WPM Statement of principles

Background

The WPM Statement of Principles of Naturalistic Pantheism is not like most religious creeds. It is not intended to be recited by rote or read out in meetings nor is subscription to every word of the statement a requirement of joining the World Pantheist Movement or its forums.

We know that people are not zombies. Everyone has a slightly different slant on the world: if they didn't, there'd be nothing to talk about, nor would ideas advance. But people associate into social and spiritual groups because they share certain beliefs, so it is best to have a good idea of what those basic beliefs are before joining a group.

The basic concepts comprise:

  • Reverence for Nature and the wider Universe.
  • Active respect and care for the rights of all humans and other living beings.
  • Celebration or our lives in our bodies on this beautiful earth as a joy and a privilege.
  • Strong naturalism, without belief in supernatural realms, afterlives, beings or forces.
  • Respect for reason, evidence and the scientific method as our best ways of understanding nature and the Universe.
  • Promotion of religious tolerance, freedom of religion and complete separation of state and religion.

The Statement of Principles of Naturalistic Pantheism is just one current expression of the above beliefs and values. Basically it is intended as a reminder of the central points of our beliefs, and a guide for people who are thinking of joining us, so they can get a good idea of who we are.

It's not divinely inspired, it's composed by fallible humans. The statement was drawn up and agreed by a working group of fifteen people from the the original WPM e-mail list.  Decisions were taken on a democratic basis, and required a 75% majority.

It's not immutable - it can be amended and from time to time we revisit it with our members. The statement was last revised in December 1999, two years after the first version.

The WPM was created to promote these Naturalistic Pantheist beliefs as a rational alternative to supernatural beliefs, and to create local groups of members sharing similar views.


The Statement

  1. We revere and celebrate the Universe as the totality of being, past, present and future. It is self-organizing, ever-evolving and inexhaustibly diverse. Its overwhelming power, beauty and fundamental mystery compel the deepest human reverence and wonder.
  2. All matter, energy, and life are an interconnected unity of which we are an inseparable part. We rejoice in our existence and seek to participate ever more deeply in this unity through knowledge, celebration, meditation, empathy, love, ethical action and art.
  3. We are an integral part of Nature, which we should cherish, revere and preserve in all its magnificent beauty and diversity. We should strive to live in harmony with Nature locally and globally. We acknowledge the inherent value of all life, human and non-human, and strive to treat all living beings with compassion and respect.
  4. All humans are equal centers of awareness of the Universe and nature, and all deserve a life of equal dignity and mutual respect. To this end we support and work towards freedom, democracy, justice, and non-discrimination, and a world community based on peace, sustainable ways of life, full respect for human rights and an end to poverty.
  5. There is a single kind of substance, energy/matter, which is vibrant and infinitely creative in all its forms. Body and mind are indivisibly united.
  6. We see death as the return to nature of our elements, and the end of our existence as individuals. The forms of "afterlife" available to humans are natural ones, in the natural world. Our actions, our ideas and memories of us live on, according to what we do in our lives. Our genes live on in our families, and our elements are endlessly recycled in nature.
  7. We honor reality, and keep our minds open to the evidence of the senses and of science's unending quest for deeper understanding. These are our best means of coming to know the Universe, and on them we base our aesthetic and religious feelings about reality.
  8. Every individual has direct access through perception, emotion and meditation to ultimate reality, which is the Universe and Nature. There is no need for mediation by priests, gurus or revealed scriptures.
  9. We uphold the separation of religion and state, and the universal human right of freedom of religion. We recognize the freedom of all pantheists to express and celebrate their beliefs, as individuals or in groups, in any non-harmful ritual, symbol or vocabulary that is meaningful to them.

Print out or distribute our the Statement

You may print out this statement and distribute it to your friends and other people. Stick it on notice boards, leave it lying around on desks and tables, whatever you like. You may also reproduce it and copy it in any form you like, provided the source is acknowledged:
World Pantheist Movement: http://www.pantheism.net/

Original version agreed on December 7, 1997
Bruce Blaisdell
Hilary Caws-Elwitt
Bill Garrett
Jan Garrett
Henry Gibbard
Paul Harrison
Ron Hooft
Deng Yongkang
Julie Legge
Jocelyn Markey
Tor Myrvang
Jeff Pitcher
Bernt Rostrom
Sue Williams
Adam Yonce
Revised on November 18, 1999
Bill Bruehl
Mike Dolph
Hilary Caws-Elwitt
Cindy Harmon-Jones
Paul Harrison
Julie Legge
Beryl MacLachlan
Jocelyn Markey
Walt Mandell
Andrew Millard
Tor Myrvang
Cathe Smith-Maples
Sue Williams
David Wright

Commentary by Paul Harrison

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