Topic-icon The Variety of Worldviews

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2 months 1 week ago - 1 month 1 week ago #61197 by gnomon
This analysis of religious & secular worldviews was written from a Christian viewpoint. But I've added some comments from my own non-religious PanEnDeist perspective.

Five Worldviews
www.xenos.org/essays/five-worldviews


1. NATURALISM
__(e.g. Atheism, Agnosticism, Existentialism)

Reality
The material universe is all that exists. Reality is "one-dimensional." There is no such thing as a soul or a spirit. Everything can be explained on the basis of natural law.

___To describe Reality as consisting of Matter alone is a serious over-simplification. What about such intangible aspects of reality as Life & Consciousness? According to the current scientific paradigm, our universe began from a quantum state without matter, space or time. Yet, that immaterial pre-bang singularity (software) possessed the power to cause change (generic Potential), which could then actualize into active Energy (causation), which would further evolve into Matter (substance), Space (expansion of matter) & Time (extension of causation). Hence, Reality is multi-dimensional. And the dimension traditionally referred to as supernatural Soul or Spirit, can now be described, in natural terms, as Mind or Consciousness, which are not material things, but processes of becoming and enforming.
Primordial Quantum State : www.einstein-online.info/spotlights/quan...cosmo_path_integrals
EnFormAction : Literally, the act of enforming --- to fashion, to create. The cause of becoming.


Man
Man is the chance product of a biological process of evolution. Man is entirely material. The human species will one day pass out of existence.

___The human species of animal is an entirely natural product of the evolutionary process. But that systematic weeding-out operation has proven to be an efficient method for producing entities with self-consciousness from the raw material of un-formed potential. Random Chance is an essential part of the evolutionary machine, offering many paths from which only the best fit for current circumstances is Chosen by “Natural Selection”. Homo Sapiens, a product of Chance + Choice, has already surpassed its original material form, and will likely continue to evolve into more efficient future forms, with Choice, natural & artificial, playing an increasing role.

Truth
Truth is usually understood as scientific proof. Only that which can be observed with the five senses is accepted as real or true.

___Absolute Truth is not available to Science or Religion. Each approach can only approximate the whole truth with an incomplete collection of specimens. Nevertheless, Religion claims to have an unfair advantage in that it supplements the five senses with "supernatural" insights. Hence, it pretends to have true & final facts --- direct from God's mouth, or from inspired ancient sages --- by which specious authority it controls credulous & deferential human behavior. Science though, limited to natural sources, gets its relative knowledge the hard way : by collecting examples and inferring consistent patterns, which prove to have some pragmatic value for dealing with Nature. However, the sixth sense of rational inference has proven to be essential for determining the practical truth value of that information. It's true that other kinds of knowledge, subjective or supernatural, are typically dismissed by naturalists as illusions or self-deception. Yet, when grounded in "objective" facts, introspection & meditation can be of great value for self-knowledge, including the relationship between Self and All.

Values
No objective values or morals exist. Morals are individual preferences or socially useful behaviors. Even social morals are subject to evolution and change.

___All human values are subjective, based on limited experience with physical and mental nature. But both Science and Religion strive to come closer to absolute objective values in their approximations. Nevertheless, even religious thinkers, who believe they have an absolute standard, will admit that we “fall short of the grace of God”. So, for practical purposes, we all make-do with relative values that evolve as our understanding increases. Naturalists don't pretend to have a fixed & final source of truth & value*, with authority from apocryphal antiquity. Instead, ever-changing right-now physical Nature is the bountiful bible of Science.
* Other than the natural creation, which scripture reveals God's true Values : Torah, New Testament, Koran, Book of Mormon, Vedas, Avesta, Tao de Ching, etc.?


2. PANTHEISM
__(e.g. Hinduism; Taoism; Buddhism; New Age metaphysics)

Reality
Only the spiritual dimension exists. All else is illusion, maya. Spiritual reality, Brahman, is eternal, impersonal, and unknowable. It is possible to say that everything is a part of God, or that God is in everything and everyone.

___In a philosophical sense, our experience of Reality is indeed an illusion, in that our mental model world is an artificial construct. Our image of Reality, our worldview, is created by the mind from a restricted range of experiences, with gaps filled-in to produce a simulation of objective reality. For example, I have a blind spot in my left eye, but I'm not normally aware of it, because my brain fills-in the missing data with similar data from the right eye. So what I see is not pure physical reality, but a patchwork mental construct. As long as we agree on the essentials of reality though, we can overlook a few minor differences in perception. Anyway, I agree that ultimate Reality is Ideality : i.e. God; "eternal, impersonal, and unknowable" --- except as reflected in He/r physical creation. All we know of spiritual Ideality is what we learn from natural Reality. So if God is ALL, then "everything and everyone" is a part of the whole.

Man
Man is one with ultimate reality. Thus man is spiritual, eternal, and impersonal. Man’s belief that he is an individual is illusion.

___I make a distinction between Ideality (ultimate reality) and Reality (proximate reality). For all practical purposes, Reality is as we perceive it to be, personally and collectively, and Man is physical, temporal, and individual. Yet for philosophical purposes, our constructed experiential reality may only be a crude model of an ideal (imaginary) world created by the Mind of God --- and made of immaterial (spiritual) Information. From our subjective perspective, people are isolated individuals. Yet, from a holistic or quantum vantage, all things are interconnected into a single operating system. Which is real, and which is illusion, depends on your frame of reference. From my Pandeist perspective, humans are not magical immortal gods, but more like autonomous avatars of God in the Game of Life.
John Muir : As soon as you try to pluck one thing, you discover that it's connected to everything else.

Truth
Truth is an experience of unity with "the oneness" of the universe. Truth is beyond all rational description. Rational thought as it is understood in the West cannot show us reality.

___Rational thought is inherently analytical; taking things apart to see how they work. So rational “truth” is understanding of mechanism. But the emotional feeling of “oneness” is indeed irrational, synthetic, and of little use for practical matters. However, it may give us a glimpse of what it would be like to become One with God. Unfortunately, subjective irrational "truths" are indistinguishable from lies, unless they can be verified objectively and rationally.

Values
Because ultimate reality is impersonal, many pantheistic thinkers believe that there is no real distinction between good and evil. Instead, "unenlightened" behavior is that which fails to understand essential unity.

___The physical world is characterized by events that we subjectively experience as either good or evil, depending on their significance for us personally. But if God is “essential unity”, then the dualistic Yin/Yang, male/female, good/evil categories of the space-time world do not apply. Instead, God is, by definition, infinite in potential and all-encompassing. In that case, there is no distinction between Good & Evil, but a unified composite of all possibilities. Only in a space-time world can binary distinctions be made from a subjective point-of-view. Again, to think of a holistic deity as a distinct person would be illogical. Yet, enlightenment would, in theory, allow us to see beyond the particular details of reality, into the holistic meaning of "God, the Universe, and Everything". Ironically, even our enlightenment is limited, since "we see in a glass darkly", due to the incompleteness and imperfections of the human body & mind.


3. THEISM
__(e.g. Christianity; Islam; Judaism)

Reality
An infinite, personal God exists. He created a finite, material world. Reality is both material and spiritual. The universe as we know it had a beginning and will have an end.

___I think an infinite & personal God is an oxymoron. How can a human, whose understanding is grounded in space & time, relate personally with an entity undefined by those limitations? Of course, we can imagine & symbolize God in any number of material forms, such as a golden idol, or a holy man. But that's like having a personal relationship with the universe by communing with a grain of sand. Yes, created Reality is both Yin & Yang, both matter & energy, both physical & mental (spiritual). Yes, the world apparently began with a Bang, and will end with a Sigh. But, the meaning of that brief story will only be known after the denouement, when all threads are tied together. Meanwhile, our model of Reality consists only of ideas in human minds, and of the narrative we create to make sense of those isolated ideas. Likewise, our various models of God are imaginary images constructed to illustrate the narrative we choose to believe is true.
Denoument : resolution of various threads in a narrative; to reveal the overall meaning.

