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Pantheism – New World Encyclopedia

Pantheism (from Greek: pan = all, and theos = God) refers to the religious and philosophical view that everything in existence is of an all-encompassing immanent God, or that the universe, or nature, and God are equivalent (i.e., that “all is God”). There are two types of pantheism: “classical” and “naturalistic” pantheism. In equating the universe with God, classical pantheism does not strongly redefine or minimize either term, still believing in a personal God, while naturalistic pantheism redefines them, treating God as rather impersonal, as in the philosophy of Spinoza. In any case, what is stressed is the idea that all existence in the universe (the sum total of all that is, was, and shall be) is of the same essence as the divine. Pantheists, then, typically deny God’s transcendence. The problem of evil, which is a problem for theism, is not a problem for pantheism in the same way, since pantheism rejects the theistic notion of God as omnipotent and perfectly good.

The term “pantheism” is a relatively recent one, first used by Irish writer John Toland in his 1705 work, Socinianism Truly Stated, by a pantheist. Although concepts similar to pantheism have been discussed as long ago as the time of the Ancient Greek philosophers, they have only recently been categorized as such retrospectively by modern academics. Despite its lack of mainstream support, many followers of pantheism believe that their ideas concerning God are needed as a corrective in the way humans think about God and themselves.

Religious and philosophical scholarship typically distinguishes between two kinds of pantheism: 1) “classical pantheism,” which equates the world with God without strongly redefining or minimizing either term, as in many religious and philosophical traditions such as Hinduism, Platonism, and Judaism; and 2) “naturalistic pantheism,” which equates the world and God by redefining them in a non-traditional, impersonal way, as in the relatively recent views of Baruch Spinoza (1632-1677) and John Toland (1670-1722) as well as contemporary scientific theorists. So, classical pantheists generally accept the premise that there is a spiritual basis to all reality, while naturalistic pantheists generally do not. The vast majority of persons who can be identified as “pantheistic” are of the classical type, while most persons who do not belong to a religion but identify themselves as “pantheist” are typically of the naturalistic type.

The division between the two types of pantheism remains a source of some controversy in pantheist circles. The nature of pantheism has been a topic of much contention in religious and philosophical discourse, spurring many debates over the implications of its doctrines. However, most pantheists agree on the following two principles: 1) that the universe is an all-encompassing unity; and 2) that natural laws are found throughout the universe. Some pantheists also posit a common purpose for nature and humanity, while others reject the idea of teleology and view the universe as existing for its own sake.

An oft-cited feature of classical pantheism is that each individual human, as a part of the universe or nature, is a part of God. This raises the question of whether or not humans possess free will. In response to this question, variations of the following analogy are sometimes given by classical pantheists: “You are to God, as an individual blood cell in your vein is to you.” The analogy maintains that while a cell may be aware of its own environs and may even have some choices (free will) between right and wrong (such as killing a bacterium, becoming cancerous, or perhaps just doing nothing among countless others), it likely has little awareness of the fact that it is also determined by the greater being of which it is a part. Another way to understand this relationship is the Hindu concept of Jiva, wherein the human soul is an aspect of God not yet having reached enlightenment (moksha), after which it becomes Atman. However, it should be noted that not all pantheists accept the idea of free will, with determinism being particularly widespread among naturalistic pantheists.

A common criticism of pantheism is that it, especially of the naturalistic type, can be reduced to atheism. Rudolf Otto, a famed Christian theologian, claimed that pantheism denies the personality of the deity, and therefore represents disbelief in the traditional concept of God. Similarly, Arthur Schopenhauer commented that by referring to the natural world as “God,” pantheists are merely creating a synonym for the world, and therefore denying the essence of God and rendering their belief atheistic. However, pantheists reply to these arguments by claiming that such criticisms are rooted in a mindset holding that God must be anthropomorphic. Pantheists such as Michael Levine see this kind of presupposition as “stipulative” and illustrative of an attitude that “unduly restricts the extent to which alternative theories of deity can be formulated.”[1] Even among the pantheists themselves are similar questions about the nature of God. Classical pantheism believes in a personal and conscious God who unites all being. Naturalistic pantheism, in contrast, does not believe so.

Pantheism should not be confused with some other closely related concepts in religious classification. Most notably, the relationship between pantheism and panentheism, (which is considered to have two different types), needs to be clarified. There is definitely a pantheistic element in the panentheism of the type which holds that the universe is contained within God as a part of God. Obviously, both pantheism and the panentheism of this type consider the universe to be of the same ontological essence as God. The difference is that pantheism equates the universe with the whole God, while the panentheism of the type in question considers it to be only a part of God. The former conceives God to be synonymous with nature, while the latter conceives God to be greater than nature alone. The latter, then, is partially pantheistic. Thus, many of the major faiths described as panentheistic (such as Hinduism) could also be described as pantheistic. Although some find this distinction unhelpful, others see it as a significant point of division. Needless to say, not pantheistic at all is the panentheism of another type, which clearly sees the ontological distinction, and no ontological overlapping, between the universe and God, when it argues for their mutual immanence in each other.

Pantheism should not be confounded with monism, either. Monism refers to the metaphysical and theological view that the totality of existence is derived from a single, uniform essence, principle, substance or energy; so, it is often seen as synonymous with pantheism. However, pantheism can be differentiated from monism since, for the pantheist, the essence which underlies the universe is distinctly identified as divine. Whereas a monistic explanation could reduce all things to a non-spiritual principle (such as in materialist theories which reduce all phenomena to physical processes), pantheist beliefs always conceive reality as singularly infused with the divine.

The ancient Greeks were among the first to lay out pantheistic doctrines, at least in philosophical form. Among the physicists and philosophers of the sixth and fifth centuries B.C.E., monistic uniformity became a popular concept. These thinkers commonly noted the idea that all things must spring from some common source. Such a primordial substance was sometimes vaguely described as alive or animate in nature. Anaximenes believed it to be air; Thales thought the substance was water. Later on, Aetius interpreted Thales to mean that the god in all things was the divine energy of the water and hence, such an idea could be interpreted as an inchoate form of pantheism. In the works of Anaximander, this concept became more obvious, as the author proposed the existence of an uncreated and indestructible being which was indeterminate, yet had all things embedded within it. This being embraced all things and ruled them all; thus, it could be classified as divine and therefore pantheistic. Diogenes of Appolloni furthered these pantheistic tendencies by claiming that reason must dwell in the air, since the air travels everywhere and is present in all things.

For Pythagoreans, all things were ruled by mathematics and geometry; so, they saw numbers to constitute the essence of all things, responsible for the harmony in the world. Xenophanes believed God to be changeless, undestroyable and unified in all things. This unity was endowed with infinite intelligence, and Xenophanes called this unity “God.” The world of plurality, he contended, was merely a manifestation of this great changeless entity. Heraclitus also stressed the process of transformation as the essence of reality, claiming that all things are merely forms of a great primordial substance, which he reduced to “fire.” The change upon which all things’ existence is dependent, Heraclitus claimed, was simply the act of divine wisdom taking action in the material world. Heraclitus claimed that humans could never truly know of this great force, although it was in them at all times. Plato often referred to the world as a “blessed god,”[2] conceiving of God as the supreme, ideal form embracing all other forms within itself. That is, it represented a unity comprehending in itself all the true essences of things. Each idea as well, Plato conceived to be a unity that comprehends the many manifestations of matter within itself. All ideas are comprehended in the supreme idea of the Good, of which the entire world is a manifestation. However, Plato’s ideas cannot be called true pantheism as there is an implicit dualism proposed between good and evil, precluding the possibility that these moral categories originate from a common same source.

It was among the school of Stoicism that the truest form of Greek pantheism developed. The Stoics proclaimed that God and nature are one and the same, and that the universe is the evolution of a “germ of reason” in all things. This “germ” was considered to be “fire” or “breath,” the intelligent, purposeful material which represented spirit and matter in absolute union. All elements in the world, even those that were inanimate and lifeless, were simply transformations of this original fire. From the fire, everything arose and proceeded to evolve; further, the Stoics held that everything would return to this state. The fire contains the germ of reason that acts in all things, and this germ proceeds to determine everything. Thus, the Stoic pantheism seems markedly deterministic, as everything is subject to its own predestined fate. However, the Stoics were reluctant to deny humanity free will, claiming that humans could fall away from their fate if they acted in discord with the logic of the pantheistic germ of reason.

The Neo-Platonists also followed a philosophy which could be described as a form of pantheism. While they did not identify God with the world as blatantly as did the Stoics, they did place the world of sensations on the lowest scale in a series of emanations from God. That is, on a gradient of godly perfection, human sensations are of the lowest degree, and God’s, on the opposite end of the spectrum, are the most perfect. The Neo-Platonists insisted, however, that humans could potentially attain this level of godly perfection, becoming absorbed in it through subjective sensations of ecstasy. Thus, the neo-Platonists fall into a category academics have labeled emanationistic pantheism, where the multiple phenomena perceived by humans are held to actually be emanations or immediacies of the power of the greater God.

