Pantheism

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I believe in the cosmos. All of us are linked to the cosmos. So nature is my god. To me, nature is sacred. Trees are my temples and forests are my cathedrals. Being at one with nature.

(Mikhail Gorbachev)


A human being is part of the whole called by us universe ... We experience ourselves, our thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest. A kind of optical delusion of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from the prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. The true value of a human being is determined by the measure and the sense in which they have obtained liberation from the self. We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if humanity is to survive.

(Albert Einstein)


When the Ten Thousand things are viewed in their oneness, we return to the Origin and remain where we have always been.

(Sen T'sen)


The scientist does not study nature because it is useful;
he studies it because he delights in it, and he delights in it because it is beautiful.
If nature were not beautiful, it would not be worth knowing,
and if nature were not worth knowing, life would not be worth living.

(Jules Henri Poincare)


One grand great life throbs through earth's giant heart,
And mighty waves of single Being roll
From nerve-less germ to man, for we are part
Of every rock and bird and beast and hill,
One with the things that prey on us, and one with what we kill.

(Oscar Wilde, Panthea)


We are enabled to apprehend at all what is sublime and noble only by the perpetual instilling and drenching
of the reality that surrounds us. We can never have enough of nature.

(Henry David Thoreau)


A knowledge of the existence of something we cannot penetrate, of the manifestations of the profoundest reason and the most radiant beauty - it is this knowledge and this emotion that constitute the truly religious attitude; in this sense, and in this alone, I am a deeply religious man.

(Albert Einstein)


A religion old or new, that stressed the magnificence of the universe as revealed by modern science, might be able to draw forth reserves of reverence and awe hardly tapped by the conventional faiths. Sooner or later, such a religion will emerge.

(Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot)


'God is not separate from the world; He is the soul of the world, and each of us contains a part of the Divine Fire. All things are parts of one single system, which is called Nature; the individual life is good when it is in harmony with Nature. In one sense, every life is in harmony with Nature, since it is such as Nature’s laws have caused it to be; but in another sense a human life is only in harmony with Nature when the individual will is directed to ends which are among those of Nature. Virtue consists in a will which is in agreement with Nature.'

(Zeno, founder of Stoicism) (Russell, 1946)


The Great Tao flows everywhere ...
All things depend on it for life,
and it does not turn away from them.
One may think of it as the mother of all beneath Heaven.
We do not know its name, but we call it Tao ..
Deep and still, it seems to have existed forever.
The ideal of Taoism was to live in harmony with the Tao and to cultivate a simple and frugal life, avoiding unnecessary action: 'Being one with nature, he [the sage] is in accord with the Tao'... When Tung Kuo Tzu asked Chuang Tzu where the Tao was, he replied it was in the ant, the grass, the clay tile, even in excrement : 'There is nowhere where it is not ... There is no single thing without Tao'.

(Harrison, Pantheism)


I believe the universe is one being; all its parts are different expressions of the same energy, and they are all in communication with each other, therefore parts of one organic whole ... The whole is in all its parts so beautiful, and is felt by me to be so intensely in earnest, that I am compelled to love it, and to think of it as divine. It seems to me that this whole alone is worthy of the deeper sort of love; and there is peace, freedom, I might say a kind of salvation, in turning one's affections outward toward this one God; rather than inwards on one's self, or on humanity, or on human imaginations and abstractions- the world of spirits.

(Robinson Jeffers, Pantheism)


We are resolved into the supreme air,
We are made one with what we touch and see,
With our heart's blood each crimson sun is fair,
With our young lives each spring-impassioned tree
Flames into green, the wildest beasts that range
The moor our kinsmen are, all life is one, and all is change.
With beat of systole and of diastole
One grand great life throbs through earth's giant heart,
And mighty waves of single Being roll
From nerve-less germ to man, for we are part
Of every rock and bird and beast and hill,
One with the things that prey on us, and one with what we kill.
. . .

One sacrament are consecrate, the earth
Not we alone hath passions hymeneal,
The yellow buttercups that shake for mirth
At daybreak know a pleasure not less real
Than we do, when in some fresh-blossoming wood
We draw the spring into our hearts, and feel that life is good.
. . .

Is the light vanished from our golden sun,
Or is this daedal-fashioned earth less fair,
That we are nature's heritors, and one
With every pulse of life that beats the air?
Rather new suns across the sky shall pass,
New splendour come unto the flower, new glory to the grass.

