Monday, December 21, 2009

On Pantheism

In an opinion piece in the New York Times called "Heaven and Nature", Ross Douthat (a conservative who adopted Pentecostalism and then converted to Catholicism), tries to argue against Pantheism.

He argues that Hollywood has been pushing Pantheism on people, "Hollywood keeps returning to these themes because millions of Americans respond favorably to them...." He wrote:

Indeed, it represents a form of religion that even atheists can support. Richard Dawkins has called pantheism “a sexed-up atheism.” (He means that as a compliment.) Sam Harris concluded his polemic “The End of Faith” by rhapsodizing about the mystical experiences available from immersion in “the roiling mystery of the world.” Citing Albert Einstein’s expression of religious awe at the “beauty and sublimity” of the universe, Dawkins allows, “In this sense I too am religious.”

The question is whether Nature actually deserves a religious response. Traditional theism has to wrestle with the problem of evil: if God is good, why does he allow suffering and death? But Nature is suffering and death. Its harmonies require violence. Its “circle of life” is really a cycle of mortality...

Nature is also life.

That people do not live forever - is what people such as Douthat choose not to accept. Meanwhile, the religions they support advocate such concepts as "God gave people the right and even the demand to subdue, dominate and multiply on the earth". Douthatians don't want to accept that global warming is a man-made crisis - partly brought on by such thinking. They resist the idea that there may be a better way to think about life than to ruin the earth and pretend there is another place that is more important than this one. To pretend that their life here is not really life - that one has to be "reborn" and all that.

I hope more people realize that this is it. If movies such as "Avatar" help some people to see that - then good for Hollywood and such films.

Happy Solstice. And blessings to those trying to live in harmony and more sustainably on the earth, who choose vegetarianism and non-violence, who accept life (and death as part of life).

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