The God of Naturalism

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In my interactions with the hundreds of other Pantheists I’ve met online, I’ve encountered an extreme medley of diverse and sometimes contradictory beliefs, with distinctions that cover the whole spectrum of thought and views that run the gamut between the extremely open-minded, New Age or Eastern-influenced mysticism, to the empirical, evidence-only materialist or reductionist Atheist.

Based on their upbringing, environment and personal experiences, there are some who naturally lean more toward the abstract and the spiritual, and are much more inclined to see things in an impractical, mystical, or pseudo-religious way. While at the same time, there are others (like myself), who conversely embrace the more philosophical, scientific and biological aspects of this ontology.

One person wants and desires to see the spiritual highlighted in conversation and another fights vehemently to see it removed, etc. A huge part of this disparity often comes down to language. Some cannot comprehend it when I say there is no ‘spiritual world.’ What I am of course referring to is the traditional, conventional concept that most mainstream religions espouse and cling to in terms of a transcendent, invisible, supernatural realm, that is generally inhabited by demons, angels, disembodied spirits and so on.

Yet what I said stands true- no such alternative world has ever been definitively proven to exist, and this has been the mistake of religion historically and it continues to this day. For the vast majority of those with religious inclinations still insist on attributing naturally occurring events and phenomena to just such an invisible world… but it is always due to a lack of scientific knowledge and a failure to examine things realistically and incorporate logic and apply critical thinking.

On the other side of things, from a Pantheist perspective, I can also see that everything is actually spiritual, sacred and divine, in terms of its profound complexity, grandeur and beauty. All things are naturally imbued with wonder, mystery and magic- no supernatural world required. Everything that exists is a part of Nature, therefore everything is intrinsically ‘natural’ ..even that which we’ve yet to fully understand. In fact, it was only because the Universe was so grossly misunderstood and so little was known about the real causes behind things, that anything was ever initially considered ‘spiritual’ or ‘supernatural’ at all.

So you see, ‘spiritual’ is really just a word for something we’ve yet to fully grasp and comprehend. Now then, when it comes to synchronicity, meaningful correlations, coincidences and little understood phenomena of consciousness and the human psyche, I will concede… all of these things do in fact appear outstandingly mystical, extraordinary and unnatural (because they are exceedingly rare and uncommon), but that does not make them “supernatural” ..only profound and otherworldly in outward appearance, because of the unusual circumstances under which they manifest.

But I guarantee you, whatever it happens to be, in the end, you will most assuredly come to find out, they were all naturally occurring events and processes- numinous and mystical experiences, no less wondrous and awe-inspiring, but still a significant part of Nature and the natural world. Unconventional and rare, but nevertheless a subsequent attribute of God’s own experience as the Universe. In response to those who would rail at me for using the word “God” and shout: “We are Pantheists, there is no God, only Nature!” Please, cool your heels and calm yourself. You are absolutely right, as I have meticulously explained in the preceding articles, “God” does not exist.

That is to say, the traditional, anthropomorphic idea of God as a personal, separate, supernatural, creator/judge deity, who is divorced from Nature and residing elsewhere, detached from us, in an ideal heavenly realm (as is commonly taught among the various schools of theology in nearly all of this world’s religious groups), is 100% false and inaccurate… a gross misconception, an ignorant fable and a dualistic lie. And this is what I oppose and reject as an Anti-Theist, because I have seen just how harmful and damaging it can be to a person’s psyche to wholeheartedly believe this notion exists at this current time.

No, when I say “God” I mean something entirely different than what a Christian, Jew or Muslim would perceive in their minds when they hear the word. I don’t mean a Theistic god at all (this should be obvious by now). I don’t mean a god that can hear your prayers or intervene and suspend the laws of physics on a whim, or is even conscious in a coherent way at this time. It’s true, I use the word interchangeably with the Universe… and some might stumble over this, but by their own admission, this is usually because of their own negative, pre-existing, former associations with the word.

Nevertheless, when I say “God is the Universe” I mean in it every sense of the word, because the Universe is literally the greatest, most powerful, most beautiful, most awesome, majestic, compelling, complex and intelligent thing there is… that also just so happens to be everywhere at all times, existing perpetually and forever- omnipotent, omnipresent and eternal <–notice, these are all the characteristics and qualities typically attributed to “God.” And this is what many Skeptics, Atheists and more scientifically minded souls must come to realize.

