In my experience. The main reason that scientific naturalism doesn't have the same kind of popular following that Christianity or Islam does, is because it isn't very appealing on an emotional level.

Most people would rather be comfortable than aware.

This is why I think that Pantheism has such potential. It doesn't advocate any kind of supernatural realm or soul, and it provides all the solace and richness of religion. I am still learning about Pantheism, but its reverence for nature and respect for what is real resonate with me. I know that it might sound a little religious when it talks about "god". But God as is defined by a Pantheist simply refers to the laws of the universe and material reality.

What does A/N know about Pantheism. Any thoughts?

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Can't you just enjoy the universe anyway just the way it is? It's just that simple.

Precisely, a Pantheist enjoys these things the way a connoisseur of wines enjoys a rare vintage.
Good point. Dead right. We Pantheists do enjoy the Universe just the way it is. That's the essence of Pantheism.
Basic Atheism alone does not tell you whether to enjoy it or not - you might regard it like one Humanist I met, as a "moral outrage" because it kills humans via disasters etc.
Don't get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with atheism. But to really enjoy life, you need to bring on board a lot more than just disbelief in God or the supernatural.
Dawkins define pantheism as sexed-up atheism. That's a valid description.
Atheism says what you DON'T believe. Pantheism adds a lot on top of that, as to what you DO believe and deeply value.
Pantheism does not imply any belief in supernatural forces, beings, powers or realms. It just means that a person feels a very deep connection to Nature and the wider Universe and finds the kind of benefits in that which most humans seek in supernatural beliefs - without any of the costs in terms of loss of rationality, acceptance of scriptural authority and so on.
There is an organization devoted to completely non-theistic, naturalistic pantheism, and that's World Pantheism: http://www.pantheism.net
Check it out.
You'll find a lot more at my own website: http://www.pantheism.net/paul

Paul Harrison
Just read a little about it. I think that almost all atheists are "pantheists" but I and many other atheists completely disagree with the terminology used. The words pantheism itself and spirituality are misleading, confusing and just plain inaccurate for the feelings that pantheists are trying to convey. Is it that pantheists want to earn respect from theists in order to spark a dialogue, join the ranks of the new age, or lend credence to their atheism by making their views pseudo-religious. I prefer to use the word naturalism because it describes exactly what pantheists are trying to get at without hinting at the supernatural. I am a naturalist. I would join a congregation of naturalists. I would defend the principals of naturalism which are supposedly the same as pantheism. However, I am not spiritual (a supernatural concept-- no matter if you use it in the "broader sense") and I am not pantheist (which literally means that God is all around us). The ideas are great but the terminology is profoundly misleading and inaccurate. Naturalism is the word that should be used. Awe is not wholly owned by supernatural language. What do you think?
Mark wrote:
I prefer to use the word naturalism because it describes exactly what pantheists are trying to get at
No it does not. Naturalism says just that everything is part of Nature. Strong naturalism also excludes the supernatural. Naturalism has nothing to say about how you respond to Nature. It says nothing about social or environmental ethics, or ways of celebrating. Awe is not part of any definition of Naturalism. If you add awe in then you are already moving beyond Naturalism.

The World Pantheist Movement agrees with the strong version of Naturalism but adds material about Nature, ethics, celebration.
Pantheism has several versions - the term was first used by John Toland, who was a physicalist and naturalist. The "theism" suffix is nothing more than an etymological remnant in the World Pantheist Movement. No way do we use the term pantheism to curry favor with theists, who do nothing but attack pantheism. Pantheism is a term of abuse in theistic websites, just like atheism.

Dawkins more or less recommends pantheism - he implies, first, that it is compatible with atheism, and second, that it is more exciting than just basic atheism.

At the World Pantheist Movement sites (http://www.pantheism.net) we spell out everything without ever trying to appear theistic. We never use the word God on our site except occasionally in quote marks.

This page: http://www.pantheism.net/atheism.htm spells out the relationship between our version of pantheism, and atheism. Our online community http://pantheists.ning.com shows how that concept works out in many areas of life.

