Pantheism

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Pantheism is the view that the Universe (Nature) and God are identical.[1] Pantheists thus do not believe in a personal, anthropomorphic or creator god. The word derives from the Ancient Greek: πᾶν (pan) meaning ‘all’ and θεός (theos) meaning ‘God’. As such, Pantheism denotes the idea that “God” is best seen as a way of relating to the Universe.[2] Although there are divergences within Pantheism, the central ideas found in almost all versions are the Cosmos as an all-encompassing unity and the sacredness of Nature.

Contents

History

The term “pantheist” — from which the word “Pantheism” was derived — was purportedly first used in English by Irish writer John Toland in his 1705 work, Socinianism Truly Stated, by a pantheist. He clarified the idea in a 1710 letter to Gottfried Leibniz when he referred to “the pantheistic opinion of those who believe in no other eternal being but the universe.”[3] However, many earlier writers, schools of philosophy, and religious movements expressed pantheistic ideas.

They include some of the Presocratics such as Heraclitus and Anaximander. The Stoics were Pantheists, beginning with Zeno of Citium and culminating in the emperor-philosopher Marcus Aurelius. During the pre-Christian Roman Empire, Stoicism was one of the three dominant schools of philosophy, along with Epicureanism and Neoplatonism. The early Taoism of Laozi and Zhuangzi is also pantheistic.[3]

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