• Michael McMahon
    0
    Pantheism is "a doctrine which identifies God with the universe, or regards the universe as a manifestation of God". But what exactly does this mean when taken literally?

    For starters, I don't think it's solipsistic as we're all separated by the void of death. But perhaps we're all connected by a single conscious energy of sorts. I mean this in maybe the monistic sense.

    Monopsychism is perhaps a related concept. This is where there is "one immortal soul of which individual souls are manifestations".

    I think this belief would lend itself very well to the golden rule of "treating others as one's self would wish to be treated". We're all interlinked in a way.

    I think there are advantages to this point of view over traditional theism. Due to it's apparent simplicity it avoids any overly complicated faith beliefs.

    I've never found the doctrine of heaven convincing. I think the accumulative stress of living thousands of years would render eternal life psychologically impossible.

    I believe the idea of an omnipotent God to be problematic. If this God has free will, then how do you know he will always do good? Could he be temperamental and throw everyone in hell? Indeed he could easily morph into the "evil demon" or the "deceiving god" that Descartes feared.
  • fresco
    0
    What answer do you have to the assertion that all concepts of 'deities' or 'holistic consciousness' are basically psychological palliatives which counter the fear of potential 'meaningless of human existence'?
    Presumably, any modifications of those concepts is merely a minor 'tweakng operation' to suit the parochial needs of the palliative user.
  • Michael McMahon
    0
    Thank you for the reply. I would say we have truly nothing to lose by believing in pantheism if the alternative is meaningless existence and despair.
  • Terrapin Station
    0
    For starters, I don't think it's solipsistic as we're all separated by the void of death.Michael McMahon

    Huh? If the entirety of the universe is God, how is anything "separated by the void of death"?
  • Michael McMahon
    0
    I was referring to the idea of reincarnation. Even if you are reincarnated, your next life is fundamentally separate to this life by the total erasure of your memories.
  • Terrapin Station
    0
    I was referring to the idea of reincarnation. Even if you are reincarnated, your next life is fundamentally separate to this life by the total erasure of your memories.Michael McMahon

    Under pantheism, aren't we all simply part of God, though?
  • Michael McMahon
    0
    I'm perhaps interpreting pantheism a bit differently. I suppose it depends on how you define God. This is possibly made more difficult by our lack of scientific understanding of what precisely consciousness is.

    Under pantheism I tend to view God as the collective sum total of individuals rather than one omniscient all conscious entity.
  • Michael McMahon
    0
    Panentheism is "the belief or doctrine that God is greater than the universe and includes and interpenetrates it". This may be closer to what you have in mind.
  • Terrapin Station
    0
    Under pantheism I tend to view God as the collective sum total of individuals rather than one omniscient all conscious entity.Michael McMahon

    So "everything is the collective sum total of individuals"?

    (I'm an atheist, by the way, but I'm just looking at this under the umbrella of a view that's different than my own . . . I'm primarily examining whether the view is consistent, coherent, etc. relative to itself.)
  • Michael McMahon
    0
    Just to clarify; I'm commenting only on the consciousness side of the world. I'm making no claims on the physical side of things. I don't know how the physical world came into being or what was before the Big Bang!

    In terms of sentience and pantheism, I get the impression there's a subdued connection between everyone. Maybe there's an unconscious dreamlike spirit that links us; the whole surreality of dreams. I don't know for sure.
  • Shawn
    4
    For starters, I don't think it's solipsistic as we're all separated by the void of death.Michael McMahon

    Actually, solipsism is pretty hard to escape in a pantheistic universe. You can use the Barcan formula to prove this even in a universe with a near infinite amount of possible worlds.
  • Michael McMahon
    0
    IIt might be a good thing if pantheistic solipsism can inspire a person to be kind and ethical to others.
  • Shawn
    4
    IIt might be a good thing if pantheistic solipsism can inspire a person to be kind and ethical to others.Michael McMahon

