or soul is a universal feature of all things.[88] Some pantheists also subscribe to the distinct philosophical views hylozoism (or panvitalism), the view that everything is alive, and its close neighbor animism, the view that everything has a soul or spirit.[89]

Many traditional and folk religions including African traditional religions[90] and Native American religions[92] can be seen as pantheistic, or a mixture of pantheism and other doctrines such as polytheism and animism. According to pantheists, there are elements of pantheism in some forms of Christianity.[93][94][95]

Ideas resembling pantheism existed in East/South Asian religions before the 18th century (notably Sikhism, Hinduism, Confucianism, and Taoism). Although there is no evidence that these influenced Spinoza’s work, there is such evidence regarding other contemporary philosophers, such as Leibniz, and later Voltaire.[96][97] In the case of Hinduism, pantheistic views exist alongside panentheistic, polytheistic, monotheistic, and atheistic ones. In the case of Sikhism, stories attributed to Guru Nanak suggest that he believed God was everywhere in the physical world, and the Sikh tradition typically describes God as the preservative force within the physical world, present in all material forms, each created as a manifestation of God. However, Sikhs view God as the transcendent creator[101], “immanent in the phenomenal reality of the world in the same way in which an artist can be said to be present in his art”[102]. This implies a more panentheistic position.

Pantheism is popular in modern spirituality and new religious movements, such as Neopaganism and Theosophy.[103] Two organizations that specify the word pantheism in their title formed in the last quarter of the 20th century. The Universal Pantheist Society, open to all varieties of pantheists and supportive of environmental causes, was founded in 1975.[104] The World Pantheist Movement is headed by Paul Harrison, an environmentalist, writer and a former vice president of the Universal Pantheist Society, from which he resigned in 1996. The World Pantheist Movement was incorporated in 1999 to focus exclusively on promoting naturalistic pantheism – a strict metaphysical naturalistic version of pantheism,[105] considered by some a form of religious naturalism.[106] It has been described as an example of “dark green religion” with a focus on environmental ethics.[107]

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Pantheism – Wikipedia

Pantheism | Definition of Pantheism by Merriam-Webster

Pantheistic ideasand most importantly the belief that God is equal to the universe, its physical matter, and the forces that govern itare found in the ancient books of Hinduism, in the works of many Greek philosophers, and in later works of philosophy and religion over the centuries. Much modern New Age spirituality is pantheistic. But most Christian thinkers reject pantheism because it makes God too impersonal, doesn’t allow for any difference between the creation and the creator, and doesn’t seem to allow for humans to make meaningful moral choices.

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Pantheism | Definition of Pantheism by Merriam-Webster

Panentheism – Wikipedia

Panentheism (meaning “all-in-God”, from the Ancient Greek pn, “all”, en, “in” and Thes, “God”)[1] is the belief that the divine pervades and interpenetrates every part of the universe and also extends beyond time and space. The term was coined by the German philosopher Karl Krause in 1828 to distinguish the ideas of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (17701831) and Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling (17751854) about the relation of God and the universe from the supposed pantheism of Baruch Spinoza.[1] Unlike pantheism, which holds that the divine and the universe are identical,[2] panentheism maintains an ontological distinction between the divine and the non-divine and the significance of both.

The religious beliefs of Neoplatonism can be regarded as panentheistic. Plotinus taught that there was an ineffable transcendent God (“the One”, to En, ) of which subsequent realities were emanations. From “the One” emanates the Divine Mind (Nous, ) and the Cosmic Soul (Psyche, ). In Neoplatonism the world itself is God (according to Plato’s Timaeus 37). This concept of divinity is associated with that of the Logos (), which had originated centuries earlier with Heraclitus (c. 535475 BC). The Logos pervades the cosmos, whereby all thoughts and all things originate, or as Heraclitus said: “He who hears not me but the Logos will say: All is one.” Neoplatonists such as Iamblichus attempted to reconcile this perspective by adding another hypostasis above the original monad of force or Dunamis (). This new all-pervasive monad encompassed all creation and its original uncreated emanations.

Baruch Spinoza later claimed that “Whatsoever is, is in God, and without God nothing can be, or be conceived.”[5] “Individual things are nothing but modifications of the attributes of God, or modes by which the attributes of God are expressed in a fixed and definite manner.”[6] Though Spinoza has been called the “prophet”[7] and “prince”[8] of pantheism, in a letter to Henry Oldenburg Spinoza states that: “as to the view of certain people that I identify god with nature (taken as a kind of mass or corporeal matter), they are quite mistaken”.[9] For Spinoza, our universe (cosmos) is a mode under two attributes of Thought and Extension. God has infinitely many other attributes which are not present in our world.

According to German philosopher Karl Jaspers, when Spinoza wrote “Deus sive Natura” (God or Nature) Spinoza did not mean to say that God and Nature are interchangeable terms, but rather that God’s transcendence was attested by his infinitely many attributes, and that two attributes known by humans, namely Thought and Extension, signified God’s immanence.[10] Furthermore, Martial Guroult suggested the term “panentheism”, rather than “pantheism” to describe Spinoza’s view of the relation between God and the world. The world is not God, but it is, in a strong sense, “in” God. Yet, American philosopher and self-described panentheist Charles Hartshorne referred to Spinoza’s philosophy as “classical pantheism” and distinguished Spinoza’s philosophy from panentheism.[11]

In 1828, the German philosopher Karl Christian Friedrich Krause (17811832) seeking to reconcile monotheism and pantheism, coined the term panentheism (from the Ancient Greek expression , pn en the, literally “all in god”). This conception of God influenced New England transcendentalists such as Ralph Waldo Emerson. The term was popularized by Charles Hartshorne in his development of process theology and has also been closely identified with the New Thought.[12] The formalization of this term in the West in the 19th century was not new; philosophical treatises had been written on it in the context of Hinduism for millennia.[13]

Philosophers who embraced panentheism have included Thomas Hill Green (18391882), James Ward (18431925), Andrew Seth Pringle-Pattison (18561931) and Samuel Alexander (18591938).[14] Beginning in the 1940s, Hartshorne examined numerous conceptions of God. He reviewed and discarded pantheism, deism, and pandeism in favor of panentheism, finding that such a “doctrine contains all of deism and pandeism except their arbitrary negations”. Hartshorne formulated God as a being who could become “more perfect”: He has absolute perfection in categories for which absolute perfection is possible, and relative perfection (i.e., is superior to all others) in categories for which perfection cannot be precisely determined.[15]

Earliest reference to panentheistic thought in Hindu philosophy is in a creation myth contained in the later section of Rig Veda called the Purusha Sukta,[16] which was compiled before 1100 BCE.[17] The Purusha Sukta gives a description of the spiritual unity of the cosmos. It presents the nature of Purusha or the cosmic being as both immanent in the manifested world and yet transcendent to it.[18] From this being the sukta holds, the original creative will proceeds, by which this vast universe is projected in space and time.[19]

The most influential[20] and dominant[21] school of Indian philosophy, Advaita Vedanta, rejects theism and dualism by insisting that “Brahman [ultimate reality] is without parts or attributes…one without a second.”[22] Since Brahman has no properties, contains no internal diversity and is identical with the whole reality it cannot be understood as an anthropomorphic personal God.[23] The relationship between Brahman and the creation is often thought to be panentheistic.[24]

Panentheism is also expressed in the Bhagavad Gita.[24] In verse IX.4, Krishna states:

By Me all this universe is pervaded through My unmanifested form.All beings abide in Me but I do not abide in them.

Many schools of Hindu thought espouse monistic theism, which is thought to be similar to a panentheistic viewpoint. Nimbarka’s school of differential monism (Dvaitadvaita), Ramanuja’s school of qualified monism (Vishistadvaita) and Saiva Siddhanta and Kashmir Shaivism are all considered to be panentheistic.[25] Caitanya’s Gaudiya Vaishnavism, which elucidates the doctrine of Acintya Bheda Abheda (inconceivable oneness and difference), is also thought to be panentheistic.[26] In Kashmir Shaivism, all things are believed to be a manifestation of Universal Consciousness (Cit or Brahman).[27] So from the point of view of this school, the phenomenal world (akti) is real, and it exists and has its being in Consciousness (Cit).[28] Thus, Kashmir Shaivism is also propounding of theistic monism or panentheism.[29]

Shaktism, or Tantra, is regarded as an Indian prototype of Panentheism.[30] Shakti is considered to be the cosmos itself she is the embodiment of energy and dynamism, and the motivating force behind all action and existence in the material universe. Shiva is her transcendent masculine aspect, providing the divine ground of all being. “There is no Shiva without Shakti, or Shakti without Shiva. The two … in themselves are One.”[31] Thus, it is She who becomes the time and space, the cosmos, it is She who becomes the five elements, and thus all animate life and inanimate forms. She is the primordial energy that holds all creation and destruction, all cycles of birth and death, all laws of cause and effect within Herself, and yet is greater than the sum total of all these. She is transcendent, but becomes immanent as the cosmos (Mula Prakriti). She, the Primordial Energy, directly becomes Matter.

Taoism says that all is part of the eternal tao, and that all interact through qi.

The Reverend Zen Master Soyen Shaku was the first Zen Buddhist Abbot to tour the United States in 19056. He wrote a series of essays collected into the book Zen For Americans. In the essay titled “The God Conception of Buddhism” he attempts to explain how a Buddhist looks at the ultimate without an anthropomorphic God figure while still being able to relate to the term God in a Buddhist sense:

At the outset, let me state that Buddhism is not atheistic as the term is ordinarily understood. It has certainly a God, the highest reality and truth, through which and in which this universe exists. However, the followers of Buddhism usually avoid the term God, for it savors so much of Christianity, whose spirit is not always exactly in accord with the Buddhist interpretation of religious experience. Again, Buddhism is not pantheistic in the sense that it identifies the universe with God. On the other hand, the Buddhist God is absolute and transcendent; this world, being merely its manifestation, is necessarily fragmental and imperfect. To define more exactly the Buddhist notion of the highest being, it may be convenient to borrow the term very happily coined by a modern German scholar, “panentheism,” according to which God is (all and one) and more than the totality of existence.[32]

The essay then goes on to explain first utilizing the term “God” for the American audience to get an initial understanding of what he means by “panentheism,” and then discusses the terms that Buddhism uses in place of “God” such as Dharmakaya, Buddha or AdiBuddha, and Tathagata.

Panentheism is also a feature of some Christian philosophical theologies and resonates strongly within the theological tradition of the Orthodox Church.[33] It also appears in some Roman Catholic mysticism[citation needed] and in process theology. While process theological thinkers are generally regarded in the Christian West as unorthodox, process philosophical thought is widely believed to have paved the way for open theism, a movement associated primarily with the Evangelical branch of Protestantism.[citation needed]

In Christianity, creation is not considered a literal “part of” God, and divinity is essentially distinct from creation (i.e., transcendent). There is, in other words, an irradicable difference between the uncreated (i.e., God) and the created (i.e., everything else). This does not mean, however, that the creation is wholly separated from God, because the creation exists in and from the divine energies. In Eastern Orthodoxy, these energies or operations are the natural activity of God and are in some sense identifiable with God, but at the same time the creation is wholly distinct from the divine essence.[citation needed] God creates the universe by His will and from His energies. It is, however, not an imprint or emanation of God’s own essence (ousia), the essence He shares pre-eternally with His Word and Holy Spirit. Neither is it a directly literal outworking or effulgence of the divine, nor any other process which implies that creation is essentially God or a necessary part of God. The use of the term “panentheism” to describe the divine concept in Orthodox Christian theology is problematic for those who would insist that panentheism requires creation to be “part of” God.

