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Old 04-20-2001, 02:35 PM   #1
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Post panentheist looking for criticism

As a panentheist and home schooler, I am looking for atheistic criticisms of the panentheist worldview. Can anyone here point me in the right direction?
Old 04-21-2001, 08:42 AM   #2
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I've jokingly defined “pantheist” for my peers as “an atheist who recycles”.

I haven't done much research, but the little time that I have spent at the Universal Pantheist Society’s page has led me to believe that there is minimal difference between atheism and pantheism. From what I understand, they are both non-spiritual, the only real difference being pantheism’s environmental concern. That’s not to say that atheists aren’t generally concerned for the environment; most would simply rather call themselves atheists because (although the term is too commonly frowned upon) Joe Average knows what an atheist is, while not necessarily knowledgeable of pantheism.
Old 04-21-2001, 12:50 PM   #3
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I know what a pantheist is, but what is a panentheist?
Old 04-21-2001, 02:10 PM   #4
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Red face

Whoops! I didn't even notice that. Perhaps I responded too quickly. I figured it wasn't a typo, since (s)he typed it twice, so I did some searching and found

At this site, there is a definitions page that gives definitions of certain words relative to spirituality or "God". It defines Panentheism as:

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
Panentheism n:
1. All in Being.
2. All in totality.
3. All in God.
By what I've read so far, Panentheism sounds like my own personal beliefs, which I've previously called "non-theistic" (far from theistic, but not quite atheistic). I may have to change my label.

I'll do some more reading at and get back to this thread later.
Old 04-21-2001, 04:20 PM   #5
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Pantheism = All is God
Panentheism = All is in God

Pantheism is a general term which may drift towards either atheism or theism. The theistic religions (I refer to the J/C/I trio) are in their early stages of their evolution separatist, that is, they see God as separate from his creation (and thus not infinite). Later in their evolution they see God as encompassing his creation and transcending it at the same time. All mystic versions of the theistic religions (Jewish Kabbala, Christian Visions, Sufi Islam) are panentheistic. Also, later Hindu (as defined in the Upanishads) is panentheistic.

Scientific Pantheism simply takes the worldview of metaphysical naturalism (nature all there is - no creator-god, just self-existent, self-organizing nature), complete with Darwinian evolution of life, and turns it into a religious reverence towards nature (the Cosmos is Divine, the Earth is Sacred). They even call themselves "religious atheists" (a misnomer, I think, since atheism is irreligious; I prefer "religious metaphysical naturalists", which describes me).
Old 04-21-2001, 07:26 PM   #6
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Pantheism is a fairly ancient worldview. In Western thought, it traces back to at least Benedict (Baruch) Spinoza (1632-1677) and his book The Ethics (available on-line either HERE or here). In Greek thought, it traces back to the earliest Greek materialists, particularly Anaximander (611 - 547 BCE), who apparently that the primary substance was divine." The word "pantheism" wouldn't be coined for a long time, but this seems to be a very pantheistic (and obviously "materialistic") worldview.

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Old 04-22-2001, 12:19 AM   #7
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Bill:
The word "pantheism" wouldn't be coined for a long time, but this seems to be a very pantheistic (and obviously "materialistic") worldview.</font>
Could you elaborate on the obvious materialism in panentheism that you make note of? It doesn't seem quite so to me, and I'm not in a state of mind (c'mon, it's Saturday night!) to delve into to find anything indicative of this. Thanks!
Old 04-22-2001, 09:52 AM   #8
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" I prefer "religious metaphysical naturalists", which describes me)."

Is that the same as 'mystical ontologists.'..?

Where will you go for IT if you don't get IT from yourself? zen saying....

Old 04-22-2001, 02:35 PM   #9
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Well, I have subscribed to the worldview, based upon scientific and historical evidence, that nature is a closed system needing no causes above it - it is self-existent and self-organizing (that is Darwinian evolution). I think it is the One Truth, and that it should be made into a way of life (not a rigid, fanatical way of life, but a method of secular spirituality). That is what "religious metaphysical naturalism" means - the findings of science converted into a spiritual system.
Old 04-22-2001, 04:14 PM   #10
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Panentheism, as opposed to pantheism (a fairly respectable naturalistic religious oriented towards the majesty of the universe), sounds like deism with a healthy dose of huberus and mystic mumbo-jumbo to me based on It claims to be centered on "unifying" philosophy, religion and science, but appears to be weak on philosophy and without any of the redeeming features of religion (such as social interaction, socially useful ritual, cute stories to tell kids until they know better). The importance it places counter-intuitive definitions of words and unwillingness to wholeheartedly embrace naturalism, as well as the absence of any common sense explainations of what they are about are definite turnoffs in my mind.

Basically, the stuff on reads like someone with way too much time on their hands engaged in intellectual masturbation.

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