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Switch to Forum Live View Describing Pantheism
7 years ago  ::  Dec 16, 2007 - 12:30PM #1
Ancestral
Posts: 153
Here's my short description of pantheism:

I'm a naturalistic pantheist which means that "I believe in God/dess but spell it N-A-T-U-R-E." It is sort of like a nontheistic "pagan". It's paganism for the 21st century and is even more earth-centered than "mainstream" paganism which focuses on magic. It is very eco-centered and Green in focus. For some it is a subset of paganism and for others it may overlap paganism, where one can be pagan and a pantheist, just like one can be a pagan and a polytheist.

We celebrate the solstices and equinoxes. Some of us even do rituals - for myself I have developed offeratory rituals to honor Nature and the ancestors, Sacred Meal ritual, and chanting and meditation practices. Knowing of the interdependence of nature (food cycle, etc.) as well as the interdependence of actions (ancestors' past actions affect my current circumstances and my actions will affect the circumstances of my descendents) fills me with a sense of gratefulness which I demonstrate both through my actions as well as concrete actions of respect and honor. The rituals I have developed are for that concrete action to show honor and respect. These are based on my exposure to various pagan and heathen traditions (like Asatru, Shinto, etc.). These rituals are available here on this discussion board.

Dave
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7 years ago  ::  Dec 16, 2007 - 12:31PM #2
Ancestral
Posts: 153
The belief statement of the WPM

1. We revere and celebrate the Universe as the totality of being, past, present and future. It is self-organizing, ever-evolving and inexhaustibly diverse. Its overwhelming power, beauty and fundamental mystery compel the deepest human reverence and wonder. 

2. All matter, energy, and life are an interconnected unity of which we are an inseparable part. We rejoice in our existence and seek to participate ever more deeply in this unity through knowledge, celebration, meditation, empathy, love, ethical action and art. 

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

4. All humans are equal centers of awareness of the Universe and nature, and all deserve a life of equal dignity and mutual respect. To this end we support and work towards freedom, democracy, justice, and non-discrimination, and a world community based on peace, sustainable ways of life, full respect for human rights and an end to poverty. 

5. There is a single kind of substance, energy/matter, which is vibrant and infinitely creative in all its forms. Body and mind are indivisibly united. 

6. We see death as the return to nature of our elements, and the end of our existence as individuals. The forms of "afterlife" available to humans are natural ones, in the natural world. Our actions, our ideas and memories of us live on, according to what we do in our lives. Our genes live on in our families, and our elements are endlessly recycled in nature. 

7. We honor reality, and keep our minds open to the evidence of the senses and of science's unending quest for deeper understanding. These are our best means of coming to know the Universe, and on them we base our aesthetic and religious feelings about reality. 

8. Every individual has direct access through perception, emotion and meditation to ultimate reality, which is the Universe and Nature. There is no need for mediation by priests, gurus or revealed scriptures. 

9. We uphold the separation of religion and state, and the universal human right of freedom of religion. We recognize the freedom of all pantheists to express and celebrate their beliefs, as individuals or in groups, in any non-harmful ritual, symbol or vocabulary that is meaningful to them.

http://www.pantheism.net/manifest.htm
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7 years ago  ::  Dec 16, 2007 - 12:35PM #3
Ancestral
Posts: 153
Are You a Pantheist?

Pantheists are persons who derive their fundamental religious experience through their personal relationship with the Universe. They feel that Nature is the ultimate context for human existence, and seek to improve their relationship with the natural world as their fundamental religious responsibility.

Religion is seen as a system of reverent behavior toward the Earth rather than subscription to a particular creed. Because Pantheists identify God with Nature rather than an anthropomorphic being, Pantheists oppose the arrogant world-view of anthropocentrism.

This web site contains a collection of materials about Pantheism and Pantheists.

