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 Is Panendeism Dualistic?

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Aaron
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PostSubject: Is Panendeism Dualistic?   Thu Oct 18, 2007 3:03 pm

I came across this essay on another site and thought I'd share it here.
Quote :
God?

For many people God is a loaded word with a lot of baggage. It seems that man has made God in his own image. I have observed people who believe the Bible to be the only word of God conveniently ignoring the God portrayed in the old testament book of Ezekiel. I certainly wouldn’t want HIM living next door to me. Maybe some of those in the Middle East are taking this God as their model.

Even those who believe there is some guiding force in the universe are embarrassed to use the “G” word. That’s why As a Pantheist/Panpsychist I often use the word Mind instead, as I believe God to be pure Consciousness or Mind which permeates the entire universe. Certainly this God is more wonderful and awe-inspiring to me.

There are two main types of pantheists; the monistic pantheists and the dualistic panentheists. While pantheists believe all is God panentheists believe God to be an entity apart from the world. To the panentheist pantheism is impossible because the world can’t be all God when God is separate from it.

Monistic panpsychism rejects panentheism because of this duality. Since the pantheist believes you and I and the rest of the universe is nothing but God, Panpsychism is compatible with pantheism, as both are monistic. Panpsychism believes the universe and everything in it to be sentient and in some degree conscious. Many panpsychists such as myself believe this sentience or consciousness to be the “Mind of God.” We believe this “Mind” is somehow aware of every other particle in the universe no matter how far they are apart.

Even such people as Steven Hawking has used the phrase “the mind of God,” to indicate what at this time, seems to be beyond human understanding.

Although I agree with much of what the author has written there are a few things that I'm not too sure about. The main disagreement that I have with it is in the highlighted paragraph regarding panentheism and dualism. I was wonder if any of you had any thoughts on the matter?

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PostSubject: Re: Is Panendeism Dualistic?   Thu Oct 18, 2007 3:21 pm

Quote :
As a Pantheist/Panpsychist I often use the word Mind instead, as I believe God to be pure Consciousness or Mind which permeates the entire universe. Certainly this God is more wonderful and awe-inspiring to me.

Starting to read like a transcendentalist wandering in a dictionary looking for words that fit. I have long bought into the second idea that ‘God’, ‘Mind’, Divine, or reverie is wonderful because I can participate with/in it. I think consciousness spans the universe, we are aware of but a small piece. The larger our consciousness awareness the richer our lives. And the more we want to participate.
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PostSubject: Re: Is Panendeism Dualistic?   Thu Oct 18, 2007 10:12 pm

Quote :
Although I agree with much of what the author has written there are a few things that I'm not too sure about. The main disagreement that I have with it is in the highlighted paragraph regarding panentheism and dualism. I was wonder if any of you had any thoughts on the matter?
Wikipedia:
"While pantheism says that God and the universe are coextensive, panentheism claims the God is greater than the universe and that the universe is contained within God."

If you are talking about the narrow sense of "God/Not God", then Panentheism may be dualistic. But I prefer to think in more comprehensive terms.

My current worldview is equivalent to "panentheism", although that term has too many syllables for my taste***. In my essay Intelligent Evolution I take the position that G*d is All, One, Unity, and this so-called "universe" is a small part of that whole. However, I do see this physical world as dualistic, because it is composed of dichotomies such as Good/Evil, Life/Death, Love/Hate, etc. So you could say that I believe in Duality within Monality---dualism within holism. That's not a paradox, it's a categorical statement. G*d is not a static, indivisible "atom"; S/he is a living, dynamic whole.

I plan to send a copy of that essay to The Paineful Truth this weekend, for review and comment. If you like, I can include you on the emailing list.


***How about PET? You can amaze your friends by casually mentioning that you have a PET GOD. cat
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PostSubject: Re: Is Panendeism Dualistic?   Fri Oct 19, 2007 1:08 am

Quote :
Panpsychism believes the universe and everything in it to be sentient and in some degree conscious.

Well it certainly gives new impetus to pet rocks! Maybe they'd be more responsive if we'd pet them a bit more.
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PostSubject: Re: Is Panendeism Dualistic?   Fri Oct 19, 2007 1:36 am

I don't think Deism should have a Genesis story. Creation Myths are so last millennium.
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PostSubject: Re: Is Panendeism Dualistic?   Fri Oct 19, 2007 8:08 am

I think it's a moot point since any kind of theism (as the word is generally used to mean interactive God) is wrong in the first place. And doesn't he misuse the word panentheist anyway, since the universe is supposed to be part of God, not separate from Him?
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PostSubject: Re: Is Panendeism Dualistic?   Fri Oct 19, 2007 9:21 am

Gnomon wrote:
My current worldview is equivalent to "panentheism", although that term has too many syllables for my taste***. In my essay Intelligent Evolution I take the position that G*d is All, One, Unity, and this so-called "universe" is a small part of that whole. However, I do see this physical world as dualistic, because it is composed of dichotomies such as Good/Evil, Life/Death, Love/Hate, etc. So you could say that I believe in Duality within Monality---dualism within holism. That's not a paradox, it's a categorical statement. G*d is not a static, indivisible "atom"; S/he is a living, dynamic whole.

