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Switch to Forum Live View pantheism vs Atheism
6 years ago  ::  Jun 18, 2008 - 3:43PM #1
Eddie13
Posts: 40
hello   I  was raised raised christian but am now learniong about other religions.   My basic understanding of pantheism was that it is the belief that nature is "god" and that god is not an all powerful anthropomorphic beiong as most religions protray it to be.    I have understood pantheism to be a form athism and that pantheist's view of the world is the same as that of most atheists.  Is this correct? Is different based on people's indivdual beliefs? I am asking this because i am under the impression from things i have heard that many pantheists believe in things assocated with theistic religions, (prayer, worship some form of afterlife etc)  if god is simply nature and not a supernatural being how can one believe in the power of prayer, or the concept of life after death? Also if panteism is not atheism can yoy in your own words the difference between the two?

thank you

eddie
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6 years ago  ::  Jun 19, 2008 - 9:05PM #2
TigersEyeDowsing
Posts: 6,833
Eddie,

What a basketfull of questions!  Good ones too.

I am pantheistic. but my religion is New Thought  (www.LessonsInTruth.info).  We believe in God as you've described but take it one step farther into that by believing man is the individualized expression of God.  We believe in the power of affirmative prayer, meaning our prayers are affirmations of what we believe Truth is ("I am perfect health, God gives me perfect strength", etc.).  We do not believe in supplicative prayer, such as asking for things, because we believe God has given us our perfect good already and it's our job to realize it.  If we had to ask God for things, it would be as though he/she didn't care about us from the start and we had to convice through prayer to receieve.  Instead, we believe God "knows (and supplies for) our needs before we ask".  We work to realize and access our perfect good that's already there for us.

In our interpretations of the words of Jesus, the collective, universal Good/God is "greater than I", the unique individual, yet "I and the father are One"- the same thing.

We believe in different things about life after death.  Reincarnation, merging back into the Divine, or nonexistence.  I'm torn between the three myself.  When I say merging back into the Divine, as the individual expression of pantheistic God, we're like a drop of water from the ocean- water, the same thing, but an individual drop.  When we die, we plop back in, reuniting with the ocean/God and losing our individual expression.

Traditional religion brings the idea of God as "super man" in the sky, like us, but bigger and better and an individual personality.  Both of us reject this concept.  We do often have the same worldview as atheists; however, athiests do not believe in God at all, and we in New Thought believe in God, but existing everywhere and expressing as us.  :)

Love and Light!
Churchianity, by substituting creed for Christ and dogma instead of the divine facts of being, has stripped Love of her royal robes and has left her standing an unheeded beggar in the universe of God. - Rev. W. John Murray
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6 years ago  ::  Jun 20, 2008 - 2:32AM #3
taofornow
Posts: 721
Although I like the usual pantheism sites (WPM etc.), I found the following article to be a good, basic synopsis (it's from a site called Way of the Mind).  Of course, like everything else that ends in "ism", there are as many definitions as there are adherents, and the usual "you're not a real XXXXist if you don't believe the way I do."  It's enough to make a person believe that humans were formed from the turds of all the other animals.  Ooh, I just inventing a new religion!  Turdism.  With excrements instead of sacraments.  And now I think I have stayed up way too late tonight.  :eek::D

Deism and Pantheism

Published
by
[COLOR=#008866]Pedro Timóteo[/COLOR]on December 28, 2006
in [COLOR=#008866]atheism, christianity and religion[/COLOR]
. Tags: [COLOR=#008866]atheism, christianity, religion. [/COLOR]
You may have heard those two words before. Haven’t you?
They’re not the same (more on that below), but both have one thing in common: Christians love to “steal” famous people from them.
Deism is the belief that there is a god who created the universe, but who, after that, did no more. He created the cosmos with all its natural laws, and those laws are enough to keep the universe working, without any need for “divine intervention”. Therefore, anything you see is, indeed, natural; there are no visible miracles, other than the original creation of the universe. Such a god isn’t a jealous, petty being, like the one described in the Christian Bible; he doesn’t care about judging people, creating a “heaven” or a “hell”, and would never change natural laws because of our requests — in other words, praying is not only useless, but conceited and absurd. Same thing about worshiping.
Famous deists? Well, most of the American Founding Fathers. See what I mean by “stealing”? American fundamentalist Christians love to say that [FONT=Arial]“America is a Christian nation”, “founded on Christian principles”, and so on, when, in reality, many of the Founding Fathers didn’t believe in a “personal god” at all. Indeed, they all advocated complete separation of church and state, and some, like Thomas Jefferson, expressed doubts about the existence of a god at all.[/FONT]
Why were they deists instead of atheists? There’s no way to know for sure, but my guess is that, at the time, science simply wasn’t advanced enough, there were no viable scientific theories for the origin of the universe, and so it all seemed too “unexplainable” by science; therefore, some intelligent, supreme being had, necessarily, to be the source. If that is so, most Founding Fathers, if they lived today, would actually be atheists.
While deism is surely a lot more harmless (and sane) than, say, Christianity, it’s still theism: a deist does believe in an intelligent supreme being. He just believes that that being doesn’t affect our lives in any way.
Pantheism, on the other hand, is the belief that everything is God, or, to put it in another way, that the universe is God. While this includes a sense of wonder, it does not mean worship, prayer, or anything. Indeed, it doesn’t include any belief in the supernatural; if the universe is “God”, then “God” is not bigger than the universe, not apart from the universe — therefore, not supernatural.
A famous pantheist is [FONT=Arial]Albert Einstein. Yes, the “God does not play dice” quote meant just this: that the universe is not ruled by randomness. Never did Einstein believe in a “personal god”, and, indeed, he was criticized by many theists, during his life, for saying so. His “god” was the universe. It was nature. “Knowing God” meant, simply, “understanding the universe”.[/FONT]
Unlike deism, pantheism is not theistic. It doesn’t include any supernatural entities; it just looks at the universe in a different way.
Both, let me say again, are immensely more sane than “normal” theism. No wars, crusades, inquisitions, censorship, book burnings, science bans or witch burnings have ever been started by either deists or pantheists — or atheists, for that matter. They aren’t dogmatic. They don’t let religion interfere with their lives.
But, since they’re not really “atheist”, and because they include many highly regarded historical figures, Christians, as I said, love to claim many of them as their own. Go figure.
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6 years ago  ::  Jun 20, 2008 - 5:07PM #4
Eddie13
Posts: 40
thank for the information.  I still have difficulty understaning that if pantheist believe that there is no supernatural god and simply call nature god how they can believe in things such as prayer and afterlife that require some form higher power. Am i missing something?
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6 years ago  ::  Jun 20, 2008 - 5:16PM #5
mainecaptain
Posts: 21,657

