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Recent Developments section[edit]

I'm just wondering why the very interesting quotations from the letters by Einstein and William Herndon have to include the price these letters fetched at auction. What possible interest can these prices have for people reading a page about pantheism? TuttiFruttiCherryPie (talk) 19:29, 3 March 2015 (UTC)

Article is unclear[edit]

Horribly written. If you want a proper explanation of the subject, the online Stanford Encyclopedia does a good job - it explains who came up with the idea, what has been written about it, and so on. This article dodges the question and muddies the understanding by its "some say"s and "could be"s.

I don't even know where some of the nonsense came from, like the "polar opposite of atheism" crap. No it's not its opposite, theism is. In fact there are some naturalistic elements in the pantheistic concept, which (though atheism is not synonimous with naturalism) make it closer to atheistic ideas than most. Just because some philosopher wrote down something, the article should focus on decyphering the actual roots of the concept explained. This whole thing should be rewritten by someone who knows the subject they are talking about. Vree 9:57, 26 Sept 2015 (EST) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)


Quotes cited do not appear in any form in the referenced letter[edit]

Having read the German original the quotes cited do not appear in any form in the referenced letter. While Einstein references Spinoza he never claims to be a follower, just calling him "our good Spinoza", which could imply a plethora of things. Neither the quoted soul ("Beseeltheit") nor "wonderful and lawful order" appear anywhere. He also doesn't mention God except for criticizing the word and the implied concept itself. Nothing even resembling the last quote is to be found anywhere. (Scroll down for proper English translation, alas there's none on the English Richard Dawkins site). Muemmel85 (talk) 18:24, 18 December 2015 (UTC)

Try not to delete my changes, correct your article. Muemmel85 (talk) 05:57, 20 December 2015 (UTC)
Simply stating that the letter is "grossly mistranslated" does not suffice here; it should also be mentioned what is mistranslated, and what the relevance is for this article. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 06:19, 20 December 2015 (UTC)
What's more, "the referenced letter" you're mentioning is not the Gutkind-letter, but the Büsching-letter. No wonder you won't find those quotes in the Gutkind-letter... The "Büsching-quote" (""We followers of Spinoza see our God in the wonderful order and lawfulness of all that exists and in its soul") appears to be widely quoted and cited [1] [2], with reference to its original source. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 06:51, 20 December 2015 (UTC)
Copied from User talk:Joshua Jonathan#Pantheism Your edit is appreciated but not correct. It's not a note, it's a link to a correct translation. The cited quotes are absolutely incorrect, they do NOT reflect the contents of the letter. Therefore the paragraph is factually inaccurate. Muemmel85 (talk) 07:34, 20 December 2015 (UTC) End of copied part.
@Muemmel85: it would be helpfull if you could be more precise: which quotes and which letter are you referring to? The Wiki-article contains only one quote from the Gutkind-letter: "the word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses." Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 07:43, 20 December 2015 (UTC)
What's more, the website you're referring to writes the same: "The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses." So, what's your point? I think you're simply misunderstanding. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 07:45, 20 December 2015 (UTC)
The whole paragraph had only one reference (37). Or I missed them. Either way, sorry for the tumult. Still, the only reference is one published translation of his letter, since I can't find a transcript after thourough search. Which is rather odd and puts the source into question. Muemmel85 (talk) 08:15, 20 December 2015 (UTC)
In fact, every single source I can find only ever references Janner. There seems to be no other source online. Muemmel85 (talk) 08:26, 20 December 2015 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Well, he's published by Princeton University Press, so that makes him definitely WP:RS. At best, you can attribute this info by adding "According to Jammer, [...]." NB: Jammer references to the Einstein Archive, reel 33-275. And yes, the paragraph was messy. I've cleaned it, and added references. Best regards, Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 08:35, 20 December 2015 (UTC)