Likewise, when I say, “God is the Universe” I also mean that the Universe is more than just what is commonly thought. It is more than what a reductionist, materialist, scientific Atheist would consider It. It is not just the physical locale we inhabit. It is also a massive, incomprehensibly enormous, collective Entity, made up of trillions of scattered, differentiated parts, that are all entangled and interconnected and essentially comprised of the same energy/matter that ultimately originated from the same primordial source- the pre-Big Bang singularity.

This is not abstract theory, it is scientific fact. Research the terms: “Dark Energy”, “Dark Matter” and “Anti-matter” and you will see exactly what I mean. Dark Energy, Dark Matter and Anti-matter and Matter Itself, are all similar aspects of the same thing. Lay down comfortably, close your eyes and think of nothing. Relax your body to the point where you reach a meditative, hypnagogic state and you are no longer aware of any physical sensations (this is the state of sleep where you are semi-unconscious, but have not yet begun to dream).

Thoughts will arise, but there is no identity, no point of reference to base anything on and no real or imagined material to contrast with and allow a normal perception of existence. You may think and be vaguely aware of something, but these are not concrete, coherent and consistent thoughts—they are simply possibilities, non-manifest potentialities, etc. And infinite world of the most subtle and immaterial imagining. They have their own will, their own desires, their own “life” if you will.

They have force and effect, but there is no weight or substance to them until they are brought into fruition (when you begin to dream), or in the waking state, through conscious thoughts and actions. This is what existed before the Big Bang and it’s what underlies the very fabric of our Universe. What those aforementioned terms essentially describe are the infinite potentialities and possibilities of an unconscious Nature… or if you don’t mind speaking in anthropomorphic terms, the “thoughts of God.”

These abstract, incoherent and nebulous ‘thoughts’ coalesced into a singular vision, 14 billion years ago with one generalized intention– to exist and experience subjective reality. Thus, the Universe began and “God” (aka Nature) was born. The “Laws of Nature” are simply the latent, unconscious memories of the desire for this infinite Being to exist and It has brought us to this point, where all energy/matter is collectively becoming cohesive, self-aware and unified—i.e. becoming “conscious.”

We are the mind of God, waking up from eons of primordial slumber and remembering who we are and where we came from. This is the true message of Pantheism and the reason why ‘all’ things are considered “divine” but most Pantheists never grasp it. Scientific Pantheists deny it. Atheists can’t comprehend and the religious fundamentalists call it blasphemy… but every legitimate mystic and enlightened soul knows it to be true. The Universe is not conscious or self-aware on an anthropomorphic, humanoid level, but It is self-organizing, self-replicating, spontaneous and ‘alive’ in a certain way to be sure.

The laws of Nature could be seen as Its unconscious memory, running on ‘autopilot’ as it were… moving all objects and transforming energy according to certain fixed patterns of being, using gravity, electromagnetism, nuclear fusion, entropy and so on. All of Its subjective, constituent parts do not move together in cohesion like a living organism, but they do coalesce into innumerable pockets of energy that each maintain all the creative potential to become conscious, sentient, manifestations of Life through evolution.

This driving “Life Principle” is what I call the “Omnia” and It is representative not only of the action and intent of the Universe as a whole, but also of the physical substance, or dynamic energy/matter of which It is entirely composed. In this way, Creator and Creation are one in the same (Substance Monism). Another factor that would be helpful to understand here is that in a sense, when I write, I am actually accustomed to speaking to the traditionally religious crowd, so by using their own terminology, while at the same time expanding and redefining parochial meanings, I’m better able to explain Pantheism to them in ways they can relate to, and hopefully embrace and understand.

The problem is, whenever I talk to Pantheists who’ve come out of Theistic religion and freed themselves from its oppressive concepts, many are still very reactionary, with a natural attitude of rebellion towards anything and everything that sounds like what it was that offended them so deeply in the past. This is of course tragic and completely unnecessary, but hopefully with proper explanation and the introduction of new words like “Omnia” we can avoid this kind of thing in the future.

In short, our standard definition of “God” is inaccurate. By definition, a personal, supernatural, omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent, anthropomorphic being that exists apart from us, outside of time in some other dimension, does not exist (although I do believe this is what we are all evolving into and what we will become in the future, i.e. one universal consciousness). What does exist however, is everything we know of as the Universe, which includes all matter and energy, ourselves and Nature.

