Friday, February 12, 2021

Can a pantheist pray?

I read Richard Dawkins' book, The God Delusion, a few years back.  Among my recollections is that Dawkins' related that pantheists were really just sexed up atheists. Wow - aside from a quick laugh, that was a bit of a jolt. Hmmm, I thought, in my flavor of pantheism, god is the sum of the parts; the totality of the universe. This is a very empowering perspective as by definition you and me are all part of the concept of god. Think of that - you are part of god - heavy stuff. So it came as quite the shock to be called a sexed up atheist. Thankfully, Dawkins' provided a great discussion of his definition of an atheist as someone who does not believe in a divine being(s).  Oh, ok, and after a bit of reflection, I came to agree with Dawkins.  I don't believe in some divine being watching everyone's every move who will make some sort of judgment so as a pantheist, I guess I'm (in the words of Dawkins) a sexed up atheist.

So can a sexed up atheist pray?

I'll often hear people say or write, "I'll pray for you" or "I'll keep you in my thoughts and prayers". I realize these are often just social pleasantries for some much like saying, "Tell so and so that I said, 'hi'".  Does anyone really do that?  I suppose some do and I suppose that praying may be a degree more serious so I suspect that probably more who say they'll pray will actually pray.

But what about us pantheists?  Who do we pray to?  Is it even appropriate for a pantheist to say they'll pray for someone?  Is it hypocritical for someone to regard themselves as a pantheist, but then pray when they have concerns?  

I've struggled somewhat with these thoughts and while I don't loosely promise to pray for anyone, I have found instances where concern has driven this sexed up atheist to prayer.  Gasp, yes it has been a conscious choice, but I will note that my prayer is not directed to some divine being with the hope of intervention.  Rather, it is a meditation of sorts - placing my thoughts into the ether.  As a pantheist I believe in the connectedness of the parts of the whole.  There are aspects of connectedness that we can observe and/or understand and there are also aspects of connectedness that may not be understood, but nonetheless exist.  I believe there is some ability to project thought to outcome and an ability to approach harmony through meditative prayer.  Pantheism is all about perspective as part of the whole and transformation among and between the parts of the whole.