Pantheism

pantheismPantheism is the belief that the universe (or nature as the totality of everything) is identical with divinity, or that everything composes an all-encompassing, immanent God. Pantheists thus do not believe in a distinct personal or anthropomorphic god.

Pantheism was popularized in the modern era as both a theology and philosophy based on the work of the 17th-century philosopher Baruch Spinoza, whose Ethics was an answer to Descartes’ famous dualist theory that the body and spirit are separate. Spinoza held the monist view that the two are the same, and monism is a fundamental part of his philosophy. He was described as a “God-intoxicated man,” and used the word God to describe the unity of all substance. Although the term pantheism was not coined until after his death, Spinoza is regarded as its most celebrated advocate.

The belief that God is identical with the universe. All is God and God is all. The universe taken as a whole is God. God and Nature ( the totality of all that there is) are synonymous, two words for the same thing.  (The Harper Collins Dictionary of Philosophy, Second edition, 1992)

Pantheism denotes religions which identify God with the universe.  (Dictionary of Comparative Religion, 1970)

The view that God is identical with everything. It may be seen as the result of two tendencies: an intense religious spirit and the belief that all reality is in some way united.  (The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy, 1995)

  • Try and penetrate with our limited means the secrets of nature and you will find that, behind all the discernible concatenations, there remains something subtle, intangible and inexplicable. Veneration for this force beyond anything that we can comprehend is my religion. --Albert Einstein (1879-1955), Physicist
  • The world is holy. We are holy. All life is holy. Daily prayers are delivered on the lips of breaking waves, the whisperings of grasses, the shimmering of leaves. --Terry Tempest Williams, Writer
  • At the deepest level of ecological awareness you are talking about spiritual awareness. Spiritual awareness is an understanding of being imbedded in a larger whole, a cosmic whole, of belonging to the universe. --Fritjof Capra, Physicist and writer
  • A person will worship something, have no doubt about that. We may think our tribute is paid in secret in the dark recesses of our hearts, but it will out. That which dominates our imaginations and our thoughts will determine our lives, and our character. Therefore, it behooves us to be careful what we worship, for what we are worshipping we are becoming.

 --Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Every natural object is a conductor of divinity. Standing alone on a mountain top, it is easy to realize that whatever special nests we make--leaves and moss like the marmots and birds, or tents of piled stone--we all dwell in a house of one room. --John Muir (1838-1914) American naturalist and writer
  • If you will think of ourselves as coming out of the earth, rather than having been thrown in here from somewhere else, you see that we are the earth, we are the consciousness of the earth. These are the eyes of the Earth. And this is the voice of the earth.

 --Joseph Campbell, writer
  • I believe in the cosmos. All of us are linked to the cosmos. Look at the sun: If there is no sun, then we cannot exist. So nature is my god. To me, nature is sacred; trees are my temples and forests are my cathedrals. --Mikhail Gorbachev, First democratically elected president of the Soviet Union, 1990
  • The arch of sky and mightiness of storms
Have moved the spirit within me,
Till I am carried away
Trembling with joy. --Uvavnuk, Inuit shaman
  • The first act of awe, when man was struck with the beauty or wonder of Nature, was the first spiritual experience. --Henryk Skolimowski, Philosopher