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Pantheism as a Basis for Ethics

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  • Pantheism as a Basis for Ethics

    Does Pantheism make a good basis for ethics in terms of human conduct?

  • #2
    i'll bite... <g>

    yes.

    i'm woking with this definition:
    "(usually used with a singular verb) that branch of philosophy dealing with values relating to human conduct, with respect to the rightness and wrongness of certain actions and to the goodness and badness of the motives and ends of such actions."

    if we realize that we are all connected (think spiderweb, not blob) and that everything that exists is of divinity, then we will act in such a way as to *not* bring harm to ourselves (and our own divinity).

    to hurt someone is to hurt yourself.
    to honor someone is to honor yourself.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by *oonagh* View Post
      if we realize that we are all connected (think spiderweb, not blob) and that everything that exists is of divinity, then we will act in such a way as to *not* bring harm to ourselves (and our own divinity).

      to hurt someone is to hurt yourself.
      to honor someone is to honor yourself.
      They say that all human action is motivated from self-interest, which makes sense considering that we experience existence from a totally subjective point of view.

      However, we also have the capacity to assume a degree of objectivity from which perspective we a see a greater totality than just ourselves and our immediate surroundings. In fact this capacity is necessary for a Pantheistic belief; how else could you picture yourself as being part of something much bigger if you can't see beyond yourself?

      Everything that exists is built from the same materials, this forms a necessary link. Animate objects also have further links being bodies of matter filled with energy. The links are reinforced down the line of evolution, vertebrates, mammals, primates, apes, humans, your own particular race, creed, age group, occupation, class, etc.

      If I am a part of all this why should I behave in a particular way towards anyone or anything else?

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      • #4
        Originally posted by TygerTyger View Post
        They say that all human action is motivated from self-interest, which makes sense considering that we experience existence from a totally subjective point of view.

        However, we also have the capacity to assume a degree of objectivity from which perspective we a see a greater totality than just ourselves and our immediate surroundings. In fact this capacity is necessary for a Pantheistic belief; how else could you picture yourself as being part of something much bigger if you can't see beyond yourself?

        Everything that exists is built from the same materials, this forms a necessary link. Animate objects also have further links being bodies of matter filled with energy. The links are reinforced down the line of evolution, vertebrates, mammals, primates, apes, humans, your own particular race, creed, age group, occupation, class, etc.

        If I am a part of all this why should I behave in a particular way towards anyone or anything else?
        i don't think we do, really, fully grasp the greater totality. we do try.
        the very fact that we are made of the same stuff, that we are connected, that we are motivated by self-interest answers your question.

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        • #5
          Looking at the dilemma above, it seems that pantheism could really be used to justify all sorts of ethical positions. Perhaps we shouldn't find that so surprising; I'm not sure I'd call pantheism in of itself a "complete" system of belief since primarily it addresses the question "is the Divine part of or separate from the world?" and not questions like "how should I behave towards the world" or "what is my purpose in life." Or are we using the term pantheism here in a more proper-case sense where it does designate a more complete belief system? If so, whose and what is its content?
          I find signatures distracting, thus I have them turned off. So if you can see this, I can't see yours.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Earthwalker View Post
            Looking at the dilemma above, it seems that pantheism could really be used to justify all sorts of ethical positions. Perhaps we shouldn't find that so surprising; I'm not sure I'd call pantheism in of itself a "complete" system of belief since primarily it addresses the question "is the Divine part of or separate from the world?" and not questions like "how should I behave towards the world" or "what is my purpose in life." Or are we using the term pantheism here in a more proper-case sense where it does designate a more complete belief system? If so, whose and what is its content?
            You're right, Pantheism itself is a theological stance and not a full system, but there are many systems which do embrace Pantheism, or something like Pantheism. Philosophical Taoism, for instance, could almost be described as having some Naturalistic Pantheism traits, and has a very interesting ethical system.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Earthwalker View Post
              Looking at the dilemma above, it seems that pantheism could really be used to justify all sorts of ethical positions. Perhaps we shouldn't find that so surprising; I'm not sure I'd call pantheism in of itself a "complete" system of belief since primarily it addresses the question "is the Divine part of or separate from the world?" and not questions like "how should I behave towards the world" or "what is my purpose in life." Or are we using the term pantheism here in a more proper-case sense where it does designate a more complete belief system? If so, whose and what is its content?
              Any belief could be used to justify any ethical position as long as the believer holds it to be at least true.

              My Pantheism is not a complete system of belief because I accept that not only do we not know everything but that we are not equipped to, either physically or intellectually.

              The primary question of Pantheism for me does not concern the nature of the divine, that answer is self-evident. I am more concerned with where do I fit into existence and how this might be reflected in the way I live my life? Answering the first question has brought me a significant degree of contentment, answering the second question does indeed relate to how I behave towards the world and everything in it.

              Pantheism leads me to accept the action of processes on our existence as natural and not judgemental. Birth and creation as well as death and destruction are constant occurrences within the universe. My place in existence allows me to participate in those processes to some degree. The ethical questions arise, in my opinion, in those instances where I can act to influence the immediate outcome.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by PaganSpirit View Post
                You're right, Pantheism itself is a theological stance and not a full system, but there are many systems which do embrace Pantheism, or something like Pantheism. Philosophical Taoism, for instance, could almost be described as having some Naturalistic Pantheism traits, and has a very interesting ethical system.
                Pantheism is not a ‘theological stance”! Theology concerns itself with the study of God and, by extension, religious traditions. It examines doctrines and concepts such as the covenant between god and humanity. Pantheism lacks these, thankfully as far as I am concerned. There is no bible, set of commandments or priesthood in Pantheism.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by TygerTyger View Post
                  Pantheism is not a ‘theological stance”! Theology concerns itself with the study of God and, by extension, religious traditions. It examines doctrines and concepts such as the covenant between god and humanity. Pantheism lacks these, thankfully as far as I am concerned. There is no bible, set of commandments or priesthood in Pantheism.
                  My mistake, I only meant in terms of a belief about the nature of the Divine. Didn't know what other term would be used for that.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by PaganSpirit View Post
                    My mistake, I only meant in terms of a belief about the nature of the Divine. Didn't know what other term would be used for that.
                    philosophy?

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by *oonagh* View Post
                      philosophy?
                      Or maybe world view...

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by PaganSpirit View Post
                        Or maybe world view...
                        Too small!

                        Universe view gets closer to it!

                        P.S. Please don't hide in a box, we don't bite much in this forum.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by TygerTyger View Post
                          Too small!

                          Universe view gets closer to it!

                          P.S. Please don't hide in a box, we don't bite much in this forum.
                          universe view...like...philosophy

                          p.s. *totally*...hide in a box...tyger *bites*

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                          • #14
                            I don't mind the term philosophy at all, that's where I discovered Pantheism, but it does seem to have certain connotations, such as being entirely a cerebral pursuit.

                            My Pantheism seems to have moved on from being a subject of contemplation, which it was for many years, to something that now affects my everyday life.

                            When a philosophical outlook moves from passive contemplation to active action does it become something else?

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by TygerTyger View Post
                              My Pantheism seems to have moved on from being a subject of contemplation, to something that now affects my everyday life.

                              When a philosophical outlook moves from passive contemplation to active action does it become something else?
                              well, contemplation always affects one's every day life.

                              nope. one is simply living one's philosphy.

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