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Resources for Unitarian Universalists
|World Pantheism promotes a completely naturalistic but
celebratory and reverent approach to life, Nature and the wider
Unitarian Universalism and World Pantheism are complementary
and enrich each other. World Pantheism supports the UU principles and
harmoniously melds three of UUs component traditions: Humanism,
Pantheism, and Paganism of the symbolic kind. Unitarian Universalism
provides the supportive context of a tolerant community, World Pantheism
a spiritual orientation and possibilities of exciting small group
formation within UU congregations.
It explains (below on this page) the complementary relationship between Unitarian Universalism and World Pantheism.
It provides sample sermons, and choices of hymns, readings, stories for
World Pantheism and
|How they differ, how they mesh together (this page).
Get a PDF leaflet version here
Download Adobe Reader
and bulletin board
|Discussion group for pantheists interested in Unitarian
Universalism and Unitarian Universalists
interested in pantheism/nature-reverence.
|UU sermons and services about pantheism given to UU churches||Complete sermons, speakers, hymns, readings, stories, posters, slide sources, children's stories and activities, and some Powerpoint and Audio files.|
|Forming a pantheist/nature-reverence group in a UU church||Step by step guide on how to create a group
in your own community
|Contacts and links|
World Pantheism and Unitarian Universalism
The core of World Pantheism is a profound reverence for Nature and the wider Universe. The World Pantheist Movement is the only membership organization working to promote this viewpoint and to facilitate meetings of like-minded people.
The name pantheism was chosen for convenience, but this same viewpoint, uniting reverence with naturalism, is known under several names: religious humanism, religious naturalism, naturalistic paganism, and indeed many individuals have their own variant name for it.
All these viewpoints find a home in the World Pantheist Movement and in any groups that we form or facilitate.
What's the relationship between World Pantheism and Unitarian Universalism?
The two organizations overlap and complement each other. Many Unitarian Universalists, including ministers, are WPM members. WPM members who belong to UU churches in some cases run courses, services or regular groups on pantheism/nature-reverence/simple living.
What are the affinities?
World Pantheism endorses all of the UU's seven principles and expands on some of them. Most pantheists would draw some elements from one or more of the world's religious traditions. Among these we would have a closer affinity for classical Stoicism and philosophical Taoism, as well as for modern atheism, humanism and environmentalism. We respect and learn from Zen Buddhism and related schools (in their meditation and mindfulness practices more than their metaphysics). We would find less of interest in the Western theist traditions in their traditional forms - though we recognize that there are valuable passages of real-life wisdom in both the Old and New Testaments.
World Pantheism is committed to religious freedom, separation of church and state, and religious tolerance. We filed a friend-of-court brief in the recent US Supreme Court case opposing the "under God" wording in the Pledge.
World Pantheism is socially and environmentally active. Human and animal rights are important to us, based on the equality of all conscious beings as centers of awareness. We have collected more signatures for UNESCO's Manifesto for Peace and Non-Violence than any other US voluntary organization.
We endorse and expand on the UU seventh principle and we make active care for the environment a central part of our approach. We are by far the largest religious group saving rainforest at EcologyFund, and we will very soon have saved the largest amount of wildlife habitat (we started later and had some catching up to do.)
What's the difference between World Pantheism and Unitarian Universalism?
Essentially, Unitarian Universalism has shared values such as tolerance and justice, but does not take up any particular religious or metaphysical viewpoint, for example on the truth of any scripture, the existence of a creator, personal God, of souls separate from bodies, or of a personal afterlife.World Pantheism does promote a few basic religious/metaphysical beliefs, such as:
● Nature and the Universe are the most appropriate focus for our deepest spiritual feelings of belonging and reverence.
● Everything that exists is a part of Nature.
● Mind and body are an inseparable unity.
● Although sceptical about personal survival after death, we look forward to a "natural" afterlife in terms of the actions and creations we leave behind, our families, the memories people hold of us, and the recycling of our elements in nature.
So why be both a UU and a World Pantheist?
Unitarian Universalism is a context where it is possible to meet intelligent sociable tolerant people with differing religious philosophies for shared spiritual exploration, social action and interaction, and community support.
World Pantheism is a religious orientation in the same sense that atheism, Christianity or Judaism are. It is a position about our place in Nature and the Universe. Many people need both a social context AND a belief context in order to feel comfortable with their place in society and the universe. There are are pantheist Unitarian Universalists, just as there are pagan, Humanist, Christian, or Jewish Unitarian Universalists. World Pantheism also offers written materials, networking and social/environmental action among pantheists.
A growing number of UU fellowships have pantheist, nature-reverence
or sustainable living groups where members can:
What's the difference between World Pantheism, atheism and humanism?
Atheism simply makes the statement that there is no creator God, no personal God, no judging God. Beyond that atheists can be nature-lovers or nature-haters, they can see life and the Universe as joyful or absurd.
Most people look for more than just a negative from a religious philosophy. Recognizing this, Humanism has added statements of ethics and principles.
World Pantheism goes one step further and recognizes that most people feel a need for something that is greater than themselves and greater than the human race. In our case that greater whole is nature on this earth, and on a wider scale the entire universe or Multiverse of all that exists. We also promote a joyful and positive approach to life.
World Pantheism has many members who would also describe themselves as atheists and/or humanists, but to these positions they add a profound and satisfying spiritual (emotional and aesthetic) dimension in their connection with nature, the universe, and their fellow humans.
What's the difference between World Pantheism and paganism?
World Pantheism itself celebrates the major astronomical transitions of the year. It has no prescribed ceremonies: people and groups choose their own style. We have many members who also consider themselves as pagans and who may observe pagan ceremonies and seasons.
However, most World Pantheist pagans view pagan deities, spirits and magic as symbolic expressions rather than literal truths, or they may observe the main festivals in ceremonies of their own devising. As one member put it "Nature is supernatural enough." We tend to focus more intently on the wonder of nature and the night sky. Symbolic forms are fine if we make sure they don't obscure the direct view of these realities.
Contacts and links