At second thought, given the reference to the Einstein Archives, and the status of the publisher, attribution would be misplaced here. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 08:44, 20 December 2015 (UTC)
Yes, I searched the Einstein Archives for a transcript or digitization. Alas there's none (yet) or I don't have access to it. It's true that Princeton is reliable, I'd still like to see the original or a transcript of it since so much of Einstein's view on god and theism relies on it. Anyway, consider this matter resolved. Muemmel85 (talk) 09:19, 20 December 2015 (UTC)
Okay. Thanks for the challenge; it provided an opportunity to learn something new! Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 10:31, 20 December 2015 (UTC)

Another quote[edit]

I've actually stumbled upon another quote from Einstein (from a letter) from the book "Albert Einstein, the Human Side: New Glimpses from His Archives" by Helen Bukas and Banesh Hoffman, published by Princeton University Press in 1981. The letter is dated March 24, 1954.

"It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it."

This should positively prove that Einstein was not a (Pan-)theist. Muemmel85 (talk) 05:22, 14 January 2016 (UTC)

Pantheists are not theists, are they? Is there any biographer who has commented on this quote? Maybe Google can help to find other sources which use this quote. Best regards, Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 05:29, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
I'll try to find more references. Though as far as I understand Pantheism, they believe that the universe is "God", to put it roughly. So it's still theism. Muemmel85 (talk) 06:15, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
Any acquantance with liberal Christianity? Remonstrants, Swedenborg, Unitarians? You'd be surprised about their "theo"logies. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 06:20, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
Uh, no. I try to stay clear of religious people. They frighten me. I guess you could call it deism, however then you probably wouldn't call it pantheism. Judging by the definition in this very article saying that it could be considered the polar opposite of atheism, I'm pretty sure that it's a theology. Religious intonations include that everything is God and/or divine. Muemmel85 (talk) 06:29, 14 January 2016 (UTC) --- Note the Scientific American review. According to that those letters have been picked by two friends of his and have been well translated. I'd say this is legit. Muemmel85 (talk) 06:50, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
Maybe you can add it in a note. Beware of interpretation, though; it would be WP:OR. Regarding Unitarianism (en Transcendentalism): it had a strong impact on the Brahmo Samaj and Vivekananda, and Vivekakanda was a major force in the popularisation of Neo-Vedanta in the west. In other words: New Age Pantheism. Who influenced who? Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 07:27, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
So first you're telling me Princeton is a reliable source. Then you're telling me it's not, even though the book has been positively reviewed by major publications? Can I then assume that the Janner reference is also WP:OR? You're inconsistent. Muemmel85 (talk) 08:27, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
And there is no interpretation here, he flat out denies any religiosity. He only likens his awe of the universe to it. I feel there's an agenda here, seeing as you're linking me stuff about pantheism, for whatever reason. Muemmel85 (talk) 08:29, 14 January 2016 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── You are interpreting the quote. Einstein denies the belief in a personal God; he does not state that he rejects any religiosity. See also page 66 of the same book. Best regards, Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 08:44, 14 January 2016 (UTC)

I'm not. "If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it." There's no interpretation needed here. He clearly implies that there's nothing religious in him apart from the fascination with the universe. This letter was written 1 year before his death. People change their mind on things. If his last conviction was that he's not religious, which he clearly states, then that is how Einstein saw the world. --- You are clearly trying to impose your belief on this quote, you are the one interpreting. You also tried to discount the credibility of the book via hypocrisy. Is there a way to involve a third party in this? Muemmel85 (talk) 09:04, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
Yep. WP:RfC. I'm afraid, though, that you're the one who's imposing his personal interpretations. from the Wiki-article:
"In a letter written to Eduard Büsching (25 October 1929), after Büsching sent Albert Einstein a copy of his book Es gibt keinen Gott, Einstein wrote, "We followers of Spinoza see our God in the wonderful order and lawfulness of all that exists and in its soul ["Beseeltheit"] as it reveals itself in man and animal."[1] Einstein responded that the book only dealt with the concept of a personal God and not the impersonal God of pantheism.[1]"


