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pantheism

Posted: January 19, 2016 at 3:37 pm

pantheism

Definition: Pantheist (pan=all; theos=god) is a term coined in 1705 by John Toland for someone who believes that everything is God. On this basis in 1732, the Christian apologist Daniel Waterland used the noun "pantheism" for the first time, condemning the belief as "scandalously bad... scarce differing from... Atheism."

Under pantheistic theory, only God exists and all that exists is God. There are various forms of pantheism, but the most common argues that the totality of reality - you, the computer, everything - is a part of God. Another common form is that simply the universe itself or perhaps the laws of nature are God. There are four named categories of pantheism in the literature:

Theomonistic Pantheism: Only God exists and the independent existence of nature is denied - also referred to as acosmism (a-*cos-mism, or "no-world")

Physiomonistic Pantheism: Only nature or the universe exist, but they are referred to with the term "God". Thus, God is denied having independent existence.

Transcendental or Mystical Pantheism: Actually panentheism, dealt with below.

Immanent-Transcendent Pantheism: God works through and is revealed through nature (also called Idealism sometimes).

When scientific pantheists say they revere the universe, they are not talking about a supernatural being. Instead, they are referring to the way human senses and our emotions force us to respond to the overwhelming mystery and power that surrounds us.

Pantheism has occurred more often in the East, for example in Hinduism. There are relatively few examples of pantheistic systems developing in the West, with major examples being the philosophies of Spinoza and Hegel. The earliest evidence of pantheism is found in the Vedas of Brahmanism, perhaps the oldest existing religion, dating back to 1000 BCE. It is also associated with the Egyptian religion when Ra, Isis and Osiris were identified with all existence. Many philosophical scholars think the great Greek philosopher Parmenides was a pantheist as well as Plotinus and Erigen.

Many pantheists use polytheism as a metaphoric way of approaching the cosmic divinity they believe in. Some simply feel the need for symbols and personages to mediate their relationship with nature and the cosmos. Pantheists can, however, also relate directly to the universe and to nature, without the need for any intermediary symbols or deities.

The sentiment of pantheism has predominantly influenced the thoughts and works of poets, philosophers, mystics, and extremely spiritual people. Notable among pantheistic poets are Goethe, Coleridge, Wordsworth and Emerson. Many modern poets consider pantheism as part of their world-view. However, pantheism never developed into a formal doctrine.

Pantheism can be thought of as a natural development of animism - arguing that everything is part of a universal spirit rather than that everything has spirits.

Pantheism can suffer from certain problems, however. If absolutely everything is believed to be a part of God, then there is the contradiction that God can simultaneously be aware of something and not be aware of something (i.e., when children do not know something but their parents do). Another problem stems from the question of why exactly we would need to apply the label "god" to the universe itself. We already have a perfectly good term: "universe." What new information does "god" supply?

A final problem comes from the issue of good and evil. If the pantheistic god is the sum of its parts, then it is certainly responsible for all the good which is done and is much more good than any one person. However, it is also responsible for all the evil committed and is much more wicked than any one person. All of the good in this god cannot acquit it of the incredible evil which has occurred.

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What is the Philosophy of Religion? Sometimes confused with theology, the Philosophy of Religion is the philosophical study of religious beliefs, religious doctrines, religious arguments and religious history. The line between theology and the philosophy of religion isn't always sharp, but the primary difference is that theology tends to be apologetical in nature, committed to the defense of particular religious positions, whereas Philosophy of Religion is committed to the investigation of religion itself, rather than the truth of any particular religion.

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Metaphysics of Pantheism – Famous Pantheist Quotes

Posted: September 29, 2015 at 11:44 pm

Pantheist Quotes / Quotations from Famous Philosophers & Scientists

We are part of Nature as a whole whose order we follow (Spinoza) All things are parts of one single system, which is called Nature; the individual life is good when it is in harmony with Nature. (Zeno) I believe in the cosmos. All of us are linked to the cosmos. So nature is my god. To me, nature is sacred. Trees are my temples and forests are my cathedrals. Being at one with nature. (Mikhail Gorbachev)

The word pantheism derives from the Greek words pan (='all') and theos (='God'). Thus pantheism means 'All is God'. In essence, pantheism holds that there is no divinity other than the universe and nature. Pantheism is a religious belief that reveres and cares for nature, a religion that joyously accepts this life as our only life, and this earth as our only paradise, if we look after it. Pantheism revels in the beauty of nature and the night sky, and is full of wonder at their mystery and power. Pantheism believes that all things are linked in profound unity ... All things interconnected and interdependent. In life and in death we humans are an inseparable part of this unity, and in realising this we can find our joy and our peace. (Harrison, Pantheism, 1999)

'All is One and Interconnected' is not a new idea, its foundation lies with the ancient philosophers. For thousands of years, philosophers have gazed at the stars and known that One thing must exist that is common to and connects the Many things within the Universe. As Leibniz profoundly says; Reality cannot be found except in One single source, because of the interconnection of all things with one another. (Leibniz, 1670) Albert Einstein also had a good understanding of humans as an inseparable part of the One, as he writes;

A human being is part of the whole called by us universe ... We experience ourselves, our thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest. A kind of optical delusion of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from the prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. The true value of a human being is determined by the measure and the sense in which they have obtained liberation from the self. We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if humanity is to survive. (Albert Einstein)

Unfortunately (and most likely tragically), this knowledge of our interconnection to the Universe (Nature, God) has been lost (or is naively considered as not important) to modern day humanity. We are 'bleeding at the roots because we are cut off from the Earth' as D. H. Lawrence writes.

It is important to understand that although 'All is One and Interconnected' is a profound idea of the ancients, they did not actually know how the universe was a dynamic unity, what matter was, how the One Thing / Brahman caused and connected the many things. Recent discoveries on the properties of Space and the Wave Structure of Matter (Wolff, Haselhurst) suggests that we can understand Reality and the interconnection of all things from a foundation of science / reason rather than mysticism / intuition.

Please see links on the side of this page for the main articles which explain and solve many of the problems of postmodern Metaphysics, Physics and Philosophy from the new foundation of the Metaphysics of Space and Motion and the Wave Structure of Matter (WSM).

We greatly appreciate any comments on how we can improve this website and its content. So please feel free to write to us.

