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Member Since: Thu Nov 11, 2021
In Reply To
Ancient One 

Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 7,924
Subj: Re: LGBD, please clarify this dispute
Posted: Fri Feb 18, 2022 at 07:38:57 pm EST (Viewed 188 times)
Reply Subj: Re: LGBD, please clarify this dispute
Posted: Fri Feb 18, 2022 at 05:44:48 pm EST (Viewed 201 times)

    You're wrong to automatically equate pantheism with atheism. They are by definition different things.

I already said that they have linguistic differences. That doesn't mean that they're substantively different, though. My position exactly matches Jerry Coyne's. If not, tell me where it differs. And so I want you to also say that Jerry Coyne is wrong, and then I'll stop and we can drop this. Is Jerry Coyne wrong?

    I can't speak for Coyne or what he believes, but judging solely by what I've read his view isn't a million miles from my own. So here's my view, and I'm going to give it in the form of an analogy in the hope of making it clearer.

You already described what he believed. And I told you that my belief matches his. You also said you understood that Jerry does NOT believe that pantheism believes in the supernatural. However, this is opposite of your belief that pantheism DOES believe in the supernatural. You even pulled out a dictionary to argue this point on how I don't understand things and that I'm wrong because pantheism believes in the supernatural. So, I don't see how you're being rational and consistent.


    So, you meet guy A. He identifies as a Christian.

    You ask him how his Christianity manifests in his life, and he says 'I believe Jesus Christ is my Lord and Saviour. I read the bible and pray every day. I attend my local church evening service every day, and attend twice on Sunday'.

    All well and good. You're in no doubt that he's a Christian.

    Then you meet guy B. He also identifies as Christian.

    But when you ask him the same question he says: Well, I don't pray. I've never read the bible. Don't really go to church except for weddings and funerals. I think many of the biblical stories I've heard are probably apocryphal. I don't really think about Christianity unless I'm asked questions like this, it's not really a part of my life. But I'm a Christian'.

    Is guy B REALLY a Christian? For all intents and purposes he may as well be an atheist. Religion isn't a part of his life even though he identifies with it through some vague feeling of a higher power and cultural learning.

    It's these kind of 'Type B' pantheists I think Coyne is referring to. The ones who for all intents and purposes are atheists, despite their vague feelings of a higher power. This is why he's careful to use the adverb 'often' rather than 'always'. If you presented him with a 'Type A' pantheist, I think you'd get a different reply from him.

    I hope that made sense?

I follow what you're trying to do but a pantheist, whether Type A or B, wouldn't believe in the supernatural or ever conflict with an atheist on that matter. Also, pantheism doesn't require any rituals. There's no such thing as a practicing pantheist. And since there's no discrepancy of behaviors between pantheists and atheists, your example of Guy A and Guy B - who both identify as Christians - is not a strong analogy. You relied on a difference of behaviors to distinguish the two, and this can't be transferred to pantheism vs. atheism.

The only difference is how a pantheist and atheist compartmentalize how they understand and describe the universe, and what they call the universe. The pantheist also calls the universe God, and then also tries to explain that we are all part of a collective hive-like conscious. That's it. In substance, beyond compartmentalization and linguistic differences, they are exactly the same. And if being part of a collective hive-like conscious is the difference between non-God and God, then we are again at odds over what "God" means. I don't agree that this characteristic suddenly bumps a universe from non-God to God and that it's rational to tack on godhood so stupidly. And therefore, I'm not willing to grant that they believe in "God".

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