MemberSeptember 4, 2019 at 6:57 am
What is Pantheism?
MemberSeptember 8, 2019 at 10:13 pm
Pantheism is the view that God is everything and everyone and that everyone and everything is God. Pantheism is similar to polytheism (the belief in many gods), but goes beyond polytheism to teach that everything is God. A tree is God, a rock is God, an animal is God, the sky is God, the sun is God, you are God, etc. Pantheism is the supposition behind many cults and false religions (e.g., Hinduism and Buddhism to an extent, the various unity and unification cults, and “mother nature” worshippers).
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 Bible’s clear and consistent denunciation of idolatry is a conclusive argument against pantheism.
MemberOctober 11, 2019 at 3:01 am
Pantheism is a notion that everything is God, and that God is in everything. It is quite a modern thought, pioneered by the 17th century philosopher Baruch Spinoza, although the idea that the universe is God in itself dates back to 6th century BC.
Pantheism is a culmination of Greek words pan (everything) and theos (God). There has been a longstanding debate on whether Pantheism is the same as or the opposite of atheism. Some argue that since Pantheism does not involve a personal or supernatural being, and hence does not advocate religion or religious activities, it can be considered as the same as atheism. On the other hand, since pantheists still believe in, and use the term ‘God’ and refer to the universe as a single being, some people argue that pantheism cannot be considered as the opposition of God, and hence cannot be the same as atheism.
The basic principles of pantheism include:
1. Reverence, awe, wonder and a feeling of belonging to Nature and the wider Universe.
2. Respect and active care for the rights of all humans and other living beings.
3. Celebration or our lives in our bodies on this beautiful earth as a joy and a privilege.
4. Strong naturalism – without belief in supernatural realms, afterlives, beings or forces.
5. Respect for reason, evidence and the scientific method as our best ways of understanding nature and the Universe.
6. Promotion of religious tolerance, freedom of religion and complete separation of state and religion.
Famous pantheists include Spinoza himself, Albert Einstein, Abraham Lincoln, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Beethoven, and Henry David Thoreau.
MemberNovember 30, 2019 at 4:45 am
Pantheism formally is that the sum total of the universe is god. How it often comes across popularly expressed would be something like “the divine spark in all of us” or “The Secret” type wish fulfillment. If your part of the divine spark wants something bad enough, since it is connected to the universe, the universe will respond. Interestingly that is something of the opposite of ancient pantheism with had its popular expression in the stoics.
MemberDecember 11, 2019 at 12:40 am
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.
MemberDecember 18, 2019 at 9:46 pm
Pantheism is the view that the world is either identical to God, or an expression of God’s 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””. The term ‘pantheism’ was coined by the Irish freethinker John Toland in 1705. Pantheism is variedly described concept. One of the modern critic Schopenhauer said, “”Pantheism has no ethics””, but the pantheists believes that pantheism is the more ethical view point. They hold an ideology that any harm done to another is doing harm to oneself, because what harms one harms all.
There are different types of pantheism such as classical pantheism, biblical pantheism, naturalistic pantheism, Cosmotheism and Pandeism. According to traditional Western conception of God, God is transcendent but pantheists reject the idea and according to them God does not transcend the world. Pantheists also reject the idea of God’s personhood. The pantheist God is not a personal God, the kind of entity that could have beliefs, desires, intentions or agency. Pantheistic God does not have a will and cannot act in or upon the universe. For the pantheist, God is non-personal divinity that provides all existence. It is the divine unity of the world. Love of nature is often associated with pantheism. 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 pantheistic likes Spinoza and Lao Tzu. Nevertheless, for some pantheists the idea that nature is something that inspires awe, wonder and reverence is important.
MemberDecember 30, 2019 at 9:38 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.
MemberJanuary 13, 2020 at 2:35 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.
MemberJanuary 14, 2020 at 9:20 pm
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.
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