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Naturalistic Pantheism vs. Atheism

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Shaper
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Naturalistic Pantheism vs. Atheism
PostPosted: Wed 25 Oct, 2006  Reply with quote

I've been reading up about naturalistic pantheism and I've been wondering about what other theists/atheists/pantheists think about the difference between atheism and naturalistic pantheism, ie; are they similar enough to be compatible with each other?

Strong atheism is the belief that there is no god, however weak atheism is closer to agnosticism, in that you don't really not believe in God, you simply don't see the need to believe that there is or isn't a god because of lack of evidence.

Naturalistic pantheism, however, holds that it is the nature of the Universe, not God, that can provide a mystical fullfillment, and that you could think of nature as god in the non-traditional sense if you wanted to, but it would be in an impersonal and informal sense.

So here's where the dillemma comes in - atheism seems to only deal with the 'personal' type of god, either the Christian god, a Universal Consciousness, etc., but not an impersonal 'way' of the Universe, which can still provide a great deal to study in the way of mysticism. My question for discussion purposes here is, do you think that Atheism is meant to deal with such an idea like Naturalistic Pantheism? Personally I feel that traditional Atheism is not in conflict with naturalistic pantheism, in that naturalistic pantheism does not imply deity, only a way for the Universe to exist. It's like someone once said, 'I believe in God, though I spell it N-A-T-U-R-E."

So, let's discuss smile


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Larry Boy
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PostPosted: Thu 26 Oct, 2006  Reply with quote

Well, what exactly do they mean by "the universe can provide mystical fulfillment"? This seems rather vague to me. How do they define "mystical fulfillment"?

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Shaper
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PostPosted: Fri 27 Oct, 2006  Reply with quote

Larry Boy wrote:
Well, what exactly do they mean by "the universe can provide mystical fulfillment"? This seems rather vague to me. How do they define "mystical fulfillment"?


From what I understand, mystical fulfillment from pantheism breaks down like this - mysticism is connecting with the 'ultimate reality'. This could be God, or Tao, or the Void, depending on one's beliefs. In naturalistic pantheism, the sum of the Universe, it's laws, and our perception of all of this, could be called mystical, and mystical fulfillment would be the realization of all of this. At least, that's what I make of all of this so far smile


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Larry Boy
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PostPosted: Fri 27 Oct, 2006  Reply with quote

Isn't there a difference between the two in the degree of certainty they hold to their respective beliefs? While weak atheists seem more agnostic in the way they're not really sure what to believe, naturalistic pantheists seem to have a more certain faith in that there's "something out there". What do you think?

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Shaper
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PostPosted: Fri 27 Oct, 2006  Reply with quote

That's certainly true. Infact I guess that's one of the reasons I'm reading about this stuff now. I've always been a weak atheist in that I don't believe in God in the traditional sense, but on the other hand, I also believe there's something out there, like some kind of logial 'way of the universe' that allows for everything to be the way it is. So, this naturalistic pantheism is starting to look appealing to me smile

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karnot
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PostPosted: Sat 28 Oct, 2006  Reply with quote

Quote:
While weak atheists seem more agnostic in the way they're not really sure what to believe

Its not about being sure. For an atheist, for example, it doesnt really matter if the Christian God really exist or not. Even if that particular God just opened the door and entered the room, and even proved himself to be an actual GOD - that still wouldnt give an atheist any reason for worship.

Now, nature doesnt require any worship. If you dig into pantheism - no spirit, or being, or any of the gods, actually require a continual worship. Well, they do smile, but if you dont - you are just denied some benefits, like, your crops will grow not as fast, or you find less berries in the forest, but surely you wont grill on a frying pan in hell for all eternity. If you dont want to worship any of the gods - they are not actually forcing you to, scaring you into submitment, like Christianity.
Like i said, nature doesnt really need any worship, it only needs respect. A...a mutual silent agreement of a sort. And that i can live with.


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PostPosted: Sat 28 Oct, 2006  Reply with quote

What exactely is the naturalistic pantheism you are talking about? is it the belief that everything in the universe is just an aspect of one essential entity, that difference is only an illusion? Because I don't see how just taking the set of everything and calling it God can provide mystical fulfillment, other than the acceptance that "what you see is what you get" and that there is nothing beyond that. Unless that is what you actually mean by mystical fulfillment.

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Shaper
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PostPosted: Sun 29 Oct, 2006  Reply with quote

karnot wrote:

Now, nature doesnt require any worship. If you dig into pantheism - no spirit, or being, or any of the gods, actually require a continual worship. Well, they do smile, but if you dont - you are just denied some benefits, like, your crops will grow not as fast, or you find less berries in the forest, but surely you wont grill on a frying pan in hell for all eternity.


I'm not sure that worship is actually a part of pantheism though. Worship of nature is something you might see in paganism, but not pantheism.

Dark Sider wrote:

What exactely is the naturalistic pantheism you are talking about? is it the belief that everything in the universe is just an aspect of one essential entity, that difference is only an illusion? Because I don't see how just taking the set of everything and calling it God can provide mystical fulfillment, other than the acceptance that "what you see is what you get" and that there is nothing beyond that. Unless that is what you actually mean by mystical fulfillment.


The best I can explain naturalistic pantheism is similar to the notion of Tao, expect without the magic and folklore, although this would be a very simplified explanation.
By mystical fulfillment, I mean the realization of the true nature of the universe (whatever than may be), since nature is only considered godlike in the impersonal, no-traditional sense....although I'm still not very familiar with the whole idea of this type of pantheism, so some of my info here might be a little bit wrong.

This article, and this article can probably explain this much better than I can.


