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Travis Clementsmith
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PostSubject: Exploring Pandeism   Mon May 14, 2007 11:32 pm

I thought I would move this discussion over here, it just seemed more appropriate:

Travis:

Quote :
I recently wrote a letter in which I described French Deism as “pandeistic”, or Deity and the universe are the same. I knew what I was getting at, but I wasn’t sure if I really had examined it enough to make the proclomation. So I decided to look into a bit more, found an essay I liked (even if I didn’t totally agree), and decided to flesh it out a bit. Then I thought, let’s really open it up and see if it is an interesting topic for more general discussion. My focus is more on panendeism, and it seems the other popular option is classical (or mono) deism. Perhaps those who consider themselves pandeists could weigh in on their perceptions.

http://www.planetpapers.com/Assets/6301.php

I. Theories on the Spiritual Basis of the Universe:
A. The Spiritual Basis of the Universe is incorporated in a Conscious, Sentient “God”
B. The Spiritual Basis of the Universe is incorporated in the Fabric of the Universe itself
C. There is no spiritual basis in the Universe, only coincidence.
-------------------------------------------------
II. Theories on the Human relationship with the Universe:
1. Human beings can access the energy of the Spiritual Basis of the Universe
2. Human beings can not access the energy of the Spiritual Basis of the Universe
-------------------------------------------------
III. Effect of the Above Theories Combined:
A. 1. = Theism
A. 2. = Deism
B. 1. = Pantheism
B. 2. = Pandeism
C. 1. = (not a possible option)
C. 2. = Atheism


I also think Pandeism is a bit more diverse than the article concludes. I think we can also determine two strains of Pandeism: Pedestrian and Reverential.

Pedestrian Pandeism is a focus on the span of the universe. It is as close to materialism and atheism as Deism gets. While it acknowledges a divine but inaccessible basis to the cosmos, the very inaccessibility allows for a very impersonal exploration. Examples might include Diderot and Sagan.

Reverential Pandeism, on the other hand, has its focus on the depth of the universe. This depth inspires a type of awe at both its depth and its inaccessibility. This depth gives the person a very spiritual association. Examples might include Voltaire and Einstein.

Thoughts?

Aaron:

Quote :
I'd pretty much agree with your (and the article's) assessment.

I also think that Spinoza was falsely labeled a pantheist when in fact he was a pandeist. The irony is that he was given that label by an early deist named John Toland who actually coined the term Pantheism.

This is an interesting article on John Toland for those who are interested.

http://members.aol.com/pantheism0/toland.htm

Travis:

Quote :
I thought this was interesting from the wikipedia article:


In 2001, Scott Adams published God's Debris: A Thought Experiment, in which Adams set down his own variation of pandeism. Adams surmised that an omnipotent God annihilated himself in the Big Bang, because God would already know everything possible except his own lack of existence, and would have to end that existence in order to complete his knowledge. Adams asks about God, "would his omnipotence include knowing what happens after he loses his omnipotence, or would his knowledge of the future end at that point?"[21] He proceeds from this question to the following analysis:

A God who knew the answer to that question would indeed know everything and have everything. For that reason he would be unmotivated to do anything or create anything. There would be no purpose to act in any way whatsoever. But a God who had one nagging question—what happens if I cease to exist?—might be motivated to find the answer in order to complete his knowledge. ... The fact that we exist is proof that God is motivated to act in some way. And since only the challenge of self-destruction could interest an omnipotent God, it stands to reason that we... are God's debris.

Adams' God exists now as a combination of the smallest units of energy of which the universe is made (many levels smaller than quarks), which Adams called "God Dust", and the law of probability, or "God's debris", hence the title. An unconventional twist introduced by Adams proposes that God is in the process of being restored not through some process such as the Big Crunch, but because humankind itself is becoming God.


This to me was probably the closest bridge between pandeism and panendeism. The panendeist would probably argue that nothing could exist if Deity did not exist. So the closest thing Deity could get to in such an experiment is to allow an aspect of itself to "forget" that it is Deity and see how it tries to recall that fact.

