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Pantheism

Pantheism is the view that everything is God. One important pantheistic system was that advanced by Baruch Spinoza.

Pantheism is often attacked as being vacuous, since it appears to some to do little more than redefine the word 'God' to mean 'world' or 'universe'. The most important task for pantheists then is to show that the universe has properties which deserve it being called 'God'.

The modern interpretation of pantheism seeks to avoid this problem by placing little emphasis on the 'God' term. This, however, raises concern that 'modern pantheism' is really no longer pantheism at all, but something more like 'spiritual naturalism.' After all, if we remove the God concept from pantheism, what is the purpose of retaining the 'theism' suffix?

The two chief organizations for 'modern pantheism' are the Universal Pantheist Society (UPS) and the World Pantheist Movement[?] (WPM). Although the UPS is the older of the two, it has seen decreased activity in recent years. The WPM, on the other hand, has expanded considerably due to its promotion of 'Scientific Pantheism,' which many critics submit is essentially nothing more than atheism for nature lovers. Still, the WPM approach has met with considerable acceptance, and while it may not constitute a strict pantheism, there is cleary room for it in today's religious/philosophical spectrum.

'Classical pantheism' of the sort that equates Nature and God without attempting to redefine or minimize either term is essentially an archaic concept. Few who would describe themselves as pantheists actually subscribe to such an approach in modern times. It is often referred to as 'dualistic pantheism,' due to the concept of immanence, in which all matter is suffused with 'spirit' and the two are seen as cosubstantial.

Although the Universal Pantheist Society accepts pantheists of all varieties, in practice, it too tends toward the 'modern pantheism.' The theological concept which the term 'pantheism' was originally intended to describe (the equivalence of the traditional God concept with nature) is considered to be essentially obsolete by some.

What is now termed 'pantheism' is actually much closer to atheism or atheistic agnosticism with the addition of a positive value judgement toward nature.

Other notable people who have held pantheistic world-views are Albert Einstein, Giordano Bruno and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Closely related to pantheism is panentheism.



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