Although early Vedic Hinduism appears to be polytheistic or henotheistic, there are some shades of early pantheistic ruminations similar to those of the early Greeks. For example, the concept of an underlying order to the cosmos is found in the Vedic idea of rta. Furthermore, the god of fire, Agni, appeared frequently in the early Vedas and was seen to be pervasive in all things, since heat was such an important aspect in maintaining health. Throughout the Vedas, many other names are associated with this one pantheistic force, such as hiranya-garbha (the “golden germ”), narayana (the primordial man) and the phrase tat tvam asi, which translates to “that thou art.” This concept of “that” refers to the oneness in the universe that subsumes all persons and objects. Finally, nearing the end of the Vedas, the concept of Brahman is introduced, which would go on to become the supreme principle from which all things originated and were maintained.

This notion of Brahman was developed in many later works in the Hindu canon, including the Upanishads, a series of commentaries on the Vedas. In Hindu theology Brahman is both transcendent and immanent, the absolute infinite existence, the sum total of all that ever is, was, or ever will be. As the sun has rays of light, which emanate from the same source, the same holds true for the multifaceted aspects of God emanating from Brahman. The so-called “individual” soul, or Atman, is essentially no different from Brahman. In the sphere of religious practices, each of the individual personal gods is considered to be an aspect of the Divine One; thus, the worship of many multifarious deities by adherents of Hinduism represents a conceivable means by which Hindus can connect to the larger, inconceivable pantheistic force of Brahman. This philosophy has permeated the worship practices of innumerable Hindus from antiquity until today.

The concept of the Dao is one of the best examples of a truly pantheistic belief. The Dao is the ultimate, ineffable principle, containing the entirety of the universe, yet also embodying nothingness as its nature. Further, it is a natural law and a system of self-regulating principles. Thus, the Dao, in its totality, represents the central unifying metaphysical and naturalistic principle pervading the entire universe. This allows belief in it to be classified as a form of naturalistic pantheism.

The Jewish philosopher Philo was deeply influenced by the Neo-Platonists and, as such, he softened the deeply developed Jewish notion of a transcendent God with some pantheistic ideas. He argued that without the continual action of God, the universe could not maintain itself as it does and could not continue to exist. Thus, he concluded that God must be all-pervasive throughout his creation. Philo saw Gods divine ideas, or else his divine word and wisdom, as the preserving force in the world. The world, then, is a copy of divine reason. However, these pantheistic assertions presenting God as the entity who maintains everything also imply that God is responsible for the evil in the world. This was an issue that Philo did not address, and his failure to do so prevented his thoughts from gaining significant measure of credence in the Jewish religious tradition.

It was Spinoza who developed the first system of pantheism in modern Western philosophy. His pantheism was of the naturalistic type. He adhered to the idea that there can only be one unlimited substance with infinite attributes throughout the entire universe. From this he concluded that the natural world and God are merely synonyms referring to identical reality, for if this were not the case, then the combination of God and the world would actually be greater than God alone. Thus, God is as necessary as the world; however, as a corollary, human free will is denied under Spinoza’s assertions. Also, there is no room for evil in this divine world. Spinoza’s pantheism was generally rejected by the orthodox Jewish communities, although it was highly respected among more secular thinkers such as Albert Einstein.

Spinoza’s ideas were supposedly inspired by the decidedly immanent sense of the divine in the Jewish mystical Kabbalah tradition. The standard Kabbalah formulation of the nature of God and the universe contrasts the transcendent attributes of God described in the Torah with God’s immanence. Jewish mystics have typically asserted that God is the dwelling-place of the cosmos, while the cosmos is not the dwelling-place of God. Possibly the designation of “place” for God, frequently found in Talmudic-Midrashic literature, is related to this, and even Philo, in commenting on Genesis 28:11, says, “God is called ha makom (“the place”) because God encloses the universe, but is Himself not enclosed by anything” (De Somniis, i. 11). Kabbalists interpret this in pantheistic terms, although mainstream Judaism generally rejects such interpretations and instead accepts a more panentheistic view.

Generally, the Christian view of God followed in the Jewish tradition from which it derived, adhering to the belief that God lives apart from the world in heaven, while being able to act in the world whenever he chooses. However, elements of pantheism can be found within Christianity, originating in the gospels. Most notably, Paul refers to Jesus as follows: “For in him we live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17:28). This statement “is strongly pantheistic, though it appears to be not a statement of his own, but rather a quotation from a Greek poet, Aratus, probably influenced by the Stoic Cleanthes, who was a pantheist.”[3] In Colossians 1:16-17, Paul states that “For by him all things were created . And he is before all things and in him all things consist.” This insinuates that God is fully embedded in the world, sustains the world, and in the case of those who follow Christ he enters into their mind and body and in some sense becomes one with them. Paul uses the expression “in Christ,” “in the Lord,” and “in him” repeatedly in his letters, usually referring to the idea that Christ is in some way inside Paul or the believer; or that they are inside Christ; or both. At times Paul implies that there is almost a bodily incorporation of Christians into Christ. Thus, God and the world seem to be closely connected; however, this represents anything but world-affirming kind of pantheism, as Paul regarded the earth and the physical body as inferior to God. For example, when he speaks of the body as God’s temple, he does not mean that the body should be worshipped and indulged, but rather that its “base” instincts and desires should be kept in check for purposes of maintaining the sanctity of the temple.

Several less mainstream Christian groups and individuals throughout history have entertained pantheistic beliefs. Many Gnostics believed that the universe consisted of emanations from God by way of Pleroma, which refers to the totality of God’s powers or fullness. Human wisdom, for example, was one of the weakest manifestations of this power. Much later, the “Brethren of the Free Spirit,” a heretical movement, arose in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, which preached that “all things are One, because whatever is, is God.” This assertion lead to the rejection the Christian concepts of creation and redemption, on the grounds that since all is God, there can be no sin, and any action whatsoever was permitted as a function of God. The beliefs of the “Brethren of the Free Spirit” were heavily persecuted by the mainstream Roman Catholic Church.

Some modern Christian movements have also incorporated pantheistic elements. Modern Gnostic revivalists such as the “Gnostic Illuminists of the Thomasine Church” proclaim that they follow a more naturalistic pantheism or even a “scientific pantheism.” They interpret the “Hymn of the Pearl” to be a 2,000-year-old allegory of M-theory, a contemporary theory of physics which extends superstring theory in order to describes the complex physical roots of reality. Similarly, Creation Spirituality, a set of beliefs about God and humanity promoted by the theologian and Episcopal priest Matthew Fox, emphasizes the pantheistic idea that humans experience the divine in all things and that all things are in the divine. Also, Unitarian Universalists maintain a creedless, non-dogmatic approach to spirituality and faith development, and accept all beliefs. Not surprisingly, numerous Unitarian Universalists consider themselves to be pantheists, among other things.

It seems that pantheism, by equating the world with God, attributes any evil in the world to God, making him an evil God. It seems to theists, therefore, that pantheism does not have an appropriate way of solving the problem of evil, and that the pantheistic attribution of evil to God is “the most absurd and monstrous hypothesis that can be envisaged,” as Pierre Bayle, the French critic of Spinoza in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, put it.[4]

The pantheist Michael Levine addresses this criticism, by saying that “the problem of evil is basically a theistic one that is not directly pertinent to pantheism.”[5] According to him, the problem of evil does not embarrass pantheists, nor can it do so “since pantheism rejects all of the aspects of theism that are essential to generating the problem.” Most notably, pantheism rejects the theistic idea that God is omnipotent and perfectly good. For pantheists, then, the theistic question of why God would not prevent evil in the world, which is a question about logical inconsistency, is not a question. The existence of evil is not incompatible with the pantheistic all-inclusive divine Unity. Even if theism assumes that what is divine should always be good, pantheism doesn’t.

This does not mean, however, that evil is not a problem at all for the pantheist. Although it is not the kind of problem that it is for the theist, nevertheless it still is a problem in a different way for the pantheist. Evil is no longer the problem of its logical contradiction with divine omnipotence and goodness, as in theism. It is rather a problem of illusion. The pantheist holds that no matter how virulently it may be experienced, what seems to be evil is in reality only a lack of adequate knowledge or awareness on our part, as Spinoza wrote: “The knowledge of evil is an inadequate knowledge.”[6] Evil consists in our inadequate ideas of the all-inclusive divine Unity whereby we mistake lesser goods for the supreme good, and it necessarily happens as an illusion in the all-inclusive Whole that necessarily contains as many different modes of existence as possible, i.e., as many different levels of awareness as possible.

