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Pantheism vs Panentheism: What is the difference?

Discussion in 'General Religious Debates' started by SaintAugustine, Mar 11, 2012.

  1. SaintAugustine

    SaintAugustine At the Monastery

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    In Pantheism, God is identical with the universe, but in Panentheism God lies within and also beyond or outside of the universe.

    from Wikipedia

    Is that all there is to it..?
    If we say God is the Universe...than you must find yourself saying God is cancer or God is the Earthquake that kills 20,000 who are themselves God...

    While Panentheism seems to be easier to accept, I am not sure if God is THE universe in the same way as Pantheist would view it.

    Help needed from our resident pantheists and panentheists...
     
  2. Student of X

    Student of X Paradigm Shifter

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    In my understanding. In Panentheism, if the universe had a big mouth it could say, "Not I, but the Christ in me". Because there would be an aspect of God which both transcends it and fills it at the same time. Like a sponge filled with water.

    In Pantheism, if the universe had a mouth it could not say that because there would be no aspect of God which transcends it, which it could unite with. It would be a sponge with no water to fill it.
     
    #2 Student of X, Mar 11, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2012
  3. 9-10ths_Penguin

    9-10ths_Penguin 1/10 Subway Stalinist
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    What's the difference? The difference is "en". :D
     
  4. Kerr

    Kerr Well-Known Member

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    To my understanding pantheism is that the universe is God, while panentheism is that God is involved in all aspects of the universe at all time. Not sure, though :shrug:.

    EDIT:

    And panentheism makes me feel a bit odd. I mean... I dont like to think that God is involved in me taking a shower :p.
     
  5. mycorrhiza

    mycorrhiza Well-Known Member

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    The God of Pantheism does incorporate cancer and earthquakes, for it is not a vengeful God with intent of killing. It's a neutral God that just exists. While parts of God may have intent to harm, most of God does not. Neither cancer nor earthquakes kill out of evil intent. A simple virus is treated the same as a human being, as is a rock treated the same as gold. All is of equal value to the Universe as a whole. In some other religions, earthquakes are caused by God(s) with intent of harming.

    The big difference is transcendence. While pantheism ends at the end of the Universe/Multiverse, panentheism stretches outside of time and space. The Universe/Multiverse isn't the end, but just a part of God.

    Basically:
    Pantheists view God as identical to the Universe. The Universe is God.
    Panentheists view God as greater than the Universe. The Universe is part of God.
     
    #5 mycorrhiza, Mar 11, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2012
  6. CarlinKnew

    CarlinKnew Well-Known Member

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    One's pointless and the other's more pointless.

    Pantheism merely labels the universe "God". That's it. A belief system equating to a different choice of a word.

    Panentheism does the same thing, and then adds that the universe, which means everything that exists, is in fact not everything that exists: that part of the universe is beyond the universe.
     
  7. mycorrhiza

    mycorrhiza Well-Known Member

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    Pantheism is not merely adding the word "God" to the Universe. It incorporates a feeling of awe and reverence towards the Universe/Nature and a sense of oneness. So labeling the Universe as God, we explain how we feel about the Universe. I would hardly call it pointless.

    The Universe is all that exists in our physical, immanent world. As Panentheism means that God is transcendent (as well as immanent), the Universe must be limited to our physical world, while God is beyond the physical world.
     
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  8. 1137

    1137 Thelemite
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    Ok, as a panentheist I do not really believe in the idea of god normal theism holds. First of all, what is outside the cosmos and interpenetrates it is not some sort of being, it is Spirit you could say, a divine force that is in all natural things. It is not that Spirit is interacting with us like in theism, it is inside of all of us. The 'soul' is a piece of Spirit that is indistinct from it. They are one, like in Spiritual Monism. The problem with spiritual monism is that the physical still exists, even if it is not eternal. The physical was "created" by Spirit, or rather a manifestation of Spirit that we know as "God". It created all and is in all natural. Meanwhile, something purely physical like the computer in front of you is temporal and absolutely meaningless in Spiritual reality.

    Human < Nature < God < Spirit.

    I find Hinduism has many good views on panentheism. Wikipedia rampage it a little.

    Straw man, if not just completely wrong. There is no universe beyond the universe, there is no cosmos beyond the cosmos. There is Spirit, and that is all. Some of us refuse to accept illogical things such as "being from non-being".
     
    #8 1137, Mar 11, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 11, 2012
  9. Wannabe Yogi

    Wannabe Yogi Well-Known Member

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    Pointless to you maybe. I find it meaningful. It expresses the unity of life in the single word. When you say I am Pantheist you are expressing a big idea.

    I still use words like &#8220;spiritual&#8221; and &#8220;mystical&#8221; . . People have self-transcending experiences. And people have the best day of their life where&#8230;they seemed at one with nature.-Sam Harris

    The experience of being one with nature is a profound deep experience. This is why many of the best and brightest atheists don't seem to have a problem with it the use of the word pantheism.
     
