The Instigator
Finalfan
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
Iredia
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

Is pantheism a reasonable belief

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/28/2014 Category: Religion
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,172 times Debate No: 44761
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (25)
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Finalfan

Pro

I have been calling myself pantheist. I have even entertained the idea that there is a level of design to creation. Even evolution could represent a pattern that may have possibly been of intelligent design. That does not lend itself to believe in Allah or the Hebrew god as the designer... but I have a hard time proclaiming that no God exists. The trick is getting on the same page about the definition of God. To some the only way to know the true nature of God is through a holy book of sorts. My argument is that even those books were written as part of a personal journey to "understand God"! It is valid to believe in a God (and possibly a creator) But again it does not invite mythology to answer these existential questions. In order to even have even a smidgen of understanding you have to believe that the information that passes through your head is in fact valid and not just something you created in your own reality you have designed to maintain the illusion of control!

Definition:
Pantheism is the belief that the universe (or nature as the totality of everything) is identical with divinity,[1] or that everything composes an all-encompassing, immanent God.[2] Pantheists thus do not believe in a distinct personal or anthropomorphic god.

I came to the conclusion of pantheism out of the same desire that Christians have to believe in the Hebrew God. In my experience believing in supernatural, anthropomorphic deity does not provide a realistic interpretation of the natural world around us. In fact you can see the pattern of how these God's were designed out of curiosity. They call them "The God of the gaps". These Gods were created with an agenda. Usually to illuminate some mysterious force like the origin of life or the destination after death. Unfortunately the question of where we came from and where we are going is anyone's guess. But you do not need to invent something to ease your curiosity. You just need to think for a second. If God does exist (I truly mean if) The nature of his existence is still up for debate!

Is God a personal being who wants to have a relationship with his "Children" Or does God exist in a more natural state (like nature itself)! Does separating God from existence do us any favors.. according to the Bible and Koran.. No it does not. In fact you would need to completely void yourself of intelligence or even empathy to believe such nonsense! The God I propose does not require fear or obedience. He does not require worship. He doe not require blind faith.. only an understanding that we have now defined existence itself with the word God.. In other words God=Existence!

To understand the scope of my proposition I will set a few boundaries to make this easier to grasp. God is what you see when you look deep into existence.. Looking infinitely past atom's or quarks to find an infinite path that the mind cannot explain. Same thing goes in the opposite direction. Looking at the universe from a perspective of the cosmos you will see an infinitely expanding universe that comes back around on itself (like the infinite symbol) If the equation is valid then you find the same thing looking infinitely deep as you would looking infinitely beyond the boundaries of our expanding universe. This is just a theory to help sell the scope of "my God". Within these boundaries is the only way I can define God to you. Therefore instead of God just being a piece of existence.. He is existence. God is the atom, molecule, electron. God is the planet, sun, universe! Again this is simply a definition.. not a gospel!

Pantheism is not a religion. It is just drawing a line in the sand. In concept. Within my God exists the idea of the anthropomorphic God as we know it. To me those God's are a creation of Man (Just like Zeus and Vishnu) They were designed out of archaic necessity and not through an honest evaluation! They were created, sold, and gained power regardless of its implications or consequences. Where my God just is. Nothing to blame. Nothing to credit.. It just is!
Iredia

Con

I tend to find pantheism a confused position. It harmonizes God with Nature and by so doing confuses important distinctions. Nature is a catch-all term for everything that exists on Earth but is reasonably stretched to include everything that exists. God is generally understood in major religions and by deists to mean the Creator of the universe (or Nature) and is generally agreed to be infinite (and so omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent) and conscious.

To make categorization of beliefs on God simple I tend to place them as theist, deist or atheist. As with many categorizations, it isn't true that everybody shares the same beliefs eg some deists pray, some don't; some atheist are conservative, some are liberal. It is also possible to place them on a belief gradient with atheists being the least. People are finicky. They can choose a label because they like it even though it falsely describes them, or they do it unwittingly. I usually find that attimes pantheists believe in a God who made the universe and so shares the qualities of God I have stated. I sometimes find pantheists (though rarely) who_at least seemingly_don't believe in God as I've described. In this case I think the term 'sexed-up atheism' by Dawkins is very apt. Because such atheists (as they indeed are) like to think they are different because they believe Nature is all-emcompassing (which everybody believes) and has an innate capability to 'create' conscious beings_which many atheists would likely accede to. Let's distinguish between two pantheists here: those who tag God to the universe and actually believe in a Creator God and those who do so and are atheist.

Now I have a basis to better rebut my debater's notion. Pantheism (in the God-affirming) is not at all new. Ancient religions actually also equated God to the universe. Hinduism and Taoism are a perfect examples. I also find the fact interesting that the Greek pantheon of gods ultimately owe their origins to a vaguely-defined 'Chaos' whilst more directly descended from Gaia (or the Earth herself). Christianity is usually though to contradict pantheism but the oft-quoted verse Rom 1:20 and its talk of God invisble qualities in Nature hints at pantheistic thought, especially when taken in context of a Christian belief of God seeking to inhabit men and manifest His glory through creation. Spinoza is also associated with pantheism for his statement 'Deus sive Natura' (ie God or Nature) and the theme of his opus 'Ethics' (which influenced me deeply). I believe the association of Spinoza with pantheism (and atheism) is deeply mistaken. Below is a quote from Wikipedia that elucidates this point

