Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Pop-Pantheist Blasphemy

One of the more prevalent modern blasphemies is that of a sort of pantheism or pandeism which holds that all religions partially and imperfectly apprehend the one true God. In the last few days I heard or overheard versions of this blasphemy at work and from Saul Williams on Twitter. Not long ago, I was in an argument with Immortal Technique on Twitter where he was ineptly defending the position (while not even really understanding that it was his position). And in the case of Saul Williams and Immortal Technique, they had legions of followers expressing general agreement with the stance.

Not many people necessarily consciously self-identify in this way, as those who hold to the position often believe that they have transcended the particularity of confession, doctrine, and -- certainly -- labels. Usually it's a disingenuous posture adopted by agnostics or nominal believers who want to affirm there is a space 'beyond' religion, where all religions are legitimate in their own general way, but where none of their specific confessional details or doctrinal content need be affirmed or denied. But this is obviously impossible: if God is a bland spiritual essence or power, beyond the particularities of religious confession, who is apprehended just as accurately by a Christian as he is by a Hindu, then this god is incompatible with the particular God of historical Christianity (for example), and the specifics of any religion must be denied in favor of this pantheist god who is the "true God".

Or, if God is somehow the immanent all-embracing 'One' of pantheism which all religions vaguely apprehend, then the holocaust, slavery, rape, intolerance, hatred et. al. all become necessary elements of "God's" being -- in fact become part of God him/itself. Once again making this god crucially incompatible with the gods of the Abrahamic religions, and many others besides.

While the incentive to adopt this stance is understandable -- desiring to overcome differences, to promote understanding, peace, and unity across religious divides, to see God as indiscriminately all-embracing etc. -- it is immediately self-defeating. Far from eliminating exclusivist religious claims, it merely introduces another exclusivist claim into the fray i.e. "none of your gods, as you understand them, is the true God, but in your errors of specific confession and practice you vaguely gesture in the true God's direction." Rather than subsuming all religions under the banner of the one true pantheist God, you introduce a new god who is just as in conflict with the historical faiths as any of the gods of those faiths is at odds with one another.

Perhaps this is the reason few people self-identify as pantheists of this sort. On close inspection, the position becomes untenable, evil, or pointless. But many people say and believe things without close inspection.

In the desire to affirm the legitimacy of all religions, you necessarily undermine and oppose them all. The God I believe in is not the god of Islam, Hinduism, Mormonism, Zoroastrianism, Judaism or Pop-Pantheism. This is not the resolution to the 'problem' of religious exclusivity that some naively believe it to be, rather it's proof of the inescapable, inherently exclusive nature of confessions of faith. 

1 comment:

  1. The 100% fact of The Bible
    "Without Serpent/Satan The Bible would end on Page 2 with something as this...
    "And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed and they lived happily ever after
    THE END."