Saturday, December 5, 2009

Pantheism: The Spiritual Metaphor

Pantheism is sexed up atheism” – Richard Dawkins

        What comes to mind when we hear “sexed up atheism”? If it’s a hedonistic sex addicted atheism, you may have to reconsider – but don’t get your hopes up too soon. Just as sex is pleasurable, natural, and perhaps even a spiritual experience: so is pantheism.  So what is it?

       Pantheism states that God is all. It is basically a form of atheism that uses spiritual or religious terms as a metaphor for the natural world. All of nature is revered and looked at with a sense wonder and awe. The word God can also be synonymous with the words truth and love.  As with any worldview, there are many variations in pantheistic perspectives between individuals; the common element is merely the lack of belief in god as a transcendent deity and acceptance of the metaphorical use of spiritual and religious terminology.

      Some Pantheists view god as being the whole of physical existence, while humanity is just a part interconnected with everything else within God. Just as our cells make up our bodies, we are a minuscule part of a much grander scheme that, from our perspective, we can never grasp in whole. As Richard Dawkins also states, “The universe is queerer than we can suppose”.

     We can only use symbols to describe spiritual matters. As Lacanian theory posits, the symbol (the metaphor) can never fully represent the symbolized (the true nature of the universe) we are always at a disconnect from the true reality. As all religions use their own metaphors to explain the unknown, pantheists use these metaphors in nature and the physical world to create a spirituality that interconnected with all of existence.

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