Worship in Pantheism

Hinduism claims that God is in all things.  Buddhism goes one step further to claim that there is no God, but that all things are one.  These are the two most well-established religions founded on the concept of pantheism.  Obviously, there are many that follow the tenets of these religions.

In the brief time I’ve spent studying religion, I began to enjoy the parallels that could be drawn between Hinduism, Buddhism, and science.  In an earlier post, I even attributed what Christ did on the cross to an illustration of showing the pantheistic philosophy of understanding that life and death are merely elements in time when life and existence itself are timeless. 

These parallels gave me great comfort and satisfaction.  Finally, many of the beliefs that I was taught in Christianity began to make logical sense when thought of in pantheistic terms.  God could be omnipresent, omnipotent, and omniscient if he could be a pantheistic God.  He would also have to exist outside of the space-time dimensional reality.  Still there is a lot of faith involved, but in pantheism, faith could at least make some logical sense that did not defy science. 

Spinoza believed that God was pantheistic as well, and that he was not a he in the personal sense.  God was nature, or more accurately, the laws of nature.  He would indirectly control reality by bounding the possibile states of reality.  Einstein took this as his creed in his pursuit of the truth of the universe.  Ultimately, this is the deterministic philosophy that drove Einstein to zealously fight against any sense of indeterminism, especially in the case of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle.  His faith would not allow for the possiblity for an indeterminstic model of reality. 

During this stage of psuedo-enlightenment and excitement in my study, I couldn’t help but wonder what my final realization would be.  Would I end up believing in a pantheistic god as the Hindus do?  Or would I somehow draw the connection to a “personal” God, one that makes intentional decisions through a thought process not-unlike our own?  Up until this point, I was ok with accepting either destination.  After all, the truth is the truth regardless of what I would like to believe. 

I was reading about Santayana’s views, and he made a statement that I can’t seem to get out of my mind.  He made the claim that pantheism is nothing more than “naturalism poetically expressed”.  At first, I thought he was speaking from an atheistic perspective, and did not take it too seriously.  After all, atheism is just another faith-based religion.  However, the past few days, my opinion has started to change.  For example, Hindus worship cows.  Outwardly, the reason they do this is because the cow provides milk (i.e. life) in addition to being a part of Brahman.  Brahman is defined is the pantheistic god of Hinduism.  So if the worship of Brahman (i.e. the cow) is purely a worship of what the cow is physically and what it produces, then I don’t see any point in worshipping the cow at all.  The cow is what it is and it produces what it produces as a result of Nature itself.  No amuont of prayer, worship, chanting, or inner peace is going to change that.  In addition, I don’t know if the worship and such benefits the cow in any way.  The same is true for any god in a pantheistic religion.  I remember that my Mom used to tell me that our God (Christian God) is a living God, their’s is a dead god.  But she was wrong.  The pantheistic god isn’t dead, it is powerless.  So why worship it at all? 

In worship, we are either thanking, asking, repenting or praising.  Without a “personal” attribute to receive these communicative acts, there would be no purpose.  God represents the unknown in the universe.  If God did not have free-will, as in a pantheistic god, science will ultimately make God known.  And as science uncovers more and more of the unkwown, the scope of the unknown continues to become smaller and metaphorically makes God himself smaller. 

I do not view meditation as the same as worship.  In my mind, meditation is the quest for realization, a philosophy which is metaphysically both a priori and a posteriori.  In a pantheistic sense, this is the only pursuit of God that could have a purpose.  The purpose is to break all of reality down to its “building blocks” and understand that God is those building blocks.  At that point, we can understand that we are one with God and reach that state of nirvana. 

Elsewhere, I will cover meditation and reaching enlightenment.  But from the standpoint of worship and communication with God, if the God is not conscious, or best case, conscious but powerless to defy the laws which he has created, what would be the point of worshipping such a God? 

5 thoughts on “Worship in Pantheism

  1. hmmmm… in Buddhism., if there is no God, then how is it pantheistic? Oh! all things are one so that means that everything is god, so there are gods in Buddhism… ?

    There are gods in Buddhism, but they aren’t important. They are stuck in the same Samsaric cycles as the rest of us. They haven’t any answers. The ‘solution’ is outside the cycle of samsaric existance, which is This existance right now. Gods have nothing to do with it.

    Buddhism is not Pantheistic.

    Neither is Atheism is just another faith based religion.

  2. Good point. I should have qualified it as in there is no entity called God. Christianity has a God that is an entity and a consciousness, Hinduism has Brahman, an entity with no consciousness, Buddhism does not have an entity.

    There are many different variations of Buddhism. The few that I have studied approach the Taoist perspective.

    My definition of pantheism: “‘Pantheism’ … signifies the belief that every existing entity is, only one Being; and that all other forms of reality are either modes (or appearances) of it or identical with it.” Not sure if that necessitates a religion having a God concept in order for it to be pantheistic.

    I admit, I could be wrong. Thanks for responding.

    I have to ask though, how is atheism not a faith-based religion?

    In religion, faith is what is used to justify the presence of a God without scientific proof; whether that is one God, ten thousand gods, or no god at all.

    There is no scientific proof that God does not exist. In addition, there could never be any proof because scientific knowledge will always have gaps, and religion will always claim that god exists in those gaps.

    I know, it’s a pointless exercise trying to scientifically prove atheism. But that’s why agnosticism exists. I don’t think science even cares about what it can not observe, so why do atheists?

  3. Science wont make God smaller because I believe He created Science and all its laws! We may learn more but paradoxically, just wait and see- The more we learn from science, the more amazed we will be by God and His love for us. Infact it will prove His existence. It truly is awesome . Like you said so well, the truth is what it is…it is immovable. One day every one will see and believe God even atheist, agnostists, scientists, … everyone. Wishful thinking you say? Maybe but then again maybe not!

  4. What’s more amazing? God parted the Red Sea, or that God caused an earthquake that parted the Red Sea?

    I agree with you, both are equally amazing. But there are many people who feel that if God is simply controlling nature, then he seems less powerful and definitely less worthy of being worshipped.

    If one day, everyone will be able to see and believe God, would he still be God? Or would he become an all-powerful alien? Would anyone worship “Q” from Star Trek (an all-powerful alien) as God? Sorry to all you none Trekkies.

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