About the Universal Pantheist Society

Despite a long religious history, dating back beyond Spinoza to the Stoics of ancient Greece and the philosophers of ancient India, there has been no modern organization to represent Pantheists until the formation of the Universal Pantheist Society in 1975. The Universal Pantheist Society is the oldest known organization dedicated to modern and ethical Pantheism. Today, the need for an ethical Pantheism has never been greater.

The formation of the Universal Pantheist Society was based on the need to communicate an informed, modern Pantheism, and to provide for sharing among Pantheists.

The purposes of the Society are: "to unite Pantheists everywhere into a common fellowship, to undertake the conveyance of information about Pantheism to the interested public, to encourage discussion and communication among Pantheists, to provide mutual aid and defense of Pantheists everywhere, to stimulate a revision of social attitudes away from anthropocentrism and toward reverence for the Earth and a vision of the ultimate context for human existence, and to take appropriate action toward the protection and restoration of the Earth."

Recognizing that freedom of belief is inherent in the Pantheist tradition, our bylaws prohibit any requirement for or subscription to any particular religious belief, doctrine, or creed. Persons uniting with the Society do so to further their own understanding of Pantheists attitudes, and through their fellowship with others find purposive means of expressing their faith in daily life.

http://www.pantheist.net/society/index. … Pantheist?
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7 years ago  ::  Dec 19, 2007 - 6:42PM #4
Afvw
Posts: 20
Not sure why you call yourself a Pantheist and then insist you a non-theist. This doesn't make sense!!
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7 years ago  ::  Dec 19, 2007 - 8:02PM #5
Ancestral
Posts: 153
I remember you from your posts on the pantheist boards on Yahoo earlier this year where you tried the same "challenge".

But to answer your question:

There are two types of pantheism - naturalistic pantheism which reveres the Universe (and is materialist monist) and there is dualist (aka "classical") pantheism which is a supernaturalistic monism. If you wish to debate the merits of supernaturalism vs naturalism (atheistic worldview), then you should visit the Discuss Atheism board on Beliefnet.

Interestingly enough - the original definition of pantheism, which was coined by John Toland in the 18th century, was distinctly naturalistic and not dualist (aka "classical"). So naturalistic pantheism actually represents the orginal intent of the term.

What is the central belief of pantheism?

Pantheism believes that the universe and nature are worthy of the deepest religious reverence. Understanding them, appreciating their beauty, and preserving nature, should be the central focus of our lives.

Basically atheism simply describes what I DO NOT believe in, while naturalistic pantheism describes what I DO believe in.

Again, the World Pantheist Movement (the largest organization of pantheists) is solely for naturalistic pantheists. While the Universal Pantheist Society represents the whole spectrum of pantheists, the majority of their members are also naturalistic pantheists. That is because the vast majority of pantheists are actually naturalistic. You can also reference "The Elements of Pantheism" by Paul Harrison.

I believe in God/dess and spell it N-A-T-U-R-E.

Dave
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7 years ago  ::  Dec 19, 2007 - 8:03PM #6
Ancestral
Posts: 153
Definitions of pantheism.

1. Oxford English Dictionary
Pantheism.
1. The religious belief or philosophical theory that God and the Universe are identical (implying a denial of the personality and transcendence of God);  the doctrine that God is everything and everything is God.
[First use 1730, modelled on the word pantheist, first used by John Toland in 1705]
2. The heathen worship of all the gods.
[First use 1837 by Sir F. Palgrave, describing the Tartar tribes who respected all creeds but were attached to none]

2. Merriam-Webster Collegiate in Encyclopaedia Britannica
Pantheism
1: a doctrine that equates God with the forces and laws of the universe
2: the worship of all gods of different creeds, cults, or peoples
indifferently; also: toleration of worship of all gods (as at certain
periods of the Roman empire).
 

3. Encyclopaedia Britannica
Pantheism
[Only one def given]
The doctrine that the universe conceived of as a whole is God and,
conversely, that there is no God but the combined substance, forces, and
laws that are manifested in the existing universe. . .
The adjective pantheist was coined by the rationalist freethinker John
Toland in his book Socinianism Truly Stated (1705). The noun pantheism was
first used a few years later by one of Toland's opponents.
 