God is not merely Creator of the universe, as His dynamic presence is necessary to sustain the existence of every created thing, small and great, visible and invisible.[34] That is, God’s energies maintain the existence of the created order and all created beings, even if those agencies have explicitly rejected him. His love for creation is such that He will not withdraw His presence, which would be the ultimate form of annihilation, not merely imposing death, but ending existence altogether. By this token, the entirety of creation is fundamentally “good” in its very being, and is not innately evil either in whole or in part. This does not deny the existence of spiritual or moral evil in a fallen universe, only the claim that it is an intrinsic property of creation. Sin results from the essential freedom of creatures to operate outside the divine order, not as a necessary consequence of having inherited human nature.

Many Christians who believe in universalism mainly expressed in the Universalist Church of America, originating, as a fusion of Pietist and Anabaptist influences, from the American colonies of the 18th century hold panentheistic views of God in conjunction with their belief in apocatastasis, also called universal reconciliation.[citation needed] Panentheistic Christian Universalists often believe that all creation’s subsistence in God renders untenable the notion of final and permanent alienation from Him, citing Scriptural passages such as Ephesians 4:6 (“[God] is over all and through all and in all”) and Romans 11:36 (“from [God] and through him and to him are all things”) to justify both panentheism and universalism.[citation needed] Panentheism was also a major force in the Unitarian church for a long time, based in part on Ralph Waldo Emerson’s concept of the Over-soul (from the synonymous essay of 1841).[citation needed]

Panentheistic conceptions of God occur amongst some modern theologians. Process theology and Creation Spirituality, two recent developments in Christian theology, contain panentheistic ideas. Charles Hartshorne (18972000), who conjoined process theology with panentheism, maintained a lifelong membership in the Methodist church but was also a Unitarian. In later years he joined the Austin, Texas, Unitarian Universalist congregation and was an active participant in that church.[35]

Some argue that panentheism should also include the notion that God has always been related to some world or another, which denies the idea of creation out of nothing (creatio ex nihilo). Nazarene Methodist theologian Thomas Jay Oord (*1965) advocates panentheism, but he uses the word “theocosmocentrism” to highlight the notion that God and some world or another are the primary conceptual starting blocks for eminently fruitful theology. This form of panentheism helps in overcoming the problem of evil and in proposing that God’s love for the world is essential to who God is.[36]

“Gnosticism” is a modern name for a variety of ancient religious ideas and systems prevalent in the first and second century AD. The teachings of the various gnostic groups were very diverse. In his Dictionary of Gnosticism, Andrew Phillip Smith has written that some branches of Gnosticism taught a panentheistic view of reality,[37] and held to the belief that God exists in the visible world only as sparks of spiritual “light”. The goal of human existence is to know the sparks within oneself in order to return to God, who is in the Fullness (or Pleroma).

Gnosticism was panentheistic, believing that the true God is simultaneously both separate from the physical universe and present within it.[citation needed] As Jesus states in the Gospel of Thomas, “I am the light that is over all things. I am all … . Split a piece of wood; I am there. Lift up the stone, and you will find me there.”[38] This seemingly contradictory interpretation of gnostic theology is not without controversy, since one interpretation of dualistic theology holds that a perfect God of pure spirit would not manifest himself through the fallen world of matter.

Manichaeism, being another gnostic sect, preached a very different doctrine in positioning the true Manichaean God against matter as well as other deities, that it described as enmeshed with the world, namely the gods of Jews, Christians and pagans.[39] Nevertheless, this dualistic teaching included an elaborate cosmological myth that narrates the defeat of primal man by the powers of darkness that devoured and imprisoned the particles of light.[citation needed]

Valentinian Gnosticism taught that matter came about through emanations of the supreme being, even if to some this event is held to be more accidental than intentional.[citation needed] To other gnostics, these emanations were akin to the Sephirot of the Kabbalists and deliberate manifestations of a transcendent God through a complex system of intermediaries.[citation needed]

While mainstream Rabbinic Judaism is classically monotheistic, and follows in the footsteps of Maimonides (c. 11351204), the panentheistic conception of God can be found among certain mystical Jewish traditions. A leading scholar of Kabbalah, Moshe Idel[40] ascribes this doctrine to the kabbalistic system of Moses ben Jacob Cordovero (15221570) and in the eighteenth century to the Baal Shem Tov (c. 17001760), founder of the Hasidic movement, as well as his contemporaries, Rabbi Dov Ber, the Maggid of Mezeritch (died 1772), and Menahem Mendel, the Maggid of Bar. This may be said of many, if not most, subsequent Hasidic masters. There is some debate as to whether Isaac Luria (15341572) and Lurianic Kabbalah, with its doctrine of tzimtzum, can be regarded as panentheistic.

According to Hasidism, the infinite Ein Sof is incorporeal and exists in a state that is both transcendent and immanent. This appears to be the view of non-Hasidic Rabbi Chaim of Volozhin, as well. Hasidic Judaism merges the elite ideal of nullification to a transcendent God, via the intellectual articulation of inner dimensions through Kabbalah and with emphasis on the panentheistic divine immanence in everything.[41]

Many scholars would argue that “panentheism” is the best single-word description of the philosophical theology of Baruch Spinoza.[42] It is therefore no surprise, that aspects of panentheism are also evident in the theology of Reconstructionist Judaism as presented in the writings of Mordecai Kaplan (18811983), who was strongly influenced by Spinoza.[43]

Several Sufi saints and thinkers, primarily Ibn Arabi, held beliefs that have been considered panentheistic.[44] These notions later took shape in the theory of wahdat ul-wujud (the Unity of All Things). Some Sufi Orders, notably the Bektashis[45] and the Universal Sufi movement, continue to espouse panentheistic beliefs. Nizari Ismaili follow panentheism according to Ismaili doctrine. Nevertheless, some Shia Muslims also do believe in different degrees of Panentheism.

Al-Qayyuum is a Name of God in the Qur’an which translates to “The Self-Existing by Whom all subsist”. In Islam the universe can not exist if Allah doesn’t exist, and it is only by His power which encompasses everything and which is everywhere that the universe can exist. In Aya al-Kursii God’s throne is described as “extending over the heavens and the earth” and “He feels no fatigue in guarding and preserving them”. This does not mean though that the universe is God, or that a creature (like a tree or an animal) is God, because those would be respectively pantheism, which is a heresy in traditional Islam, and the worst heresy in Islam, shirk (polytheism). God is separated by His creation but His creation can not survive without Him.

The Central American empires of the Mayas, Aztecs as well as the South American Incas (Tahuatinsuyu) have typically been characterized as polytheistic, with strong male and female deities.[46] According to Charles C. Mann’s history book 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus, only the lower classes of Aztec society were polytheistic. Philosopher James Maffie has argued that Aztec metaphysics was pantheistic rather than panentheistic, since Teotl, the Nahuatl term for God, and the cosmos were considered identical and coextensional.[47]

Native American beliefs in North America have been characterized as panentheistic in that there is an emphasis on a single, unified divine spirit that is manifest in each individual entity.[48] (North American Native writers have also translated the word for God as the Great Mystery[49] or as the Sacred Other[50]) This concept is referred to by many as the Great Spirit. Philosopher J. Baird Callicott has described Lakota theology as panentheistic, in that the divine both transcends and is immanent in everything.[51]

One exception can be modern Cherokee who are predominantly monotheistic but apparently not panentheistic;[52] yet in older Cherokee traditions many observe both aspects of pantheism and panentheism, and are often not beholden to exclusivity, encompassing other spiritual traditions without contradiction, a common trait among some tribes in the Americas.

The Sikh gurus have described God in numerous ways in their hymns included in the Guru Granth Sahib, the holy scripture of Sikhism, but the oneness of the deity is consistently emphasized throughout. God is described in the Mool Mantar, the first passage in the Guru Granth Sahib, and the basic formula of the faith is:

(Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 1)

Ik Oankar Satnaam KartaaPurakh Nirbhau Nirvair AkaalMoorat Ajooni Saibhan GurPrasad

One primal being who made the sound (oan) that expanded and created the world. Truth is the name. Creative being personified. Without fear, without hate. Image of the undying. Beyond birth, self existent. By Guru’s grace~

Guru Arjan, the fifth guru of Sikhs, says, “God is beyond colour and form, yet His/Her presence is clearly visible” (Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Ang 74), and “Nanak’s Lord transcends the world as well as the scriptures of the east and the west, and yet He/She is clearly manifest” (Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Ang 397).

Knowledge of the ultimate Reality is not a matter for reason; it comes by revelation of the ultimate reality through nadar (grace) and by anubhava (mystical experience). Says Guru Nanak; “budhi pathi na paiai bahu chaturaiai bhai milai mani bhane.” This translates to “He/She is not accessible through intellect, or through mere scholarship or cleverness at argument; He/She is met, when He/She pleases, through devotion” (GG, 436).

Guru Nanak prefixed the numeral one (ik) to it, making it Ik Oankar or Ek Oankar to stress God’s oneness. God is named and known only through his Own immanent nature. The only name which can be said to truly fit God’s transcendent state is SatNam ( Sat Sanskrit, Truth), the changeless and timeless Reality. God is transcendent and all-pervasive at the same time. Transcendence and immanence are two aspects of the same single Supreme Reality. The Reality is immanent in the entire creation, but the creation as a whole fails to contain God fully. As says Guru Tegh Bahadur, Nanak IX, “He has himself spread out His/Her Own maya (worldly illusion) which He oversees; many different forms He assumes in many colours, yet He stays independent of all” (GG, 537).

In the Bah’ Faith, God is described as a single, imperishable God, the creator of all things, including all the creatures and forces in the universe. The connection between God and the world is that of the creator to his creation.[53] God is understood to be independent of his creation, and that creation is dependent and contingent on God. Accordingly, the Bah’ Faith is much more closely aligned with traditions of monotheism than panentheism. God is not seen to be part of creation as he cannot be divided and does not descend to the condition of his creatures. Instead, in the Bah’ understanding, the world of creation emanates from God, in that all things have been realized by him and have attained to existence.[54] Creation is seen as the expression of God’s will in the contingent world,[55] and every created thing is seen as a sign of God’s sovereignty, and leading to knowledge of him; the signs of God are most particularly revealed in human beings.[53]

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Panentheism – Wikipedia

Pantheism – Pantheism and panentheism in ancient and …

Early Greek religion contained among its many deities some whose natures might have supported pantheism; and certainly the mystery religions of later times stressed types of mystical union that are typical of pantheistic systems. But in fact the pantheism of ancient Greece was related almost exclusively to philosophical speculation. For this reason it is more rationalistic, possessing a style quite different from the pantheisms thus far examined.

The first philosophers of Greece, all of whom were 6th-century-bce Ionians, were hylozoistic, finding matter and life inseparable. The basic substances that they identified as the elements of realitythe water proposed by Thales, the boundless infinite suggested by Anaximander, and the air of Anaximeneswere presumed to have the motive force of living things and thus to be a kind of life, a position here called hylozoistic pantheism.

Impressed by the absolute unity of all things, the adherents of another philosophical position, that of Eleaticism, so-named from its centre in Elea, a Greek colony in southern Italy, found it impossible to believe in multiplicity and change. The first step in this direction was taken by Xenophanes, a religious thinker and rhapsodist, who, on rational grounds, moved from the gods and goddesses of Homer and Hesiod to a unitary principle of the divine. He believed that God is the supreme power of the universe, ruling all things by the power of his mind. Unmoved, unmoving, and unitary, God perceives, governs, and apparently contains, or at least he embraces, all things. So interpreted, Xenophanes provides an instance of monistic pantheism, inasmuch as, in this view, the Absolute God is united with a changing world, while the reality of neither is attenuated. This paradox may have encouraged Parmenides, possibly one of Xenophanes disciples (according to Aristotle), to accept the changeless Absolute, eliminating change and motion from the world. Reality thus became for him a unitary, indivisible, everlasting, motionless whole. This position is basically that of absolutistic monistic pantheism in that it views the world as real but changeless. Insofar as the change and variety of the world are only apparent, Parmenides also approaches acosmic pantheism.

