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                                 Monotheism vs. pantheism 
                                   By: Dan Holdgreiwe  

          The primary meaning of "pantheism" is "the belief that the Divine is 
          identifiable with the forces  of nature and with  natural substances,"
          and it is this meaning of pantheism which  is properly contrasted with
          "panentheism"  (the belief that the Divine is within the natural world
          but  not  limited  to it).    This  pantheism  *denies* all  Gods  and
          Goddesses, at least to the extent that They are understood as anything
          more  than natural forces.   Thus if  you believe that  the Goddess is
          something  more  than  the  physical  planet  Earth,  you  are  NOT  a
          pantheist; you are a panentheist. 
          A  secondary  meaning  of  "pantheism"  is  "worship  that  admits  or
          tolerates all gods."  As this meaning directly contradicts the primary
          meaning, persons using  the term  should be careful  to specify  which
          meaning  they intend.  (Under this meaning,  if there is any god whose
          existance you do not acknowledge --  Satan, for example -- you are NOT
          a pantheist.) 
          Within  the  pagan community,  the term  pantheism  is used  even more
          sloppily as a  synonym for polytheism  and/or animism.   This had  led
          many  people who  don't  meet  either  of  the  above  definitions  to
          mistakenly call themselves pantheists. 
           P> By that, I mean that I believe the Christian God exists, but  
           P> don't necessarily worship that particular deity.  If all gods 
           P> and goddesses exist, you can worship one of them (Monotheism), 
           P> without excluding the existance of the rest of them 
          That's not  monotheism, that's henotheism.   Monotheism is  the belief
          that only one  "God" exists.  Note, however, that  monotheism does not
          deny the existance of  lesser beings (saints, angels, etc.)  who might
          also  be called  "gods"  in a  polytheistic  system.   Note also  that
          Christianity is not truely monotheistic, as it has the top job  shared
          three ways. 


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