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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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