Monday, 30 May 2011

God's plan

So, what if Christian theism is true...what is God's special plan for the world?

Lets put this in the language of Sci Fi:  The Christian God is a hyper dimensional extra terrestrial entity ('The Alien') that has seeded this planet in this star system (and for all we know, other planets) with the means to develop living and eventually conscious cognitively reasoning individuals. The Alien however remains deliberately hidden from the living creatures he has allowed to evolve viz humans. The Alien has implanted a vague awareness of his existence in most people, more particularly in those of  a particular mental and emotional disposition. He deliberately does not disclose himself except in very particular mysterious ways such that while mankind cannot disprove a deity exists, he can also never be rationally sure he does exist. The Alien has not for instance made himself known to the persons who are most knowledgeable or have the ability to ask any awkward questions (scientists, philosophers etc). However the Alien has revealed himself to select individuals and to them he has put the story around that he is seeking people to enter into his 'dominion'  and 'inherit the earth' and also exist for ever in 'his realm' after death. The story also goes that not all will enter this dominion etc but will be rejected.  The Alien's story was disclosed over multiple centuries and in a variety of literary forms is highly cryptic manner so only those who are 'naturally intune' with the Alien are inclined to accept or believe it, despite the story being full of rational inconsistencies. The theme of this cryptic message in the story, amounts to an admission that the Alien is seeking to 'harvest' minds from our planet and this is the only reason why us creatures exist. 

Indeed in many written versions of th Alien's story the earth is described as this Alien's growing plot, his kitchen full of  his utensils,  and his workshop where he makes objects only some of which are to be used for his long term purposes. It is clear that the story is  cryptically refering to the  Alien's intention to 'farm'  and 'manufacture'  servants from the living creatures on this planet. The Alien can't simply 'make'  servants to order ( he tried that previously, see below) instead the Alien knows he has to 'grow', 'develop' and 'test' them but there will be much much wastage. You see, the Alien  only wants to select certain  types of person to become his servants in his dominion. Not everyone can be his servant because of their particular brain chemistry and character is simply not right. Those who are not selected are not particularly bad or evil. Indeed some of those selected as his servants are, to the human mind, much more despicable people (including criminals, wasters etc) than some of those not selected. What matters is not what those selected have done but whether they can be transformed into the servants that the Alien wants.

So who is the Alien selecting? It is quite apparent that the Alien is  NOT selecting those who  think critically and who are strong individualists. Counter intutively the Alien is not selecting simply those who in human terms are good, nice or generous, but only those who would trust and obey their master without question and are particularly needy and dependant  The Alien considers our human existence to be a testing process  for developing his servants whereby those who are selected by the Alien believe and love the image of the Alien regardless of the lack of evidence or counter evidence, and regardless of the evil which life throws at them. 
 The Alien rejects those who have strong doubts or who won't accept being assimilated into the purposes of the Alien. The Alien wants pliable minds, that are open to being 'developed' by the Alien for his service. The Alien even admits in fact that he wants his servants to have the minds of 'children'.

At some future point the Alien will end his farming/manufacturing process and  return to this planet to collect for himself only those persons who meet his requirements and have passed the relevant existential tests. Among this good harvest the Alien will also be looking for an elite cadre of potential servants  (the 'overcomers') who have served him, no matter what, even to the point of death. Everybody else, the rest of the Alien's 'crop' who the Alien describes as the 'chaff' or 'tares' will be destroyed as 'worthless' and 'thrown out'. It matters not that those who are being destroyed have had wonderful insights or are amazingly creative or are very kind and honest or have done good acts for other people or the world. During this colllection process (the 'apocalypse') tempts by the rejected people to form one world government to establish peace and justice on earth are frustrated by the Alien and his servants as this would interfer with the Alien's plan. The Alien obviously does not want a human 'rebel base' permanently existing against him

Unfortunately it is not enough that people might actuallly want to be the Alien's servants. The Alien dispenses the ability to believe and love the Alien in this unquestioned way only to those who the Alien sees as already potentially having the right mindset to be his servants and never sin or rebel The Alien is choosing certain people and only in a very limited and  secondary and derivative sense are people choosing the Alien. The Alien's answer to the apparent injustice is to simply say it is not for his creatures that he has farmed to challenge their maker, also that we have been allowed to be 'free range' for most of our history and have suffered from knowledge of evil as well as good, so independence from the Alien is not a desirable state of affairs in any event. Indeed the Alien has ensured that his creatures have an innate disatisfaction with their physical reality and are alienated from nature such that only what the Alien wants seems to matter or give meaning.