    Yes, you essentially are hurting yourself by being unethical in a pantheistic universe.
  • I like sushi
    1
    It help to pick a subject. Are you talking about pantheistic ideas compared to monotheistic ideas OR belief in the afterlife? I don’t think a belief in an afterlife - reincarnation or otherwise - is necessarily part of any theistic position.
  • Michael McMahon
    0
    I agree that reincarnation is neutal and isn't necessarily theistic. But under pantheism what happens after one stream of consciousness is reincarnated an infinite number of times? Then we'd all be seperated by not only the completeness and absoluteness of death but a boundless never-ending infinite process.
  • Michael McMahon
    0
    (sorry neutral not neutal)
  • Merkwurdichliebe
    0
    I'm perhaps interpreting pantheism a bit differently. I suppose it depends on how you define God.Michael McMahon

    I'll interpret it differently. . .

    Pantheism is to reflect on God as existing directly in nature. From a certain perspective it might be called: "pagan idolatry". This by no means diminishes the piety of pantheism, but only serves to point out a peculiar characteristic in contrast to the mode of theism which looks inward - toward the immediate subjective relation to God.
  • TheMadFool
    26
    I think all isms related to God over and above explicit Theism are simply adjustments made to accommodate a divine being with facts which, we all know, are irreconcilable with the omnibenevolent, omniscient and omnipotent God of prevalent Monotheisms. As such it amounts to a diminution of what God means, especially what we actually want God to be and so is unacceptable on the principle that such a God would be unworthy of worship.

    As is evident it results in people accepting less and less of what God actually is or is supposed to be - from an omnipotent being with powers to intervene to a sterile observer lacking any will - until finally we, some may claim, mature mentally and abandon the whole thing as nonsense and become atheists.
  • Michael McMahon
    0
    I suppose there's a lot of mystery in the world. So I try to be open-minded to different beliefs and receptive to criticism. I just find my interpretation of pantheism appealing for the reasons I've mentioned above.
  • Terrapin Station
    0
    Just to clarify; I'm commenting only on the consciousness side of the world. I'm making no claims on the physical side of things. I don't know how the physical world came into being or what was before the Big Bang!

    In terms of sentience and pantheism, I get the impression there's a subdued connection between everyone. Maybe there's an unconscious dreamlike spirit that links us; the whole surreality of dreams. I don't know for sure.
    Michael McMahon

    That sounds closer to Jung's "collective unconscious" than pantheism. It sounds like you think there's something a bit more robust than Jung's idea, but it sounds pretty far removed from pantheism.
  • Michael McMahon
    0
    Collective unconscious: "the part of the unconscious mind which is derived from ancestral memory and experience and is common to all humankind, as distinct from the individual's unconscious".

    Yes, that is certainly a very relevant idea. I might be trying to mix it with pantheism. I don't think they're mutually exclusive ideas.
  • Devans99
    0
    I suppose there's a lot of mystery in the world. So I try to be open-minded to different beliefs and receptive to criticism. I just find my interpretation of pantheism appealing for the reasons I've mentioned above.Michael McMahon

    In the beginning there would have been one of the following:

    1. Some stuff that somehow made the universe
    2. God and some stuff. God made the universe from the stuff
    3. Gold only. God made the universe from nothing
    4. God only. God made the universe from himself

    So pantheism has a 1 in 4 chance of being true on this basis.

    I think God is benevolent so pantheism brings the problem of evil: if he is benevolent an ever present, why does he not intervene to stop evil? Maybe he cannot intervene in the universe or maybe he has no senses in the conventional basis.

