Just a quick note on wonderism's relation to various forms of theism and atheism.

I consider wonderism as inherently atheistic. God is just a superfluous label that some people attach to the unknown. It is the fear of the unknown (terror) which causes people to attempt to soothe that fear by sticking a label on the unknown, namely 'god', and then fooling themselves into believing that they know the unknown (i.e. god). "What if there's no meaning to life? Argh, fear of the unknown! It must be a god that gives life meaning! Ahhh, the fear is quenched."

Since wonderism rejects reasoning based on terror (fear of the unknown), there is no need to pretend to know the unknown. Wonderism strives to cultivate an acceptance of the unknown, and therefore an acceptance of one's own ignorance. I'm happy to admit my ignorance, because admitting ignorance is the first step towards learning something new, and I love learning. I feel no shame when I utter the words, "I don't know," and the next words out of my mouth will probably be, "Let's find out!"

So, with no motivation to label the unknown as anything other than 'the unknown', what could be the motivation for using the letters g-o-d instead? None that I can think of. So, wonderism seems to me to be inherently agnostic ('god' is literally the unknown) and atheistic.

For any specific god concept, evidence would need to be supplied. Since there is none for, and there is often plenty against, wonderism rejects the claims of theists about their god concepts. Some god concepts may in fact be logically impossible, or utterly meaningless, and so some wonderists may opt to defend a strong-atheist stance on some or all gods, but I wouldn't say that's a core part of wonderism.

What about deism? Again, it appears to be an argument from the unknown, or argument from ignorance, aka 'god of the gaps'. Why call the unknown 'god'? So, deism appears to be out.

Is wonderism the same as pantheism? My take on pantheism is similar to deism. If you define 'god' as 'nature', then why use the word 'god'? Why not just call it 'nature'? Nature seems like a perfectly good word. What do the letters g-o-d get you?

If you're one of the newer pantheists who don't even bother with the word 'god', then I ask, why call yourself a pantheist? Why not just naturalist?

If all you mean by 'pantheism' is that you have wonder or reverence for the natural universe, then my reply would be, "Why not use the more accurate word wonderism?"

I just don't see what pantheism gets you. It seems like another superfluous label. If it's just 'god is nature', then I don't need 'god'. If it's just 'nature is wondrous', then I don't need 'pantheism'.

But, I have no problem with pantheists. I just wonder why they bother with the theism part.


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Tags: agnosticism, atheism, deism, god, ignorance, pantheism, theism, unknown, wonderism

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Replies to This Discussion

I was attracted to Aweism because of the sense of wonder without spiritulism that it invoked, but the dictionary definition puts the word 'awe' too close to 'fear'. "The fear of God" is the antithesis of my philosophy.

I wholeheartedly agree with your assesment of 'Pantheism', one definition of which is that the Universe is a manifestation of God. How can one be a Pantheist and an Atheist at the same time?

Here's a quote from Isaac Asimov that you may have heard but fits well with your comment about our ignorance of the unknown: "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not "Eureka!" but "That's funny..."

I look forward to Fred's contributions and the contributions of others in this new group. I wonder where it will lead us.
I am still reading all of your posts and a few on aweism to get a really good understanding of what this is all about. This post in particular made me smile as I feel I have discovered something new ~ I had never heard of this type of philosophy before~

My curiosity about everything has always made me wonder: why the heck do I care so much about things that I don't know OR things that are unknown? I most certainly do not thank a deity for my 'spirit of inquiry', rather, I believe that my time on earth should be spent quenching that thirst for knowledge that seems to be so embedded in my persona.

With that being said, hope I am in the right place to begin yet another search! ;-)
Welcome! That's how I feel too.
"What if there's no meaning to life? Argh,

By coincidence I wrote about the same idea in Mirror Reversal . Cynthia was just recued by an entrepreneurial call girl named Sweapussy Lix. She runs a call girl agency, so she has plenty of time for philosophizing about life.

Cynthia continued, “The thing about Arthur Schopenhauer is that at the University of Berlin he taught that not believing in God leads to pessimism. I disagree. Just because I don’t believe in God doesn’t mean I can’t be a good person or can’t lead a happy life. There’s no purpose to life, so what? The meaning of life is that it’s meaningless. The physicist Niels Bohr said that. Life is to have fun and enjoy beauty, that’s enough reason to live for me.”

Sweapussy let out an ironic laugh. “That’s what I tried to tell Jimmy, but I never knew how to put it in words.”

If one takes physical cosmology and biological evolution seriously, then you can achieve a powerful gestalt switch by realizing that meaning didn't come before life. Life came before meaning. Meaning evolved. Prior to organisms that could invent meaning, there was no meaning. It took complex brains with conscious self-awareness to develop meaning. Meaning grows and builds, just like life evolves, because meaning comes from living things.

Therefore, it is a mistake to ask, "What is the meaning of life?" That is getting things backwards. The correct question is, "What is the life of meaning?" What ways of life can we pursue to cultivate and grow our sense of meaning? Gods do not provide sufficient meaning, because nobody ever thinks to ask, "What is the meaning of God's life?" The theist would be forced to concede, "Well, no one can really know." And by doing so, they sacrifice all meaning they were hoping to find. Instead of pursuing their own life of meaning, they become slaves to the meaning set out by a fictional character in a book. They literally become a part of a machine.

I create the meaning of my own life. What meaning will I create? That remains to be seen, but I do have a reliable guiding principle, namely wonder. If I can achieve a life that means more wonder and less terror, I will be more than content with that. In fact, the more wonder I can help bring forth, the more meaningful my life will be.

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