Regarding The Semantic
Dance Of Pantheism
Hi there Cliff
I have read part of your exchange regarding Pantheism, not all though! Damn it was a long posting.
If I understand John Jove-Jensen (hmm sounds Norwegian) correctly, he adheres to some variant of Spinozas god concept. Einstein is probably the most famous of Spinozas followers. I think I can distinguish a few discrepancies though. Below are some quotes from Spines:
"Whatsoever is, is in God, and without God nothing can be, or be conceived."
"The mind's highest good is the knowledge of God, and the mind's highest virtue is to know God."
The above quote is interesting because of Einstein's view on Pantheism. This is what Einstein had in mind when he claimed that he loved finding things out. Maybe Hawking, too, had this in mind when he finished his "Brief History of Time" with the words: "For then, we will know the mind of God."
Spinoza believed that everything that existed was God, so far in agreement with John, but then he did not hold the converse view that god is no more than the sum of what exist. In simple terms:
God is everything that exist plus infinitely more.
This doesn't seem to agryee with the concept of god = universe. Of course I do not know whether Spinoza still is the "authority" among Pantheists or whether his ideas are considered obsolete. What Spinoza didn't believe was in a personal god a la Christianity. That should be clear enough after reading the following quote from his book "Ethics":
"God is without passions, neither is he affected by any emotion of pleasure or pain ... Strictly speaking, God does not love anyone."
This clearly gives a picture of an indifferent universe without feelings for the feeble organisms crawling around within it.
If John doesn't include the above statements in his Pantheistic philosophy, I have a hard time distinguishing between his god and the natural universe. I am filled by awe by using the word universe and in all cases, the feeling of awe doesn't come from using the word god, or the word universe, but from the characteristics of the object our words try to define.
From: "Positive Atheism" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: "Grahn, Johan"
Subject: Re: The semantic dance of Pantheism
Date: Wednesday, July 26, 2000 4:22 PM
My whole point in the Love-Jensen exchange was that because he says that he believes in a "god" (his quotation marks; his capitalization), he is, according to my understanding of the theism-atheism dichotomy implied by the "weak" definition for atheism, rightly called a theist.
While I'm not sure whether this observation has either been made or refuted before, I did come to this conclusion on my own, during the course of the Love-Jensen exchange.
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