Although pantheist thinkers are found in most religious traditions, orthodox members usually reject them. Due to this fact, pantheism has been frequently discussed in philosophical, scientific, and environmentalist circles rather than in established, mainstream religious traditions. This may serve as an insight into the nature of the belief. While monotheism, polytheism and other religious categorizations refer to conceptions of the divine which are relatively easy to comprehend, pantheism brings with it some difficult philosophical questions which have proved challenging even to some of the greatest human thinkers. Is a belief in a God that is the universe the same as no God at all? Does the conception of an entirely immanent God mitigate the powers of a God more transcendently conceived? How can evil be an illusion when it is necessitated in the pantheistic system? These are just a few of the challenging questions that pantheistic beliefs generate.

Despite its lack of mainstream support, many followers of pantheism believe that their ideas concerning God are needed as a corrective in the way humans think about God, and that these ideas can serve to create a potentially more insightful conception of both our own existence and that of God. Perhaps, pantheism is a pointer to the future eschatological state of unity between God and the created world where the values of creatures are realized and enjoyed, as a pantheist movement states as its first major aim: “To promote the values of environmental concern and human rights.”[7]

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Pantheism – New World Encyclopedia

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

About | Pantheism.com

Etymology: pan[Greek ] + theos[Greek] = ALL is GOD

Pantheism: Everything is Connected, Everything is Divine

Pantheism essentially involves two assertions: that everything that exists constitutes a unity and that this all-inclusive unity is divine. Alasdair MacIntyre, Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Pantheism 1971

The belief in or perception of Divine Unity Michael Levine,Pantheism: A non-theistic concept of deity

Pantheism the belief in the divine unity of all things is consistent with some of the earliest recorded human thought. But modern day pantheism goes well beyond the wonder of our pre-historic ancestors. Today, it is much more a tangible resultant of the action and reaction between Science and Religion than the ghost of speculations past. Discover the history of Pantheism, from 3500 year old Vedic poetry to our current scientific quest for a Theory of Everything, here.

Pantheism.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. Click to learn more about the people who keep the lights on around here.

Organizations:

Universal Pantheist Society, est. 1975 by Harold Wood

World Pantheist Movement, est. 1998 by Paul Harrison

Ayahuasca Pantheist Society, est. 2003 byRegis A. Barbier

The Paradise Project, est. 2004 byPerry Rod

Spiritual Naturalist Society, est. 2012 by DT Strain

Biopantheism, by Poffo Ortiz

Panmeism, by Guyus Seralius

Not Two, by Waldo Noesta

Fays of Life, by Fay Campbell

Evolution of Consent, by William Schnack

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P 2P 2Ppago IndiansAn important tribe of Shoshonean linguistic stock, speaking a dialect of the Pima language and …Pzmny, PeterA famous Hungarian ecclesiastic of the seventeenth century; died 19 March, 1637. He was born of …

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Panentheism – Wikipedia

Panentheism (from the Ancient Greek expression , pn en the, literally “all in God”[1][2]) 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,[3] 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”, ) 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.”[6] “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.”[7] Though Spinoza has been called the “prophet”[8] and “prince”[9] 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”.[10] 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.[11] 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.[12]

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.[13] 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.[14]

Philosophers who embraced panentheism have included Thomas Hill Green (18391882), James Ward (18431925), Andrew Seth Pringle-Pattison (18561931) and Samuel Alexander (18591938).[15] 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.[16]

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,[17] which was compiled before 1100 BCE.[18] 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.[19] From this being the sukta holds, the original creative will proceeds, by which this vast universe is projected in space and time.[20]

The most influential[21] and dominant[22] 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.”[23] 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.[24] The relationship between Brahman and the creation is often thought to be panentheistic.[25]

Panentheism is also expressed in the Bhagavad Gita.[25] 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.[26] Caitanya’s Gaudiya Vaishnavism, which elucidates the doctrine of Acintya Bheda Abheda (inconceivable oneness and difference), is also thought to be panentheistic.[27] In Kashmir Shaivism, all things are believed to be a manifestation of Universal Consciousness (Cit or Brahman).[28] 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).[29] Thus, Kashmir Shaivism is also propounding of theistic monism or panentheism.[30]

Shaktism, or Tantra, is regarded as an Indian prototype of Panentheism.[31] 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.”[32] 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.[33]

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.[citation needed] 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

Pantheism – Wikipedia

Pantheism is the belief that all reality is identical with divinity,[1] or that everything composes an all-encompassing, immanent god.[2] Pantheists do not believe in a distinct personal or anthropomorphic god[3] and hold a broad range of doctrines differing with regards to the forms of and relationships between divinity and reality.[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]

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 the 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, notable 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. The organization that commissioned the work, The Paradise Project, is “dedicated to celebrating and spreading awareness about pantheism.”[60] 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.[61]

There are multiple varieties of pantheism[13][62]: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.[63] 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][64][65][66][67] Albert Einstein explained theological determinism by stating,[68] “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.”[69] Other examples of determinism-inclined pantheisms include those of Ralph Waldo Emerson,[70] and Hegel.[71]

However, some have argued against treating every meaning of “unity” as an aspect of pantheism,[72] 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.[73]

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.[75] Different types of monism include:[77]

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.[82]

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.[83]:p.27 Thus panentheism separates itself from pantheism, positing the extra claim that God exists above and beyond the world as we know it.[84]: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.[83]:pp. 7172, 8788, 105[85]

Pandeism is another word derived from pantheism, and is characterized as a combination of reconcilable elements of pantheism and deism.[86] 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.[87] 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.[88]

Many traditional and folk religions including African traditional religions[89] and Native American religions[91] 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.[92][93][94]

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.[95][96] 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[100], “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”[101]. This implies a more panentheistic position.

Pantheism is popular in modern spirituality and New Religious Movements, such as Neopaganism and Theosophy.[102] 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.[103] 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,[104] considered by some a form of religious naturalism.[105] It has been described as an example of “dark green religion” with a focus on environmental ethics.[106]

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Pantheism – Wikipedia

What is pantheism? | CARM.org

by Matt Slick

Pantheism is the position that God and nature are the same thing. Pantheism comes from two Greek words, pan meaning all and theos meaning ‘god.’ So, it would teach that all the stars, galaxies, planets, mountains, wind, and rain, are all one and the same… part of what God is. So, pantheists would say that all is God.

Biblical Christianity teaches that God is separate from his creation and he created it (Gen. 1:1-30), where pantheism says that Godand creation share the same nature and essence.

A huge problem with pantheism is that it cannot account for the existence of the universe. The universe is not infinitely old. It had a beginning. This would mean that God also had a beginning, buthow can something bring itself into existence? This is impossible, so this leaves us with the question of where God and the universe came from. Pantheism cannot answer this question, and it naturally leads to absurdities.

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Pantheism – Encyclopedia Volume – Catholic Encyclopedia …

P 2P 2Ppago IndiansAn important tribe of Shoshonean linguistic stock, speaking a dialect of the Pima language and …Pzmny, PeterA famous Hungarian ecclesiastic of the seventeenth century; died 19 March, 1637. He was born of …

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AN INTRODUCTION TO PANTHEISM – Personal/Professional

by Jan GarrettContents

What is Pantheism?

Pantheism and Western Monotheism

Differences With Western Monotheism

Pantheism and Personal Divinity

Pantheism and Immortality

Pantheism and Atheism

Is Pantheist Love of Nature Objectively Grounded?

Pantheism and Humanism

The Sacredness of the Earth

Pantheism and Progress

The Question of Divine Providence

For Further Information about Pantheism What is pantheism? Pantheism is the view that the natural universe is divine, the proper object of reverence;or the view that the natural universe is pervaded with divinity. Negatively, it is the idea that wedo not need to look beyond the universe for the proper object of ultimate respect.

Paul Harrison writes,

One of the chief clues to understanding modern pantheism is its consistent refusal toengage in anthropomorphism. “Anthropomorphism” here means the practice of attributingfamiliar human qualities to objects outside us when there is no good evidence that they have suchqualities.

Refusal of anthropomorphism explains one of the key differences between pantheism andpaganism. In ancient times, “pagans” referred to adherents of polytheistic pre-Christian religionswhich Christianity was trying to suppress. Pagans, or people who worship gods and divinities innature, obviously have much in common with pantheism. But there was a tendency, at least inthe paganism of the past, to impose familiar human qualities on natural objects that may not havethem, for example, to regard a tree as if it could perceive in the way that animals do or even as ifit were a self-conscious being. Most contemporary pantheists would refuse to do this and wouldregard such an attitude as anthropomorphic. Pantheism and Western Monotheism How does pantheism relate to traditional Judaeo-Christian conceptions of God? As PaulHarrison (“Defining the Cosmic Divinity,” SP website) points out, traditional (Western) religiondescribes a God who is ultimately a mystery, beyond human comprehension; awe-inspiring;overwhelmingly powerful; creator of the universe; eternal and infinite; and transcendent. Thedivine universe fits some of these descriptions without modification and it fits others if we allowourselves to interpret the terms flexibly.