The Alien has perfected the ability to exist for aeons, and is immortal while we have transitory very limited physical lives. The Alien points out then that it is entirely in his gift as to who he wants to co-habit with in his dominion.  The Alien actually wants his servants also to inherit the physical world, which he loves (but he doesn't  - as some have wrongly assumed - have  love for all the inhabitants that currently exist in the world) and the rejected humans have to be removed for his servants to have the physical world for themselves.

It so happens that long ago, the Alien had only other hyperdimensional beings as his servants. They were designed and made specifically to serve the Alien, and some of the more elite servants will given a large measure of intelligence. However as they had no physical bodily form their loyalty was never tested. Unfortunately one day the Alien's most intelligent and highest ranking servant decided to think for himself and rebel, along with many of the sub-servants. This rebellious servant has grounded his base in our world. The Alien cannot destroy this rebel servant without causing a war which would probably destroy the world and scupper the Alien's long term plans. Thus the rebellious servant ekes out an existence in the shadowy and subtle part of the material reality. The Alien has, through his servants, spread around terrible propaganda against this rebel servant describing him as the source of all evil and the 'Father of Lies'. when in fact all he wanted was to independently share the good things that the Alien enjoyed. Sure, the rebel servant has become somewhat bitter and twisted and is not particularly  benevolent to other humans, so must be approached with extreme caution. The Alien of course intends to destroy this rebellious servant once his harvest of the human servants he wants is complete.

Perhaps after the earth, the Alien will harvest servants from other races on other planets. Once harvested his servants will be utterly dependant for their existence on the Alien and assimilated into his being to a very large measure. They will live either on the earth post the extinction of the rejected humans or in his 'Mother Ship' the New Jerusalem as it is called which will enter orbit of this planet. The servants will forget their human lives and also their relationships and ties with family and friends who the Alien rejected. The servants will never think to ask what happened to the latter. Indeed it seems the rejected humans cannot simply be anhilated, but because they have some immortal spark they have to be imprisoned for ever in darkness and chains and cut off from the universe by being surrounded by destructive fire.  It also suits the Alien to have such a prison because if any other creature in the universe or servant is minded to rebel then the Alien can point to the 'fate' of these other rebels. This is the Alien's 'ultimate deterrent' policy and it has largely been effective throughout history.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

So what point paganism?

So why not merely be a naturalist atheist/agnostic? Why align oneself with the kooky views of pagans?

At present I have a number of justifications for this odd behaviour:

1. We need to find a way to relate to the rhythms of nature and the ecological if not monistic interconnection between all life
2. Nature is awesome and mysterious. A spiritual sensitivity is a sensitivity to the awesome and mysterious nature of being, life and consciousness that is manifest in nature.
3. I like the ancestral stories and I want to feel a 'depth' and 'rooted connection' to my existence by identifying my transitory existence with a long line of ancestors and ancestral tales. Telling the stories of my ancestors and reverencing how they have contributed to my existence is a form of 'immortality'. I too would like to be among the honoured ancestors.
4. I am fascinated by ancient and early medieval history viz the 'pagan' and 'pre-Christian' past including its symbols and iconography.  In particular I am fascinated by the transition from pagan to Christian culture and the thin veneer of Christian mindsets that overlays what is still basically a pagan culture right until the present day. Indeed I consider Christianity as having directly evolved from both judaism and contact with pagan mystery religions.

5. I am sold on the power of 'Archetypes' as stable, public and empirical, albeit invisible realities in the human mind and the power of the conscious and unconscious mind generally to shape how we live and behave. I think even Archetypes in the jungian sense imply fundamental patterns and principles in nature (such as unity, polarity, triads, and webs of interconnection) that though not 'sentient' in themselves, still provide an underlying structure to reality or at least our consciousness through which we 'know' that reality. Indeed reality 'in itself' in unknowable, as everything is mediated through mind. Myths provide powerful windows on the development of the human psyche and culture.

