Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

The idea of pantheism

  1. Apr 29, 2010 #1
    I was reading about Spinoza on wiki and wondering what others think.

    Is the idea of pantheism or whatever it's called, that God-Nature is the same thing, really all that incompatible with the anthropomorphic idea of God as a being?

    I tend to take Karl Jung's route to understanding God/divinity in terms of cultural archetypes. Basically, I'm thinking that one could view Spinoza's God-Nature as the overall existence of the creation (i.e. nature) as self-perpetuating divinity and regard the personification of anthropomorphic images of a God-creator as part of God-Nature, i.e. the part that facilitates human identification with divine creative-power as provided to them by God-Nature.

    I know there are rules on religious discussions, so hopefully I'm not violating these by initiating a thread by mentioning Spinoza's philosophy of divinity. If so, I don't mind if people disregard this aspect of Spinoza's philosophy and discuss other aspects instead.

    I am not looking to have a debate about what God is - just studying the philosophical ideas and trying to learn some more about Spinoza in the process.
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 29, 2010 #2
    Re: Spinoza

    Joseph Campbell, a mythology scholar and Jungian, summed it up:

    "God is a metaphor for that which trancends all levels of intellectual thought. It's as simple as that."

    God is your greatest potential, your deepest indentity.

    I think Campbell and Jung are the best on this subject.

    "Mythology is often thought of as other people's religions, and religion can be defined as mis-interpreted mythology."


  4. Apr 30, 2010 #3
    Re: Spinoza

    Yes. Spinoza clearly defines attributes of G-D and clearly proves G-D exists.
    But it's not the monotheistic G-D.

    Spinoza's G-D is only pantheistic if you define everything to be only a part of G-d (a mode).

    Otherwise no.

    you need to thoroughly read http://www.yesselman.com if you want a deeper understanding of his work.
  5. May 2, 2010 #4
    Re: Spinoza

    Wouldn't that be panentheistic? Pantheism tends to identify nature and the universe with God, whereas panentheism sees this as only a small part of God.
  6. May 2, 2010 #5
    Re: Spinoza

    Is that the term? As I said Spinoza's G-D is only pantheistic if you define everything to be only a part of G-d (a mode).

    People often mistaken pantheism for Spinozist's G-D. This is also why Einstein never considered himself to be a pantheist but endorsed a Spinozist G-D.
  7. May 3, 2010 #6
    Re: Spinoza

    Well I'm not particularly familiar with Spinoza' philosophy, but what you wrote above sounded like what I have read on panentheism. There is a section on his wikipedia page called "Panentheist, pantheist, or atheist?", which seems to argue that he was a panentheist (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baruch_Spinoza#Panentheist.2C_pantheist.2C_or_atheist.3F).
  8. May 3, 2010 #7
    Re: Spinoza

    Would a god not need to be encompassing all of the universe, and be outside of it? To compute the universe and set it in motion, a creator would have to be apart from it, and a part of it. For us, is this not the same as saying the universe is god? This to me, seems a way to believe in something bigger, without assigning a real identity; Occam's Razor should cut that away, leaving us with nature alone.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook