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What is Pantheism?

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  • keith g
    replied
    for myself...i look at it like this,the universe is the ULTIMATE recycling machine....everything gets recycled in some form,our world,small as it is,is recycling as we speak,when i "pop my clogs" i too will be recycled,as what?
    i have no idea......but even if its just worm food,i've done my bit.

    my view may be simplistic to you guys n gurlzz......but thats the way i like it.
    i can identify with the world i see around me,and how EVERYTHING interacts at some point with everything else.
    however i do not believe in a god or gods..........
    so.......what does that make me?????
    apart from totally messed up...!


    Brilliant thread by the way........and its a great site..........keith

    Leave a comment:


  • Windsmith
    replied
    Originally posted by Astucity View Post
    Hello.

    I have been researching different ideologies inside Paganism, and I have a question; does Pantheism in any way resemble Animism?

    My husband is an Animist, and until I met him, I had honestly never heard of it.

    I just considered myself an Eclectic, but, I would like to know exactly more on what Pantheism ideology entails.

    Thank you.
    Hey there, Astucity.

    Here's my take on the matter: pantheism and animism don't resemble each other, per se, but they are, in a lot of ways, two sides of the same coin. Let's call them macro and micro versions of the same general worldview.

    Animism holds that every entity on the planet has its own animating spirit and unique life and identity (and that does mean every entity: a rock, a cat, a computer monitor--everything). Pantheism holds that the entire Universe, considered as a whole, is God--or at least synonymous with what most monotheists think of as "God".

    A person can be both a pantheist and an animist; in fact, I apply both of those labels to myself. The more I explore my animism, though, the less it seems a religious stance and the more it seems a way of interacting with my surroundings, a way of understanding a world whose every surface teems with life. This is the micro view. On the other side is pantheism, which imbues everything (and, again, most pantheists do mean everything) with an immanent divinity simply because it exists and engages in the dynamic unfolding of the Cosmos. The macro view.

    I hope this helps.

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  • Astucity
    replied
    Hello.

    I have been researching different ideologies inside Paganism, and I have a question; does Pantheism in any way resemble Animism?

    My husband is an Animist, and until I met him, I had honestly never heard of it.

    I just considered myself an Eclectic, but, I would like to know exactly more on what Pantheism ideology entails.

    Thank you.

    Leave a comment:


  • Windsmith
    replied
    Originally posted by TheGreatGarfield View Post
    I feel that I am pantheist. I learned a little abut on this site and it seems to connect with what i'm about. My connection with life and the earth as a whole is what encourages me to choose this path.
    Welcome to our corner of MW, GreatGarfield! This part of the forum is pretty quiet, for the most part, but we're still a pretty great group of people, if I do say so myself.

    Leave a comment:


  • TheGreatGarfield
    replied
    I feel that I am pantheist. I learned a little abut on this site and it seems to connect with what i'm about. My connection with life and the earth as a whole is what encourages me to choose this path.

    Leave a comment:


  • Nilurra
    replied
    Originally posted by Rhisiart View Post
    See, lazy...I think its the main belief of EMO's! Gothic Fatalism...hmmmm....
    That is offensive in several ways... Are you calling all goths and emos both lazy and the same thing?


    To me pantheism is simply to perceive everything that exists as sacred and/or worthy of reverence or fascination. It is basically atheism, but with a different way of looking at the universe. Even the negative things we encounter are part of everything, but it's most often impossible to appreciate them when they are happening though, because we humans are natural too.

    I like to celebrate the cosmos in marking the changing seasons and sometimes the moon, because it lets me express my appreciation and makes me happy. In truth our solar system is only one of many, but I am being affected by these local solar, terrestrial and lunar events emotionally (and sometimes physically), and so it is a symbolic celebration of everything.

    Leave a comment:


  • Novembers River
    replied
    Originally posted by TygerTyger View Post
    [FONT=Arial]Life is energy and energy cannot be destroyed. Where our life energy goes after it is separated from the matter of our bodies that once contained it is a big question! It may become transmuted to some other form of energy? It may become attracted to other forms of energy? It may become the start of another life? These are the mysteries of existence!
    I believe it simply returns to the pool of energy to be used again in another aspect of existence.

    In a way, we never die.

    Leave a comment:


  • TygerTyger
    replied
    I have come to Pantheism not in search of a religion or an organisation similar to a church, but because, as a concept, it so closely matches what I believe to be true.

    I do believe that there is an intelligence out there that is beyond human understanding and that it touches the human consciousness occasionally.

    I do not believe this to be an anthropomorphic god or goddess, but it may be recognised as the ‘divine’.

    The universe is constituted of energy and matter.

    The intelligence is energy, existence is matter. They are inextricably interwoven. It is not logical to conceive of the universe without either matter or energy.