"Though Spinoza has been called the 'prophet' and
'prince' of pantheism, in a letter to Henry Oldenburg Spinoza
states that: 'as to the view of certain people that I identify god with
nature (taken as a kind of mass or corporeal matter), they are quite
mistaken'. For Spinoza, our universe (cosmos) is a mode under
two attributes of Thought and Extension. God has infinitely many
other attributes which are not present in our world. According to
German philosopher Karl Jaspers, when Spinoza wrote 'Deus sive
Natura' (God or Nature) Spinoza did not mean to say that God and
Nature are interchangeable terms, but rather that God's
transcendence was attested by his infinitely many attributes, and
that two attributes known by humans, namely Thought and
Extension, signified God's immanence. Furthermore, Martial
Gu"roult suggested the term 'Panentheism', rather than 'Pantheism'
to describe Spinoza"s view of the relation between God and the world.
The world is not God, but it is, in a strong sense, 'in' God."

http://en.wikipedia.org...

I happen to agree with panentheism. I think pantheism is best understood as a direct equation of God to Nature whilst denying God's existence. Many self-described atheists will gladly agree to tagging divinity to the universe and so may freely and rightly take on being called pantheist.

To recap:

* I first started out by stating what is contradictory. It conflates God and Nature
* Then I stated how I classify beliefs and how pantheism tends to fall in
* I also stated how various religions already show pantheistic thoughts.
* I ended suggesting pantheism be applied to atheists.

The ball's in your court now Instigator.
Debate Round No. 1
Finalfan

Pro

Most religions will say the same thing: God is everything.. you find it in parts of the Hebrew bible! But they seem to not understand what that means! God is everything does not lend itself to assume a creator that is separate from creation. I would even Go as far to say that if there was something that exists as immaterial, timeless, and all powerful.. you could ask where the "material came from to begin creation. Would it not make sense that all of existence came from God itself and not springing forth as a separate entity! My main point is that many people are pantheist without realizing it.. they just happen to be reading instructions that negate each other while cherry picking their preference.

Ephesians 4:6
One God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

The Koran teaches of 99 different "identities" for Allah.. a couple considering him to be boundless and indivisible from creation!

It is the Torah that refuses to acknowledge the purest form of omnipresence which would mean that God isn't just everywhere but takes it further to say that God IS everywhere! (everyone and everything) I know that is an artistic liberty but it illustrated my point as to say that they are reading a book that tells you about a self negating deity who does not even give you a clear image of what "he" may be. I will say that it is more than likely out of preference that you are deist. You prefer the idea.. but that does not make it true! Your God is commonly know as the final God of the Gaps. All of the rest of the Gods that have been in the same position have been left in the fiction section. The last "gap" is the beginning and the end. Now the end is less inconceivable as the beginning (considering we all could be awaiting the same nothingness that, as individual entities, had "experienced" before we were born).. other than that, saying "I don't know" is also a very honest and observably testable assumption. The same thing goes for the beginning. We know the "God of Rain" humans invented to explain why it rains.. well we hitch slapped him into nonexistent as fast as you can say Cumulus Cloud! Now I'm not saying your "God of the beginning" is not up for debate.. I'm just seeing a pattern.

I like to play the "Even if" game. Like: Even if there is a creator.. more than likely it is not what you were hoping for. Especially as a deist you must call it a guess and either way you look at it.. a creator could still exist AS EVERYTHING! Which would make you a pantheist.. if you had said notions! I will tell you something I believe (furthering our discussion about preconceived notions) Clinging to old Gods can be innocuous and I have no issues there. But some have a hard time letting go.... to the point of holding onto a rotten carcass of a dead child that the mother could not bring herself to bury.. the problem is that eventually the carcass will start to stink and contaminate the water. To me that is what EVERY debate on the subject of God or religion has been struggling to evolve through. We see these people holding onto irrational beliefs and literally die (or kill) for their beliefs. How many of you have had a parent tell you that they would let a person kill their children if the alternative meant denouncing their faith? Always seems strange to me, especially in a system you can have redemption at any time! How many wars and conflicts are due to old traditions and systems that refuse to die? How many atrocities are fulfilled through "divine judgement"? I will tell you the answer...NONE. You cannot prove this existence. You CANNOT. So why should we (atheists) allow decisions to be made based off of Gospel? I went off topic but really wanted to express my feelings about theism (or just religion) I know you are not a part of that system but I thought it would illustrate my position on the pitfalls of preconceived notions!

"To make categorization of beliefs on God simple I tend to place them as theist, deist or atheist."

It appears to me that each category can still fall under the massive scope of pantheism! Like I said many base their beliefs from books that acknowledge the alpha and omega! Even atheism fits if you explain to them that you are not trying to sell them a personal Jesus and are simply just taking the word "God" literally while not limiting the nature of something considered to be omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent to the confines of an immaterial, timeless being.

"I happen to agree with panentheism. I think pantheism is best understood as a direct equation of God to Nature whilst denying God's existence. Many self-described atheists will gladly agree to tagging divinity to the universe and so may freely and rightly take on being called pantheist"

Totally agree about atheists adopting pantheism (you were on to me from the beginning lol) But I think it seems slightly ad hominem (hate to use that word because not everyone knows what it means) to say that pantheism requires "denying" God's existence. Unless I misunderstood you.. To me Pantheism is not a declaration of conflict for other religions. In fact it is just an awareness of the possibility that God could exist as everything while also being timeless and immaterial. Pantheism lends itself to a wide range of justifications.. not necessarily proof. But again this just makes it equal to deism/ atheism which you claim is a reasonable conclusion!

