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Pantheism

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This page will explain about Pantheism and its core.
Pantheism is a word derived from the Greek (pan) meaning "all" and the Greek (theos) meaning "God". It is the view that everything is part of an all-encompassing immanent God, or that the Universe (or Nature) and God (or divinity) are identical. Pantheists thus do not believe in a personal, or anthropomorphic god. Pantheism denotes the idea that every single thing is a part of one Being ("God") and that all forms of reality are either modes of that Being or identical with it.
There are a variety of definitions of pantheism. Some consider pantheism to be a theological and philosophical position concerning God. As a religious position, Pantheism is often described as the polar opposite of Atheism. From this standpoint, Pantheism is the view that everything is part of an all-encompassing immanent God. Others hold that pantheism is a philosophical position closely related to Atheism. From that standpoint, Pantheism is the view that the Universe and God are identical.
Pantheism was popularized in the modern era as both a theology and philosophy by the work of Baruch Spinoza, whose treatise, Ethics, was an answer to Descartes' famous dualist theory that the body and spirit are separate. Spinoza held that body and spirit are the same. This is technically known as monism, a fundamental quality of what is often referred to as pantheism. Spinoza was described as a "God-intoxicated man" who used the word God to describe the unity of all substance. The word pantheism was born out of the philosophy of Spinoza.
History

The first known use of the term pantheism was by English mathematician Joseph Raphson in his work De spatio reali , published in 1697 and written in Latin. In De spatio reali , Raphson begins with a distinction between atheistic ‘panhylists' (from the Greek ( pan ) meaning "all" and the Greek ( hyle ) meaning "matter"), who believe everything is matter, and ‘pantheists' who believe in “a certain universal substance, material as well as intelligent, that fashions all things that exist out of its own essence.” Raphson found the universe to be immeasurable in respect to a human's capacity of understanding, and believed that humans will never be able to comprehend it.The term was borrowed and first used in English by Irish writer John Toland in his 1705 work " Socinianism Truly Stated, by a pantheist". He clarified his idea of pantheism in a 1710 letter to Gottfried Leibniz when he referred to "the pantheistic opinion of those who believe in no other eternal being but the universe".

Although the term "Pantheism" did not exist before the 17th century, various pre-Christian religions and philosophies can be regarded as pantheistic. They include some of the Presocratics , such as Heraclitus and Anaximander . The Stoics were Pantheists, beginning with Zeno of Citium and culminating in the emperor-philosopher Marcus Aurelius . During the pre-Christian Roman Empire, Stoicism was one of the three dominant schools of philosophy, along with Epicureanism and Neoplatonism . The early Taoism of Lao Zi and Zhuangzi is also sometimes considered pantheistic.


The philosophy of Baruch Spinoza is often regarded as pantheism, although he did not use that term.

The Catholic church regarded pantheism as heresy. Italian monk Giordano Bruno , burned at the stake in 1600 for heresy, is considered by some to be a pantheist. Baruch Spinoza 's Ethics , finished in 1675, was the major source from which pantheism spread. John Toland was influenced by both Spinoza and Bruno, and sometimes used the terms 'pantheist' and ' Spinozist ' interchangeably. In 1720 he wrote the Pantheisticon: or The Form of Celebrating the Socratic-Society in Latin.

In 1785, a major controversy about Spinoza's philosophy known in German as the Pantheismus-Streit (Pantheism controversy) between critic Friedrich Jacobi and defender Moses Mendelssohn helped to spread pantheism to many German thinkers in the late 18th and in the 19th century.

For a time during the 19th century pantheism was the theological viewpoint of many leading writers and philosophers, attracting figures such as William Wordsworth and Samuel Coleridge in Britain; Johann Gottlieb Fichte , Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling and Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel in Germany; Walt Whitman , Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau in the USA. Seen as a growing threat by the Vatican, it came under attack 1862 in the Syllabus of Errors of Pius IX .

In the mid-eighteenth century, English theologian Daniel Waterland defined pantheism as: "It supposes God and nature, or God and the whole universe, to be one and the same substance—one universal being; insomuch that men's souls are only modifications of the divine substance." In the early nineteenth century, German theologian Julius Wegscheider defined pantheism as the belief that God and the world established by God are one and the same.

In the late 20th century, pantheism was often declared to be the underlying "theology" of Neopaganism, and Pantheists began forming organizations devoted specifically to Pantheism and treating it as a separate religion.


Recent developments

In 2006, Prominent atheist Richard Dawkins ' The God Delusion described pantheism as "sexed-up atheism."