Eddie13 wrote:

thank for the information.  I still have difficulty understaning that if pantheist believe that there is no supernatural god and simply call nature god how they can believe in things such as prayer and afterlife that require some form higher power. Am i missing something?



It is a belief that god is in everything not that there is no god. We are just all branches (pieces if you will) of Divinity.  Nature is more expressions of Divinity. Like being inside gods heart and head at all times. We are part of the Divine,  not separate from the Divine. Tiger did a better job I think.

A tyrant must put on the appearance of uncommon devotion to religion. Subjects are less apprehensive of illegal treatment from a ruler whom they consider god-fearing and pious. On the other hand, they do less easily move against him, believing that he has the gods on his side. Aristotle
Never discourage anyone...who continually makes progress, no matter how slow. Plato..
"A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives" Jackie Robinson
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6 years ago  ::  Jun 20, 2008 - 6:55PM #6
taofornow
Posts: 721
Just like any other path, there are variations within pantheism.  I do not pray, because I don't believe there is anyone or anything to pray to.  I also do not believe in an afterlife.
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6 years ago  ::  Jun 20, 2008 - 10:06PM #7
Redfrog777
Posts: 2,136
When I “pray” in the sweat lodge or the Sundance or behind the pipe or whatever. For me it is a relating to the universe. I realize that I am speaking as much with myself as I am speaking to the universe. I do this not because I am seeking favor or because the universe needs something from me. I do this because it feels right for me to do so. So I spend a lot of time talking to myself! LOL.

As for an after life? I am as fully engaged in this lifetime as I possibly can be. I don’t fret over what comes next. If there is an after life I trust that it will be just as fantastic and amazing as this one. I have no memory of before life, so why should I worry about after life?

Hope it helps.
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6 years ago  ::  Jul 22, 2008 - 10:41PM #8
river8101
Posts: 5,495

Eddie 13

thank for the information. I still have difficulty understaning that if pantheist believe that there is no supernatural god and simply call nature god how they can believe in things such as prayer and afterlife that require some form higher power. Am i missing something?


We don't. Those who do are not really pantheists. To believe in such things means you are probably a panentheist. They are different. The idea of God or gods has since primitive times always meant some higher supernatural beings or being in control. Pantheists do not subscribe to that. Nothing is super to nature. Nature is what it is, and does what it wants. No one controls it. We are part of nature. We are what we are, and while other humans may control us, and nature itself certainly controls us, our minds and our bodies, there is no higher supernatural or puppeteer that that is doing that. It is what it is.



river8101 -  Suggest you read C.S. Lewis's  "The Screwtape Letters." 


www.screwtapeonstage.com/about

“Faith is deciding to allow yourself to believe something your intellect would otherwise cause you to reject.”
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6 years ago  ::  Jul 23, 2008 - 9:30PM #9
KARD9000
Posts: 1,712
Good post River.  Thanks.
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6 years ago  ::  Jul 24, 2008 - 5:22PM #10
TigersEyeDowsing
Posts: 6,833
Tao did a great job :)

pan·the·ism  [pan-thee-iz-uhm]
–noun 1. the doctrine that God is the transcendent reality of which the material universe and human beings are only manifestations: it involves a denial of God's personality and expresses a tendency to identify God and nature. 
2. any religious belief or philosophical doctrine that identifies God with the universe.

PanENtheism is not a word yet technically, but is generally used to mean the doctrine that everything exists in God; generally an example from Paul of the Bible, "In him we live, move, and have our being."

Some Pantheists pray while other factions and belief systems see things differently and do not.  I think it's safe to say most Panthiests don't believe in supplication prayer, as we do not believe in a conscious "personality" from which to ask things from.

Some of us do have angels, gods, spirit guides, and what have you from which we do communicate and ask things of.  But that is not relative to our belief that everything is God.
Churchianity, by substituting creed for Christ and dogma instead of the divine facts of being, has stripped Love of her royal robes and has left her standing an unheeded beggar in the universe of God. - Rev. W. John Murray
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