Talk:Panentheism

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Untitled[edit]

Questions for someone knowledgable to answer about panentheism - Who 'invented' it? When? Where? Why? How did it spread?

This way of thinkjing about God has been around for many centuries, if not milennia. I know that it has existed in the Kabbalah (esoteric Jewish mysticism) for nearly a milennia. However, I believe that the formal name for this view of God wasn't invented by someone until the early 1800s. RK

> Is it a common/popular belief today?

Many Chasidic Orthodox Jews, and many Conservative and Reform Jews, have views of God that are basically panentheistic, even if they themselves don't use this formal philosophical term. This view of God is mainstream among those who adhere to process theology and process philosophy. RK

Was it common/popular at any other stage in history? If possible - are there any specific fact/figures/dates that should go with this entry?

Panentheism is the classical Christian view over Supernatural Theism. Supernatural Theism is a commonly used way of viewing God as a commander living "out there". Borg discusses Supernatural Theism as something he was taught as a young boy in Sunday school which later turned him into an atheist. He later discovered Panentheism which "made sense" and he regained his relationship with God.

Yes, it goes back to at least the Ancient Aryans of Northern India, long before the Kabbalah, within their sacred Sanskrit writings of the Vedas, Upanishads, and within the B. Gita. See cosmotheism which term goes back to at least Ancient Egyptian-Greek times, and which idea may have also been transmitted from Ancient Aryan India.


Just a note: I moved the contrast/link to Pantheism up to the top because the definition here read like a response to something else which was left unspecified until the very end of the article, which left me a bit confused. --Brion 22:11 Aug 18, 2002 (PDT)



I have greatly expanded the "Panentheism in Christianity" section, outlining the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox doctrine of panentheism. Evidently, it looks like a single term manages to describe two very different things.Dogface 18:35, 12 May 2004 (UTC)


Should the pandeism section removed be added back??? Falphin 02:41, 2 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Please don't flame me if I get the etiquette wrong, I just wanted to point out that to claim that Neoplatonists are polytheirstic is highy debatable and the weight of academic debate comes down fro a panenthentheistic monotheism, or even emanationist, but not polytheism as is commonly understood today. If Neoplatonists are polytheistic, then so is Christianity, hope that makes sense?== pantheism/panentheism ==

It might be good if we decide which forms of Hinduism are pantheist, which are panentheist, and which are neither. I suspect that they are all a mix of pantheism and panentheism, but lets discuss! ¸,ø¤º°`°º¤ø,¸¸,ø¤º°`°º¤ø,¸¸,ø¤º°`°º¤ø,¸ 23:53, 16 July 2005 (UTC)

Raj2004 has been generous enough to tell me the following:

The schools of Hinduism that are panentheistic include Ramanuja, and Kashmir Shaivism, see http://www.kashmirshaivism.org/introduction.html The schools of Hinduism that are pantheistic are those of Sankara. Kasmir saivism rejected the maya theory.

another link (not from raj) is: [1]

¸,ø¤º°`°º¤ø,¸¸,ø¤º°`°º¤ø,¸¸,ø¤º°`°º¤ø,¸ 02:33, 17 July 2005 (UTC)

There's some inconsistency in the Modern usage section. Einstein believes in Spinoza's God, but Spinoza's God is a pantheist God. Modern usage should be deleted, as it makes no sense. 130.245.250.52 (talk) 03:33, 3 November 2011 (UTC)

Panentheism in Judaism[edit]

I am removing this statement "More strictly, since this doctrine states that the universe is God yet God is more than the universe, it is a type of pantheism. Non-Hasidic Orthodox Jews viewed this theology as heretical. However, after the schism between Hasidic and non-Hasidic Orthodox Jews closed in the mid 1800s, the panenthist aspects of the Hasidic thought were largely abandoned. " Because although the terms used are more commonly found with those that believe in pantheism, the belief that Chasidim have is really that G-d is the animating force behind everything and therefore everything is really nulified before G-d, because G-d can stop giving the life force to the world. See Shaar Yichud Vemunah in Tanya and Lekutei sichas #12, pg 74-75 footnote # 30 and it's footnote. --PinchasC | £€åV€ m€ å m€§§åg€ 04:15, 27 December 2005 (UTC)

I would suggest that the characterisation of panentheism as a fringe belief within Orthodox Judaism is judgmental, and has no place in the wikipedia. I know many Orthodox Jews, and a few Rabbis, who are explicitly comfortable with the idea of panentheism, and find that it refelcts their own beliefs. Lee-Anne (talk) 00:35, 3 July 2009 (UTC)

God/Goddess and "Primitive" Cultures[edit]

The article has the statement, "Modern anthropologists have discovered that virtually all the aboriginees [sic] of various continents have deep panentheistic worldviews when they have the concept of a Goddess (there are vanishingly few male-centric gods in primitive tribes)...." This second half of this statement seems to me to be debatable; at the least, it needs to be documented, in my view. Is there a database as to how many "primitive" people have gods, and how many goddesses? And don't many have deities that are more or less impersonal (e.g. the concept of Wakan Tanka of the Lakota or the numen of the earliest Romans)? Also, what is "primitive"? In this context it seems to mean "hunter-gatherer" or "pre-agricultural", but this ought to be clarified.

