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Earthdragon

A Question For Pantheists

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Moonhunter

What is my purpose and how do I see my sense of that reflected in the world around me? And then the flip side - walking the Druid path for me entails trying to see Nature's logic (not man's logic) and seeing where I fit in with that. I myself feel the urge to grow. To develop. To share. To celebrate. Above all to value things for what they are not and what we project onto them.

 

slightly OT I know, but would you care to elaborate? I'm interested in what you see as "Nature's logic". To me it's fairly limited (other than humanity's sealf awareness) and is pretty well confined to: have as much offspring as possible and eat/consume sustenance as much as possible in order to ensure offspring and self thrives. I can see growing, developing and sharing in order to produce offspring, but not so certain about celebration. Unless you mean having fun? I think we can all see at least higher order mammals have fun. :) So I wonder what "nature" means to you?

 

The realisation of this whole thing makes me want to laugh and celebrate. It's very very uplifting :)

 

that's lovely :)

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Earthdragon

Hi Moonhunter,

Yes its a bit off topic and I hope any other people on here with leanings towards Pantheism won't be put of my ramblings here. The OP's questions will hopefully be returned to.

 

I see Nature's intelligence/logic as being indicated by its ability to produce complex ecosystems of such intricacy and diversity that it would take a supercomputer to work out just the interactive variables let alone the minutae of their constituent parts. These ecosystems are diverse and self sustaining and contribute to the health of the planet. They are also beautiful. You once said that the vast majority of the living world is in fact waste. I see it differently. Virtually nothing in nature is wasted. Things that die are cycled into new life. Nature's logic is expressed in cycles. Its funny that there is currently another thread on the go at the moment under the title Recycling. Ive never really understood why we use the phrase "recycling" - nature doesnt recycle things it just cycles them. Nature's logic also heavily features interconnectedness. It produces an apple on the branch of a tree. There is a chain of connections from apple to branch to roots to earth, air and moisture to the rest of the planet. We are inclined to not consider ourselves and our actions as connected to all else. We like to think of ourselves as a separate unit. We can learn from the balance and equilibrium that mature ecosystems show.

And yes we are part of Nature so Nature's logic incorporates the ability to produce such high functioning sentient life as human beings. Natures logic is amazing as its ability to produce phenomena such as a first class graduate of mathematics who had brain hemispheres less than one millimetre thick. So to me the principlee of nature includes unseen and non material aspects which may include existence of higher dimensions (string theory posits 10 or even 26 dimensions).

Human's logic tends to see the rest of nature as being there to meet it's needs whereas Nature's principles include species forming symbiotic relationships. Like the way bacteria in our gut keep us healthy. Yes some of us are asking how we can keep the planet healthy and there's a symbiosis of sorts between economy and politics,for example, but I would say most of us still see our needs as primary no matter what the impact. Wodeborn expressed this once very well by saying "we need to chuck out the laptop". I wouldn't go quite that far.

Of course Nature and humans both incorporate instinctive drives but there is more to it than that as I've tried to show.

 

There has been an interesting alignment of the way this topic has gone with forthcoming and past events at a location The Peak. I think ( please correct me if I am wrong) that you once visited Nine ladies Stone Circle and raised a wight to help put off the contractors there from expanding the nearby quarry ? Funnily enough have been asked to give a brief speech about Nature and Druidism at an initiation event at Nine Ladies Stone Circle on Stanton Moor on Sat 30th Jan 2016!

 

In view of your description of what you did at Nine Ladies that time and what you experienced of the guardian at another megalithic site in Derbyshire - Arbor Low - may I ask why you speak so mechanistically of how nature works as opposed to the connections between place, time and people? Or do you see such things as belonging only to the realm of humans?

 

ED

 

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Xalle

Someone doesn't understand evolution.

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Moonhunter

I see Nature's intelligence/logic as being indicated by its ability to produce complex ecosystems of such intricacy and diversity that it would take a supercomputer to work out just the interactive variables let alone the minutae of their constituent parts. ...

And yes we are part of Nature so Nature's logic incorporates the ability to produce such high functioning sentient life as human beings.

