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  • missy_love101
    Hello ~OPEN MINDED~ people... Please check out this very interesting/unorthodox-ed take on Jesus by joining this new group, click on the link...
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 29, 2005
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      Hello ~OPEN MINDED~ people...

      Please check out this very interesting/unorthodox-ed take on Jesus
      by joining this
      new group, click on the link...

      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Christian_Pantheists_and_Panentheists/



      WHAT IS PANTHEISM??????....

      Modern Pantheism is often misunderstood. It has
      nothing to do
      with "pantheon" or "polytheism"- belief in many Gods.
      It is neither
      theism nor atheism, but transcends both. Its central
      tenet is that
      the universe is the ultimate reality, the ultimate
      object of
      reverence, while nature is a sacred part of the
      totality of which
      every one of us, in life or in death, is an
      inseparable part.

      Pantheism is an ancient religion - older than Buddhism
      or
      Christianity - and may already count hundreds of
      millions among its
      members. Most Taoists are pantheists, along with many
      Chinese,
      Japanese and Western Buddhists, deep ecologists,
      pagans, animists,
      followers of many native religions, and many Unitarian
      Universalists. The central philosophical scriptures of
      Hinduism are
      pantheistic. Many atheists and humanists may be
      pantheists without
      realizing it.

      Scientific or natural pantheism is a modern form of
      pantheism that
      deeply reveres the universe and nature and joyfully
      accepts and
      embraces life, the body and earth, but does not
      believe in any
      supernatural deities, entities or powers.

      The word Pantheism comes from two Greek words "pan" =
      all + "theos"
      = god. In Pantheism, "all is god."

      Many Pantheists define "god" as Nature and its
      creative forces. God
      and Nature are one in the same.

      In contrast, many Monotheists (from "mono" = one+
      "theos" = god)
      define "god" as a supernatural individual. God and
      Nature are
      separated.

      To identify god with Nature, rather than with a
      hallowed personage,
      seems odd to those unfamiliar with Pantheism. But
      actually
      Monotheism is less common than Pantheism in the
      history of religion.
      For tens of thousands of years, humans viewed the
      Earth as a sacred
      place with divinity everywhere. Religious scholar
      Denise Carmody
      notes "The oldest God is nature...in the beginning,
      human beings
      sensed that their habitat was sacred. With twists and
      turns and
      numberless permutations, they played out this primal
      intuition."

      Modern Pantheism revivifies our species' gene-deep
      intuition that
      the Earth is indeed holy. Divinity infuses the world,
      the skies, the
      seas, the rocks, the trees, the animals, and
      ourselves. Pantheism
      gives perspective to all we do and instills a
      reverence for Nature
      which can help reverse the ecological crises of our
      times.

      As old as antiquity, and as fresh as today, Pantheism
      holds the
      promise for a brighter tomorrow.

      Additional Definitions
      These definitions relate the oneness of God and Nature
      as the
      keystone of Pantheism.

      The doctrine identifying the deity with the various
      forces and
      workings of nature. (The American Heritage Dictionary,
      Second
      Edition, 1970)

      The belief that God is identical with the universe.
      All is God and
      God is all. The universe taken as a whole is God. God
      and Nature (
      the totality of all that there is) are synonymous, two
      words for the
      same thing. (The Harper Collins Dictionary of
      Philosophy, Second
      edition, 1992)

      Pantheism denotes religions which identify God with
      the universe.
      (Dictionary of Comparative Religion, 1970)

      The view that God is identical with everything. It may
      be seen as
      the result of two tendencies: an intense religious
      spirit and the
      belief that all reality is in some way united. (The
      Cambridge
      Dictionary of Philosophy, 1995)

      The religious belief or philosophical theory that God
      and the
      universe are identical (implying a denial of the
      personality and
      transcendence of God); The doctrine that God is
      everything and
      everything is God. (The Oxford English Dictionary,
      second edition,
      1989)

      The worship of nature (Greek pan=all) as divine (Greek
      theos=god).
      (The Harper Dictionary of Modern Thought, 1977)

      The doctrine that the universe conceived of as a whole
      is God and,
      conversely, that there is no God but the combined
      substance, forces,
      and laws that are manifested in the existing
      universe.(The New
      Encyclopedia Britannica, 15th edition, 1998)