    Life is energy and energy cannot be destroyed. Where our life energy goes after it is separated from the matter of our bodies that once contained it is a big question! It may become transmuted to some other form of energy? It may become attracted to other forms of energy? It may become the start of another life? These are the mysteries of existence!

    That existence may be greater in total than the ability of an individual to experience it fully.

    That existence is unequivocally beautiful, even in its’ most terrible forms, and beauty is a product of intelligence.

    Leave a comment:


  • airmist
    replied
    Originally posted by sari0009 View Post
    My definitions for deity and divine however, I struggled to come to and realize that they may or may not be considered LCD versions (but might be as close as one can get).
    I wondered whether those were your own; I hadn't seen them before, not that I'm a theologian. I needed to re-read them a few times and will continue to think about them, but they certainly struck me as allowing discussion across "reality religious tunnels."

    Leave a comment:


  • sari0009
    replied
    Originally posted by airmist View Post
    Very nice, IMO, sarioooo. What I particularly like are: 1) your definitions of the various theological “isms” are as I’ve always understood them to be; and 2) your definitions of deity and divinity offer a working meaning of the words for purposes of use in discussions of various theological or religious systems of belief. I sometimes think the “isms” are used too often as if they are a religion. Their historical use has arisen as an academic description of a belief system or general type of belief.

    Like you, my personal spirituality is largely pantheistic, but has had elements of polytheism I thought, although I wonder today if those elements aren’t actually more animistic. However, the system names are descriptive of my spirituality, they are not my spirituality. Many others who post regularly here have spiritualities which sometimes have significant differences from mine, yet we are all clearly pantheistic to some degree. Hence, I enjoy everyone's company and learn from our differences.
    By the time I ran into Neopaganism and then studied different theologies from different angles, others had been working on clarifying the definitions of the theological -isms long before and I see these exact same definitions on sites like neopagan.net -- Bonewits has been around in the Pagan scene for a long time and has a knack for boiling things down to their Lowest Common Denominators (LCD). My mentor was good at that too. She could nail things in seconds that others took months or years to get around to realizing, if they did at all.

    My definitions for deity and divine however, I struggled to come to and realize that they may or may not be considered LCD versions (but might be as close as one can get).

    “LCD” definitions make it possible to talk across spiritual and religious reality tunnels, explore combination paths (which perhaps most are), explore paths more deeply, and enable a higher level of clarity in discussing others' sometimes abusive (not all are abusive) attempts to define the theological -isms for all others (during which they add on variables, assumptions, and other things as required parts of the definition).

    Leave a comment:


  • airmist
    replied
    Very nice, IMO, sarioooo. What I particularly like are: 1) your definitions of the various theological “isms” are as I’ve always understood them to be; and 2) your definitions of deity and divinity offer a working meaning of the words for purposes of use in discussions of various theological or religious systems of belief. I sometimes think the “isms” are used too often as if they are a religion. Their historical use has arisen as an academic description of a belief system or general type of belief.

    Like you, my personal spirituality is largely pantheistic, but has had elements of polytheism I thought, although I wonder today if those elements aren’t actually more animistic. However, the system names are descriptive of my spirituality, they are not my spirituality. Many others who post regularly here have spiritualities which sometimes have significant differences from mine, yet we are all clearly pantheistic to some degree. Hence, I enjoy everyone's company and learn from our differences.

    Leave a comment:


  • sari0009
    replied
    Originally posted by Kaylara View Post
    Now I know that many people in other paths also have a pantheistic view of the universe (Reclaiming Wicca being one of them.) And there are plenty of ways to interpret it, so I'm opening this up to everyone for a discussion. If you are pantheistic, what is your view on life, the universe, and everything?
    Yes, there are plenty of ways to interpret. Here is what makes sense to me. First, I'll throw in some definitions I gathered. I like to keep them simple as possible.

    Atheism – there is no God(s)
    Pantheism -- the physical world is divine
    Panentheism -- the Gods are everywhere
    Polytheism -- there is more than one God
    Animism -- everything is alive
    Monism -- everything that exists is one being
    Monotheism – there is the one and only true God

    Divine – universal forces of both internal and external connectivity that allow patterns to exist, come into creation, and even play.
    Divine is best perceived from a pluralistic and multidisciplinary approach rather than a proprietary one and yet I noticed that mainstream dictionaries define divine as pertaining, addressed, appropriated, or devoted to God or proceeding from God (and their idea of deity is peculiar to monotheisms) while many other pantheist or pagan glossaries vary on the definition of divine or just don’t include this very important word. I suspect that’s because the topic gets thorny very quickly?
    I like to view the divine as both immanent (internal) and transcendent (external) but have had to spend most of my time managing the immanent and found that most powerful and practical.
    I see nature as divine and everything that exists is natural, even humanity with our cities and chemicals that we produce.
    I occasionally love playing armchair physicist and take note when I read the likes of this: "…the quantum world is more highly correlated than any world that depends on a local reality or locally operating hidden variables."
    It makes sense to me that the divine is about plugging into the connectedness of the universe/multiverse. The divine also a very creative and playful thing to me, and not always in ways that we always thing of a sensible, nice, or pleasant. Nature can be brutal as much as it can be pleasant and subtle.