 

In view of your description of what you did at Nine Ladies that time and what you experienced of the guardian at another megalithic site in Derbyshire - Arbor Low - may I ask why you speak so mechanistically of how nature works as opposed to the connections between place, time and people? Or do you see such things as belonging only to the realm of humans?

 

Thanks for your post, hun :) I entirely agree that nothing is actually wasted, in the sense you mean. It is, indeed cycled. When I wrote of "waste" it was in the strict context of the discussion at the time, which was:

 

I would say that The World comprises of all the life in it and that life feeds and reproduces and thrives because that's exactly what it gives a toss about and if instead it sickens, loses its young and wastes away then it certainly won't be achieving what it gives a toss about. In various ways it will be in distress instead

I'm not sure about this. It seems to be a human-centric way of looking at life on this planet. Each year, I see the incredible waste that exists in life - how many seeds become grown lifeforms? Very few. the majority of seeds or growing young provide food for something else. Losing young to waste or to provide food for other species is endemic to life. It's the natural order of things for 99.9% of life on this planet. We're the single exception. Every time parents lose a child to some form of disaster or accident, we hear they set up a charity or promote a cause, to ensure it won't happen again. That may help the parents alleviate their very real grief, but it probably won't do much overall. Death and waste are part of life. The biggest part of life.

 

As you see, you were making the opposite point to the one you are making now, that things are not made to be cycled and that nature would be in distress if they are unable to achieve their immediate purpose, as life-forms. In that context, I was making the point that, in fact, most things intended to become adult lifeforms are cycled.

 

I wouldn't put things in terms of nature having any ill or malking something as intelligent design, as that concept comes too close to the concept of the creator god for me to feel comfortable with. I don't see anything sitting down and designing things, whether we call it the Universe, God, nature or anything else. If there is something like that, I'd like to ask what is the purose of destroying so many lifeforms as, it seems to me, truly intelligent design would be to enable lifeforms to live without all that waste and "cycling".

 

I regret I really don't understand your question "may I ask why you speak so mechanistically of how nature works as opposed to the connections between place, time and people?". I tend to post in accordance with the discussion. So, if the discussion is about spiritual connection, I post on that. If it is about something mundane, I post on that. I tend not to mix a discussion of putting out the rubbish with a discussion of spiritual activity. I'm aware that it can be made so, but I find that, on the whole, if people are discussing how to deal with rubbish, most see a discussion of (for example) Brother Lawrence's methods or Eastern orthodox mantras or true mindfulness or stepping into the Otherworld, a wee bit off topic. So on the whole, I try to keep to the subject. :)

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Moonsmith

Others may come to the Valley seeking information regarding Pantheism and see this thread. The views expressed in this thread are not uncommon;

 

But:

 

I feel that Pantheism is not understood by many of the contributors to this thread and for that reason made reference to Pantheist writers and writers on Pantheism in my post above.

 

Then I set out to summarise the views that I read here.

 

My original intention was cynicism and despite my intention to remove it, some of that may remain. However, I found myself putting together thoughts that I do not think are unacceptable to many who have contributed to the Valley in general.

 

So:

 

Posit – a philosophy called Gaiism.

This simply so that I have a noun to work with. I intend no disrespect either to Gaia or those who have adopted Gaia as Deity. Indeed I have used the concept and aspects of the Goddess Gaia in my own spiritual development.

 

Proponents of Gaiism recognise and rejoice in the oneness of an entity that they refer to as Nature.

 

Nature is represented by Gaiists as being most of the Earth's organic life, both animal and vegetable together with certain aspects of the Earth's atmospheric and geological conditions and entities beyond the Earth that are visible from its surface.

 

Their own species, Humanity, is largely excluded from Nature. Certain non-industrialised groupings may be included especially if the spirituality of those groupings recognises Nature as defined by Gaiists. Successfully to emulate these groupings is to gain admission to Nature.

 

Guiists recognise a unifying Spirit or Divinity overarching Nature as defined above. Such a Spirit is numinous, caring, nurturing and purposeful regarding Nature. This Spirit has a thought process.

Guiists may be fragmented in their view of the Spirit's purpose but feel its presence.

Guiists have an individual purpose within the overarching purpose.

Guiists consider themselves to be one with this Spirit or Divinity.