A third fundamental position is that of the Ephesian critic Heracleitus, among whose cryptic sayings were many that stressed the role of change as the basic reality. Heracleitus continued the hylozoistic tendencies of the Ionian philosophers. Fire, his basic element, is also the universal logos, or reason, controlling all things; and since fire not only has a life of its own but exercises control to the boundaries of the universe as well, the system is more complex than hylozoistic pantheism. In view of the circumstance that everything is either on the way from, or to, fire, this basic element is actually or incipiently everywhere. Since the divine works here from within the universe, indeed from within a single, but basic, aspect of it, the system is an instance of immanentistic pantheism.

The philosopher Anaxagoras, one of the great dignitaries at Athens in the golden age of Pericles, approached the problem somewhat in the manner of Heracleitus. Nous (or Mind) he held to be the principle of order for all things as well as the principle of their movement. It is the finest and purest of things and is diffused throughout the universe. This, like the preceding system, is an instance of immanentistic pantheism.

From the standpoint of the typology here employed, Plato may be regarded as the first Western philosopher to treat the problem of the absoluteness and the relativity in God with any degree of adequacy. In the Timaeus an absolute and eternal God was recognized, existing in changeless perfection in relation to the world of forms, along with a World-Soul, which contained and animated the world and was as divine as a changing thing could be. Although the material can be variously interpreted, panentheists hold that Plato has adopted a dual principle of the divine, uniting both being and becoming, absoluteness and relativity, permanence and change in a single context. To be sure, he envisioned the categories of absoluteness as situated in one deity, and those of relativity in another; but the separation seems not to have pleased him, and in the tenth book of the Laws, by invoking the analogy of a circular motion, which combines change with the retention of a fixed centre, he explained how deity could exemplify both absoluteness and change. Plato thus may be viewed as a quasi-panentheist.

Aristotle, on the other hand, with his exclusivistic, transcendent God, exemplifying only the categories of absoluteness, anticipated the absolute God of Classical Theism, existing above and beyond the world.

Stoicism, one of the foremost of the post-Aristotelian schools of thought, represents an immanentistic pantheism of the Heracleitean variety. First of all, the Stoics accepted the decision of Heracleitus that an indwelling fire is the principal element entering into all transformations and is also the principle of reason, the logos, ordering as well as animating all things, but that, second, there is a World-Soul, which is diffused throughout the world and penetrates it in every part. Rather than approximating Platos spiritual World-Soul, the Stoic World-Soul is more like the Nous of Anaxagoras. The Stoics were Materialists, and their diffuse World-Soul is, thus, an extended form of subtle matter. That everything is determined by the universal reason is an unvarying theme in Stoicism; and this fact suggests that Stoic pantheism, despite its immanentism, stresses the categories of absoluteness rather than those of relativity in the relations holding between God and the world.

The life of reason brings human beings into harmony with God and with nature and helps them to understand human fate, which is the place of the species in the universal system. Although the view is an amalgam of several types of pantheism, this particular mixture has retained its identity. It is therefore useful to call this position, or any similar combination of themes, by the name Stoic pantheism.

Plotinus, the creator of one of the most thoroughgoing philosophical systems of ancient times, may be taken to represent Neoplatonism, an influential modification of Platos attempt to deal with absoluteness and relativity in the divine. Plotinus system consists of the Onethe absolute God who is the supreme power of the systemthe intermediate Nous, and the World-Soul (with the world as its internal content). His World-Soul follows the Platonic model. The system really blends pantheism with classical theism, since the categories of absoluteness apply to the One, and the relativistic categories apply to the World-Soul. The doctrine of emanation, whereby the power of the One comes into the world, is a clear attempt to bridge the gap between absoluteness and relativity. For Plotinus, as for classical theism, there is immanent in each human being an image of the divine, which serves as well to relate humanity to God as does the divine spark in Stoic pantheism. Even classical theism may thus contain a touch of immanentistic pantheism. This view, or any similar combination of themes, is an instance of emanationistic or Neoplatonic pantheism.

Though Scholasticism, with its doctrine of a separate and absolute God, was the crowning achievement of medieval thought, the period was, nonetheless, not without its pantheistic witness. Largely through Jewish and Christian mysticism, an essentially Neoplatonic pantheism ran throughout the age.

The only important Latin philosopher for six centuries after St. Augustine was John Scotus Erigena. Inasmuch as, in his system, Christs redemptive sacrific helps to effect a Neoplatonic return of all beings to God, Erigena can be said to have turned Neoplatonism into a Christian drama of fall into sin and redemption from its power. When Erigena said that, even in the stage of separation from God, God in his superessentiality is identical with all things, he advanced beyond a strictly Neoplatonic pantheism to some stronger form of immanentistic or monistic pantheism.

In the two principal writings of the esoteric Jewish movement called the Kabbala, known for its theosophical interpretations of the Scriptures, a mystically oriented system of 10 emanations is presented. A Spaniard, Avicebrn, a Jewish poet and philosopher, similarly presented a Neoplatonic scheme of emanations. And in Spain, Averros, the most prominent Arabic philosopher of the period, represented an Aristotelian tradition that is heavily overladen with Neoplatonism. For Averros, the active intellect in a human being is really an impersonal divine reason, which alone lives on when that person dies.

The German Meister Eckhart, probably the most significant of philosophical mystics, developed a markedly original theology. From his Stoic pantheism there arose his most controversial thesisthat there resides in every person a divine, uncreated spark of the Godhead, making possible both a union with God and a genuine knowledge of his nature. But Eckhart also distinguished between the unmanifest and barren Godhead and the three Persons who constitute a manifest and personal God. Thus, the system has similarities to both Stoic and Neoplatonic pantheism.

Cardinal Nicholas of Cusa, whose broad scholarship and scientific approach anticipated the coming Renaissance, continued the tradition into the 15th century. The learned ignorance, in which an individual separates himself from every affirmation, can have positive results, in Nicholas view, because each human being is a microcosm within the macrocosm (or universe), and the God of the macrocosm is thus mirrored in all of his creatures. He also held that, in reference to God, contradictions are compatiblehis coincidence of opposites doctrine, in which God is at once all extremes. Clearly, Nicholas wished to ascribe to God both the categories of transcendence and those of immanence without distinction. But in fact he displayed some preference for the categories of the absolute, insisting, for example, that the creatures of the world can add nothing to God since they are merely his partial appearances. Despite this bias toward absolutism, and even to acosmism, Nicholas can be appropriately viewed as espousing an identity of opposites pantheism.

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Pantheism – Pantheism and panentheism in ancient and …

World Pantheism Revering the Universe, Caring for Nature …

Do you feel a deep sense of peace, belonging, and wonder in Nature or under a clear night sky? You may be a scientific pantheist.Scientific pantheism respects the rights not just of humans, but of all living beings.It focuses on saving the planet rather than saving souls.It encourages you to make the most and best of your one life here.It values reason and the scientific method over adherence to ancient scriptures.Take our popular quiz to find out if it suits you:-Atheist, Agnostic, Pagan, Deist, Pantheist or What?

We relate closely to some of the central challenges of our era. At a time when the balance of our Earth is under unprecedented threat, scientific pantheism is one of the few forms of spirituality in which Nature plays a central part. For us, Nature is a source of peace and beauty, as well as the focus for our care and vigilance. Nature was not created for us to use or abuse. Nature created us, we are an inseparable part of her. We have a duty to live sustainably, to care for Nature and to halt and reverse the harm that humans have done to her.

Sign the Earth Pledge

Scientific pantheism is the only form of spirituality we know of which fully embraces science as part of the human exploration of Earth and Cosmos. We wonder at the picture of a vast, creative and often violent Universerevealed by the Hubble Space Telescope. We regard stargazing as a spiritual practice. We oppose climate change denial and evolution denial, especially in education.

Scientific pantheism has a joyous affirmative approach to life. It has a healthy and positive attitude to sex and life in the body. We wont tell you what you should be smoking or doing in the bedroom. We fully accept diverse gender choices, and we oppose all forms of discrimination.

Scientific pantheism moves beyond God and defines itself by positives.Atheism and Agnosticism both define themselves negatively, in relation to a God that they deny or doubt. These are useful starting points but they dont take us very far. Most people also need positive beliefs and feelings about their place in Nature and the wider Universe. We take Nature and the Universe as our start and finish point, not some preconceived idea of God. We do not believe in a supernatural creator god, let alone one that watches or judges us. Most of us avoid god-language or religious words like church, worship, divinity and so on. We regard them as misleading. Those of us who do use those kinds of words do so metaphorically, in a similar way to how Einstein used the word.

Get the Scientific Pantheism handbook.

Our beliefs and values are summarized in our Pantheist Statement of Principles.The statement was drawn up by fallible humans. It is not required dogma it is simply a notice on our door, to show what we are about so people can decide if it suits them or not. These are the key elements:

Many people feel the need to belong to a religious community. Research shows that such groups provide mutual support and friends and are good for physical and mental health. Theres no good reason why groups of like-minded non-theistic folk should not enjoy similar benefits.

In the WPM we are spiritual but not religious. We dont have churches, priests, or prescribed dogma and rituals. But we do aim to provide a home base for people who love Nature and the Universe and do not believe in supernatural entities.

Two of the major benefits our members and friends say they value are gaining new like-minded friends and finding a place where they can share their enthusiasms without fear of being ostracized or feeling isolated. There have been many local meetings of members across the USA and in other parts of the world, where people have found a rare level of fellowship and stimulation.

The WPMs short term goals are to:

In the longer term, as resources permit, we hope to:

If you would like to help promote these goals, please consider becoming a WPM member. Volunteering is another great way of supporting the WPM.

All who agree with our principles are encouraged to join our Facebook page (with more than 160,000 fans), or join our Facebook discussion groupwith more than 10,000 members.

We use the name pantheism because the term encompasses a long and venerable history dating back to Heraclitus and Marcus Aurelius and extending to Einstein, D. H. Lawrence and beyond.

Our beliefs (see the Statement of Principles) are entirely compatible with atheism, humanism, agnosticism, universalism, and symbolic paganism (viewing magic, gods and spirits as symbols rather than objective realities). We offer a home to all forms of naturalistic spirituality however you may choose to label it. Other paths that approximate include philosophical Taoism, modern Stoicism, Western forms of Buddhism that celebrate Nature and daily life without supernatural beliefs, and Unitarian Universalists who do not believe in supernatural beings.

You are free to adopt the terms and practices you prefer and draw on other traditions for inspiration or celebration. Some call this a religion (a positive one), while others call it a philosophy, a way of life, or a form of general spirituality. Its up to you.

Please explore our pages. If you have any questions, please contact us.

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World Pantheism Revering the Universe, Caring for Nature …

Pantheism – Wikipedia

Pantheism is the belief that reality is identical with divinity,[1] or that all-things compose an all-encompassing, immanent god[2]. Pantheist belief does not recognize a distinct personal anthropomorphic god[3] and instead characterize a broad range of doctrines differing in forms of relationships between reality and divinity.[4]

Pantheism was popularized in Western culture as a theology and philosophy based on the work of the 17th-century philosopher Baruch Spinoza,[5]:p.7 particularly his book Ethics, published in 1677.[6] The term “pantheism” was coined by Mathematician Joseph Raphson in 1697[7][8] and has since been used to describe the beliefs of a variety of people and organizations.

Pantheistic concepts date back thousands of years, and pantheistic elements have been identified in various religious traditions.

Pantheism derives from the Greek pan (meaning “all, of everything”) and theos (meaning “god, divine”). The first known combination of these roots appears in Latin, in Joseph Raphson’s 1697 book De Spatio Reali seu Ente Infinito[8], where he refers to the “pantheismus” of Spinoza and others.[7] It was subsequently translated into English as “pantheism” in 1702.