-TC

Aaron:

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Yeah interesting and pretty close to some of the other pandeist agruments that I've heard. I just don't think that deity "thinks" in those terms.

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PostSubject: Re: Exploring Pandeism   Tue May 15, 2007 9:18 am

I just wanted to add that one thing I found interesting about the Toland article is that he considered himself a pantheist and not a (mono)deist even though I've very often seen him categorized as a deist by historians.

I think it just goes to show how nebulas categories can be.

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Travis Clementsmith
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PostSubject: Re: Exploring Pandeism   Tue May 15, 2007 3:13 pm

Both Toland and "Scientific Pantheism" sound more like pandeists to me. But that's my interpretation after having separated deism from theism as the theological difference between transpersonal and personal god conceptions. Toland probably just used the term he was most familiar with, but that's my guess.

-TC

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PostSubject: Re: Exploring Pandeism   Wed May 16, 2007 8:42 pm

I was just thinking about the nature of theology and how it is basically a metaphysical belief about the relationship between nature and God (or the manifest and unmanifest). I came up with this little chart based on the main views of theology.

.............Nature.... Super-Nature or God
Panen... Divine.......... Divine
Pan...... Divine............ NA
Mono..... Not............. Divine
A(theist) Not................ NA

It seems to me that the whole "God" question is totally subjective and is based on whether you see any divinity within reality or not. If you do then it's a matter of metaphysics and epistemology to work out your brand of theology.

Notice that neither the mono th(d)eist nor the atheist sees divinity within nature. Therefore the debate over divinity moves to a supernatural vs. scientific one.

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PostSubject: Re: Exploring Pandeism   Sat May 19, 2007 4:42 pm

Aaron wrote:
I was just thinking about the nature of theology and how it is basically a metaphysical belief about the relationship between nature and God (or the manifest and unmanifest). I came up with this little chart based on the main views of theology.

.............Nature.... Super-Nature or God
Panen... Divine.......... Divine
Pan...... Divine............ NA
Mono..... Not............. Divine
A(theist) Not................ NA

It seems to me that the whole "God" question is totally subjective and is based on whether you see any divinity within reality or not. If you do then it's a matter of metaphysics and epistemology to work out your brand of theology.

Notice that neither the mono th(d)eist nor the atheist sees divinity within nature. Therefore the debate over divinity moves to a supernatural vs. scientific one.

I could see some really interesting debates about polytheism/polydeism arising out of this scheme -- could there be multiple Gods, collectively all-powerful, and each of which lends divinity to some part of the Universe, and also perhaps transcends some part of the Universe? Kind of silly as a real-world application, but conceptually interesting....

As a long-time student of Pandeism, I must admit I do not see the point to a "super-nature" existing at all.... to me that violates Occam's razor, positing an element not necessary to explain the phenomenon under investigation, vis, the existence of the Universe (and of a Universe from which divine intervention is apparently absent, despite the errors of the theists).
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PostSubject: Re: Exploring Pandeism   Sat May 19, 2007 6:09 pm

Well, we have to remember Occam's Razzor is a dictum, not necessarily a truth or representative of the truth.

As far as "polydeism" I was thinking about Ben Franklin's Deism, and how he believed the Deity manifested to different people in different ways even though it is the same Deity. While I would explain that phenomenon differently, this would be the closest I could think of a possible "polydeism".

Nice to have you aboard!

-Travis

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PostSubject: Re: Exploring Pandeism   Sat May 19, 2007 8:41 pm

There are a few different ways to argue for super-nature. One is that everything has an inside and an outside. Anything outside of nature would be super-nature.

Another way to look at it would be "the unmanifest" or "possibility". For the universe to manifest existence the unmanifest possibility for that to happen had to be there. Unmanifestness is not something that exists in time or space. It is outside of nature. Therefore it is a type of super-nature.

