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 New Member: MatthewG

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MatthewG



Number of posts : 2
Registration date : 2009-11-21

PostSubject: New Member: MatthewG   Sun Nov 22, 2009 1:27 am

Hello everyone,

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.

Thanks,

Matthew
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Gnomon
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Number of posts : 660
Location: : Birmingham, Alabama
Registration date : 2007-09-30

PostSubject: Re: New Member: MatthewG   Sun Nov 22, 2009 6:39 pm

Welcome MG

Since Deism has no official doctrine or creed, all you will get from this forum is personal opinions. Here's a few of mine :

1. I think Aaron will be better able to discuss the distinction between Process- and Panen-Deism. So I will defer to him. Here's the Wikipedia entry for Panendeism : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panendeism#Panendeism

2. Is the divine Being conscious? I don't know, but I can only assume that our human consciousness had its origins in divine consciousness. Does it have Mind [yes], Feelings [maybe], Volition [yes]? Human feelings are mental conceptions of physical emotions. If G*D has no physical body, then S/he could only experience feelings by tapping into the experiences of someone with a flesh & blood body.

3. Is the divine "mental substance" different from ours? According to my Enformationism thesis, everything in this world is composed of the divine substance : Information---mind stuff. http://www.enformationism.info/

I call myself an Agnostic Deist because all I know of the hypothetical ultimate entity of Deism is what I can infer from the natural world around us, which I conclude was deliberately created rather than accidentally generated.

Most of your questions have already been discussed in some of the threads on this forum. But feel free to bring them up again. So far we haven't found any final answers. Smile
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Aaron
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PostSubject: Re: New Member: MatthewG   Sun Nov 22, 2009 8:20 pm

Hi Matthew and welcome.

Here's my take on your questions.

1) Process Deism is a type of Panendeism. Panendeism is a broad sub-category of Deism. There are many sub-sub-categories of Panendeism such as Process Panendeism, Integral Panendeism, Buddhist Panendeism, etc. For more information about Process Deism, Process Panendeism, Process Panentheism, or Process Thought as it is sometimes called, I'd suggest reading something by A. N. Whitehead, and/or Charles Hartshorne.

2) Some Panendeists view the Creator or Divine Being as a conscious, mindful being with feelings and volition, others don't, and then others remain agnostic regarding the nature of god.

3) I believe that everything is an emanation of "the One" that includes mind, matter, and space/time itself. Regarding the mind/body relationship I consider myself a proto-panexperientialist.

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