I need some feedback on the assertion that Pantheists have proof of their god because their god is nature. This was brought up by someone on a forum after my response to a Creationist when I said that there is no proof for any gods (and alluded specifically to Abrahamic gods). The poster said that there is no proof for ANTHROPOMORPHIC gods - but then suggests that Pantheists have proof of their god because nature is god to them and nature exists.

Thoughts? Counter-arguments?

Tags: argument, evidence, existence, god, nature, pantheism, pantheists, proof

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It's kinda self-explanatory, Jared - "artifice," "artificial?" Bogus.

But don't expect him to always make sense.

I see. The definition I read was a bit misleading.  I sort of figured thats what it was meant. Thanks

Created, contrived, out-of-one's-head, fabricated....

Nature exists on its own. It just is. Artifice is made by someone. Just as "art" doesn't just happen; someone makes it. The terms are related. Artifice is the practice of making artficial things, man-made things as we normally think of it, though the religious person might say that God made the universe, in which case the universe is artificial in some sense of the word.

I think it comes down to:

"...but then suggests that Pantheists have proof of their god because nature is god to them and nature exists."

Sicilian lemon cheesecake is heaven to me, ergo heaven must exist.  Works for me!

Sounds delicious :)

Who of what created Nature?

Perhaps they are atheists and just don't realize it. Science studies their god, so science should be their "religion".

ok i have found the best response; 

"if we are going to say god is nature ,why dont we just use the word nature"


yes...I believe in nature (if we leave out the mother.)

These are the sorts of linguistic sparring matches you end up with as you keep removing any characteristics that would be unique to the word "God". In other words, God keeps getting "defined down" as science advances and the gaps he has to hide in continue to close. Vengeful, meddling OT God becomes God-man (Jesus) becomes God-by-proxy (the Pope, the Church) becomes God-in-the-Word (Bible) becomes watchmaker God becomes God-as-nature and so on down through history. Eventually he doesn't really have any discernible characteristics at all; he's just equivalent to nature or the universe or some pseudo-philosophical concept so vague as to be meaningless (like "the Ground of all Being").

At least among educated people, that is. Lucky us, millions of people continue to insist he answers prayer and works miracles and such.

Some of this will be a repetition of what has been said, but I did toy with the term once years back (perhaps in my teens or early twenties). My mindset at the time was that some perspectives from various theologies had value and I didn't want to throw out the baby with the bathwater just because the supernatural elements were bs. It seemed reasonable that if anything in the natural universe could be considered a supreme entity, it would be the universe itself.

I thought of it like this: as a human being I consider myself an individual entity. That's one way to look at me, but I can also view myself as a collection of smaller parts such as organelles, cells, tissues, organs etc. as well as other microorganisms which I need to survive. Conversely, I can be viewed as a single part of a larger collective. I am part of a community, of a species, of an ecosystem, of a planet. So 'naturalistic pantheism' was like a form of acknowledging my relationship with the greater universe from the quantum level to the universal level. Buuut... 

... after giving it consideration, I never adopted the term for a few reasons:

  1. I don't really care that much for labels for the sake of labels, and using this one in particular didn't seem to convey much meaning to others.
  2. Not only did the term not seem meaningful, but is actually seemed to obfuscate meaning. When paired, the terms 'naturalistic' and 'pantheism' didn't enhance each other in any way. They actually seem to detract from one another. Common understanding of 'theism' involves supernatural elements, or some distinctive agent. Even pantheistic religions like Hinduism (possibly Taoism) extend their theistic concepts beyond the natural universe as science would describe it. As others have stated, why unnecessarily overlap terms that don't want to overlap? If you mean 'nature', just say 'nature'.
  3. I disagree that naturalistic pantheism offers proof of anything. Even the tautology provided is questionable. Humans lack a complete definition of the universe and cannot currently say if the universe as we understand it represents the total limit of existence. One of the things that bothers me about many religions such as Christianity is that they label an incomprehensible entity as a god, where I would simply call in incomprehensible. While I don't think the universe is inherently incomprehensible, there is a lot I don't know about it, so why jump to calling it 'god'? Seems silly.

I don't have counter arguments for that individual if that's how they want to use terminology, but I think they need to accept that their usage represents an exception in semantics which most people will probably not acknowledge as useful. The term 'theism' should never be taken to mean 'naturalistic pantheism' unless that meaning is specified in advance.


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