I have made a decision to join this forum because in the last month or so I have become really intrigued by the website http://panendeism.org/default.aspx. I am really fascinated by "Process Deism", "Pandeism", and "Panendeism" although I am still trying to understand the differences between them. About six years ago I used to be a Evangelical fundamentalist Christian. After I became covinced that the Bible was errant and couldn't be an inspired holy book, I became a deist. That didn't last long because my deism eroded into agnosticism and I eventually became an atheist and, inspired by Christopher Hitchens, an antitheist. However my interest in deism has been rekindled and I find myself interested in not just deism but progressive spirituality as well.
I am currently a graduate student at San Francisco State University and I am studying for my M.A. in the philosophy of religion. I entered this university as a committed atheist but, as a result of taking a course in the philosophy of religion, I actually find myself back into agnosticism. I realized that I am not an atheist as I am an antitheist in the sense that I am opposed to revealed theism, especially of the Abrahamic faiths. Up until I took this university course, I was a Secular Humanist but right now I can only call myself a Humanist and I tell people that I am an agnostic Humanist. I no longer find a completely naturalistic worldview totally satisfying. My failure to find intellectual and ethical satisfaction in Secular Humanism has prompted me to look elsewhere but being a committed "rationalist", I am devoted to seeking a reason-based spirituality (as opposed to any faith-based spirituality).
This has led me to relook at deism but having stumbled upon the "pandendeism.org" website, I found out about "Process Deism" and "Panendeism". I am intrigued by the idea that a Divine Being is to this universe what the mind is to the body. I am beginning to suspect that perhaps there really is a divine Source for reason and ethics but I am not sure whether this divine Source or Being is part of the cosmos in the sense that it somehow intrinsic to it or a part of it or completely extrinsic, existing independently of it, and transcending it in a sense.
I guess I can start exploring these concepts and possibilities in more depth by discussing them here. Perhaps the best way to begin discussing them is try make sure I understand these new concepts by asking questions about them. So I guess my first question is:
1.) What is the difference between "Process Deism" and "Panendeism"?
I am also curious as to the nature of the divine Being/Source/Spirit in "Process Deism" and "Panendeism". So my next question is:
2.) If there exists a Creator or Divine Being, is this being something that is conscious in any sense? Does it have a mind that is actively aware of itself and us? Does it have a mind, feelings, volition?
I am also curious as to relationship being the Divine Being/Source/Creator/Mind and we human beings. So I ask for my next question:
3.) If we have minds made up of a substance that is not material, physical, or emergent somehow from our neurochemistry, is our "mental essence" or "mind" made up of the same substance as the Creator/Divine Being? Or has this Creator made another "mental substance" different from Itself that comprises our minds?
I invite anyone to weigh in and contribute. Any thoughts, opinions, speculations, or arguments are warmly welcomed. I look forward to some stimulating and delightful discussions. I hope to learn from people on here and formulate my own opinions, ideas, and conclusions as I discuss these and other issues with people on here.