What the “All” in Pantheism Really Means

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Pantheism asserts that all physical things are divine, not that all ideologies and religious beliefs are accurate or true. The “all” in Pantheism denotes all energy/matter… as in, all objects and elements, i.e. all ‘things’ in Nature. Nature Itself is what we view as sacred and holy, not all religious systems, which each contradict themselves and have caused immeasurable harm in their own way. The “all” in Pantheism means all of Nature… the natural world, all living organisms, the Universe Itself, etc. All physical matter and energy—that’s what we believe God to be, the physical Universe Itself.

Pantheism is not the belief in all beliefs. It’s the belief or awareness in an immanent Divinity permeating all things… and that God exists not as a separate, anthropomorphic deity, but as the Universe Itself. And furthermore, that this intelligence and power and creative intent is inherent in all energy/matter. The “all” in Pantheism means all things in the physical Universe, i.e. all of Nature… and that this vast and magnificent natural world actually represents one, all-encompassing, immanent, divinity… NOT that all belief systems are accurate or even healthy to practice and adhere to.

Do a little research into Pantheism and you’ll quickly find out what its most famous proponents like Bruno, Spinoza, Einstein and Carl Sagan actually believed. Most of these men were vehemently opposed to Christianity and openly spoke out against it. One was even burned alive by the Church for his views. Therefore, it is a gross misnomer to think that all religions and all faiths are acceptable and that the embracing of all ideologies and doctrines somehow constitutes what Pantheism means. This could not be further from the truth.

As stated, this is a common misunderstanding that a simple Google search could easily remedy. And just to reiterate for the sake of any who may still be confused, the “all” in Pantheism means all of Nature, the natural world, all living organisms, the Universe Itself… as in, all matter and energy, etc. That’s what we believe God to be– the physical Universe Itself. It’s not the ‘belief in all beliefs’, because that would be Syncretism, Baha’i, or Omnism. No, it’s the belief or awareness of the immanent and emergent Divinity, that exists in all things and is manifested in omnipresent form.

It’s the knowledge and awareness that God exists not as an anthropomorphic deity, but as the Universe Itself… or more locally, the forces and powers of Nature in all of Its various manifestations. This includes all environments, all ecosystems, all plants and animals, etc. This means that intelligence and power and creative intent are inherent within all energy/matter (“immanence”). Not outside of It, not in abstract form, not in false doctrines or traditional ideologies, but IN Nature. Furthermore, all religions do not lead to this Pantheistic understanding of God.

On the contrary, most actually reject it, because different beliefs contradict each other. Every belief system says something else about the Universe. Most teach and promote dualism, not Monism. For example, a Christian, Muslim or Jew believes that a separate, personal, all-knowing, all-powerful, (male) deity created the Cosmos and dwells outside or apart from it in his own invisible eternal realm (this is Monotheism). In this model, creator is separate from creation… and in this way, most religions are dualistic. But Pantheism is a form of “Monism” which means Creator and Creation are one and the same.

It means everything is made of the same substance and there is no duality and no separation, i.e. all is one. Not that all is one in terms of all beliefs, but that all is literally one in terms of its substance– the tree, a car, your house, your clothes, your body, your pets, your parents, your friends, the ocean, the stars, the sky, etc. These things all came from the same Source and they are all manifestations of one Divinity—the Universe Itself. This, is Pantheism. Not all is one in terms of all beliefs, but all is literally one in terms of Its substance or essence. It follows the notion set forth by Spinoza and so many others that is generally known as “Substance Theology.”

In order to understand this, you must first understand that on a subatomic level, everything is really made up of trillions and trillions of vibrating particles of energy. What we interact with and observe and what makes coherent sense to us comes in the larger forms and structures of this energy, which is vibrating at a slower rate, making it denser, causing it to appear to be solid… but in the quantum world, nothing is really solid and empty space actually holds the most influence and power (i.e. Dark Matter and Dark Energy). Understand these things comprehensively and you already are halfway there.

As I said before: the tree, the bird, a car, your house, your clothes, your body, your pets, your friends, your parents, the ocean, the stars, the planets, etc.—all of these things came from the same Source (the pre-Big Bang singularity) and they all represent manifestations or expressions of one singular Divinity. And so, Pantheism asserts that the Universe Itself IS God; it posits that all things in this Universe are connected and all physical things are really just differentiated, subjective aspects of this all-encompassing, immanent Divinity. THIS, is Pantheism… not the erroneous belief that all religions and theologies fall under one giant category called, “Pantheism.”

