Usenet newsgroups, and forums at AOL, Compuserve etc are a very important channel for increasing people’s familiarity with pantheism, putting across the pantheist viewpoint, clearing up the misconceptions about pantheism that are floating around, and interesting people to find out more at the major pantheist Web pages.
Please send other suggestions to Paul Harrison, e-mail:.
1. An excellent way to hit several relevant newsgroups is to search for pantheism or pantheist at Dejanews.
This will produce a page of messages, listing the newsgroup, and the e-mail of the person who posted. Just click on the message title and it will come up.
Then use the icon at the top of the results page to post a reply. Dejanews will display a form for you to fill in. You can cross-post to several newsgroups – just look at the names of the groups to which articles were posted, and include several, with a comma and space between each one.
Using Netscape or Explorer.
2. You can take part in newsgroups from within Netscape 2.0 or better and probably Microsoft Explorer too. Just click on the newsgroup titles below and the built-in news reader will be activated. If you’re on-line, it will retrieve current article headers for that group. If the title of any article interests you, double click on it and the text will be retrieved. Then you can use the buttons Re News to post a reply on that newsgroup, Re Mail to post a letter to the person, or Re Both for both. To post a new message of your own with a new title you can click To: News.
Using a news reader programme.
3. Get yourself a good on- and off-line newsreader like FreeAgent (Freeware) from, eg, DoItNow
AOL and Compuserve.
4. Both AOL and Compuserve have many discussion forums for religion, environment and so on, where you can post messages with a pantheist content. If you belong to either of these, just browse around till you find suitable places, which might be within any religion, or New Age, or Interfaith etc. The quality of debate is not always very elevated.
1. Follow your own nose – write about whatever interests and moves you in whatever way you like, but please do try to bring in pantheism.
2. Posting new topics with snazzy titles gets more prominence than following up old messages.
3. Please mention the URLs
4. Please don’t claim to represent or speak on behalf of the World Pantheist Movement or Scientific Pantheism – just use the general term pantheist.
5. Be aware of the distinction between pantheism [universe=God] – and panentheism [God is greater than universe, in it but also outside it].
6. Stress the positive links between pantheism and the religion in question.
7. Emphasize the strengths of pantheism – logical solidity; concern for environment; positive approach to life, body, world.
8. Try to remain polite and to avoid personal attacks, even if attacked yourself. Once people are into an aggressive-defensive mode, they become deaf to all reason and will not take any evidence or argument on board. Responding coolly to a hot attack demonstrates your superiority and invulnerability. Unfortunately, however, many people regard an attack on their ideas as an attack on their person – especially where their ideas have shaky foundations. There’s not much we can do about this. These people will generally show themselves up.
9. Try to be inclusive not exclusive: the aim is to draw people in, not to put them off for life.
10. Stick around a group for a few days. Check on follow-ups to your message.
11. HAVE FUN!!!
Some promising religious newsgroups, with odd comments
The following newsgroups may be worth worth hanging around in.
Suggestion for other groups are welcome.
Notes on peculiarities of each group also welcome – eg, taboos, red rags, attitudes to cross-posting.
If you’re using Netscape, clicking on a link below will launch the Netscape newsgroup reader (see Resource 2 above).
If you prefer to use another newsreader, just save this page as a *.txt file for future reference, or as an *.htm file if you want the clickable links to work.
alt.atheism – Pantheism and atheism parallels and contrasts.
alt.atheism.moderated – Messages must be about atheism one way or another
alt.christnet.atheism – Pantheism is alternative to atheism and theism
alt.christnet.philosophy – Many Christians are panentheists.
alt.consciousness.mysticism – Mysticism is direct linking with matter
alt.pagan – Many pagans say they are pantheists
alt.philosophy.debate – Cause and purpose of the universe
alt.philosophy.taoism – Taoism is a form of pantheism.
alt.religion.wicca – Many Wiccans say they are pantheist. The Wiccan hymn is a beautiful pantheist hymn.
soc.religion.eastern – Hinduism, Zen and Taoism are pantheistic
soc.religion.hindu Hindu Bhagavad Gita is pantheistic
talk.atheism– Pantheism and atheism parallels and contrasts.
talk.environment – Pantheism as basis for environmental ethics
talk.philosophy.humanism – Pantheism-humanism parallels and contrasts.
talk.philosophy.misc – Cause and purpose of universe
talk.religion.buddhism – Zen as a type of pantheism
talk.religion.misc – anything and eveything.
talk.religion.newage – Many New- agers are pantheists.