The funny thing to this debate is that we can credit the late Bill Hicks for my inspiration for pantheism! He mentions in a set that "Gods love is boundless and unconditional, and it is an illusion that you can ever be separate from God" First thing I thought was "That is way better than any other God that has ever been presented to me" I will say however that my atheistic side wants to call this a day because there is nothing further to discuss but the deist/theist in me wants to keep this going! So I will say that Pantheism may not be a reasonable belief.. but only in the same light as deism/theism or even atheism! I'm willing to admit one thing and that is to say when discussing the beginning of existence.. I DONT KNOW. Can you admit to the same?

* I first started out by stating what is contradictory. It conflates God and Nature
* Then I stated how I classify beliefs and how pantheism tends to fall in
* I also stated how various religions already show pantheistic thoughts.
* I ended suggesting pantheism be applied to atheists.

Your conclusion is a revolving door of reason's for both sides! Which I have been clear to acknowledge (if not rebut)! I guess this win for me would not be due to my arguments but to the elusive nature of pantheism! You can't even argue it without agreeing with it first!
Iredia

Con

Unfortunately, I have to tread on and show your pantheism is unreasonable. It's true that one can't enter into a debate on pantheism (generally defined) without agreeing with it. But pantheism strength is it's area of weakness, as things often are. And what's that weakness:

Pantheism is too vague and can be easily taken to mean theism, deism or atheism.

That's why I said it is a confused position. That's why I insised like other isms it is best associated with theism, deism or atheism which typically make things clear as to what one's take on God is. I've already made some points on other 'isms' and I shall focus on one I mentioned: monism.
Monism can be mistaken for pantheism_because like pantheism_it involves unifying all reality. But the difference is monism seeks to EXPLAIN all reality in terms of a single, underlying thing; whilst pantheism NAMES all reality as God (no explanation is needed). Bertrand Russel was a monist but since he was monist his monism which he called 'neutral monism' where the cause of all reality is neither physical nor mental. I am a deist so I disagree. My monism_like Spinoza's_can be called a 'dual-aspect monism' whereby all reality is explained as an expression of one of an infinite God (which is 'Thought' or 'Matter'). Of course, on some finer points I differ with Spinoza.
My short expatiation of monism is to draw parallels with pantheism and show that both are too generic to help identify one's belief in God which pantheism has more to do with than monism.

Pantheism is equating God to the universe. This definition is agreeable to us but we differ on finer points of how it applies to beliefs in God. Note that, some will dislike pantheism for equating God to the universe given qualities of God that distinguish him from the universe. For one, he is eternal and the universe (or multiverse) isn't; he created the universe; as such, He doesn't need the universe to exist which shows His trancendence. No one doubts the universe exists but mixing it with God muddles things. For analogy, people differentiate between their subject conscious self and their bodies even though the two are routinely referred to as the person. So Mandela, is his body, but if he dies what Mandela are we referring to, his corpse, or his self as we knew it. We can equate Mandela to his body and say he has no conscious self but clearly dead as he is we refer to Mandela and his conscious qualities as if still they exist. In that sense, such 'self' (brain state or soul if you will) transcend his body even though they are similar. We may equate Peter Hitchens with his body but we never changed the name though his body changed over time. From atheist to Christian, whilst pretty much the same physically whilst switching sides yet his self (or qualia). In these examples, a pantheist will be the equivalent of a materialist who denies subjective, conscious experience and says all the persons body is the person. An idealist would agree but include the self too. I believe all of Nature can be equated to God but God takes precedence as the Creator; there are infinitely more Natures (or multiverses) to be experienced in Him.

The muddling of God with Nature mistakes a part for the whole.

"God is everything does not lend itself to assume a creator that is separate from creation. I would even Go as far to say that if there was
something that exists as immaterial, timeless, and all powerful.. you could ask where the "material came from to begin creation. Would it not make sense that all of existence came from God itself and not springing forth as a separate entity! My main point is that many people are pantheist without realizing it.. they just happen to be reading instructions that negate each other while cherry picking their preference."

You too have your preference. Everyone has a preference but your talk of existence springing from God itself_and not as a seperate entity_is why I replied this. What of both ? Think about it. Einstein challenged physicists to look at light as BOTH a wave and particle. de Broglie further theorized known particles like electrons showed wave properties and this was confirmed in experiments. Not minding the conflict, I see the two as unified. God can make existence in Nature from itself and it remains seperate from Nature. We see this, in a sense in pregnant mums. Their kids are in them (and in a sense extra cells in their bodies) but it's different: their kids are seperate entities in an amniotic sac and this seperation becomes more obvious as the child grows into an independent adult. Spinoza said 'God or Nature' but I would add 'God or Space'; after all, all things must exist in a spatial context. I am comfortable not knowing HOW God made the materials. 'How' presumes a physical context and God precedes that.

"So I will say that Pantheism may not be a reasonable
belief.. but only in the same light as deism/theism or even atheism!
I'm willing to admit one thing and that is to say when discussing the
beginning of existence.. I DONT KNOW. Can you admit to the same?"