This kind of thinking actually leans more toward “Omnism”, or something more along the lines of “Perennial Philosophy”, as outlined by Aldous Huxley. Although there is some scintilla of truth to the notion, there are also many, many things wrong with this perspective. For starters, Perennialism is not Pantheism. Instead it represents a kind of religious syncretism, attempting to reconcile all religious traditions and derive the relevance and meaning by minimizing the differences, highlighting the similarities and ‘drawing-out’ what is acceptable and applicable to you. In clinical psychology this is what is known as “Selective Abstraction” or even a reverse form of “Mental Filtering.”

‘Selective Abstraction’ is a type of cognitive bias or cognitive distortion, in which a detail is taken out of context and believed while everything else in the context is ignored. Likewise, a ‘Mental Filter’ is another cognitive distortion or faulty thought pattern, that can often lead to higher levels of anxiety and depression. When thinking through a mental filter, a person is focusing only on the negative aspects of a situation and filtering out all of the positive ones. In this case, the reverse is actually true… so what individuals end up doing is filtering out all of the negative aspects in favor of the positive. This is done to minimize anxiety and depression (or it could just be occurring due to ignorance of history and the true origins of religion).

Now, at first glance this might seem like a good thing, but what it really represents is a subtle naivety, as well as a strong desire to reconcile and mend what is otherwise a very convoluted and sordid establishment (religion), in an effort to make sense out of all the disparities extant within and find some consistency, by oversimplifying the situation and reinterpreting religious texts and traditions in a way that is favorable and appealing to them. This is all very close in purpose and intent to Omnism, which states that all religions are equally valid and that each one has just as much intrinsic value as another, because they are all based on the same, ‘universal’ truths.

In contrast, Pantheism deals with the divine quality of Nature Itself, not the universal similarities or ‘perceived’ underlying truths that others ‘think’ exist within all religions. Which in reality, tend to be filled with false assumptions, archaic superstitions and anachronistic ideas. It is true that one can maintain Pantheistic beliefs while still being a Perennialist or an Omnist, but their Perennialism or Omnism should not to be confused with Pantheism. Compare these two modes of thought for a moment– most religions lead to delusional thinking and erroneous concepts like belief in the supernatural and an afterlife, etc. While Pantheism on the other hand, leads to a deeper appreciation for Nature and a stronger and more poignant connection to the natural world.

I honestly don’t care what others believe, but when Perennialists and Omnists begin to infiltrate my groups and spread these misconceptions and confuse others when it comes to Pantheism, that’s when I must step in and clarify things. I don’t mind their involvement at all, but they should not call what they believe “Pantheism” or at the very least, they should stop thinking that it’s equivalent to Pantheism—because it most certainly is not. Do the research yourself and find out about all of these related “isms.” They are all very similar, but the fact remains… NONE of these things equates to Pantheism:

Omnism

Syncretism

Baha’i Faith

Universalism

Religious Pluralism

Perennial Philosophy

I cannot stress enough how important it is that we make these distinctions. Pantheism it is NOT a catch-all word for anything and everything anyone foolishly chooses to practice and believe. It is a SPECIFIC attitude, awareness and mindset, in relation to the natural world and the quality of physical existence itself. It is a statement about the essence of the Universe and by extension, all living organisms and Life forms that have evolved and arisen through natural processes. This is why I created Biopan– to distinguish ourselves from the broad, amorphous community of those who seek to turn Pantheism into whatever they want it to be.

Why should I care so much? Well, I’ve spent the last three years of my life trying to organize and establish Pantheism as a real world movement… so definitions, terminology and peoples’ general perceptions are very important to me. I’m not asking anyone to change anything they believe, but just to educate themselves on what Pantheism actually means, so that others who are new to the movement aren’t misled and confused. I only care about human progress and uniting us as a species. I care about Nature, animal rights, protecting the environment and finding inspiration in communion with the natural world. Living in harmony with Nature and living up to our full potential as highly evolved, sentient beings.

We are all expressions of Divinity. We are all becoming, “God.” Life and biology needs to be our main focus. That’s the key, that’s the most crucial aspect– living organisms, our shared biology and the interconnectedness and interdependence of all things. This, is Pantheism. And this is what I write about and what I teach and promote daily. The world is already in chaos, we are already stratified and separated in so many different ways. What we need is unity and cohesion, a deeper awareness of the sacred found in all things. We know that the earth is a living system– ancient, primordial, sacred and holy. And as such, it should be treated with reverence and respect. Likewise, our bodies should be sanctified in terms of how we eat, what we put into our systems and what we do with our time. Health, wellness, our overall mental/emotional stability AND our physical fitness and physiological well-being—these things should be our top priority.