Geoff Haselhurst, Karene Howie, Email

'Deus sive Natura' (God or Nature) We are part of Nature as a whole whose order we follow (Spinoza)

Behold but One in all things; it is the second that leads you astray. (Kabir)

When the Ten Thousand things are viewed in their oneness, we return to the Origin and remain where we have always been. (Sen T'sen)

The scientist does not study nature because it is useful; he studies it because he delights in it, and he delights in it because it is beautiful. If nature were not beautiful, it would not be worth knowing, and if nature were not worth knowing, life would not be worth living. (Jules Henri Poincare)

One grand great life throbs through earth's giant heart, And mighty waves of single Being roll From nerve-less germ to man, for we are part Of every rock and bird and beast and hill, One with the things that prey on us, and one with what we kill. (Oscar Wilde, Panthea)

We are enabled to apprehend at all what is sublime and noble only by the perpetual instilling and drenching of the reality that surrounds us. We can never have enough of nature. (Henry David Thoreau)

A knowledge of the existence of something we cannot penetrate, of the manifestations of the profoundest reason and the most radiant beauty - it is this knowledge and this emotion that constitute the truly religious attitude; in this sense, and in this alone, I am a deeply religious man. (Albert Einstein)

A religion old or new, that stressed the magnificence of the universe as revealed by modern science, might be able to draw forth reserves of reverence and awe hardly tapped by the conventional faiths. Sooner or later, such a religion will emerge. (Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot)

I believe in the cosmos. All of us are linked to the cosmos. So nature is my god. To me, nature is sacred. Trees are my temples and forests are my cathedrals. Being at one with nature. (Mikhail Gorbachev)

'God is not separate from the world; He is the soul of the world, and each of us contains a part of the Divine Fire. All things are parts of one single system, which is called Nature; the individual life is good when it is in harmony with Nature. In one sense, every life is in harmony with Nature, since it is such as Natures laws have caused it to be; but in another sense a human life is only in harmony with Nature when the individual will is directed to ends which are among those of Nature. Virtue consists in a will which is in agreement with Nature.' (Zeno, founder of Stoicism) (Russell, 1946)

Let your gods, therefore, O philosophers, be suited to the present appearances of nature: and presume not to alter these appearances by arbitrary suppositions, in order to suit them to the attributes, which you so fondly ascribe to your deities. (David Hume, Enquiries Concerning Human Understanding, 1737, p137-8)

The word pantheism derives from the Greek words pan (='all') and theos (='God'). Thus pantheism means 'All is God'. In essence, pantheism holds that there is no divinity other than the universe and nature. Pantheism is a religious belief that reveres and cares for nature, a religion that joyously accepts this life as our only life, and this earth as our only paradise, if we look after it. Pantheism revels in the beauty of nature and the night sky, and is full of wonder at their mystery and power. Pantheism believes that all things are linked in profound unity ... All things interconnected and interdependent. In life and in death we humans are an inseparable part of this unity, and in realising this we can find our joy and our peace. (Harrison, Pantheism, 1999)

Taoism is a strongly pantheistic religion .. Its central focus is the Tao or Way, conceived of as a mysterious and numinous unity, infinite and eternal, underlying all things and sustaining them.

The Great Tao flows everywhere ... All things depend on it for life, and it does not turn away from them. One may think of it as the mother of all beneath Heaven. We do not know its name, but we call it Tao .. Deep and still, it seems to have existed forever.

The ideal of Taoism was to live in harmony with the Tao and to cultivate a simple and frugal life, avoiding unnecessary action: 'Being one with nature, he [the sage] is in accord with the Tao'... When Tung Kuo Tzu asked Chuang Tzu where the Tao was, he replied it was in the ant, the grass, the clay tile, even in excrement : 'There is nowhere where it is not ... There is no single thing without Tao'. (Harrison, Pantheism)

I believe the universe is one being; all its parts are different expressions of the same energy, and they are all in communication with each other, therefore parts of one organic whole ... The whole is in all its parts so beautiful, and is felt by me to be so intensely in earnest, that I am compelled to love it, and to think of it as divine. It seems to me that this whole alone is worthy of the deeper sort of love; and there is peace, freedom, I might say a kind of salvation, in turning one's affections outward toward this one God; rather than inwards on one's self, or on humanity, or on human imaginations and abstractions- the world of spirits. (Robinson Jeffers, Pantheism)

We are resolved into the supreme air, We are made one with what we touch and see, With our heart's blood each crimson sun is fair, With our young lives each spring-impassioned tree Flames into green, the wildest beasts that range The moor our kinsmen are, all life is one, and all is change. With beat of systole and of diastole One grand great life throbs through earth's giant heart, And mighty waves of single Being roll From nerve-less germ to man, for we are part Of every rock and bird and beast and hill, One with the things that prey on us, and one with what we kill. . . .

One sacrament are consecrate, the earth Not we alone hath passions hymeneal, The yellow buttercups that shake for mirth At daybreak know a pleasure not less real Than we do, when in some fresh-blossoming wood We draw the spring into our hearts, and feel that life is good. . . .

Is the light vanished from our golden sun, Or is this daedal-fashioned earth less fair, That we are nature's heritors, and one With every pulse of life that beats the air? Rather new suns across the sky shall pass, New splendour come unto the flower, new glory to the grass.

And we two lovers shall not sit afar, Critics of nature, but the joyous sea Shall be our raiment, and the bearded star Shoot arrows at our pleasure! We shall be Part of the mighty universal whole, And through all Aeons mix and mingle with the Kosmic Soul!

We shall be notes in that great Symphony Whose cadence circles through the rhythmic spheres, And all the live World's throbbing heart shall be One with our heart, the stealthy creeping years Have lost their terrors now, we shall not die, The Universe itself shall be our Immortality!

(Panthea, Oscar Wilde)

PANTHEISM - by Paul Harrison is the belief that the universe is divine and nature is sacred. It fuses religion and science, and concern for humans with concern for nature. It provides the the most solid basis for environmental ethics. It is a religion that requires no faith other than common sense, no revelation other than open eyes and a mind open to evidence, no guru other than your own self

All things in the universe are one. They began as one. They may end as one. They are all made of the same basic matter/energy, and they interact with one another, constantly. All things on earth are one: plants, animals, rocks, oceans and atmosphere. All living creatures had a common origin, all depend on each other, and shape and are shaped by non-living things. Life has radically altered the earth's atmosphere, and molded many aspects of its geology. The Gaia system is an organic evolving whole embracing the biosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere and atmosphere.