I'll admit I don't know . . . . details. But I do know (with very little doubt) God was involved. Pantheism isn't unreasonable like deism or atheism. It intersects with them and is unreasonable in part because it encapsulates deistic, theistic and atheistic belief which start with acknowledging Nature. If you want to add God, panetheism or panendeism are better options.

"Your conclusion is a revolving door of reason's for both sides!"

No. My LIST is a revolving door of reason which ENDS with the clarification that pantheism best be equated with atheism. Panentheism or panendeism better capture theist and deist means of equating reality with God wherein God can be both all reality and still maintain 'His' transcendence.

Your turn, Finalfan.
Debate Round No. 2
Finalfan

Pro

Finalfan forfeited this round.
Iredia

Con

Too bad my opponent forfeited his round.

As I have repeatedly emphasized, pantheism is needless where the terms theism, deism or atheism makes things clear on one's stance of God. Everyone believes in Nature and in that sense can be a pantheist. But that shifts the scope from a belief about God to Nature, by redefining God as Nature. I have already pointed out that this is absurd since God is defined differently from Nature.

If my opponent thinks his stance (which I suspect to be atheism) is reasonable we can debate that later. But while I have been gracious to point out positives in pantheism I believe it is what I started out saying: a confused position. Mayhaps, pro believes otherwise because of certain beliefs he holds distinct from atheists; but this isn't unique to him. For example, I'm a deist, but unlike classical deists, I believe God is involved in the world. Like some deists, I don't believe prayers are compulsory etc. I have stated panendeist defines me better but why muddle things when 'deist' aptly catches my stance.

I hope we'll have another chance to explore Final fan's thoughts but I believe I'm closer to setting out what I intended passing across: pantheism is unreasonable.
Debate Round No. 3
Finalfan

Pro

My apologies for my forfeiture.. I truly did not know which direction to take this but I will give it a shot... O.K. Here goes...

I want to focus on two ideas

1. "god is everything": I want to state that AS FACT! Now my reasoning comes from the desire humans have to "understand" the world they are in. We have always created a God out of this desire. These are called "God of the gap" where anytime you don't know an answer you just use the word God to put that baby to bed! My theory is that whatever God exists today is the "Final God of the gap" the only gap not answered (beginning and end) Which is why Alpha and Omega illustrates the nature of this God! So out of necessity we imagine that only "God" could exist before our natural existence was "created"... When you believe that God "willed" existence to be.. it still does not answer the question of where existence and matter came from unless you say "it came from God".. Meaning everything in existence is made "from God" not just "by God"! That is hardly an atheistic view and the "confusion" with pantheism comes from ignorance.. not from the concept of pantheism itself! In fact you could share a pantheistic view while being theist/deist.. or atheist. It makes so much sense that everyone can identify with it and it does not have nearly as many holes as what you would find in scripture! I would even go as far as to say it is the only concept of God that actually holds water! Every other God is a personal preference. A God you wish exists. I like when theists say "I KNOW God exists".. the word they are looking for is HOPE.. "I HOPE MY God exists! Where in my belief.. God just is.. no debate necessary!

2.Deism/ theism/ atheism= conjecture: I find myself entertaining the notion of just about anything. With the same circular reasoning I have come to the conclusion that I know nothing! Anything could be real (fairies, ghosts, aliens, Zeus, Vishnu, Vampires, Demons, Angels, Allah, Hercules, Jesus, telepathy, time travel, storks deliver babies, Elvis is alive, pot of gold at end of rainbow...) With the same logic the "Earth is flat" and when it rains, "God is crying for leukemia babies". Unfortunately for Deists/theists or even atheists.. You just don't know. You can only hope or imagine. Your evidence for God will some how also be evidence for the universe existing in a marble inside "Gods pocket".. could be true but.... a lot of people see something completely different. It seems as though we are looking in the same direction just with a completely different preference for what we want to see. That will explain what God is to me... this vague ambiguous empty shadow of the mind that could just be "me" or God experiencing itself subjectively.. who knows.. that is why pantheism seems convoluted and "easily manipulated" where just recently I noticed; it is what everyone else believes. They believe "God is everything" while contradicting themselves by separating God from existence. It is a duality.. a conflict.. I think pantheism is actually the stronger force of logic and reasoning.. where deism/theism is "falling in line" with societies demands instead of looking at what's right in front of them. I trust you don't believe in the "loving father" who commits mass filicide while torturing his children for eternity! So tell me about your God and why you came to that conclusion. How is Deism "reasonable"?

I know I keep flip flopping with my "stance". I have been ambiguous from the beginning. You claim I am atheist.. but I think that may be a cop out because I believe in pseudo atheism (not believing in a specific God). Where I do not believe in absolute atheism. Typically, If someone is atheist, it is a reaction to a theist. So when the question of God comes up they react with atheism.. however if the idea of God in any form is not presented then God does not exist to them literally! What I'm trying to say is that atheism hinges on the idea of God being brought up in either a conflict with another or perhaps a conflict within there mind. When they are simply going about their day without the thought of God in their minds the are not "being atheist".. holy crap do you get what I'm trying to say? lol

To get back on why I would not be considered atheist. If I were to call myself pantheist.. it would be within in the context that I have no debate on whether or not God exists.. in fact I consider it arbitrary to anyone's existence to even make such a claim. I am only stating that I can see the pattern of humans inventing Gods and trying to sell it to me.. From my experience with Christians and Muslims.. the God they are selling is what I have been known to call "a turd sandwich labeled delicious"!
That is why you need to explain why deism is a reasonable conclusion. Like I said before pantheism is only unreasonable if seen through the same perspective that makes theism/deism unreasonable! I guess I would be considered atheist in the concept of picking a football team. If you asked me to choose right now.. I would tell you "I don't watch football" I think all of the teams are wrong.. i guess in that metaphor I am atheist. But I would still "believe in football".. man that metaphor was fun to play with! The bottom line.. to me it is just conforming and apparently I do not conform well!

