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Why I am a Pantheist
This page represents the views of the author, not of the World Pantheist Movement as a whole.
by members of the World Pantheist Movement and the Scientific Pantheism mailing list
I found God in the trees and stars. Here is more peace than I have ever known...
The universe has always inspired me. I look up and … magic happens.
The search for a religious home
When people join the Scientific Pantheism mailing list, they are asked to say why they became a pantheist. The answers to this question have gradually built up into a very moving library of brief accounts of spiritual exploration.
Most people who now call themselves pantheists were not reared as pantheists. They were reared as Christians, or Jews, or Moslems. Generally they are bold and independent spirits who refuse to take anything on blind authority. Soon they began to ask awkward questions of their family faiths - questions that have no answers that satisfy reason or the desire for evidence.
Then they began a spiritual journey, a leap into the unkown. For the lucky ones this journey is short and leads straight to pantheism. But for many it has been a long odyssey through many faiths, most of which are in some way found wanting - atheism and Buddhism too empty, paganism too concerned with magic or polytheism.
Most of them already had an underlying feeling of reverence for the universe and a feeling of intimate connection with nature, which was the underlying emotional thread leading their need for and their search for a religious home.
Then a chance encounter - a search of the web or an encyclopedia, a word from a friend, a reading of Coleridge, Emerson, Alan Watts, Jeffers, Einstein or Sagan - would lead them to the word pantheism. Often they were not aware of the word, often they had no name at all for their beliefs, often they thought they were alone in the human world.
Then they discover that many others share their beliefs, that their faith has a name and a home and a growing community.
Brief chronicles of long journeys
We believe if there is a greater force, it is in nature....
LEROY C. & DONNA MAE FISHER, FLORIDA
I've always felt a connection with "something" in the cosmos, but I've been unable to discover exactly what. I explored various pagan religions, but I just can't buy into the "higher power" stuff or the choreographed rituals that most of those religions contain. I'm an atheist as far as believing that humanity is on its own to sink or swim; there are no supernatural beings hovering over our shoulders. From what I read about scientific pantheism, it appears this may be what I've been searching for--it sort of mingles my atheism's rejection of supernatural deities with the acceptance of natural wonders that exist for and by their own accord.
SHARON LEMAY, MINNESOTA
I was brought up Catholic and never really could understand how people could believe in a supreme being. So I have gone through life believing in nothing. Up till lately I've been feeling let's say empty, until a few months ago I started getting interested in astronomy and physics. Now I ran across this web page and it has definitely sparked an interest. I find Pantheism is the closest religion to what I have always believed.
MATTHEW LORIMER, MASSACHUSETTS
I have been searching for a set of beliefs that seemed right for me since I was around 13 years old. At that time I was at a Catholic school. There I was expected to automatically except their doctrine and pray to God. It seemed foolish to me as it appeared as if they were "writing " letters to some far away relative who would grant their wishes. I quickly turned away from Catholicism and Christianity.
Buddhism caught my eye and I was seriously thinking about this one but it made life seem so empty and pointless. Not what I was really looking for though I did learn how to meditate even though it didn't seem to work the way it was supposed to. Researching into my family history I started coming across the Celtic myths and religions as well a witchcraft/wicca. These religions matched my ethical beliefs and view on nature, but were too narrow and magick really wasn't my scene.
Finally I arrived at my own set of beliefs that I had no name for. Though I didn't know it my beliefs matched those of Pantheism exactly and to the letter. I've been firmly devoted to these beliefs for two years now with out knowing it had a name. Now I do, thanks!
SHANE TURNER, NEW ZEALAND
I first became aware of Pantheism when I was researching different religions out of curiosity. When I read about it, I knew it was for me, because I love nature. I can't picture God as a being floating around on a cloud, controlling the earth, but I can picture a supreme being as nature and everything around me.
LANA GOODRICH, MICHIGAN
Most religions bored me and I longed for one that was more rational.