 

 

Views of Humanity vary among Gaiists:

[Taken from various threads on the UKP forum including this one.]

 

Humanity is not part of Nature.

 

Humanity is a form of “fallen Nature”.

 

Humanity's development is threatening Nature or acts contrary to Nature's purpose.

 

Humanity should aspire to be like Nature.

 

Humans should aspire to become part of Nature.

 

Humans should aspire to think like Nature and act for Nature.

 

Humans must take responsibility for Nature.

 

Even

 

Human endeavour must not affect Nature.

 

The extinction of the Human species would be of benefit to Nature.

 

The extinction of the Human species is imminent and to be applauded.

 

 

Some aspects of Gaiism are in my own opinion laudable and may be significant in the survival of our species or even life itself.

You may have seen Steven Hawkings concern about the way in which certain technoscientific projects threaten Humanity.

 

 

However, Gaiism is not Pantheism.

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Jasmin

I am a pantheist because I realised from a very young age that to put it in very basic terms "I am not ' All that'" !

 

If you are asking why I still think in pantheistic terms, it is simply because I think the present state of things although pretty desperate will always be resolved in some way despite myself, whilst always realising that I am part of the problem, even though I tread as lightly as I can on this whole planet.

 

To me it's a concept that nothing can thrive or exist in isolation, just like our biology states that for example how can the lungs function without the heart?

 

Everything we have is there for a reason to me and therefore equally valid and worthy of respect.

 

Probably a very simple way of looking at it but I can expand it in my own mind to include everything in the , Solar system ,Galaxy, Universe, string theory based other dimensions etc...

 

In other words why would anything that isn't integral to existence be there if it wasn't part of 'the whole'

 

So to me it is all sacred because just because it exists.

 

Best, Jasmin xx

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Veggie dancer

However, Gaiism is not Pantheism.

 

I would argue that gaiism is pantheistic, but that not all pantheists are gaiist. Just like not all polytheistic belief systems are the same and not all polytheistic religions are the same.

 

 

I got this off a dictionary...

Pantheism:

1.

the doctrine that God is the transcendent reality of which the material universe and human beings are manifestations: it involves a denial of God's personality and expresses a tendency to identify God and nature.

2.

any religious belief or philosophical doctrine that identifies God with the universe.

 

Do people agree with that definition? Or would you word it differently?

 

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Veggie dancer

I wouldn't put things in terms of nature having any will or malking something as intelligent design, as that concept comes too close to the concept of the creator god for me to feel comfortable with. I don't see anything sitting down and designing things, whether we call it the Universe, God, nature or anything else. If there is something like that, I'd like to ask what is the purose of destroying so many lifeforms as, it seems to me, truly intelligent design would be to enable lifeforms to live without all that waste and "cycling".

 

I get that the intelligent design idea comes a bit close to the creator god idea for comfort. I don't think believing that something has a purpose necessarily means that it was designed. I think the 'divine' is more like a creative force, i might have called it a will to exist/live somewhere but maybe a saying a 'will' makes it sound a bit too 'designed'. I think its trial and error not intelligent design but maybe its the drive to try.

 

 

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Veggie dancer

Hey moonhunter, :) ... Sorry for the 20questions coming up ;)... In relation to your experience of wytes (not sure if i spelled that right) do you think of them as gods or other divine beings or something else?

Would you call believing in wytes animistic?

Do you think there are wytes of all places or of just some places?

Do wytes have over lapping domains? (Like a mountain whyte of a mountain where there is a house on the mountain with a house whyte.) (sorry if they are silly questions im pretty ignorant on the nature of wytes)

 

Hyperthetically speaking... If someone believed there was a universal wyte... That would be panentheistic rather than pantheist because a wyte is a spirit of a place not the physical place itself? Or would that be be neither panthism or panentheism but animism on a grand scale?

In your opinion, would the idea of the existence a universal whyte be a ridiculous one or could it be possible?

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Earthdragon

However, Gaiism is not Pantheism.

 

I would argue that gaiism is pantheistic, but that not all pantheists are gaiist. Just like not all polytheistic belief systems are the same and not all polytheistic religions are the same.

 

 

I got this off a dictionary...