I think we may need to dive into Agnosticism, thanks to Wikipedia

Agnosticism is the belief that the truth values of certain claims"especially claims about the existence or non-existence of any deity, as well as other religious and metaphysical claims, are unknown or unknowable. Agnosticism sometimes indicates doubt or a skeptical approach to questions. An agnostic is someone who neither believes nor disbelieves in the existence of a deity or deities, whereas a theist and an atheist believe and disbelieve, respectively.

Yeah I don't see a problem with Agnostics. In fact I think it is just an honest approach to theism. Whereas claiming the existence of a God is.. well.. not honest. Every God I have been presented with has come from self inflation and pride.. not to say I am without! "We are created in God's image"? Really? or "We created God in our image" seems to fit better in the acknowledgement of our own observable history!

I gave it my all here. I still feel as though I had to stick to my guns.. but it is in the spirit of debate.. plus I did not want to forfeit .. take it from here and we will see where it goes i guess!
Iredia

Con

Let's clarify terms once more:

Pantheist: A doctrine identifying the Deity with the universe and its
phenomena.

Atheist: One who disbelieves or denies the existence of God or gods.

Deist: The belief, based solely on reason, in a God who created the
universe and then abandoned it, assuming no control over life,
exerting no influence on natural phenomena, and giving no
supernatural revelation.

Theist: Belief in the existence of a god or gods, especially belief in a
personal God as creator and ruler of the world.

God: A being conceived as the perfect, omnipotent, omniscient originator and ruler of the universe, the principal object of faith and worship in monotheistic religions.

(culled from The Free Dictionary)

As you can see from the definitions (never mind its nuanced flaws), equating God to the universe whilst denying God as understood by deists and theists makes you an atheist. No one will be atheist if God was equated to the universe. If someone however, built a system of rites and ascribed will and personality to the universe there will be atheists: there is no clearly stated purpose or will the universe has for us. The universe simply is and has no 'innate universal consciousness'.

But God as understood by deists and atheists is distinct from the universe and I have repeated this point. Hence, saying everyone is a pantheist since they all believe your God (ie the universe) is mistaken. We add an extra: God. I believe it is mistaken for you to simply pretend otherwise. Or say think deism/theism mistaken to think so. Many people tend to be confused about terms. I have seen a person who believes in 'Infinite Intelligence' (as deists like Napoleon Hill called God) call himself an atheist. I have seen people who believe anything that caused the Big Bang is God (and doubt in deism) call themselves deist_these should be atheists. I have seen so-called theists who believe God doesn't interfere with human existence and express skepticism about their faith (usually Christianity): and yet they are effectively deist. It is true you have certain unique beliefs of your own but I still think atheist describes you well. I have already mentioned nuances of my own. For example, to the extent that I believe our consciousness derives from God, and we exist in God; I believe God is personal. However, I differentiate myself from theists since I no longer share a belief in sacred books or a religion as a means to truly knowing God. I also believe in an impersonal God: and a transpersonal God. In fact, I think in some ways my beliefs on God are unique and at this stage of my life, evolving.

Now to why deism (my own version) is reasonable. I am not going to argue for all deists: in fact, I'm very sure I will strongly disagree with deists on some things. I am arguing for MY beliefs. Now to them:

* I believe in God that is a non-contingent Creator of our reality.
* I believe it is perfect, infinite and as such omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent.
* I believe God is the entirety of our universe.
* I believe in a transpersonal God (who could be personal or not but more crucially can't be personal the way humans are. For one it needs no body to have a persona).

My deism has basis in a belief in intelligent design, the presence of consciousness (as humans experience it) and my understanding of causality. Subjective conscious experience is depends on the brain but is not explained by it. The fact that certain sodium ions streaming in someone's neocortex may code for a line of thought or someone's awareness is unexplained since they lack consciousness. In a universe without a God (who is conscious) there shouldn't be consciousness; since matter lacks it. How then can one explain consciousness if not by presuming God made it so ? To say, like Dennet, that subjective conscious thought is illusory is unacceptable since it is well-known. To say, we don't have one is equally unacceptable; we have one. To say, somehow certain matter can create it involves the same special pleading and 'matter-of-the-gaps' argument theists/deists are accused of. In other words, you believe certain matter just poofed consciousness. We'll have to wait for huge till genetic engineering and computer science etc come of age to test the possibility of building humans bottom-up with consciousness. But I doubt that will happen. Materialists predicted computer will have consciousness when they reached the level of computing power we now have and yet nothing.
More importantly, the nature of consciousness is misunderstood. It is, like space, immaterial and can't be accounted for by matter itself. It is therefore apropos to presume a God from the fact of conscious experience.

If you want to pursue deism further I suggest you open a thread (topic) on the forum. Or start a debate on that. Doing that here will derail this debate.