Albert Einstein is considered to be a pantheist by some commentators.

In 2008, Albert Einstein 's 1954 German letter in which he dismissed belief in a personal God was auctioned off for more than US$330,000. Einstein wrote, "We followers of Spinoza see our God in the wonderful order and lawfulness of all that exists and in its soul ("Beseeltheit") as it reveals itself in man and animal." in a letter to Eduard Büsching (25 October 1929) after Büsching sent Einstein a copy of his book Es gibt keinen Gott. Einstein responded that the book only dealt with the concept of a personal God and not the impersonal God of pantheism. "I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly," he wrote in another letter in 1954.

In 2009, The Vatican gave Pantheism prominence in a Papal encyclical and a New Year's Day statement on January 1, 2010, criticizing Pantheism for denying the superiority of humans over nature and "seeing the source of man ' s salvation in nature". Author Ross Douthat , in a film review of 2009 film Avatar , described pantheism as "Hollywood's religion of choice for a generation now".

In 2011, an 1866 letter written by William Herndon , Abraham Lincoln's law partner, was auctioned off for US$30,000. In it, Herndon writes of the U.S. President's evolving religious views , which included Pantheism.

Mr. Lincoln's religion is too well known to me to allow of even a shadow of a doubt; he is or was a Theist & a Rationalist, denying all extraordinary - supernatural inspiration or revelation. At one time in his life, to say the least, he was an elevated Pantheist, doubting the immortality of the soul as the Christian world understands that term. He believed that the soul lost its identity and was immortal as a force. Subsequent to this he rose to the belief of a God, and this is all the change he ever underwent.

The subject is understandably controversial, but the contents of the letter is consistent with Lincoln's fairly lukewarm approach to organized religion.

Varieties

There are several ways to categorize the different varieties of pantheism.


Deterministic and Indeterministic

American philosopher Charles Hartshorne used the title Classical Pantheism to describe the theological deterministic pantheist philosophies of Baruch Spinoza , the Stoics , and other like-minded deterministic pantheist philosophies. Pantheism (All-is-God) is often associated with monism (All-is-One) and some have suggested that pantheism logically implies determinism, in which the past, present, and future are an "illusion", as Albert Einstein describes it. This form of Pantheism is sometimes referred to as "extreme monism", in which – in the words of one commentator – "God decides or determines everything, including our supposed decisions."

Aside from Spinoza, the Stoics and Einstein, other examples of deterministic-inclined pantheisms include those of Ralph Waldo Emerson , and Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel . Examples of indeterministic-inclined pantheisms include those of Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling and William James .


Theistic and Atheistic

A common distinction is also made between two types of pantheism, one being closer to theism and the other closer to atheism . The Columbia Encyclopedia describes this basic distinction in this way:

"If the pantheist starts with the belief that the one great reality, eternal and infinite, is God, he sees everything finite and temporal as but some part of God. There is nothing separate or distinct from God, for God is the universe. If, on the other hand, the conception taken as the foundation of the system is that the great inclusive unity is the world itself, or the universe, God is swallowed up in that unity, which may be designated nature."

Examples of theistically-inclined pantheisms include Baruch Spinoza and Ibn Arabi . Examples of atheistically-inclined pantheisms include Ernst Haeckel , D.H. Lawrence , and the recent views of Paul Harrison and the World Pantheist Movement .


Other Categorizations

In 1896, theologian J. H. Worman identified seven categories of pantheism, one of which he equated with atheism: Mechanical or materialistic pantheism (God the mechanical unity of existence); Ontological pantheism (abstract unity, Spinoza); Dynamic pantheism; Psychical pantheism (God is the soul of the world); Ethical pantheism (God is the universal moral order, Johann Gottlieb Fichte ); Logical pantheism, Hegel ); Pure pantheism (absorption of God into nature which Worman equates with atheism).

More recently, Paul D. Feinberg, professor of biblical and systematic theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, also identified seven categories of pantheism: Hylozoistic pantheism; Immanentistic pantheism; Absolutistic monistic pantheism; Relativistic monistic pantheism; Acosmic pantheism; Identity of opposites pantheism; Neoplatonic or emanationistic pantheism.

Pantheism in World Religions

Taoism

Taoism in the tradition of its leading thinkers Lao Tzu and Zhuangzi , is comparable with Pantheism, as The Tao is always spoken of with profound religious reverence and respect, similar to the way that Pantheism discusses the "divinity" of the Universe. The Tao te Ching never speaks of a transcendent God, but of a mysterious and numinous ground of being underlying all things. Moreover Taoism stresses the importance of living in harmony with Nature. Zhuangzi emphasized the pantheistic content of Taoism even more clearly: "Heaven and I were created together, and all things and I are one." When Tung Kuo Tzu asked Zhuangzi where the Tao was, he replied that it was in the ant, the grass, the clay tile, even in excrement: "There is nowhere where it is not… There is not a single thing without Tao."