The divine universe is mysterious. Though we can understand the universe moreadequately as scientific research proceeds, there will always be questions to which we will notyet have answers; and explanations of ultimate origins will always remain speculative (they aretoo far in the past for us to decipher clearly).

The divine universe is awe-inspiring. Would a creator behind it be any more awe-inspiring than the universe itself?

The universe is clearly very powerful. It creates and it destroys on a vast scale.

So far as we know, the universe created all that exists; which is to say that, the universeas it is now was created by the universe as it was a moment ago, and that universe by theuniverse that existed a moment before that, and so on. If we view universe in this way, we cankeep the idea of creator and creation and yet have no need to imagine a being apart from theuniverse who created it. The divine being is indeed a creator, in the pantheist view. Indeed, thecreativity of the natural universe is probably the best evidence for its divinity.

Is the universe eternal? Well, it depends on how you understand eternity. TraditionalWestern theology understands eternity as a quality of a God that exists altogether outside time. Yet the dynamic and changing universe is very much bound up with time, so it is not eternal inthe theological sense. Possibly it is everlasting, maybe it had no first moment and will nevercease to exist. Scientific evidence does point to a Big Bang several billion years ago, from whichour universe in roughly its current form originated, but if we accept the time-honored precept thatnothing comes from nothing, we cannot rule out the existence of a material universe before thisBig Bang.

Is the universe transcendent? In Western theology transcendence is a term often pairedwith eternity. A transcendent being is essentially outside and independent of the universe. Ofcourse, the divinity which pantheists revere is not transcendent in that way. However, inordinary language, to transcend is to surpass. Well, the universe which includes us also certainlysurpasses us, as it surpasses everything we are capable of knowing or observing. Differences with Western Monotheism

Pantheism has clear differences with the traditional description of God. It departs fromthe picture of God given in the Old Testament to the extent that the Old Testament attributeshuman attributes to the divine being, such as a willingness to make deals (You worship me and I’ll make you my Chosen People) and anger (for example, Yahweh’s anger at the Israelites’worship of the Golden Calf).

Pantheism also avoids some features of the theological conception of God which arisesfrom a mix of Greek philosophical influences and Judaeo-Christian thought. For example,pantheism does not hold that the divinity we revere is a first cause wholly independent of matter,or that the divine being freely creates the physical universe from nothing but its own will. Pantheism and Personal Divinity Do pantheists believe that the universe is a personal God? Possibly some do, but mostcontemporary pantheists do not. We can stand in awe of creative or divine nature withoutregarding it as a father. One can be thankful that it supports us and heals us, without attributingto it a deliberate plan to help or hinder us, without believing that it loves us as a mother or fathermight. Pantheists can observe and respect the divine creativity of being without engaging inwishful thinking. They tend to believe that talk of God as a father or mother who cares for us ina parental way engages in anthropomorphism.

C. Alan Anderson and Deb Whitehouse, authors of New Thought: A Practical AmericanSpirituality, have married the process theology of Alfred N. Whitehead and others with thereligious tradition known as New Thought. They have criticized pantheism for its resistance tothe idea of a personal divinity. Their criticisms are interesting because process theology agreeswith pantheism in bringing God and Nature together. But process theologians Anderson andWhitehouse are not pantheists–they are panentheists. That is, they regard the material universeas the body of God–everything material is in God–but God’s mind or personhood is somehowsomething extra or more than the universe. God is impartial, they say, but he is not impersonal–he loves us all as a good father loves his children. Whitehouse accuses pantheists of replacingGod as a loving father by a “formless, impersonal Ground of All Being into which we allultimately melt, or get ground!” On this scenario, says Whitehouse, “we [humans] are illusion,without individuality, smothered by a God that Alan Anderson calls the universal wet blanket'”(cited in D. Whitehouse, “God: Person, Eternal, and New,” Unity Magazine April 1996).

Several charges are made here, in just a few words. The charge that the pantheist divinityis a “universal wet blanket” seems to boil down to the charge that pantheists do not accept theview that the divinity literally loves us as a parent would. To that the pantheist response issimple: there is almost as much evidence that the universe hates us as there is that it loves us, inother words, not much. On the other hand, the fact that we are still here is evidence that theuniverse nurtures us and supports us, at least for the time being. We can certainly be thankful forthat.

Deb Whitehouse’s charge that pantheism denies the reality of the human individual doesactually fit some pantheist philosophies of earlier times, for instance, the seventeenth-centuryphilosophy of Spinoza. But it does not fit modern pantheism as expressed, for example, in mostof the publications of the Universal Pantheist Society or the text of Paul Harrison’s “ScientificPantheism” website. Nor is the divine being as conceived by these pantheists “the formless . . .Ground of All Being” (as Whitehouse puts it) since for them, as for modern scientists, the divineuniverse is anything but formless. Immortality of the Soul Do pantheists believe in the immortality of the soul? Not usually. And they have lessmotivation to do so than mainstream Western traditions. Pantheists do not find nature eitherrepulsive or without vitality. Thus they do not feel horror at the prospect of dissolution back intonature at the time of their individual deaths. Of course, there is immortality in the sense that ourmaterial components re-enter natural cycles; indeed, that goes on simultaneously with life itself. More significantly, as even Plato recognized, our deeds live on after us, insofar as they areremembered. And the ideas which we have made part of our lives continue to exert influenceafter we are gone–this sort of imperfect immortality is not denied to us. Pantheists will askwhether it is not better to rely on the possibility of such imperfect immortality, for which there isgood evidence, than on the idea that the soul can be detached from everything material and attainperfect immortality. To my knowledge, nobody has ever made a persuasive case for this kind ofimmortality. The greatest thinkers in the Christian tradition, such as Thomas Aquinas, admit thatthe existence of an immortal soul is a teaching which cannot be rationally proved. True, Platolong ago, in a beautiful dialogue called the Phaedo, offered several proofs for the immortality ofthe soul, but while they are all interesting, none of them are logically persuasive. Plato’s proofscould convince neither his student Aristotle, who shared quite a few assumptions with him, norThomas Aquinas, who, as a Christian, would have liked to have had a proof for this teaching. Why should he be able to convince modern pantheists? Pantheism and Atheism Pantheists are sometimes accused of being atheists in disguise. Are they? We cannotanswer that question until we define “atheism.” Is it literally a denial that there is anythingdivine or worthy of ultimate reverence? If that is what atheism is, then by definition pantheistsare not atheists. Is it the denial of divinity beyond the sphere of human beings? If that is whatatheism is, then once again pantheists are not atheists. Pantheism can be equated with atheism,of course, if atheism is defined as disbelief in the existence of a God who is a person. Mostmodern pantheists do not conceive the divinity as a person.

Now, some people who call themselves atheists might really be pantheists because theyvalue the natural world and only reject the concept of a personal God or gods, which they havemistaken for the only possible conception of divinity. On the other hand, some people whomight think of themselves as atheists are humanists and not pantheists because they place allultimate value in things human or some characteristic which only human beings possess. Is Pantheist Love of Nature Objectively Grounded? Pantheists are clearly quite impressed by beauty in nature, and infer from this beauty thatnature itself is worthy of our reverence and respect. But, a critic might say, aren’t they justmistaking their own aesthetic experiences of nature for value of nature itself? The objectionseems to be that pantheists find something to be revered in nature only because they confuse theirperceptions of nature with nature itself.

Although it’s risky to generalize about all pantheists, many pantheists reject the idea that when ahuman being has an aesthetic experience of nature and sees beauty in it, this is nothing but ahuman projection upon nature. They don’t mind admitting that humans who experience naturalbeauty are contributing something to the experience, but let us remember , they say, (1) that nature hasherself given humans the capacity to recognize her beauty and (2) that nature provides the objectwhich we recognize as beautiful. Human beings do not invent the beauty and value of nature–we only recognize it. And we are not the only beings who do. As process philosopher CharlesHartshorne argues, birdsong cannot be entirely explained in terms of its Darwinian function inbiological survival and finding a mate. It is probable that birdsong is sometimes a bird’s open-hearted response to the natural beauty the bird itself experiences. Pantheism and Humanism How does pantheism relate to humanism? Humanism, like atheism, can be understood inmany ways. If humanism is the view that human things–actions, experiences, products,customs, institutions, and history–are of immense interest and importance, then there is nothingcontradictory in being both a humanist and a pantheist. (A teacher of the humanities who is a pantheist is entirely possible, for example.) But if humanism is the view that humanbeings are the best things in the universe, then pantheists are not humanists. If humanism is theview that only human beings have inherent worth and are deserving of being treated as ends, thenpantheists are not humanists. And if humanism is the doctrine that everything else in theuniverse exists for the sake of human beings, then pantheists are most emphatically nothumanists.