There are a variety of definitions of pantheism. Some consider it a theological and philosophical position concerning God.[5]:p.8

As a religious position, some describe pantheism as the polar opposite of atheism.[9]:pp. 7 From this standpoint, pantheism is the view that everything is part of an all-encompassing, immanent God.[10] All forms of reality may then be considered either modes of that Being, or identical with it.[11] Some hold that pantheism is a non-religious philosophical position. To them, pantheism is the view that the Universe (in the sense of the totality of all existence) and God are identical (implying a denial of the personality and transcendence of God).[12]

Pantheistic tendencies existed in a number of early Gnostic groups, with pantheistic thought appearing throughout the Middle Ages.[13] These included a section of Johannes Scotus Eriugena’s 9th-century work De divisione naturae and the beliefs of mystics such as Amalric of Bena (11th12th centuries) and Eckhart (12th13th).[13]:pp. 620621

The Roman Catholic Church has long regarded pantheistic ideas as heresy.[14][15] Giordano Bruno, an Italian monk who evangelized about an immanent and infinite God, was burned at the stake in 1600 by the Roman Inquisition. He has since become known as a celebrated pantheist and martyr of science[16], and an influence on many later thinkers.

In the West, pantheism was formalized as a separate theology and philosophy based on the work of the 17th-century philosopher Baruch Spinoza.[5]:p.7 Spinoza was a Dutch philosopher of Portuguese descent raised in the Sephardi Jewish community in Amsterdam.[18] He developed highly controversial ideas regarding the authenticity of the Hebrew Bible and the nature of the Divine, and was effectively excluded from Jewish society at age 23, when the local synagogue issued a herem against him.[19] A number of his books were published posthumously, and shortly thereafter included in the Catholic Church’s Index of Forbidden Books. The breadth and importance of Spinoza’s work would not be realized for many years – as the groundwork for the 18th-century Enlightenment[20] and modern biblical criticism,[21] including modern conceptions of the self and the universe.[22]

In the posthumous Ethics, “Spinoza wrote the last indisputable Latin masterpiece, and one in which the refined conceptions of medieval philosophy are finally turned against themselves and destroyed entirely.”[23]. In particular, he opposed Ren Descartes’ famous mindbody dualism, the theory that the body and spirit are separate.[9] Spinoza held the monist view that the two are the same, and monism is a fundamental part of his philosophy. He was described as a “God-intoxicated man,” and used the word God to describe the unity of all substance.[9] This view influenced philosophers such as Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, who said, “You are either a Spinozist or not a philosopher at all.”[24] Spinoza earned praise as one of the great rationalists of 17th-century philosophy[25] and one of Western philosophy’s most important thinkers.[26] Although the term “pantheism” was not coined until after his death, he is regarded as the most celebrated advocate of the concept.[27] Ethics was the major source from which Western pantheism spread.[6]

The first known use of the term “pantheism” was in Latin (“pantheismus” [7]) by the English mathematician Joseph Raphson in his work De Spatio Reali seu Ente Infinito, published in 1697.[8] Raphson begins with a distinction between atheistic “panhylists” (from the Greek roots pan, “all”, and hyle, “matter”), who believe everything is matter, and Spinozan “pantheists” who believe in “a certain universal substance, material as well as intelligence, that fashions all things that exist out of its own essence.”[28][29] Raphson thought that the universe was immeasurable in respect to a human’s capacity of understanding, and believed that humans would never be able to comprehend it.[30] He referred to the pantheism of the Ancient Egyptians, Persians, Syrians, Assyrians, Greek, Indians, and Jewish Kabbalists, specifically referring to Spinoza.[31]

The term was first used in English by a translation of Raphson’s work in 1702. It was later used and popularized by Irish writer John Toland in his work of 1705 Socinianism Truly Stated, by a pantheist.[32][13]:pp. 617618 Toland was influenced by both Spinoza and Bruno, and had read Joseph Raphson’s De Spatio Reali, referring to it as “the ingenious Mr. Ralphson’s (sic) Book of Real Space”.[33] Like Raphson, he used the terms “pantheist” and “Spinozist” interchangeably.[34] In 1720 he wrote the Pantheisticon: or The Form of Celebrating the Socratic-Society in Latin, envisioning a pantheist society that believed, “All things in the world are one, and one is all in all things … what is all in all things is God, eternal and immense, neither born nor ever to perish.”[35][36] He clarified his idea of pantheism in a letter to Gottfried Leibniz in 1710 when he referred to “the pantheistic opinion of those who believe in no other eternal being but the universe”.[13][37][38][39]

In the mid-eighteenth century, the English theologian Daniel Waterland defined pantheism this way: “It supposes God and nature, or God and the whole universe, to be one and the same substanceone universal being; insomuch that men’s souls are only modifications of the divine substance.”[13][40] In the early nineteenth century, the German theologian Julius Wegscheider defined pantheism as the belief that God and the world established by God are one and the same.[13][41]

Between 178589, a major controversy about Spinoza’s philosophy arose between the German philosophers Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi (a critic) and Moses Mendelssohn (a defender). Known in German as the Pantheismusstreit (pantheism controversy), it helped spread pantheism to many German thinkers.[42] A 1780 conversation with the German dramatist Gotthold Ephraim Lessing led Jacobi to a protracted study of Spinoza’s works. Lessing stated that he knew no other philosophy than Spinozism. Jacobi’s ber die Lehre des Spinozas (1st ed. 1785, 2nd ed. 1789) expressed his strenuous objection to a dogmatic system in philosophy, and drew upon him the enmity of the Berlin group, led by Mendelssohn. Jacobi claimed that Spinoza’s doctrine was pure materialism, because all Nature and God are said to be nothing but extended substance. This, for Jacobi, was the result of Enlightenment rationalism and it would finally end in absolute atheism. Mendelssohn disagreed with Jacobi, saying that pantheism shares more characteristics of theism than of atheism. The entire issue became a major intellectual and religious concern for European civilization at the time.[43]

Willi Goetschel argues that Jacobi’s publication significantly shaped Spinoza’s wide reception for centuries following its publication, obscuring the nuance of Spinoza’s philosophic work.[44]

During the beginning of the 19th century, pantheism was the viewpoint of many leading writers and philosophers, attracting figures such as William Wordsworth and Samuel Coleridge in Britain; Johann Gottlieb Fichte, Schelling and Hegel in Germany; Knut Hamsun in Norway; and Walt Whitman, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau in the United States. Seen as a growing threat by the Vatican, in 1864 it was formally condemned by Pope Pius IX in the Syllabus of Errors.[45]

In 2011, a letter written in 1886 by William Herndon, Abraham Lincoln’s law partner, was sold at auction for US$30,000.[46] In it, Herndon writes of the U.S. President’s evolving religious views, which included pantheism.

“Mr. Lincoln’s religion is too well known to me to allow of even a shadow of a doubt; he is or was a Theist and a Rationalist, denying all extraordinary supernatural inspiration or revelation. At one time in his life, to say the least, he was an elevated Pantheist, doubting the immortality of the soul as the Christian world understands that term. He believed that the soul lost its identity and was immortal as a force. Subsequent to this he rose to the belief of a God, and this is all the change he ever underwent.”[46][47]

The subject is understandably controversial, but the content of the letter is consistent with Lincoln’s fairly lukewarm approach to organized religion.[47]

Some 19th-century theologians thought that various pre-Christian religions and philosophies were pantheistic. They thought Pantheism was similar to the ancient Hindu[13]:pp. 618 philosophy of Advaita (non-dualism) to the extent that the 19th-century German Sanskritist Theodore Goldstcker remarked that Spinoza’s thought was “… a western system of philosophy which occupies a foremost rank amongst the philosophies of all nations and ages, and which is so exact a representation of the ideas of the Vedanta, that we might have suspected its founder to have borrowed the fundamental principles of his system from the Hindus.”[48]

19th-century European theologians also considered Ancient Egyptian religion to contain pantheistic elements and pointed to Egyptian philosophy as a source of Greek Pantheism.[13]:pp. 618620 The latter included some of the Presocratics, such as Heraclitus and Anaximander.[49] The Stoics were pantheists, beginning with Zeno of Citium and culminating in the emperor-philosopher Marcus Aurelius. During the pre-Christian Roman Empire, Stoicism was one of the three dominant schools of philosophy, along with Epicureanism and Neoplatonism.[50][51] The early Taoism of Laozi and Zhuangzi is also sometimes considered pantheistic.[37]

Cheondoism and Won Buddhism which arose in the Joseon Dynasty of Korea is also considered pantheistic.

In 2007, Dorion Sagan, the son of famous scientist and science communicator, Carl Sagan, published a book entitled Dazzle Gradually: Reflections on the Nature of Nature co-written with his mother, Lynn Margulis. In a chapter entitled, “Truth of My Father”, he declares: “My father believed in the God of Spinoza and Einstein, God not behind nature, but as nature, equivalent to it.”[52]

In a letter written to Eduard Bsching (25 October 1929), after Bsching sent Albert Einstein a copy of his book Es gibt keinen Gott (“There is no God”), Einstein wrote, “We followers of Spinoza see our God in the wonderful order and lawfulness of all that exists and in its soul [Beseeltheit] as it reveals itself in man and animal.”[53] According to Einstein, the book only dealt with the concept of a personal god and not the impersonal God of pantheism.[53] In a letter written in 1954 to philosopher Eric Gutkind, Einstein wrote “the word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses.”[54][55] In another letter written in 1954 he wrote “I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly.”.[54]

In the late 20th century, some declared that pantheism was an underlying theology of Neopaganism,[56] and pantheists began forming organizations devoted specifically to pantheism and treating it as a separate religion.[37]

Pantheism is mentioned in a Papal encyclical in 2009[57] and a statement on New Year’s Day in 2010,[58] criticizing pantheism for denying the superiority of humans over nature and seeing the source of man’s salvation in nature.[57] In a review of the 2009 film Avatar, Ross Douthat, an author, described pantheism as “Hollywood’s religion of choice for a generation now”.[59]

In 2015, Los Angeles muralist Levi Ponce was commissioned to paint Luminaries of Pantheism for an area in Venice, California that receives over a million onlookers per year.[60] The organization that commissioned the work, The Paradise Project, is “dedicated to celebrating and spreading awareness about pantheism.”[61] The mural painting depicts Albert Einstein, Alan Watts, Baruch Spinoza, Terence McKenna, Carl Jung, Carl Sagan, Emily Dickinson, Nikola Tesla, Friedrich Nietzsche, Ralph Waldo Emerson, W.E.B. Du Bois, Henry David Thoreau, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Rumi, Adi Shankara, and Laozi.[62]

There are multiple varieties of pantheism[13][63]:3 and various systems of classifying them relying upon one or more spectra or in discrete categories.

The philosopher Charles Hartshorne used the term Classical Pantheism to describe the deterministic philosophies of Baruch Spinoza, the Stoics, and other like-minded figures.[64] Pantheism (All-is-God) is often associated with monism (All-is-One) and some have suggested that it logically implies determinism (All-is-Now).[9][65][66][67][68] Albert Einstein explained theological determinism by stating,[69] “the past, present, and future are an ‘illusion'”. This form of pantheism has been referred to as “extreme monism”, in which in the words of one commentator “God decides or determines everything, including our supposed decisions.”[70] Other examples of determinism-inclined pantheisms include those of Ralph Waldo Emerson,[71] and Hegel.[72]

However, some have argued against treating every meaning of “unity” as an aspect of pantheism,[73] and there exist versions of pantheism that regard determinism as an inaccurate or incomplete view of nature. Examples include the beliefs of Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling and William James.[74]

It may also be possible to distinguish two types of pantheism, one being more religious and the other being more philosophical. The Columbia Encyclopedia writes of the distinction:

Philosophers and theologians have often suggested that pantheism implies monism.[76] Different types of monism include:[78]

Views contrasting with monism are:

Monism in modern philosophy of mind can be divided into three broad categories:

Certain positions do not fit easily into the above categories, such as functionalism, anomalous monism, and reflexive monism. Moreover, they do not define the meaning of “real”.