Hinduism

It is generally asserted that Hindu religious texts are the oldest known literature that contains pantheistic ideas.

In Hindu Sanatana Dharma theology ,as per the divine revelations i.e.the Vedas, Brahm/Parabrahma is the one unchanging, infinite, immanent, and transcendent reality which is the Divine Ground of all things in this Universe. If one adds two whole parts the result is one whole and if one whole is subtracted from another whole the result is another whole - it means there is one whole universe and it is all prevaded by "Him".Since the universe has come forth from the Divine, all things and beings are sacred and must be treated so in human thought and action. The Divine sleeps in minerals, awakens in plants, walks in animals and thinks in humans.

"That is an aggregate; this is an aggregate. The aggregate come out of the aggregate. Removing the aggregate from the aggregate, the aggregate still remains".

Just as all rivers lead to the one ocean, Hindus believe that all religious pathways lead to the same eternal truth. Sanatan Dharma therefore teaches religious tolerance. Even within Hinduism, there are different approaches to reaching the Divine based on an individual's own characteristics. This idea of pantheism is traceable from the Puranas which are the nearest allegorical representations created for the masses whereas Vedas were for the highly literate. All Mahavakyas (Great Sayings) of the Upanishads, in one way or another, seem to indicate the unity of the world with the Brahman. It further says, "This whole universe is Brahman, from Brahman to a clod of earth." Pantheism is a key component of Advaita philosophy. Other subdivisions of Vedanta do not strictly hold this tenet.


Other religions

There are many elements of pantheism in some forms of christianity , Buddhism , Sufism , Sikhism , Judaism , Gnosticism , Neopaganism , and Theosophy as well as in several tendencies in the major theistic religions. See also the Neopagan section of Gaia and the Church of All Worlds . The Islamic religious tradition, in particular Sufism and Alevism has a strong belief in the unitary nature of the universe and the concept that everything in it is an aspect of God itself, although this perspective leans closer to panentheism and may also be termed Theopanism . Many traditional and folk religions including African traditional religions and Native American religions can be seen as pantheistic, or a mixture of pantheism and other doctrines such as polytheism and animism .


Spiral image symbols favored by the World Pantheist Movement

Two organizations that specify the word pantheism in their title formed in the last quarter of the 20th century. The Universal Pantheist Society , which accepts all varieties of pantheists and tends toward supporting environmental causes, was founded in 1975. They have seen decreased activity in recent years. The World Pantheist Movement is headed by environmentalist Paul Harrison , a former vice president of the Universal Pantheist Society, from which he resigned in 1996. The World Pantheist Movement was incorporated in 1999 to focus exclusively on their own type of pantheism. They have been described as an example of "dark green religion" with a focus on environmental ethics. They have also been described as promoting a form of religious naturalism .


Related concepts

The term panentheism (from Greek p?? (pân) "all"; ?? (en) "in"; and ?e?? (theós) "God"; "all-in-God") was formally coined in Germany in the 19th century in an attempt to offer a philosophical synthesis between traditional theism and pantheism, stating that God is substantially omnipresent in the physical universe but also exists "apart from" or "beyond" it as its Creator and Sustainer. Thus panentheism separates itself from pantheism, positing the extra claim that God exists above and beyond the world as we know it. The line between pantheism and panentheism is narrow and depends on a very precise definition of God, so there have been disagreements when assigning particular notable figures to pantheism or panentheism.

Pandeism is another word derived from pantheism and is characterized as a combination of reconcilable elements of pantheism and deism . It assumes a Creator-deity which is at some point distinct from the universe and then merges with it, resulting in a universe similar to the pantheistic one in present essence, but differing in origin.

Pantheism and deep ecology

Is your spiritual home right here on Earth?

WPM (source)
Are you searching for a path which focuses on Earth in the Cosmos, rather than some imaginary beyond? Are you more concerned with saving the planet than saving your eternal soul? With making the best of your one life here, rather than longing for life in an imaginary paradise?

Do you find it impossible to believe in supernatural gods, and difficult to conceive of anything more worthy of the deepest respect than the beauty of Nature or the power and mystery of the Universe?

Do you feel a deep sense of peace and belonging and wonder in the midst of Nature?