Man
Humankind is the unique creation of God. People were created "in the image of God," which means that we are personal, eternal, spiritual, and biological.

___The human species doesn't show any signs of being a special creation. Instead we appear to be only the current top-dog in the race of evolution toward some unknown finish line. We like to think of ourselves as made in the image of God, primarily in that we are self-conscious, and that we have some modicum of power over the rest of Nature. But, if history is a reliable guide, homo sapiens will eventually be superseded by a species more intelligent and powerful. Perhaps homo techno will be the next phase of creation in the image of God. That next generation of God's “children” will still be personal, but may be post-biological. And their artificial intelligence might be even more “spiritual” than that of meat people. Their lives may be extended, but like all things physical, they will have a time limit as defined by Entropy. The notion that human persons are eternal souls is an unverifiable conjecture. Nevertheless, Theistic Islamic "martyrs" literally bet their lives on that unwarranted presumption.

Truth
Truth about God is known through revelation. Truth about the material world is gained via revelation and the five senses in conjunction with rational thought.

___Based on experience with trust-twisting con-men, freethinking Deists typically are skeptical of private revelations to prophets and seers. Besides, which of the many revelations of various cultures is the most reliable version of God's Truth?* The chaos of competing prophets & scriptures is obviously a product of many human minds, not of the singular divine mind. Since we can't trust all of them, or any one of them, to be the True revelation, our only rational option is to trust our own subjective inferences about God; which of course are just as fallible & self-serving as those of any prophet, but are less liable to make us pawns in a con game. A skeptical scientific attitude toward truth, may not inspire religious fervor, but it should provide us with useful knowledge of both Nature and Culture. From that philosophical foundation, we can safely speculate on questions beyond the scope of Science. From our understanding of the creation, we can form a plausible theory of the Creator.
* Other than the natural creation, which scripture reveals reliable truth about God : Torah, New Testament, Koran, Book of Mormon, Vedas, Avesta, Tao de Ching, etc.?

Values
Moral values are the objective expression of an absolute moral being.

___Most human societies agree on the general issues of Morality, but diverge widely on specific applications of those principles. Hence, due to the resultant cacophony of earnestly preached ethical systems, it would be nice to have a single final objective “thus saith the Lord” on moral questions. But again, which revelation & interpretation of those values can we put our faith in? Even the Torah was not content with God's hand-written list of Dos & Don'ts, but went on to “reveal” hundreds of nitpicky rules, regulations, and elaborations. So we can reasonably infer from their complexity & contradictions that all moral systems are actually the collective expression of many moot subjective opinions. Of course, a direct mandate from an “absolute moral being” would be ideal, but the various value systems we now have are clearly relative and evolving. Perhaps the Creator intends for us to discover our own practical day-to-day morality using our god-given smarts. Just as physical nature is a work in progress, cultural morality is an unfinished evolving understanding of the right thing to do in unique cases.


4. SPIRITISM and POLYTHEISM
__(e.g. Pagan & Primitive Religions)

Reality
The world is populated by spirit beings who govern what goes on. Gods and demons are the real reason behind "natural" events. Material things are real, but they have spirits associated with them and, therefore, can be interpreted spiritually.

___What the Pagan religions called “Spirit” or “Chi” or "Life Force" is essentially the same as what modern Science calls “Energy”, which is simply the power to cause change, to enform. Causative forces in the world have different effects, such as gravity, electromagnetism, strong-force, weak-force. There are even cultural causes, such as governing authority and military force. A “force of nature” is simply a natural phenomenon that humans cannot directly control. That's why the ancients attempted to flatter & bribe them --- as if they were conscious entities --- while scientists merely attempt to understand how they work --- as if they are mechanical devices. The Spiritual interpretation leaves us at the mercy of natural forces, despite our pathetic prayers & sacrifices, while the Natural interpretation gives us more & more control over them, as our knowledge expands.
Enform : To form; to fashion; to create; to change form.

Man
Man is a creation of the gods like the rest of the creatures on earth. Often, tribes or races have a special relationship with some gods who protect them and can punish them.

___What the ancients interpreted as divine mischief & punishment is simply due to the chaotic Butterfly Effects of Nature. For example, seasons follow fairly predictable patterns from year to year, but weather is unpredictable from day to day. Even modern weathermen wish they could have more direct control over weather, instead of resorting to giving gambling odds. The only thing special about humans is that the mundane causative power of energy has emerged as the almost magical power of rational mind. That imaginative & practical power of mind over matter may be our "special relationship" with the world-creating Eternal Mind --- in whose image we are being created.
Butterfly Effect : Due to quantum scale randomness, small variations of the initial condition of a dynamical system may produce large variations in the long-term large-scale behavior of the system on a macro scale. For example, earthquakes or hurricanes can strike suddenly, and without warning, in unexpected places and times. Ironically, their negative effects fall upon both good & evil people.

Truth
Truth about the natural world is discovered through the shaman figure who has visions telling him what the gods and demons are doing and how they feel.

___Shamans, Oracles, Prophets, and Fortune Tellers are professionals with a knack for telling people what they want & need to hear. Most of their methods depend on the randomness of nature to allow them to discern meaningful patterns where laymen see only chaos. From those hints, they can construct an ad hoc narrative that fits the current situation, and which resolves the uncertainty about the next chapter in the story. That their communiques from the gods often proved to be wrong, is explained-away by the sometimes whimsical or inscrutable nature of divine communication --- “can you hear me now?” The Seers also resort to elaborating on (retro-fitting) details in the forecast that later turn-out to miss their mark. Besides, we forgive our fallible weathermen when their “three degree guarantee” is wrong. After all, the Shaman is only human.
Retro-fitting : to go back and change something in the original story to fix a subsequent problem.

Values
Moral values take the form of taboos, which are things that irritate or anger various spirits. These taboos are different from the idea of "good and evil" because it is just as important to avoid irritating evil spirits as it is good ones.

___Almost all religions, including the Abrahamic traditions, control their independent-minded followers with arbitrary rules of behavior and taboos for food, places, and times. But those nit-picky no-nos assume that the gods are a bilious bunch of short-tempered spooks, so humans have to "walk on eggs" to avoid drawing their fire. However, an understanding of how Nature works makes it clear that tempestuous weather, and other events, are on auto-pilot, and not caused by divine wrath and retribution. So perhaps our values, instead of scary stories, should take the form of pragmatic guidelines to avoid being in the wrong place or time, not because it upsets the gods, but because it's bad for humans. For example, Pork is good food for most of us, but an autocratic prohibition can make it seem noxious, for no apparent reason. That's not a moral value, but a test of faith & loyalty to the capricious rule-maker.


5. POSTMODERNISM
__(Western Academics, Liberal Religions; Existentialism)

Reality
Reality must be interpreted through our language and cultural "paradigm." Therefore, reality is "socially constructed."

___Darwin & Einstein were born into a traditional worldview of abiding eternal reality. But the modern era experienced a barrage of paradigm shifts that shook the foundations of customary beliefs in science, religion, and politics. Postmodernism, perhaps informed by Quantum uncertainty, then emphasized the dominance of unpredictable change (evolution) and denied the validity of “eternal verities” & inherited truths. Hence, each culture and each person must question everything, and update the received worldview of their forebears, continually constructing a new paradigm to fit cutting-edge knowledge & circumstances. In that sense, reality is a moving target, an ever-changing mental construct, and not a fixed world outside the mind. But Postmodernism, and Existentialism, mostly appeal to Atheists, who expect no divine intervention, and place the burden on ordinary humans to accept responsibility for creating a better reality than they inherited. Deism likewise acquiesces to the reality of a world on auto-pilot, with no god to come to our rescue; consequently humans must act as the stewards of their world, while God passively observes what kind of social reality we are constructing. Therefore, if God is defined as eternal Ideality, and the Creation is an ever-changing space-time universe, then the notion of static Reality, perhaps spinning on its own axis, is archaic and outdated. The world is obviously going somewhere, and that destination was partly predetermined in the beginning (initial conditions), but may also be partly "socially constructed" by the collective choices of human minds. Of course, the realistic options are limited to those preselected by natural evolution. /see Postmodern below/

Man
Humans are nodes in a cultural reality – they are a product of their social setting. The idea that people are autonomous and free is a myth.