All humans on earth are one. We descend from the same family of common ancestors. We are, in a quite literal sense, siblings, and like siblings we depend on each other's love and care and responsibility. We are interdependent not just in our families and communities, but in nations, and increasingly on a global scale - just as we are also interdependent with nature and the earth.

Yet at the same time things are many. Matter-energy is embodied in many different particles and bodies. Life has evolved into many unique species - at least 1.5 million that we know of - and each individual of each species is unique. Diversity is essential to the beauty and interest of nature and the universe. Without it everything would be blank and monotonous.

All these beings have their own separate existence. Existence as a separate individual is always more or less temporary, from the day's life of a mayfly to the billions of years of a star. Sooner or later, humans, cats, trees, planets, stars will end their temporary existence and be reabsorbed, recycled and recreated as part of new phenomena. Yet even if their existence is temporary, this does not mean that it is unreal or unimportant.

Animals with nervous systems and senses have a greater degree of separation. Their consciousness make each one see themselves as separate. And in many respects they are separate: driven to seek survival, even at the expense of other individuals or other species.

We often think too rigidly in terms of either/or, black/white distinctions. Philosophical systems that talk about unity tend to deny or play down diversity, as if it were in some way not real, or not important. Yet this devalues individual things and creatures. It makes us look at them in a distant and abstract way, makes us ignore their particularity.

Other systems focus too much on diversity and ignore the ways in which things are united and interdependent. This too carries the risk that we see ourselves only as isolated individuals, in competition with each other.

Yet we do not have to make an all-or-nothing choice between unity and multiplicity. Both exist and for wholeness we must embrace both.

Imagine you are standing on a rocky shore by the ocean, on a breezy day. The reach ahead of you is ultimately linked with every stretch of sea on the planet. It is a unity, a vast watery whole.

But in front of you, where water interfaces with air, what you see is waves, hundreds of thousands of waves: some enormous, others smaller, others again tiny waves on the backs of waves. Each of these waves is a distinct entity, with its own characteristics. They are a multiplicity.

The Multiplicity and the Unity are one and the same thing, a thing that is both many and one at the same time. The waves, and the currents underwater, make up the ocean. The ocean is the underlying basis for every wave. Neither the ocean, nor the waves, can be understood in isolation from each other.

We need a sense of the unity of life and of humans for the sake of human welfare and for the survival of the planet. We need a sense of unity with the cosmos so that we can connect with Reality. But we also need a sense of individuality, for the sake of our own dignity and independence and of the loving care for others. We need it to appreciate each natural form, each animal and plant, each human person in their uniqueness.

We must preserve the sense of unity and the sense of diversity and multiplicity.

We must recognize that the One and the Many are the same thing viewed from different angles.

The One is the Many. The One is manifested only in and through the Many. It has no separate existence apart from the Many.

Equally the Many are the One. Even during their temporary separation, they are always part of the One, and always united with the One. Every one of us is always part of the One, and can unite with the One at any time we choose.

Cosmos: unity of matter and energy. This page explores the common origin, composition and interaction of the universe.

Gaia: unity of life: co-evolution and interdependence of animals, plants, ecosystems, and planet.

Polis: unity of society: interdependence at national and international levels.

Microcosmos: interfacing with reality.

Pantheism Philosophy by Paul Harrison http://members.aol.com/Heraklit1/

Aurelius, Marcus - Famous Stoic Roman Emperor & his Meditations on our Interconnected Existence in the Universe & how we are to live. 'We should not say - I am an Athenian or I am a Roman but I am a Citizen of the Universe.' Albert Einstein: Cosmology - Albert Einstein's General Relativity laid the Foundations for Modern Cosmology - A Simple Solution to a Complex Problem. 'A human being is part of the whole called by us Universe.' Ancient Greek Philosophy - All is One (Space) and Active-Flux (Wave Motion). Thales, Anaximander, Anaximenes, Heraclitus, Parmenides, Atomists (Democritus, Lucretius), Socrates, Plato, Epicurus. Metaphysics: Problem of One and the Many - Brief History of Metaphysics and Solutions to the Fundamental Problems of Uniting the; One and the Many, Infinite and the Finite, Eternal and the Temporal, Absolute and Relative, Continuous and Discrete, Simple and Complex, Matter and Universe. Philosophy: Stoicism Zeno - Famous Roman Stoic Philosopher Zeno realised the Interconnection of All Things in the Universe. Spinoza, Benedictus de - The Wave Structure of Matter in One Infinite Eternal Space explains Spinoza's Substance (God is Nature) and the Interconnection of all things to One Thing and the Importance of (Wave) Motion in the Universe. Tesla, Nikola - Tesla was influenced by Vedic Philosophy that all is one and dynamic. The Wave Structure of Matter confirms Nikola Tesla's Theories on Resonance and Transfer of Energy by Waves in Space. 'One day man will connect his apparatus to the very wheel work of the universe ... and the very forces that motivate the planets in their orbits and cause them to rotate will rotate his own machinery.' Thoreau, Henry David - Thoreau's Civil Disobedience profoundly influenced Martin Luther King and Mohandas Gandhi. On Walden Pond greatly influenced my life of living simply in Nature.

http://www.pantheism.net/ - World Pantheist Movement http://members.aol.com/Heraklit1/ - Pantheism: Nature, Universe, Science and Religion. Natural Pantheism, a spiritual approach to Nature and the Cosmos. The Universe is divine and Nature is sacred. The history, theory and practice of Pantheism. By Paul Harrison.

