GOD ONLINE: Exploring media spirituality

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Heaven on earth?

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“God is not the voice in the whirlwind; god is the whirlwind,” says Canadian writer Margaret Atwood, on the homepage of World Pantheism. Devoted to the search for the divine in everything, the Pantheists don’t look for God in the universe — they see God as the universe.

Their stated beliefs sound nice, at first: the awe of staring at the stars, or the peace in walking through a forest. The group reveres and cares for nature, embracing science, and respects reason and evidence.

The Pantheists post lots of material in support of their beliefs. A History of Pantheism declares common cause with Buddhists, Hindus, Taoists, Confucians, native Americans, even Pagans and Wiccans — as long as they see gods and goddess only as metaphors. The site even mentions Christian thinkers like Thomas Aquinas, though it properly calls him a Panentheist — one who sees the universe as part of God, but not the whole.

It’s when the Pantheists say what they’re not, that another face shows. They shun “grovelling worship or the expectation that there is some being out there who can answer our prayers.” They want to be “free from guilt about original sin.” They value “reason rather than fanaticism,” and “individual choice rather than pushing prejudice down people’s throats.”

You know, not like those ignorant, groveling, pushy other spiritual groups.

You can download some interesting back copies of the organization’s Pan magazine, like an issue on ethics. And the Pantheists offer several lists to help find one another.

A cool device is the Flash map on Frappr.com. Dots on the map show men, women and local Pantheist groups.

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Written by Jim Davis

December 7, 2008 at 3:14 am

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