Pantheistic: Definition, Beliefs & Religions

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  • 0:00 What Is Pantheism?
  • 0:33 Pantheistic Beliefs
  • 1:45 Pantheistic Philosophy
  • 2:20 Pantheistic Religions
  • 3:09 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Deborah Teasley

Deborah has 4 years of teaching experience and a master's degree in program development & management.

There are as many different ways to view the Universe as there are people in the Universe. In this lesson, we'll look at Pantheists, who believe they see God's presence in everything around them.

What Is Pantheism?

Do you believe in God? It's a complex, loaded question, but also one that can help you narrow down to various religious views. For instance, some people who do believe in God think that God is separate from creation. Others believe that God and creation are one in the same. This second group of people are pantheistic. Pantheism is the religious or spiritual outlook that God and the Universe are the same instead of separate entities.

Pantheistic Beliefs

How can God and creation be the same thing? Is it the same as the belief that God is present everywhere? To explain this further, let's compare pantheism with the monotheistic religion, Christianity. Christians believe that God is the creator of the Universe and that they are two separate entities. This can be compared to a painter and his piece of art. Though the art was born from the internal creativity of the artist, it is entirely separate and exists on its own.

However, Pantheism merges God and the Universe together. We can compare this to a ballerina and her dance. The dancer and dance exist together as one entity. You cannot remove one from the other because they are, in essence, the same being.

In these examples, there are two major differences between monotheistic religions and Pantheism, which highlight Pantheism's beliefs. The first is the removal of transcendence. In Pantheistic religions, God is present in all things. God does not exist beyond our realm of reality. The second is the dismissal of God as a separate entity. Instead, to Pantheists God is seen as the overall existence of everything within the Universe.

Pantheistic Philosophy

During the 17th Century, Dutch philosopher Baruch Spinoza wrote the philosophical discourse titled Ethica. This was in response to Rene Descartes' dualistic theory that stated that the body and the spirit were two separate entities. Baruch Spinoza took the opposite approach and believed that the body and the spirit were the same thing. Though the term 'Pantheism' would not be coined until after his death, Spinoza is recognized not only as one of the greatest philosophers of his time, but also as one of Pantheism's greatest advocates.

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