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"In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act." (George Orwell)

"Hell is Truth Seen Too Late." (Thomas Hobbes)

"You must be the change you wish to see in the world." (Mohandas Gandhi)

"When forced to summarize the general theory of relativity in one sentence: Time and space and gravitation have no separate existence from matter. ... Physical objects are not in space, but these objects are spatially extended. In this way the concept 'empty space' loses its meaning. ... The particle can only appear as a limited region in space in which the field strength or the energy density are particularly high. ... The free, unhampered exchange of ideas and scientific conclusions is necessary for the sound development of science, as it is in all spheres of cultural life. ... We must not conceal from ourselves that no improvement in the present depressing situation is possible without a severe struggle; for the handful of those who are really determined to do something is minute in comparison with the mass of the lukewarm and the misguided. ... Humanity is going to need a substantially new way of thinking if it is to survive!" (Albert Einstein)

Our world is in great trouble due to human behaviour founded on myths and customs that are causing the destruction of Nature and climate change. We can now deduce the most simple science theory of reality - the wave structure of matter in space. By understanding how we and everything around us are interconnected in Space we can then deduce solutions to the fundamental problems of human knowledge in physics, philosophy, metaphysics, theology, education, health, evolution and ecology, politics and society.

This is the profound new way of thinking that Einstein realised, that we exist as spatially extended structures of the universe - the discrete and separate body an illusion. This simply confirms the intuitions of the ancient philosophers and mystics.

Given the current censorship in physics / philosophy of science journals (based on the standard model of particle physics / big bang cosmology) the internet is the best hope for getting new knowledge known to the world. But that depends on you, the people who care about science and society, realise the importance of truth and reality.

It is easy to help - just click on the social network sites (below) or grab a nice image / quote you like and add it to your favourite blog, wiki or forum. We are listed as one of the top philosophy sites on the Internet (600,000 page views / week) and have a wonderful collection of knowledge from the greatest minds in human history, so people will appreciate your contributions. Thanks! Geoff Haselhurst - Karene Howie - Email

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"All that is necessary for evil to succeed is for good people to do nothing." (Edmund Burke)

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Metaphysics of Pantheism - Famous Pantheist Quotes

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Pantheism and Biblical Christianity Bill Muehlenbergs …

Posted: September 20, 2015 at 3:44 pm

In the famous painting on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel by Michelangelo there is the memorable scene of the creator God extending his finger to the outstretched hand of the newly formed Adam. The imagery makes clear that Adam is a creation of God, not an extension of him. Creator and creation are distinct.

That is the clear understanding of the Judeo-Christian worldview. In contrast to Eastern religions, where God is seen as everything (pantheism), or in everything (panentheism), the biblical teaching is that there is an eternal, personal and infinite God who is not to be confused with his creation.

For millennia the West was based on the monotheistic religions which viewed creation as the finite result of an infinite God, while the East has been shaped by monism (the belief that all is one) and pantheism. But recently these two opposing worldviews have experienced a massive crossover.

There are various reasons why East and West have lost their distinctive differences, and become so entwined. I here wish to focus on just one area. Western popular culture and the entertainment industry have done much to promote the pantheistic worldview and New Age spirituality.

Whether it be popular films such as the Star Wars series, or bestselling New Age tomes such as The Secret by Rhonda Byrne or A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle, on all sides the West is being inundated with Eastern thinking and New Age concepts.

The most recent and most spectacular example of this is the runaway hit film, Avatar. It is a classic example of the pantheistic worldview, dressed up to suit modern Western tastes. It is thus quite a part of the New Age revolution which has conquered so much of the West over the past few decades.

Part of the reason why the New Age appeals so much to Westerners is that it offers the Eastern religious system but without much of its more demanding religious and ethical emphases. People are free to choose in the New Age spirituality what they like, and little or no demands are made on them.

Many of the people today who tinker with the East are really just imbibing in the New Age smorgasbord. They pick and choose those aspects which they like, and leave those which they dont. It is all very Western really, fitting our consumerist lifestyle. Thus Eastern thoughts and concepts have very much become a part of Western life.

And films like Avatar are in many ways just a reflection of this. Instead of a creator God who stands outside of us, and places expectations and demands upon us, in the new Easternised spiritualities of the West, people are free to call the shots and determine what is right and wrong, true and false.

Indeed, they get to be God. That is the real attraction of the New Age worldview. Instead of a transcendent God with whom we must do business, and bow to, we in fact are all a part of the divine already. We just need to realise that we are already God, that we are already divine.

And sadly, many Christians have bought into this explicitly non-Christian worldview as well. Many Christians seem to think they can simultaneously hold to Christianity while dabbling in New Age beliefs and practices. I have spoken to many such persons.

Indeed, how many Christians would have gone to a film like Avatar and left it all agog, without even being aware of how in so many ways it is promoting a decidedly non-biblical point of view. Of course many people have warned about how this new paganism is creeping into the churches.

Peter Jones of Westminster Seminary, for example, has written numerous volumes on these dangers. Readers should consult The Gnostic Empire Strikes Back: An Old Heresy for the New Age (P&R, 1992); Spirit Wars: Pagan Revival in Christian America (WinePress, 1997); Pagans in the Pews (Regal, 2001); and Capturing the Pagan Mind (Broadman & Holman, 2003).

Earlier C.S. Lewis had warned about the dangers of pantheistic thinking. In the 1950s he had penned these words: I freely admit that, believing both, I have stressed the transcendence of God more than His immanence. I thought, and I think, that the present situation demands this. I see around me no danger of Deism but much of an immoral, naive and sentimental pantheism. I have often found that it was in fact the chief obstacle to conversion.

Indeed, it is biblical Christianity which provides the right mix between divine transcendence and divine immanence. God is wholly other and separate from us (his transcendence) and yet he chose to become one with us in the incarnation, and he dwells with those who seek to follow him (his immanence).

There is no possibility in the biblical worldview of confusing who we are and who God is. Indeed, just today I read a great line in the third and final volume of John Goldingays magisterial Old Testament Theology. He says this: The difference between God and us is that God never thinks he is us.

Exactly so. But the tendency amongst so many Westerners influenced by pantheism, Eastern thought and the New Age movement is to think we are God. That type of thinking runs counter to the entire biblical belief system. We are doubly alienated from God: first, by creation, and secondly, by sin. The first renders us finite; the second renders us fallen.

Both these obstacles must be overcome, and we cannot do the overcoming ourselves. It is God who has taken the initiative here, becoming incarnate so that we might become (in the right sense of the word) partakers of the divine nature. And of course to get right with God, we must come to him on his terms, not our own.

But for those who want to call the shots, who want to pretend they are already divine, the Christian answer will never do. Lewis again had all this rightly explained a half century ago. Writing in his classic 1947 volume, Miracles, he wrote that pantheism is in fact the permanent natural bent of the human mind.