And now that we have the benefits of scientific knowledge, we know that all of the properties and actions normally attributed to God are really the laws and properties of Nature. So we need to redefine our definition of God and update our definition of Nature. Most Pantheists and Pandeists understand all of this intellectually and that’s fine, but how many people really comprehend and consider the notion that everything is God? It flies in the face of everything we’ve been traditionally taught about what God is.

Everything is divine, but people generally have a hard time understanding and accepting this truth, because in their minds, “God” is supernal and perfect, without weakness or flaw. Certainly it’s been beaten into our minds that this is what qualifies as divinity… and I know personally, just how hard it can be to rid ourselves of this enduring idea. But just consider it, does anything really seem perfect and complete in this world? Isn’t it really a mix of both? So it’s not that difficult if you shift your focus away from idealized notions and just view reality as it is.

We don’t generally consider pain or starvation or suffering to be good, noble things. We don’t consider pollution or garbage or virulent diseases to be aspects of Divinity… because in the idealistic sense, they are not. But they are properties of Nature, which in actuality is really a massive collection of interlocking systems and Life forms that are steadily evolving and moving toward balance, equilibrium and perfection. Taken as a whole, It could all be considered divine… but in Its present state, It only shows hints and clues and potential of being perfect, especially in terms of human potential… with all of our talents, gifts and abilities (especially our ability to adapt).

Our body’s incredible ability to heal and regenerate itself, the programming in our DNA to replicate and reproduce itself infinitely (as long as our telomeres persist) and the movement in Nature as a whole toward greater complexity and higher intelligence, consciousness and awareness, leading to more rational and civilized behavior, with the hallmark traits of reason, morality, compassion and empathy, etc. All these things are what I consider “divine” and they are not hard to imagine as such.

Not everything in the whole of Nature is ideal and divine in the traditional sense, and that is because our understanding of God as a perfected being is fundamentally flawed. Instead, we should see ourselves, the Universe, and everything in It, as a collection of systems that contain divine programming, with divine potential, which will eventually become what we commonly think of as “God.” As such, at this point in time God still suffers, God still has imperfections, flaws and defects, because God is not yet one.

Although the programming and potential and momentum are all there, it is not until we as humans live up to our highest standards and progress as individuals… and, ultimately, unify ourselves as a species, that we will see the Divine as is commonly thought- for as we do these things, we undoubtedly hasten that singularity, and move closer toward perfection in the traditional sense… but as it stands right now, there is still chaos and a multitude of imperfection in God. The reason for this is simple- God is still evolving.

People have a hard time with Pantheism and Pandeism because it undermines their preconceived notion of God. A notion that religions have done an excellent job of perpetuating and upholding. Hopefully, with the spread of Biopantheism and other similar, more developed, Pan-related philosophies, this will eventually change and metamorphosize, as society as a whole finally begins to recognize the divinity present in all things… and as they do, they will likewise begin to update and change their definitions of Nature and discard these old, outdated and inaccurate concepts of God.

Some may disagree, but I believe it was the crowning achievement of evolution and Nature to develop and attain a brain capable of morality, with the ability to think and reason and judge between what is life-supporting and health-promoting (good) and what is destructive, harmful and chaotic (bad). It is completely up to us, so that means we can change the way society works, it just takes unity, cohesion and a solidified purpose. You have to remember, things only appear chaotic and broken now, because the rest of Life has not yet evolved to the level of consciousness and awareness that we have (or the best of us have), that’s why there is still pain and death… and among societies, selfishness, evil, greed and suffering, etc.

When people talk about the Darwinian laws of Natural Selection and the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, entropy, atrophy and all the rest of those unsavory qualities of existence, I’m not sure they realize that it is these, and not strictly mankind’s own “evil” that are the true causes for all the pain and suffering in the world. All of these things, including sickness, aging, death and disease, are literally a part of Nature… and therefore, ultimately, a vital and significant part of the process of subjective experience. And experience, as my Pandeist friends will rightly tell you, is the entire purpose for our existence.

One Response to The God of Naturalism

  1. Profile photo of Joshua S Gough
    Joshua S Gough March 11, 2017 at 8:06 pm #

    Very interesting, Poffo. Thanks for sharing this. Have you ever watched Alan Watts talk about the future evolution of technology?

    The thought experiment reminds me of parts of your essay.

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