And we two lovers shall not sit afar,
Critics of nature, but the joyous sea
Shall be our raiment, and the bearded star
Shoot arrows at our pleasure! We shall be
Part of the mighty universal whole,
And through all Aeons mix and mingle with the Kosmic Soul!

We shall be notes in that great Symphony
Whose cadence circles through the rhythmic spheres,
And all the live World's throbbing heart shall be
One with our heart, the stealthy creeping years
Have lost their terrors now, we shall not die,
The Universe itself shall be our Immortality!

(Panthea, Oscar Wilde)


Pantheism is the synthesis which transcends both theism and atheism; its major tenet is that the Universe is the ultimate reality and the most worthy object of reverence, while Nature is a sacred manifestation of the Totality, or All-One, in which all things are inseparable components.

It is an ancient religion -older than Buddhism or Christianity- and may already count hundreds of millions among its members. Most Taoists are Pantheists, along with many Chinese, Japanese and Western Buddhists, deep Ecologists, Pagans, Animists, followers of many native religions, and many Unitarian Universalists. The central philosophical scriptures of Hinduism are pantheistic. Many Atheists and Humanists may be Pantheists without realizing it.

The more contemporary forms of Pantheism, such as Scientific or Natural Pantheism, do not believe in mythical deities, supernatural entities or powers, but they do consider the Universe/Cosmos to be Divine. Divinity does not refer to an objective property of the Universe, but to an aspect of one's spiritual relationship with it - one's deepest awe and recognition of the mystery, power, and ineffable beauty of All That IS.


What is Divinity

What is divinity if it can come
Only in silent shadows and in dreams?
Shall she not find in comforts of the sun,
In pungent fruit and bright, green wings, or else
In any balm or beauty of the earth,
Things to be cherished like the thought of heaven?
Divinity must live within herself:
Passions of rain, or moods in falling snow;
Grievings in loneliness, or unsubdued
Elations when the forest blooms; gusty
Emotions on wet roads on autumn nights;
All pleasures and all pains, remembering
The bough of summer and the winter branch,
These are the measures destined for her soul.

Wallace Stevens,
Sunday Morning, 1915


Earth Is Enough
~ ~ ~
We men of Earth have here the stuff
Of Paradise - we have enough!
We need no other stones to build
The Temple of the Unfulfilled -
No other ivory for the doors -
No other marble for the floors -
No other cedar for the beam
And dome of man's immortal dream.

Here on the paths of every-day -
Here on the common human way
Is all the stuff the gods would take
To build a Heaven, to mold and make
New Edens. Ours is the stuff sublime
To build Eternity in time!

- Edwin Markham


We belong to no cult.
We are not Nature Lovers.
We don't love nature any more
than we love breathing.
Nature is simply something indispensable,
like air and light and water,
that we accept as necessary to living,
and the nearer we can get to
it the happier we are.

Louise Dickenson Rich


I believe that the universe is one being, all its parts are different expressions of the same energy, and they are all in communication with each other, influencing each other, therefore parts of one organic whole. (This is physics, I believe, as well as religion.) The parts change and pass, or die, people and races and rocks and stars; none of them seems to me important in itself, but only the whole.

This whole is in all its parts so beautiful, and is felt by me to be so intensely in earnest, that I am compelled to love it, and to think of it as divine. It seems to me that this whole alone is worthy of the deeper sort of love; and that there is peace, freedom, I might say a kind of salvation, in turning one's affections outward toward this one God, rather than inwards on one's self, or on humanity...

~ Robinson Jeffers


A Brave and Startling Truth

We, this people, on a small and lonely planet
Traveling through casual space
Past aloof stars, across the way of indifferent suns
To a destination where all signs tell us
It is possible and imperative that we learn
A brave and startling truth

And when we come to it
To the day of peacemaking
When we release our fingers
From fists of hostility
And allow the pure air to cool our palms

When we come to it
When the curtain falls on the minstrel show of hate
And faces sooted with scorn and scrubbed clean
When battlefields and coliseum
No longer rake our unique and particular sons and daughters
Up with the bruised and bloody grass
To lie in identical plots in foreign soil

When the rapacious storming of the churches
The screaming racket in the temples have ceased
When the pennants are waving gaily
When the banners of the world tremble
Stoutly in the good, clean breeze