However, it is a matter of taste, you don't have to feel the same as we do. Some people like vanilla ice cream. Others like chocolate.
Here is an excerpt from Naturalism.org

But I will argue that just as we can be good without God, we can have spirituality without spirits. Even within the monistic view of the cosmos entailed by a commitment to scientific empiricism, we can avail ourselves of spiritual experience and take an authentically spiritual stance when appreciating our situation as fully physical creatures embedded in a material universe. I hope to show that in its dualism, the traditional notion of spirituality in effect sets up problems of existential alienation and cognitive dissonance that religions have wrestled with, more or less unsuccessfully, for millennia. At a stroke, naturalism cuts these problems off at the root, providing an emotionally satisfying and cognitively unified basis for feeling completely at home in the world.

Many humanists, of course, will not necessarily want to access what I will call the "spiritual response." Even if I persuade them that there’s nothing conceptually incoherent about a naturalistic spirituality, they might be constitutionally disinclined to indulge in emotions or practices that even temporarily disengage the rational mind set. I won’t argue against such reluctance, since each of us has his or her own tastes in aesthetic experience, and varying "comfort levels" in letting go. But the spiritual response is there for those who wish to experience it. It’s intrinsically rewarding in its own right, and a valuable resource in getting us through tough times.


http://www.naturalism.org/spiritua1.htm
I'm sure there is still much I should learn about Pantheism before commenting on it, but here goes anyway.

I don't like it, and I don't need it. I still think it is an attempt to make nature more than it is. The natural world, the universe, is enough!! All that is...IS. We don't have to pretend there is something outside of, or beyond, the natural world. We don't need to call ALL THERE IS, "god".

I think pantheism is comfortable for people who SEE reality, but want to FEEL they are "connected". Human beings crave relationships, but we should understand by now that some of us are in love with beings that don't exist!
Exactly, but the pantheists will continually debate with you saying that we are misinterpreting their terms of spiritualism. Atheism is all we need! And for some like I, becoming a militant atheist is the next step.
I'm with you. I'm proud to announce my atheist worldview... in a respectful way in order to attract the curious.
Let's clear something up so you debate Pantheism as it is, and not a straw man version of Pantheism.
The World Pantheist Movement does not talk about god AT ALL. We may use the word of other people's theist beliefs, some of us use the word in quotes sometimes. The official World Pantheist Movement site never talks in theistic terms.
Again I suggest that you look at our site http://www.pantheism.net and our page on atheism and pantheism http://www.pantheism.net/atheism.htm

Deb wrote:
Human beings crave relationships, but we should understand by now that some of us are in love with beings that don't exist!
Some are - eg theists. World Pantheists are not. What we revere is Nature and the wider Universe as revealed to us by our senses and by science. Period. We explicitly reject any and all supernatural beings, realms or forces.

The natural world, the universe, is enough!! All that is...IS. We don't have to pretend there is something outside of, or beyond, the natural world.
Pantheism does not pretend that AT ALL. For us it's exactly the same as what you say.
We often use the phrase "What is, is" or "The Universe just IS."

I think pantheism is comfortable for people who SEE reality, but want to FEEL they are "connected".
That part is true. We see the same reality as science sees. It's not so much that we WANT to feel connected. We just DO feel connected. And this is not just wishful thinking. It is a scientific fact that we all ARE connected - we are all linked by the same gravitational and electromagnetic fields, we are made of the same kind of stuff as everything else, we share a common origin in the big bang.
If you are advocating spirituality, you are advocating supernaturalism. Naturalism does have an appeal. In fact, lovers of nature and philsophical naturalists share the same name. Pantheism is incredibly misleading because of the language. The word spiritual means that there is a supernatural spirit living inside you that is used to describe things that are difficult to explain. Your belief that human emotions are unnatural is borderline absurd. Naturalism is not just the belief that nature is all there is but also that nature is beautiful and good. We should not waste our time redefining spirituality which has already been hijacked. That is why pantheists keep popping into this chat to "clear things up". Pantheism also neglects to reference anything ethical in the terminology. Saying that God is all around us is not only meaningless to the atheist but it is confusing as hell. I like pantheism when it is explained but why should we have to explain our beliefs ad nauseum simply because we have chosen the worst possible terminology.
I do think most "spiritual" Atheists are drunk on fresh air & fragrant flowers if at all moved by their awe and enjoyment of wild parts of the planet.
What, tell me, is wrong with that?
The ultimate test of meaning is whether people make after life claims without evidence.
The World Pantheist Movement makes no such claims. Check us out.

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