Sounds like nondualism to me. Nondualism recognizes that there are distinctions within the whole, however those distinctions aren't completely separate as they are in dualism.

Gnomon wrote:
I plan to send a copy of that essay to The Paineful Truth this weekend, for review and comment. If you like, I can include you on the emailing list.

Sounds like something that may work for the Deist Alliance Newsletter as well if you're interested.

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PostSubject: Re: Is Panendeism Dualistic?   Fri Oct 19, 2007 9:22 am

The Paineful Truth wrote:
I think it's a moot point since any kind of theism (as the word is generally used to mean interactive God) is wrong in the first place. And doesn't he misuse the word panentheist anyway, since the universe is supposed to be part of God, not separate from Him?

Yes I agree.

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PostSubject: Re: Is Panendeism Dualistic?   Fri Oct 19, 2007 9:25 am

Helium wrote:
Quote :
Panpsychism believes the universe and everything in it to be sentient and in some degree conscious.

Well it certainly gives new impetus to pet rocks! Maybe they'd be more responsive if we'd pet them a bit more.

Panpsychists don't believe EVERYTHING experiences subjectivity. Things like rocks and piles of sand are considered to be "aggregates" and not systems and therefore don't posses subjectivety.

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PostSubject: Re: Is Panendeism Dualistic?   Fri Oct 19, 2007 9:28 am

Uriah wrote:
I don't think Deism should have a Genesis story. Creation Myths are so last millennium.

I think it has more to do with metaphysics and ontology then having a creation story. In other words, it's about defining what you mean when you say the word "god".

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PostSubject: Re: Is Panendeism Dualistic?   Fri Oct 19, 2007 1:21 pm

Aaron wrote:
Uriah wrote:
I don't think Deism should have a Genesis story. Creation Myths are so last millennium.

I think it has more to do with metaphysics and ontology then having a creation story. In other words, it's about defining what you mean when you say the word "god".

Yeah, I get that. It just seems like such a waste of time - at the end of the day humans will never know, cannot ever know, the nature of god or the purpose of life, the universe, and everything.
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PostSubject: Re: Is Panendeism Dualistic?   Fri Oct 19, 2007 2:09 pm

Uriah wrote:
Aaron wrote:
Uriah wrote:
I don't think Deism should have a Genesis story. Creation Myths are so last millennium.

I think it has more to do with metaphysics and ontology then having a creation story. In other words, it's about defining what you mean when you say the word "god".

Yeah, I get that. It just seems like such a waste of time - at the end of the day humans will never know, cannot ever know, the nature of god or the purpose of life, the universe, and everything.

I guess that depends on how one defines those things. For instance if I define god as a fart then I'm perfectly able of understanding it's nature. Wink

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PostSubject: Re: Is Panendeism Dualistic?   Fri Oct 19, 2007 2:54 pm

Uriah wrote:
Quote :
Yeah, I get that. It just seems like such a waste of time - at the end of the day humans will never know, cannot ever know, the nature of god or the purpose of life, the universe, and everything.

Not complete knowledge, no. But while we can never achieve the speed of light (without tricks like wormholes, black holes or warp drives or something), we can come close to it and continually work toward coming closer and closer.
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PostSubject: Re: Is Panendeism Dualistic?   Fri Oct 19, 2007 3:14 pm

Quote :
In other words, it's about defining what you mean when you say the word "god".

That's exactly why I included a creation myth in my essay. The word "God" is meaningless or ambiguous until you put the subject into a specific context.
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PostSubject: Re: Is Panendeism Dualistic?   Fri Oct 19, 2007 3:38 pm

Don't you see the attempts to define God as more of the same kind of hubris that has caused mankind to seek dominion over nature, to conquer, and to exploit for profit? If we are evolving towards a higher level of spirituality, shouldn't we see ancient superstitions and anthropomorphications of god as the fear-based attempts to take power over the unknown that they are?

I think there is greater spiritual power in the mystery, then there is a myriad of personal truths.


God is whatever it is, we'll never know - we're not God. The paramecium doesn't know what exists above the surface tension of the pond, why do we seem to think sentience and imagination make us anything more - on a macrocosmic scale - than a paramecium to the rest of the universe and whatever God may be?
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PostSubject: Re: Is Panendeism Dualistic?   Fri Oct 19, 2007 4:26 pm

Uriah wrote:
Don't you see the attempts to define God as more of the same kind of hubris that has caused mankind to seek dominion over nature, to conquer, and to exploit for profit?

I would say no (at least not all attempts). IMO any description of god should include a deep respect and awe for the natural world that we are a part of. I take it a step further by including nature as an aspect of god.