When we come to it
When we let the rifles fall from our shoulders
And children dress their dolls in flags of truce
When land mines of death have been removed
And the aged can walk into evenings of peace
When religious ritual is not perfumed
By the incense of burning flesh
And childhood dreams are not kicked awake
By nightmares of abuse

When we come to it
Then we will confess that not the Pyramids
With their stones set in mysterious perfection
Nor the Gardens of Babylon
Hanging as eternal beauty
In our collective memory
Not the Grand Canyon
Kindled into delicious color
By Western sunsets

Nor the Danube, flowing its blue soul into Europe
Not the sacred peak of Mount Fuji
Stretching to the Rising Sun
Neither Father Amazon nor Mother Mississippi who, without favor,
Nurture all creatures in the depths and on the shores
These are not the only wonders of the world

When we come to it
We, this people, on this minuscule and kithless globe
Who reach daily for the bomb, the blade and the dagger
Yet who petition in the dark for tokens of peace
We, this people on this mote of matter
In whose mouths abide cankerous words
Which challenge our very existence
Yet out of those same mouths
Come songs of such exquisite sweetness
That the heart falters in its labor
And the body is quieted into awe

We, this people, on this small and drifting planet
Whose hands can strike with such abandon
That in a twinkling, life is sapped from the living
Yet those same hands can touch with such healing, irresistible tenderness
That the haughty neck is happy to bow
And the proud back is glad to bend
Out of such chaos, of such contradiction
We learn that we are neither devils nor divines

When we come to it
We, this people, on this wayward, floating body
Created on this earth, of this earth
Have the power to fashion for this earth
A climate where every man and every woman
Can live freely without sanctimonious piety
Without crippling fear

When we come to it
We must confess that we are the possible
We are the miraculous, the true wonder of this world
That is when, and only when
We come to it.

- Maya Angelou


The World Pantheist Movement Statement of Principles

1. We revere and celebrate the Universe as the totality of being, past, present and future. It is self-organizing, ever-evolving and inexhaustibly diverse. Its overwhelming power, beauty and fundamental mystery compel the deepest human reverence and wonder.

2. All matter, energy, and life are an interconnected unity of which we are an inseparable part. We rejoice in our existence and seek to participate ever more deeply in this unity through knowledge, celebration, meditation, empathy, love, ethical action and art.

3. We are an integral part of Nature, which we should cherish, revere and preserve in all its magnificent beauty and diversity. We should strive to live in harmony with Nature locally and globally. We acknowledge the inherent value of all life, human and non-human, and strive to treat all living beings with compassion and respect.

4. All humans are equal centers of awareness of the Universe and nature, and all deserve a life of equal dignity and mutual respect. To this end we support and work towards freedom, democracy, justice, and non-discrimination, and a world community based on peace, sustainable ways of life, full respect for human rights and an end to poverty.

5. There is a single kind of substance, energy/matter, which is vibrant and infinitely creative in all its forms. Body and mind are indivisibly united.

6. We see death as the return to nature of our elements, and the end of our existence as individuals. The forms of "afterlife" available to humans are natural ones, in the natural world. Our actions, our ideas and memories of us live on, according to what we do in our lives. Our genes live on in our families, and our elements are endlessly recycled in nature.

7. We honor reality, and keep our minds open to the evidence of the senses and of science's unending quest for deeper understanding. These are our best means of coming to know the Universe, and on them we base our aesthetic and religious feelings about reality.

8. Every individual has direct access through perception, emotion and meditation to ultimate reality, which is the Universe and Nature. There is no need for mediation by priests, gurus or revealed scriptures.

9. We uphold the separation of religion and state, and the universal human right of freedom of religion. We recognize the freedom of all pantheists to express and celebrate their beliefs, as individuals or in groups, in any non- harmful ritual, symbol or vocabulary that is meaningful to them.


The basic concepts comprise:

* Reverence for Nature and the wider Universe.

* Active respect and care for the rights of all humans and other living beings.

* Celebration or our lives in our bodies on this beautiful earth as a joy and a privilege.

* Strong naturalism, without belief in supernatural realms, afterlives, beings or forces.

* Respect for reason, evidence and the scientific method as our best ways of understanding nature and the Universe.

* Promotion of religious tolerance, freedom of religion and complete separation of state and religion.

  
 
   
  
 
   
  
 
   
  
 

Last revised January 2012.

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