Are you looking for a form of spirituality that respects individual choice and human and animal rights, rather than pushing prejudice and senseless exploitation of Nature? One that values reason and science over adherence to ancient scriptures?


How we relate to closely allied beliefs

We use the name pantheism because it has a long and venerable history. Our beliefs
(see the Statement of Principles ) are entirely naturalistic, and compatible with atheism, humanism and naturalism. Also with those forms of paganism that see magic and the gods as symbols rather than realities.

We offer a home to all forms of naturalistic spirituality, whatever you choose to call it  - scientific pantheism, religious humanism, religious naturalism, positive atheism, deep ecology, philosophical Taoism, modern Stoicism, Gaia religion, also Western forms of Buddhism that celebrate Nature and everyday life without supernatural beliefs, and to those in Unitarian Universalism who do not believe in supernatural beings.

You are completely free to adopt the terms and practices you prefer and draw on other traditions for inspiration. Most of us avoid "god-language" and the sizeable minority who use it do so metaphorically. Some of us call this a religion (though it has none of the bad features of religions), others call it a philosophy, a way of life, or a form of spirituality.

Naturalistic Pantheism
Naturalistic pantheism is a form of Pantheism that identifies God or divinity with all concrete things, all finite beings, the substance of the Universe, or Nature. Thus, God is seen as the aggregate of all unified natural phenomenon. It is frequently contrasted with idealistic pantheism in which God and the Universe are identified with the essence of being, mind or consciousness.


Beliefs

The core of naturalistic pantheism is reverence and respect for nature and the wider universe , as progressively revealed by the scientific method and rational interpretations of sensory information. Thus naturalistic pantheism does not believe in any Creator-deity distinct from nature, but rather that nature itself is the self-originating source of all being. This implies that anything referenced to as God or Deity within naturalistic pantheism can equally well be associated with an impersonal physical process.

Some versions of naturalistic pantheism, including that of the World Pantheist Movement, embrace some notion of natural rights , concern themselves with the welfare of humans and all living beings, and promote care for the environment (see secular humanism ); while others regard all human instincts and behaviors as part of the natural world, and thus do not adopt ethical and environmentalist attitudes (see amoralism or moral nihilism).

Although naturalistic pantheism does not include belief in a personal afterlife, believers often promote ideas and even rituals to make the life and death process socially meaningful. These include the promotion of the ideas of genetic inheritance, persistence through memories and the results of actions. Additional solace is gained by the assertion that the matter which composes the human organism is neither created nor destroyed and is recycled into other forms upon death.


Animal rights, environmentalism and promoting Biocentrism

WPM recently posted on facebook something regarding animal rights and EGO vs ECO.

"Each and every animal on earth has as much right to be here as you and me."
~ Anthony Douglas Williams

Thanks to Mother Earth for sharing this photo/quote with us!

Revering the Universe. Caring for Nature. Celebrating Life.

World Pantheism
www.pantheism.net
Photo: Each and every animal on earth has as much right to be here as you and me.  ~ Anthony Douglas Williams    Thanks to Mother Earth for sharing this photo/quote with us!    Revering the Universe. Caring for Nature. Celebrating Life.  World Pantheism  www.pantheism.net
"Every seed is awakened and so is all animal life.
It is through this mysterious power that we too have our being and we therefore yield to our animal neighbours the same right as ourselves, to inhabit this land."
- Sitting Bull


Sitting bull


Organizations

The primary naturalistic/scientific pantheist organization is the World Pantheist Movement . The WPM website defines Naturalistic Pantheism as having the following characteristics:
  • Reverence, awe, wonder and a feeling of belonging to Nature and the wider Universe.
  • Respect and active care for the rights of all humans and other living beings.
  • Celebration of our lives in our bodies on this beautiful earth as a joy and a privilege.
  • Realism - acceptance that the external world exists independently of human consciousness or perception.
  • Strong naturalism - without belief in supernatural realms, afterlives, beings or forces.
  • Respect for reason, evidence and the scientific method as our best ways of understanding nature and the Universe.
  • Promotion of religious tolerance, freedom of religion and complete separation of state and religion.
My view on Pantheism and stances.
I deeply respect Pantheism because it promotes respecting nature, respecting animals and not being seperated from nature. Pantheism promotes being part of nature (Biocentrism). Unlikely Christianity is opposite because is soo Anthropocentric / human supremacy which means (EGO) seperated from nature. Is promoting speciesism and abuse of nature like these sportsmen hicks do. Pantheism is (ECO) is respecting nature and biocentrism etc. My personal belief is very Pantheistic based etc.