___Humans are free & autonomous only in the sense that they can make informed choices that affect their future lives. Nevertheless, a sense of personal freedom is necessary to motivate us to work optimistically to make the world better for self & others, and to avoid existentialist angst. In the Quantum foundations of reality, elementary particles seem to be both "free" individuals, and amorphous nodes in a collective reality. As particles, they have specific properties, but they are also "bound" (entangled) to all other particles in a holistic "omni-reality", known as "superposition", or as a mathematical wave-form. So, the idea that people are both autonomous and interdependent is a reasonable concept. Unfortunately, postmodern academics tend to emphasize the hopeless notion that we are caught in a socialist web of our own collective weaving. Yet, both political & religious Existentialism allowed that some of us retain the will and the power of self-actualization. If freewill is a myth, then it is a necessary belief for creatures with self-consciousness. Otherwise, why bother?

Truth
Truths are mental constructs meaningful to individuals within a particular cultural paradigm. They do not apply to other paradigms. Truth is relative to one’s culture.

___It's true that my personal truths get most of their meaning from the context of my specific cultural worldview. But scientific paradigms, in the language of mathematics, cut across the arbitrary borders between secular cultures and faith systems. Within a specific paradigm, facts are indeed relative to their immediate context, but some truths may be closer to general & absolute than others. PM may advise us to be content with our little pragmatic partial truths, but Science is motivated by the dream of ultimately discovering the ideal Theory of Everything. So we must get-by with our subjective truths, even as we search for objective Truth. Some religions hold to the doctrine that their scriptures are literally the "word of God, hence absolutely inerrant. Be that as it may, the babble of world religions, and worldwide religious conflicts, suggests that human interpretations of their "divine revelations" are subject to errors, such as subconscious cultural prejudice and confirmation bias. Consequently in practice, their "absolute truths" are relative, subjective and slanted. That's why the ever-evolving scientific method was developed : to weed-out factual errors and personal or cultural biases. Hence, verified scientific truths are not limited to any particular race, religion, or historical era.
Confirmation Bias : en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confirmation_bias
Culture : Culture refers to the cumulative deposit of knowledge, experience, beliefs, values, attitudes, meanings, hierarchies, religion, notions of time, roles, spatial relations, concepts of the universe, and material objects and possessions acquired by a group of people in the course of generations


Values
Values are part of our social paradigms as well. Tolerance, freedom of expression, inclusion, and refusal to claim to have the answers are the only universal values.

___"Tolerance, freedom of expression, inclusion, and refusal to claim to have the answers" are ideals established in the Enlightenment era, but seldom found in practice. Since each of us can work with only a fragmentary understanding of truth, we must be tolerant of the partial truths & values of others. Cultural relativism is necessary for a multicultural society to exist in harmony. But privately, we can each believe that our own social group's facts & values are the best. That's why postmodernism advocates religious & political tolerance of philosophical differences and distinctions. This open-minded attitude allows us to live together in peace, and to work together toward a common value system. It's only a mindset of arrogance & absolutism & fundamentalism that keeps ecumenical efforts from achieving world peace --- admittedly at the cost of giving up the feeling of superiority that comes with privileged knowledge of absolute Truth. :peace:
Postmodern Religion : According to postmodern philosophy, society is in a state of constant change. There is no absolute version of reality, no absolute truths. Postmodern religion strengthens the perspective of the individual and weakens the strength of institutions and religions that deal with objective realities.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Postmodern_religion



Note 1. I find that I can agree with the general philosophical basis of most world religions, but the particular beliefs & practices, and the fragmentary worldviews, of those religions are incompatible. That's why I don't claim to follow any of the major religions or the minor cults. Instead, I simply believe in the God that almost everyone believes in, but not in the God that dogmatic believers quarrel about and kill for. All of us, including Atheists, can agree with the understanding of God as known from our sensory experience of Nature. But the various culturally-defined images of God as presented by the variety of religious (non-sensory) “experiences” are contradictory. And that includes hypothetical Materialistic interpretations of God. Beyond the revelation of the creation, no one speaks for God.

Note 2. The babble of world religions can be compared to the parable of blind men surveying an elephant and describing what they discover from their isolated points-of-view. Each thinks its own doctrine best describes Reality. But perhaps non-dogmatic non-scriptural philosophical Deism could combine the most useful parts of those patchwork impressions into a single comprehensive-but-evolving worldview. As soon as it evolves into a mainstream dogmatic religion-among-religions though, I'm afraid that Deism will become another blind man groping the elephant of reality.



Variety of Elephant-Views as seen by Blind Men


Deism : a naturalistic worldview that rejects claims of supernatural revelations*, or authoritative religious doctrines, yet maintains a role for a loosely-defined self-existent precursor or creator to get the creative process started in space & time. Instead of spurious scriptures, mundane scientific methods are relied upon to reveal how the world is made and how it works. From that general understanding, ongoing evolution is presumed to be the method by which the world is being created over time. The typical assumption of Deists is that the world did not create itself, but was a product of a self-existent creative principle, commonly labeled God. All living creatures seem to possess some inborn rudimentary ethical rules dealing with other creatures. But humans, with their complex multicultural societies have learned to develop more specific & objective rules of government to supplement their subjective morality, as summarized in the Golden Rule.
* due to internal conflicts, incompatible interpretations, and lack of objective evidence.
Last Edit: 1 month 1 week ago by gnomon. Reason: general revisions and editing, plus added material

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1 month 4 weeks ago - 1 month 4 weeks ago #61203 by gnomon

Stages of falling away from true Christianity in the modern era.
From a fundamentalist charismatic Holiness Church perspective
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File%3ADescent_of_...Cartoons%2C_1922.png


___Where does modern Deism belong in this overview of spiritual decline? Somewhere between Agnosticism and Atheism? Note that the first step on the slippery slope from Holiness to Helliness was to question the inerrancy of the divinely revealed scriptures. All of the other stages of falling-away stem from that sincere application of Enlightenment Era scientific skepticism. Unfortunately, even an official policy of blind faith has not prevented Christianity from fragmenting into 1500 North American sects, and 15 faith families. But I don't see Deism on the list at the website below. Is it a branch of Christianity, or of Eastern religions, or a new departure from traditional religion altogether? Maybe it should be listed under the Liberal family, or New Age. Or maybe it's not a religion at all, but simply a modern philosophical worldview encompassing religious, political, and scientific applications. With faith only in evolving freethinking Reason, and lacking faith in an abiding absolute revelation of Truth, Deism seems to lack the emotional core that binds communities together --- at least until they fall-out or fall-away. :peace:


Faith Families : www.religioustolerance.org/chr_deno.htm
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1 month 2 weeks ago - 1 month 1 week ago #61208 by gnomon


Is the world essentially Spiritual or Physical, or both? Is the cosmos Ideal or Real, or both?

