by Rob Lundberg
Returning back to my series on world views, I gave a brief summary of what the seven major world views believe in and What Do Other World Views Believe. This in turn gave us a platform to summarize a little deeper how those world views really look in fundamental areas. This post is going to continue this trek and look at what is known as the pantheistic worldview.
In the aforementioned post, you might recall that in a pantheistic worldview God is the universe, or God is all; and that includes people. That said, the pantheistic worldview asserts that God is identical to the universe; there is no distinction between the Creator and the created. Because pantheists believe that people have forgotten or are ignorant of their real divine nature, they are encouraged to “remember” or “realize” it through meditation (TM or other means) — oftentimes to achieve the goal of “enlightenment.”
To pantheism’s credit, those embrace this worldview point out that a distant God cannot relate to people (deism). But it gets more problematic than this, and this is what this post is going to delve into with five problems that I see with the pantheistic worldview.
First, pantheists cannot explain how people have come to forget that they have their own divine nature. What happened in the distant past to account for this universal spiritual amnesia?
Second, pantheism as a worldview is logically inconsistent with its own claims about God. One one hand, God is unchanging, but on the other hand some pantheists desire to be enlightened through meditation. This calls for a change of consciousness, so if people are god they cannot change, because the unchangeable cannot change (Malachi 3:6).
Third, pantheism fails to be a livable worldview. If all is God, what happens when you cut the grass? Are you cutting God? What if a cow eats the grass, is God eating God? What about the cow patty that comes out of the cow? Is that God too? Many critics of pantheism point out that when a pantheist is in the path of an oncoming car, he quickly jumps out of the way. Is God getting out of the way of Himself? There should be no reason for him to protect Himself if God is identical to the car (being that everything is God).
A little side note here. If one is to believe that all is one and all is God, then God would be identical to the world. This poses another problem. That problem is that distinctions are not allowed to be made. Also the pantheist distinguishes his worldview from another and walks around material objects instead of through them. Also, failure to make distinctions between pantheism and theism, good and evil, sin and righteousness, male and female, and Jesus and Satan, makes it impossible to distinguish truth from error. But in order to believe a worldview, one must believe it to be true. In the case of pantheism those who embrace pantheism believe their view is true and opposing views are false.
Fourth, setting aside logical thinking has its problems. Most pantheists assume that logic does not apply to God. However it has been pointed out that pantheists actually violate the law of noncontradiction, using logic to eliminate logic. Let me see if I can illustrate this: if I were to say that logic does not apply to God, this statement implodes because the statement itself applies logic to God. In other words, pantheists believe that it is logical to set aside logic to attain enlightenment.
Lastly, an impersonal God cannot possibly be concerned with or relate to suffering people. Pantheists may try to to avoid this problem by denying that suffering and suffering people really exist. This is unacceptable for a couple of reasons. One, it is impossible to prove anyone’s nonexistence. This is because a person would have to exist in order to affirm or deny their existence. Makes sense doesn’t it? Not at all!
The second idea under this last problem is that to say evil does not exist is not comforting to those who are experiencing evil. If their suffering is an illusion (non real), then why are they having these kinds of illusions? Why do the illusions they are denying to exist seem so real?
As you can see that in order embrace pantheism as a viable worldview, one has to live an unlivable existence. It is a totally unlivable worldview full of illusion, and illogical propositions that deny what is evident in the real world.
Rob is a blogger, writer, equipper, and public speaker on a mission to equip the believer to think and articulate what they believe and then take it and communicate it to a confused culture in a “brave new world.”
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