Pantheism:

1.

the doctrine that God is the transcendent reality of which the material universe and human beings are manifestations: it involves a denial of God's personality and expresses a tendency to identify God and nature.

2.

any religious belief or philosophical doctrine that identifies God with the universe.

 

Do people agree with that definition? Or would you word it differently?

 

Hi Veggie Dancer

 

I think of Pantheism as seeing the universe as divine. Divine can mean "God-like or like a God" according my online source. So I think I see identifying the universe with God as being too narrow a definition for me...

 

ED

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Earthdragon

Just for the record I don't think I was making the point that all life is there just to be cycled . I think life is their to exist and live and interact and be part of the web of life on this awesome amazing planet. If sickening overtakes the ability to live then there will be distress, yes. But Nature's outcome include principles (logic) such as cycling or else it could not function.

 

I was also trying to speak from the heart as spiritually as I could :)

 

ED

Edited by Earthdragon
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Moonhunter

Hey moonhunter, :) ... Sorry for the 20questions coming up ;)... In relation to your experience of wytes (not sure if i spelled that right) do you think of them as gods or other divine beings or something else?

 

wights is just an Anglo Saxon word that would tranlate as 'creature' or possible 'spirit' today. So, to the Anglo Saxons, wights included gods, the hidden folk, humans and animals. Modern Heathens tend to restrict the use to the hidden folk.

 

Would you call believing in wytes animistic?

 

Yes. AFAIK, that is precisely what it is. :)

 

Do you think there are wytes of all places or of just some places?

 

My own experience is that some places are dead, so I'd have to say just some. However, my own experience (and that of others I know) is that that not all dead places are equal in deadness, so a wight might move in.

 

Do wytes have over lapping domains? (Like a mountain whyte of a mountain where there is a house on the mountain with a house whyte.) (sorry if they are silly questions im pretty ignorant on the nature of wytes)

 

Yes. From both stories and personal experience.

 

Hyperthetically speaking... If someone believed there was a universal wyte... That would be panentheistic rather than pantheist because a wyte is a spirit of a place not the physical place itself? Or would that be be neither panthism or panentheism but animism on a grand scale?

In your opinion, would the idea of the existence a universal whyte be a ridiculous one or could it be possible?

 

Interesting ideas. Going back to the definitions that:

Pantheists view God as identical to the Universe. The Universe is God.

Panentheists view God as greater than the Universe. The Universe is part of God

then what you're asking is: can a wight becomes so big it becomes a god? Could it then be the only god? I know many Heathens who believe that some wights can become gods. Personally, I'm undecided. But in those terms, the dividing line is the point at which the wight is no longer tied to something, but is now a free agent. At that point, it becomes something else... perhaps a god. It really comes back to how one defines "divine". for me, that means:

- a free agent

- able to affect change what we perceive as reality

 

beyond that, some people would add the capacity to create new lifeforms, worlds and suns. As well as the laws of physics. I wouldn't go that far, but surely it's integral to panentheism? If you believe that the universe created itself, then it would also apply to your form of pantheism. If you believe that the laws of physics were already there, before the universe was created, then surely you're a panentheist?

 

Either way, I think we're talking about godhead/deity, not wights. :)

 

 

Just for the record I don't think I was making the point that all life is there just to be cycled .

 

No, hun. I never thought you believed that, and it didn't read like that. :)

 

I was also trying to speak from the heart as spiritually as I could :)

 

I know. thank you for that. :o_kiss:

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Earthdragon

This is the way I see it, in my simple, happy little world ...

 

God is seen by most religions as the authour of all existence.

I believe our universe is the authour of all of our existence.

It had/has the power to create and then sustain everything upon our little planet, therefore our universe is 'like a god' ie divine..

 

 

 

Hi Elowen,

 

Thank you for your take on Pantheism.

 

Can I ask you do you think your simple and happy outlook has been enhanced by your Pantheism and if so how has that happened?

 

Best

 

ED

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Earthdragon

I am a pantheist because I realised from a very young age that to put it in very basic terms "I am not ' All that'" !

 

If you are asking why I still think in pantheistic terms, it is simply because I think the present state of things although pretty desperate will always be resolved in some way despite myself, whilst always realising that I am part of the problem, even though I tread as lightly as I can on this whole planet.