New Directions in the Evolving Scientific Worldview
<< Quantum physics may be well understood, but scientists still don't agree on what it means.>>
_______Tim Folger, Discover Magazine, The War Over Reality

___The mainstream scientific paradigm made a sudden change of direction around the beginning of the 20th century. As scientists began to dissect formerly fundamental “atoms” into smaller & smaller sub-atomic particles, those hard little balls of matter seemed to disappear into amorphous fuzz-balls of intangible properties defined only as statistical probabilities. Consequently, the mechanical classical physics of Galileo and Newton, began to morph into a new reality, defined in terms of pure mathematics, and inaptly named, Quantum “mechanics”. Even though Quantum theory is said to be the most thoroughly proven aspect of modern Science, << it remains as baffling as ever >>. So, the current paradigm of Science, and the Standard Model of Physics, are subject to a variety of interpretations as to the philosophical implications of the ghostly foundations of Nature. Which was underscored by quantum pioneer Neils Bohr in his quip << Anyone who is not shocked by quantum theory has not understood it.>> Instead of viewing Reality as “out there”, he suggested that it exists, at least partly, in the mind of the beholder. Which was also the assertion of Bishop Berkeley, in his theory of Idealism, or Immaterialism. “All the choir of heaven and furniture of earth - in a word, all those bodies which compose the frame of the world - have not any subsistence without a mind. “ In other words, Mind is more fundamental than Matter.
___As theoretical Physicists and philosophers of Science debate the meaning of Quantum queerness at the heart of Nature, practical experimentalists & engineers are radically changing the world of modern technology. << Experiments have repeatedly confirmed the theory's weird predictions with phenomenal accuracy --- to a dozen or more decimal places.>> Cell phones & internet connections & superconducting trains, made possible by quantum insights, are rapidly shrinking the world into a single community --- albeit a fractious family. It's a world in which only a few technically-trained Wizards (physicists) can make sense of the invisible underpinnings of reality, even though some philosophically inclined Seers (metaphysicians), may claim to know the secrets of the unseen world, via intuition rather than experimentation. So, it seems that our conventional mechanical model of Reality is a convenient fiction, and that true Reality may be better described as Ideality. Which is why some theorists have made controversial proposals that the world is ultimately more mathematical than material, and metaphysical than physical. Some have even postulated that the cosmos is more like a calculating computer program, processing ideas, than a mechanical device with gears & sprockets. Nevertheless, most physicists still deny that “observations” or “measurements”, which seem to cause the collapse of the mathematical wave-form, have anything to do with Consciousness. So perhaps we should refer to the trigger, that converts the generic potential of a wave-form field into an actual real-world particle, as Information Transfer --- of which Consciousness is just one form.
___A central problem with those new information-based theories is that they lend themselves to spiritual & magical interpretations. Just as the Big Bang theory sounded ironically similar to ancient creation myths, the new Quantum Ideality seems to be compatible with some Eastern religious worldviews of an essentially spiritual reality. The Observer Effect implications of mind-over-matter have been adapted by some spiritualists as a justification for primitive magical practices and modern paranormal violations of natural law. Unfortunately, the intangible nature of spirits & souls makes scientific experiment & verification impossible. So, practical technical applications of such idealistic notions are not feasible. But they have proven useful for convincing trusting souls that the Medium has contacts in the spirit world. Which forces disciples to put their trust in the middle-man to obtain true information from the great beyond. More scientifically-minded seekers though have found that the best defense against being sucked-into the romantic magical world of gurus & con-men is to develop self-confident self-knowledge, and to establish a skeptical firewall against the malware memes of blind faith. Sadly even if we are careful to separate fact from fiction, the uncertainty at the heart of Nature makes development of a final theory of everything an exercise in frustration. Moreover, that element of mystery in all worldviews leaves a door open for a god-of-the-gaps solution to open questions. So, I like to think of Deism is an attempt to go beyond the inherent physical limitations of Science, while making as few unwarranted assumptions as possible in its metaphysical conjectures, limited only by Logic & Reason.
___The article by Tim Folger describes a serious lack of consensus among scientists regarding the nature of the Reality they claim to be studying. Yet, the 20th century began with confidence in the ancient atomic theory of Materialism. << The notion of a completely objective reality is the bedrock principle of science.>> But as time passed, and research dug deeper into the catacombs of reality, that single solid substance (matter) transformed into ever-changing Energy (E=MC2), and then into nebulous fluid Fields, and eventually into abstract mathematical States (waveforms). The resultant quantum quandary has divided Physicists into a variety of insular worldviews, ranging from stubborn Classical Material to speculative String Theory, Loop Theory, Quantum Bayesianism (QBism), PBR objective wave-function theory, along with amusing-but-absurd Many Worlds or Multiverse hypotheses. Consequently, a few intrepid theorists have even given up the notion of Reality altogether, in favor of some variation of Idealism. << Some physicists deny that quantum mechanics describes any sort of objective reality.>> Perplexed quantum pioneer Neils Bohr argued that << Physicists must give up the notion of a reality that exists independently of their own measurements.>> Even the definition of Reality is in play : << Are these “quantum waves” as real as the ground beneath your feet, or are they purely mathematical constructs without any physical existence?>>
___This uncertainty among theorists about the subjective significance of subatomic physics has not deterred the pragmatic advance of objective quantum-based technology. But it has opened Science to a plethora of semi-religious interpretations of the world. New Age practitioners have reinterpreted ancient Oriental religious doctrines with modern quantum terminology. And even some Old Earth Christians have adopted the quantum paradigm as a key to illuminating some of the otherwise absurd mythical elements of the Bible. Folger's article even suggested that scientists should also embrace the nebulous nature of Nature, noting << American philosopher William James, who saw reality as being “malleable”. . . What sort of universe do we inhabit? Is it like a giant machine, with the future evolving from the past according to immutable laws? Or is it inherently interactive? . . . Why would you want a clockwork universe?>> Why indeed? Because a mechanical system is more comprehensible & predictable than an animate organism? Why not try to have it both ways? For simplicity & convenience, we can imagine the world as a clock-like mechanical system, but for more technical purposes we must accept that it is also an unpredictable protean organism. Not either/or, but both/and. That's why I am developing a BothAnd model of the world, in which your model of reality must adapt to the scale & purpose of your investigation. The tools & theories of Science must conform to their subject, whether mechanical macro matter, or queer quantum fields, or chaotic weather systems, or philosophical Cosmological concepts.
___In view of our vague & fuzzy understanding of Reality, I find it somewhat comforting that two of the most evidence-based models of the world (Big Bang cosmology, Quantum Field foundation) imply the necessity of an axiomatic /see Axiom below/ First Cause or Prime Observer. That setter of initial conditions has been imagined, by Atheists as an impossibly rare random quantum fluctuation of virtual energy in an eternal field of impersonal & unconscious creative potential (generic power + logical laws) . However, since sentient creatures have arisen in reality, that empty “field” --- by the logic of Set Theory and Venn Diagrams --- must have had the potential for knowing & awareness, which includes the possibility of self-consciousness. So, did immaterial consciousness arise from matter, or matter from an immaterial field of creative power? Anyway, in a compromise between Atheism & Theism, I have constructed a novel god-model, which explains why Reality & Ideality co-exist. It assumes some kind of a conscious, but immaterial (ideal), Creator, who intentionally made an incomplete imperfect & evolving creation (real), instead of the traditional dumb deity who made the mistake of allowing his naive creatures to learn how to use Reason and Freewill, by making the same mistakes over & over for eons. At least, in the evolving world, the system itself, and some of its sentient elements can learn from their mistakes, albeit at a glacial pace /see Morality below/ . In this hypothetical worldview, the overall purpose of the Cosmos may be to learn from experience (acquire information), and to progress in wisdom (apply deep knowledge to specific problems).
___As indicated above, the fragmented state of current scientific paradigms, leaves a gap which could logically be filled by an ideal immaterial deity. Of course, no purely scientific evidence will ever prove the existence of an extra naturo ex nihilo Creator. Yet the intentional creation hypothesis can serve as the basis of an optimistic scientific/philosophical worldview, with a provisional answer to the ancient plaint, “what's it all about? What's the purpose of life?” : God only knows. So even as we work-out our own little personal purposes here below, we can imagine that someone out there is enjoying the soap opera of life in the Real world. But as the actors in the spot-light, we can't afford to take ourselves too seriously. :peace:


Axiom : unprovable, but logically necessary principle, from which other facts may be proved.
Extra Naturo : beyond nature, super-natural, preter-natural, immaterial
Ex Nihilo : created from nothing; e.g. matter from immaterial; actual from potential


Optimism :
“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.” ______Helen Keller
“I am an optimist. Anyone interested in the future has to be, otherwise he would simply shoot himself.” ______Arthur C. Clarke
There is but one truly serious philosophical problem and that is suicide. ______Albert Camus
"I would rather live my life as if there is a God and die to find out there isn't, than live as if there isn't and to die to find out that there is." ______Albert Camus


Evolution of Morality : www.amazon.com/Better-Angels-Our-Nature-...=8-2&keywords=pinker
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution_of_morality


The Mystery of Consciousness :
<<Many philosophers believe that if you grant real existence to consciousness you will be forced to some version of "dualism". . . . [or] we must eliminate consciousness by reducing it to something else (Daniel Dennett) . . . they deny the real existence of the conscious states they were supposed to explain . . . consciousness is a natural, biological phenomenon . . . [philosophical tradition says] the way out is to reject both dualism and materialism . . . the paradox is that consciousness is the condition that makes it possible for anything to matter to anyone.>> ______John Searle, The Mystery of Consciousness.

