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 Panentheism: The One and the Many

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Aaron
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PostSubject: Panentheism: The One and the Many   Wed Jul 29, 2009 9:04 pm

I disagree with how the author defines Deism but overall it's a decent post.

Quote :
As human beings continue to evolve, so do our conceptions of God. In fact, some would go so far as to say that as human beings evolve, God evolves right along with us, and with every small step humanity takes toward wider care and deeper consciousness, God takes another step toward its own perfection and the divinization of the universe. And it is through our very conceptions of the divine that God’s voice can speak to and through us, finding more volume and resonance as the architecture of thought becomes more sophisticated and inclusive.

This is why our theoretical understanding of spirituality is just as important as our actual experiences of God, or Buddha, or Spirit of any name. There is an aspect of God, our selves, and the universe that is best described as being ultimately “One,” and there is an aspect that is best described as the “Many.” And while we may all be looking at (and as) the very same ultimate Oneness, it is our interpretations of that Oneness that determine our relationship with the Many.

Central to the discussion is the notion of panentheism as a foundation to anchor our conceptions of God. This is not to be confused with the idea of pantheism, in which the divine is completely imminent within the physical world itself, but is without transcendent qualities whatsoever. Panentheism also offers a way to step beyond merely deistic conceptions of Spirit, in which God is credited with the creation of the universe but remains eternally removed from it, with no imminent qualities whatsoever—the “great clockmaker in the sky,” as deists often describe the divine, able to be perceived only through the light of reason. Panentheism also frees us from the typically mythological conceptions of God that are found in traditional forms of theism, in which one particular group of people claim an exclusive knowledge of God’s nature—usually a single, monolithic, omniscient God who reveals himself only through faith and revelation, which more often than not resembles the “great superego in the sky.”

“I am a little concerned that so many people who have discovered the One simply eradicate their sense of the Many, or consider it unimportant….” -Brother David Steindl-Rast

Rather than saying “the universe is God,” as the pantheists would, or that “God is beyond the universe,” as the deists and even theists likely would, the panentheistic view would more likely state that “the universe is in God, and God is in everything in the universe.” In this conception, God is the universe, while being infinitely beyond the universe—that is, to borrow terms from Nagarjuna, there is a sense in which God represents Absolute unmanifest perfection, while simultaneously becoming increasingly more perfect in the relative world. It is precisely this divide between God transcendent and God imminent that, in the modern and post-modern worlds, only panentheism can seem to bridge. As American philosopher Charles Hartshorne put it, “panentheistic doctrine contains all of deism and pandeism” (the synthesis of deism and pantheism, in which God preceded the universe and created it, but is now equivalent with it), “except their arbitrary negations.”...

Read on here.
http://coreywdevos.com/2009/07/29/panentheism-the-one-and-the-many/

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Gnomon
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PostSubject: Re: Panentheism: The One and the Many   Wed Jul 29, 2009 9:49 pm

Quote :
As human beings continue to evolve, so do our conceptions of God. In fact, some would go so far as to say that as human beings evolve, God evolves right along with us,

That is essentially what Robert Wright is saying in his new book : EVOLUTION OF GOD. Except I think he would emphasize that it's the human understanding of G*D that evolves, not the eternal ground of Being.

Modern Science has been pushing Philosophy and Religion to change at a pace that is too fast for tradition-bound institutions and it-is-written theologies. But free-thinking philosophers may find it easier to jettison the old magic-driven baggage in order to keep up with technology-driven Science.

Atheists might interpret the situation to mean that G*d is retreating into the shadows as Science shines its light into the dark corners. But Deists still want to know how that light-of-reason happened to emerge from blind, deaf & dumb evolution.
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