(An extract from the article, "So,
what is God?"
which is available in this section of the
The pantheist religions – which
include Taoism in its early form, much of Buddhism and some segments of
have a very
different viewpoint from monotheism
which primarily understands God as a transcendent being with a personal
nature. (Within the monotheist religions of
Christianity and Islam, God is depicted as a being who wants a
two-way personal relationship with each and every one of us humans.)
God is considered transcendent, by monotheists, because he is
believed to be all-powerful, all-knowing and beyond our ability to
fully understand or experience him. He
then theoretically transcends us, our universe and even our
ability to fully perceive him.
Many Christians solely think of God as a ‘being
in Heaven’ and separate from his creations.
Pantheists, on the other hand, view
God as the
basis of reality
itself. Indeed everything
is understood as
having a one-ness with reality, and as such, with God. This outlook is based on the mystical experiences (i.e.
arising from religious ‘meditation’) of these religions. God is, as far
are concerned, very much a part of this world
(God and the universe are one and the same). That is, God is totally
“immanent” and not
personal) at all within their theory.
The most accurate way to describe
God’s basis within pantheism, as best can be achieved with words,
“pure consciousness”. Within pantheism, we might think of
the world, indeed the entire universe, as the
of God”. This is expected, if reality’s
basis is a single
Some pantheist writings also promote the
of a ‘world soul’ that contains the essence of every living
The planet Earth, within the general pantheist
takes on a whole new religious dimension. In the pantheist systems of
there is no God external to
the universe (or ourselves
for that matter),
with whom we humans can enter into a personal relationship. We simply cannot
have a personal relationship with an existence/ mind/ force that is not
truly separate from ourselves.
of pantheism’s writings offer a theoretical state where in
living and inanimate things, although having a visible individuality,
the One (God). This would mean that our individual nature could be
illusionary (i.e. the
theory of “illusionary
It would indeed make sense that if ‘God
is us’, and
that, then the individuality we seem to have may be illusionary.
I have written already, these views primarily come from the experiences
the mystics who founded pantheist religions.
When I was a student
of pantheist religions myself, I had
the same experiences that I mentioned above. It took me several years to get to that
level and I respect others who have done the
same. And I
admit that like other mystics I found that a powerful sense of one-ness is
there in those states of mind. Clearly I
do accept that the beliefs of pantheists are based on experiences encountered in their search for meaning.
Personally though, I don’t
think the pantheist view is the
picture. I say this because I
considerable evidence during
my life, from other religious practises, which makes it clear to me
that we do have ‘existences’ separate
from God and each other. Mind you I don’t accept the view of some Christians either, e.g. "God as a ‘being
in Heaven’ and totally separate from his creations."
in the article, “So, what is God?” why I, and many others,
believe that God’s
being is actually an essential combination of both
transcendence and immanence –
containing the essence of both pantheist and
models. Summarising, both forms of religion head in different
directions with their practises and, as a result, they experience
differing aspects of God's relationship to us and our universe.
The section of this website, “Faith and Reason” which includes the “So, what is God?” article, is devoted completely to presenting God as a believable concept for the 21st Century.
The website also contains
guidance on how we can determine
for ourselves whether God does exist. An entire section, “Believing in God”
has been provided to address that issue. It is all
how to identify evidence of God’s presence within our lives and genuinely
evaluate it – thereby
building up a body of evidence that will stand the test of time, indeed
grow with the passing of time. The stumbling block for most
us, when beginners, is knowing how and where to look for this potential
final section of the website explains
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