At one time a widely held view had it that pre-agricultural peoples worshipped the "Great Mother" or the "Great Goddess". In recent years, this has been increasingly controversial. See, for example, The Myth of Matriarchal Prehistory by Cynthia Eller and In the Wake of the Goddesses by Tikva Frymer-Kensky. Many still hold the belief of the primacy of goddesses (or the Goddess), but it seems from what I've read no longer to be the dominant viewpoint. At the very least, evidence is ambiguous. Should this be reflected in the article, or should there at least be documentation? --—Preceding unsigned comment added by Turmarion (talkcontribs) December 29, 2005

I find the sentence "There are more archeological records of panentheistic cultures than any other variety in the hunter-gatherer societies" baffling. How exactly can you have archaeological records of panentheism? Did ancient peoples carve "by the way, this is a symbolic representation of the animating principle of the universe" onto their religious articles? This completely undocumented section really mars the rest of this article. --—Preceding unsigned comment added by 86.36.43.175 (talk)
I agree with Turmarion that that the reasoning in that paragraph needs to be explained and sourced. I have added a{{verify source}} tag, but if no-one comes forward to source it, someone should be bold and delete the paragraph. --Hroðulf (or Hrothulf) (Talk) 13:16, 15 August 2006 (UTC)

Panentheism in Hinduism[edit]

Wouldn't Sankara's entire enterprise be considered panentheistic? The notion of Advaita itself carries the ontological tension between transcendence and immanence. I would be inclined to think that the transcendent, unchanging, impersonal nature of God in his metaphysics, combined with the idea of God's sustaining presence in creation, fits pretty squarely within the tenets of panentheism. Quigonpaj 15:34, 9 March 2006 (UTC)


criticism??[edit]

Are there any significant critics of the Panentheist philosophy? This would be an interesting section to add. Who does or does not traditionally fall within this conception? Fundamentalist Islamists? ? Liberal Christians? Atheists? Wiccans? MPS 23:26, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

From reading the talk page about Bishop John Spong, the conservatives and fundamentalist Christians who oppose him are strongly against Panentheism. Spong and other more liberal theologians like Marcus Borg are embracing it more and more at the current time. 202.138.16.98 00:41, 4 September 2007 (UTC)

Native Americans?[edit]

The article currently states that most Native Americans were panentheistic, except the (monotheistic) Cherokee. Many monotheistic groups (Judaism, Eastern Orthodox Christianity) are panentheistic as well according to the article, so surely these are not mutually exclusive? I would describe most (North American) Native religions as panentheistic and monotheistic, but with a recognition of other spirits. (Various Mesoamerican groups were polytheistic.) Vultur 15:31, 12 July 2007 (UTC)

Perhaps they should be described as Henotheistic and Panentheistic rather than as Monotheistic and/or Panentheistic as various Native American groups believed in the existence of both an imminent Panentheistic god and a pantheon of other gods, goddesses and spirits.--Fang 23 (talk) 04:33, 2 February 2008 (UTC)

Moved New Thought Movement section[edit]

I have moved the "New Thought Movement" section to be a subsection of "Panentheism in Religion." New Thought is a religious or spiritual belief system; therefore this section should go under the Religion section of this article, rather than have its own section. Shiningdove (talk) 19:29, 16 July 2008 (UTC)

The Baha'i Faith section of this page[edit]

This section is basically undeciperable. It should either be edited, with substantiation, or removed. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 71.199.71.89 (talk) 06:52, 4 August 2008 (UTC)

The Baha'i Faith section of this page[edit]

This section is basically undeciperable. It should either be edited, with substantiation, or removed.

Ignore the previous statement. Someone edited it since I pointed out the problem on a listserv this morning. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 71.199.71.89 (talk) 06:54, 4 August 2008 (UTC)

The new age section looks like WP:OR[edit]

The discussion of the Jane Roberts material looks like analysis, and seems to me to come to an incorrect conclusion at that; her views seem to be pantheistic. Also, it's not clear to me how much she should be used as an expert on the New Age in general. Can we get some citations from experts/analysts? Mangoe (talk) 20:52, 17 October 2008 (UTC)

EO section is getting a bit POV[edit]

The section on Eastern/Oriental Orthodox theology is drifting into projecting non-panentheistic onto other Christian theologies. If a contrast is going to be made, actual evidence is going to have to be produced of what other Christians believe. My impression is that the only significant difference may well be the EO use of the "energies" language. Mangoe (talk) 04:05, 2 November 2008 (UTC)