DERICK VARN, GEORGIA
I was raised an atheist. When I decided to check out religion I found Wicca and was happy with it for a number of years. It was fun and I was very comfortable with the pantheistic aspects of Pagan philosophy. However I had a lot of trouble with the theism and eventually fell away from the Craft because I felt that the whole God(s) thing (as supernatural beings) is kinda childish and silly. So I ended up with the philosophical connectiveness to the universe without the supernaturalism. Guess what that is? Pantheism.
ERIC MARSH, VIRGINIA
I was raised Southern Baptist and, like many, I never found that Christianity answered the questions that I was constantly asking. Quite the opposite, in fact, it raised far more questions than it answered!
As I got older I pulled away from the church but always felt a longing for some sort of spiritual connection. Eventually, I came to see the commonalities among the various traditions and their common lack of rationality. I couldn't understand why so many people needed to look outside themselves to find "the meaning of life," or why they considered life meaningless if it didn't end with going to heaven.
I "knew", without needing a preacher to tell me, that life itself, the universe itself, was sacred. Recently I was asked how I see God -- I like to think of a fractal image: it's incredibly complex but each element is nothing more than a smaller image of the whole. There is only one substance but in recombination, it forms glorious diversity! There is no separation of spirit and matter, god and creation, there's just that wonderful *Stuff*!
JANET SNOWHILL, NORTH CAROLINA
I love science. I love reason. I don't believe in spooks, mythology, heaven, or hell. I believe in reality and living my life to its full potential. The ignorance of blind disciples annoy me. A mind is a terrible thing to waste. I ran across the pantheism pages and I was wide open to its intimacy.
E. PALMER, MICHIGAN
As early as I can remember, the trees, the wind, and the rivers spoke with greater reverberation than my parents or the elders of the church. Through the course of the next years, I began to accept that what I knew in my heart, mind, and soul (that Nature is Divine and every living thing partakes in the Divinity) was a largely unaccepted and misunderstood belief.
That is, until I discovered the philosopher Heraclitus 5 years ago, and found, with great elation and joy, my beliefs have a name and I was not alone. The sense I have always known that I am not separate from the beetles, the irises, the rocks, the deer has given me hope and inner peace and strength in times of need. The courses of Nature help me to see and follow the courses of my own life, and the life of society. When in doubt, I gaze up to the moon and stars for guidance and sustenance. When in joy, I stroll among the wildflowers and mighty oaks and evergreens for fellowship in the Be-ing.
I have immensely enjoyed the SciPan list thus far, and look forward to the Active Movement of Pantheism!
HEATHER CUNNINGHAM, SOUTH CAROLINA
I recognized that I worshipped the sky and the earth without the need for any imaginary beings associated with them.
HAROLD WOOD, CALIFORNIA
I have no desire to pray to cultural deities from the past, and have therefore never found a home in the few pagan groups I'm aware of. I am however, definitely a mystic in that I experience moments of oneness with the cosmos, and periods of intense awareness of and communication with the natural world, including animals, plants and rocks around me. My pantheistic beliefs integrate with my socio-economic beliefs about the harm that concepts such as the growth-economy and consumerism are causing the earth and most of its people.
HELENA SAAYMAN, SOUTH AFRICA
Walking through the trees and feeling the soft kiss of the wind I came to realize that all were connected. Being raised Baptist I had been taught that God was the only true supreme being. But I can not trust a god that needs to be reminded of his/her superiority al the time. I and my friends have always stood apart in our belief that the Earth is our Mother and that Nature itself was our beginning and end. I never knew a name for this until now. I feel deeper in my beliefs now that I see others share them in some or all respects.
ROBERT PARRISH, TEXAS
Rejecting the personal God of Christianity - I still marvelled at the universe - and began to discover that if there were a God that God would be the universe itself: the planet, the Sun etc.
PETER EDWARDS, WESTERN AUSTRALIA
I have come to pantheism after many years of research in science & philosophy. Pantheism is the only conceptual framework that is sufficiently consistent with scientific method & mathematical-logic to warrant an investment of faith predicated on reason.
