Pantheism, - from the Greek pan - "all"; and theos, "God" - is the doctrine that this material world is no different from God, that "all (this is) God". The universe, and all beings in it, are the real manifestation or transformation of God
This was an idea developed by the ancient Greek school of philosophy known as Stoicism (founded by Zeno of Citium (335-263 B.C.E.), who lectured from a porch - "stoa" - hence the name of his school). In a curious presaging of modern quantum physics, the Stoics asserted that the entire cosmos was made from one element, fire (= energy). God was of the nature of subtle fire, and the physical fire, from which the rest of the elements formed, was a condensation of God's being. Thus, the whole cosmos is the condensation of God, "in whom we live and move and have our being". (Later, Paul of Tarsus was to take this Stoic saying out of context and apply it to his Christianity)
Another famous pantheist was the seventeenth century Spanish Jewish-born philosopher Baruch Spinoza, who in his Ethics, argued that there is only one reality, one universal substance, that he called "God", and that mind and matter (as elaborated in Descartes dualistic system), which to our consciousness appear distinct and opposed, are only two of the infinite modes or attributes that this one substance possesses
Interpretation of Reality: Reality is actually non-other than God, but this is not a harsh external Sky God but a compassionate and even vulnerable Earth Goddess. The universe is the body of God(dess). The ultimate reality is love and compassion. All things are interrelated holistically into a single unity. The polar opposites of mind and body, male and female, persona and shadow, ego and unity are reconciled in the immediate present
Knowledge: The universe is not so much rationally knowable but accessable to intuiotion. One exists in the present moment of here now, in a state of love, compassion, peace and centeredness. Reality is better known through meditation, chanting, music and dance then through the intellect, although intellectual knowledge still represents a valid aspect of understanding reality. The teachings of all the mystics and spiritual teachers are acknowledged as valid.
|Links - Pantheism|
Pantheism by Michael P. Levine - long useful essay on Pantheism - entry in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Pantheism - a good but short definition - from the Principia Cybernetica
Scientific Pantheism: an empirical religion for the Third Millennium - a superb site, informative & aesthetically appealing - by Paul Harrison
Message Board: Discuss Biopanentheism - messages on pantheism, biopanentheism, science, and more.
Message Board: Cosmotheism "COSMOTHEISM, is a Religion that Positively Asserts that there is a INTERNAL PURPOSE in LIFE and in COSMOS and that there is an Essential Unity, OR CONSCIOUSNESS that Binds ALL Living Beings and ALL of the INORGANIC COSMOS, as ONE. WHAT IS our TRUE HUMAN IDENTITY IS that We Are the Cosmos Made SELF-AWARE or, SELF-CONSCIOUS by EVOLUTION and that Our TRUE HUMAN PURPOSE IS to KNOW and to COMPLETE Ourselves as Conscious Individuals and as a SELF-AWARE Species and thereby to Co-Evolve with the COSMOS TOWARDS UNIVERSAL AWARENESS AND TOWARDS the ever HIGHER PERFECTION OF BEING."