Why so? It is so congenial to unregenerate man because it simply means what man says about God, and not what God does about man. In biblical Christianity God is sovereign and we are not. No wonder people prefer pantheism. As Peter Kreeft rightly noted,

Men are reluctant to pass over from the notion of an abstract and negative deity to the living God. I do not wonder. Here lies the deepest tap-root of Pantheism and of the objection to traditional imagery. It was hated not, at bottom, because it pictured Him as a man but because it pictured Him as king, or even as warrior. The Pantheists God does nothing, demands nothing. He is there if you wish for Him, like a book on a shelf. He will not pursue you. There is no danger that at any time heaven and earth should flee away at His glance. If He were the truth, then we could really say that all the Christian images-of kingship were a historical accident of which our religion ought to be cleansed.

Ever since our first parents fell, people have been looking for a way to get back to God, but on their own terms. The way of the cross is simply too hard and too demanding for many. But a worldview which tells us we are already God, well, that is something most people can readily sign up for.

But it is a false path to salvation. There is only one path whereby we can get right with God, and that path goes through a hill with a cross on it, and it goes through a person, Jesus Christ. The masses may marvel at the God-is-everything philosophy of a film like Avatar, but only those who have come to an end of themselves will realise that reunion with God is something that God decides and God lays out the specs for.

We either bow the knee to him and his designated means of becoming reunited with him, or we devise our own paths. But Jesus made it clear that there is only one path. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it (Matt 7:14).

Philosophies like the New Age, and films like Avatar readily appeal to us. They allow us the right to set the boundaries and determine the rules. They assume mankind is already alive and part of the divine. Biblical Christianity, by contrast, assumes that we are all spiritually dead and alienated from God. That is why Christ came not to tell us we are already part of the divine, but to show us how to flee the wrath to come, and how to become who we were truly meant to be.

[1485 words]

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Pantheism and Biblical Christianity Bill Muehlenbergs ...

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A Religion of Nature, Earth, Gaia | World Pantheism

Posted: August 22, 2015 at 12:50 am

Is Nature the focus of your deepest spiritual feelings? Are you looking for a spirituality or religion that focuses on Nature, on saving the Earth, on preserving its habitats and species?

World Pantheism is probably the most clearly earth-focussed of spiritual/religious organizations. Nature is the very heart of our spirituality, which is close to Deep Ecology, Gaia theory, Nature religion, or basic and direct Nature Worship. The simplest way to sum it up is in Michael Gorbachev's phrase "Nature is my god."

This beautiful Planet Earth is our mother and our home. This sacred Earth is our ark and all the plants and animals that live in it are our fellow passengers. That ark is threatened now, as never before in history, by human actions and inactions.

World Pantheism focuses on this Earth rather than an imaginary realm, on this life rather than an uncertain afterlife. We recognize that our planet, the habitat of all living things, is a delicate network of interacting elements in which rocks, waters, climate and life all shape each other. This interaction has been described using the metaphor of the Greek Earth goddess, Gaia. The Gaia theory states that life and the planet co-evolve, and that life to some extent works to make the planet stable enough for life to thrive.

The originator of the Gaia theory, Sir James Lovelock, is one of the WPM's honorary advisors, as is renowned Canadian environmentalist Dr David Suzuki. Our president and founder, Dr Paul Harrison, holds a United Nations Environment Programme Global 500 award for his many books on the environment, and has edited UNEP's annual report on the world environment for the past four years.

Care and concern for Earth is one of our central ethical values. As our belief statement says:

We are an integral part of Nature, which we cherish, revere and preserve in all its magnificent beauty and diversity. We strive to live in harmony with Nature locally and globally. We acknowledge the inherent value of all life, human and non-human, and treat all living beings with compassion and respect.

We express these values as a community in several ways. Our active click group at EcologyFund has saved more wildlife habitat than any other religious or environmental group. We also from time to time sponsor ads in EcologyFund which pay for the land to be preserved. And we have a Wildlife Habitat Schemewhere people undertake to manage all our part of their garden or land in the interests of native wildlife.

We have numerous mailing lists about nature-centered ways of living and naturalistic ideas, as well as topical lists and local area lists.

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A Religion of Nature, Earth, Gaia | World Pantheism

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AN INTRODUCTION TO PANTHEISM by Jan Garrett – WKU

Posted: at 12:50 am

by Jan Garrett Contents

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

Paul Harrison writes,

One of the chief clues to understanding modern pantheism is its consistent refusal to engage in anthropomorphism. "Anthropomorphism" here means the practice of attributing familiar human qualities to objects outside us when there is no good evidence that they have such qualities.

Refusal of anthropomorphism explains one of the key differences between pantheism and paganism. In ancient times, "pagans" referred to adherents of polytheistic pre-Christian religions which Christianity was trying to suppress. Pagans, or people who worship gods and divinities in nature, obviously have much in common with pantheism. But there was a tendency, at least in the paganism of the past, to impose familiar human qualities on natural objects that may not have them, for example, to regard a tree as if it could perceive in the way that animals do or even as if it were a self-conscious being. Most contemporary pantheists would refuse to do this and would regard such an attitude as anthropomorphic.

The divine universe is mysterious. Though we can understand the universe more adequately as scientific research proceeds, there will always be questions to which we will not yet have answers; and explanations of ultimate origins will always remain speculative (they are too 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 universe as it is now was created by the universe as it was a moment ago, and that universe by the universe that existed a moment before that, and so on. If we view universe in this way, we can keep the idea of creator and creation and yet have no need to imagine a being apart from the universe who created it. The divine being is indeed a creator, in the pantheist view. Indeed, the creativity of the natural universe is probably the best evidence for its divinity.

Is the universe eternal? Well, it depends on how you understand eternity. Traditional Western 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 in the theological sense. Possibly it is everlasting, maybe it had no first moment and will never cease to exist. Scientific evidence does point to a Big Bang several billion years ago, from which our universe in roughly its current form originated, but if we accept the time-honored precept that nothing comes from nothing, we cannot rule out the existence of a material universe before this Big Bang.

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

Pantheism has clear differences with the traditional description of God. It departs from the picture of God given in the Old Testament to the extent that the Old Testament attributes human 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 arises from 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.

