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Switch to Forum Live View Naturalistic spirituality practices for pantheists
6 years ago  ::  Dec 20, 2007 - 2:45PM #31
Afvw
Posts: 20
Ahh, this time my Brother I think you have it all sorted out correctly. You kind of understand where I'm coming from. There is just one thing that you don't understand about me yet - I fluctuate between being a naturalistic pantheist, like you and an idealist or acosmic pantheist. I see no reason to be solid in my beliefs, but would rather maintain a position of no belief, almost a kind of sort of agnosticism, but not exactly.
Ours is the most meaningful and exciting conversation and I feel a deep kinship with you. I know that you are educated in this field (having read other posts by you in others forums) and now you are proving it.
Do you understand the complexity and fluidity of my position?? It's what makes me burn with a fire to live.
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6 years ago  ::  Dec 20, 2007 - 4:14PM #32
Afvw
Posts: 20
and if you see the Cosmos as divinity -- god is spelled n-a-t-u-r-e, then there is a kinship between that and "all is Brahman".
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6 years ago  ::  Dec 21, 2007 - 12:33AM #33
Afvw
Posts: 20
While I have personal practices that are very laid back and internal, I would love to participate in local community type ritual practices on occasion. I'm too laid back to design or lead rituals, but as a participant if already established I would very much participate.!!;)
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6 years ago  ::  Dec 21, 2007 - 12:46PM #34
Ancestral
Posts: 153
Since you live in New York and seem drawn to idealist pantheism, I would recommend starting with these resources to find local activities that might be compatible with your interests:

http://nondualism.meetup.com/cities/us/ny/new_york/
http://pantheist.meetup.com/189/?gj=sj9
http://www.vedanta-newyork.org/
http://www.sivananda.org/
http://newyorkcitycenter.org/
http://www.mahayogiyogamission.org/
http://www.nyckriya.org/

I hope you find these useful!
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6 years ago  ::  Dec 21, 2007 - 2:17PM #35
Afvw
Posts: 20
Within a few minutes or even as much as one half hour after Sunrise and before Sunset it's safe to look at the Sun, so during sunrise or sunset I meditate upon the Sun. I watch the Sun and then I look at it meditating up upon it and absorbing it's energy and rays. I find this to be energizing and profound. It helps me psychologically to feel good. Just think, I am meditating upon the very solar source of my life and the life of this planet and all that’s on it. This has profound implications physically and psychologically. It's just so uplifting!
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6 years ago  ::  Dec 30, 2007 - 4:01PM #36
SiriusGC
Posts: 6
Hello everybody. Nice community you've got going on here.

Ancestral, afvw,

It looks to me like you are just disagreeing on the definition of theism.

My old Webster's Dictionary defines theism as follows:

1. belief in a god or gods
2. belief in one God; monotheism: opposed to PANTHEISM*, POLYTHEISM
3. belief in one God who is creator and ruler of the universe and known by revelation: distinguished from DEISM

*Note that this second definition is referring to the second definition of pantheism in my dictionary, not the one we are familiar with but "the worship, or toleration of worship, of all gods of various cults."

afvw, I believe that you are looking at one of the first two meanings, and using those two meanings you are correct that Pantheism is theistic. Pantheists certainly believe in a god, and they believe in a single god not many. However Ancestral, you seem to be appealing to the third definition. Pantheists believe in an imminent experience of the divine rather than a revealed one and so do not qualify as theists under the third definition. It is really just a matter of semantics, I think. You believe more or less the same thing.
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6 years ago  ::  Dec 30, 2007 - 6:13PM #37
Ancestral
Posts: 153
Actually the original definition of the term "pantheism" as defined by the person who coined the term, John  Toland  in 1705 was that the physical universe / Nature is the totality of existence and is thus worthy of reverence and honor. Obviously this does not refer to a supernatural "God" and is thus not theistic. This is the naturalistic form of pantheism and is actually the most common variety. Please refer to the website of the World Pantheist Movement which is the largest pantheist organization and is specifically for naturalistic/scientific (i.e. nontheistic) pantheists. John Toland did not believe in God. Naturalistic pantheists who are by definition nontheistic are the largest group of self-identified pantheists.

http://www.pantheism.net

This is also why naturalistic pantheists will take on attempts by supernaturalists to deem us as "incorrect".

Other forms of pantheism such as idealist (such as in Advaita Vedanta where they believe matter is an illusion and there is nothing but spirit) and dualist (they believe there is a spiritual basis underlying the universe) were defined later, although ironically referred to as "classical" pantheism. These types of pantheism were defined later (after 1705) and categorized under the term "pantheism" developed by John Toland. The Universal Pantheist Society serves the whole spectrum of pantheists, although even there naturalistic pantheists are still the clear majority.

The usage of the term "pantheism" to describe the worship of all gods a la Roman Empire (although that is not even historically accurate) was first used by a scholar in the 19th Century - way past the time the term was coined by John Toland. While this definition also got put in the Oxford Dictionary, it is not currently considered to be a good use of the term.

Check out this site:

http://www.pantheism.net/paul/index.htm
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6 years ago  ::  Dec 30, 2007 - 8:22PM #38
SiriusGC
Posts: 6
Ancestral, thank you for the reply.

Theism doesn't apply only to belief in a supernatural god, as you can see from the definition. A god in the loose sense can be any "person or thing deified or excessively honored and admired" (Webster's again), whether it be supernatural or material in origin, anthropomorphic or nonanthropomorphic, personal or impersonal, etc. Natural pantheists revere the universe as an impersonal, nonanthropomorphic, nonanthropocentric "god", as WPM suggests on its title page "We take the real universe and nature as our starting and finishing point, not some preconceived idea of God. We feel a profound wonder and awe for these, similar to the reverence that believers in more conventional gods feel towards their deity, but without anthropomorphic worship or belief that Nature has a mind or personality that we can influence through prayer or ritual" and as you yourself point out on your profile "I believe in God/dess spelled N-A-T-U-R-E". Ergo natural pantheists are still theists in my book. It's more accurate to describe natural pantheists as, well, naturalistic rather than nontheistic. The only people who can really claim the nontheistic label are probably "pure" atheists who don't venerate anything at all i.m.h.o.
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6 years ago  ::  Dec 30, 2007 - 9:28PM #39
Ancestral
Posts: 153
I would suggest you use Oxford English Dictionary and perhaps refer to some philosophy texts. Webster's is not considered a good source of definition and you are stretching its simplistic definition out of context. Theism is a belief in a supernatural deity. Naturalistic pantheists are, by their own definition, atheistic (many prefer the term nontheistic) and generally do not appreciate being mistaken for supernaturalists.

Again please refer to the World Pantheist Movement website which is an actual organization of naturalistic pantheists to see how naturalistic pantheists define themselves philosophically.
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6 years ago  ::  Dec 30, 2007 - 11:26PM #40
SiriusGC
Posts: 6
I am absolutely not suggesting that natural pantheists are supernaturalists, so please do not mistake me on that point. I am merely disputing the usage of the word theism. Perhaps Oxford's defines theism strictly as a belief in supernatural beings (doubt it, but I don't know I don't have it on hand), but I just don't think that people have such a strict, academic notion of theism in mind when they read the word. They are thinking of theism in the broader sense- as some sort of belief in god/the divine in one way or another, which many pantheists do seem to claim (Again "I believe in God/dess spelled N-A-T-U-R-E"). In reality, it would probably be a more honest practice for natural pantheists to drop the term god altogether since that's quite a stretch of definition in and of itself.
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