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Pantheism

Belongs to subject Pantheism

Pantheism was popularized in Western culture as a theology and philosophy based on the work of the 17th-century philosopher Baruch Spinoza, particularly his book Ethics. There are a variety of definitions of pantheism. Some consider it a theological and philosophical position concerning God. Pantheism is the view that everything is part of an all-encompassing, immanent God. Some hold that pantheism is a non-religious philosophical position. To them, pantheism is the view that the Universe (in the sense of the totality of all existence) and God are identical (implying a denial of the personality and transcendence of God).

In the West, pantheism was formalized as a separate theology and philosophy based on the work of the 17th-century philosopher Baruch Spinoza. 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. Spinoza earned praise as one of the great rationalists of 17th-century philosophy and one of Western philosophy's most important thinkers. Ethics was the major source from which Western pantheism spread. In George Henry Lewes's words (1846), "Pantheism is as old as philosophy. Wherein consists Spinoza's originality? In the mid-eighteenth century, the English theologian Daniel Waterland defined pantheism this way: "It supposes God and nature, or God and the whole universe, to be one and the same substance—one universal being; insomuch that men's souls are only modifications of the divine substance.In the early nineteenth century, the German theologian Julius Wegscheider defined pantheism as the belief that God and the world established by God are one and the same.

Known in German as the Pantheismusstreit (pantheism controversy), it helped spread pantheism to many German thinkers. Jacobi claimed that Spinoza's doctrine was pure materialism, because all Nature and God are said to be nothing but extended substance. Mendelssohn disagreed with Jacobi, saying that pantheism shares more characteristics of theism than of atheism. In it, Herndon writes of the U.S. President's evolving religious views, which included pantheism.

Some 19th-century theologians thought that various pre-Christian religions and philosophies were pantheistic. According to Einstein, the book only dealt with the concept of a personal god and not the impersonal God of pantheism. In another letter written in 1954 he wrote "I do not believe in a personal God In the late 20th century, some declared that pantheism was an underlying theology of Neopaganism, and pantheists began forming organizations devoted specifically to pantheism and treating it as a separate religion.

In a chapter entitled, "Truth of My Father", he declares: "My father believed in the God of Spinoza and Einstein, God not behind nature, but as nature, equivalent to it.The philosopher Charles Hartshorne used the term Classical Pantheism to describe the deterministic philosophies of Baruch Spinoza, the Stoics, and other like-minded figures. "God decides or determines everything, including our supposed decisions.Other examples of determinism-inclined pantheisms include those of Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Hegel. However, some have argued against treating every meaning of "unity" as an aspect of pantheism, and there exist versions of pantheism that regard determinism as an inaccurate or incomplete view of nature. There is nothing separate or distinct from God, for God is the universe. Philosophers and theologians have often suggested that pantheism implies monism. In 1896, J. H. Worman, a theologian, identified seven categories of pantheism: Mechanical or materialistic (God the mechanical unity of existence); Ontological (fundamental unity, Spinoza); Dynamic; Psychical (God is the soul of the world); Ethical (God is the universal moral order, Fichte; Logical (Hegel); and Pure (absorption of God into nature, which Worman equates with atheism). Nature worship or nature mysticism is often conflated and confused with pantheism. Nature mysticism may be compatible with pantheism but it may also be compatible with theism and other views. Thus panentheism separates itself from pantheism, positing the extra claim that God exists above and beyond the world as we know it. The line between pantheism and panentheism can be blurred depending on varying definitions of God, so there have been disagreements when assigning particular notable figures to pantheism or panentheism. Pandeism is another word derived from pantheism, and is characterized as a combination of reconcilable elements of pantheism and deism. According to pantheists, there are elements of pantheism in some forms of Christianity. Ideas resembling pantheism existed in East/South Asian religions before the 18th century (notably Sikhism, Hinduism, Confucianism, and Taoism). Pantheism is popular in modern spirituality and new religious movements, such as Neopaganism and Theosophy. Two organizations that specify the word pantheism in their title formed in the last quarter of the 20th century. The World Pantheist Movement was incorporated in 1999 to focus exclusively on promoting naturalistic pantheism - a strict metaphysical naturalistic version of pantheism, considered by some a form of religious naturalism.

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