Your turn, Finalfan.
Debate Round No. 4
Finalfan

Pro

We should not be looking in the dictionary. The definition is specifically defined for Christians and Muslims. Where worship is required. That is where I draw the line. You cannot worship God if God is everything. So the definition is too specific while contradicting itself with its own definition of pantheism. It also completely left out polytheism which is strange because they were once considered God's! So in short. The dictionary will not help us with this debate. We have to decide ourselves.

While I can see you have some good points. I think you have to ignore many of my arguments to maintain your stance!

I want to reiterate one idea because I truly want to know why it is not reasonable! God (in whatever form) is suppose to answer the great mystery of where existence came from. With Christianity they just say God willed it into existence. This does not satisfy the answer of where matter and energy came from. Answering that question with theism/deism leaves you with nothing as explanation just "God did it" So I proposed that if indeed a creator God existed and was all that existed before our universe, the matter and energy would have to of came from God. That is the only way to answer the question of where matter came from! that would mean that the only plausible way to believe in a creator is Pantheism!

"equating God to the universe whilst denying God as understood by deists and theists makes you an atheist."

That is not true! You would still believe in "God" just not the same God that Christians and Muslims worship. There is no worship because it would be "God worshipping himself"! I think you are being a little to rigid about pantheism being equal to atheism where in actuality it is closer to Deism. We both are satisfied with our answers despite zero evidence for either. That is why we are not atheist (technically you are atheist to the Christian God and Hindu God's) I actually have a theory that Christianity/ Muslim/ Mormon/ Jehovah witness are polytheistic. While reading the bible I notice a completely different God. His Character ranges from Jesus to most oppressive and despicable God in all of mythology IMHO! Anyways that was just for your entertainment, not to claim that I want to derail this debate, yet again lol

"No one will be atheist if God was equated to the universe."

I'm sorry, we are not on the same page about atheism. Atheism IS NOT ANYTHING! It is a reaction to theism. Like I said We are all atheists... to a specific God! True atheism is like "free will" or "Sin" It is ambiguous and it is seen out of context by anyone who says atheist (Free will,Sin, God, pantheism etc.!) That was the whole point of my debate was to clarify these concepts, not just throw them away because they do not match your presupposition! Which I believe is why you think it is convoluted!

"there is no clearly stated purpose or will the universe has for us. The universe simply is and has no 'innate universal consciousness'."

You had me until the end. Please clarify "innate universal consciousness." The way you used it does not make sense with pantheism!

"We add an extra: God. I believe it is mistaken for you to simply pretend otherwise. "

Notice how you complicate what does not need us to add anything! It was never necessary to even consider or imagine "God's existence" But here we live in a world where people who do not take the word of someone else over extraordinary claims are called atheist (derogatory) I'm taking the word "God" and "Atheist" back! They have been exploited and abused enough! That is my reason for pantheism.. it builds a bridge between this dangerous and pathetic gap! Our true goal should be unity. Pantheism offers that. Personal belief is important. But how far should we let people go (suicide bombings, westborough Baptist) I'm sorry I went on a tangent but I think it is of extreme importance to know why I defend pantheism.

"To the extent that I believe our consciousness derives from God, and we exist in God; I believe God is personal."

We see eye to eye my friend. Except maybe the personal God part. I am not saying that you are wrong to believe in a personal God. It still is your desire and preference. It does not come from reason. If so you would have seen that it could be either way. I never respect someone for following blindly by telling themselves that they know some "invisible truth" that comes from the same organ that gave us The Bible, The Bogeyman and Lord of the Rings. All I am saying is that If someone admits they might be wrong they are far more receptive to truth! I will admit I could even be wrong about Odin and Zeus. Like I said.. who knows!

"I no longer share a belief in sacred books or a religion as a means to truly knowing God. I also believe in an impersonal God: and a transpersonal God. In fact, I think in some ways my beliefs on God are unique and at this stage of my life, evolving."

Your God is innocuous. It does not bully minorities or stifle science! That is why I have no beef with your God! Again it seems like I share more of your views on "God" than atheists do! In fact for most of that sentence you were describing a pantheism God. I think we should clear something up. "God is everything" does not limit itself to nature or even existence. Your personal/impersonal/transpersonal God perfectly illustrates the true definition of pantheism. God would not only be existence but a timeless/spaceless all powerful being. That is the only explanation for how this came into existence while acknowledging a creator! Like I said "God did it" leaves me with the same empty whole that I had when I asked the question! So if we entertain the idea of God existing at all. It would not make sense that he was limited through separation from his creation! It would only make sense that existence had to come FROM GOD.. not BY GOD! Sorry for the bold. I feel as though these are arguments you have not tackled!

* I believe in God that is a non-contingent Creator of our reality.
* I believe it is perfect, infinite and as such omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent.
* I believe God is the entirety of our universe.
* I believe in a transpersonal God (who could be personal or not but more crucially can't be personal the way humans are. For one it needs no body to have a persona).

Sounds like Gospel to me... while preaching to a minister! Sounds like we should both start up the same church lol. Now we will only be arguing what to call the religion (Deism or Pantheism) Basically I'm saying that you described Pantheism!

"How then can one explain consciousness if not by presuming God made it so ?"

This is why I am not atheist. I see what you are saying but it still fits perfectly within pantheism.

