Is Pantheism A “Religion”

 

re·li·gion n.
1.
a. Belief in and reverence for a supernatural power or powers regarded as creator and governor of the universe.
b. A personal or institutionalized system grounded in such belief and worship.
2. The life or condition of a person in a religious order.
3. A set of beliefs, values, and practices based on the teachings of a spiritual leader.
4. A cause, principle, or activity pursued with zeal or conscientious devotion.
Idiom:
get religion Informal1. To become religious or devout.2. To resolve to end one’s immoral behavior.

 As you read the definition of religion above, it seems that #4 is the closest in describing Pantheism. I however cringe at the thought of this label, not only because of all the horrible things that have been done in the name of religion, but as a Naturalistic Pantheist, it is the opposite of what we stand for. The word religion comes  from the latin word –religio– meaning to regulate. It seems the purpose of religion is to regulate the lives of its followers for various and questionable reasons. Pantheism on the other hand promotes individuality and reverence, awe, respect of  nature and the universe in your own way without the direction of a spritual leader or the guidance of group thought. It seems that traditional religious followers often misplace their reverence, giving it to their spiritual leader or religious group, and the deity to which they worship becomes secondary. To this point, mans relationship with nature and the universe has been sidetracked, because of the traditions, rituals, and rules, separating us from nature and our place in the universe, and instead forces its followers to rely on a connection with a spiritual leader or group to make sure they get it “right” as not to “burn in hell forever.” It is a transfer of power that has gone on for thousands of years, feeding off the fears of society, consuming their precious time and monetary resources here on this earth for the promise of experiencing eternal bliss in an imaginary afterlife.

Many will argue that Pantheism is mans oldest “religion” based on our early connection with nature and the universe. But is it really a religion? I think Pantheism was innate in all of us from the beginning, hence the word, religion, I feel is not necessary to describe it. It was – well what is was, and still is what it is. I belong to a Pantheist group on Facebook which I engage with on a daily basis, not for spiritual guidance, but to share and discuss individual thought, opinions and scientific facts that actually explain our existence. No church, no rules, no spiritual leader, no imaginary deity, no “religion.” I highly recommend checking it out.

God is another term that makes me cringe, as there is no proof that this being or entity even exists. God is a term that gives us a sense of submissiveness to something greater, or better than us, rather than say we are the same as everything that is, which thanks to many intelligent scientist  has proven to be true. But we have to be submissive to something right? Wrong. It is another man made rule (word) to hold us accountable for our actions for fear of some sort of punishment from a person or being greater than us.  As humans, self preservation is instinctive in all of us, but many stop at the self. If you are a Pantheist, and you believe that you are a part of everything and everything is a part of you, there is no need to be submissive to anything, because your actions will be that of preservation of all things. No need for punishment,  no need for an imaginary deity, no need for religion.

There are Pantheist who still use the word, “God” to describe all that there is.  Is it that there are those of us (Pantheist) who are nervous to let go of this word as to not seem to radical in the eyes of a world where 86% of the population consider themselves religious or believe in some sort of deity? Do we not want to make waves because of the fear of being shunned? If we don’t start spreading rational thought based on facts instead of superstition and myths, and step away from “religion”…who will?

JOHN LENNON
“Imagine”

Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today…

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace…

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world…

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one

 

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