In 1896, J. H. Worman, a theologian, identified seven categories of pantheism: Mechanical or materialistic (God the mechanical unity of existence); Ontological (fundamental unity, Spinoza); Dynamic; Psychical (God is the soul of the world); Ethical (God is the universal moral order, Fichte; Logical (Hegel); and Pure (absorption of God into nature, which Worman equates with atheism).[13]

More recently, Paul D. Feinberg, professor of biblical and systematic theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, also identified seven: Hylozoistic; Immanentistic; Absolutistic monistic; Relativistic monistic; Acosmic; Identity of opposites; and Neoplatonic or emanationistic.[83]

Nature worship or nature mysticism is often conflated and confused with pantheism. It is pointed out by at least one expert in pantheist philosophy that Spinoza’s identification of God with nature is very different from a recent idea of a self identifying pantheist with environmental ethical concerns, Harold Wood, founder of the Universal Pantheist Society. His use of the word nature to describe his worldview may be vastly different from the “nature” of modern sciences. He and other nature mystics who also identify as pantheists use “nature” to refer to the limited natural environment (as opposed to man-made built environment). This use of “nature” is different from the broader use from Spinoza and other pantheists describing natural laws and the overall phenomena of the physical world. Nature mysticism may be compatible with pantheism but it may also be compatible with theism and other views.[4]

Nontheism is an umbrella term which has been used to refer to a variety of religions not fitting traditional theism, and under which pantheism has been included.[4]

Panentheism (from Greek (pn) “all”; (en) “in”; and (thes) “God”; “all-in-God”) was formally coined in Germany in the 19th century in an attempt to offer a philosophical synthesis between traditional theism and pantheism, stating that God is substantially omnipresent in the physical universe but also exists “apart from” or “beyond” it as its Creator and Sustainer.[84]:p.27 Thus panentheism separates itself from pantheism, positing the extra claim that God exists above and beyond the world as we know it.[85]:p.11 The line between pantheism and panentheism can be blurred depending on varying definitions of God, so there have been disagreements when assigning particular notable figures to pantheism or panentheism.[84]:pp. 7172, 8788, 105[86]

Pandeism is another word derived from pantheism, and is characterized as a combination of reconcilable elements of pantheism and deism.[87] It assumes a Creator-deity that is at some point distinct from the universe and then transforms into it, resulting in a universe similar to the pantheistic one in present essence, but differing in origin.

Panpsychism is the philosophical view held by many pantheists that consciousness, mind, or soul is a universal feature of all things.[88] Some pantheists also subscribe to the distinct philosophical views hylozoism (or panvitalism), the view that everything is alive, and its close neighbor animism, the view that everything has a soul or spirit.[89]

Many traditional and folk religions including African traditional religions[90] and Native American religions[92] can be seen as pantheistic, or a mixture of pantheism and other doctrines such as polytheism and animism. According to pantheists, there are elements of pantheism in some forms of Christianity.[93][94][95]

Ideas resembling pantheism existed in East/South Asian religions before the 18th century (notably Sikhism, Hinduism, Confucianism, and Taoism). Although there is no evidence that these influenced Spinoza’s work, there is such evidence regarding other contemporary philosophers, such as Leibniz, and later Voltaire.[96][97] In the case of Hinduism, pantheistic views exist alongside panentheistic, polytheistic, monotheistic, and atheistic ones. In the case of Sikhism, stories attributed to Guru Nanak suggest that he believed God was everywhere in the physical world, and the Sikh tradition typically describes God as the preservative force within the physical world, present in all material forms, each created as a manifestation of God. However, Sikhs view God as the transcendent creator[101], “immanent in the phenomenal reality of the world in the same way in which an artist can be said to be present in his art”[102]. This implies a more panentheistic position.

Pantheism is popular in modern spirituality and new religious movements, such as Neopaganism and Theosophy.[103] Two organizations that specify the word pantheism in their title formed in the last quarter of the 20th century. The Universal Pantheist Society, open to all varieties of pantheists and supportive of environmental causes, was founded in 1975.[104] The World Pantheist Movement is headed by Paul Harrison, an environmentalist, writer and a former vice president of the Universal Pantheist Society, from which he resigned in 1996. The World Pantheist Movement was incorporated in 1999 to focus exclusively on promoting naturalistic pantheism – a strict metaphysical naturalistic version of pantheism,[105] considered by some a form of religious naturalism.[106] It has been described as an example of “dark green religion” with a focus on environmental ethics.[107]

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Pantheism – Wikipedia

Pantheism | Definition of Pantheism by Merriam-Webster

Pantheistic ideasand most importantly the belief that God is equal to the universe, its physical matter, and the forces that govern itare found in the ancient books of Hinduism, in the works of many Greek philosophers, and in later works of philosophy and religion over the centuries. Much modern New Age spirituality is pantheistic. But most Christian thinkers reject pantheism because it makes God too impersonal, doesn’t allow for any difference between the creation and the creator, and doesn’t seem to allow for humans to make meaningful moral choices.

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Panentheism – Wikipedia

Panentheism (meaning “all-in-God”, from the Ancient Greek pn, “all”, en, “in” and Thes, “God”)[1] is the belief that the divine pervades and interpenetrates every part of the universe and also extends beyond time and space. The term was coined by the German philosopher Karl Krause in 1828 to distinguish the ideas of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (17701831) and Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling (17751854) about the relation of God and the universe from the supposed pantheism of Baruch Spinoza.[1] Unlike pantheism, which holds that the divine and the universe are identical,[2] panentheism maintains an ontological distinction between the divine and the non-divine and the significance of both.

The religious beliefs of Neoplatonism can be regarded as panentheistic. Plotinus taught that there was an ineffable transcendent God (“the One”, to En, ) of which subsequent realities were emanations. From “the One” emanates the Divine Mind (Nous, ) and the Cosmic Soul (Psyche, ). In Neoplatonism the world itself is God (according to Plato’s Timaeus 37). This concept of divinity is associated with that of the Logos (), which had originated centuries earlier with Heraclitus (c. 535475 BC). The Logos pervades the cosmos, whereby all thoughts and all things originate, or as Heraclitus said: “He who hears not me but the Logos will say: All is one.” Neoplatonists such as Iamblichus attempted to reconcile this perspective by adding another hypostasis above the original monad of force or Dunamis (). This new all-pervasive monad encompassed all creation and its original uncreated emanations.

Baruch Spinoza later claimed that “Whatsoever is, is in God, and without God nothing can be, or be conceived.”[5] “Individual things are nothing but modifications of the attributes of God, or modes by which the attributes of God are expressed in a fixed and definite manner.”[6] Though Spinoza has been called the “prophet”[7] and “prince”[8] of pantheism, in a letter to Henry Oldenburg Spinoza states that: “as to the view of certain people that I identify god with nature (taken as a kind of mass or corporeal matter), they are quite mistaken”.[9] For Spinoza, our universe (cosmos) is a mode under two attributes of Thought and Extension. God has infinitely many other attributes which are not present in our world.

According to German philosopher Karl Jaspers, when Spinoza wrote “Deus sive Natura” (God or Nature) Spinoza did not mean to say that God and Nature are interchangeable terms, but rather that God’s transcendence was attested by his infinitely many attributes, and that two attributes known by humans, namely Thought and Extension, signified God’s immanence.[10] Furthermore, Martial Guroult suggested the term “panentheism”, rather than “pantheism” to describe Spinoza’s view of the relation between God and the world. The world is not God, but it is, in a strong sense, “in” God. Yet, American philosopher and self-described panentheist Charles Hartshorne referred to Spinoza’s philosophy as “classical pantheism” and distinguished Spinoza’s philosophy from panentheism.[11]

In 1828, the German philosopher Karl Christian Friedrich Krause (17811832) seeking to reconcile monotheism and pantheism, coined the term panentheism (from the Ancient Greek expression , pn en the, literally “all in god”). This conception of God influenced New England transcendentalists such as Ralph Waldo Emerson. The term was popularized by Charles Hartshorne in his development of process theology and has also been closely identified with the New Thought.[12] The formalization of this term in the West in the 19th century was not new; philosophical treatises had been written on it in the context of Hinduism for millennia.[13]

Philosophers who embraced panentheism have included Thomas Hill Green (18391882), James Ward (18431925), Andrew Seth Pringle-Pattison (18561931) and Samuel Alexander (18591938).[14] Beginning in the 1940s, Hartshorne examined numerous conceptions of God. He reviewed and discarded pantheism, deism, and pandeism in favor of panentheism, finding that such a “doctrine contains all of deism and pandeism except their arbitrary negations”. Hartshorne formulated God as a being who could become “more perfect”: He has absolute perfection in categories for which absolute perfection is possible, and relative perfection (i.e., is superior to all others) in categories for which perfection cannot be precisely determined.[15]

Earliest reference to panentheistic thought in Hindu philosophy is in a creation myth contained in the later section of Rig Veda called the Purusha Sukta,[16] which was compiled before 1100 BCE.[17] The Purusha Sukta gives a description of the spiritual unity of the cosmos. It presents the nature of Purusha or the cosmic being as both immanent in the manifested world and yet transcendent to it.[18] From this being the sukta holds, the original creative will proceeds, by which this vast universe is projected in space and time.[19]

The most influential[20] and dominant[21] school of Indian philosophy, Advaita Vedanta, rejects theism and dualism by insisting that “Brahman [ultimate reality] is without parts or attributes…one without a second.”[22] Since Brahman has no properties, contains no internal diversity and is identical with the whole reality it cannot be understood as an anthropomorphic personal God.[23] The relationship between Brahman and the creation is often thought to be panentheistic.[24]

Panentheism is also expressed in the Bhagavad Gita.[24] In verse IX.4, Krishna states:

By Me all this universe is pervaded through My unmanifested form.All beings abide in Me but I do not abide in them.

Many schools of Hindu thought espouse monistic theism, which is thought to be similar to a panentheistic viewpoint. Nimbarka’s school of differential monism (Dvaitadvaita), Ramanuja’s school of qualified monism (Vishistadvaita) and Saiva Siddhanta and Kashmir Shaivism are all considered to be panentheistic.[25] Caitanya’s Gaudiya Vaishnavism, which elucidates the doctrine of Acintya Bheda Abheda (inconceivable oneness and difference), is also thought to be panentheistic.[26] In Kashmir Shaivism, all things are believed to be a manifestation of Universal Consciousness (Cit or Brahman).[27] So from the point of view of this school, the phenomenal world (akti) is real, and it exists and has its being in Consciousness (Cit).[28] Thus, Kashmir Shaivism is also propounding of theistic monism or panentheism.[29]

Shaktism, or Tantra, is regarded as an Indian prototype of Panentheism.[30] Shakti is considered to be the cosmos itself she is the embodiment of energy and dynamism, and the motivating force behind all action and existence in the material universe. Shiva is her transcendent masculine aspect, providing the divine ground of all being. “There is no Shiva without Shakti, or Shakti without Shiva. The two … in themselves are One.”[31] Thus, it is She who becomes the time and space, the cosmos, it is She who becomes the five elements, and thus all animate life and inanimate forms. She is the primordial energy that holds all creation and destruction, all cycles of birth and death, all laws of cause and effect within Herself, and yet is greater than the sum total of all these. She is transcendent, but becomes immanent as the cosmos (Mula Prakriti). She, the Primordial Energy, directly becomes Matter.

