The great Hellenist the Apostle Paul
Debunking Panendeism More New Age Religion
by Lewis Loflin
Two recent inventions try to incorporate the term "deism" but have no relation to it as understood historically. Pandeism is just pantheism a form of atheism that equates Nature as divine and claims it as a god - a god with zero attributes of a god. Another a term was invented in 2001 called "panendeism". This is a secular variation of the Christian Holy Spirit and is prominent in New Age belief systems. One Facebook group claiming to be deist equates this non-god with American Indian spiritualism.
Historical deism is rejected by the vast majority of internet deists more interested in trashing Christianity and using the term to give authority to their own inventions or political agendas. Here we will debunk panendeism.
Also see Does Pantheism Lead to Leftism?
What we really have here is an attempt to use deism to give credibility to what is New Age mysticism. I don't believe the inventor is dishonest as much as confused - deism have nothing to do with this kind of mysticism.
What is classical deism?
Deism and closely related Unitarianism was a system attractive to those with a scientific mindset wanting to rationalize Christianity and reconcile God with science. In the forefront was the rejection of magic, blind adherence to ecclesiastical dogma, and rejection of Church authority.
While built on a Christian framework, they rejected Jesus' divinity, Original Sin, Hell, predestination, etc. removing the hurtful model of the often irrational Hebrew God and Apostle Paul's Platonist' speculations.
Classical Deism was an English affair beginning in the early to mid 17th century. When exported in the 18th century to France was striped of its religious roots and ethics. Instead became a tool of secular revolution and its God replaced by Aristotle's Prime Mover. French radicals such as Voltaire filled in the empty shell with Greek pantheist philosophy and Eastern mysticism.
The first modern secular mass murderer was the deist Maximilien de Robespierre and his Reign of Terror in the name of enlightenment humanism.
What follows is a debate between myself a so-called modern panendeist.
"Calm down, my Deistic friend. All shall be revealed. I am anxious to address your misunderstandings; primarily your accusations of being an atheist! Really? How did you come up with that?"
The answer is very simple. Pantheism equates Nature (and us) with God, thus nothing exists beyond Nature. That is atheism in reality. One can call-equate Nature with god, but this "god" has no attributes we normally would attribute to god so why even use the term? The same with trying to use the term "deity."
Calling a dog a cat doesn't make it a cat.
"I may have a different understanding of Deity than you, but I have always embraced a belief in God. I could not be a Master Mason without a belief in God."
Master Mason? Why am I not surprised? Masons are Gnostics, not monotheists. Deism is monotheism and posits a transcendent (separate from nature) deity.
"What you read on my small website was a very basic and broad treatment of the concept of PanenDeism."
What I read is a man that dabbled for years into Christian mysticism and has never been a deist and displays no real knowledge of it - in fact it seems you are hostile to deism - or at least turned off by it. This is why you seek to replace it.
Your first problem is you are following Aristotle and not Classical deism as you label it. Because so many other internet deists perpetrate this lie and you rely on them, you've been duped. That is why you need to question this stuff and put reason over your personal feelings.
"There is much more to say about the concept, as I originally presented it. As I mentioned on the website, the idea was to offer a version of Deism that combines some of the ideas of PanenTheism and Classic Deism."
This is not a new version of Deism just as much as Christianity was not a new version of Judaism. I found this quote on your website highly suspicious. It's odd that you use the term "spark of the divine" in quotes turns out to be the title of a New Age book.
"Spark of the Divine" is a book by Rajinder Singh sounds very similar to this and it's not deism either. The book is nothing but New Age mysticism.
Is this a coincidence that you use the term that's the title of this book? Not really because this thinking has flooded the web and you didn't bother to check whatever source you got it from.
This is not a new form of Deism but a way to replace it. You never believed deism anyway - you are a mystic and don't think in scientific terms. There's nothing wrong with that by the way - a lot of people are like to dabble in mysticism.
"PanenTheism is a New Thought approach to the ideas of classic Theism (Christianity), just as Classic Deism was an attempt at "saving" Christianity from the onslaught of scientific knowledge that the Age of Enlightenment heaped upon the Church fathers of that time."
New Thought? From http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/412169/New-Thought
"New Thought, a mind-healing movement that originated in the United States in the 19th century, based on religious and metaphysical (concerning the nature of ultimate reality) presuppositions. The diversity of views and styles of life represented in various New Thought groups are difficult to describe because of their variety, and the same reason makes it virtually impossible to determine either membership or adherents."
In other words, total New Age rubbish.
"just as Classic Deism was an attempt at "saving" Christianity from the onslaught of scientific knowledge that the Age of Enlightenment heaped upon the Church fathers of that time."
No wonder you are totally confused on this subject. Classical Deism sought to rationalize Christianity and to rid it of such nonsense as panentheism in particular Paul's mystical speculations which oddly parallel your methodology.
Classical Deism accepted scientific knowledge. Where did you get this from? Let's see a source.
