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  • pantheist beliefs on a spectrum?

    I found this on a website (http://home.utm.net/pan/whatis.html)
    The following diagram generalizes contemporary pantheistically inclined viewpoints. Adherents spread across the spectrum, some in the center of a category, others at some point in between. From modern reference book-defined Pantheism, to the strict materialism of Scientific Pantheism, and the broad transcendence of Panentheism, all outlooks consider the Universe divine, and all contain a religious sensibility rich in poetry, mystery, and imagination, kindled by the enthralling wonder of Nature.

    I'm wondering how others feel about it. To me it makes a lot of sense, that a person's beleifs are somewhere on a spectrum. Any thoughts?

    (first post after introductions!)
    sigpic

  • #2
    I'm not going to speak for everyone, but from what I've understood here, the majority of folks around this pantheist board not only accept the idea of the spectrum, but encourage it. Personal belief is... well... personal.

    Pantheists range from those who have a more mystical, spiritual belief to those who have a more scientific, logic-based belief. Most of us here are somewhere in between, I think. I, personallly, lean more toward the mystical side, but my faith very strongly conforms to what science is able to discover. Where my mysticism comes in is in areas where I have had personal experience (visitations, as you will...) that science has not or cannot explore...

    If you read more of the posts on this subforum, you'll see how varied the spectrum is...

    Peace
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    Definition of skepticism: Don't believe everything you think.

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    • #3
      I like it.

      I think personally I'm heading to the right side of the spectrum.
      Mitakuye Oyasin

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      • #4
        If you mean "right" as in opposite of left, that's where I am too.

        I'm kinda wishy-washy on whether I believe that there's more than the universe, but I'd like to think that whatever is out there has some type of consciousness.
        sigpic

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        • #5
          If you read more of the posts on this subforum, you'll see how varied the spectrum is...
          Yes, I read almost every post b4 joining. I just hadn't seen anyone draw it out like this b4. Somehow the visual learner in me was just amazed to see all those words in picture form.
          sigpic

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          • #6
            Interesting diagram, and one I mostly agree with, though I would phrase it "The universe is suffused with Divinity".

            But that's just me :D

            I'm out of my mind, please leave a message...

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            • #7
              I'm happy with the spectrum, but lose the "God" term, because it is so culturally loaded (at least the Capital G version) as a "being".

              I believe the Divine is Nature, but it is not a god, being, traditional diety, and not "God".

              I know I am overboard a stickler about this, but I have found I need to be. If I start allowing myself to use the "g" term...then, when I am discussing faith, people who have a "being/deity" god start challenging me as if my understanding of the universe is the same as their god. They can't seem to hear that term and not assume "being". And then the discussion gets bogged down...because we end up speaking past each other.

              So I am anal about avoiding the "g" word when discussing my faith, lest anyone grab onto the notion that my pantheist understanding of the Divine is just another version of their deity. People constantly tell me what a cold, heartless "god" I have...simply because they can't conceive that I don't have a god, that the Divine can be something other than a superhero in the sky.

              OK, shutting up now...I promise.

              cheddar
              In a love affair with sunshine

              Live this day like an altar to what you believe

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              • #8
                please, don't shut up cheddar-it was some of your posts that made me want to get to know some people here.

                I agree, the use of the "g" word is an issue that is sometimes insurmountable, and by not using it at all, there seems to be more of a conversation where more can be learned than in an antagonistic situation.

                BUT, for many this is the only way that they can concive of a divine, so then by not using it, a different kind of road block is created...
                Last edited by peggyelizabeth; January 30th, 2007, 01:25 AM.
                sigpic

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                • #9
                  "The universe is suffused with Divinity".
                  What a beautiful way to phrase it. That's so succinct and focused, yet awe inspiring.
                  sigpic

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by peggyelizabeth View Post

                    I agree, the use of the "g" word is an issue that is sometimes insurmountable, and by not using it at all, there seems to be more of a conversation where more can be learned than in an antagonistic situation.

                    BUT, for many this is the only way that they can concive of a divine, so then by not using it, a different kind of road block is created...
                    I see what you are saying. I am willing to be very patient and work/talk with people till we can reach some understanding...IF they are willing to work as well.

                    But most of the time...I get.."If you can't explain your god in terms I am already familiar and comfortable with...then your just an atheist is disguise." They don't want to even try to understand that there can be an entirely different concept of Divine. As long as the concept of distinct, anthropomorphic deity is the only one they are willing to work with...I can never share my faith with them, because....everything that follows, in terms of "theology" depends on being able to let go of that initial concept.

                    People keep telling me I'm confused...because they don't understand that the word "God" can mean something other than a being that makes demands on us. They assume that because they don't understand it, I don't know what I'm talking about either.

                    So...after years of trying to use their own language in hopes that it will help them "get" the concept, I have now chosen to abandon their language and use that which is unique.

                    This is my own issue, based on my own experience. I really have found it better to not try to compare/contrast "my god" with "their god", because they are not parallel.

