Aviva Directory » Faith & Spirituality » World Religions » Esoteric Religions » Pantheism

Pantheism refers to a doctrine, common in New Age, Neopagan, and other eclectic religions, that the universe, as a whole, is God, and that reality is identical with divinity.

The concepts of pantheism date back thousands of years, and forms part of the theology of several religions, Eastern and Western. Pantheism is sometimes considered to be a non-religious philosophical position, in which the totality of all existence is identical to God, which denies the personality of God.

Pantheism is often associated with monism, another concept common the New Age beliefs. Monism holds that there is only one supreme being and that everything that exists is part of that one is.

Many New Agers believe that everyone and everything is God, and that is the definition of pantheism.

However, pantheism leads to monism. Once the distinctions between the creator and the creation are wiped away, the end result is monism, a belief that all is one. In other words, monism holds that there is no difference between God, human beings, and a pencil; all are parts of one undivided reality. So while New Agers hold to the concepts of monism, they also consider everything, in reality, to be divine, and that is known as pantheism.

In other words, to most New Agers, everything is divine, or a part of God. This includes people, animals, trees, rocks, the earth, the stars, and so on. Since everything and everyone is part of God, it is important that we get in touch with the "god within" in order to achieve cosmic unity.

Not all New Agers are pantheists, but all pantheists agree that reality is one. Although this reality is modified in one way or another, in the end, all pantheists agree that God is all that exists.

Pantheists largely agree that the highest reality is not dependent. Everything depends on God, but God depends on nothing. If the world should pass away, God would be unaffected.

While theists and pantheists may agree that God is independent, the positions differ on the personhood of God. Theists understand God in personal terms. Pantheists, however, generally argue that personhood is a limiting factor.

Pantheists generally believe that creation was a necessary event that occurred because it was in the nature of God to do it, and not that it was a choice made by God.

While several religions believe that divinity is a status that human beings may achieve, pantheists believe that human beings are of the same substance as God, as is everything else that exists.

Although some pantheists hold that the world does not exist in reality, most believe that the world is real. At the same time, pantheists often ascribe that the world is on a level of reality lower to that of the ultimate. Others affirm that the world is real, but only from a certain perspective.

Commonly, New Agers believe in the unity and independence of God, and the impersonal nature of the ultimate, from a New Age perspective, is emphasized by the Force of Star Wars. Yoda teaches that the Force is within each of us.

The divinity of each individual is frequently asserted, and because of the connection of the person with the divine, New Agers stress the importance of human potential in the reduction of stress, increasing productivity, and personal transformation. Tapping into both the human potential movement and the holistic health movement, New Agers believe that people can reach new heights of wellness by recognizing the organic nature of reality.

New Age practitioners often denigrate logical, conceptual, and empirical knowledge, giving preference to intuitive and mystical knowledge. New Agers are also obsessed with reaching higher levels of consciousness, and they often seek to do so through techniques designed to shut down the analytical left brain, getting conscious thought out of the way, so that a higher consciousness can break in.

New Age pantheists believe that knowledge is salvation, but they are generally referring to experiential or intuitive knowledge rather than rational knowledge. Salvation comes from enlightenment.

By reaching enlightenment, an individual is saved from ignorance, which is the source of all evil. Enlightenment allows one to walk the path toward God.

To the New Age pantheist, then, salvation is achieved through human effort and discipline, which may involve yoga, meditation, and other techniques.

The New Age emphasis on experiential knowledge clearly leads to religious pluralism, which is one of the defining characteristics of New Age spirituality.

The focus of this category is on pantheism. Although pantheism is not generally considered to be a religion in its own right, it is a component of the beliefs of several eclectic and Eastern religions, and there are people who consider themselves to be pantheists, much as a religion.

 

 

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