    #9 Wannabe Yogi, Mar 11, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2012
  10. Madhuri

    Madhuri RF Goddess
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    I am a panentheist so I feel qualified to answer on its behalf.

    Panentheism means that God is the Creator and the Created. So yes, God IS the universe and all within it. But God is also beyond the universe, as something 'other'.

    In Hinduism, this means that God exists in an original 'form' and expands himself in order to create infinite universes. Different aspects of his energies also expand into those universes to manifest as the living creatures.

    All is God, God is all. But unlike pantheism, God is also a distinct intelligent Being.
     
  11. Me Myself

    Me Myself Back to my username

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    This.

    about God being involved with you in the shower or even what is left of your lunch after your body had his way with it...

    Well, it´s less "romantic", but reality trascends romance :D
     
  12. Madhuri

    Madhuri RF Goddess
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    It really doesn't even matter because in panentheism, God is involved with you by being you. So it's God who is showering and also being aware of you showering.
     
  13. 1137

    1137 Thelemite
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    Would you say that god experiences things through us, and that is why we have a soul / spiritual essence / consciousness in the first place? Sure the material world exists because it was created, but God gives things consciousness by interpenetrating every part of the natural world. We are hollow, physical, meaningless shells without consciousness. All spiritual is One with this 'God', so why are we experiencing our own, individual, subjective realities?
     
  14. SaintAugustine

    SaintAugustine At the Monastery

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    Wow!! My head is spinning..thank you!
     
  15. bigbadgirl

    bigbadgirl Active Member

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    Pantheism is very similar to the basis of Hinduism. Everything is the all. And also Jainism. Panentheism is hard to figure out. I will stay where I am at for now.
     
  16. Madhuri

    Madhuri RF Goddess
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    That is very perceptive.

    Yes, I would say that God experiences through us, or more specifically, as us. Consciousness is attributed to the soul and that soul is life-force. So all life is an aspect of God.

    Hindu religions explain this perception of individuality through the concept of Maya (illusion/ignorance). However, there are different schools of through within Hinduism. One interpretation is that the soul is completely independent. Another is that the soul is simultaneously one with yet separate from God. And the 3rd interpretation is that the soul is completely one with God.

    My personal understanding is that the soul is a representation of a particular aspect of God that is simultaneously one with, yet distinct (the middle school, as mentioned above). In this interpretation, there are unlimited souls and each is a unique piece of a Whole. They will never and cannot merge into the One as they are eternal individuals (maybe think of it like leaves on a tree. God is the seed and everything that grows is an expansion of the same Entity. But each leaf is distinct and unique).
     
  17. Madhuri

    Madhuri RF Goddess
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    Pantheism and Panentheism are both found in Hinduism as there are different religions within 'Hinduism'. I'm not sure which of the two concepts is more popular, but they are both well grounded in Vedic religions.
     
  18. 1137

    1137 Thelemite
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    If we are all parts of the One, why did the One separate into infinite pieces in the first place? Simply to experience states of consciousness that something all-powerful, all-knowing, and perfectly balanced cannot generally experience? Was this whole physical world created by God / Spirit just so God / Spirit could fill it?

    Also, if we can never reconnect as One, what is the meaning behind meditation and seeking enlightenment? This is another concept I have been struggling with.

    Personally, I have felt that this line of though is true. Some call it a mystical experience, some call it divine revelation, call it what you wish. I have experienced this, what you are talking about, and now I wish to understand.

    Perhaps a private message would be more appropriate... haha
     
  19. Madhuri

    Madhuri RF Goddess
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    Technically there was never a time when God separated into infinite pieces. All souls have existed eternally, according to this philosophy. Without going into detail, I will simplify by saying that the souls represent a part of the Divine that desires drama.

    The populated planets are the stage and we are the actors.

    As I mentioned before, I come from a school of thought that sees the soul as simultaneously one with yet separate from the One. But this means there was never a time when all was merged as one and it never will be. But we can 'reconnect'. This doesn't mean merging into a blob of consciousness called God. It means realising our true nature as Soul/Spirit and our eternal relationship with the Whole/God.

    So it needs to be noted that in our distinction, in our individuality, we are still connected with the Whole. So if we go back to that metaphor of the tree, each soul is a leaf, but we will imagine the the tree has always been fully matured. Similarly, the soul has always existed as part of God, but only as a part and not as the whole tree. Right now in this moment, we are connected to the 'body' of God/The Whole.

    While we exist covered by Maya, we perceive only dualism. We do not realise the connection with the Whole and we identify with the temporary material body. The point of meditation and seeking enlightenment comes from a desire to perceive that connection and to transcend the cycle of birth and death. Some of us get sick of the constant drama ;)

    I am very happy to help explain the concepts. So far I'm explaining more from my particular philosophical school but I do have knowledge about other schools although I'm more familiar with the monistic philosophy than the dualistic.

    If you want to reply via PM that's totally fine :)
     
  20. 1137

    1137 Thelemite
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    I sent you a far too confusing PM haha. Look forward to your response :)
     
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