C. Alan Anderson and Deb Whitehouse, authors of New Thought: A Practical American Spirituality, have married the process theology of Alfred N. Whitehead and others with the religious tradition known as New Thought. They have criticized pantheism for its resistance to the idea of a personal divinity. Their criticisms are interesting because process theology agrees with pantheism in bringing God and Nature together. But process theologians Anderson and Whitehouse are not pantheists--they are panentheists. That is, they regard the material universe as the body of God--everything material is in God--but God's mind or personhood is somehow something 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 replacing God as a loving father by a "formless, impersonal Ground of All Being into which we all ultimately 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 divinity is a "universal wet blanket" seems to boil down to the charge that pantheists do not accept the view that the divinity literally loves us as a parent would. To that the pantheist response is simple: there is almost as much evidence that the universe hates us as there is that it loves us, in other words, not much. On the other hand, the fact that we are still here is evidence that the universe nurtures us and supports us, at least for the time being. We can certainly be thankful for that.

Deb Whitehouse's charge that pantheism denies the reality of the human individual does actually fit some pantheist philosophies of earlier times, for instance, the seventeenth-century philosophy of Spinoza. But it does not fit modern pantheism as expressed, for example, in most of the publications of the Universal Pantheist Society or the text of Paul Harrison's "Scientific Pantheism" 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 divine universe is anything but formless.

Now, some people who call themselves atheists might really be pantheists because they value the natural world and only reject the concept of a personal God or gods, which they have mistaken for the only possible conception of divinity. On the other hand, some people who might think of themselves as atheists are humanists and not pantheists because they place all ultimate value in things human or some characteristic which only human beings possess.

Although it's risky to generalize about all pantheists, many pantheists reject the idea that when a human being has an aesthetic experience of nature and sees beauty in it, this is nothing but a human projection upon nature. They don't mind admitting that humans who experience natural beauty are contributing something to the experience, but let us remember , they say, (1) that nature has herself given humans the capacity to recognize her beauty and (2) that nature provides the object which 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 Charles Hartshorne argues, birdsong cannot be entirely explained in terms of its Darwinian function in biological 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.

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

The pantheist refusal of the idea that humans are the best things in the universe is not merely a matter of faith or attitude. Pantheists might even grant that we do not know whether there are other biological individuals that are superior to humans, e.g., aliens with higher intelligence or 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 grant their 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, however minimal you want to claim it is.

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

Conclusion: (5) there is a being more valuable than humans, namely, the biosphere which includes 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 are the best things in nature. They are especially aware of the perverse use to which this idea has been put over the last four centuries. It is part of the myth that has been used to justify Western humanity's domination of nature on Earth and the eradication of many cultures, species, and ecosystems 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 an unquestioned article of faith than an empirically verifiable proposition--in fact, given what members of the human species have done to each other and other species, it appears that humans do not on the whole have a very good record. It is a bad argument to use the rare cases--the Aristotles, the Shakespeares, the Beethovens, the Schweitzers, the Gandhis--as arguments for the surpassing nobility of the human species. Such highly creative or eminently ethical heroes and heroines are far from the average.

Is pantheism essentially a reverence for nature apart from the section of nature transformed by human culture? Well, the Universal Pantheist Society, the only pantheist member organization of which I am aware, seems to encourage open air ceremonies that evoke respect 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 that pantheism implies that you can only contemplate the divinity when you are out in the woods far from 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 technological marvels. They know how often those institutions and that technology have given humans the collective strength and the material means for mounting an assault upon nonhuman nature.

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 to use pre-scientific myths to explain inclement weather, for example, as sent by angry gods. They favor scientific explanations whenever we can get them. They recognize that some explanations are better than others, so that if a person first accepts one theory, then another, and still later a third, and each successive theory gives a better explanation of the same phenomenon than the preceding one, that surely is scientific progress worth celebrating. Seen in this light, scientific progress is mainly about understanding, not about control over nature.

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

It is not a healthy form of pantheism to celebrate the absorption of nature into the human economic-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 it is guilty of overweening pride. For it assumes that because we have the power to push aside the biological diversity that evolved over millions of years and the cultural diversity that developed alongside it over the last several thousand years, it follows that we and our puny Western technology can substitute ourselves for the richness of what we are displacing. The perverse form of anthropocentric "pantheism" to which I am now referring is also guilty of ignorance: it confuses the temporary domination of the planet by the economic-technological machine with the total absorption 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 out there, as pictures and data from the Hubble Space Telescope strikingly confirm. Besides, we probably cannot even control as much as of the planet as we would like. For example, we can't figure out how to reverse the damage we have caused the stratospheric ozone layer, only how to slow down the rate of additional damage in the hope that natural processes will revive the ozone layer after several decades. And we cannot figure out how to do away safely with our nuclear wastes or even 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 it works at dominating nature and making it into something passive and a mere resource, it does not follow that there is no acceptable technical progress. Some technologies are less invasive of nature than others. For example, those which use wind power for augmenting human energy and passive solar collection for heating are ethically less ambiguous than fossil fuels or nuclear energy. One can imagine continuously improved technical solutions of this sort. It is possible that experience 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 any case, pantheism as a religious perspective strongly endorses our learning how to live more lightly upon the earth.

Do pantheists believe that the divine universe cares whether we are good or bad, and that it 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 has providentially arranged for punishment and reward. Here they can borrow a page from the Stoics, who were also pantheists of a sort. The Stoics observed that human beings are endowed with a great capacity for wisdom as well as ignorance, and claimed that if we judge ignorantly we receive misery while if we judge wisely we receive tranquillity. They had in mind the insight that we make ourselves miserable by setting our hearts on things beyond our control. These things, they say, are not truly our private possessions and in claiming them for our own, or acting as if they should be, we are sinning or transgressing against nature. Yet if we do this, we are quickly disappointed 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 insight is that, in producing us as beings with capacity for reason, the universe has created us with the power 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 try to 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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Pantheists in History: a history of pantheism

Posted: July 19, 2015 at 4:45 pm

Instilled by the power and mystery and beauty of the Universe and Nature, Pantheism is the perennial religion. Children are born with it, and it continually emerges from all human spiritual traditions.

Pantheism is the belief that the universe and nature are numinous - that they and they alone are worthy of the reverence that traditional religions devote to "God."