6. Paganism in its modern guise protects and preserves nature by declaring it 'sacred'

7. I remain open to possibility that other aspects of nature even what is considered inanimate may have subjective experience, i.e. a panexperientialism or panpsychism. This is my 'animistic' tendency, to see aspect of non human nature as not merely objects but as experiencing realities even if they are not 'minds' capable of thought and will as such. It follows that our own unconscious mind represents in evolutionary terms an earlier primordial state of our animal existence before we became able to think in conceptual terms.

8. Neutral monism is not incompatible with paganism, nor is process theism i.e. panentheism monism, but these are philosophical positions that I tend to hold or lean toward. On the other hand I find I cannot believe in a theistic supreme mind who has providential control over the world, which is a core doctrine of classical monotheism (the belief in one supreme deity even if other spiritual entities and powers are also admitted to exist). Paganism is usually defined as a nature centred spiritual belief that is distinct from classical monotheism and generally opposed to this hierarchical and teleological view of the world.Even while most pagans admit to a unifying ground of being or principle they consider there are a huge plurality of spiritual powers and forces working in harmony or not. For the pagan what is 'god like' is any natural power with the ability to create, preserve or destroy e.g. elements like fire, wind, water, the sun. 

9. Druidry is a spirituality inspired by the nature, landscape and ancestral stories of the pre-Christian British Isles. Druidry is concerned with the arts, with psychology and with 'natural philosophy'. It is concerned with ritual as a means to altered states of consciousness, and awareness that promote a sense of belonging and connection and a 'love for all existences'. It is also environmentally friendly and politically radical.

10. I find I am able to interpret references to the 'Great Spirit' as the triad of the  * 'is-ness' of being, *the creative power of life aka at base 'the will to be and to become', and *the 'self-reflective knowledge of the truth' and 'world creating logos'  that is our consciousness. We are, as far as we know, the only fully conscious self reflecting part of nature...indeed we are collectively the rationally thinking 'mental' aspect, the rational mind of the earth, which is our 'body' (that fully and only  sustains that mind).

Default naturalism

Hi, I've been playing my favourite game of 'metaphysical speculation' of late. This involves my considering pantheism, pandeism, deism  and examining their logical implications and what, if anything, theses isms provide in terms of explanatory power and to what extent they are even attractive notions. I find I have to accept that the only reliable knowledge appears to come via the scientific method and deductive logic.All other belief systems do not fare well in explaining the world as disclosed by science.So I must accept that 'naturalism' must be my default belief system and with it the implications that there are no supernatural entities (including gods and spirits) and no after-life.

Here are some problems and serious objections  I have identified with the following  isms -

Pantheism - naturalistic pantheism asserts no new facts about the world but just describes a human's aesthetic and emotional response to the naturalistic thesis. Therefore it is not, strictly, a world view at all. For spiritual pantheisms see below on monism.  Also even if we ascribe to the universe some of the feelings and qualities the religious attribute to God, perhaps the most important aspect of a theism, from the believer's point of view, is that God is Good and sentient. I would insist that an impersonal amoral entity like nature, however vast and beautiful cannot be compared to the theist's notion of a God.

Pandeism - If God has become the world, and ceased to be a sentient existing entity, then isn't pandeism really saying that God has 'died' and we are made from his remains? God becoming a finite insentient amoral universe is a change from God to non-God.  Therefore pandeism is the belief that God used to exist but does not any longer. The only advantage of pandeism over mere pantheism seems to be that it provides a first cause. But the deus of pandeism cannot provide any succour or hope, it cannot be worshipped or related to in any way. I have put forward in previous posts the suggestion that God created the universe and the universe evolves into God. But I have realised that  between creating (and then dissolving) and evolving again from the universe God would be wholly unable to control the destiny of the universe. Thus if something happened to destroy life in the universe then God would not evolve - the whole speculative notion clearly unravels at this point.

Deism - Why does the deus create? If there is no reason for this, there is no reason for us and no reason to think the creation has any long term goal or purpose apart from merely being. I once thought it might make deism more attractive if one could consider that the Deus has expressed and manifested itself through the Cosmos, that in some sense the Cosmos is the divine embodiment of the divine glory.