"To say, somehow certain matter can create it involves the same special pleading and 'matter-of-the-gaps' argument theists/deists"

I agree that is why I believe that God fits the pattern, if you notice the lack of knowledge from science on the matter of consciousness. God does fill that gap. That does not mean we couldn't both be wrong (off by a mile)! But it is legitimate considering it does its purpose, which is to put your mind at ease!

"If you want to pursue deism further I suggest you open a thread (topic) on the forum. Or start a debate on that. Doing that here will derail this debate"

I appreciate you educating me about your beliefs. They are very interesting and akin to my own beliefs. It helped for me to understand where you are coming from.

I'm having fun here. Hope I do not sound crass. I do get a little excited when debating lol!

BTW if pantheism does not represent the God that existed before the universe while being existence itself.. then what word am I looking for? The definitions for pantheism in the dictionary seems to fall short of the God I am trying to describe!
Iredia

Con

'You cannot worship God if God is everything.'

Why not ? Nature is everything and people worship it. Everything I am and everything I wish to be is resides in myself (body and mind) and I'm free to acknowledge both. Extending this further, you can understand why I am curious as to what makes you think God can't be worshipped. In any case, I think this makes the atheist's case poignant and worth noting. We are talking about what we can or can't do with God. I am more like, 'what if either way it doesn't matter.'

"Answering that question with theism/deism leaves you with nothing as explanation just "God did it" So I proposed that if indeed a creator God existed and was all that existed before our universe, the matter and energy would have to have come from God."

There must always be a point where one can't explain things. Take for instance the Big Bang, what happened before it is invalid because time starts with it. Consider the nature of gravity or magnets; though we know in detail how they work, physicists are at a loss to explain the cause of their nature. They stop at that_describing them. But I (and theists I believe) go further and stop at God who caused things to be that way. Just as I said before, 'how' doesn't apply because that presumes a physical world (the same way before the BB presumes time), so we presume God 'made' it that way. For some reason, folks want an explanation for 'how' God made the world, typically because they don't want God as an explanation for 'how' the world was made.

As for matter and energy coming from God I think we are quite similar to theists: they too believe matter came from God 'in the beginning'. But I'm guessing that you are thinking along the lines of matter being eternal (like God). That won't be a bad idea and I toyed with the idea of God always existing as mind and matter. But I no longer prescribe to that, though it's possible. I believe in 'mind over matter'.

"There is no worship because it would be "God worshipping himself"!"

What's weird in that ? Have you never commended yourself, scorned yourself or disbelieved in yourself. And even tho' I'm quite certain you don't, schizophrenics, narcissists and past kings or emperors more or less worshipped themselves and expected the same of others. In any case, atheists don't worship any God or anything so, a part of God doesn't worship it.

"Please clarify "innate universal consciousness.""

Just another way of saying matter has the ability to poof up consciousness given the right conditions. To paraphrase it, the ingredients for effecting subjective conscious experience presides in natural laws. Brian Cox seems to believe something of that sort.

Now to deal with three other issues. Your complaint of your points (you think) I haven't suffuciently addressed_I have; my thoughts on atheism and my thoughts on organized religion.

"So if we entertain the idea of God existing at all. It would not make sense that he was limited through separation from his creation! It would only make sense that existence had to come FROM GOD.. not BY GOD! Sorry for the bold. I feel as though these are arguments you have not tackled!"

Funny enough ! By presuming a God who died for humanity Christians apparently make God part of creation. I think Christianity allows one to take both points of view. One can emphasize God's holiness and other aspects of His nature and so make it seem almost impersonal; so much so without a variety of rites you cannot hope to reach Him. 'No man shall see God' the Bible says in Exo 33:20 and in verse 11 of the same chapter Moses reportedly spoke to God face to face. In any case, I think religions (to a greater or lesser extent) believe creation to be FROM God. This couldn't be more obvious in Daoism (or Taoism) and Hinduism.

You have repeatedly mentioned my beliefs are subject to yours. But that has since TO SOME EXTENT been agreed. I had already stated that if you equate the universe to God then everyone is a pantheist. But that is too vague. While everybody has their nuances, the terms 'deism', 'theism' or 'atheism' captures their stance on God. It helps us know more specifically what their thoughts are on God. In fact, when we have more in common than with atheists you prove my point. Besides, it appears you haven't read up on panentheism or panendeism which makes God all-inclusive of Nature but still maintaining its unique qualities as the Creator. Just because someone focuses on the part of God as the Creator doesn't mean God as Nature itself is ruled out. In fact, I comprehensively dealt with this in my first response. As for taking back pantheism from atheism, or lumping deism and theism with pantheism, it's unnecessary. I would find it funny, for instance, if a philosopher today asserted he wants to redefine all the sciences as natural philosophy: and insists that social science and physical science departments be placed under philosophy. Historically, he has the right, since the sciences, and even religions, developed from classical and ancient philosophy (which wove science into religious enlightenment, only medicine was quite seperate). The Elusinerean mysteries, certain Hindu sects and more obviously the Jesuits are good examples of this fact.

"Atheism is not ANYTHING!"