      Pantheism is taken to express the belief that all is
      God or God is
      all, merging all things into the divine and denying
      personality to
      God or anyone else. (A Dictionary of Non-Christian
      Religions,
      Geoffrey Parrinder, 1971)

      In pantheistic views, God and the world are
      essentially identical;
      the divine is totally immanent. (The Oxford Dictionary
      of World
      Religions, 1997)

      The doctrine that the world as a whole, nature in the
      widest sense,
      is identical with God. (A Dictionary of Philosophy,
      Edited by
      Thomas Mautner, 1996)

      The God Of Pantheism

      If someone were to ask me whether I believed in God,
      or saw God,
      or had a particular relationship with God,
      I would reply that I don't separate God from my world
      in my
      thinking.
      I feel that God is everywhere.
      That's why I never feel separated from God or
      feel that I must seek God
      any more than a fish in the ocean feels it must seek
      water.
      In a sense, God is the "ocean" in which we live.
      Robert Fulghum

      As Nature and its creative forces, God is everything
      --all visible
      matter and all invisible vibrating energy within
      matter. Divinity
      fills the universe, at once infinitesimal and
      infinite, from the
      smallest atomic particle to the largest galaxy. This
      perception of
      god as both the tangible world and the intangible
      energy underlying
      the world comprises the pantheistic concept of deity.

      The stars, the Sun, the Earth, and every living thing
      are
      manifestations of Nature's creative energy. The origin
      of it all
      remains incomprehensible, the tremendous mystery.
      Scholar Joseph
      Campbell describes the energy as "an undefinable,
      inconceivable
      mystery, thought of as a power, that is the source and
      end and
      supporting ground of all life and being."

      Some Pantheists sense Nature's creative energy as a
      divine presence,
      and feel themselves at one with the Universe through
      this felt
      presence of divinity. Such feelings may be termed
      'mystical' in
      that they stem from direct communion with the
      ineffable "supporting
      ground of all life and being." These feelings arise
      from the wonder
      and mystery of Nature, and have nothing to do with
      supernaturalism. While other religions seek oneness
      with a
      supernatural deity, Pantheism finds oneness with a
      natural deity, in
      other words, with Nature (the material world, and the
      powers and
      processes that produce and control all phenomena in
      the Universe).
      Nature is ultimate reality.

      Although Nature produced conditions amenable to life
      on Earth, that
      same energy brings death, disease, and natural
      disasters. From a
      human standpoint, Nature is far from perfect-- its
      generative powers
      show indifference to humanity.

      But to realize that divinity resides in a rattlesnake
      as well as in
      a robin, and in a hurricane as much as in a breeze,
      helps to explain
      the good, the bad, and the ugly in the world. In most
      cases, the
      joys of living eclipse the darker happenings, and
      Nature's greatest
      treasure-- the gift of life itself-- enriches all our
      days.

      To accept Nature and its creative forces as they are,
      rather than
      accede to man-made visions of a ideal realm, engenders
      a
      surprisingly carefree confidence. The winds of truth
      set us free,
      and its exhilarating updrafts lift us to new spiritual
      heights.

      A Note On The Word "GOD."

      The word god, observes scientist and author Chet
      Raymo, has a
      independent usage, "that is universal, non-sectarian,
      and inclusive,
      that goes back to the origins of religious observance.
      The Greek
      novelist Nikos Kazantzakis writes: 'We have seen the
      highest circle
      of spiraling powers. We have named this circle God. We
      might have
      given it any other name we wished: Abyss, Mystery,
      Absolute
      Darkness, Absolute Light, Matter, Spirit, Ultimate
      Hope, Ultimate
      Despair, Silence. But we have named it God because
      only this name,
      for primordial reasons, can stir our heart
      profoundly...'"

      Some Pantheists don't use the term "god" because they
      associate the
      word with traditional beliefs. PAN respects this
      position. No one
      word or phrase is valid for everyone, and it's the
      concept (the
      divinity and oneness of matter and energy) that is
      most important,
      not the word.

      In PAN's view, the term "god" evokes ultimate reality
      far more
      powerfully than any other term; monotheism or
      polytheism have no
      monopoly on its use. Also, the word "god,"
      pantheistically defined,
      acts as a bridge to interested persons from mainstream
      religions
      accustomed to using the term. Pantheism literally
      signifies "all is
      god." A Pantheist, then, is an "all is god" person. To
      acknowledge
      the "theos" in Pantheism rings true to the meaning of
      the word.