But  a number of problems have presented themselves: firstly  if the deus does not intervene in creation as some deists insist then what do we make of the act of creation itself? Isn't creating just such an intervention? If God can create why can't he preserve and destroy also? You see, by claiming the Deus is a creator of the universe, and perhaps of living creatures, requires the kind of power and potential for intervention normally attributed to the God of theism.  For the same reasons Deism does not avoid the problem of evil if God can create the world and design life. Even if God is not omnipotent such creative powers would surely prevent much evil in the world if God applied them at any other time since creation And if God did not want to prevent such evil but could, then he would not be worthy of worship.

And if  instead Deists say that God simply caused the initial conditions for the universe, then God can only really be said to be only the creator of the initial conditions, not of, say, trees, animals or humans. The first cause in a very long chain of causes is not the creator deity of the theist. Also creating the initial conditions is not really 'expressing' the divine nature's good or creativity, except in a very narrow limited sense. Creation is therefore not meaningfully an  'expression' or 'manifestation' of deity if the Deus is simply the first cause or the fine tuner of initial conditions, as these limited creative processes cannot transfer the character or beauty of their creator into the created surely?

Also I doubt Deist's claim that their religion is 'rational'. It may be more rational as it lack many supernatural elements, but if God is proved by reason, how is a reasoned atheism possible? I think there are strong rational grounds for atheism or at least agnosticism. It turns out that deism is only more rational relative to theisms. Ultimately deism also rests on notions that are not themselves rationally proven or empirically demonstrated. And once it is admitted that deism is not really fully rational, it seems to lose much of its USP.

Monism  The problem of this belief system is explaining the paradox that the unity is expressed as many and is subject to constant change and flux. The analogy of the 'waves' on the surface of the still ocean depths is helpful but where are the true physical analogs of this analogy. What in our universe equates to the 'ocean depths'? Is this the quantum vaccuum full of 'vacuum energy' perhaps? But somehow a monistic spirituality wants the underlying unity to provide a spiritual dimension not merely an impersonal physical ground of existence. Perhaps monism does allow us to say 'all things are interconnected' but this does not provide the kind of attractive prospects of the theist's hope of eternal salvation. If we dissolve into the one-ness at death, this is just another form of oblivion. Are we to say that the one-ness is consciousness and bliss as well as fundamental being and existence? But if the experience of one-ness is sufficiently good for itself and our final end, why does the cosmos exist, or matter? Any kind of monism, irrespective of truth value, if elevated to a spritual path seeking 'oneness' with 'The One' seems to deny all the value of worldly forms and experience. And if the spiritual path is to be located in this world, this monism has no religious advantage over mere naturalism. Even if philosophically it is true there is an fundamental unifying principle,  what does this mean to me personally? My answer - not a lot.

So What?
Indeed one might say 'So what?' also of Deism, Pandeism and Pantheism as well as Monism.  These cosmological models however coherent they may be in themselves,  do not provide me with any final goal or final purpose in life or happy ending, nor any personal relationship with deity that respects my individuality and what I value and love. These isms fail to provide  me with attractive  'spiritual' values, purposes or goals over and above what is available from a mere naturalistic take on the world.

I have concluded then that these isms provide no religiously attractive substitutes for a theism proper.  After all, only mere theism claims to provide a  happy ending to the story of space and time that preserves individuality. Indeed theism easily ticks all the boxes of what wishfully thinking humans would like to happen. Indeed it is 'too good to be true'.And it so happens that apart from our strong intuitions that theism is true - intuitons surely  rooted in mankind's greatest desires -  it seems theism cannot be rationally sustained.

I could go on to say that if theism is the only religion worth believing in, even if I can't believe it, then it is worth clarifying what I mean by theism: a religion found on a belief in one or more gods that have providential control over the world and reward their followers with blessings and happiness. This definition may seem to offer a very instrumentalist even selfish view of religion, but would any religion be founded on reverence for deities that made no alleged difference to our lives (i.e. they could be ignore without any consequences) or  only had to be appeased to avoid bad consequences? Surely we revere deities in the hope this will result in our good - i.e. for the same reason we are motivated to do anything in life.