 

To me it's a concept that nothing can thrive or exist in isolation, just like our biology states that for example how can the lungs function without the heart?

 

Everything we have is there for a reason to me and therefore equally valid and worthy of respect.

 

Probably a very simple way of looking at it but I can expand it in my own mind to include everything in the , Solar system ,Galaxy, Universe, string theory based other dimensions etc...

 

In other words why would anything that isn't integral to existence be there if it wasn't part of 'the whole'

 

So to me it is all sacred because just because it exists.

 

Best, Jasmin xx

 

Hi Jasmin

 

I like the simplicity of your view. Existence is sacred...

 

I think your description adds something different in using the word "sacred"

 

I think this removes your view from an identification of the universe with a God or from God.

 

My online source gives for "sacred"

"connected with God or a god or dedicated to a religious purpose and so deserving veneration."

 

So those of us who believe in gods would no doubt takje the view that the whole world is connected to the gods and Goddesses or not. If they do then they would see the world world as sacred. The interesting part of the definition of sacred , to me, would be the "dedicated to a religious purpose". What religious purpose is the universe dedicated to would you say?

 

What function do we have in that process, I wonder? I might be inclined to say its to really know the reality of our own existence and let any accompanying movement that comes from that knowledge happen whether that's on the level of emotion, intention etc

 

Best

 

ED xx

 

 

 

 

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Jasmin

Hi Ed,

 

From something I say every morning, this is kind of what I mean

 

.........."And in knowledge, the knowledge of all that exists, and in that knowledge, the love of it, and in that love, the love of all existences "............

 

I suppose by sacred I mean imbued with divinity?

 

Best, Jasmin x

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Earthdragon

Hi Jasmin,

 

Yes I get that. I use similar chants to the one you quote from.

 

Did you start using them and then your Pantheism grew or did your Pantheism spur you to express your feelings through this kind of chant?

 

I too identify with existence being sacred simply because it exists. If divine means to be "like God or a god" thats doesn't mean that a divine universe is God or a god...

 

I also notice that you are first on this thread ( correct me if I missed something!) to use the word "love".

 

I wonder is authentic Pantheism invokes love and vice versa...

 

 

ED

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Veggie dancer

 

I too identify with existence being sacred simply because it exists. If divine means to be "like God or a god" thats doesn't mean that a divine universe is God or a god...

 

ED

 

Me too :)

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Xalle

I too identify with existence being sacred simply because it exists. If divine means to be "like God or a god" thats doesn't mean that a divine universe is God or a god...

 

ED

 

Me too :)

 

Then you are atheists? Do you believe the universe is sentient?

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Veggie dancer

Im really not sure, i think it might be, but does something being sentient make it a god anyway?

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Jasmin

Hi Ed,

 

I think I must have always been leaning towards pantheism, but when I first read the longer version of the verse from which I quoted the particular lines I referred to they hit me like a tonne of bricks, I was happy to read them and I am always happy to say them.

 

As far as the ''love" question goes perhaps it's a bit like a symbiotic relationship of a personal UPG type, and in knowledge (and any increase in it ) has positive feedback.

 

I wouldn't need to call it God, Divine is fine,

 

Best, Jasmin x

 

 

 

Hi Xalle,

 

Yep I do believe the Universe is sentient, x

 

 

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Xalle

Im really not sure, i think it might be, but does something being sentient make it a god anyway?

 

Not in my opinion. I'm trying to figure out how sentient or not it acquires the lable "Divine" unless you use it to mean "beautiful" or something that inspired awe. And how that becomes worthy of worship.

 

 

Hi Xalle,

 

Yep I do believe the Universe is sentient, x

 

Hi Jasmin :)

 

Why?

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Moonsmith

Do you believe the universe is sentient?

 

...... as sentient as you and I Xalle.

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Moonhunter

Ohh... interesting. About sentience.

 

For those who believe the universe is sentient - is it safe to assume you also believe that the universe doesn't care about whether or not life exists? or what sort of life? Or, if you think the universe does care, how do you address "the problem of pain" i.e. that most animals (including humans) die horrific deaths?

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Xalle

Do you believe the universe is sentient?

 

...... as sentient as you and I Xalle.

 

Why?