                    There really is no simple way to compare a dualistic faith to a non dualistic faith on a point by point basis, sort of like there is no Chinese alphabet. Can't line up chinese characters next to the English alphabet and say this = that. That is what they want me to do for them, explain how my pantheist "god" is like their "God". They are based on entirely different concepts, and a person must be willing to accept them on their own terms.

                    cheddar
                    In a love affair with sunshine

                    Live this day like an altar to what you believe

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                    • #11
                      Chedar wrote:
                      There really is no simple way to compare a dualistic faith to a non dualistic faith on a point by point basis, sort of like there is no Chinese alphabet. Can't line up chinese characters next to the English alphabet and say this = that. That is what they want me to do for them, explain how my pantheist "god" is like their "God". They are based on entirely different concepts, and a person must be willing to accept them on their own terms.

                      I must agree. I don't think the continuum in the OP works.

                      Spectra often work well, especially for spiritual concepts. Hell, I use them so often that it's a running joke among my friends that whatever we'll discuss, I'll put it on a continuum/spectrum. Or, I often use two concepts, and put them on intersecting spectra, thus dividing the "thought space" into four quadrants.

                      In spite of all that, this time I think it just doesn't work. I have to agree with Cheddar. My two cents.

                      Enjoy life-
                      -Equinox

                      I like my spirituality because I think it's true. But I love my spirituality because it makes me excited to be part of the universe. - Ben Trimegistus, 2004.2.23 (That's how I feel too!)

                      (webpage temporarily down) my webpage:

                      In short, I'm a Naturalistic Pagan spiritually at home in Unitarian Universalism.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by equinox2 View Post
                        I don't think the continuum in the OP works.
                        Just out of curiosity, why do you think it doesn't work?
                        If you're lucky you'll find something that reflects you,
                        helps you feel your life protects you,
                        cradles you and connects you to everything.
                        Dar Williams, "The Hudson"

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                        • #13
                          I think the continuum would work better if they replaced "within" with "suffused with" as the former could define a significant number or monotheists. Also, I don't see panentheism as a form of pantheism but more it's own thing with it's own spectrum.

                          A good spectrum should probably include acosmic pantheism as well.

                          (For those as don't know, acosmic pantheists hold that the only thing that really exists is a singular divine energy, all separateness and distinctness from this is said to be illusory.)

                          It might also have included the more theistic version of this which holds that this energy/being is conscious, ei. All is God.
                          Last edited by Birdy; February 3rd, 2007, 12:54 AM. Reason: for clarity

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                          • #14
                            Windsmith wrote:
                            Just out of curiosity, why do you think it doesn't work?

                            Because I don't see a smooth change from to the other, instead the two (Pantheism and Panentheism) seem qualitatively, not just quantitatively,
                            different.

                            For instance, I think many political views CAN go on a spectrum, like dove/hawk. People on the dove end may not fight if the US attacks unprovoked, but would if their hometown were bombed - some in the middle would approve a war if we were attacked, but not otherwise, while hawks might be happy to attack unprovoked. The shades of gray involved with "what exactly qualifies as being 'provoked'" supplies a smooth scale. Another example is a spectrum from rich to poor. What about someone with an annual income of $8,000? $23,000? $47,000? $94,000, $3,651,000? I see those as quantitatively different, and hence can be put on a smooth spectrum.

                            Qualitative differences, like comparing a car to a tornado to an opera, don't work. Sure you can put them in some order, but the order seems arbitrary, and it's hard to image the fine steps leading from one to the other extreme.

                            It seems to me that if you see the universe as likely to be naturalistic, then Panentheism doesn't fit. Panthesist believe in just the universe, while Panentheists believe in the universe + 1 God. So partway inbetween is that someone who believes in the universe + one fifth of a God? Wha?

                            So it just doesn't seem like the best application of a spectrum to me.

                            -my $0.02 (of a god? )
                            -Equinox

                            I like my spirituality because I think it's true. But I love my spirituality because it makes me excited to be part of the universe. - Ben Trimegistus, 2004.2.23 (That's how I feel too!)

                            (webpage temporarily down) my webpage:

                            In short, I'm a Naturalistic Pagan spiritually at home in Unitarian Universalism.

                            Talk with us! New Naturalistic Pagan Yahoo Group

                            Equinox/Solstice Times . . rise/set and phase dataDaily Devotion for Naturalistic Pagans (Click Here.......... or Here) :fpraiseyo

                            P. S. thanks so much for all the people who have given me karma. With a very slow connection, I simply don't have time to give out nearly as much as I'd like.

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                            • #15
                              Hmmm...You've made me think, equinox2!

                              The reason I treat myself as somewhere on the spectrum between pantheism and panentheism has to do with the nature of the Divine. I get all bollixed up with the concept of transcendance.

                              I don't think Divine and transcendant necessarily go hand in hand. For me, the middle ground is just that -- divinity in the here-and-now, within the bounds of this universe. No creator. I like Starhawk's term: Immanence. I'm not sure I use the term to mean the same thing she describes. Words are tricky, slippery little tools.

                              If I ever do see my way clear to embracing/understanding the concept of necessarily transcendant Divinity, then I guess I'll call myself a panentheist.

                              Waiting is.

                              I'm out of my mind, please leave a message...

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