What is the difference between Pantheism and Atheism?

Richard Dawkins in “The God Delusion” advances his opinion that “Pantheism is sexed-up Atheism”. This left me somewhat puzzled. It occurred to me that perhaps I didn’t really know what Pantheism was, though I thought I did. So what do you think the difference is?

I should be especially pleased to have answers from Pantheists and Atheists.

18 thoughts on “What is the difference between Pantheism and Atheism?

  1. “pan” means all or many, as in many gods (pantheism)

    “a” means absent or without, as in without God (atheism)

  2. pantheist believe in nature, atheists don’t believe in a creator. it’s the same thing really.

  3. Atheism is the belief in no god whatsoever. Pantheism is the belief that “the Universe (Nature) and God are identical, or that the Universe (including Nature on Earth) is the only thing deserving the deepest kind of reverence.”

  4. It’s the belief that the universe/nature is god…

    so it’s not a theism, because they don’t believe in a personal god…

    They also like science and logic as the means to understand “god”/the universe…

    Universal Pantheist can tell you all about it 🙂

  5. Dawkins has this wrong as he is wrong about much else

    Pantheism ( means all is god in Greek)is that everything (at least everything spiritual and “Really Real”) is God and is ultimately eternal and part of or an expression of infinity

    Atheism denies that that evrything is God, that god exists and most forms of Western Atheism deny an objective transcendent reality at all

  6. The definition that is used the most, as far as I’m aware, is that pantheists believe the universe to be divine.

    ..Personally, as an atheist, I see that as redundant and unnecessary.
    Sure, there is a universe. We are all here, so we can pretty much all agree on that. But knowing exactly what it is, why call said universe “God”? Why not simply refer to it as the universe? There is already a word for that, so I don’t see the point. Also: what exactly is, (supposedly), so divine about it?

  7. Pantheism is the believe in many gods. Atheism is the exact opposit because athaeist do not believe in god or gods.

  8. Pantheism is finding a divine spark in nature. Atheism is the lack of belief in deities.
    So, a pantheist could be an atheist(spiritual atheist) just as easily as they could be a polytheist.

    Pantheist may or may not believe in the supernatural. Many these days do not believe in anything beyond the scientifically observable.

  9. “Pantheism is sexed-up Atheism” — what a wonderful idea . — sorry ladies — you know I love you. — Especially Pangel.

  10. the gist is this:

    atheists don’t believe god/gods exist in the universe

    pantheists believe the universe *is* god

  11. If you look at most pantheistic mythologies, even the gods are confused and don’t know where this all came from or what we are doing here. they simply exist, and can’t offer any explanations about the meaning of it all. Atheists insist that everything is meaningless, pantheists take the lack of meaning and invent pretty stories and costumes and rituals to pass the time, but ultimately they don’t know why we are here or what their purpose is. I see what Dawkins is talking about.

  12. The definition comes from a well known atheist, therefore I can only imagine it being a not so veiled criticism to pantheism as a “revamped” and more glamourous (or trendy) version of atheism.

    The difference between the two, apart from the obvious language conflict between pan- and a-, is the starting point; atheists think there is no god whatsoever, hence no debate on him/her/it is necessary. Even the definition of atheist is quite absurd, if you think about it, for what would happen if everyone were defined by what one is not or doesn’t believe in? We would have a-dragonists, a-winnipooists, a-spidermanists, a-pinkelephantists and so on.

    A pantheist, on the other hand, believes the whole universe is god and god is in everything . In doing so, he/she denies the existence of a transcendent deity, which is at the base of every religion from monotheist to pagan, hence Dawkins’ odd simile.

  13. When you hear Richard Dawkins calling Pantheism “sexed-up atheism” he is referring to Natural/Scientific Pantheism—which is more or less belief sans religion. The link Universal Pantstheist provided you with to the World Pantheist Movement’s website is for Natural/Scientific Pantheism. What makes it similar to atheism is the lack of belief in a personal god (or a god that meddles in human lives). Pantheism in general simply means that one believes all (pan) is god (theos). The “all is god” terminology came about at a time when the easiest way to explain this belief was to include theism in the name. The best definition (in my opinion) of Pantheism is that “nature is divine”. This is not to say nature is a god, but more to say that nature is so amazing as it is, that there is no need to to make what is naturally awesome supernatural. If you know about James Lovelock’s Gaia Theory, it is easily applied to the Pantheist perspective (Lovelock is actually an honorary adviser of the WPM). However, others will say “nature IS god”, I just find this too difficult to explain to those who believe in a god who looks like a human.

    Anyway, back to topic: Atheism is easily confused with Pantheism because Atheism is a religion, Pantheism is a philosophy. A philosophy can be applied to any religion. Philosophy is what creates the ethics and beliefs within a religion, whereas a religion is the ritual and mythology applied to these beliefs. So there are many Pantheist Atheists, but also Pantheist Christians, Pantheist Pagans, Pantheist Jews, etc… It really depends on individual interpretation. If you’re interested in the belief system, I HIGHLY recommend joining this website so you can talk to other Pantheists (you don’t even have to be a Pantheist to join we love everyone :D): http://pantheists.ning.com/

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