A pantheist might well agree with humanists that all or at least most human beings haveinherent value and are worthy of our basic moral respect, and that there are many importanthuman achievements worth preserving and transmitting. But a commitment to the idea thathuman beings and many human achievements are valuable cannot justify blindness to the valueswhich we humans can discover beyond culture in nature.

The pantheist refusal of the idea that humans are the best things in the universe is notmerely a matter of faith or attitude. Pantheists might even grant that we do not know whether thereare other biological individuals that are superior to humans, e.g., aliens with higher intelligenceor greater capacities of cooperation. But pantheism can make the following case:

(1) Surely humans have some value, but clearly

(2) non-human individuals on the earth have some value as well, even if pantheists have to granttheir critics that the value of a non-human individual is less than a human’s. Well, then, consider the biosphere or the living Earth.

(3) It includes both humans, with their value, and non-humans, with their value, howeverminimal you want to claim it is.

(4) This collective being must contain at least as much value as these humans and non-humansput together.

Conclusion: (5) there is a being more valuable than humans, namely, the biosphere whichincludes both humans and non-humans.

Similar reasoning can support the conclusion that the cosmos itself is of still greater value.

For historical reasons, moreover, pantheists are suspicious of the claim that humans arethe best things in nature. They are especially aware of the perverse use to which this idea hasbeen put over the last four centuries. It is part of the myth that has been used to justify Westernhumanity’s domination of nature on Earth and the eradication of many cultures, species, andecosystems as part of the cost of taming nature and allegedly perfecting it, i.e., making it over to fit our human whims, which means, to a great extent, the whims of the industrial and post-industrial growth economy.

For those who believe the idea that humans are the best species, it is more anunquestioned article of faith than an empirically verifiable proposition–in fact, given whatmembers of the human species have done to each other and other species, it appears that humansdo not on the whole have a very good record. It is a bad argument to use the rare cases–theAristotles, the Shakespeares, the Beethovens, the Schweitzers, the Gandhis–as arguments for thesurpassing nobility of the human species. Such highly creative or eminently ethical heroes andheroines are far from the average. The Earth Is Sacred It should be clear by now that pantheism is attractive for some people today because it is a way ofdissociating themselves from the kind of “humanism” that can be used to rationalize ecologicaldestruction. Environmental concern is so strong among pantheists that Paul Harrison lists as thesecond of pantheism’s central tenets the claim that “the earth is sacred.” He explains it asfollows:

Is pantheism essentially a reverence for nature apart from the section of naturetransformed by human culture? Well, the Universal Pantheist Society, the only pantheistmember organization of which I am aware, seems to encourage open air ceremonies that evokerespect for nature, and it insists that a building is not necessary for the experience of the divine,that sometimes a building can get in the way of that experience. But I do not think thatpantheism implies that you can only contemplate the divinity when you are out in the woods farfrom artifacts that human beings have created.

Still, respect for nature independent of human interference is essential to pantheism. Pantheists are bound to look with mixed feelings upon most social institutions and technologicalmarvels. They know how often those institutions and that technology have given humans thecollective strength and the material means for mounting an assault upon nonhuman nature. Pantheism and Progress

Are pantheists opposed to scientific and technological progress? Modern pantheists are definitely not opposed to the scientific method as a method for understanding nature. They are not inclined touse pre-scientific myths to explain inclement weather, for example, as sent by angry gods. Theyfavor scientific explanations whenever we can get them. They recognize that some explanationsare better than others, so that if a person first accepts one theory, then another, and still later athird, and each successive theory gives a better explanation of the same phenomenon than thepreceding one, that surely is scientific progress worth celebrating. Seen in this light, scientificprogress is mainly about understanding, not about control over nature.

Technological progress usually refers to increasing control over the environment. Tocontrol something is to render it passive, to make it into something that can be manipulated bythe controller. But nature is nothing if it is not active, if it does not have “a source of motion initself” (Aristotle, Physics ii). Therefore, technological progress in this sense is profoundlydisturbing for a pantheist.

It is not a healthy form of pantheism to celebrate the absorption of nature into the humaneconomic-technological machine, as one website which calls itself pantheist (www.the-truth.com) does. Not only is this tantamount to celebrating the “death of nature” on Earth, but itis guilty of overweening pride. For it assumes that because we have the power to push aside thebiological diversity that evolved over millions of years and the cultural diversity that developedalongside it over the last several thousand years, it follows that we and our puny Westerntechnology can substitute ourselves for the richness of what we are displacing. The perverseform of anthropocentric “pantheism” to which I am now referring is also guilty of ignorance: it confuses thetemporary domination of the planet by the economic-technological machine with the totalabsorption of nature and God by human (that is, Western) culture. No matter how totally humans control the planet, they cannot control much beyond the planet. There is a lot more universe outthere, as pictures and data from the Hubble Space Telescope strikingly confirm. Besides, we probablycannot even control as much as of the planet as we would like. For example, we can’t figure outhow to reverse the damage we have caused the stratospheric ozone layer, only how to slow downthe rate of additional damage in the hope that natural processes will revive the ozone layer afterseveral decades. And we cannot figure out how to do away safely with our nuclear wastes oreven how to store them safely over the very long period in which they remain toxic.

If technological progress is a problem, and in many instances an abomination, when itworks at dominating nature and making it into something passive and a mere resource, it doesnot follow that there is no acceptable technical progress. Some technologies are less invasive ofnature than others. For example, those which use wind power for augmenting human energy andpassive solar collection for heating are ethically less ambiguous than fossil fuels or nuclearenergy. One can imagine continuously improved technical solutions of this sort. It is possible thatexperience in organic farming and composting since the 1960’s has developed a battery of soft-technological practices that would constitute an acceptable kind of technical progress. In anycase, pantheism as a religious perspective strongly endorses our learning how to live more lightlyupon the earth. The Question of Divine Providence

Do pantheists believe that the divine universe cares whether we are good or bad, and thatit punishes us if we are bad and do not get punished appropriately in this life? Since ancient times, political leaders have held that beneficial social consequences derive from belief in powerful gods who see what we do even when no humans see it and who punish wrongdoing, either in this life or in an afterlife. On their view, people must be convinced that nothing that we do escapes the attention of the divine being. We find political philosophers, both ancient and modern, who do not really believe in a wrathful god but think that it is not a bad idea if most people do.

Even if they were right about human psychology and the crime rate–and, it is not, so far as I know, empirically proven that they are–this fact would not settle the issue of whether the divine being, in the pantheist case, the universe as a whole, really knows and cares about what we do. And pantheists will generally deny this, because it would require that the divine universe has or is a single mind, and that would amount to saying that the universe is a divine person, an idea most modern pantheists would prefer to abandon. Therefore most pantheists do not conceive the divine power as an observer of our misdeeds and as a punisher of the ones that our fellow humans fail to catch.

However, pantheists can admit that there is at least a metaphorical sense in which the universe hasprovidentially arranged for punishment and reward. Here they can borrow a page from the Stoics, whowere also pantheists of a sort. The Stoics observed that human beings are endowed with a greatcapacity for wisdom as well as ignorance, and claimed that if we judge ignorantly we receivemisery while if we judge wisely we receive tranquillity. They had in mind the insight that wemake ourselves miserable by setting our hearts on things beyond our control. These things, theysay, are not truly our private possessions and in claiming them for our own, or acting as if theyshould be, we are sinning or transgressing against nature. Yet if we do this, we are quicklydisappointed and so the ignorance associated with this transgression is swiftly and automatically”punished” by our undergoing fear and distress (Cf. Seneca, De providentia). The Stoic insightis that, in producing us as beings with capacity for reason, the universe has created us with thepower to interpret events so as to avoid at least the more extreme forms of emotional turmoil. Such internal turmoil besets individuals who do not have their priorities in proper order and tryto treat as their own and under their control things which are actually beyond their control.

For further information about pantheism, see Paul Harrison’s Scientific Pantheism website.

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AN INTRODUCTION TO PANTHEISM – Personal/Professional

Pantheism – New World Encyclopedia

Pantheism (from Greek: pan = all, and theos = God) refers to the religious and philosophical view that everything in existence is of an all-encompassing immanent God, or that the universe, or nature, and God are equivalent (i.e., that “all is God”). There are two types of pantheism: “classical” and “naturalistic” pantheism. In equating the universe with God, classical pantheism does not strongly redefine or minimize either term, still believing in a personal God, while naturalistic pantheism redefines them, treating God as rather impersonal, as in the philosophy of Spinoza. In any case, what is stressed is the idea that all existence in the universe (the sum total of all that is, was, and shall be) is of the same essence as the divine. Pantheists, then, typically deny God’s transcendence. The problem of evil, which is a problem for theism, is not a problem for pantheism in the same way, since pantheism rejects the theistic notion of God as omnipotent and perfectly good.