Taoism says that all is part of the eternal tao, and that all interact through qi.

The Reverend Zen Master Soyen Shaku was the first Zen Buddhist Abbot to tour the United States in 1905-6. He wrote a series of essays collected into the book Zen For Americans. In the essay titled “The God Conception of Buddhism” he attempts to explain how a Buddhist looks at the ultimate without an anthropomorphic God figure while still being able to relate to the term God in a Buddhist sense:

At the outset, let me state that Buddhism is not atheistic as the term is ordinarily understood. It has certainly a God, the highest reality and truth, through which and in which this universe exists. However, the followers of Buddhism usually avoid the term God, for it savors so much of Christianity, whose spirit is not always exactly in accord with the Buddhist interpretation of religious experience. Again, Buddhism is not pantheistic in the sense that it identifies the universe with God. On the other hand, the Buddhist God is absolute and transcendent; this world, being merely its manifestation, is necessarily fragmental and imperfect. To define more exactly the Buddhist notion of the highest being, it may be convenient to borrow the term very happily coined by a modern German scholar, “panentheism,” according to which God is (all and one) and more than the totality of existence.[32]

The essay then goes on to explain first utilizing the term “God” for the American audience to get an initial understanding of what he means by “panentheism,” and then discusses the terms that Buddhism uses in place of “God” such as Dharmakaya, Buddha or AdiBuddha, and Tathagata.

Panentheism is also a feature of some Christian philosophical theologies and resonates strongly within the theological tradition of the Orthodox Church.[33] It also appears in some Roman Catholic mysticism[citation needed] and in process theology. While process theological thinkers are generally regarded in the Christian West as unorthodox, process philosophical thought is widely believed to have paved the way for open theism, a movement associated primarily with the Evangelical branch of Protestantism.[citation needed]

In Christianity, creation is not considered a literal “part of” God, and divinity is essentially distinct from creation (i.e., transcendent). There is, in other words, an irradicable difference between the uncreated (i.e., God) and the created (i.e., everything else). This does not mean, however, that the creation is wholly separated from God, because the creation exists in and from the divine energies. In Eastern Orthodoxy, these energies or operations are the natural activity of God and are in some sense identifiable with God, but at the same time the creation is wholly distinct from the divine essence.[citation needed] God creates the universe by His will and from His energies. It is, however, not an imprint or emanation of God’s own essence (ousia), the essence He shares pre-eternally with His Word and Holy Spirit. Neither is it a directly literal outworking or effulgence of the divine, nor any other process which implies that creation is essentially God or a necessary part of God. The use of the term “panentheism” to describe the divine concept in Orthodox Christian theology is problematic for those who would insist that panentheism requires creation to be “part of” God.

God is not merely Creator of the universe, as His dynamic presence is necessary to sustain the existence of every created thing, small and great, visible and invisible.[34] That is, God’s energies maintain the existence of the created order and all created beings, even if those agencies have explicitly rejected him. His love for creation is such that He will not withdraw His presence, which would be the ultimate form of annihilation, not merely imposing death, but ending existence altogether. By this token, the entirety of creation is fundamentally “good” in its very being, and is not innately evil either in whole or in part. This does not deny the existence of spiritual or moral evil in a fallen universe, only the claim that it is an intrinsic property of creation. Sin results from the essential freedom of creatures to operate outside the divine order, not as a necessary consequence of having inherited human nature.

Many Christians who believe in universalism mainly expressed in the Universalist Church of America, originating, as a fusion of Pietist and Anabaptist influences, from the American colonies of the 18th century hold panentheistic views of God in conjunction with their belief in apocatastasis, also called universal reconciliation.[citation needed] Panentheistic Christian Universalists often believe that all creation’s subsistence in God renders untenable the notion of final and permanent alienation from Him, citing Scriptural passages such as Ephesians 4:6 (“[God] is over all and through all and in all”) and Romans 11:36 (“from [God] and through him and to him are all things”) to justify both panentheism and universalism.[citation needed] Panentheism was also a major force in the Unitarian church for a long time, based in part on Ralph Waldo Emerson’s concept of the Over-soul (from the synonymous essay of 1841).[citation needed]

Panentheistic conceptions of God occur amongst some modern theologians. Process theology and Creation Spirituality, two recent developments in Christian theology, contain panentheistic ideas. Charles Hartshorne (18972000), who conjoined process theology with panentheism, maintained a lifelong membership in the Methodist church but was also a Unitarian. In later years he joined the Austin, Texas, Unitarian Universalist congregation and was an active participant in that church.[35]

Some argue that panentheism should also include the notion that God has always been related to some world or another, which denies the idea of creation out of nothing (creatio ex nihilo). Nazarene Methodist theologian Thomas Jay Oord (*1965) advocates panentheism, but he uses the word “theocosmocentrism” to highlight the notion that God and some world or another are the primary conceptual starting blocks for eminently fruitful theology. This form of panentheism helps in overcoming the problem of evil and in proposing that God’s love for the world is essential to who God is.[36]

“Gnosticism” is a modern name for a variety of ancient religious ideas and systems prevalent in the first and second century AD. The teachings of the various gnostic groups were very diverse. In his Dictionary of Gnosticism, Andrew Phillip Smith has written that some branches of Gnosticism taught a panentheistic view of reality,[37] and held to the belief that God exists in the visible world only as sparks of spiritual “light”. The goal of human existence is to know the sparks within oneself in order to return to God, who is in the Fullness (or Pleroma).

Gnosticism was panentheistic, believing that the true God is simultaneously both separate from the physical universe and present within it.[citation needed] As Jesus states in the Gospel of Thomas, “I am the light that is over all things. I am all … . Split a piece of wood; I am there. Lift up the stone, and you will find me there.”[38] This seemingly contradictory interpretation of gnostic theology is not without controversy, since one interpretation of dualistic theology holds that a perfect God of pure spirit would not manifest himself through the fallen world of matter.

Manichaeism, being another gnostic sect, preached a very different doctrine in positioning the true Manichaean God against matter as well as other deities, that it described as enmeshed with the world, namely the gods of Jews, Christians and pagans.[39] Nevertheless, this dualistic teaching included an elaborate cosmological myth that narrates the defeat of primal man by the powers of darkness that devoured and imprisoned the particles of light.[citation needed]

Valentinian Gnosticism taught that matter came about through emanations of the supreme being, even if to some this event is held to be more accidental than intentional.[citation needed] To other gnostics, these emanations were akin to the Sephirot of the Kabbalists and deliberate manifestations of a transcendent God through a complex system of intermediaries.[citation needed]

While mainstream Rabbinic Judaism is classically monotheistic, and follows in the footsteps of Maimonides (c. 11351204), the panentheistic conception of God can be found among certain mystical Jewish traditions. A leading scholar of Kabbalah, Moshe Idel[40] ascribes this doctrine to the kabbalistic system of Moses ben Jacob Cordovero (15221570) and in the eighteenth century to the Baal Shem Tov (c. 17001760), founder of the Hasidic movement, as well as his contemporaries, Rabbi Dov Ber, the Maggid of Mezeritch (died 1772), and Menahem Mendel, the Maggid of Bar. This may be said of many, if not most, subsequent Hasidic masters. There is some debate as to whether Isaac Luria (15341572) and Lurianic Kabbalah, with its doctrine of tzimtzum, can be regarded as panentheistic.

According to Hasidism, the infinite Ein Sof is incorporeal and exists in a state that is both transcendent and immanent. This appears to be the view of non-Hasidic Rabbi Chaim of Volozhin, as well. Hasidic Judaism merges the elite ideal of nullification to a transcendent God, via the intellectual articulation of inner dimensions through Kabbalah and with emphasis on the panentheistic divine immanence in everything.[41]

Many scholars would argue that “panentheism” is the best single-word description of the philosophical theology of Baruch Spinoza.[42] It is therefore no surprise, that aspects of panentheism are also evident in the theology of Reconstructionist Judaism as presented in the writings of Mordecai Kaplan (18811983), who was strongly influenced by Spinoza.[43]

Several Sufi saints and thinkers, primarily Ibn Arabi, held beliefs that have been considered panentheistic.[44] These notions later took shape in the theory of wahdat ul-wujud (the Unity of All Things). Some Sufi Orders, notably the Bektashis[45] and the Universal Sufi movement, continue to espouse panentheistic beliefs. Nizari Ismaili follow panentheism according to Ismaili doctrine. Nevertheless, some Shia Muslims also do believe in different degrees of Panentheism.

Al-Qayyuum is a Name of God in the Qur’an which translates to “The Self-Existing by Whom all subsist”. In Islam the universe can not exist if Allah doesn’t exist, and it is only by His power which encompasses everything and which is everywhere that the universe can exist. In Aya al-Kursii God’s throne is described as “extending over the heavens and the earth” and “He feels no fatigue in guarding and preserving them”. This does not mean though that the universe is God, or that a creature (like a tree or an animal) is God, because those would be respectively pantheism, which is a heresy in traditional Islam, and the worst heresy in Islam, shirk (polytheism). God is separated by His creation but His creation can not survive without Him.

The Central American empires of the Mayas, Aztecs as well as the South American Incas (Tahuatinsuyu) have typically been characterized as polytheistic, with strong male and female deities.[46] According to Charles C. Mann’s history book 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus, only the lower classes of Aztec society were polytheistic. Philosopher James Maffie has argued that Aztec metaphysics was pantheistic rather than panentheistic, since Teotl, the Nahuatl term for God, and the cosmos were considered identical and coextensional.[47]

Native American beliefs in North America have been characterized as panentheistic in that there is an emphasis on a single, unified divine spirit that is manifest in each individual entity.[48] (North American Native writers have also translated the word for God as the Great Mystery[49] or as the Sacred Other[50]) This concept is referred to by many as the Great Spirit. Philosopher J. Baird Callicott has described Lakota theology as panentheistic, in that the divine both transcends and is immanent in everything.[51]

One exception can be modern Cherokee who are predominantly monotheistic but apparently not panentheistic;[52] yet in older Cherokee traditions many observe both aspects of pantheism and panentheism, and are often not beholden to exclusivity, encompassing other spiritual traditions without contradiction, a common trait among some tribes in the Americas.

The Sikh gurus have described God in numerous ways in their hymns included in the Guru Granth Sahib, the holy scripture of Sikhism, but the oneness of the deity is consistently emphasized throughout. God is described in the Mool Mantar, the first passage in the Guru Granth Sahib, and the basic formula of the faith is:

(Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 1)

Ik Oankar Satnaam KartaaPurakh Nirbhau Nirvair AkaalMoorat Ajooni Saibhan GurPrasad

One primal being who made the sound (oan) that expanded and created the world. Truth is the name. Creative being personified. Without fear, without hate. Image of the undying. Beyond birth, self existent. By Guru’s grace~

Guru Arjan, the fifth guru of Sikhs, says, “God is beyond colour and form, yet His/Her presence is clearly visible” (Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Ang 74), and “Nanak’s Lord transcends the world as well as the scriptures of the east and the west, and yet He/She is clearly manifest” (Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Ang 397).

Knowledge of the ultimate Reality is not a matter for reason; it comes by revelation of the ultimate reality through nadar (grace) and by anubhava (mystical experience). Says Guru Nanak; “budhi pathi na paiai bahu chaturaiai bhai milai mani bhane.” This translates to “He/She is not accessible through intellect, or through mere scholarship or cleverness at argument; He/She is met, when He/She pleases, through devotion” (GG, 436).