Sadly there is no good reason to believe - to have real confidence -  in theism. Everything  we know about the world and universe today testifies that there is no providential control and that the Gods or Gods are absent from every day experience even if they cannot be proven not to exist. There is no evidence that believers fare better than non believers in this life, once the placebo effect of  'positive thinking' is accounted for in putative survey of the population. And I think I have demonstrated to myself that the God of the philosophers, as an absolute or ground of being or  first cause only, provides no joy or satisfaction to encourage religious belief or practice. Indeed the God or God substitute of pantheism, deism, pandeism and monism is really quite irrelevant to every day existence, merely vain metaphysical speculation to no good purpose for my life.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Walk in the wood

I had a walk in my local wood this evening. It was starting to get dusky and there had just been a short rain shower. I felt drawn to the wood once again. Sure I was feeling stressed before. But just to walk, then sit (on a piece of dry-ish leaf littered ground), breath slowly, close my eyes, quickly got me into a relaxed state. I did the 'Light Body' exercise from my OBOD training, and then I just  concentrated on the minute details of the edges and veins of leaves, bark, leaf litter, little insects, all kinds of sounds, gentle breeze and how it gently shook the leaves, all this very intently for minute after minute until I was no longer sure of how much time had passed at all. Soon I was detached from everything about my life outside the wood. The wood seemed to be all there was, all there ever was.

Gradually I felt the  deep unconscious primordial energy within everything. I became very calm, absorbed in this web or field of 'energy' and 'vitality'. I am conscious, but as 'watcher'  only. My body becomes the wood, the wood an extension of my body. After a period sitting, and also just standing in a profound meditative state but rooted to the spot, my mind was perfectly stilled, indeed it was difficult to move - I was so relaxed and at peace with the 'is-ness' of just being.


Spirit is Being, Life and Consciousness.

* Being is the primordial eternal state that like the human body has 'conscious' and 'unconscious' modes.
 *Life is the physical power and vitality of the Cosmos that arises out of the primordial eternal state. It can also be  likened to a pure will to be, to create.
*Consciousness is  either the 'pure' consciousness of the primordial state, a state of apperception, without cognition, it is also the consciousness of sentient beings as they evolve in the Cosmos, in a sense they are the Cosmos' self awareness. Eventually the Cosmos either collectively or individually acheives an 'Omega Point' of the most advanced intelligence. This schema is not deterministic, because though the 'goal' is set and inevitable, the direction of travel (as with rivers flowing to the ocean) is indeterminate. The force driving mankind toward this Omega Point is a religious instinct, and is, in Jungian terms, 'archetypal'.

Being is the 'Father-Mother' Godhead;  Life is the 'Spirit' within nature, the Omega Point Consciousness is that of the 'Son of God', the 'Cosmic Christ'.  A person even now may show this advance 'Christ Nature' which seeks to do good in the world until the end of (it's) time, then attains union with the primordial consciousness, dissolving into that bliss.

This schema assumes that Consciousness always works through unconscious matter that embodies it and manifests it.  Primordial Consciousness does not 'act' in the world as an agent.  Thus it is not like the theistic deity. Indeed the schema also works with a series of cycles where the embodied Godlike Omega Point state is followed by  material dissolution and a divine sleep of unconsciousness, until the Cosmos begins again, though the Godlike Omega Point being(s) could set the 'initial condition' of the arising of a [future]Cosmos.

What is and will be...

Another exercise in speculative metaphysics....

1. Before all worlds there is a mutuable and eternal primordial stuff, also called the 'apeiron' of formless. The nature of this is unconscious. There is also an eternal, absolute state or the 'isness of pure being'. The primordial stuff is like a 'bubbling' cauldron of energetic particles, while the is-ness of pure being is the background reality, absolute, limitless light.
2. The unconscious primordial stuff evolves following initial conditions into the Cosmos that we know
3. The Cosmos eventually evolves conscious beings over aeons.
4. The conscious beings either individually or collectively attain the 'Omega Point', the highest point of intellectual and spiritual evolution. These conscious beings are the 'evolved ones' who rule a Galactic Civillization.
5. The Cosmos gradually undergoes dissolution, and the 'evolves ones' ascend to the absolute state of pure is-ness, where they no longer act in any world.
6. Before this ascension the evolved ones of the Omega Point become the first cause of the initial conditions that set the creation of a new Cosmos in process.
7. Thus there is a cyclic process where the end point of one universe becomes the cause of another universe.