The term “pantheism” is a relatively recent one, first used by Irish writer John Toland in his 1705 work, Socinianism Truly Stated, by a pantheist. Although concepts similar to pantheism have been discussed as long ago as the time of the Ancient Greek philosophers, they have only recently been categorized as such retrospectively by modern academics. Despite its lack of mainstream support, many followers of pantheism believe that their ideas concerning God are needed as a corrective in the way humans think about God and themselves.

Religious and philosophical scholarship typically distinguishes between two kinds of pantheism: 1) “classical pantheism,” which equates the world with God without strongly redefining or minimizing either term, as in many religious and philosophical traditions such as Hinduism, Platonism, and Judaism; and 2) “naturalistic pantheism,” which equates the world and God by redefining them in a non-traditional, impersonal way, as in the relatively recent views of Baruch Spinoza (1632-1677) and John Toland (1670-1722) as well as contemporary scientific theorists. So, classical pantheists generally accept the premise that there is a spiritual basis to all reality, while naturalistic pantheists generally do not. The vast majority of persons who can be identified as “pantheistic” are of the classical type, while most persons who do not belong to a religion but identify themselves as “pantheist” are typically of the naturalistic type.

The division between the two types of pantheism remains a source of some controversy in pantheist circles. The nature of pantheism has been a topic of much contention in religious and philosophical discourse, spurring many debates over the implications of its doctrines. However, most pantheists agree on the following two principles: 1) that the universe is an all-encompassing unity; and 2) that natural laws are found throughout the universe. Some pantheists also posit a common purpose for nature and humanity, while others reject the idea of teleology and view the universe as existing for its own sake.

An oft-cited feature of classical pantheism is that each individual human, as a part of the universe or nature, is a part of God. This raises the question of whether or not humans possess free will. In response to this question, variations of the following analogy are sometimes given by classical pantheists: “You are to God, as an individual blood cell in your vein is to you.” The analogy maintains that while a cell may be aware of its own environs and may even have some choices (free will) between right and wrong (such as killing a bacterium, becoming cancerous, or perhaps just doing nothing among countless others), it likely has little awareness of the fact that it is also determined by the greater being of which it is a part. Another way to understand this relationship is the Hindu concept of Jiva, wherein the human soul is an aspect of God not yet having reached enlightenment (moksha), after which it becomes Atman. However, it should be noted that not all pantheists accept the idea of free will, with determinism being particularly widespread among naturalistic pantheists.

A common criticism of pantheism is that it, especially of the naturalistic type, can be reduced to atheism. Rudolf Otto, a famed Christian theologian, claimed that pantheism denies the personality of the deity, and therefore represents disbelief in the traditional concept of God. Similarly, Arthur Schopenhauer commented that by referring to the natural world as “God,” pantheists are merely creating a synonym for the world, and therefore denying the essence of God and rendering their belief atheistic. However, pantheists reply to these arguments by claiming that such criticisms are rooted in a mindset holding that God must be anthropomorphic. Pantheists such as Michael Levine see this kind of presupposition as “stipulative” and illustrative of an attitude that “unduly restricts the extent to which alternative theories of deity can be formulated.”[1] Even among the pantheists themselves are similar questions about the nature of God. Classical pantheism believes in a personal and conscious God who unites all being. Naturalistic pantheism, in contrast, does not believe so.

Pantheism should not be confused with some other closely related concepts in religious classification. Most notably, the relationship between pantheism and panentheism, (which is considered to have two different types), needs to be clarified. There is definitely a pantheistic element in the panentheism of the type which holds that the universe is contained within God as a part of God. Obviously, both pantheism and the panentheism of this type consider the universe to be of the same ontological essence as God. The difference is that pantheism equates the universe with the whole God, while the panentheism of the type in question considers it to be only a part of God. The former conceives God to be synonymous with nature, while the latter conceives God to be greater than nature alone. The latter, then, is partially pantheistic. Thus, many of the major faiths described as panentheistic (such as Hinduism) could also be described as pantheistic. Although some find this distinction unhelpful, others see it as a significant point of division. Needless to say, not pantheistic at all is the panentheism of another type, which clearly sees the ontological distinction, and no ontological overlapping, between the universe and God, when it argues for their mutual immanence in each other.

Pantheism should not be confounded with monism, either. Monism refers to the metaphysical and theological view that the totality of existence is derived from a single, uniform essence, principle, substance or energy; so, it is often seen as synonymous with pantheism. However, pantheism can be differentiated from monism since, for the pantheist, the essence which underlies the universe is distinctly identified as divine. Whereas a monistic explanation could reduce all things to a non-spiritual principle (such as in materialist theories which reduce all phenomena to physical processes), pantheist beliefs always conceive reality as singularly infused with the divine.

The ancient Greeks were among the first to lay out pantheistic doctrines, at least in philosophical form. Among the physicists and philosophers of the sixth and fifth centuries B.C.E., monistic uniformity became a popular concept. These thinkers commonly noted the idea that all things must spring from some common source. Such a primordial substance was sometimes vaguely described as alive or animate in nature. Anaximenes believed it to be air; Thales thought the substance was water. Later on, Aetius interpreted Thales to mean that the god in all things was the divine energy of the water and hence, such an idea could be interpreted as an inchoate form of pantheism. In the works of Anaximander, this concept became more obvious, as the author proposed the existence of an uncreated and indestructible being which was indeterminate, yet had all things embedded within it. This being embraced all things and ruled them all; thus, it could be classified as divine and therefore pantheistic. Diogenes of Appolloni furthered these pantheistic tendencies by claiming that reason must dwell in the air, since the air travels everywhere and is present in all things.

For Pythagoreans, all things were ruled by mathematics and geometry; so, they saw numbers to constitute the essence of all things, responsible for the harmony in the world. Xenophanes believed God to be changeless, undestroyable and unified in all things. This unity was endowed with infinite intelligence, and Xenophanes called this unity “God.” The world of plurality, he contended, was merely a manifestation of this great changeless entity. Heraclitus also stressed the process of transformation as the essence of reality, claiming that all things are merely forms of a great primordial substance, which he reduced to “fire.” The change upon which all things’ existence is dependent, Heraclitus claimed, was simply the act of divine wisdom taking action in the material world. Heraclitus claimed that humans could never truly know of this great force, although it was in them at all times. Plato often referred to the world as a “blessed god,”[2] conceiving of God as the supreme, ideal form embracing all other forms within itself. That is, it represented a unity comprehending in itself all the true essences of things. Each idea as well, Plato conceived to be a unity that comprehends the many manifestations of matter within itself. All ideas are comprehended in the supreme idea of the Good, of which the entire world is a manifestation. However, Plato’s ideas cannot be called true pantheism as there is an implicit dualism proposed between good and evil, precluding the possibility that these moral categories originate from a common same source.

It was among the school of Stoicism that the truest form of Greek pantheism developed. The Stoics proclaimed that God and nature are one and the same, and that the universe is the evolution of a “germ of reason” in all things. This “germ” was considered to be “fire” or “breath,” the intelligent, purposeful material which represented spirit and matter in absolute union. All elements in the world, even those that were inanimate and lifeless, were simply transformations of this original fire. From the fire, everything arose and proceeded to evolve; further, the Stoics held that everything would return to this state. The fire contains the germ of reason that acts in all things, and this germ proceeds to determine everything. Thus, the Stoic pantheism seems markedly deterministic, as everything is subject to its own predestined fate. However, the Stoics were reluctant to deny humanity free will, claiming that humans could fall away from their fate if they acted in discord with the logic of the pantheistic germ of reason.

The Neo-Platonists also followed a philosophy which could be described as a form of pantheism. While they did not identify God with the world as blatantly as did the Stoics, they did place the world of sensations on the lowest scale in a series of emanations from God. That is, on a gradient of godly perfection, human sensations are of the lowest degree, and God’s, on the opposite end of the spectrum, are the most perfect. The Neo-Platonists insisted, however, that humans could potentially attain this level of godly perfection, becoming absorbed in it through subjective sensations of ecstasy. Thus, the neo-Platonists fall into a category academics have labeled emanationistic pantheism, where the multiple phenomena perceived by humans are held to actually be emanations or immediacies of the power of the greater God.