Guru Nanak prefixed the numeral one (ik) to it, making it Ik Oankar or Ek Oankar to stress God’s oneness. God is named and known only through his Own immanent nature. The only name which can be said to truly fit God’s transcendent state is SatNam ( Sat Sanskrit, Truth), the changeless and timeless Reality. God is transcendent and all-pervasive at the same time. Transcendence and immanence are two aspects of the same single Supreme Reality. The Reality is immanent in the entire creation, but the creation as a whole fails to contain God fully. As says Guru Tegh Bahadur, Nanak IX, “He has himself spread out His/Her Own maya (worldly illusion) which He oversees; many different forms He assumes in many colours, yet He stays independent of all” (GG, 537).

In the Bah’ Faith, God is described as a single, imperishable God, the creator of all things, including all the creatures and forces in the universe. The connection between God and the world is that of the creator to his creation.[53] God is understood to be independent of his creation, and that creation is dependent and contingent on God. Accordingly, the Bah’ Faith is much more closely aligned with traditions of monotheism than panentheism. God is not seen to be part of creation as he cannot be divided and does not descend to the condition of his creatures. Instead, in the Bah’ understanding, the world of creation emanates from God, in that all things have been realized by him and have attained to existence.[54] Creation is seen as the expression of God’s will in the contingent world,[55] and every created thing is seen as a sign of God’s sovereignty, and leading to knowledge of him; the signs of God are most particularly revealed in human beings.[53]

People associated with panentheism:

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Panentheism – Wikipedia

World Pantheism Revering the Universe, Caring for Nature …

Do you feel a deep sense of peace, belonging, and wonder in Nature or under a clear night sky? You may be a scientific pantheist.Scientific pantheism respects the rights not just of humans, but of all living beings.It focuses on saving the planet rather than saving souls.It encourages you to make the most and best of your one life here.It values reason and the scientific method over adherence to ancient scriptures.Take our popular quiz to find out if it suits you:-Atheist, Agnostic, Pagan, Deist, Pantheist or What?

We relate closely to some of the central challenges of our era. At a time when the balance of our Earth is under unprecedented threat, scientific pantheism is one of the few forms of spirituality in which Nature plays a central part. For us, Nature is a source of peace and beauty, as well as the focus for our care and vigilance. Nature was not created for us to use or abuse. Nature created us, we are an inseparable part of her. We have a duty to live sustainably, to care for Nature and to halt and reverse the harm that humans have done to her.

Sign the Earth Pledge

Scientific pantheism is the only form of spirituality we know of which fully embraces science as part of the human exploration of Earth and Cosmos. We wonder at the picture of a vast, creative and often violent Universerevealed by the Hubble Space Telescope. We regard stargazing as a spiritual practice. We oppose climate change denial and evolution denial, especially in education.

Scientific pantheism has a joyous affirmative approach to life. It has a healthy and positive attitude to sex and life in the body. We wont tell you what you should be smoking or doing in the bedroom. We fully accept diverse gender choices, and we oppose all forms of discrimination.

Scientific pantheism moves beyond God and defines itself by positives.Atheism and Agnosticism both define themselves negatively, in relation to a God that they deny or doubt. These are useful starting points but they dont take us very far. Most people also need positive beliefs and feelings about their place in Nature and the wider Universe. We take Nature and the Universe as our start and finish point, not some preconceived idea of God. We do not believe in a supernatural creator god, let alone one that watches or judges us. Most of us avoid god-language or religious words like church, worship, divinity and so on. We regard them as misleading. Those of us who do use those kinds of words do so metaphorically, in a similar way to how Einstein used the word.

Get the Scientific Pantheism handbook.

Our beliefs and values are summarized in our Pantheist Statement of Principles.The statement was drawn up by fallible humans. It is not required dogma it is simply a notice on our door, to show what we are about so people can decide if it suits them or not. These are the key elements:

Many people feel the need to belong to a religious community. Research shows that such groups provide mutual support and friends and are good for physical and mental health. Theres no good reason why groups of like-minded non-theistic folk should not enjoy similar benefits.

In the WPM we are spiritual but not religious. We dont have churches, priests, or prescribed dogma and rituals. But we do aim to provide a home base for people who love Nature and the Universe and do not believe in supernatural entities.

Two of the major benefits our members and friends say they value are gaining new like-minded friends and finding a place where they can share their enthusiasms without fear of being ostracized or feeling isolated. There have been many local meetings of members across the USA and in other parts of the world, where people have found a rare level of fellowship and stimulation.

The WPMs short term goals are to:

In the longer term, as resources permit, we hope to:

If you would like to help promote these goals, please consider becoming a WPM member. Volunteering is another great way of supporting the WPM.

All who agree with our principles are encouraged to join our Facebook page (with more than 160,000 fans), or join our Facebook discussion groupwith more than 10,000 members.

We use the name pantheism because the term encompasses a long and venerable history dating back to Heraclitus and Marcus Aurelius and extending to Einstein, D. H. Lawrence and beyond.

Our beliefs (see the Statement of Principles) are entirely compatible with atheism, humanism, agnosticism, universalism, and symbolic paganism (viewing magic, gods and spirits as symbols rather than objective realities). We offer a home to all forms of naturalistic spirituality however you may choose to label it. Other paths that approximate include philosophical Taoism, modern Stoicism, Western forms of Buddhism that celebrate Nature and daily life without supernatural beliefs, and Unitarian Universalists who do not believe in supernatural beings.

You are free to adopt the terms and practices you prefer and draw on other traditions for inspiration or celebration. Some call this a religion (a positive one), while others call it a philosophy, a way of life, or a form of general spirituality. Its up to you.

Please explore our pages. If you have any questions, please contact us.

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World Pantheism Revering the Universe, Caring for Nature …

Pantheism – Wikipedia

Pantheism is the belief that reality is identical with divinity,[1] or that all-things compose as all-encompassing, immanent god[2] or that theism is all and all is theism. Pantheist belief does not recognize a distinct personal anthropomorphic god[3] and instead characterize a broad range of doctrines differing in forms of relationships between reality and divinity.[4]

Pantheism was popularized in Western culture as a theology and philosophy based on the work of the 17th-century philosopher Baruch Spinoza,[5]:p.7 particularly his book Ethics, published in 1677.[6] The term “pantheism” was coined by Mathematician Joseph Raphson in 1697[7][8] and has since been used to describe the beliefs of a variety of people and organizations.

Pantheistic concepts date back thousands of years, and pantheistic elements have been identified in various religious traditions.

Pantheism derives from the Greek pan (meaning “all, of everything”) and theos (meaning “god, divine”). The first known combination of these roots appears in Latin, in Joseph Raphson’s 1697 book De Spatio Reali seu Ente Infinito[8], where he refers to the “pantheismus” of Spinoza and others.[7] It was subsequently translated into English as “pantheism” in 1702.

There are a variety of definitions of pantheism. Some consider it a theological and philosophical position concerning God.[5]:p.8

As a religious position, some describe pantheism as the polar opposite of atheism.[9]:pp. 7 From this standpoint, pantheism is the view that everything is part of an all-encompassing, immanent God.[10] All forms of reality may then be considered either modes of that Being, or identical with it.[11] Some hold that pantheism is a non-religious philosophical position. To them, pantheism is the view that the Universe (in the sense of the totality of all existence) and God are identical (implying a denial of the personality and transcendence of God).[12]

Pantheistic tendencies existed in a number of early Gnostic groups, with pantheistic thought appearing throughout the Middle Ages.[13] These included a section of Johannes Scotus Eriugena’s 9th-century work De divisione naturae and the beliefs of mystics such as Amalric of Bena (11th12th centuries) and Eckhart (12th13th).[13]:pp. 620621

The Roman Catholic Church has long regarded pantheistic ideas as heresy.[14][15] Giordano Bruno, an Italian monk who evangelized about an immanent and infinite God, was burned at the stake in 1600 by the Roman Inquisition. He has since become known as a celebrated pantheist and martyr of science[16], and an influence on many later thinkers.

In the West, pantheism was formalized as a separate theology and philosophy based on the work of the 17th-century philosopher Baruch Spinoza.[5]:p.7 Spinoza was a Dutch philosopher of Portuguese descent raised in the Sephardi Jewish community in Amsterdam.[18] He developed highly controversial ideas regarding the authenticity of the Hebrew Bible and the nature of the Divine, and was effectively excluded from Jewish society at age 23, when the local synagogue issued a herem against him.[19] A number of his books were published posthumously, and shortly thereafter included in the Catholic Church’s Index of Forbidden Books. The breadth and importance of Spinoza’s work would not be realized for many years – as the groundwork for the 18th-century Enlightenment[20] and modern biblical criticism,[21] including modern conceptions of the self and the universe.[22]

In the posthumous Ethics, “Spinoza wrote the last indisputable Latin masterpiece, and one in which the refined conceptions of medieval philosophy are finally turned against themselves and destroyed entirely.”[23]. In particular, he opposed Ren Descartes’ famous mindbody dualism, the theory that the body and spirit are separate.[9] Spinoza held the monist view that the two are the same, and monism is a fundamental part of his philosophy. He was described as a “God-intoxicated man,” and used the word God to describe the unity of all substance.[9] This view influenced philosophers such as Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, who said, “You are either a Spinozist or not a philosopher at all.”[24] Spinoza earned praise as one of the great rationalists of 17th-century philosophy[25] and one of Western philosophy’s most important thinkers.[26] Although the term “pantheism” was not coined until after his death, he is regarded as the most celebrated advocate of the concept.[27] Ethics was the major source from which Western pantheism spread.[6]

The first known use of the term “pantheism” was in Latin (“pantheismus” [7]) by the English mathematician Joseph Raphson in his work De Spatio Reali seu Ente Infinito, published in 1697.[8] Raphson begins with a distinction between atheistic “panhylists” (from the Greek roots pan, “all”, and hyle, “matter”), who believe everything is matter, and Spinozan “pantheists” who believe in “a certain universal substance, material as well as intelligence, that fashions all things that exist out of its own essence.”[28][29] Raphson thought that the universe was immeasurable in respect to a human’s capacity of understanding, and believed that humans would never be able to comprehend it.[30] He referred to the pantheism of the Ancient Egyptians, Persians, Syrians, Assyrians, Greek, Indians, and Jewish Kabbalists, specifically referring to Spinoza.[31]

The term was first used in English by a translation of Raphson’s work in 1702. It was later used and popularized by Irish writer John Toland in his work of 1705 Socinianism Truly Stated, by a pantheist.[32][13]:pp. 617618 Toland was influenced by both Spinoza and Bruno, and had read Joseph Raphson’s De Spatio Reali, referring to it as “the ingenious Mr. Ralphson’s (sic) Book of Real Space”.[33] Like Raphson, he used the terms “pantheist” and “Spinozist” interchangeably.[34] In 1720 he wrote the Pantheisticon: or The Form of Celebrating the Socratic-Society in Latin, envisioning a pantheist society that believed, “All things in the world are one, and one is all in all things … what is all in all things is God, eternal and immense, neither born nor ever to perish.”[35][36] He clarified his idea of pantheism in a letter to Gottfried Leibniz in 1710 when he referred to “the pantheistic opinion of those who believe in no other eternal being but the universe”.[13][37][38][39]

In the mid-eighteenth century, the English theologian Daniel Waterland defined pantheism this way: “It supposes God and nature, or God and the whole universe, to be one and the same substanceone universal being; insomuch that men’s souls are only modifications of the divine substance.”[13][40] In the early nineteenth century, the German theologian Julius Wegscheider defined pantheism as the belief that God and the world established by God are one and the same.[13][41]

Between 178589, a major controversy about Spinoza’s philosophy arose between the German philosophers Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi (a critic) and Moses Mendelssohn (a defender). Known in German as the Pantheismusstreit (pantheism controversy), it helped spread pantheism to many German thinkers.[42] A 1780 conversation with the German dramatist Gotthold Ephraim Lessing led Jacobi to a protracted study of Spinoza’s works. Lessing stated that he knew no other philosophy than Spinozism. Jacobi’s ber die Lehre des Spinozas (1st ed. 1785, 2nd ed. 1789) expressed his strenuous objection to a dogmatic system in philosophy, and drew upon him the enmity of the Berlin group, led by Mendelssohn. Jacobi claimed that Spinoza’s doctrine was pure materialism, because all Nature and God are said to be nothing but extended substance. This, for Jacobi, was the result of Enlightenment rationalism and it would finally end in absolute atheism. Mendelssohn disagreed with Jacobi, saying that pantheism shares more characteristics of theism than of atheism. The entire issue became a major intellectual and religious concern for European civilization at the time.[43]

Willi Goetschel argues that Jacobi’s publication significantly shaped Spinoza’s wide reception for centuries following its publication, obscuring the nuance of Spinoza’s philosophic work.[44]

During the beginning of the 19th century, pantheism was the viewpoint of many leading writers and philosophers, attracting figures such as William Wordsworth and Samuel Coleridge in Britain; Johann Gottlieb Fichte, Schelling and Hegel in Germany; Knut Hamsun in Norway; and Walt Whitman, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau in the United States. Seen as a growing threat by the Vatican, in 1864 it was formally condemned by Pope Pius IX in the Syllabus of Errors.[45]

In 2011, a letter written in 1886 by William Herndon, Abraham Lincoln’s law partner, was sold at auction for US$30,000.[46] In it, Herndon writes of the U.S. President’s evolving religious views, which included pantheism.