  1. ^ a b Jammer (2011), Einstein and Religion: Physics and Theology, Princeton University Press, p.51; original at Einstein Archive, reel 33-275
Best regards, Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 09:58, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
Are you serious? The letter I quoted was 24 years after that. You might not, but a lot of people change their mind on things over that time period. He almost flat out says he is not religious at all (anymore). How can you even deny that?Muemmel85 (talk) 11:06, 14 January 2016 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I am only an occasional editor, not an expert in WP procedures; I will not engage the argument over sources and policies. I have been familiar with this debate for years; none of your quotes are at odds with other things Einstein is reported to have written. Muemmel85: I do not know what your background in theology is, but based on "I try to stay clear of religious people. They frighten me," I believe I can clarify. A "personal god" is a god who is a distinct person. "Theism" is a broad class of beliefs in personal god(s), including monotheism and polytheism. "Pantheism" equates some sort of divinity with everything, so there cannot be anything distinct to form personal god(s) who could act independently or receive worship/prayers. Many question whether Pantheism's passive divinity can be called "god" at all, and consider it atheistic. Either way, it can be classified as a Nontheism. All Pantheists would heartily agree with the first 2.5 sentences of the quote at the top of this section; they divide over the last eight words (Naturalistic pantheism will agree with the full quote to the end, others may believe in the supernatural). You also wrote "I guess you could call it deism, however then you probably wouldn't call it pantheism." Deism holds that a creator god ceased to intervene; there is a hybrid called Pandeism wherein this creator becomes the pantheistic universe. If you take all this into account, none of the quotes listed rule out Pantheism. However: Spinoza's concept of divinity is not identical with all branches of modern Pantheism, and Einstein made many statements. I suggest abiding by a more nuanced picture of his views rather than trying to reduce him to a single classification. Regardless of whether you accept this, I also suggest you avoid phrases like hypocrisy, are you serious?, and you're inconsistent, or others may take offence. Martin BerkaT|C 21:05, 14 January 2016 (UTC)

Pantheism in religion[edit]

A fine piece of WP:OR and WP:CHERRYPICKING. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 06:33, 15 January 2016 (UTC)


I've removed:

"The Islamic religious tradition, in particular Sufism and Alevism, has a strong belief in the unitary nature (see also Sufi metaphysics) of the universe and the concept that everything in it is an aspect of God itself, although their perspective, like many traditional perspectives, may lean closer to panentheism."

Unsourced; and Islam is strongly dualistic. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 06:33, 15 January 2016 (UTC)

Hinduism and pantheism[edit]

I've removed the whole section:

  • Norman Geisler, William D. Watkins. Worlds Apart: A Handbook on World Views; Second Edition. Wipf and Stock Publishers. p. 79.  - this book treats the whole of Vedanta as a single system; meanwhile, what they are describing is neo-Vedanta. This is not exemplary for the whole of Hinduism.
  • Vivekananda, 1987 - as unreliable and primary as can be.
  • Bhaskarananda, Swami (1994), The Essentials of Hinduism: a comprehensive overview of the world's oldest religion, Seattle, WA: Viveka Press, ISBN 1-884852-02-5 - also neo-Vedanta.
  • A Survey of Hinduism: First Edition, by Klaus K. Klostermaier, p. 201 - Klostermaier isn't the best source on Hinduism; he's a believer himself, who's not always objective.
  • "Hindu Literature: Or the Ancient Books of India", P.115, by Elizabeth A. Reed - maybe a good source, but the info it referenced was close to WP:OR.

Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 06:33, 15 January 2016 (UTC)

Taoism[edit] is not WP:RS. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 06:33, 15 January 2016 (UTC)

Page image[edit]

Right now the quote-unquote page image for Pantheism is a pic of a Spinoza. Not terrible by any means but surely we can perch something even more germane atop this range? Pandeist (talk) 20:55, 17 May 2016 (UTC)