MICHAEL COWAN, FLORIDA
When I was a child I remember how when I would look up at the night sky I felt I was being pulled into it. I could never separate myself from the feeling that I belonged to something that was bigger than the self that I moved around this earth in. Looking into the eyes of animals always gave me the same sort of feeling.
I went into horticulture to satisfy my interest in the plant life that we share this planet with. I'm a forty year old student of this earth and I will continue as long as I live to learn as much as I can about her. Grateful to be in the position to comprehend the minor mysteries, and awed by the mysteries out of my comprehension.
JANIS WEECK, WASHINGTON STATE
I could never understand why people placed themselves upon pedestals high above the rest of nature. Do they really believe that because we have a bigger brain, we are somehow superior to all other forms of life. The truth be known, you and I are no different from the fish that swim in the seas to the birds that fly in the sky...We are equal in our own right, because we are all life. Life is the cosmic connector, no matter how diverse it may be.
CHRIS FERRI, VALRICO.
My educational background is scientific (I qualified as a Science teacher), and I cannot accept theistic interpretations of `life the universe and everything.' But my understanding of these things has gone beyond the normal `atheistic' mode also. There is definitely a spiritual/emotional side to life - that is part of what it means to be human. I cannot deny that I feel awe and reverence when I watch a sunset or look at the night sky or listen to the sea or catch a glimpse of a kingfisher.
AIDAN MURPHY, IRELAND
I now believe that I have always been a pantheist, I just never had a name for it, or even realized that anyone else felt as I did about the sacredness of the universe. I could never force myself to accept the mythology of the Christian religion as literally true.
CHERYL BECK, OREGON
Perhaps I've always been a pantheist. The universe has always inspired me. I look up and … magic happens.
BILLY HALSEY, KENTUCKY
I've considered myself an agnostic because I was never sure about the existence of a god and also because I didn't agree with any of the doctrines possessed by most religions such as Christianity, Judaism, or Islam. When I started reading about pantheism, I was so excited to find a religion that actually spoke about the things that were of concern to me and agreed with the way i feel about nature and our relationship with the earth. I was struck by the similarities between my views and the views of pantheists. It was exciting to know that other people share my beliefs and I have something to call my beliefs now.
KATE MARTIN, MICHIGAN
I came to pantheistic belief not so much from philosophical concepts, but from a direct insight into reality I've experienced a few times. I believe in science, reason and the sacredness of nature. I believe in the oneness of all matter.
PAUL MILLER, TENNESSEE
I grew up in a Disciples of Christ household - my dad is a minister. By the time I was 13, I'd realized that I didn't believe in many parts of the Christian faith. I went through a completely atheist phase, but eventually realized that I did believe that there was divinity in the Universe. I called myself agnostic after that. After some reading and research, it became clear that pantheism was the most accurate description of my beliefs.
ANN MONROE, WISCONSIN.
I have been searching for a new religion for over 16 yrs. When I first saw the Scientific Pantheism site and read a few pages, I was sold. It was every thing I believed in. It's logical, it's real, and it's here. I will do my best to help spread Pantheism in any way I can.
LINDA ZENO, FLORIDA
Previously I held some theistic beliefs. Ultimately however, a bad religious "guru" experience forced me to evaluate some of the problems with many of the most common theistic religions. I became a sceptic. I cannot accept the idea of an anthropomorphic God, but at the same time, cannot agree with the desolate landscape of true atheism. The idea that divinity is manifest in the reality we find ourselves in and of our own inseparable relation to that divinity matches my own belief system. Had it not been for this web page, I might never have known that I am a pantheist.
BOB WALTERS, FLORIDA
I think I've always had pantheist and humanist tenancies. I just now have good "names" for what I am. As a little girl my favorite programs on TV were "Cosmos" and the National Geographic specials. I'm still that same person who loves science and finds the world fascinating.