    Deity – strong patterns (anthropomorphized or not) that create and amplify connectivity internally, externally, and between.
    With this definition, what a deity is could be wildly interpretive rather than just a being we worship. Deities to me are real but tweak-able which means, for example, that some people might use a less cluttered archetype (often the earlier Gods, as in the cases of Aphrodite and Kali) while others may pile on particular baggage and connect/attract that which reflects both the archetype and the baggage. I was studying computer programming at the same time I got into pantheism and then polytheism so classes with their methods in C (computer) programming definitely affected how I think of diety.
    While not all Gods should be anthropomorphized, it makes sense to me that certain ones are because they the uniquely human patterns and connections that we live. It makes sense to anthropomorphize Aphrodite since this Goddess has to do with human love. In fact, she changed over time, reflecting civilization’s changes at the time. This is why I like the earlier versions as they are less sexist and not as overly specific.
    I am mostly a pantheist but am also polytheist (and have doubts about panenthism, and even doubts about my doubts), which makes sense with these definitions. I work with Gods but not as beings that are to be worshipped. They are real -- they are what I choose to connect with, attract, create with, and work with. I'd like to strongly emphasize that for me, anthropomorphized dieties are not necessarily the focus since not all patterns of energy and connection are human or proprietarily human. There is a big Universe out there and I doubt that we’re the only life forms.

    So…definitions of divine and deity are not standardized between all groups and individuals on earth and for that I am thankful because the mainstream dictionary ones are narrowly proprietary and I don’t agree with many other’s views and definitions. To some pantheists, it’s impossible to be both pantheist and into the Gods. To others, there is a fit between divine and deity.
    Last edited by sari0009; September 29th, 2007, 05:42 PM. Reason: indenting and added a definition...last edit was to take out a now defunct link

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  • Eleisawolf
    replied
    Originally posted by Diotima View Post
    I am a pantheist. I believe that universe is conscious -because we (humans, and possibly other beings too) are conscious and we are part of the universe. Sometimes I like to think that perhaps universe is trying to understand itself via us.
    You took the beliefs right out of my brain! I think the universe is learning about itself--everything that it can do, be, experience...

    I have no idea of what happens when we die- there is only one way to find out, and so far it has been an one way trip.
    Well, not so much. If you look at it from a scientific POV, nothing in a closed system (the universe, so far as we know) can be lost or gained. So the energy/matter that makes us up never leaves the system. It's recycled into something else. Each of our atoms is continually learning all the things it can do and be. Macrocosm, meet microcosm. At least given what I know now, I think we always come back, but never in the same form twice, to keep learning and adding to the continual evolution of the universe. So, while I agree with you that we can't know for sure until we go there, there are some bits of evidence we might be able to go by in trying to figure it out.

    Nevertheless...

    However, I believe it's very important how we live.
    ...you said a mouthful. Prosit!

    :cheers:

    Peace

    Leave a comment:


  • Diotima
    replied
    I am a pantheist. I believe that universe is conscious -because we (humans, and possibly other beings too) are conscious and we are part of the universe. Sometimes I like to think that perhaps universe is trying to understand itself via us. I have no idea of what happens when we die- there is only one way to find out, and so far it has been an one way trip. However, I believe it's very important how we live. I believe that studying ethics and trying to lead a moral life are essential to one's happiness in this life. And if there is something after that, having developed a virtuous character here is the best preparation I can think of. If there is any cosmic justice at all, a good person's ultimate fate can't be bad.

    Some other beliefs I have: -I believe that all life has intrinsic value and therefore significance.
    -In some very obscure way, I believe in destiny, in that our lives have a meaning. But we don't often know what that meaning is, and it can be something entirely different than what we think it is. It may not even be a conscious effort at all.
    -I don't believe that anyone dies (except in some cases where the death is violent) before she has fulfilled the purpose of her life.
    -I have no idea of whether or not there are Gods, spirits or other higher beings. For me, Universe is as close to God as there can be, and I have no hope of ever really understanding a small fragment of it. I feel it would be silly of me to worship beings that are parts of the Universe, and since I feel also that worshipping myself would be silly, I also refrain from worshipping the Universe. That leaves just silent wonder and awe.

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  • Windsmith
    replied
    Originally posted by Xentor View Post
    Welcome home!
    Holy crap. That is exactly what it feels like. Dang. Thank you, Xentor.

    Whoa, OK. The tears are a bit much there, psyche. You wanna cut that out now? Thaaaaanks.

    Leave a comment:

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