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saeghwin
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PostPosted: Sun 29 Oct, 2006  Reply with quote

I consider myself an atheist, and to me it means that I don't really believe in much of anything. In fact, I'm starting to get into the habit of forgetting that I exist...I guess I'm starting to not believe in reality sometimes. It's hard to explain. ^^

It's like I'm truly beginning to understand what it would feel like to be non-existant, and it's very enlightening when I remember that I do in fact exist. The experience has given me some real perspective on things in life. A little off-topic I guess, but interesting nonetheless. I'm trying to write a poem about it.

Although, I guess I'm sort of a "weak" atheist in the sense that, if proven, I would believe in a god. Otherwise there wouldn't really be a difference between a believer and a non-believer, would there? I pride myself on my ability to choose one belief over another logically without having to rethink my entire life's decisions and moral grounding. It's perfectly normal to be hypocritical in life, it's just when you don't know that you are, or you don't know why, that it is wrong.


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Alextanium
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PostPosted: Mon 30 Oct, 2006  Reply with quote

This is pretty much my set of beliefs to a tee. I dont believe in God, or a god, but I do believe in an order of things. There is Balance in the chaos of the infinite.

When you break it down (religion I mean), it all inevitably reads the same. We are all seperate entities, but we are all connected in some way. Whether people believe we are connected by God, nature or energy doesn't really matter. The belief is what is important.

Religion has had a few thousand years of bad press and poor spokesmen, but the key message has never changed. We're all in this together and everything has a purpose.

I've always maintained that spirituality is the path over religion because spirituality gives you choice and freedom of belief.


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darakat
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PostPosted: Mon 06 Nov, 2006  Reply with quote

As far as I am aware "naturalistic" pantheism is not in conflict with atheism. I am not entirely sure what you mean by naturalistic pantheism can you define it in terms of other forms of panthesim such as paganistic, buddist, etc? Thanks.


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Shaper
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PostPosted: Mon 06 Nov, 2006  Reply with quote

darakat wrote:
As far as I am aware "naturalistic" pantheism is not in conflict with atheism. I am not entirely sure what you mean by naturalistic pantheism can you define it in terms of other forms of panthesim such as paganistic, buddist, etc? Thanks.


I suppose the easiest way to say it would be 'Atheism for nature lovers', in that nature, the universe, etc. is emaphazised as god-like, but only in a non-traditional, non-personal sense. Ie., God would be more like the Tao, or 'The Force', rather than a deity.


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darakat
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PostPosted: Fri 10 Nov, 2006  Reply with quote

Josh Redstone wrote:
darakat wrote:
As far as I am aware "naturalistic" pantheism is not in conflict with atheism. I am not entirely sure what you mean by naturalistic pantheism can you define it in terms of other forms of panthesim such as paganistic, buddist, etc? Thanks.


I suppose the easiest way to say it would be 'Atheism for nature lovers', in that nature, the universe, etc. is emaphazised as god-like, but only in a non-traditional, non-personal sense. Ie., God would be more like the Tao, or 'The Force', rather than a deity.


By definition in this case, Josh, your talking about actual pantheism which means in Greek "God is all". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pantheism For a check. Your "naturalistic" pantheism is no different than a normal form of believing the whole is the "the force".

Also I would like to add that there is no means for it to get along with Atheism as by definition that means "there is no god or none we can speak of", if anything what you seem to propose is more a sort of agonistic pantheism. Its more like saying "I think there may be a universal force but I am not sure".



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toastertester
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PostPosted: Wed 20 Feb, 2008  Reply with quote

karnot wrote:
Even if that particular God just opened the door and entered the room, and even proved himself to be an actual GOD - that still wouldnt give an atheist any reason for worship.


Don't get me wrong, I don't believe in God and have 99.99% conviction that I'm on the right track, but if God walked into the room, and proved himself creator of all things, I think I might owe him a little worship or at the very least, respect. I'm an atheist, but I'm not stubborn smile
But of course, then I'd have a couple of choice questions for him. Who WOULDN'T love to pick God's brain?

Oddly enough, it seems like a good thought experiment for atheists... I mean -- what would YOU GUYS do? Honestly?


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LordLeckie
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Re: Naturalistic Pantheism vs. Atheism
PostPosted: Wed 20 Feb, 2008  Reply with quote

Josh Redstone wrote:
Naturalistic pantheism, however, holds that it is the nature of the Universe, not God, that can provide a mystical fullfillment, and that you could think of nature as god in the non-traditional sense if you wanted to, but it would be in an impersonal and informal sense.

So here's where the dillemma comes in - atheism seems to only deal with the 'personal' type of god, either the Christian god, a Universal Consciousness, etc., but not an impersonal 'way' of the Universe, which can still provide a great deal to study in the way of mysticism. My question for discussion purposes here is, do you think that Atheism is meant to deal with such an idea like Naturalistic Pantheism? Personally I feel that traditional Atheism is not in conflict with naturalistic pantheism, in that naturalistic pantheism does not imply deity, only a way for the Universe to exist. It's like someone once said, 'I believe in God, though I spell it N-A-T-U-R-E."

So, let's discuss smile


By "Way of the Universe" do you mean in a natural or supernatural sense? If it supernatural then i think the definition of atheist could be broadened to include "lack of belief or disbelief in the supernatural" (or would that simply be being a skeptic? hmmm)

Quote:
I think I might owe him a little worship or at the very least, respect. I'm an atheist, but I'm not stubborn


Not for me, so far said God has done nothing worthy of worship in my mind, in said scenario/thought experiment he may have created the universe but maaann, did he ever screw up when it came to the inhabitants.


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