My personal worldview, like Searle's, is an attempt to give some universal meaning to the world, by explaining both Dualism & Monism; both Materialism & Spiritualism; both Science & Religion; both Quantum & Classical realities; both Realism & Idealism with a single axiomatic deity that bridges the apparent gap between those perennial dichotomies. d---0.o---b
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1 month 2 weeks ago - 1 month 1 week ago #61209 by gnomon


___This my attempt to illustrate the Reality versus Ideality concepts graphically, using Venn diagrams to show relationships. In the Reality worldview of materialism, God & Consciousness & Qualia are all figments of human imagination. All such immaterial ideas are merely epiphenomena of physical processes. The Ideality is just the inverse of Reality, in that Universe & Matter & Energy are figments of God's imagination. Sentient beings in the real world are able to perceive those phenomena because all Minds in reality are tiny fragments of the God Mind. The creative power of God in the world is what we know from Science as Energy, from which Matter emerges. In my philosophical worldview, I call that postulated divine power EnFormAction, the ability to give physical form to metaphysical concepts (Platonic Forms).
___Since this hypothetical conjecture goes beyond the scope of materialistic Science, it is not susceptible to empirical evidence. But it should be amenable to Philosophical logic, based on the axiom of an eternal deity who used the physical mechanism of a Big Bang to establish initial conditions and the physical parameters of space & time. The "nature" of that deity is impossible to define in natural terms, except to follow the chain of cause & effect to a point just prior to the Bang. A "Real" Prime Cause of the world could be imagined as the eternal physical process of evolution (Multiverse) cycling over & over without end, and without purpose. But an "Ideal" Creator of the Cosmos, may be envisioned as an eternal immaterial Mind, existing only as a principle of creativity (G*D), which could intentionally invent new worlds that differ only according to the caprice (momentary purpose) of divine intention. /see Intention below/ Since these two theories are essentially the same concept, except with the primacy of Matter & Mind reversed, which notion has the "ring of truth" may depend on a predisposition of the conjecturer.
___Realism tends to trivialize immaterial noumena, as having no practical force in the world. But Idealism accepts both phenomena (physical things) and noumena (metaphysics; ideas about things) as having significance for human thinkers. For example, Willpower (intention) gets things done in a manner complementary to the physical power of Energy. Realism is the product of an analytical reductive perspective, while Idealism stems from a synthetical holistic attitude. That's why I call Realism an Either/Or exclusive philosophy, and Idealism a Both/And inclusive worldview. Some questions require realistic answers, but some have only idealistic abstractions. And it's important to know the difference.
___Questions, comments, and criticism are welcome. :peace:

Epiphenomenon :
1. a secondary effect or byproduct that arises from but does not causally influence a process.
2. a mental state regarded as a byproduct of brain activity.


EnFormAction :
Literally, the act of enforming --- to fashion, to create.
Metaphorically, the Will of God flowing through the world
to cause evolutionary change in a teleological direction.
Derived from "Information" = Knowledge, Intelligence; Energy as inverse of Entropy.

Intention : How could a non-physical entity, existing without space or time, possess the power of creative intention? I don't know. But I also don't know how a gelatinous mass of physical neurons can generate consciousness and intention. So I'm guessing that the fundamental power of EnFormAction (creative energy) is able to generate both matter and mind. Matter serves as a mechanical device, and Mind is what the device does, its function. In that case, G*D would be an eternal creative process capable of enforming both substantial matter and ethereal mind as a temporary sub-process (a spin-off, if you will). Some imagine that self-existent process as an aimless chain or web of multiverses, but I prefer to think of it as a purposeful Enformer. In that case, our world (and ourselves) has a meaningful role, even though we can't see the destination over the time horizon.


Function : 1. An activity or purpose natural to or a property of a person or thing. The purpose for which something is designed or exists; role.
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1 month 6 days ago - 1 month 5 days ago #61210 by gnomon

The Cosmos is a Manifestation of God


Panendeism --- The God of Philosophers & Mystics
In 1828, the German philosopher Karl Christian
Friedrich Krause (1781–1832) seeking to reconcile
monotheism and pantheism, coined the term panentheism
(from the Ancient Greek expression πᾶν ἐν θεῷ, pān en
theṓ, literally “all in god”).


Varieties of Theism : Religious sages throughout the ages have presented a variety of ways to imagine the invisible deity who presumably animates & operates the otherwise mechanical natural world, and whom some assumed must have created & sustained the entire Cosmos. Yet the earliest notions of spirits & deities predated the concept of incomprehensible Cosmos or astronomical Universe, and even of the flat Earth as an enormous spherical world. Primitive Homo Sapiens had a circumscribed worldview limited to an area within a few days walk of their campsite. They may have heard rumors of strange places over in the next valley or on the other side of a river. But their gods were typically parochial, and identified with specific places. However, as humanity's knowledge of the physical world expanded, so too did their concept of powerful-but-mysterious deities. Animism, which envisioned magical spirits in all living things, eventually became formalized into Polytheism, with a variety of gods performing specialized tasks in running the world and ruling over humans. Eventually, Monotheism emerged as the preferred form of religion, first in Egypt as official deity of an ethnic group (henotheism) /see Varieties of Monotheism below/ , and later among the Hebrew tribes that evolved into Israelites and Jews, with their sacred scriptures. It is now the core belief among the Abrahamic religions, and the dominant god-model on the planet.

Varieties of MonoDeism : Most people today may not be aware that other forms of Monotheism actually predated the national God of Israel. Actually, the Israelites may have adopted the notion of a single universal deity from the Egyptian religion of pharaoh Akenaten, who may have ruled near the time of the Hebrew sojourn in that foreign land. Varied-but-similar notions of a single all-encompassing divine entity were held by the learned philosophers, sages, and scribes of several polytheistic societies. /see Types of Monotheism below/ Among those unitary god-constructs were the concepts of Deism, PanDeism, and PanEnDeism. Modern Deism was originally a variation on traditional MonoTheism, which rejected the divine authorship of ancient scriptures, and instead accepted the mundane scientific method of discerning truth about the world. Due to the skeptical attitude of Science, popular notions of anthro-morphic deities were rejected as merely projections and elaborations of human desires and feelings. Yet, the idea of some kind of universal causal power behind the scenes of natural processes was hard to dismiss. Consequently, the vague general notion of Deism, God is Nature, eventually evolved into more specific philosophical definitions of the necessary attributes & properties of The Deity. For example, if the deity was identified with empirical reality, that god-model was called PanDeism (PD), meaning “God is All Things” (i.e. the whole universe). But a few metaphysical thinkers concluded that the scope of the deity might extend beyond the physical space-time universe into uncharted regions of metaphysical eternity-infinity. That “God is Mind” notion was originally called PanEnTheism (PET), but in a further departure from anthro-morphic tradition, the amorphous behind-the-scenes Mind & Matter deity became known as PanEnDeism (PED). Some applications of PET retain aspects of the traditional Abrahamic concept of a masculine personal deity who loves his creatures. But PED typically views the deity as more like an eternal logical principle than as a humanoid being. Since the claimed miracles of Theism are believed rather than observed, the -deism appendix suggests the more scientific inference that the creation is evolving exactly as intended --- including Yin & Yang, good & evil features --- and requires no tinkering or intervening. However, as inferred from the reality around us, that abstract “ground of being" must possess the potential for emotional expressions and interpersonal relations, such as love, if not from god to human, then from human to human, or even as exemplified by many non-human creatures. In the PED definition, G*D encompasses not only all things in the space-time universe, but all possible things & qualia in the eternal-infinite realm of divine consciousness : the "mono-verse".