Theory #2: As above but the evolved ones attain a state of cosmic union of minds, a 'Godstate' ruling an advanced civillisation of sentients in our far future before they simply sleep as the universe dissolves into primordial 'soup'. The Cosmos evolution is therefore in a true sense the 'dream' of a God. They may also though still be the deliberate initial cause of the Cosmos evolution.

Theory #3: As above, but instead of an endless series of cycles, there is one great spiritual cycle. Eternally there is a primordial stuff that has two modes: a very large unconscious nature and also a primordial conscious nature. Through the evolution of space and time in the unconscious nature, the cosmic body as it were, the conciousness nature manifests itself, moving toward the Omega Point. The primoridal consciousness creates by pure will or desire to manifest.  By this manifestation, the consciousness reproduces itself through the creation of 'souls'. The purpose of these souls is to advance the manifestation of 'good' in the world, in particular beauty and creativity through a galactic civillisation.. When their bodies dissolve back into the primoridal stuff the advanced souls may achieve eternal communion with the primoridal conscious nature, indeed they may acheive  total union with the primordial consciousness.

Sunday, 8 May 2011


I may have just coined this least a quick Google survey didn't turn it up.

Some explanation of 'pan-ek-theism' which I intend by use of the ancient greek components of the word to mean 'everything - out of/from - God. The term by the way is my own, but the concept is very ancient, usually being described as a form of qualified monism or non-dualism.

For me Pan is 'everything, the all' the cosmos, but what I mean here by cosmos is physical, manifest nature including all matter and all forms, known through science and everyday reason
Theism is problematic as per the previous post, but if theism is allowed  ( thought my last post sought to disallow it!) to actually encompass spiritualities that deny that God has an individuated 'mind' or 'will'  or even a 'cosmic consciousness' e.g. pantheism then it follows the label 'theism' might also apply to me.
I don't think the Pan is 'in' God as fish are 'in' the sea. Panentheism is taken to mean that the divine is 'transcendent' as well as 'immanent', that God is in everything but God is yet more than 'everything' . Wrong, I say. There is no 'outside' of nature (though there might be a spiritual 'inside') The deeper reality which I am strongly disinclined to call 'God' (though Goddess is somehow perhaps more appropriate if such God terms be used at all - see previous posts)
ek or ex or even ec  Explains how I think the physical cosmos is realated to an Unus Mundus, deeper reality

Here is a general  but very rough draft of my metaphysical framework:

A rather subtle distinction I will make is between

Panentheism e.g. process theism  and  the religious end of the road for immanentism viz Scientific or Naturalistic Pantheism. My system is I think a 'middle term' and conceputally a form of  qualified non dualistic and dynamic monism. Perhaps I could use the term pan-ek-theism because everything we generally take to be the 'all' (i.e the physical cosmos) arises I think 'out of' the deeper 'spiritual' reality (by this I mean not efficient or mechanical cause and effect, but as a necessary metaphysical dependency like the notion of the Son of God as the 'only begotten' of the Father does not imply a creation in time of the former in traditional Xian theology).

However the deeper reality is in my view not 'also more than nature', it is not encompassing the pan or nature. So contrary to some definitions of panentheism I don't think we are fish swimming in the ocean of God. Rather I think the spiritual deeper nature is instead co-extensive with the physical nature we know, indeed it is the invisible interiority or dimension of physical nature (there is no 'outside' nature, only a 'surface' nature and an 'inside' nature in my view). As I say the 'pan' arises out of the deeper nature it is superficially perhaps similar  to an 'emanationist' viewpoint except for me what arises 'nature' is not better or more profound in its gloriousness than the hidden deeper reality or vica versa - logical priority (the pan is eternally begotten by the deeper reality) does not I think imply a value judgement. The spiritual is not 'more good' than nature, because 'Good' is seen as a relative and not absolute term as it seems to have been for Plato ( we must always ask, about any state of affairs, Good for whom?). That said the deeper reality involves not absolute  random chaos but a hidden harmony and patterns (c.f.the Tao)  and perhaps a spiritual 'great attractor' is the tendency to move toward manfiestation, to ultimately to know and be known, a creative will to be, even yes, a 'will to power' after Nieziche. This hidden harmony is probably also ultimately 'mathematical' in nature but involving a form of logic quite different to human conceptions of the same. It goes without saying that the hidden harmony of the deeper reality does not care about human individual interests.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

No one in charge...