Well I tried to add parts of the Palamas stance from the Philokalia to the article. I figured it would get reverted. Suprise, it was. What I added can be sourced but everything now on wikipedia is an edit war. And I am tired. It is old. The differences for the record however are massive. If you are interested here is but one difference. [2] You know this is but one difference there are more. The entire afterlife according to Orthodoxy is completely different then in RC and Protestantism. As for Panentheism. Well you can read here [3] for yourself. The word is not used so much by Orthodox theologians except maybe Alexei V. Nesteruk. Because the word begins to treat God's immanence as not immanent. But rather an extension of God which of course is back to Augustine. LoveMonkey (talk) 14:05, 2 November 2008 (UTC)
I don't have a problem with explaining how the Palamite theory is panetheistic. The problem material is the polemics against western theology. Orthodox apologetics are reliable sources for Orthodox theology, but not for western theology.
I'm willing to make a go at editing out the anti-western contrasting, but I'm going to need someone Orthodox to make sure I haven't made a hash of the Palamite material. Mangoe (talk) 23:03, 2 November 2008 (UTC)
I fear I am missing something here. Most modern Orthodox theologians ARE anti-Western theology. Romanides, Florevsky, Lossky are all anti-Western its in their works. I am sorry but they are a source of the content in themselves and they are not alone. I have been trying to explain to a Protestant historical biblical editor on here (Wikipedia) that its not any Orthodox lay person per se it literally is the theologians themselves this includes Seraphim Rose and hes American. Please clarify, I mean why be Orthodox if you feel any different. Sobornost is pretty much the guidelines that ecumenism follows but this is very contingent, though. Bad blood is bad blood, Wiki policies and guidelines or not. LoveMonkey (talk) 23:17, 2 November 2008 (UTC)
The point is that they are only good sources for Orthodox theology; they are not good sources for Catholic or Anglican or other Western theological systems. If Seraphim Rose (to take the most egregious offender) says that western theologians look at things in thus and such a way, that is not a good enough authority for Wikipedia to claim that the westerners do think that way. Rose in particular is an apologist, and in my experience he is not a reliable witness to to beliefs of his opponents. If it is necessary to present that these theologians differentiate themselves from the west, it has to made clear that they do not speak for scholarship, but only for themselves.
I'm also seeing another problem which has only become apparent on rereading the article closely. It's not clear to me that the passage is even saying that EO theology is panentheistic. It seems to be saying that, if it is panentheistic, it is so in a manner that is different from western theology. That turns the whole thing into a WP:COATRACK for anti-western controversialism. At the very least the bit about "a fundamentalist panentheism" in that the highly pejorative "fundamentalist" is quite unclear. I'm not at all sure that the real fundamentalism has any opinions at all about the matter, but it also seems that the passage may mean a (terminologically) "strict" panentheism-- in which case "fundamentalist" is a misleading word choice. I'm inclined to strike the whole paragraph as it stands. Mangoe (talk) 04:56, 3 November 2008 (UTC)

LoveMonket response to the Mangoe[edit]

Mangoe posted
The point is that they are only good sources for Orthodox theology; they are not good sources for Catholic or Anglican or other Western theological systems.


LoveMonkey's reply
Where was sourcing of the Catholic or Protestants sections in the article ever done using Orthodox theologians? As far as I can tell no where. If you have found out where any other groups theological position where sourced by polemical Orthodox remove them. I won't revert. So again I seem to be missing why what Orthodox theologians say about Orthodox theology should not go in the Orthodox theological section. Why are you interpreting wiki policy to say that a positions sources are invalid and unwikipedian when they are reflective of that group? That makes no sense.


Mangoe wrote
If Seraphim Rose (to take the most egregious offender) says that western theologians look at things in thus and such a way, that is not a good enough authority for Wikipedia to claim that the westerners do think that way.


LoveMonkey's reply
This point seems to me to be confused on your end. You have confused two points as if they are one and the same. First point that within the confines of this article that Seraphim speaks for anyone outside of Orthodoxy. 2. That by posting what someone says Wikipedia then by simply posting it endorses that person and that person's position. Only you are saying that. Neither point is valid.


Mangoe wrote
Rose in particular is an apologist, and in my experience he is not a reliable witness to to beliefs of his opponents. If it is necessary to present that these theologians differentiate themselves from the west, it has to made clear that they do not speak for scholarship, but only for themselves.