Historical examples of PED : The vaguely-defined & impersonal-abstract god-concept of Deism, and its more philosophically-specific variant PanEnDeism, is not normally held by the rank & file masses of world religions. Instead, such an arcane god-model is typically limited to a few metaphysical (philosophical) and mystical (magical) theorists, who allow more tangible god-models (idols) for their less-sophisticated fellows. I will discuss a few examples of those transcendent & intellectual counterparts to the more common mundane & concrete concepts of God. Bulleted quotes are excerpted from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panentheism :
___ 1. Perhaps the most famous philosopher ever, Plato (370 BC), seemed to tacitly believe in some kind of transcendent deity, but his later disciples, known as Neo-Platonists, developed a more detailed theory of that arcane alternative to traditional polytheistic deities.
● The religious beliefs of Neoplatonism can be regarded
as panentheistic. Plotinus taught that there was an ineffable
transcendent God ("the One", τὸ Ἕν) of which
subsequent realities were emanations. From “the One”
emanates the Divine Mind (Nous, Νοῦς) and the Cosmic
Soul (Psyche, Ψυχή). In Neoplatonism the world itself
is God (according to Plato's Timaeus 37). This concept
of divinity is associated with that of the Logos (Λόγος),
which had originated centuries earlier with Heraclitus

___ 2.a The roots of PanEnDeism go back to the earliest forms of civilization. For example, Hinduism (Vedas 1100 BC), though popularly Polytheistic, taught that all manifestations god in human form were actually avatars of the formless Brahman.
● The relationship between Brahman and the creation is often
thought to be panentheistic. . . .
In Kashmir Shaivism, all things are believed
to be a manifestation of Universal Consciousness
(Cit or Brahman).[28] So from the point of view of this
school, the phenomenal world (Śakti) is real, and it exists
and has its being in Consciousness (Cit).

___ 2.b Although, Buddhism is most commonly associated with China, Tibet, and Japan, its founder was a Hindu nobleman. The inwardly-focused Buddha (480 BC) advised his followers not to waste their time in idealist contemplation of invisible deities “out there”, but to concentrate on the pragmatic task of gaining control of the wayward human mind, mostly by inwardly-directed meditation. Yet, later Buddhist thinkers developed some notions of a hands-off deity similar to Brahman.
● At the outset, let me state that Buddhism
is not atheistic as the term is ordinarily understood.
It has certainly a God, the highest reality
and truth, through which and in which this universe
exists. However, the followers of Buddhism
usually avoid the term God, for it savors
so much of Christianity, whose spirit is
not always exactly in accord with the Buddhist
interpretation of religious experience. Again,
Buddhism is not pantheistic in the sense that it
identifies the universe with God. On the other
hand, the Buddhist God is absolute and transcendent;
this world, being merely its manifestation,
is necessarily fragmental and imperfect.
To define more exactly the Buddhist notion of
the highest being, it may be convenient to borrow
the term very happily coined by a modern
German scholar, “panentheism,” according
to which God is πᾶν καὶ ἕν (all and one) and
more than the totality of existence.


____ 2.c Taoism is the ancient Chinese philosophy (531 BC) that assumes the existence of an amorphous Principle or Force, which is equivalent to an abstraction of Nature. “The Tao” is usually translated as “The Way”, but it could also mean “doctrine” or “principle”. The power of that abstract force as applied within natural processes is called “chi”, and is equivalent to the modern term “energy”, except with implications of “life force” and “soul”, as well as mundane causative power. Confucianism (490 BC) is another pragmatic Chinese doctrine --- of political ethics & personal virtue rather than religious practices --- that makes little reference to gods, although the related popular religions are polytheistic or animistic. Like Buddhism, gods were not a major concern of utilitarian Confucian practice. When Confucius referred to “the mandate of Heaven” in his sayings, what he had in mind might be as mundane as Natural Law, or as abstract as The Tao. Which could be construed as a PanEnDeist position.
Taoism says that all is part of the eternal tao, and that all interact through qi.
● Confucius did believe, however, in the Great Ultimate (Tao),
which manifests itself in the I, or change.  Tao is the cause of I,
and generates Yang (energy) and Yin (a passive form). 
Together, Yin and Yang are seen as complementary symbols
of the energy and tension in a system of counter forces.
Tao, or the Great Ultimate, is the first-cause of the universe,
a force that flows through all life, but is not a personal being.
www.quora.com/Do-Confucians-believe-in-existence-of-God


___ 3. Some primitive and pagan religious worldviews have been categorized as PanEnTheistic. For example, the more “civilized & centralized” cultures in central & south America were officially polytheistic, with pantheons reflecting the stratified structure of their dynastic monarchical society. But the more loosely-organized tribes of “Indians”,including those in North America, tended to hold less anthro-morphic notions of deity, sometimes referred to generically as “Great Spirit”.
● While most pagan religions express a worldview that
is pantheistic, polytheistic, or animistic, there are some
monotheistic pagans.
● Native American beliefs in North America have been
characterized as panentheistic in that there is an emphasis
on a single, unified divine spirit that is manifest in
each individual entity. (North American Native writers
have also translated the word for God as the Great
Mystery or as the Sacred Other) This concept is
referred to by many as the Great Spirit. Philosopher J.
Baird Callicott has described Lakota theology as panentheistic,


___ 4. Although the Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are officially, and strictly, monotheistic & anthro-morphic, their mystical offshoots have often viewed the deity in more pantheistic & abstract terms. For example, the non-mainstream traditions of Jewish Kabballah, and Christian Gnosticism, and Islamic Sufism are often classified as PanEnTheistic.
● Lurianic Kabbalah, with its doctrine of
tzimtzum, can be regarded as panentheistic.
According to Hasidism, the infinite Ein Sof is incorporeal
and exists in a state that is both transcendent and
immanent.
● Gnosticism is panentheistic, believing that the true God is
simultaneously both separate from the physical universe
and present within it.
● Panentheism is also a feature of some Christian
philosophical theologies and resonates strongly within
the theological tradition of the Orthodox Church. It
also appears in some Roman Catholic mysticism and in
process theology.
● Several Sufi saints and thinkers, primarily Ibn Arabi, held
beliefs that have been considered panentheistic.These
notions later took shape in the theory of wahdat ul-wujud
(the Unity of All Things). Some Sufi Orders, notably the
Bektashis and the Universal Sufi movement, continue
to espouse panentheistic beliefs. Nizari Ismaili follow
panentheism according to Ismaili doctrine


Philosophical vs Magical PED : As noted above, PanDeism and PanEnDeism have been associated with several mystical traditions on the margins of mainstream monotheistic Abrahamic religions. Moreover, the modern emergence of New Age religions, may be based in part on the romantic implications of a god who embodies the world, and its creatures. Some of the mystical god-concepts may even have intuited, and presaged, a few of the mysterious metaphysical features of the Quantum levels of reality that have been discovered by 20th century Science. But the magical elements seem to be ancient mythical notions added on top of Quantum science by presumption, rather than by rational inference or empirical inductance (conclusions based on evidence). Consequently, the more secular versions of Deism and PED tend to eschew the popular mind-over-matter magic, and belief in direct communion with god, as exemplified in the Star Wars mythology of the all-pervading Force. More subtle aspects of preternatural PD & PED are found in paranormal theories of PSI/ESP, Psychokinetics, Spiritualism, and OOBE/Near-Death Experiences. But, for those less romantically inclined, PED can be interpreted as completely natural from quirky Quantum foundations to apparently intentional Cosmic development. One form of naturalistic PED is the Process Theology of A.N. Whitehead and Charles Hartshorne, which describes the evolution of the physical world as if it is a thought process in the Mind of God. Magic is a form of mind-control, while PED is an example of a mind taking control of its own beliefs.