Pantheism is the perennial religion. Children are born with it, and it continually emerges from all human spiritual traditions. It is the feeling of awe and wonder that reality itself inspires, onto which theistic religions project their imagined deities.

Pantheism is as old as human speculative thought. It dates as far back as the Upanishads, the Tao te Ching and the first Greek philosophers such as Thales and . Heraclitus, the Chinese Taoist Chuang Tzu, and the Stoic philosopher Zeno of Cittium.

After Christianity was enforced as the state religion of the Roman empire, it became dangerous to express pantheistic beliefs. Pantheists such as Meister Eckhart were marginalized, while others were burned and their books suppressed. Giordano Bruno, the first post-Christian pantheist, was burned at the stake in 1600 CE.

When religious tolerance spread in Europe, after the religious wars of the 16th and 17th centuries, Pantheism was able to express itself more openly, starting with Spinoza.

Pantheism began to spread more widely in the later 18th and early 19th centuries, in Germany with Goethe and Hegel, and in Britain with the romantic poets - Wordsworth, Keats, and Shelley, and the transcendentalists in the USA - above all Emerson and Thoreau.

During the 19th century Pantheism seemed set to become the dominant religious philosophy. But the wars and ideologies of the 20th century caused some regress. Political ideologies such as Communism and Fascism, along with the wars and upheavals they caused, commanded attention. Post-war existentialism and post-modernism spread the beliefs that there were no basic truths.

Yet pantheism persisted, often among the most eminent writers and scientists, including Einstein and Hawking, D. H. Lawrence, Robinson Jeffers, and Frank Lloyd Wright.

Related to pantheism is panentheism. Panentheists believe that a conscious, usually personal God is present in the sensible universe, but also extends beyond it. These include the neo-Platonist Plotinus and most Christian and Islamic panentheists. Some of these are included for comparison.

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Naturalistic pantheism – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Posted: at 4:45 pm

Naturalistic pantheism is a phrase referring to a kind of pantheism, and has been used in various ways. It has been used to identify God or divinity with concrete things,[1] determinism,[2] or the substance of the Universe.[3] God, from these perspectives, is seen as the aggregate of all unified natural phenomena.[4] The phrase has often been associated with the philosophy of Baruch Spinoza,[5] although academics differ on how it is used.

The term pantheism" is derived from Greek words pan (Greek: ) meaning "all" and theos () meaning God. It was coined by Joseph Raphson in his work De spatio reali, published in 1697. The term was introduced to English by Irish writer John Toland in his 1705 work Socinianism Truly Stated, by a pantheist that described pantheism as the "opinion of those who believe in no other eternal being but the universe."[6]

The term "naturalistic" derives from the word "naturalism", which has several meanings in philosophy and aesthetics.[7] In philosophy the term frequently denotes the view that everything belongs to the world of nature and can be studied with the methods appropriate for studying that world, i.e. the sciences.[8] It generally implies an absence of belief in supernatural beings.[7]

Joseph Needham, a modern British scholar of Chinese philosophy and science, has identified Taoism as "a naturalistic pantheism which emphasizes the unity and spontaneity of the operations of Nature."[9] This philosophy can be dated to the late 4th century BCE.[10]

The Hellenistic Greek philosophical school of Stoicism (which started in the early 3rd century BCE)[11] rejected the dualist idea of the separate ideal/conscious and material realms, and identified the substance of God with the entire cosmos and heaven.[3] However, not all philosophers who did so can be classified as naturalistic pantheists.[12]

Naturalistic pantheism was expressed by various thinkers,[5] including Giordano Bruno, who was burned at the stake for his views.[13] However, the 17th century Dutch philosopher Spinoza became particularly known for it.[5]

Possibly drawing upon the ideas of Descartes ,[14]Baruch Spinoza connected God and Nature through the phrase deus sive natura ("God, or Nature"),[15][16][17] making him the father of classical pantheism. He relied upon rationalism rather than the more intuitive approach of some Eastern traditions.[18]

Spinoza's philosophy, sometimes known as Spinozism, has been understood in a number of ways, and caused disagreements such as the Pantheism controversy. However, many scholars have considered it to be a form of naturalistic pantheism. This has included viewing the pantheistic unity as natural.[19] Others focus on the deterministic aspect of naturalism.[20][21] Spinoza inspired a number of other pantheists, with varying degrees of idealism towards nature.[22][23] However, Spinoza's influence in his own time was limited.[24][25]

Scholars have considered Spinoza the founder of a line of naturalistic pantheism, though not necessarily the only one.[26][27][28]

In 1705 the Irish writer John Toland endorsed a form of pantheism in which the God-soul is identical with the material universe.[29][30][6]

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A discussion of Atheistic Pantheism and Classical Deism

Posted: at 4:45 pm

by Lewis Loflin

Pantheism is just spiritual atheism, that has no relation to Deism. It claims to be based on science, but is poisoning science with pagan philosophy and mindless mysticism. It's become a type of fundamentalist' religion increasingly driven by emotion devoid of reason. This discussion will look at just what pantheism is and how it is a threat to humanity.

Rational? Really? No it's not it's about feelings not reason. Most of the universe is simply rock, gas, and metal completely devoid of life or real purpose, but the worship of this is rational? This person would go on and claim his belief was derived from chat boards and never bothered to look up the historical and dictionary definitions of the term.

This is a common problems with alleged deism websites that refuse to even define deism and openly reject its historical context - while claiming the authority of it. Many modern deists simply seek a way to attack theism.

Referring to New Age Religion from http://www.religioustolerance.org/ in their article that listed New Age beliefs:

According to Quakers and Deists and from John Punshon's Portrait in Grey: A Short History of the Quakers they quote Deism as,

And pantheism as,

It also leads to Universalism (as we define it, the belief that all religions are means to approach a the same spiritual reality) since many other faiths also practice this form of spiritual worship, e.g., Buddhism, Hinduism. Gandhi's book "All Religions Are True" is consistent with this philosophy. Pantheist Quakers view the "light [as] the direct operation of God upon the soul, something which the deist cosmology in principle refused to admit." (161)."

My dictionary says on pantheism, "a form monism that identifies mind and matter...making them...the self developing universe, conceived as a whole, as God...The worship of all as Gods...." So says Funk and Wagnalls.