"Deism does reject revealed truth, in its classical form, but it also posits a God that set things in motion, then "stepped back", allowing the Universe to self-evolve without direct, Divine intervention. PanenDeism retains this idea, but is not bound by the limits of Reason, as Classical Deism is."
Wrong again you are still mixing up Aristotle with God. Have you ever taken a college level history coarse? That is not classical Deism that's Aristotle's Prime Mover! The Enlightenment atheists such as Voltaire substituted this for the God of the Bible in the late 18th century. This god of Aristotle has been discredited by modern science with the Big Bang theory anyway.
Aristotle's Prime mover was used by Voltaire (a defacto atheist) as an attack on the Catholic Church. It's not a god at all but a force of Nature with no attributes of a god - in addition there were many of them.
Don't you know classical Deism predates the French Enlightenment by almost a century? Is this Freemasonry talking or something you saw on the web?
"It remains open at the top and allows that "way of knowing" that is best known by the great mystics of our past. Meditation, personal communion with the Divine, and an experiential intuition with that which we call God is encouraged in PanenDeism. Logic and Reason provide the solid foundation that we must always fall back on, when considering our philosophical approach to the Divine."
Enough of this. You said it - mystics - Deism is not that kind of mysticism. This is Gnostic or its modern form New Age mysticism. There is no such thing as panendeism or pandeism - you have simply relabeled a lot of New Age mysticism you didn't even invent. You just cobbled this together.
"But unlike Classical Deism, the focus of our investigation of Deity in PanenDeism is an EXPERIENTIAL knowing. It is not about some church or teaching, it is all about Becoming. These ideas come the from New Thought influences of PanenTheism, but without the classical Theistic ideas of the nature of God; artifacts of traditional Christianity. As far as definitions go, PanenDeism rejects the "All is God" idea of Pantheism and can be described as the idea that All that is, is located WITHIN Deity."
What rubbish. You begin with historical errors and simply multiply them. You use the term "New Thought" which it seems is a big influence on you.
"All that is, is located WITHIN Deity."
Pseudo-pantheism. No difference between "God is all" versus "all within god."
"All matter is infused, at its essense, with a spark of the Creator."
Classical Gnosticism - not deism - nothing new there.
"In addition, if there is anything that exists beyond the physical universe that we all experience with our senses (multiple universes, parallel universes, other dimensions of reality, etc.), then all of that is included within Deity, as well."
Pseudo-pantheism. No difference between "God is all" versus "all within god."
"In other words, when considering our physical reality, one could say that "God is All that Is, and more." In addition to this PanenDeistic explanation of the nature of Deity, and what makes it different from PanenTheism, is the Classical Deistic idea of the self-evolving nature of the Deity's Creation- which includes all life found in this universe."
Right back to Aristotle. I'm not even going to bother with a definition of deistic.
"Finally, I would like to make an important distinction. In my system, PanenDeism is the philosophical framework of the "Deology."
Deology??? Is that something else you got from New Thought? You are creating this as you go along and as a mystic you have distorted and redefined terms into things that in many cases are the polar opposite of the original meanings? You have been suckered by these internet deists and this is the result of not doing your own work or checking your facts.
"It is not meant to be considered a "faith tradition", or religion. I have done some work on a proposed "faith tradition" that I call "TransDeism." You could say that PanenDeism is the "science", while TransDeism is the "technology (applied science)." I hope that helps!"
TransDeism??? No such thing. I'll bet it's simply repackaged transcendentalism. Do some research on the subject. I won't even attempt to define what "applied science" is - something else you need to research. You are using the word science in the way you use Deism as a way to give authority to something that has no relation to either.
You are not a liar, etc. but like all mystics you are searching for words to express what is for you deep spiritual truths. At the same time I can't allow you to distort and redefine terms in such a way to undermine my beliefs or sow more confusion and nonsense. You made it clear your intention was to undermine Deism and I won't let you do it.
I know you are a sincere and compassionate person. You have no intentions of dishonesty and I praise your openness on what you have presented. I have great respect for the Masons and believe it or not the Gnostics as well. You need to put New Thought mysticism aside and do some rational historic research. You have no clue to what Classical Deism even is.
I know where you are coming from, now learn something about historical deism. See https://sullivan-county.com/deism.htm.
This is my position: I respect your beliefs and you are welcome to them, but I will not stand by and allow you to distort and undermine my beliefs or pass off historical lies and errors as fact. Your website bio and writing here make it clear you have never been a deist, you detest deism what little of it you understand, and admit to wanting to replace it with this New Thought - New Age mysticism.
That's not your fault - you were fed a load of lies and fell for it. Live and learn.
I stand by my original statement there's no such thing as panendeism or pandeism. The reason deism gets nowhere is because we allow secular humanists and New Age mystics to hijack the name and invent anything they want.
We need to have an open debate on this and you are welcome and in fact vital to that discussion, but I will not treat New Thought or New Age or Gnostic mysticism as any form of deism. Reason over mysticism!
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- John Calvin: Free Will and Predestination
- Pelagius: To Demetrias, why he was cleared of heresy
- Pelagius: Chapters