Uriah wrote:
If we are evolving towards a higher level of spirituality, shouldn't we see ancient superstitions and anthropomorphications of god as the fear-based attempts to take power over the unknown that they are?

I think there is greater spiritual power in the mystery, then there is a myriad of personal truths.


God is whatever it is, we'll never know - we're not God. The paramecium doesn't know what exists above the surface tension of the pond, why do we seem to think sentience and imagination make us anything more - on a macrocosmic scale - than a paramecium to the rest of the universe and whatever God may be?

IMO myth has it's time and place as a way of describing ideas that are difficult to describe in other ways. The important thing to remember is that they are just myths and shouldn't be taken literally.

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PostSubject: Re: Is Panendeism Dualistic?   Fri Oct 19, 2007 8:43 pm

Quote :
I think there is greater spiritual power in the mystery, then there is a myriad of personal truths.

There may be power in Mystery,
And power in Myth.
But mystery's secrets yield
To the revealing power of science.
Til then,
Mystery is merely
An impotent imprisoned myth.



When I use the term "myth" this is what I mean:
A myth is a metaphorical story illustrating some part of a culture’s general worldview regarding "the truth" about how everything really works, behind-the-scenes or below-the-surface, so to speak. It conveys truth symbolically, not literally. ~Ancient myths—models of reality—seem quaint to modern sophisticates, because the scientific understanding of the old bards and sages was primitive. What we now call “energy” or “force” was attributed to “spirits” or “gods” or “demons” in the technical terminology of the time. ~But modern science still has its myths. Thomas Kuhn used the technical term “paradigm” to encompass the general consensus of a generation of scientists. He also pointed-out the obvious: like myths, paradigms evolve and change form over time—sometimes cataclysmically. For example, primitive Darwinism has evolved into Neo-Darwinism and Socio-Biology by incorporating genes and memes into the model. ~Due to the careful methods of modern science, the depth and breadth of Human Understanding is expanding at a rapid pace. Yet, as a result of such dizzying change, our cultural and scientific belief systems have been destabilized. So we are forced to abandon older, more intuitive, myths—such as an atom represented as a tiny solar system—and to accept counter-intuitive concepts such as wave/particle duality. ~Likewise, we must abandon primitive paradigms of doting deities, in favor of modern myths told in the language of science and the rhymes of reason.

A Myth only has power in the telling, and the re-telling.
Stories evolve, but Truth is eternal.
A myth is a temporal, cultural truth.
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PostSubject: Re: Is Panendeism Dualistic?   Sat Oct 20, 2007 12:40 am

Good gosh.
I completely agree with Aaron's last two responses to Uriah. Coulda written' myself. Guess I don't gotta now!
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PostSubject: Re: Is Panendeism Dualistic?   Wed Nov 28, 2007 2:30 pm

Quote :
Don't you see the attempts to define God as more of the same kind of hubris that has caused mankind to seek dominion over nature, to conquer, and to exploit for profit? I

I think there is greater spiritual power in the mystery, then there is a myriad of personal truths.

My feeble attempts to define G*D are merely an extension of the scientific mission to understand Nature in order to control it and exploit it for the benefit of humanity. When Nature remains a mystery, we are at the mercy of invisible, inscrutable powers who respond to prayer with indifference.

The only "spiritual" power in Mystery is that imagination is not constrained by inconvenient facts. Poetry has power over people, but none over Nature.

To know Nature is to know G*D in the only way we are capable of understanding the ineffable. G*D is undefinable, except in metaphors drawn from Nature.


THE GOD HYPOTHESIS
A theory of evolution that incorporates a First Cause to get the creative process rolling. After that, Darwin’s theory of Natural Selection describes the way necessity (laws) and contingencies (random accidents) combine to produce novel forms from older arrangements of matter and energy. ~The purpose of the God Hypothesis is not to know God, but to understand God’s creation in its proper context. The GH places the physical universe inside the black box we call God. We can perceive the inner workings of the natural, material world, but we have no way of knowing what goes-on in the mysterious super-natural realm outside the box.
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PostSubject: Re: Is Panendeism Dualistic?   Wed Nov 28, 2007 9:31 pm

Gnomon wrote:

THE GOD HYPOTHESIS
A theory of evolution that incorporates a First Cause to get the creative process rolling. After that, Darwin’s theory of Natural Selection describes the way necessity (laws) and contingencies (random accidents) combine to produce novel forms from older arrangements of matter and energy. ~The purpose of the God Hypothesis is not to know God, but to understand God’s creation in its proper context. The GH places the physical universe inside the black box we call God. We can perceive the inner workings of the natural, material world, but we have no way of knowing what goes-on in the mysterious super-natural realm outside the box.

Agreed! I call it the Goldfish Bowl Factor: No matter how smart the goldfish becomes, and no matter how much he learns about his environment, he can never really know what exists beyond his bowl - or how it came to be!
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