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Ancient One 

Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 7,927
In Reply To

Member Since: Thu Nov 11, 2021
Subj: Re: LGBD, please clarify this dispute
Posted: Fri Feb 18, 2022 at 02:42:07 pm EST (Viewed 197 times)
Reply Subj: Re: LGBD, please clarify this dispute
Posted: Fri Feb 18, 2022 at 01:35:12 pm EST (Viewed 204 times)

    Do you know who Jerry Coyne is?

Indeed I do. Evolutionary biology is a particular interest of mine.

    Coyne: “ Of course it will take many decades to dispel the delusion of gods, but I remain optimistic that the lack of evidence for divinity will ultimately overcome wishful thinking. "Pantheism" is often just another word for "atheism," and panpsychism—the view that mind permeates the universe—seems silly, even if it's touted by Thomas Nagel. “

    I did a sanity check to see if others perceive it as I do, and found that I’m in good company. Now, since we can’t agree, I’d like for you to provide a name of a prominent atheist who believes pantheism is not really atheism. Or even better, why not write to Jerry’s blog and ask him if he would like to critique your opinion?

Okay. This is where it gets tricky. It IS difficult to find a quote from an atheist that distinctly separates pantheism from atheism, but that's not because of what pantheism IS, it's due to many atheists (myself included) view of pantheism. And of course the fact in in these interviews/articles atheists are generally describing pantheism rather than attempting to define it.

First, we have to acknowledge that there is a broad spectrum of pantheists, just as there is a broad spectrum of theists, from the ultra religious to the barely religious at all.

The monotheistic religions all believe in God with a capital 'G'. An intercessionary God who started the universe, maintains it, and intervenes in it's functioning, and in the lives of the beings it created.

The god of pantheism is a lower case god. It's just there, all around us. Very few pantheists engage in any form of worship of it, nor do they call on it for 'favours'. It's just part of the background noise, if you will.

And that's where the confusion comes in. Most atheists look at that and think 'What's the point? A god that's material but unrevealed who doesn't intervene in anything and just lets the universe roll on? That's as close to atheism as you can get without actually being an atheist'.

And that's what Coyne was saying: '"Pantheism" is OFTEN just another word for "atheism" (Emphasis mine). Not that pantheists don't believe in a god of some sort, but that those kind of pantheists may as well BE atheists.

But, the clue is in the word itself: Pan (meaning 'all') Theist (meaning someone who believes in a god or gods).

Pantheist = All God.

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