Biopantheism is a philosophy and belief system that takes into account the whole person and the whole spectrum of human existence. What matters in Life, what is relevant to the human condition and what is meaningful and applicable to our species and the welfare of every other living organism on the planet. Our biology is what binds us; it stands as the common thread we all share that shatters all barriers and distinctions, penetrates the chaos and confusion of false and irrelevant ideologies and ‘perennially’ unites us all. As stated earlier, Pantheism is a form of Substance Theology called Monism. This is what Spinoza taught and what it states essentially is that we are all part of one massive, colossal organism (the Omnia).

This mode of thought also represents non-duality, or differential existence within the unity of the whole (“Dialectical Monism”). Nevertheless, I am an Anti-theist and Biopan is an Anti-theistic philosophy. That means I reject and oppose all forms of corporate religion. The reason these false beliefs can and should be challenged and confronted is because they encourage the continuation of a host of fallacious and destructive ideologies and beliefs that can and have, caused immeasurable amounts of harm and atrocity throughout history (e.g. Christianity, Judaism and Islam).

I make no apologies for this and I will not tip-toe around the subject: I seek to dismantle and expose the Abrahamic faiths for the frauds they are. I will do this by continuing to teach the truth about science, history and human psychology. I long to do this to ease the suffering and confusion of so many… to free individuals and cultures from all of the guilt, fear, isolation and oppression religious doctrines and dogmas create. I must do this in order to institute a new kind of religion, one that is solely based on reality… a new philosophy that is fundamentally grounded in science and reason, that combines the rational, Humanistic values of the Atheist movement with the rustic, Nature-centered aesthetic of Paganism and the healthy, sober attitude of Religious Naturalism, that leads to a reverence for all Life, environmental ethics and a shared, Biocentric morality.

Living in this constant state of awareness through mindfulness, contemplation and regular observation and interaction with the natural world is what changes you. It allows you to see the interdependence of all things and the interrelated aspects of Life and existence. Once you begin to truly focus on this connection with a singular, committed intent, you cannot help but be humbled, awestruck and reverent of everyone and everything. This creates a deeper appreciation, a love and respect for all sentient beings… and indeed, all of the variant forms of Life that surround us.

If others are not familiar with this form of enlightenment, it’s simply because they are not experientially engaged in activities and meditations that allow this kind of consciousness to pervade and permeate their thinking. In other words, you have to cultivate and really foster this kind of awareness. The more you do, the more it influences your character and behavior in a positive, progressive and prolific way.

“Neo, sooner or later you’re going to realize just as I did,                                                      there’s a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.”

– Morpheus, The Matrix


4 thoughts on “What the “All” in Pantheism Really Means

  1. Great article! You covered many points that needed to be communicated. And I strongly agree that the distinction between what pantheism is and what it is not needed to be made for many. I also strongly agree that there are, indeed, many views (philosophical and/or religious) that have proven to be very harmful to mankind, to animals, and to our planet; harmful views that need to be corrected or improved or done away with, altogether. Even though I do believe there are common bonds between many religions and philosophies that often stand upon a shared ‘fundamental’ foundation, I also believe these systems of thought can vary and stray quite a bit when it comes to the details. It’s these details that can be very problematic and which lead to great conflicts. I often think of all religions and ideologies like varying spokes that extend from a common hub of a wheel. Many of these spokes are weak, crooked, broken, or problematic in some way. A few of them are straight and strong and provide great support. A better analogy may be a tree, whereby most religions may or may not have a shared broad trunk but which grows in its own direction from there. Many religions branch off into dark areas and even need to be pruned. I would also like to add as I have expressed to you in the past, that I personally view pantheism to mean that all of reality, the entire universe (the material or physical aspect of the universe as well as the conceptual aspect of the universe like mathematics) is the constant causation of my existence along with its own. To me, pantheism fundamentally means ‘all is the cause’. I also realize that pantheism is a broad umbrella term that many with a wide range of tolerable, varying, personal views happily stand under. But it is necessary for pantheists like you and myself to ‘attempt’ to take that broad view and push it higher or further from the fundamental hub, to provide a more tailored view, such as your ‘Biopantheism’ and my ‘Panmeism’ that others may share in. I’m confident that we humans, as a collective, will gain more and more clarity and will see the universe and our place in it more clearly as we all progress. I hope!

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  2. I Love this article. I find Pantheism extremely compatible with Buddhist practice or perhaps more importantly Buddhist insights. Having said that, I think it’s time for humanity to recognize the failure of organized religion and move forward with greater clarity, respect and reverence for all things. See you in the funny papers kindred spirit and peace to you.

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