PED Coda : This brief overview of the PanEnDeism god-concept should support the conclusion that it has been a minor thread in religion and philosophy throughout the ages, but never an integral component of popular religions. That's why I call PED the God of philosophers and mystics. In its mystical form, it still has a religious function, in that The Divine Force can be called upon for intervention in the non-human-centric machinations of Nature. But as a more secular philosophy, it can be combined with ethical doctrines of personal virtue, such as Greek Stoicism and Chinese Confucianism. Plus it can, without logical contradiction, add narrative structure to isolated facts, lending some cosmic & personal meaning to the materialistic & mechanical theories of Modern Science. :peace:



Panentheism : en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panentheism

PanEnDeism : same as Panentheism, except with the anti-revelation pro-science implications of Deism.

Philosophical & Scientific Panendeism :
“I believe in Spinoza's God, who reveals Himself in the lawful harmony of the world, not in a God who concerns Himself with the fate and the doings of mankind... “ ______ Albert Einstein
<< Many scholars would argue that “panentheism” is the best single-word description of the philosophical theology of
Baruch Spinoza.>> en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panentheism


Varieties of Monotheism :
Exclusive Monotheism: The belief that there is only one deity,
and that all other claimed deities are false and not to be worshiped.
Inclusive monotheism: One god in many forms (e.g. Brahmanism).
An ethnic deity has a monopoly on worship by his chosen people.
Elohim was an inclusive deity of Hebrews & Canaanites, until
Yahweh became the official exclusive deity of Israelites.
Substance Monotheism: all gods are immaterial spirits, a substance different from matter.
Pantheism: Deity identified with Nature. (e.g. the body & soul of the world)
Panentheism: eternal Deity manifested in space-time creation.
Deism: Deity is inferred from observations of nature.
Henotheism: official god of an ethnic group.
Monolatrism (or Monolatry): Similar to Inclusive Monotheism.



Types of Monotheism :
www.philosophybasics.com/branch_monotheism.html
Exclusive Monotheism:
The belief that there is only one deity, and that all other claimed deities are distinct from it and false. The Abrahamic religions, and the Hindu denomination of Vaishnavism (which regards the worship of anyone other than Vishnu as incorrect) are examples of Exclusive Monotheism.
Inclusive monotheism:
The belief that there is only one deity, and that all other claimed deities are just different names for it. The Hindu denomination of Smartism is an example of Inclusive Monotheism.
Substance Monotheism:
The belief (found in some indigenous African religions) that the many gods are just different forms of a single underlying substance.
Pantheism:
The belief in one God who is equivalent to Nature or the physical universe, or that everything is of an all-encompassing immanent abstract God.
Panentheism (or PanEnDeism):
The belief (also known as Monistic Monotheism), similar to Pantheism, that the physical universe is joined to, or an integral part of, God, but stressing that God is greater than (rather than equivalent to) the universe.
Deism:
A form of monotheism in which it is believed that one God exists, but that this God does not intervene in the world, or interfere with human life and the laws of the universe. It posits a non-interventionist creator who permits the universe to run itself according to natural laws.
Henotheism:
The devotion to a single god while accepting the existence of other gods, and without denying that others can with equal truth worship different gods. It has been called "monotheism in principle and polytheism in fact".
Monolatrism (or Monolatry):
The belief in the existence of many gods, but with the consistent worship of only one deity. Unlike Henotheism, Monolatrism asserts that there is only one god who is worthy of worship, though other gods are known to exist. This is really more Polytheism than Monotheism.
Misotheism:
The belief that a God exists, but is actually evil. The English word was coined by Thomas de Quincey in 1846. Strictly speaking, the term connotes an attitude of hatred towards God, rather than making a statement about His nature.
Dystheism:
The belief that a God exists, but is not wholly good, or possibly even evil (as opposed to eutheism, the belief that God exists and is wholly good). There are various examples of arguable dystheism in the Bible.
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1 month 6 days ago #61211 by gnomon

The Cosmos is a Manifestation of God


Panendeism --- The God of Philosophers & Mystics
In 1828, the German philosopher Karl Christian
Friedrich Krause (1781–1832) seeking to reconcile
monotheism and pantheism, coined the term panentheism
(from the Ancient Greek expression πᾶν ἐν θεῷ, pān en
theṓ, literally “all in god”).


Varieties of Theism : Religious sages throughout the ages have presented a variety of ways to imagine the invisible deity who presumably animates & operates the otherwise mechanical natural world, and whom some assumed must have created & sustained the entire Cosmos. Yet the earliest notions of spirits & deities predated the concept of incomprehensible Cosmos or astronomical Universe, and even of the flat Earth as an enormous spherical world. Primitive Homo Sapiens had a circumscribed worldview limited to an area within a few days walk of their campsite. They may have heard rumors of strange places over in the next valley or on the other side of a river. But their gods were typically parochial, and identified with specific places. However, as humanity's knowledge of the physical world expanded, so too did their concept of powerful-but-mysterious deities. Animism, which envisioned magical spirits in all living things, eventually became formalized into Polytheism, with a variety of gods performing specialized tasks in running the world and ruling over humans. Eventually, Monotheism emerged as the preferred form of religion, first in Egypt, and later among the Hebrew tribes that evolved into Israelites and Jews, with their sacred scriptures. It is now the core belief among the Abrahamic religions, and the dominant god-model on the planet.

Varieties of MonoDeism : Most people today may not be aware that other forms of Monotheism actually predated the national God of Israel. Actually, the Israelites may have adopted the notion of a single universal deity from the Egyptian religion of pharaoh Akenaten, who may have ruled during the time of the Hebrew sojourn in that foreign land. Varied-but-similar notions of a single all-encompassing divine entity were held by the learned philosophers, sages, and scribes of several polytheistic societies. /see Kinds below/ Among those unitary god-constructs were the concepts of Deism, PanDeism, and PanEnDeism. Modern Deism was originally a variation on traditional MonoTheism, which rejected the divine authorship of ancient scriptures, and instead accepted the mundane scientific method of discerning truth about the world. Due to the skeptical attitude of Science, popular notions of anthro-morphic deities were rejected as merely projections and elaborations of human desires and feelings. Yet, the idea of some kind of universal causal power behind the scenes of natural processes was hard to dismiss. Consequently, the vague general notion of Deism, God is Nature, eventually evolved into more specific philosophical definitions of the necessary attributes & properties of The Deity. For example, if the deity was identified with empirical reality, that god-model was called PanDeism (PD), meaning “God is All Things” (i.e. the whole universe). But a few metaphysical thinkers concluded that the scope of the deity might extend beyond the physical space-time universe into uncharted regions of metaphysical eternity-infinity. That “God is Mind” notion was originally called PanEnTheism (PET), but in a further departure from anthro-morphic tradition, the amorphous behind-the-scenes Mind & Matter deity became known as PanEnDeism (PED). Some applications of PET retain aspects of the traditional Abrahamic concept of a masculine personal deity who loves his creatures. But PED typically views the deity as more like an eternal logical principle than as a humanoid being. However, as inferred from the reality around us, that abstract “ground of being" must possess the potential for emotional expressions and interpersonal relations, such as love, if not from god to human, then from human to human, or even as exemplified by many non-human creatures.

