Meaning of Pantheism
The word Pantheism derives from the Greek words pan (all) and theos (God). Literally, Pantheism means All is God. In essence, Pantheism holds that the Universe as a whole is worthy of the deepest reverence, and that only the Universe and Nature are worthy of that degree of reverence.
Nature and Unity
The statement “Nature is my god” is perhaps the simplest way of summarizing the core pantheist belief, with the word “god” meaning not a supernatural being, but the object of deepest reverence.
Pantheism is a spiritual path that reveres and cares for nature – a spiritual path that accepts this life as our only life, and this earth as our only paradise. Pantheism revels in the beauty of nature and the night sky, and is full of wonder at their mystery and power.
Pantheism believes that all things are linked in a profound unity. All have a common origin and destiny. All things are interconnected and interdependent. In life and death, humans are an inseparable part of this unity, and in realizing this we can find our joy and peace.
History of Pantheism
Pantheism is among the oldest religious beliefs. It can be dated back to at least the 6th or 7th centuries BC, when the Hindu Upanishads were written, and the Greek philosopher Hericlitus lived. Pantheism, of one kind or another, came to dominate the ancient world, East and West.
The spread of Christianity and Islam forced Pantheism underground for around 1200 years, but by the 19th century it was beginning to regain some of its old prominence. It was the dominant belief of many philosophers and poets, including Wordsworth, Goethe, Hegel, and Walt Whitman.
The wars and ideologies of the 20th century pushed Pantheism to the background again, but today Pantheism is having a renaissance in Scientific Pantheism, nature-oriented Paganism, Deep Ecology, philosophical Taoism, Zen Buddhism, and forms of Humanism that are open to spirituality.