MemberOctober 20, 2019 at 1:51 am
In your perspective, what is pantheism?
MemberOctober 20, 2019 at 4:26 am
Pantheism is the belief that the universe (nature), including us, is divine. God is in everything and everything is in God.
The God of pantheism is a cosmic, impersonal, inaccessible, and unknowable God. For all intents and purposes, having God in us, or being a part of God, changes nothing about us if God is impersonal, inaccessible, and unknowable. If everybody were pantheists, we would look at each other and see God’s divinity. The problem is, we would also look at a lump of charcoal and see God’s divinity. When God is diluted ubiquitously into all matter and energy in the universe, everything is special . . . which, of course, means nothing is special.
So I don’t really see the point of pantheism. Neither its God nor belief in its God changes anything.
MemberOctober 24, 2019 at 2:58 am
My friends call me a candy coated atheist.
I always laugh. That’s not entirely false.
Pantheism is more philosophy than religion. It’s admitting that there is no “master plan” and that the time we have here is limited. It’s similar to atheism in that respect, but it focuses more on the appreciation for other living beings.
I believe that we live in a chaotic, unloving void, but that void is divine.
Maybe it’s all just hippy-dippy trash. Maybe I’ll age into some old fart, die, and come face to face with Jesus/Thor/Vishnu/Zeus and be fucked for an eternity. Nothing is certain.
But knowing that I’m a small part of universe comforts me in a way I can’t describe.
I have 70+ years of this, and I’m going to savour each one.
MemberOctober 28, 2019 at 12:18 am
Pantheism is simply renaming the universe and everything in it, God. Pantheism is the God for atheists who cannot accept there is no God. Pantheism is the last step before the believer becomes a nonbeliever.
MemberNovember 5, 2019 at 12:55 am
Pantheism means to things to me:
God is all: all things are forms of one changeless, indivisible, and infinite existence called God.
Learning from all religions: religions are collective mindsets of the civilizations of mankind, and it is very important to learn from them all.
MemberDecember 5, 2019 at 9:03 pm
I came to pantheism from being an atheist for most of my adult life. I grew up Anglican in Canada, singing in the church choir as a kid, and just loved the whole experience. Problem was, I just could not buy into the whole Christianity thing. The idea of some God going around and writing books just seems too ridiculous to contemplate. And just because the Bible says all these things about Jesus doesn’t make them true, especially the miraculous claims.
It did not take long before I realized that there was no evidence for any kind of god at all. The universe is just fine as it is. I saw no evidence of a Creation, a Creator, or a Sustainer who looks over the world. Even the Big Bang does not imply a Creation. As a physics major it made good sense to me that the start of time is a singularity in a self-sufficient universe. So by the time I was 20, I was a thoroughgoing atheist.
But by the time I was 30, I discovered Unitarian Universalism, and started attending the local Unitarian Church in Summit, NJ, USA. I loved it. I had really missed the whole Sunday morning experience, going to church and being a part of a religious community. As I expressed it to myself: “”I can go to church and remain an atheist? The best of both worlds – hot damn!””
So here I was part of a spiritual community. As I attended more, I because uncomfortable just calling myself an atheist. Not that being an atheist is bad, mind you, it just doesn’t sum up what I am and what I believe in. In fact, it is the opposite: it only says what I am not: an atheist is someone who does not believe in a God. It does not say what I am.
It was not long after that I discovered Taoism. That truly spoke to me – it was like meeting a childhood friend in Oriental garb, the feeling of familiarity which which I responded to Taoist thought. Reading Taoism is like being reminded of what you know already, at least at those moments that you are wise enough to figure out what the world is about. But Taoism is not a viewpoint about God – it is a philosophy of life and the nature of reality. So now I had a religion: Unitarian Universalism, and a philosophy of life: Taoism. But not a name for my theology.
MemberDecember 26, 2019 at 9:48 pm
I’ve discovered that there are a few distinct sets of pantheism. These different kinds of pantheism don’t tend to distinguish themselves from each other with distinct terminology, so let me just state the ones I’ve identified with some proposed terms so we may distinguish better between them:
1. Divine pantheism — There are those who say the universe is identical with divinity, or that all that exists is God. As far as I’m concerned this is still a distinctly theistic sentiment. The distinction however is that this God would not be personal nor anthropomorphic, which in my opinion detracts from the notion of a God anyway. I consider divine pantheism to be the most sophisticated version of a belief in God and just about the only sense of God that is to be taken seriously to some extent.
2. Placeholder pantheism — There are those who equate the universe with God and make no further attempt at explaining why. This seems to be more of an emotional rather than a rational perspective, as one has to wonder what kind of distinction is even made here. They replace one word with another one but it seems to have no bearing on what they actually believe. This could be seen as a variation on point 1, but with a more neutral sentiment. You might say secular, but that term is somewhat dubious in this context.
3. Natural pantheism — There are those who equate the universe with God as an indication of a component that could in some sense be regarded as God, but doesn’t really fit any of the definitions.
4. Spiritual pantheism — There are those who frame the universe as God as an indication of their reverence and awe in regard to the universe. This negates the notion that atheists can experience the same sense of awe, but I consider it a reasonable definition, as atheism indicates what you don’t believe and not what you do believe. While pantheism in this sense doesn’t explicitly state what is believed, it’s an indication of a certain sentiment that may set the pantheist apart from the atheist, even if what they believe in rough terms amounts to the same. This, by the way, is considered to be Spinoza’s pantheism, which Einstein seemed to have adapted as well.
5. Scientific pantheism — There are those who are basically atheists but object to that term because it’s a way to define part of your position in relation to theism, and doesn’t explicitly say anything about what you do believe. This is sometimes referred to as scientific pantheism, so this isn’t a term I made up. What distinguishes scientific pantheism from natural pantheism is that the scientific pantheist seems to be more prone to follow what is knowable, while the natural pantheist makes considerations of unknowable aspects of nature.
MemberJanuary 8, 2020 at 7:59 pm
I would quote Spinoza to answer.
For Spinoza, God’s transcendence was attested by his infinitely many attributes, nature and thaught being two of them,
“”By substance I understand what is in itself and is conceived through itself, i.e., that whose concept does not require the concept of another thing, from which it must be formed.””
“”By attribute I understand what the intellect perceives of a substance, as constituting its essence.””
Although Spinoza is not a pantheist, he described it better than anybody else before and after him. A pantheist could believe that the whole known and unknown universe corresponds to the substance, to God.
For Spinoza this is not the case, the universe, the space is one of the ways our intellect found to percieve God, so the universe is not a reality, but a construction of the intellect.
In this sense Spinoza can’t be considered as a pantheist, however he gave the best definition of it.
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