Naturalistic Pantheism

“The only practical difference between a naturalistic pantheist and an atheist, therefore, is that an atheist doesn’t bother to call the universe a god. It’s just a universe.”

Question from Jim:
I wanted to ask you if atheists in general, consider a person who is naturalistic pantheist to be an atheistic person.

Generally, I think we do. I certainly do.

A pantheist thinks that God is everything, that is, the whole universe. The naturalist view is that the laws of nature, whatever they may actually be, cannot be broken. A naturalistic pantheist, therefore, thinks that God is beholden to His inherent natural laws and cannot go against them to serve His own purposes. In other words, not only can’t He perform miracles, He can’t make anything happen which wouldn’t happen anyway.

The only practical difference between a naturalistic pantheist and an atheist, therefore, is that an atheist doesn’t bother to call the universe a god. It’s just a universe.


6 thoughts on “Naturalistic Pantheism”

  1. Most Atheists do not believe that The Universe is holy, divine or Sacred or that it deserves a religious reverence, respect or honor, most Atheists also would not call themselves spiritual or engage in Rituals or ceremonies that are to help them connect more fully with themselves or The Universe and many Pantheists, Naturalistic Pagans, etc do this on a regular basis so to me there is quite a bit of difference between the two ideas.

    Yes, I admit that The Goddess to me IS Nature, IS The Universe and I could probably do without naming it The Goddess if nothing else it might leave people less confused about what I actually believe in, for me, calling it The Goddess is my way of personafying it, much like when my ex boyfriend names his cars, I mean, he knows its a car but he claims it has its own personality, it communicates with us when it needs something and we should honor her and protect her because she is important, we need her, Like we need Mother Earth to sustain and protect us.

    Yet if you asked him about it, he would say-well, its just a car. The Universe is Just The Universe but for me, Its my Queen, Its the air that I breathe, The elements that I use every day, The medicines that I take, It is so much more for me than ‘Just’ The Universe, therefore The Goddess is the proper title for it, for me.

    Yes, I know I am rambling on and on, Thats me!

      1. Can’t say I know many people who “worship” the universe just because it exists. Calling it a “she” is quite the stretch…

  2. No problem Terry, ramblings are good and honest.

    There are some atheists out there who aren’t naturalistic pantheists but nevertheless consider themselves very spiritual, and are right into rituals and connecting with themselves and things around them. The most famous example is Sam Harris, who uses Eastern meditation techniques, and catches a lot of flak for it at atheist conventions. Point is, it’s not a non-theistic approach to the world which is unique to pantheists.

    Perhaps I was wrong to talk about the lack of “practical” difference between atheism and pantheism. It’s more a lack of conceptual difference, since you’d blend in nicely with atheists if you stopped personifying nature. The practical difference is that you worship nature, while accepting that in this case “holy, divine or Sacred” doesn’t translate into “supernatural” or “intelligent”.

    I accept that naturalistic pantheists see themselves as very different from atheists, as you do. The feeling isn’t mutual.

  3. So
    what youre saying is that Im basically a spiritual Atheist?

    Yeah, Ive been told on more than one occasion that there really is no such thing and to call myself spiritual, first Id have to quantify what I mean by the word spiritual and since my definitions usually sound like the same as Religious, well it just doesnt go over that well.

    I would have no problem though laying claim to the term UU-Spiritual Atheist but then Id have to explain my altar 😉 Hehehe

  4. There’s one thing I forgot to consider, Terry.

    I don’t regard the Cult of Reason, an aborted anti-religious movement during the French Revolution, as strictly atheistic because its members personified Reason as a goddess the same way you do Nature.

    Now, the difference between you and self-proclaimed atheists is that you call Nature a goddess, but since you therefore think there is a goddess, that one difference is probably enough to declassify you as an atheist, strictly speaking.

    Besides, if you don’t particularly want to think of yourself as an atheist I’m not in the mood to force you.

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