PAMELA LIEBER, NEW YORK
I was brought up a presbyterian, was an acolyte, at the age of twelve as I was watching the minister prepare to give his sermon I realized how shallow this all was. This was all acting and no substance. Rumors existed of church funds being used for personal gain. The minister having affairs with other women in the congregation. After that I had no belief system. Until I was 15 or 16 then I believed in the presence of mother earth much like the native americans. Many tribes believe that we are all part of the earth and the creatures inhabiting it. None of us separate from each other or from all the other animal life or from the earth itself. I have been in this mode since then. Always looking for others that share this belief.
JIM NIEMANN, UTAH
I was raised in a closed-minded strictly religious home, and later converted to an even more strict religion. I've always had a profound fascination with "God" but was never satisfied with the answers I was given. After moving to a country setting, and a community with more relaxed views, I found God in the trees and stars. Here is more peace than I have ever known.
SHARON NICHOLS, NEW YORK STATE
In understanding nature to a pantheistic degree one becomes like fluid; one dissolves into the currents of the world.
I became a Scientific Pantheist after I found the webpage. I had been growing dissatisfied with Catholicism for about two years before that I decided to go on the Internet and try to find a philosophy or religion that worked. Everything that was written in the Scientific Pantheism webpage was what I already believed. It is hard to stay so, though, I live in a fairly small town in a Bible Belt area of Missouri. I can't say anything about my beliefs without someone trying to "save me." One gets tired of arguing.
KATHLEEN HOSS, MISSOURI
I went to an array of different denomination churches as a child and a teen but felt no connection with their beliefs. Right from being very small I remember feeling a strong spiritual connection to nature. My own personal belief is that God and Nature are one but I never expressed it openly fearing ridicule. Now I know my feelings are shared.
SHARON YOMTOB, SOUTH CAROLINA
I had a very difficult time with reconciling many contradictions in the bible. I also questioned why God of the Christian faith created us the way we are (although I am heterosexual, I have gay friends and lesbian family and friends), then tortured us for this. Around mid-May last year I finally announced to my wife that I could no longer accept myself as being a Christian. That was a big shock for her. I almost thought I would lose her. But she accepted me anyway. Well, about a month ago, I started feeling I was still missing something and I started to search for what I think now is the closest to the truth: Pantheism.
JOHN HOLSENBECK, TEXAS
I have always held pantheist beliefs. I've explored 'Deep Ecology', Wicca, Paganism, Earth Spirituality, Liberal (Radical) Christianity etc. but have always been left somewhat empty. After reading a few Taoist books, I began 'meditating' and refined many of my current beliefs (although I am not a Taoist). Your 'Credo' was written from my own heart. My wife, Kiri, and I (and our children) are all excited about this movement.
ROBB MILLER, ILLINOIS
I have always felt a special reverence for the Cosmos in all its grandeur. I have searched for answers in Paganism, but what I found there was simply not broad enough to describe what I felt. When I read about Pantheism, I knew that it was for me. I am excited to have found a fitting set of beliefs at last.
JAMES DOUGLASS, NEBRASKA
After trying every religion I could find, I still never feel closer to anything truly divine than when I am, without ideas, being in nature. All these other schools of thought - they only add unnecessary flourishes to what is already enough. Nature, if you understand it as all the ways matter/energy manifests, is all you need to observe. Divinity IS there, and every being on earth has the tools to directly experience that divinity. Why propose something outside of this?
THOM OVERTON, VIRGINIA
My views have emerged from my feelings of connectedness with nature and in particular from my wonder at the world under the sea and the sky at night. Also from feeling the dew barefoot at night, Also watching the moon rise out of the sea and a million spiderwebs glistening in a field at dawn.
PETER MANSFIELD, SOUTH AFRICA
I had never even heard of a religion of this sort but it seems to fit me great. I always thought the world was beautiful but could never realize that it is a religion that I could belong to.