LoveMonkey's reply
All of this is your opinion Mangoe, if you can prove where any of these individuals has been addressed by scholars and their work invalidated as such please post it. Each of the above formentioned individuals have their own respective wiki article pages and nothing is stopping you from posting that they should no longer be considered valid in their respective fields and or cultures. Did yhey as scholars not provide sources, do you have one to validate your critieria as you have outlined it? I will say at best you will be perceived as Western-Eurocentric POV pushing. This is the problem John Romanides and George Florovsky and Seraphim Rose had with the WCC. NPOV does not mean to not have a point view, it means to post all major points of view and to balance out the article to reflect that. Professor and Father Romanides will not loss his degree in theology no matter what kind of impossible logic for censuring someone position you take Mangoe. Censured because people dont like the message.


Mangoe wrote
I'm also seeing another problem which has only become apparent on rereading the article closely. It's not clear to me that the passage is even saying that EO theology is panentheistic.


LoveMonkey's reply
It would probably be clearer to you if you looked on the article history page. Where it shows I edited the section and then another editor came in and removed all of the clarifications I added and the other editor removed and replaced with ambigious confusing terminology. LoveMonkey (talk) 19:03, 5 December 2008 (UTC)


Mangoe wrote
I'm also seeing another problem which has only become apparent on rereading the article closely. It's not clear to me that the passage is even saying that EO theology is panentheistic. It seems to be saying that, if it is panentheistic, it is so in a manner that is different from western theology. That turns the whole thing into a WP:COATRACK for anti-western controversialism. At the very least the bit about "a fundamentalist panentheism" in that the highly pejorative "fundamentalist" is quite unclear. I'm not at all sure that the real fundamentalism has any opinions at all about the matter, but it also seems that the passage may mean a (terminologically) "strict" panentheism-- in which case "fundamentalist" is a misleading word choice. I'm inclined to strike the whole paragraph as it stands.


LoveMonkey's reply
OK so with all of the above stated post a wording that you like here of the section and I will collaborate with you and source it. But understand that questioning the validatity of the sources is not a step in the right direction. LoveMonkey (talk) 19:10, 5 December 2008 (UTC)

About time for a purge of dubious stuff[edit]

This article is carrying around too many uncited claims about various groups. I'm about ready to strike them all unless someone comes up with some actual evidence. In particular there seems to be a disagreement about the Mesoamerican claims, neither side of which is cited at all. Mangoe (talk) 11:46, 5 December 2008 (UTC)

Spinoza (as always)[edit]

One section (In Europe) has it:

It is a widespread misconception, however, that Spinoza was a pantheistic, that is, equating God with the material universe. 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".

Another section (Modern Usage) has it:

Albert Einstein, amongst several other scientists, held a panentheistic view of God, and named Spinoza as the philosopher who exerted the most influence on his world view (Weltanschauung). Spinoza equated God (infinite substance) with Nature, consistent with... ...

Thus we learn that Spinoza (allegedly) equated God with Nature and at the same time didn't equate God with Nature. Which in fact is quite cool, because in this way you can simply choose what you like better. Of course, it is also a contradiction and as such makes an unfortunately already rather poor article (see previous entry by Mangoe) even poorer only. The more appropriate rendition, by the way, is that given under In Europe, namely, Spinoza did not equate God with Nature (and "Deus sive Natura" should consequently not be understood literally) -- yet can I prove this? No! I can't! But I know it.. and that is something too. :-) While you cannot prove that Spinoza ever contradicted himself either. As your article states. Cheerio. Zero Thrust (talk) 03:58, 20 December 2011 (UTC)

The truth is Spinoza is NOT a panentheist because he never makes the claim to completely understand the nature of God and thus hold God completely separate from nature. He is, more specifically, agnostic to panentheism. Furthermore, prominent American philosopher and self described panentheist Charles Hartshorne calls Spinoza a "classical pantheist". I have added some of this to the article but in my opinion the article should be edited to remove the long winded case for Spinoza as a panentheist. It's rather inconveneint that a major panentheist scholar would not label Spinoza a panentheist. (Allisgod (talk) 05:30, 28 June 2012 (UTC))

Hinduism problems[edit]

There are no citations in the Hinduism section, which is already a problem. Beyond that, however, the second quotation (from the Vedasara Shivastotram) would be understood by the casual reader as asserting pantheism. I'm tempted to invoke the lack of citation and make everyone start over, but at the very least this section needs to be argued from actual authorities instead of bald assertions from passing editors. Mangoe (talk) 14:41, 22 March 2012 (UTC)

Unclear[edit]

The first two paragraphs of the article need work as they aren't clear. They are confusing. Shorter sentences would help so that the reader can see more clearly exactly which elements are being referred to. Directspirit (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 20:05, 27 January 2013 (UTC)


stoics?[edit]

the greek stoics of ancient times were said to be pantheists, but not sure if they were panentheists as well. the wikipedia article on pantheist(m) seems to suggest they were. 173.65.75.42 (talk) 07:41, 16 November 2013 (UTC)jiohdi

— Preceding unsigned comment added by 173.65.75.42 (talk) 07:38, 16 November 2013 (UTC)