Wednesday, March 03, 2010


(Copied from Everything2 with permission)

Wait a minute, you are surely saying, we already have a fantastic and brilliant node about pandeism -- at pandeism!!@!; what beckons a whole separate node on the same thing but just with a hyphen? Ah, but what a difference a hyphen makes!! In searching upwards from the most ancient sources on the subject to modern day, one finds that at sundry historical points, writers have inclined to use "pan-deism" (or perhaps Pan-Deism, depending on how they feel about capitalisation) to mean something strikingly different from the modern meaning of "pandeism."

Here are the examples (and annotations!!)....


"India worships three hundred millions of divinities. To her, God is everything, and everything is God, and, therefore, everything may be adored. Snakes and monsters are her special divinities. Her pan-deism is a pandemonium."

-- Source: Reverend Henry Grattan Guinness, in Missionary Review, in John Harvey Kellogg's International Health and Temperance Association, The Medical Missionary, 1897, page 126.
(The earliest example, here, could carry either sense!! Hinduism, long one of the prime religions of India, has been observed to have sects espousing pandeistic conceptions.)


"In certain passages of the OT the concept of Babylon emerges into an archetypal figure for the proud, God-defying forces of this world (Isa 13-14; 21.1-10; 47: Jer 50-51). In the NT it is even more clearly a type of pan-deism formed from a synthesis of Christianity and paganism; this is indicated symbolically in the description of the woman riding on the Beast (Rev 17:1 ff.)."

-- Source: Charles F. Pfeiffer, Howard Frederic Vos, and John Rea, in The Wycliffe Bible Encyclopedia, 1975, page 190.

(It's been frequently pointed out to me that Christianity has long
since become this synthesis, what with all the pagan celebrations,
practices, even whole doctrines being brought up into it right from its
early centuries, and into modern times.)


"If the Bible is only human lore, and not divine truth, then we have no real answer to those who say, 'Let's pick the best out of all religions and blend it all into Pan-deism - one world religion with one god made out of many.'"

-- Source: J. Sidlow Baxter, Our Bible: The Most Critical Issue, 1991.

(Oh, let's!! There is a sense in which pandeism is said to combine the
most defensible and rational truths that can be reduced out of all


"Should the demigod Pan come to bear, the result will be Pan-deism, the opening of Pandora's Box."

-- Source: John Gee, in The Metaphysicians' Desk Reference 2003, page 164.

(Um.... ok. Not exactly sure what this guy is going for -- something cleverly hidden in the wordplay? Or just alliteration for its own benefit?)


"Perhaps as a response to the years of repression under the old regime, they embraced the pan-deism
of the ancient world, with its numerous gods and lesser deities. They
were proponents of sexual freedom as well, even going so far as to hold
public orgies until halted by the local government."

-- Source: R. J. Leahy, in Tigra‎, 2006, page 54.

Hey, sure!! Numerous gods? No, not really. But consider Hinduism again,
which presents numerous gods as a mask for one true underlying force.)


"Just as the Pharisee thought he could come before God and present to Him his good works, the knowledge of good and evil literally became the doorway of pan-deism (that is, many ways to God)."

-- Source: Dewayne A. Pattie, in No King But Caesar & The Return of The Melek Tsedek: A Biblical Study on Faith, Religion, and the Antichrist From the Covenant Perspective, September 29, 2009, p. 45.

(And oughtn't there be "many ways" to such an entity as that of which they speak!?)


And so, as a rule, hyphenated pan-deism begs something else, not the
true blue view of "pandeism." But, a rule being laid out we are now
tasked with highlighting the exceptions!!

One occurs where Professor Francis E. Peters, in Greek Philosophical Terms: A Historical Lexicon 1967, page 169, inscribes, "What appeared here, at the center of the Pythagorean tradition in philosophy, is another view of psyche that seems to owe little or nothing to the pan-vitalism or pan-deism
(see theion) that is the legacy of the Milesians." And there we know he
speaks of the more familiar pandeism (and how do we know this? Because
it rightly captures the spirit of that ancient Milesian worldview).
Where poet and critic Liam Rector, in The Day I Was Older: on the poetry of Donald Hall‎, 1989, page 69, propounds that it was "Pope's rationalism and pan-deism with which he wrote the greatest mock-epic in English literature" for it reflects Alexander Pope's philosophy, summed up in An Essay on Man: "All are but parts of one stupendous whole / Whose body nature is, and God the soul" (forecasting, mayhap, a later artist's affirmation that "I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together.")

And again, William Harbutt Dawson, writes in his biographic epistle, Matthew Arnold and His Relation to the Thought of Our Time,
1904, republished 1977, page 256, that "whatever the deity which
satisfied Arnold's personal experience may have been, the religion
which he gives us in Literature and Dogma and God and the Bible is neither Deism nor bare Pan-Deism, but a diluted Positivism."
Now, one might assume, as the editor of the 1977 edition suggests, that
that Dawson may have intended to write "bare Pan-Theism" rather than
"Pan-Deism". If one does not, then we are presented with a direct
comparison with Deism, for Dawson then observes: "As an ethical system
it is in theory admirable, but its positive value is in the highest
degree questionable. Pascal's judgment upon the God who emerged from the philosophical investigations of René Descartes was that He was a God who was unnecessary."

But returning again to the uses that make and not break this rule, now
there are two ways you could think about this; one being that some
folks are none too educated in their collocation of words. Look at the
roots: pan, everything, deism, yes it does descend from the Latin for
"God" -- but it has preceded these quotations by centuries in a long
and greatly expounded distinct meaning all its own, of a particular
kind of faith standing apart from the theism that these folks try to
mash up. The right word would be omnithism.
Might even be that they mean to mislead -- pandeism is indeed as much
subject to misuse abuse as other words relating "off-the-beaten-path"
faiths. Like Moralistic therapeutic deism
(which is in point of fact no kind of "deism"), false usage, possibly
intentionally, demeans and diminishes the dimensions of its domain.

But a greater point is about the true meaning of pandeism, which accounts for and provides a tasty, logic-satisfying underlying explanation for all perceived religious phenomena accorded to all
faiths (visions, revelations, miracles, deep-seated feelings, etc); and
so, if pandeism is true, then this use of "pan-deism" it is true in the
sense that all of the phenomena of all faiths are traceable to the underlying pandeistic nature of our Universe.

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