My  current philosophy I class as 'non-theistic' because I don't accept what I consider to be a cardinal belief of  theism, namely that it supposes the existence of a superior sentient conscious mind (or minds) that created and/or directs the universe in accordance with its will (or 'wills'). I assume one can't have a theism that insists that god doesn't even have the attribute of consciousness or a god that lacks a 'mind'. It follows that I don't consider that naturalistic pantheism is really a theism at all (indeed Dawkins was right when he called it 'sexed up' atheism).  I don't doubt that one can have a  naturalistic spirituality, only I think to call this a theism just perpetuates misunderstanding, implying as it does that pantheists 'worship' nature. Do they? I think most would deny they give nature the kind of attention that a theist would give to his deity (pantheists don't address prayers and petitions to nature for instance). I would also defend the right of atheists to insist they regard nature with awe and reverence just as much as any naturalistic pantheist, without having to accept the label 'pantheist' for themselves.

My non-theism is not consistently a 'naturalistic' philosophy, in that I give considerable importance to intuition and mystical experience  including mystical traditions as a source of 'knowledge' along with rationalism and empirical science. I am also fascinated by archetypal psychology and parapsychology; I also consider that the scientific method while highly reliable cannot discover all that is or may be. Also I am aware that science is undergirded by certain philosophical assumptions that cannot be definitely proved. Finally I believe that the scientific establishment often resists new thinking or minority viewpoints, and is full of 'egos' and subjectivity affects the way results are interpreted - but my point here is that  scientists are 'only human'.

I consider behind the world of phenomena described by science there is a deeper reality of interconnection, a fundamental unifying principle-substance-force. Others have called this the 'unus mundus', the 'one-ness' of the world (this is not the notion of a transcendent 'One') This deeper reality is not 'god' . It is not a cosmic mind. It is unconscious primordial material, not mind or matter, but the essential stuff of neutral monism. This stuff is formless and infinite, the womb of all being.  This deeper reality serves some traditionally theological functions - it is I consider a necessary and first cause. All things come from and return to this ground of being. It is also not 'out there' but 'in there', representing the ultimate interiority of everything. Everything phenomenal is an outgrowth of the deeper reality and is an expression of a 'will to create', (after Goethe) a non-cognitivie tendency to self transcend, to become more than what it already is, to become more complex, to be more free, to ultimately know and be known. Naturalistic evolution would deny this notion of nature having a will or a teleology  (goal orientated) but then we know what our will is and it is ultimately based in a psycho-biological drive that is more than a mere will to survive - it has an existential aspect I feel. At base iif our will does not require conscious thinking or rationality (rather the latter articulates and also justifies what will wants), so I don't think is it an inappropriate athropomorphism to ascribe an unthinking will to create even to non-sentient nature.

So life evolves by random process, but it seems to me that evolution has a 'direction'. Nothing however remains for ever - even  having acheived the highest state of evolution that sentient life must die eventually. There is the natural law requiring that all things must return ultimately to the primoridal reality..Form is limited both spatially and temporally, and nothing persists for ever except the unbounded formless deep reality itself. I consider it possible that the evolution of life and technology will result in what Tiellhard De Chardin called an 'Omega Point' entity. In my version of this, there comes a point where living entities will acheive almost god-like powers in the universe (or multiverse); indeed the ultimate survival adaption would appear to be the ability to transcend material limits altogether. I am  open therefore to the speculative idea that our universe was 'intelligently designed' by an Omega Point entity from another universe (I am even open to the extremely speculative possibility of a 'bootstrap' universe, that the Omega entity is the result of the evolution process set in train by the same Omega that has somehow transcended space and time)

But, apart from the notion of the Omega Point entity as a future end point of evolution, I do not consider there is anyone 'in charge' of the universe. It would be very nice to give up personal responsibility and hope that someone 'up there' care and is able to 'look after us'. It would be very comforting and reassuring. But there is no rational basis I believe for such a notion that satisfies only our wishful thinking and anxiety.