SECRET TREJO, TEXAS.
Pantheism is a superset of what we usually call religion. Its principles are self evident and, I now see, irrefutable. We can all make them our own, even though we may differ as to practice, liturgy or whatever. I find pantheism not merely compatible with Christian devotions such as the "Practice of the Presence of God" but immensely additive in terms of genuine subjective experience. This world view restores to Christianity and to religion in general a vitality which had been largely mislaid.
BILL PHILLIPS. BRITISH COLUMBIA
I began considering myself a pantheist only this year because of my philosophy class. However, I have had strong leanings in this direction ever since I read the words "Thou art God" in Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land. They just rang so true for me, I found I could not deny the idea that the concept we label as "God" is in fact, everything, and that everything is God.
JAMES FRASER, ONTARIO.
I have a strong belief in the overwhelming power of Nature, and that the Power of Nature is the only power that collectively is bigger than me or my species. Yet, my species and I are all part of Nature, and to understand ourselves, to understand Nature, is to realize Truth. As you put it, if nature is the only paradise, than a deviation from nature is the only hell. I believe strongly that all efforts to understand Earth, Nature, the Universe, the Human, and the Self, without resorting to illogical, supernatural beliefs, must be deeply lauded and cultivated. I believe pantheistic thoughts agree with my own.
HEIDI DUKE, TENNESSEE
I believe that following traditional religious practice is very often a poor substitute for a moral and responsible life. I have a strong sense of the sacredness of life and nature and am awed by the beauty and power of life. However, I have not easily found those who share these feelings, while also rejecting belief in an omnipotent, omniscient being, who if he did exist would at best be indifferent to the fate of life in the universe.
DONIVAN M. SHETTERLY, OHIO
Observing others around me at my age confronting our mortality, I find many reverting to fossil religions rejected in their youths. I, however, reaffirm my love of nature and science as the best path to self-understanding and to understanding the universe.
PETER HLAVACEK, NEW YORK
As I have never believed in a god outside the universe, I accept that everything that exists, including our own consciousness and sense of self, is a result of material phenomena. In my younger days, I regarded matter as stuff which obeys the laws of nature, and was very interested in discovering and studying these laws.
However, later, I asked myself "What enforces the laws of nature?". I came to the conclusion that the laws are not things in themselves, but merely describe the fact that matter behaves in certain very consistent ways. Thus rather than say "matter obeys the laws of nature", it seemed to me better to say that "matter maintains the laws of nature".
When I added this conclusion to my belief that matter alone was responsible for consciousness and sense of self, then it seemed appropriate to me to regard matter if not as God, than at least with the respect that believers would normally regard their God. I began to think I might be a pantheist when I came across the word in "The Mind of God" by Paul Davies, and then found your site when I did an internet search.
PETER MORRIS, AUSTRALIA
I was born into a Catholic family, but I refused to confirm my faith because I wasn't sure if Catholicism was right for me. I am not satisfied with any of the major religions. I have studied many many religions and belief systems and I like different aspects of them all. I used to tell people that I was a religious mutt, made up of many different breeds. Now, I can say I'm a pantheist. I like how pantheism is open ended. There is much room for individuality and evolution. I loath orthodoxy. I am also fond of pantheism's environmental implications.
JAMES BYRON TITUS, MASSACHUSETTS
I now believe that I have always been a pantheist, I just never had a name for it, or even realized that anyone else felt as I did about the sacredness of the universe. I could never force myself to accept the mythology of the Christian religion as literally true.
CHERYL BECK, OREGON
Never felt emotionally bonded to formal protestant religion. Always felt sense of awe with nature and literature (esp poetry). Took up hobbies of botany and astronomy. Started understanding the special place of everything in the universe which led to a one-on-one respect for other living things.
JAMES WILSON, SOUTH CAROLINA
I believe that God is absolutely immanent in the world. Supernaturalism makes no sense. I can not support the presuppositions that allow us to believe in any kind of supernatural revelation.