4. Grolier's Encyclopaedia
Pantheism
[Only one definition given]
Pantheism is the belief that everything is divine, that God is not separate
from but totally identified with the world, and that God does not possess
personality or transcendence.
 

5. WorldBook Encyclopaedia
Pantheism
[Only one definition given]
Pantheism is the belief that everything is divine, that God is not separate
from but totally identified with the world, and that God does not possess
personality or transcendence.
 

6. Encarta Encyclopaedia
Pantheism
[Only one definition given]
Pantheism, doctrine that identifies the universe (Greek pan, "all") with
God (Greek theos).

7. Longman Dictionary
Pantheism
1. A doctrine that equates God with the forces and laws of nature.
2. The worship of all gods of different religions, cults or peoples
indifferently, also tolerance of such worship (eg at certain periods of the
Roman Empire).
 

8. Hutchinson New Century Encyclopaedia
[Only one definition given]
Pantheism
Doctrine that regards all of reality as divine, and God as present in all
of nature and the universe.
 

9. Larousse Desk Reference Encyclopaedia
[Only one definition given]
Pantheism
Belief that God and universe are one and the same.
 

10. Cambridge Encyclopaedia
[Only one definition given]
Pantheism
The belief that God and the Universe are ultimately identical.
 

11. Penguin Dictionary of Philosophy
[Only one definition given]
Pantheism
The doctrine that the world as a whole, nature in the widest sense, is
identical with God.
 

12. Oxford Companion to Philosophy
[Only one definition given]
Pantheism
First used by John Toland on 1705, the term "pantheist" denotes one who
holds both that everything there is constitutes a unity, and that this
unity is divine.
 

13. Penguin Dictionary of Religions
[Only one definition given]
Pantheism
Belief that the whole of reality is divine.

http://www.harrison.dircon.co.uk/definits.htm
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7 years ago  ::  Dec 20, 2007 - 4:01AM #7
bluehorserunning
Posts: 1,754
[QUOTE=afvw;151575]Not sure why you call yourself a Pantheist and then insist you a non-theist. This doesn't make sense!![/QUOTE]

In general, the deity believed in by most pantheists is non-anthropomorphic and has no special interest in humanity - thus, many of us identify as atheists or non-theists.  We do, however, feel an awe and reverence for the universe as a whole that matches what we see in other people's awe of their anthropomorphic deities.  Thus, pantheist. 

The universe is god, and god is so big and powerful and awesome that we can barely begin to comprehend it; identifying it as male, female, and interested only in humans or being human-shaped (ie, classically god-like) would be belittling it.
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7 years ago  ::  Dec 21, 2007 - 1:43PM #8
Afvw
Posts: 20
Pantheism is the profound realization and acknowledgement that I am part of the natural cosmos, designed by nature to fit precisely where I am, and sustained by a Universe that produced me. I look to the Sun in awe because I know my life was ultimately produced by and is daily sustained by this incredible star whose very life rays energize me and sustain me physically and mentally. I think that the Cosmos is Divine and that there may be some kind of essence that is part of the physical Cosmos that could be called Essence, or Tau, or OM that may be kind of supernatural. Maybe this idea is just a part of the psychological need humans have for something beyond the physical and related to archetypes or idealism, or imagination, but I feel, or wish for this creative intelligence of the Cosmos that may be a little more than physical. I fit into a vast Cosmos whose processes have evolved my body to be precisely made to be sustained and supported by it. How could I not look on in awe of all this??
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7 years ago  ::  Dec 28, 2007 - 9:19PM #9
Ancestral
Posts: 153
Bumping this thread to the top.
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7 years ago  ::  Dec 28, 2007 - 10:24PM #10
Afvw
Posts: 20
Yes, non-anthropomorphic makes more sense than non-theist.
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