“Mr. Lincoln’s religion is too well known to me to allow of even a shadow of a doubt; he is or was a Theist and a Rationalist, denying all extraordinary supernatural inspiration or revelation. At one time in his life, to say the least, he was an elevated Pantheist, doubting the immortality of the soul as the Christian world understands that term. He believed that the soul lost its identity and was immortal as a force. Subsequent to this he rose to the belief of a God, and this is all the change he ever underwent.”[46][47]

The subject is understandably controversial, but the content of the letter is consistent with Lincoln’s fairly lukewarm approach to organized religion.[47]

Some 19th-century theologians thought that various pre-Christian religions and philosophies were pantheistic. They thought Pantheism was similar to the ancient Hindu[13]:pp. 618 philosophy of Advaita (non-dualism) to the extent that the 19th-century German Sanskritist Theodore Goldstcker remarked that Spinoza’s thought was “… a western system of philosophy which occupies a foremost rank amongst the philosophies of all nations and ages, and which is so exact a representation of the ideas of the Vedanta, that we might have suspected its founder to have borrowed the fundamental principles of his system from the Hindus.”[48]

19th-century European theologians also considered Ancient Egyptian religion to contain pantheistic elements and pointed to Egyptian philosophy as a source of Greek Pantheism.[13]:pp. 618620 The latter included some of the Presocratics, such as Heraclitus and Anaximander.[49] The Stoics were pantheists, beginning with Zeno of Citium and culminating in the emperor-philosopher Marcus Aurelius. During the pre-Christian Roman Empire, Stoicism was one of the three dominant schools of philosophy, along with Epicureanism and Neoplatonism.[50][51] The early Taoism of Laozi and Zhuangzi is also sometimes considered pantheistic.[37]

Cheondoism and Won Buddhism which arose in the Joseon Dynasty of Korea is also considered pantheistic.

In 2007, Dorion Sagan, the son of famous scientist and science communicator, Carl Sagan, published a book entitled Dazzle Gradually: Reflections on the Nature of Nature co-written with his mother, Lynn Margulis. In a chapter entitled, “Truth of My Father”, he declares: “My father believed in the God of Spinoza and Einstein, God not behind nature, but as nature, equivalent to it.”[52]

In a letter written to Eduard Bsching (25 October 1929), after Bsching sent Albert Einstein a copy of his book Es gibt keinen Gott (“There is no God”), Einstein wrote, “We followers of Spinoza see our God in the wonderful order and lawfulness of all that exists and in its soul [Beseeltheit] as it reveals itself in man and animal.”[53] According to Einstein, the book only dealt with the concept of a personal god and not the impersonal God of pantheism.[53] In a letter written in 1954 to philosopher Eric Gutkind, Einstein wrote “the word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses.”[54][55] In another letter written in 1954 he wrote “I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly.”.[54]

In the late 20th century, some declared that pantheism was an underlying theology of Neopaganism,[56] and pantheists began forming organizations devoted specifically to pantheism and treating it as a separate religion.[37]

Pantheism is mentioned in a Papal encyclical in 2009[57] and a statement on New Year’s Day in 2010,[58] criticizing pantheism for denying the superiority of humans over nature and seeing the source of man’s salvation in nature.[57] In a review of the 2009 film Avatar, Ross Douthat, an author, described pantheism as “Hollywood’s religion of choice for a generation now”.[59]

In 2015, Los Angeles muralist Levi Ponce was commissioned to paint Luminaries of Pantheism for an area in Venice, California that receives over a million onlookers per year.[60] The organization that commissioned the work, The Paradise Project, is “dedicated to celebrating and spreading awareness about pantheism.”[61] The mural painting depicts Albert Einstein, Alan Watts, Baruch Spinoza, Terence McKenna, Carl Jung, Carl Sagan, Emily Dickinson, Nikola Tesla, Friedrich Nietzsche, Ralph Waldo Emerson, W.E.B. Du Bois, Henry David Thoreau, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Rumi, Adi Shankara, and Laozi.[62]

There are multiple varieties of pantheism[13][63]:3 and various systems of classifying them relying upon one or more spectra or in discrete categories.

The philosopher Charles Hartshorne used the term Classical Pantheism to describe the deterministic philosophies of Baruch Spinoza, the Stoics, and other like-minded figures.[64] Pantheism (All-is-God) is often associated with monism (All-is-One) and some have suggested that it logically implies determinism (All-is-Now).[9][65][66][67][68] Albert Einstein explained theological determinism by stating,[69] “the past, present, and future are an ‘illusion'”. This form of pantheism has been referred to as “extreme monism”, in which in the words of one commentator “God decides or determines everything, including our supposed decisions.”[70] Other examples of determinism-inclined pantheisms include those of Ralph Waldo Emerson,[71] and Hegel.[72]

However, some have argued against treating every meaning of “unity” as an aspect of pantheism,[73] and there exist versions of pantheism that regard determinism as an inaccurate or incomplete view of nature. Examples include the beliefs of Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling and William James.[74]

It may also be possible to distinguish two types of pantheism, one being more religious and the other being more philosophical. The Columbia Encyclopedia writes of the distinction:

Philosophers and theologians have often suggested that pantheism implies monism.[76] Different types of monism include:[78]

Views contrasting with monism are:

Monism in modern philosophy of mind can be divided into three broad categories:

Certain positions do not fit easily into the above categories, such as functionalism, anomalous monism, and reflexive monism. Moreover, they do not define the meaning of “real”.

In 1896, J. H. Worman, a theologian, identified seven categories of pantheism: Mechanical or materialistic (God the mechanical unity of existence); Ontological (fundamental unity, Spinoza); Dynamic; Psychical (God is the soul of the world); Ethical (God is the universal moral order, Fichte; Logical (Hegel); and Pure (absorption of God into nature, which Worman equates with atheism).[13]

More recently, Paul D. Feinberg, professor of biblical and systematic theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, also identified seven: Hylozoistic; Immanentistic; Absolutistic monistic; Relativistic monistic; Acosmic; Identity of opposites; and Neoplatonic or emanationistic.[83]

Nature worship or nature mysticism is often conflated and confused with pantheism. It is pointed out by at least one expert in pantheist philosophy that Spinoza’s identification of God with nature is very different from a recent idea of a self identifying pantheist with environmental ethical concerns, Harold Wood, founder of the Universal Pantheist Society. His use of the word nature to describe his worldview may be vastly different from the “nature” of modern sciences. He and other nature mystics who also identify as pantheists use “nature” to refer to the limited natural environment (as opposed to man-made built environment). This use of “nature” is different from the broader use from Spinoza and other pantheists describing natural laws and the overall phenomena of the physical world. Nature mysticism may be compatible with pantheism but it may also be compatible with theism and other views.[4]

Nontheism is an umbrella term which has been used to refer to a variety of religions not fitting traditional theism, and under which pantheism has been included.[4]

Panentheism (from Greek (pn) “all”; (en) “in”; and (thes) “God”; “all-in-God”) was formally coined in Germany in the 19th century in an attempt to offer a philosophical synthesis between traditional theism and pantheism, stating that God is substantially omnipresent in the physical universe but also exists “apart from” or “beyond” it as its Creator and Sustainer.[84]:p.27 Thus panentheism separates itself from pantheism, positing the extra claim that God exists above and beyond the world as we know it.[85]:p.11 The line between pantheism and panentheism can be blurred depending on varying definitions of God, so there have been disagreements when assigning particular notable figures to pantheism or panentheism.[84]:pp. 7172, 8788, 105[86]

Pandeism is another word derived from pantheism, and is characterized as a combination of reconcilable elements of pantheism and deism.[87] It assumes a Creator-deity that is at some point distinct from the universe and then transforms into it, resulting in a universe similar to the pantheistic one in present essence, but differing in origin.

Panpsychism is the philosophical view held by many pantheists that consciousness, mind, or soul is a universal feature of all things.[88] Some pantheists also subscribe to the distinct philosophical views hylozoism (or panvitalism), the view that everything is alive, and its close neighbor animism, the view that everything has a soul or spirit.[89]

Many traditional and folk religions including African traditional religions[90] and Native American religions[92] can be seen as pantheistic, or a mixture of pantheism and other doctrines such as polytheism and animism. According to pantheists, there are elements of pantheism in some forms of Christianity.[93][94][95]

Ideas resembling pantheism existed in East/South Asian religions before the 18th century (notably Sikhism, Hinduism, Confucianism, and Taoism). Although there is no evidence that these influenced Spinoza’s work, there is such evidence regarding other contemporary philosophers, such as Leibniz, and later Voltaire.[96][97] In the case of Hinduism, pantheistic views exist alongside panentheistic, polytheistic, monotheistic, and atheistic ones. In the case of Sikhism, stories attributed to Guru Nanak suggest that he believed God was everywhere in the physical world, and the Sikh tradition typically describes God as the preservative force within the physical world, present in all material forms, each created as a manifestation of God. However, Sikhs view God as the transcendent creator[101], “immanent in the phenomenal reality of the world in the same way in which an artist can be said to be present in his art”[102]. This implies a more panentheistic position.

Pantheism is popular in modern spirituality and new religious movements, such as Neopaganism and Theosophy.[103] Two organizations that specify the word pantheism in their title formed in the last quarter of the 20th century. The Universal Pantheist Society, open to all varieties of pantheists and supportive of environmental causes, was founded in 1975.[104] The World Pantheist Movement is headed by Paul Harrison, an environmentalist, writer and a former vice president of the Universal Pantheist Society, from which he resigned in 1996. The World Pantheist Movement was incorporated in 1999 to focus exclusively on promoting naturalistic pantheism – a strict metaphysical naturalistic version of pantheism,[105] considered by some a form of religious naturalism.[106] It has been described as an example of “dark green religion” with a focus on environmental ethics.[107]

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Pantheism – Wikipedia

Pantheism | Definition of Pantheism by Merriam-Webster

Pantheistic ideasand most importantly the belief that God is equal to the universe, its physical matter, and the forces that govern itare found in the ancient books of Hinduism, in the works of many Greek philosophers, and in later works of philosophy and religion over the centuries. Much modern New Age spirituality is pantheistic. But most Christian thinkers reject pantheism because it makes God too impersonal, doesn’t allow for any difference between the creation and the creator, and doesn’t seem to allow for humans to make meaningful moral choices.

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Pantheism | Definition of Pantheism by Merriam-Webster


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