Although early Vedic Hinduism appears to be polytheistic or henotheistic, there are some shades of early pantheistic ruminations similar to those of the early Greeks. For example, the concept of an underlying order to the cosmos is found in the Vedic idea of rta. Furthermore, the god of fire, Agni, appeared frequently in the early Vedas and was seen to be pervasive in all things, since heat was such an important aspect in maintaining health. Throughout the Vedas, many other names are associated with this one pantheistic force, such as hiranya-garbha (the “golden germ”), narayana (the primordial man) and the phrase tat tvam asi, which translates to “that thou art.” This concept of “that” refers to the oneness in the universe that subsumes all persons and objects. Finally, nearing the end of the Vedas, the concept of Brahman is introduced, which would go on to become the supreme principle from which all things originated and were maintained.

This notion of Brahman was developed in many later works in the Hindu canon, including the Upanishads, a series of commentaries on the Vedas. In Hindu theology Brahman is both transcendent and immanent, the absolute infinite existence, the sum total of all that ever is, was, or ever will be. As the sun has rays of light, which emanate from the same source, the same holds true for the multifaceted aspects of God emanating from Brahman. The so-called “individual” soul, or Atman, is essentially no different from Brahman. In the sphere of religious practices, each of the individual personal gods is considered to be an aspect of the Divine One; thus, the worship of many multifarious deities by adherents of Hinduism represents a conceivable means by which Hindus can connect to the larger, inconceivable pantheistic force of Brahman. This philosophy has permeated the worship practices of innumerable Hindus from antiquity until today.

The concept of the Dao is one of the best examples of a truly pantheistic belief. The Dao is the ultimate, ineffable principle, containing the entirety of the universe, yet also embodying nothingness as its nature. Further, it is a natural law and a system of self-regulating principles. Thus, the Dao, in its totality, represents the central unifying metaphysical and naturalistic principle pervading the entire universe. This allows belief in it to be classified as a form of naturalistic pantheism.

The Jewish philosopher Philo was deeply influenced by the Neo-Platonists and, as such, he softened the deeply developed Jewish notion of a transcendent God with some pantheistic ideas. He argued that without the continual action of God, the universe could not maintain itself as it does and could not continue to exist. Thus, he concluded that God must be all-pervasive throughout his creation. Philo saw Gods divine ideas, or else his divine word and wisdom, as the preserving force in the world. The world, then, is a copy of divine reason. However, these pantheistic assertions presenting God as the entity who maintains everything also imply that God is responsible for the evil in the world. This was an issue that Philo did not address, and his failure to do so prevented his thoughts from gaining significant measure of credence in the Jewish religious tradition.

It was Spinoza who developed the first system of pantheism in modern Western philosophy. His pantheism was of the naturalistic type. He adhered to the idea that there can only be one unlimited substance with infinite attributes throughout the entire universe. From this he concluded that the natural world and God are merely synonyms referring to identical reality, for if this were not the case, then the combination of God and the world would actually be greater than God alone. Thus, God is as necessary as the world; however, as a corollary, human free will is denied under Spinoza’s assertions. Also, there is no room for evil in this divine world. Spinoza’s pantheism was generally rejected by the orthodox Jewish communities, although it was highly respected among more secular thinkers such as Albert Einstein.

Spinoza’s ideas were supposedly inspired by the decidedly immanent sense of the divine in the Jewish mystical Kabbalah tradition. The standard Kabbalah formulation of the nature of God and the universe contrasts the transcendent attributes of God described in the Torah with God’s immanence. Jewish mystics have typically asserted that God is the dwelling-place of the cosmos, while the cosmos is not the dwelling-place of God. Possibly the designation of “place” for God, frequently found in Talmudic-Midrashic literature, is related to this, and even Philo, in commenting on Genesis 28:11, says, “God is called ha makom (“the place”) because God encloses the universe, but is Himself not enclosed by anything” (De Somniis, i. 11). Kabbalists interpret this in pantheistic terms, although mainstream Judaism generally rejects such interpretations and instead accepts a more panentheistic view.

Generally, the Christian view of God followed in the Jewish tradition from which it derived, adhering to the belief that God lives apart from the world in heaven, while being able to act in the world whenever he chooses. However, elements of pantheism can be found within Christianity, originating in the gospels. Most notably, Paul refers to Jesus as follows: “For in him we live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17:28). This statement “is strongly pantheistic, though it appears to be not a statement of his own, but rather a quotation from a Greek poet, Aratus, probably influenced by the Stoic Cleanthes, who was a pantheist.”[3] In Colossians 1:16-17, Paul states that “For by him all things were created . And he is before all things and in him all things consist.” This insinuates that God is fully embedded in the world, sustains the world, and in the case of those who follow Christ he enters into their mind and body and in some sense becomes one with them. Paul uses the expression “in Christ,” “in the Lord,” and “in him” repeatedly in his letters, usually referring to the idea that Christ is in some way inside Paul or the believer; or that they are inside Christ; or both. At times Paul implies that there is almost a bodily incorporation of Christians into Christ. Thus, God and the world seem to be closely connected; however, this represents anything but world-affirming kind of pantheism, as Paul regarded the earth and the physical body as inferior to God. For example, when he speaks of the body as God’s temple, he does not mean that the body should be worshipped and indulged, but rather that its “base” instincts and desires should be kept in check for purposes of maintaining the sanctity of the temple.

Several less mainstream Christian groups and individuals throughout history have entertained pantheistic beliefs. Many Gnostics believed that the universe consisted of emanations from God by way of Pleroma, which refers to the totality of God’s powers or fullness. Human wisdom, for example, was one of the weakest manifestations of this power. Much later, the “Brethren of the Free Spirit,” a heretical movement, arose in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, which preached that “all things are One, because whatever is, is God.” This assertion lead to the rejection the Christian concepts of creation and redemption, on the grounds that since all is God, there can be no sin, and any action whatsoever was permitted as a function of God. The beliefs of the “Brethren of the Free Spirit” were heavily persecuted by the mainstream Roman Catholic Church.

Some modern Christian movements have also incorporated pantheistic elements. Modern Gnostic revivalists such as the “Gnostic Illuminists of the Thomasine Church” proclaim that they follow a more naturalistic pantheism or even a “scientific pantheism.” They interpret the “Hymn of the Pearl” to be a 2,000-year-old allegory of M-theory, a contemporary theory of physics which extends superstring theory in order to describes the complex physical roots of reality. Similarly, Creation Spirituality, a set of beliefs about God and humanity promoted by the theologian and Episcopal priest Matthew Fox, emphasizes the pantheistic idea that humans experience the divine in all things and that all things are in the divine. Also, Unitarian Universalists maintain a creedless, non-dogmatic approach to spirituality and faith development, and accept all beliefs. Not surprisingly, numerous Unitarian Universalists consider themselves to be pantheists, among other things.

It seems that pantheism, by equating the world with God, attributes any evil in the world to God, making him an evil God. It seems to theists, therefore, that pantheism does not have an appropriate way of solving the problem of evil, and that the pantheistic attribution of evil to God is “the most absurd and monstrous hypothesis that can be envisaged,” as Pierre Bayle, the French critic of Spinoza in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, put it.[4]

The pantheist Michael Levine addresses this criticism, by saying that “the problem of evil is basically a theistic one that is not directly pertinent to pantheism.”[5] According to him, the problem of evil does not embarrass pantheists, nor can it do so “since pantheism rejects all of the aspects of theism that are essential to generating the problem.” Most notably, pantheism rejects the theistic idea that God is omnipotent and perfectly good. For pantheists, then, the theistic question of why God would not prevent evil in the world, which is a question about logical inconsistency, is not a question. The existence of evil is not incompatible with the pantheistic all-inclusive divine Unity. Even if theism assumes that what is divine should always be good, pantheism doesn’t.

This does not mean, however, that evil is not a problem at all for the pantheist. Although it is not the kind of problem that it is for the theist, nevertheless it still is a problem in a different way for the pantheist. Evil is no longer the problem of its logical contradiction with divine omnipotence and goodness, as in theism. It is rather a problem of illusion. The pantheist holds that no matter how virulently it may be experienced, what seems to be evil is in reality only a lack of adequate knowledge or awareness on our part, as Spinoza wrote: “The knowledge of evil is an inadequate knowledge.”[6] Evil consists in our inadequate ideas of the all-inclusive divine Unity whereby we mistake lesser goods for the supreme good, and it necessarily happens as an illusion in the all-inclusive Whole that necessarily contains as many different modes of existence as possible, i.e., as many different levels of awareness as possible.

Although pantheist thinkers are found in most religious traditions, orthodox members usually reject them. Due to this fact, pantheism has been frequently discussed in philosophical, scientific, and environmentalist circles rather than in established, mainstream religious traditions. This may serve as an insight into the nature of the belief. While monotheism, polytheism and other religious categorizations refer to conceptions of the divine which are relatively easy to comprehend, pantheism brings with it some difficult philosophical questions which have proved challenging even to some of the greatest human thinkers. Is a belief in a God that is the universe the same as no God at all? Does the conception of an entirely immanent God mitigate the powers of a God more transcendently conceived? How can evil be an illusion when it is necessitated in the pantheistic system? These are just a few of the challenging questions that pantheistic beliefs generate.