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Ellinas

Ohh... interesting. About sentience.

 

For those who believe the universe is sentient - is it safe to assume you also believe that the universe doesn't care about whether or not life exists? or what sort of life? Or, if you think the universe does care, how do you address "the problem of pain" i.e. that most animals (including humans) die horrific deaths?

 

I'm going to quote a slightly altered post I left on another site, which I think is itself based on a post I left somewhere around here some months ago.

 

To me, the relationship of the divine and the universe is tied up with the idea that "all is consciousness". I would say that consciousness precedes physical "being". It is both transcendent and immanent - an ultimate reality within which the universe exists and, at the same time, lends consciousness to all within that universe. I'm not sure how else to explain it.

 

As such, there is, in my view, a consciousness within which everything is (which I'll call a panentheistic element). Each discrete consciousness within that "everything" has its' being also on account of that greater consciousness (which I'll call a pantheistic element). I relate to other discrete elements of consciousness, all of which are within and ultimately the same as the ultimate consciousness, but which still perceive and are perceived as discrete. I accept that without understanding how it works. I also distinguish "the Gods" or "deities" (discrete conscious personalities more advanced than I am) from "God" or "the Divine" (ultimate consciousness)

 

One interesting question within this economy is the idea of divine will. Does the panentheistic element mean that all that happens depends on what the greater consciousness has determined? Does the pantheistic element mean that the ideas and intents of any discrete consciousness mirrors that of the ultimate consciousness? This would become a sort of extreme version of the principle of "as above so below".

 

However, it seems to me that volition, will, desire, are not necessary elements of consciousness. What is necessary - the irreducible minimum - is perception. Is this the nature of the ultimate consciousness - it is the great observer? As each discrete consciousness plays out its' desires, will, volition, is it learning to become an observer, and to reflect the nature of the consciousness of which it is a part? Does that then take me into the concepts of samsara and nirvana?

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Moonsmith

Do you believe the universe is sentient?

 

...... as sentient as you and I Xalle.

 

Why?

 

Evidence exists that shows it can use a keyboard to ask "Why?"

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Xalle

Do you believe the universe is sentient?

 

...... as sentient as you and I Xalle.

 

Why?

 

Evidence exists that shows it can use a keyboard to ask "Why?"

 

I am not the universe. I am a product of it.

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Elowen

This is the way I see it, in my simple, happy little world ...

 

God is seen by most religions as the authour of all existence.

I believe our universe is the authour of all of our existence.

It had/has the power to create and then sustain everything upon our little planet, therefore our universe is 'like a god' ie divine..

 

 

 

Hi Elowen,

 

Thank you for your take on Pantheism.

 

Can I ask you do you think your simple and happy outlook has been enhanced by your Pantheism and if so how has that happened?

 

Best

 

ED

 

Sorry for the lateness in getting back to you Earthdragon. I didn't see it sooner.

 

In answer to your question, I do think my outlook on life has been enhanced since I found pantheism. I certainly feel more comfortable in myself.

For a very long time I was struggling with how I could be pagan without believing in any deities. I like the stories associated with them,but to me they are just that - stories.

But then I read (on here I think), someone who said something along the lines that xxx was their religion, and paganism was through which they celebrated it, and everything finally fell into place for me.

I *could* be a pantheist and nothing else, but I'm also drawn to paganism and now I feel perfectly comfortable in both my spirituality and how I express it. They complement each other.

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thespirit3

Just a quick comment to say I totally a agree with Moonsmith's post (#4); I couldn't have summarised my feelings better myself!

I call myself 'pantheist' as it's the closest label that fits :)

 

You may find the following youtube videos interesting:-

 

Kelly-Ann Maddox - 11. Pantheism: What It Feels Like

 

Áine Órga - Introduction: What is Pantheism?

 

I've always considered myself pagan but can really identify with Kelly-Ann's comment: "when I discovered the word pantheism - Christ on a bike - THAT IS ME! I can't believe there's a word for this! ... a real moment of epiphany!".

 

Steve

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Ellinas

Pardon my less than serious intervention, but now my mischievous imagination is envisaging the figure of Christ on a bicycle as the mascot of pantheism...

 

It's an image I'll be playing with for some time.

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