Historical examples of PED : The vaguely-defined & impersonal-abstract god-concept of Deism, and its more scientifically specific varient PanEnDeism, is not normally held by the rank & file masses of world religions. Instead, such an arcane god-model is typically limited to a few metaphysical (philosophical) and mystical (magical) theorists, who allow more tangible god-models for their less-sophisticated fellows. I will discuss a few examples of those transcendent & intellectual counterparts to the more common mundane & concrete concepts of God. Bulleted quotes are excerpted from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panentheism :
___ 1. Perhaps the most famous philosopher ever, Plato (370 BC), seemed to believe in some kind of transcendent deity, but his later disciples, known as Neo-Platonists, developed a more detailed theory of that arcane alternative to polytheistic popular deities.
● The religious beliefs of Neoplatonism can be regarded
as panentheistic. Plotinus taught that there was an ineffable
transcendent God ("the One", τὸ Ἕν) of which
subsequent realities were emanations. From “the One”
emanates the Divine Mind (Nous, Νοῦς) and the Cosmic
Soul (Psyche, Ψυχή). In Neoplatonism the world itself
is God (according to Plato's Timaeus 37). This concept
of divinity is associated with that of the Logos (Λόγος),
which had originated centuries earlier with Heraclitus

___ 2.a The roots of PanEnDeism go back to the earliest forms of civilization. For example, Hinduism (Vedas 1100 BC), though popularly Polytheistic, taught that all manifestations god in human form were actually avatars of the formless Brahman.
● The relationship between Brahman and the creation is often
thought to be panentheistic. . . .
In Kashmir Shaivism, all things are believed
to be a manifestation of Universal Consciousness
(Cit or Brahman).[28] So from the point of view of this
school, the phenomenal world (Śakti) is real, and it exists
and has its being in Consciousness (Cit).

___ 2.b Although, Buddhism is most commonly associated with China, Tibet, and Japan, its founder was a Hindu nobleman. The Buddha (480 BC) advised his followers not to waste their time in idealist contemplation of invisible deities “out there”, but to focus on the pragmatic task of gaining control of the wayward human mind, mostly by inwardly directed meditation. Yet, later Buddhist thinkers developed some notions of a hands-off deity similar to Brahman.
● At the outset, let me state that Buddhism
is not atheistic as the term is ordinarily understood.
It has certainly a God, the highest reality
and truth, through which and in which this universe
exists. However, the followers of Buddhism
usually avoid the term God, for it savors
so much of Christianity, whose spirit is
not always exactly in accord with the Buddhist
interpretation of religious experience. Again,
Buddhism is not pantheistic in the sense that it
identifies the universe with God. On the other
hand, the Buddhist God is absolute and transcendent;
this world, being merely its manifestation,
is necessarily fragmental and imperfect.
To define more exactly the Buddhist notion of
the highest being, it may be convenient to borrow
the term very happily coined by a modern
German scholar, “panentheism,” according
to which God is πᾶν καὶ ἕν (all and one) and
more than the totality of existence.


____ 2.c Taoism is the ancient Chinese philosophy (531 BC) that assumes the existence of an amorphous Principle or Force, which is equivalent to an abstraction of Nature. “The Tao” is usually translated as “The Way”, but it could also mean “doctrine” or “principle”. The power of that abstract force as applied within natural processes is called “chi”, and is equivalent to the modern term “energy”, except with implications of “life force” and “soul”, as well as mundane causative power. Confucianism (490 BC) is another pragmatic Chinese doctrine --- of political ethics & personal virtue rather than religious practices --- that makes little reference to gods, although the related popular religions are polytheistic or animistic. Like Buddhism, gods were not a major concern of utilitarian Confucian practice. When Confucius referred to “the mandate of Heaven” in his sayings, what he had in mind might be as mundane as Natural Law, or as abstract as The Tao. Which could be construed as a PanEnDeist position.
Taoism says that all is part of the eternal tao, and that all interact through qi.
● Confucius did believe, however, in the Great Ultimate (Tao),
which manifests itself in the I, or change. Tao is the cause of I,
and generates Yang (energy) and Yin (a passive form).
Together, Yin and Yang are seen as complementary symbols
of the energy and tension in a system of counter forces.
Tao, or the Great Ultimate, is the first-cause of the universe,
a force that flows through all life, but is not a personal being.
www.quora.com/Do-Confucians-believe-in-existence-of-God


___ 3. Some primitive and pagan religious worldviews have been categorized as PanEnTheistic. For example, the more “civilized & centralized” cultures in central & south America were officially polytheistic, with pantheons reflecting the stratified structure of their dynastic monarchical society. But the more loosely-organized tribes of “Indians”,including North America, tended to hold less amthro-morphic notions of deity, sometimes referred to generically as “Great Spirit”.
● Native American beliefs in North America have been
characterized as panentheistic in that there is an emphasis
on a single, unified divine spirit that is manifest in
each individual entity. (North American Native writers
have also translated the word for God as the Great
Mystery or as the Sacred Other) This concept is
referred to by many as the Great Spirit. Philosopher J.
Baird Callicott has described Lakota theology as panentheistic,


___ 4. Although the Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are officially, and strictly, monotheistic & anthro-morphic, their mystical offshoots have often viewed the deity in more pantheistic & abstract terms. For example, the non-mainstream traditions of Jewish Kabballah, and Christian Gnosticism, and Islamic Sufism are often classified as PanEnTheistic.
● Lurianic Kabbalah, with its doctrine of
tzimtzum, can be regarded as panentheistic.
According to Hasidism, the infinite Ein Sof is incorporeal
and exists in a state that is both transcendent and
immanent.
● Gnosticism is panentheistic, believing that the true God is
simultaneously both separate from the physical universe
and present within it.
● Panentheism is also a feature of some Christian
philosophical theologies and resonates strongly within
the theological tradition of the Orthodox Church. It
also appears in some Roman Catholic mysticism and in
process theology.
● Several Sufi saints and thinkers, primarily Ibn Arabi, held
beliefs that have been considered panentheistic.These
notions later took shape in the theory of wahdat ul-wujud
(the Unity of All Things). Some Sufi Orders, notably the
Bektashis and the Universal Sufi movement, continue
to espouse panentheistic beliefs. Nizari Ismaili follow
panentheism according to Ismaili doctrine


Philosophical vs Magical PED : As noted above, PanDeism and PanEnDeism have been associated with several mystical traditions on the margins of mainstream monotheistic Abrahamic religions. Moreover, the modern emergence of New Age religions, may be based in part on the romantic implications of a god who embodies the world, and its creatures. Some of their various god-concepts may even have intuited, and presaged, a few of the mysterious metaphysical features of the Quantum levels of reality that have been discovered by 20th century Science. But the magical elements seem to be ancient mythical notions added on top of Quantum science by presumption, rather than by rational inference or empirical inductance (conclusions based on evidence). Consequently, the more secular versions of Deism and PED tend to eschew the popular mind-over-matter magic, and belief in direct communion with god, as exemplified in the Star Wars mythology of the all-pervading Force. More subtle aspects of preternatural PD & PED are found in paranormal theories of PSI/ESP, Psychokinetics, Spiritualism, and OOBE/Near-Death Experiences. But, for those less romantically inclined, PED can be interpreted as completely natural from quirky Quantum foundations to apparently intentional Cosmic development. One form of naturalistic PED is the Process Theology of A.N. Whitehead and Charles Hartshorne, which describes the evolution of the physical world as if it is a thought process in the Mind of God.

PED Coda : This brief overview of the PanEnDeism god-concept should support the conclusion that it has been a minor thread in religion and philosophy throughout the ages, but never an integral component of popular religions. That's why I call PED the God of philosophers and mystics. In its mystical form, it is still close to a religion, in that The Divine Force can be called upon for intervention in the non-human-centric machinations of Nature. But as a more secular philosophy, it can be combined with ethical doctrines of personal virtue, such as Greek Stoicism and Chinese Confucianism. Plus it can, without logical contradiction, add narrative structure to isolated facts, lending some cosmic & personal meaning to the materialistic & mechanical theories of Modern Science. :peace:



Panentheism : en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panentheism

PanEnDeism : same as Panentheism, except with the anti-revelation pro-science implications of Deism.

Philosophical & Scientific Panendeism :
“I believe in Spinoza's God, who reveals Himself in the lawful harmony of the world, not in a God who concerns Himself with the fate and the doings of mankind... “ ______ Albert Einstein
<< Many scholars would argue that “panentheism” is the best single-word description of the philosophical theology of
Baruch Spinoza.>> en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panentheism


Kinds of Monotheism :
Exclusive Monotheism: The belief that there is only one deity, and that all other claimed deities are distinct from it and false. ...
Inclusive monotheism: ...
Substance Monotheism: ...
Pantheism: ...
Panentheism: ...
Deism: ...
Henotheism: ...
Monolatrism (or Monolatry):

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