      Varieties Of Pantheism

      An extensive entry in The New Encyclopedia Britannica
      lists seven
      forms of Pantheism, but actually, there are as many
      forms of
      Pantheism as there are Pantheists to express them!
      Why? In
      Christianity and numerous other faiths, adherents
      follow the
      teachings of charismatic leaders. In Pantheism,
      everyone is
      the 'leader' of their own religion, frequently
      self-discovered from
      feeling a sense of divinity in Nature (many persons
      are at first
      unaware that there is a name for their
      self-discovery).

      Imagine looking through a colorful kaleidoscope to
      view the
      varieties of Pantheism. Like all pieces in a
      kaleidoscope, all
      Pantheists fit together harmoniously, united by their
      belief in the
      oneness and sanctity of creation. Yet every piece in
      the
      kaleidoscope has unique colors and shadings, just as
      every Pantheist
      has unique colors and shadings which personalize their
      beliefs.

      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.

      Note: PANENTHEISM, coined by K.C.F.Krause (1781-1832)
      means God is
      immanent in the universe, as a part though not the
      whole of his
      being. This view preserves the idea of God as Creator.
      The
      phrase "scientific pantheism" appeared in a biography
      of John
      Burroughs (1924) and in later works including a
      Greek-Roman history
      book (1960), a study of Spinoza (1971), and a
      biography of John Muir
      (1981). SCIENTIFIC PANTHEISM, as defined in the 1990's
      by Paul
      Harrison on his website refers to "a consistent,
      empirical,
      materialist and non-dualist brand of pantheism." Paul
      relates
      that "Scientific pantheism never uses the word God."
      It
      is "identical with religious atheism....scientific
      pantheism is just
      as materialist as atheism, the only real difference is
      that
      pantheists have strong feelings of reverence, love,
      and sense of
      belonging to nature and the universe." Similarly, Paul
      notes
      that "many atheists hold powerful feelings toward
      nature and the
      universe; feelings of reverence, love, awe, and a
      sense of belonging
      to nature and the material universe."

      Scientific pantheism grades into atheism, naturalism,
      and humanism,
      which reject the divinity of Nature. Panentheism
      grades into
      theism, polytheism, and spiritualism, which may
      acknowledge divinity
      in Nature (and in so doing can lead to confusion with
      Pantheism).
      However, theism, polytheism, and spiritualism
      incorporate
      supernatural entities (such as angels and devils) and
      otherworldly
      elements (such as communication with the dead)
      entirely incompatible
      with Pantheism's view of a wholly natural world.

      Pantheism is a metaphysical and religious position.
      Broadly defined
      it is the view that (1) "God is everything and
      everything is God ...
      the world is either identical with God or in some way
      a self-
      _expression of his nature". Similarly, it is the view
      that (2)
      everything that exists constitutes a "unity" and this
      all-inclusive
      unity is in some sense divine (MacIntyre 1967: 34). A
      slightly more
      specific definition is given by Owen who says (3)
      "`Pantheism' ...
      signifies the belief that every existing entity is,
      only one Being;
      and that all other forms of reality are either modes
      (or
      appearances) of it or identical with it." Even with
      these
      definitions there is dispute as to just how pantheism
      is to be
      understood and who is and is not a pantheist. Aside
      from Spinoza,
      other possible pantheists include some of the
      Presocratics; Plato;
      Lao Tzu; Plotinus; Schelling; Hegel; Bruno, Eriugena
      and Tillich.
      Possible pantheists among literary figures include
      Emerson; Walt
      Whitman, D.H. Lawrence, and Robinson Jeffers.
      Beethoven and Martha
      Graham have also been thought to be pantheistic in
      some of their
      work-if not pantheists.
      The book recognized as containing the most complete
      attempt at
      explaining and defending pantheism from a
      philosophical perspective
      is Spinoza's Ethics, finished in 1675 two years before
      his death. In
      1720 John Toland wrote the Pantheisticon: or The Form
      of Celebrating
      the Socratic-Society in Latin. He (possibly) coined
      the
      term "pantheist" and used it as a synonym for
      "Spinozist." However,
      aside from some interesting pantheistic sounding
      slogans
      (like "Every Thing is to All, as All is to Every
      Thing"), and
      despite promising "A short Dissertation upon a
      Two-fold philosophy
      of the Pantheists" Toland's work has little to do with
      pantheism.
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