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Featured awe + amazement = pantheism

Discussion in 'Non-theism' started by spirtual-philosophy, Nov 7, 2019.

  1. spirtual-philosophy

    spirtual-philosophy seeker of truth

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    Pondering whether non-theism can be improved by incorporating pantheism.

    Various aspects of reality seem weird and mysterious: quantum mechanics, consciousness, mind, information, energy, entropy, time, force, quantum fields and the standard model, special and general relativity, the fact of reality itself.

    I accept all these as physical, rejecting the notion of a supernatural or spiritual realm apart from the physical. In other words, the physical universe(s) are all that exist. All these weird and mysterious things are physical, part of physicality.

    But when we experience awe and wonder and amazement about it all, shouldn't that feeling be considered an expression of something divine, something sacred? How to add-in this aspect to physicality?

    Pondering whether pantheism answers the question. By calling everything God or divinity or whatever, suddenly all the weird and mysterious stuff is explained without invoking the supernatural. This, because God is, by definition, weird and mysterious.

    Except that this doesn't explain anything at all. Better to call the weird and mysterious stuff weird and mysterious and leave it at that.
     
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  2. Jayhawker Soule

    Jayhawker Soule <yawn> ignore </yawn>
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    Perhaps the goal should be to designate rather than explain.
     
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  3. spirtual-philosophy

    spirtual-philosophy seeker of truth

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    Please explain further.
     
  4. blü 2

    blü 2 Well-Known Member
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    I was wondering in another thread recently whether mystery was often the necessary ingredient for belief, and whether explanations are (as the quote I gave said) relatively banal.

    As a species, we have a long history with storytelling, and back before there was science we didn't have much else. So it may not be silly to suggest it's a tendency that most of us are born with, whether it leads to belief or not.
     
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  5. Polymath257

    Polymath257 Think & Care
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    This is one reason I flirt with pantheism occasionally. The awe and wonder for the universe around us is, I think, a basic human characteristic. it is certainly necessary to inspire the development of science.

    My issue with pantheism is more linguistic than anything else. Traditionally, deities have personalities, thoughts, plans, etc. As far as I can see, none of these applies to the universe as a whole. And, while we can regard ourselves as the universe being self-aware, that doesn't quite seem to match up with the usual notions required of a deity.

    The other aspect is why we need to add another word, 'God', to an already perfectly good word 'universe'. Why do we need to call it 'God' in order to be in awe of it or to consider it valuable (sacred)?

    Why not simply be an atheist in awe of what is around us?
     
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  6. Windwalker

    Windwalker Integralist
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    And another way to look at it, is that physicality is a part of the Mystery. You have thoughts themselves you engage with, and you have a brain with its electric signals as the physical component part of thinking. You have emotions, and you have chemicals. They are part of each other. It doesn't have to be reduced down to one or the other, nor necessary to divide into parts at all, in the way we relate ourselves to the experience of living.

    There is this great quote from Einstein that I think may help capture this for you:

    “The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. He to whom the emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand wrapped in awe, is as good as dead —his eyes are closed. The insight into the mystery of life, coupled though it be with fear, has also given rise to religion. To know what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty, which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their most primitive forms—this knowledge, this feeling is at the center of true religiousness.”

    - Albert Einstein, Living Philosophies​

    The reason to perceive it as divine, which pantheism does, is because it holds all things as sacred and beautiful, as well as universal and whole, rather than divided into parts stacked up as of more value or less value. Those divisions are created by the way we use our minds, and that division creates a disconnect with reality that we live inside of ourselves within this world.

    What pantheism has over both traditional theism and materialism is that it does not divide the sacred out of our lived experiences of reality. Both of these are dualistic in nature, and thus not in touch with Life as a whole. In pantheism, all the parts are expressions of the whole. A scientific view of reality doesn't offer that set of eyes. A traditional theistic view with God separate from creation, also does not offer that set of eyes.

    Myself personally, I prefer a panentheistic view, which sees the divine paradoxically as both transcendent to, and immanent in creation itself. There are reasons for this that I find helpful towards a fuller understanding of the nature of the divine in creation. But pantheism does work better that either physicalism or traditional theism as both are products of a dualistic perspective of God or Reality.
     
    #6 Windwalker, Nov 7, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2019
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  7. 9-10ths_Penguin

    9-10ths_Penguin 1/10 Riboflavin
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    Non-theism can't incorporate pantheism. Literally the only thing that makes a belief system non-theistic is that it has no gods.
     
  8. Heyo

    Heyo Active Member

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    To be exact, non-theism is defined by having no personal god (theos).
    And since pantheism isn't (it is a misnomer, it should be called pan-deism), pantheism is compatible with a non-theistic world view.
     
  9. 9-10ths_Penguin

    9-10ths_Penguin 1/10 Riboflavin
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    :facepalm:
    Not more of this "deism isn't theism" nonsense again. Please.
     
  10. Jayhawker Soule

    Jayhawker Soule <yawn> ignore </yawn>
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    One seeks to acknowledge "WOW"' while the other seeks to explicates "WHY". It's the difference between sagacity and folly.
     
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  11. 9-10ths_Penguin

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    Sacred, sure... but why "divine?"

    What do gods have to do with importance?
     
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  12. Jayhawker Soule

    Jayhawker Soule <yawn> ignore </yawn>
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    What do "awe and wonder and amazement" have to do with importance?
     
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  13. spirtual-philosophy

    spirtual-philosophy seeker of truth

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    Certainly mere explanations can seem dull compared to a good relevant story. But stories usually have added fictional details. I suppose people hearing a compelling story might be inclined to believe it as true in some way.
     
  14. blü 2

    blü 2 Well-Known Member
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    Another thought that stays with me on this subject is the question whether some people's minds are more inclined to synthesis (story, religion) while others are more inclined to analysis (reasoned enquiry, science), a matter of primary emphasis rather than one to the exclusion of the other, of course.
     
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  15. spirtual-philosophy

    spirtual-philosophy seeker of truth

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    How vs why. Yes, I agree with your point. Trying to explain why things are as they are (rather than how it all works); this is folly.

    It seems to me, the reason to postulate a God or a supernatural is to explain why. If you take all the things that mystify you and place then in a supernatural spiritual realm, all the problems disappear (or so it seems). But this accomplishes nothing except placing all the mystery into one mental category.
     
  16. spirtual-philosophy

    spirtual-philosophy seeker of truth

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    Maybe I'm using the terms sacred and divine as synonyms. The dictionary definitions are similar, and both reference deities.
     
  17. spirtual-philosophy

    spirtual-philosophy seeker of truth

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    Are y'all using the word "importance" to express that emotional experiences are in some way not important? Please clarify your intent.
     
  18. Howard Is

    Howard Is Lucky Mud

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    Agreed.
    It is the only totally honest position to take.

    It would be a shame to miss out on, or deny, the weird and mysterious stuff, just because you didn’t want to be called out as a theist, mystic, holder of ‘magical belief systems’, schizophrenic, or sleep deprived idiot by people whose life experience seems...somewhat shallow.
     
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  19. spirtual-philosophy

    spirtual-philosophy seeker of truth

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    My wife loves stories and I am analytical. So there you have it; proof of your conjecture.

    In our case, we are extreme polarities, although I like songs and lyrics which, I suppose, have stories embedded.
     
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  20. spirtual-philosophy

    spirtual-philosophy seeker of truth

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    I notice that popular physicists and cosmologists aren't shy about expressing their awe and wonder and amazement. It's not only the religious that notice this aspect of reality.
     
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