PHILIP STENDEL, MICHIGAN
I became weary of Christianity's preaching and needed a little more convincing. I went out on my own and listened to reason and logic for a little while and things began to make sense. One day, I had to do a paper on Spinoza and I came upon this website. I've been a Pantheist ever since.
JEFF STEVENSON, MISSOURI
The idea embraced by Modernity that views the Earth as something to be exploited while waiting for salvation is a license to exploit and plunder the only viable human environment we have at this time. I see very little (if any) evidence of an afterlife. I do see man as by nature tending to seek transcendence of death and seeking an eternal scheme of justice that somehow rights the wrongs of a less than ideal world. In so doing, he creates myths and forgets that he is the author through reification. The idea of spiritual elements behind the scene waging an epic battle for man's soul leads man away from taking responsibility for his own thoughts and actions.
LARRY JULIEN, TEXAS
During this period of my life, I had many doubts about my Christian faith which was hardwired into me by my upper-middle class surroundings (but not by my parents). It seemed as though these pages were my thoughts poured out on paper. I was so surprised to find so many people shared the same views as I have. I consider myself a Pantheist in most respects.
JEFF STEVENS, MISSOURI
The deeper I got into philosophy the more I recognized certain inconsistencies within the Christian religion. I became an aspiring Taoist. From what I've read over the internet Scientific Pantheism holds practically all of the same beliefs as Taoism and it offers me the opportunity to discuss these beliefs with others.
SCOTT SNODGRASS, ILLINOIS
I believe, in the spirit of Whitman, that we are all one unit, connected through our natures and the nature around us. I can feel it pumping throughout my body, the beauty that which I am; the majesty which is mine own soul!
BUCKY ADAMS, GEORGIA
Whenever I am in an area of natural beauty I am overwhelmed with emotion and feelings of awe. I never really thought about it until one day I was playing on my computer with the encyclopedia. I limited the search to religion and read everything that ended with -ism. I had never heard of pantheism before, but when I read about it I realized that it was what I had felt all along. Once I had a name for it I got on the internet and ended up here.
JAY DONNELL, VIRGINIA
Years of reading and study led me out of Catholic Priesthood and Christianity and eventually into atheism/humanism. Influenced especially by some writings of Alan Watts. Only recently come onto the Web where I came across your pantheism pages. They seem to be offering me a more focussed life and I would like to get involved.
MARTIN WOOD, ENGLAND
I have always been pantheist, having been raised in a non-Christian household (atheist/agnostic.) Connections to nature strong since my earliest memories. Last 3 years have actively studied and read and developed my neopagan/wiccan/pantheist philosophy.
STELLA SWINEHART, IOWA
I've always been reverent of nature and enjoyed what beauty and well-being it has had to offer. When I learned of the term Pantheism about a year ago, I realized that it fit exactly to how I viewed nature and the earth. Both often left me with a feeling of what I would have called spirituality and what my Catholic roommate would have called a "religious experience".
ABBY COFFIN, MASSACHUSETTS
I believe I was born Pantheist, long before I knew the meaning of the word pantheism my sense of wonder and beauty in the natural environment made it necessary to have a spiritual connection to Nature, even while undergoing Catholic indoctrination. As I matured this Pantheism gradually replaced the traditional Christian parts which became to seem historically contrived.
JOHN COURTNEY, CALIFORNIA
I guess I've always been Pantheist. I've called myself atheist for lack of a better term. I reject most of all the idea that one individual can know more about or be closer to the divine than another. I also have come to beliefs regarding the origins of the universe that can only be described as Pantheist. My reality is infinite....meaning...there is no impossibility...only improbability. And in an infinite universe...probability becomes meaningless.
KEITH GRAVES, WISCONSIN
I did not become a pantheist; I did discover that this was my true nature when I did realize that my awe for the wonderment of nature and sense of connection to the totality of the universe were defined as "pantheism".
EZRA LIBOWSKY, NEW YORK