Anyway, nice to have you here K. Mapson. Smile

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PostSubject: Re: Exploring Pandeism   Mon May 21, 2007 1:52 am

Thanks, both of you, for the welcome!!

About Occam's razor, I think it simply makes sense not to presume the existance of more elements than are required -- and what we need to explain here is the appearance of a guiding hand in the design of Universal Constants that are friendlier to the origin of life and development of intelligence than mere chance would explain....

So it makes sense to presume the existence of a designer, but a designer should have a purpose behind that design (it's possible that there is no purpose, but we might then be discussing a designer that acts arbitrarily, in which case there is really no way to say anything about the designer, because its acts may have no bearing on either its goals or its abilities).

I have certain set ideas about the meanings of Pan-, Poly-, Pan-en-, and Mono-, and of Theism and Deism, so I may need some reeducation to communicate within the bounds of this discussion, which I've entered in media res (or perhaps I just need to better understand the line between nature and super-nature). I look at Panendeism is requiring some part of God to not be incorporated into the Universe, and see that as both unnecessary and drawing away from what I believe God's rational purpose must be -- which must require God to experience something that God could not experience outside of creating a Universe, something like non-existence or powerlessness....

From my perspective, possibility is part of the Pan-, not of the Panen-, the outside guiding hand or simply outside oberver or otherwise isolated part.


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PostSubject: Re: Exploring Pandeism   Mon May 21, 2007 8:24 am

What if we were to entertain the possibility that there is no designer or purpose. That what we interpret as design or a guiding hand is not intent at all but rather a function of something devoid of such. For example, breathing is an aspect of my being, I do not design the breath, nor do I guide it, it simply is because I am. Could not the appearance of design and teleology be because Deity is; intellect being something that simply arises in Deity as breathing arises from being?

-TC

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PostSubject: Re: Exploring Pandeism   Fri May 25, 2007 10:19 pm

Travis Clementsmith wrote:
What if we were to entertain the possibility that there is no designer or purpose. That what we interpret as design or a guiding hand is not intent at all but rather a function of something devoid of such. For example, breathing is an aspect of my being, I do not design the breath, nor do I guide it, it simply is because I am. Could not the appearance of design and teleology be because Deity is; intellect being something that simply arises in Deity as breathing arises from being?

-TC

A Universe capable of generating and supporting intelligent life as an unplanned side-effect of the Deity's existence?
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PostSubject: Re: Exploring Pandeism   Sat May 26, 2007 12:30 am

I wouldn't call breathing a side effect of my being! But what I am getting at is that Deity is simply the context in which everything else arises, it is because Deity is.

-TC

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PostSubject: Re: Exploring Pandeism   Sat May 26, 2007 2:47 pm

Travis Clementsmith wrote:
I wouldn't call breathing a side effect of my being! But what I am getting at is that Deity is simply the context in which everything else arises, it is because Deity is.

-TC

This brings to mind the God of Plotinus, for whom the material world is an unconscious and undesigned emanation (which happens to be so organized simply because God is so perfect that anything which emenates from it must be intelligible). I prefer to follow Paul Davies' lead, and think that God must have had a specific purpose in mind in creating so rare a thing as a Universe capable of sustaining intelligence.

Somewhat in keeping with Scott Adams, I envision a PanDeistic God actually becoming the Universe in order to solve a riddle that God qua God can not!!
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PostSubject: Re: Exploring Pandeism   Sat May 26, 2007 5:47 pm

Funny, I happen to be a big fan of Plotinus!

-TC

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PostSubject: Re: Exploring Pandeism   Wed Jun 06, 2007 11:04 pm

Hey Travis, I was just thinking that maybe you could contact the author of that paper you mentioned at the beginning of the thread.... if he or she would be willing to let us repost the article, I'd be glad to write a sort of a critique/counterpoint!!
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PostSubject: Re: Exploring Pandeism   Thu Jun 07, 2007 12:41 pm

I'll see if I can get a hold of him.

-TC

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