So are we going to be able to do this as a 3-way discussion, with an atheist who doesn't think that pantheism is atheistic, a theist who thinks pantheism and panentheism are basically the same, and me defending the view that pantheism is essentially atheistic?
I would say that we might start with a fairly short statement from each of us, delineating our individual positions and definitions; from there, we can see if we have enough actual disagreement to justify a debate.
I want to do this fairly slowly, giving us all lots of time for consideration and careful explanation. So, I will try to put together a concise declaration of my own philosophy/belief within the next ten days; from that we can decide our next steps. Satisfactory?[/quote]
I c&ped this from a post I made at TR. It has some wird reference issues because I took it out of context, but it is pretty close to how I;'d approach this:
I wasn't talking about pantheist in that thread so I gave it short treatment but I'll work up something a little more for that one. Otherwise this is pretty close to what I'd argue.My point is that religious claims are wrong because they are demonstrably wrong. If I need to defend that statement or expand on it, I will but I assume that in this case, I don't.
Theism is a religious claim which is demonstrably wrong*,and it is demonstrably wrong precisely because it attempts to shrink what's 'out there' into a manageable ball with manageable rules and the rules are simply wishful thinking and wrong.
Any argument so far?
A-theism is a word which is not simply 'without' god. It suggests an approach also to managing the scope of what's out there by positively claiming that the universe works a certain way and that that way does not need the demonstrably wrong ideas of theism.
The reason I say it is not simply 'without' god is that it is not particularly meaningful to say 'without' a specific bit of wrong information. I am not a-phlogiston, or a-aether.
An atheist makes a counter claim and that counter claim too is an attempt to make it manageable sized.
We can certainly learn things about 'out there' but we do not and cannot say we know the nature of the source of sense data.
Atheism, if it makes no counter claim is a word which means something closer to, 'without the retarded idea of theism and quite happy not to replace that idea with anything whatsoever.'
Which is why using the word atheist to replace the word theist when someone realizes that the idea of theism is provincial, petty and ignorant makes no sense. It's like replacing the word 'left' after going round the block with 'right' to reflect better information. It doesn't make a person an a-leftist.
*(except pantheism which actually is not a religious claim at all because it's just a name for the whole system that we can observe.)