The World Pantheist Movement’s core beliefs are set out in the WPM statement of principles. This is best seen not as a dogmatic requirement, but as a notice on our door, telling you what we are about. The central beliefs are reverence for nature and the universe, celebration of life, and concern for nature, human and animal rights, which we express through our active lives and through knowledge, celebration, meditation, empathy, love, ethical action and art. Generally we don’t believe in supernatural entities or a personal afterlife other than survival through works and the memories of the living. We respect evidence, reason and the scientific method. We support religious freedom and the separation of religion and state. A good guide to what sort of person joins us and what they feel and believe is our members’ voices section.
The aims of the WPM are set out in our articles. Briefly, they are to make available the ideas of natural/scientific pantheism as widely as possible as an emotionally satisfying alternative to theistic beliefs, and to facilitate contacts between people who share our basic beliefs through local groups and Internet lists and boards. We also aim to create a network of celebrants able to help out in the design and performing of weddings and funerals, so that people can enjoy these important ceremonies in a natural, life-embracing form that is in keeping with their beliefs.
The WPM is not like a church, more like a club of like-minded friends. If you want a parallel, think of Friends of the Earth, the Humanists, or Unitarian Universalists. We do not have any prescribed activities, dogmas, or ceremonies, we simply offer guidance, resources and support for people to develop their own if they wish to do so. People are free to determine their own personal private ethics, and to use whatever vocabulary, ceremonial or absence of ceremonial they choose to express their beliefs.
We do everything possible to facilitate contact between members at local level, and we have local mailing lists for many areas. Many places have had gatherings where people have found fellow spirits and new friends. Local groups decide their own activities and schedules, though we do suggest a basic format intended to create a warm and friendly atmosphere and to underline our links with nature. Local groups engage in many different types of activities from indoor gatherings to walks and picnics, and outings to places of natural or scientific interest.
We have many different mailing lists and bulletin boards – you can read a complete guide at this page. We have a large general mailing list which you can join for free. We also have various topical lists and local lists, and a topic-organized bulletin board.
You can find full details at the membership page. We have two levels of membership:
What’s in it for me?
The principle personal benefit of membership is the sense of support for your own beliefs, and the opportunity of communicating with like-minded folk in local groups or in our mailing lists – plus the knowledge that you are helping to bring these possibilities to those who have so far been isolated in their beliefs, as well as to others who are searching for a more rational spiritual approach. Involvement can also be a transformative experience, in that beliefs that have so far been mainly theoretical begin to seem much more real when you know that you belong to a group of like-minded people.
The major hesitations people have are usually based on their unhappy experience with traditional churches/spiritual groups, and on media presentations of exploitative or dangerous cults. The World Pantheist Movement bears no resemblance to either, and feels more like a club than a church. Our subscriptions are modest, we have no buildings, offices, salaried staff or priesthood, our funds are dedicated to member services and to promotion. If you join you won’t get “sucked in” to anything. If you want to meet other members, to help out or become more active, great. If you don’t, you won’t be put under any pressure to do so. You can read more about your concerns about cults here. Some people ask why it is necessary to organize. If we were not organized, we could not satisfy our members’ real desires for communication and social contact, nor for natural weddings and funerals in keeping with their beliefs, nor could we make these beliefs more widely known as a rational spiritual option. You can read more about why we believe it is essential to organize here.