Despite its lack of mainstream support, many followers of pantheism believe that their ideas concerning God are needed as a corrective in the way humans think about God, and that these ideas can serve to create a potentially more insightful conception of both our own existence and that of God. Perhaps, pantheism is a pointer to the future eschatological state of unity between God and the created world where the values of creatures are realized and enjoyed, as a pantheist movement states as its first major aim: “To promote the values of environmental concern and human rights.”[7]

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Pantheism – New World Encyclopedia

Panentheism – Wikipedia

Panentheism (from the Ancient Greek expression , pn en the, literally “all in God”[1][2]) 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,[3] 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”, ) 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.”[6] “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.”[7] Though Spinoza has been called the “prophet”[8] and “prince”[9] 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”.[10] 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.[11] 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.[12]

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.[13] 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.[14]

Philosophers who embraced panentheism have included Thomas Hill Green (18391882), James Ward (18431925), Andrew Seth Pringle-Pattison (18561931) and Samuel Alexander (18591938).[15] 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.[16]

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,[17] which was compiled before 1100 BCE.[18] 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.[19] From this being the sukta holds, the original creative will proceeds, by which this vast universe is projected in space and time.[20]

The most influential[21] and dominant[22] 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.”[23] 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.[24] The relationship between Brahman and the creation is often thought to be panentheistic.[25]

Panentheism is also expressed in the Bhagavad Gita.[25] 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.[26] Caitanya’s Gaudiya Vaishnavism, which elucidates the doctrine of Acintya Bheda Abheda (inconceivable oneness and difference), is also thought to be panentheistic.[27] In Kashmir Shaivism, all things are believed to be a manifestation of Universal Consciousness (Cit or Brahman).[28] 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).[29] Thus, Kashmir Shaivism is also propounding of theistic monism or panentheism.[30]

Shaktism, or Tantra, is regarded as an Indian prototype of Panentheism.[31] 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.”[32] 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.[33]

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.[citation needed] 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

Pantheism | Philosophy Talk

Pantheism is the view that the world is either identical to God, or an expression of Gods nature. It comes from pan meaning all, and theism, which means belief in God. So according to pantheism, God is everything and everything is God.

First, pantheism rejects the idea that God is transcendent. According to traditional Western conceptions of God, He is an entity that is above and beyond the universe. So, although God may be fully present in the universe, He is also outside of it. Simply put, He transcends the totality of objects in the world. When pantheists say that God is everything and everything is God, this is meant to capture that idea that God does not transcend the world.

A second important difference between pantheism and traditional theistic religions is that pantheists also reject the idea of Gods personhood. The pantheist God is not a personal God, the kind of entity that could have beliefs, desires, intentions, or agency. Unlike the traditional God of theism, the pantheistic God does not have a will and cannot act in or upon the universe. These are the kind of things that only a person, or a person-like entity, could do. For the pantheist, God is the non-personal divinity that pervades all existence. It is the divine Unity of the world.

While these two points may clarify how pantheism and traditional theism differ, they may make us wonder if theres much difference between pantheism and atheism. After all, pantheism denies the existence of a transcendent, personal God, which is the God of traditional theism. So, in that sense, pantheism seems to be a form of atheism. Its not clear what exactly pantheists are talking about when they talk of God. If pantheists just consider God to be the totality of all existence, then why talk of God at all? Moreover, if thats what God means to the pantheist, then the slogan God is everything and everything is God now seems circular and redundant. As Schopenhauer, a critic of pantheism, says, to call the world God is not to explain it; it is only to enrich our language with a superfluous synonym for the word world.

But Schopenhauer seems to be operating with a very narrow definition of God here. Why suppose that God must be personal and transcendent in order to be God? This limits the concept of God in an ad hoc way that privileges the traditional theistic view of divinity. Looking at other non-theistic religious traditions, we find many conceptions of a divinity that pervades all existence, like Lao Tzus Tao, Sankaras Brahman, and arguably also Hegels Geist and Plotinuss One. To call all these views atheist simply because they reject the traditional theistic conception of a personal, transcendent God is to miss the point. Atheism, after all, is not a religion.

If we accept that pantheism differs from atheism, in that it does posit some kind of divinity in the world whereas atheism does not, its still a little difficult to see in what sense pantheism is a religion. There are no pantheist churches or services, for example, and its not even clear if there are any particular pantheist rituals or practices. Do practices like prayer or worship even make sense in the pantheist scheme of things?

Love of nature is often associated with pantheism, but that does not seem to be a central tenet of the religion. Self-professed pantheists like Wordsworth, Whitman, and other Romantic poets certainly had a deep love of nature, but that was not necessarily the case for pantheists like Spinoza and Lao Tzu. Nevertheless, for some pantheists the idea that nature is something that inspires awe, wonder, and reverence is important. This attitude toward nature is perhaps what motivates many contemporary pantheists to identify themselves as such. It is no coincidence that there are strong ties between pantheism and the ecology movement.

Given some of the issues raised here, I look forward to having a number of questions clarified during our upcoming show. One important question is: what exactly is the relationship between pantheism and atheism? Are they complementary or conflicting views of the world? Can we distinguish pantheism from traditional theism without the view simply collapsing into atheism? Is pantheism really a religion, or just a metaphysical view of the world? Does it have distinctive rituals or practices? What would motivate someone to identify as a pantheist? And how central is reverence for nature to pantheism?

Joining the conversation with John and Ken will be Philip Clayton, Dean of the Claremont School of Theology and Provost of Claremont Lincoln University. He is also the co-author of The Predicament of Belief: Science, Philosophy and Faith.

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Pantheism | Philosophy Talk

Pantheism. I believe that the universe created itself …

ANYONE WHO IS UNABLE TO POST DUE TO DOWNVOTES SHOULD PM THE MODS AND WE WILL ADD THEM TO THE APPROVED SUBMITTER LIST

Obviously exceptions may be made

Before posting, consider that this is the definition of Atheism most commonly used in this sub, to avoid confusion and threads being snowballed by “That’s not what Atheism means!”

There are many definitions of the word atheist, and no one definition is universally accepted by all. There is no single ‘literal’ definition of atheist or atheism, but various accepted terms. However, within non-religious groups, it is reasonable to select a definition that fits the majority of the individuals in the group.For r/DebateAnAtheist, the majority of people identify as agnostic or ‘weak’ atheists, that is, they lack a belief in a god.

They make no claims about whether or not a god actually exists, and thus, this is a passive position philosophically.

The other commonly-used definition for atheist is a ‘strong’ atheist – one who believes that no gods exists, and makes an assertion about the nature of reality, i.e. that is it godless. However, there are fewer people here who hold this position, so if you are addressing this sort of atheist specifically, please say so in your title.

-Thanks /u/deviantmoomba!

Debate in real time!

There are no real rules. It’s more like a meta. The public decides what it likes to see, and so set’s the “meta”. There are no rules, so you can be pithy, and snarky, or show bad form in debate, etc. But, there’s a balance you seek. If you stray too far away from the meta and towards “bug”, then that leads to the only real “rule”:

Obviously Reddit official rules will not be allowed, and dox’ing (or posting someone’s post history) will be removed on a post per post basis. If you believe the meta needs to shift, or a bug fix was issued in error, then message us. We may be tyrants, but we’re not unreasonable.

NOTE: If you want more rules, I suggest r/DebateReligion.

Here’s another sub you might liker/AtheistDefenseLeagueIt’s a link swap thing

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Pantheism. I believe that the universe created itself …

What is pantheism? | CARM.org

by Matt Slick

Pantheism is the position that God and nature are the same thing. Pantheism comes from two Greek words, pan meaning all and theos meaning ‘god.’ So, it would teach that all the stars, galaxies, planets, mountains, wind, and rain, are all one and the same… part of what God is. So, pantheists would say that all is God.

Biblical Christianity teaches that God is separate from his creation and he created it (Gen. 1:1-30), where pantheism says that Godand creation share the same nature and essence.

A huge problem with pantheism is that it cannot account for the existence of the universe. The universe is not infinitely old. It had a beginning. This would mean that God also had a beginning, buthow can something bring itself into existence? This is impossible, so this leaves us with the question of where God and the universe came from. Pantheism cannot answer this question, and it naturally leads to absurdities.

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What is pantheism? | CARM.org

Pantheism – Encyclopedia Volume – Catholic Encyclopedia …

P 2P 2Ppago IndiansAn important tribe of Shoshonean linguistic stock, speaking a dialect of the Pima language and …Pzmny, PeterA famous Hungarian ecclesiastic of the seventeenth century; died 19 March, 1637. He was born of …

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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 …


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