Then how come we are talking about it ? If it's not anything we shouldn't even have the name. Same for skepticism. If you said space expands and I reacted by denying it; by your logic, I would have the right to say 'I am not saying anything, I am just reacting,' if you told me to defend my denial. Atheism is something. A lack of belief in God/gods and conversely a belief that God/gods don't exist. A lack of belief on a subject is either a result of ignorance (due to unconsciousness, inadequate mental capacity or absence of information) or a prior belief which prevents one from believing the subject at hand. Because of a commitment to naturalism, atheists dislike a wording their stance on God as a belief. I find that funny.

As for organized religion, I don't have problems with it save for when it conflicts with my preferences. Even then, within certain limits I can allow for religious indulgence. For example, I dislike being told to pray over an illness. Doctors will suffice. But I may indulge a religious person's need to pray for me, or even pray along. Apparently, in an emergency situation I won't even have the time for such. Religion, like philosophy, no matter how weird are part of the tapestry of human experience. People like stories (even some atheists may love 'The Passion Of The Christ'), people like rites (we do birthdays and burials), people hold things dear (the American constitution, money, civil rights history, the scientific method) in a way that parallels the religious notion of sacred. When I find a person disgusted with organized religion believing deeply that aliens will be found (a story), marking specific events or celebrating people with rites, or doing all they can to make their stance known (apparently something dear), I chuckle within at the irony. Whoever came up with the word 'religion' was smart, it comes from 'religare' (Latin for 'to bind') and all humans are MORE OR LESS bound to beliefs some they hold dear. Too often people antagonize organize religion and forget to see the link when antagonizing other organized systems (red-tape in governance, Soviet communism etc). They are too focused on specific beliefs (eg killing gays in Islam, hell, a jealous God, pagan human sacrifices) to see the essential nature of religion as binding someone to a belief. By the way, a part of me likes deism because it is clearly not as organized as 'New atheists' are: though that's it's weakness since people seem ignorant about how it has evolved from classical deism. Maybe that's why I say I'm evolving: I see all religions, all philosophies as what my Dad called 'a person's way of understanding God [or Nature]'. To be human is to be religious.

In conclusion, what more can I say than what I've been saying. Deism, Theism and Atheism makes things clear. If you say you aren't atheist and believe in a transpersonal God or an impersonal God you are deist. If you don't believe in a conscious God or think the cause of the universe is a force you are an atheist. Many atheists will be content to find a natural cause for the unuverse in a force. Maybe that's why the multuverse theory is viewed favorably by some. If you believe in a perosnal God or engage in one of 'the Big Three', you are a theist. Please check out panendeism and panentheism. But I think we should put pantheism in the same class as agnosticism. It hints at but doesn't SPECIFY what your beliefs in God are.
Debate Round No. 5
25 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Finalfan 3 years ago
Finalfan
@Iredia: This debate was one of my favorites so far. I felt as though I learned a lot from you andwhile I still see red flags and pitfalls galore with the belief in any kind of God. I would be a fool to pretend that I know whether or not they exist. Anyways thank's for your time and insight!
Posted by Finalfan 3 years ago
Finalfan
Atheism is a belief like not collecting stamps is a hobby!
Posted by Finalfan 3 years ago
Finalfan
To clarify God worshipping himself is completely arbitrary and completely out of context when discussing Pantheism!
Posted by Finalfan 3 years ago
Finalfan
Obviously my new angle will be to compare pantheism to deism/theism. Which is "more reasonable" Should we shed the titles and just call ourselves "Children of God"? It would make things much simpler and there would be less segregation since it unifies us under one true God. Not the God everyone wears around like a crown!
Posted by Iredia 3 years ago
Iredia
Good! Please don't. And if I achieved that I would have achieved what I set out to prove. Pantheism is unreasonable since it's usually 'sexed-up atheism'; and that the terms theist, deist or atheist are sufficient to make a person's belief or not_about God_clear. Pantheism tends to muddle up things. I would even say the same of agnosticism. And no, I haven't changed someone's mind on his/her God.
Posted by Finalfan 3 years ago
Finalfan
Crap! I could not find a way to continue this argument without ignoring your rebuttles and just ranting about the definition of reasonable. You can continue this if you want or you can wait for me to find new ground so I can keep this going! I will give you one thing. You have helped me not care what people think. Whether I'm Christian Conservative or Libertarian Agnostic, My rights are secure and I have not need to complain. I never did like pandering to anyone (its exhausting) So I will be more true to my own beliefs without dressing it up with the creation of a "cop out God!" Have you ever actually converted your opponent away from their "God"? lol
Posted by Finalfan 3 years ago
Finalfan
This is actually a really tough debate. I was not expecting that lol!
Posted by Finalfan 3 years ago
Finalfan
I will have to check it out. (the book)
Posted by Iredia 3 years ago
Iredia
Was in a rush and didn't check for errors. I made some. In any case, I aquite agree with Finalfan but I'm here to show pantheism is unreasonable. Sorry :( The two Thomases (Jeffereson and Paine) rebutted the Bible in a way that really sets the tone for Bible critics of today. But my favorite is Jean Meslier's 'Common Sense', it pretty much kills it.
Posted by Finalfan 3 years ago
Finalfan
I wanted to turn this debate into "Pantheism is better than deism" But I'm guessing it would be a flop.. considering I truly have no arguments against deism. If you do not believe in the supernatural events in the bible including the concept of original sin.. we are kindred spirits! (Big fan of Thomas Jefferson's book about Jesus btw)

I felt as though we did most of our debating in the comments section but I will try to keep this going for the sake of argument!
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