    There is a potential problem: parts of the universe are flying apart from each other at faster than the speed of light. So he cannot be a conventional being (as parts of him are causally disconnected from other parts - head cannot speak to toes).
  • Michael McMahon
    0
    I agree that the problem of evil can be puzzling. Thankfully I've never been the victim of a crime but I still might attempt to understand it. Some would say that in order to have free will people must be allowed to do evil. Sometimes criminals can be brought to justice. If you look at history empires rise and they eventually fall. Also, there is no honour among thieves. So sometimes an avowedly evil individual may become the victim of another evil person.
  • Possibility
    14
    You seem reluctant to explore this unity or interconnection beyond the scope of ‘conscious’ individuals - in which case I agree with TS that you’re further away from pantheism than you might think.

    I tend to also believe there is a connection between everyone - but that this connection is also with everything: past, present and future. Any sense of disconnect we experience is only a lack of awareness - which can’t really be helped on the ‘physical side of things’, but certainly can on the ‘consciousness side’. Where do we draw the line on our unity or connection with the unfolding universe, and why?

    I believe it goes deeper than Jung’s ‘collective unconscious’ (which is restricted to humankind). I think the more we strive to understand consciousness in relation to information processing, biochemistry and quantum physics, the more we will recognise a fundamental similarity and connection between every process in the universe - and the entire path of evolution will become clearer. But that’s only conjecture at this point.

    As for ‘God’, my experience with pantheism suggests that these beliefs could be a gateway to atheism, but not necessarily. Personally, I think we need to abandon the idea that ‘he’ is a conventional ‘being’, and see God as more of a concept. God and Evil are mutually exclusive as beings, for instance, but I believe they can co-exist as concepts. I recognise that this moves away from theism, but I still don’t know if I consider myself to be an atheist as such. God just makes more sense to me this way: it exists for me as a concept that equates with the entire past, present and future of the unfolding universe.
  • Michael McMahon
    0
    I found what you said about our connection to the unfolding universe very interesting. There may exist a spectrum of beliefs. This could range from physicalism to pantheism to yet more of a panpsychist outlook that all matter and light possess some degree of consciousness.

    Future discoveries on quantum physics and information processing will hopefully shed light on the relationship of the mind and the physical world. When you look up at the night sky the physical world can be awesome. Indeed there's also an active debate on animal consciousness too.

    The personification of goodness as God is again thought-provoking. I think it's a nice concept.
  • Michael McMahon
    0
    When I mentioned about whether god is always good; I mean if we must have the capacity to do evil in order be free entities then why doesn't this apply to an omnipotent god as well. It's the free will defence in theodicy but in reverse.
  • TheArchitectOfTheGods
    0
    The hypothesis that god is good is certainly less tenable than the hypothesis that energy equals matter. We can read the equation E = mc² as a code for pantheism. If all matter in the universe is ultimately 'trapped energy', then the universe would consist of nothing but 'energy', and following human convention we could describe whatever we do not understand about nature with the term 'god' or 'gods'. Let's remind ourselves that 'god' is a human concept, but nature and reality exist without humans being there to describe it.
  • Shamshir
    0
    When I mentioned about whether god is always good; I mean if we must have the capacity to do evil in order be free entities then why doesn't this apply to an omnipotent god as well.Michael McMahon
    Due to parts being capable of err, which is to say not fit.
    Whereas an absolute divinity, is unable to err, as it has nowhere to fit.
  • Pattern-chaser
    0
    Under pantheism, aren't we all simply part of God, though?Terrapin Station

    Too literal for this discussion. The claims under discussion are spiritual in nature. So we are all part of God, but that isn't all we are, and being part of God doesn't mean we're immortal, which is what you're implying. If you want precision, perhaps a more scientific discussion would better suit you? :wink:
  • Pattern-chaser
    0
    Under pantheism I tend to view God as the collective sum total of individuals rather than one omniscient all conscious entity.Michael McMahon

    Interesting. I view God as both of those things, probably including the maxim the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. This is essentially the Gaian perspective, which is my personal belief position. Oh, but not necessarily "omniscient". I missed that at first. :blush: Gaia is the soul of the universe, not its creator. But let's not get too detailed. This is an interesting discussion at a simple, general, level. :up: :smile:
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