I know of no Deist that believes what Atresica stated above. Deism says God created the universe, not God created God nor made the universe divine or is the universe divine. Deism rejects the divinity of the material world be it the universe or its parts or contents. This kind of pantheism and other Eastern style religion led to transcendentalism that is at total odds with both Deism and its close cousin Christian Unitarianism. Let me remind the reader of what traditional five articles of English Deism, which in no manner God merely created the universe and went away:

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CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Pantheism – New Advent

Posted: June 22, 2015 at 2:44 pm

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(From Greek pan, all; theos, god).

The view according to which God and the world are one. The name pantheist was introduced by John Toland (1670-1722) in his "Socinianism truly Stated" (1705), while pantheism was first used by his opponent Fay in "Defensio Religionis" (1709). Toland published his "Pantheisticon" in 1732. The doctrine itself goes back to the early Indian philosophy; it appears during the course of history in a great variety of forms , and it enters into or draws support from so many other systems that, as Professor Flint says ("Antitheistic Theories", 334), "there is probably no pure pantheism". Taken in the strictest sense, i.e. as identifying God and the world, Pantheism is simply Atheism. In any of its forms it involves Monism, but the latter is not necessarily pantheistic. Emanationism may easily take on a pantheistic meaning and as pointed out in the Encyclical "Pascendi dominici gregis", the same is true of the modern doctrine of immanence.

These agree in the fundamental doctrine that beneath the apparent diversity and multiplicity of things in the universe there is one only being absolutely necessary, eternal, and infinite. Two questions then arise: What is the nature of this being? How are the manifold appearances to be explained? The principal answers are incorporated in such different earlier systems as Brahminism, Stoicism, Neo-Platonism, and Gnosticism, and in the later systems of Scotus Eriugena and Giordano Bruno.

Spinoza's pantheism was realistic: the one being of the world had an objective character . But the systems that developed during the nineteenth century went to the extreme of idealism. They are properly grouped under the designation of "transcendental pantheism", as their starting-point is found in Kant's critical philosophy. Kant had distinguished in knowledge the matter which comes through sensation from the outer world, and the forms, which are purely subjective and yet are the more important factors. Furthermore, he had declared that we know the appearances (phenomena) of things but not the things-in-themselves (noumena). And he had made the ideas of the soul, the world, and God merely immanent, so that any attempt to demonstrate their objective value must end in contradiction. This subjectivism paved the way for the pantheistic theories of Fichte, Schelling, and Hegel.

Fichte set back into the mind all the elements of knowledge, i.e. matter as well as form; phenomena and indeed the whole of reality are products of the thinking Ego-not the individual mind but the absolute or universal self-consciousness. Through the three-fold process of thesis, antithesis, and synthesis, the Ego posits the non-Ego not only theoretically but also for practical purposes, i.e. for effort and struggle which are necessary in order to attain the highest good. In the same way the Ego, free in itself, posits other free agents by whose existence its own freedom is limited. Hence the law of right and all morality ; but hence also the Divine being. The living, active moral order of the world, says Fichte, is itself God, we need no other God, and can conceive of no other. The idea of God as a distinct substance is impossible and contradictory. Such, at any rate, is the earlier form of his doctrine, though in his later theorizing he emphasizes more and more the concepts of the Absolute as embracing all individuals within itself.

According to Schelling, the Absolute is the "identity of all differences"-object and subject, nature and mind , the real order and the ideal; and the knowledge of this identity is obtained by an intellectual intuition which, abstracting from every individual thinker and every possible object of thought, contemplates the absolute reason . Out of this original unity all things evolve in opposite directions: nature as the negative pole, mind or spirit as the positive pole of a vast magnet, the universe. Within this totality each thing, like the particle of a magnet, has its nature or form determined according as it manifests subjectivity or objectivity in greater degree. History is but the gradual self-revelation of the Absolute; when its final period will come to pass we know not; but when it does come, then God will be.

The system of Hegel has been called "logical pantheism", as it is constructed on the "dialectical" method; and "panlogismus", since it describes the entire world-process as the evolution of the Idea . Starting from the most abstract of notions, i.e. pure being, the Absolute develops first the various categories ; then it externalizes itself, and Nature is the result; finally it returns upon itself, regains unity and self-consciousness, becomes the individual spirit of man. The Absolute, therefore, is Mind; but it attains its fulness only by a process of evolution or "becoming", the stages of which form the history of the universe.

These idealistic constructions were followed by a reaction due largely to the development of the natural sciences. But these in turn offer , apparently, new support to the central positions of pantheism, or at any rate they point, it is claimed, to that very unity and that gradual unfolding which pantheism has all along asserted. The principle of the conservation of energy through ceaseless transformations, and the doctrine of evolution applied to all things and all phenomena, are readily interpreted by the pantheist in favour of his own system. Even where the ultimate reality is said to be unknowable as in Herbert Spencer's "Synthetic Philosophy", it is still one and the same being that manifests itself alike in evolving matter and in the consciousness that evolves out of lower material forms. Nor is it surprising that some writers should see in pantheism the final outcome of all speculation and the definitive expression which the human mind has found for the totality of things.

This statement, in fact, may well serve as a summary of the pantheistic doctrine:

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What is pantheism ? – Bible Questions Answered

Posted: May 7, 2015 at 7:45 pm

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Answer:

Does the Bible teach pantheism? No, it does not. What many people confuse as pantheism is the doctrine of God's omnipresence. Psalm 139:7-8 declares, Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. God's omnipresence means He is present everywhere. There is no place in the universe where God is not present. This is not the same thing as pantheism. God is everywhere, but He is not everything. Yes, God is present inside a tree and inside a person, but that does not make that tree or person God. Pantheism is not at all a biblical belief.

The clearest biblical arguments against pantheism are the countless commands against idolatry. The Bible forbids the worship of idols, angels, celestial objects, items in nature, etc. If pantheism were true, it would not be wrong to worship such an object, because that object would, in fact, be God. If pantheism were true, worshipping a rock or an animal would have just as much validity as worshipping God as an invisible and spiritual being. The Bibles clear and consistent denunciation of idolatry is a conclusive argument against pantheism.

What is monism?

What is panentheism?

What is pandeism?

What does it mean that God is omnipresent?

Can monotheism be proven?

Questions about False Doctrine

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What is pantheism ? - Bible Questions Answered

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