Which Worldview Fits the 12 Steps Part 3: Pantheism

We’ve all met him, that stoner was fancies himself a philosopher. He takes a hit off a joint, stares off into the distance, and says something like: Man, what if everything is God, and God is everything.” He then exhales his smoke and all his buddies reply with “Woah man… Deep.” as the joint makes it’s way around the circle. This view has a name: Pantheism.

From the Greek “παν (Pan)” meaning “all” and “θεος (Theos)” meaning “God”, Pantheism is the belief that all reality is God. But when the aforementioned stoner realizes his need for recovery, can he count on Pantheism to help him reach sobriety? Let’s take a look at Pantheism through the worldview lenses of origin, meaning, morality, and destiny, and see how this worldview looks in action.

When pressed on origin, the pantheist cannot claim a divine Creator. If the universe were akin to God, a creative force would be greater than the God it created, making that creative force God and not the universe. If the universe is divine, this must mean that the universe is eternal and self-existing, despite plentiful scientific evidence discovered in the last century to the contrary. Reincarnation is also part of the package of many forms of Pantheism. We are part of an infinite number of births and rebirths. The problem that arises with this is that there had to be a first birth, or something outside of time and space to begin the beginning, a concept denied by pantheists.

On the subject of meaning, the pantheist touts that being part of God ourselves, we give ourselves meaning. The ultimate meaning of life is often to find our way to the ultimate reality. This is represented by the concepts of Brahman and Nirvana among others. The problem with everything being God is that the concept God loses any true meaning.

This presents problems with morality as well. If we are all God, from the President to the leaf that just fell outside my window (and the window for that matter), then morality has no nail on which to hang it’s hat. Everything is once again subjective to a “God” who constantly contradicts, hurts and even kills itself with other versions of itself. The construct of good and evil is no more objective in this Theology than in atheism or agnosticism.

In reincarnate pantheism, we spend our life paying for our previous life. This is the concept of Karma, we get what we deserve. Once we finish atoning we finally make it to the ultimate reality, and we are enlightened.

To look at the 12 steps through a pantheistic worldview we will break the steps down into three groups: Reflection, Action, and Maintenance.

The Reflection steps speak of admittance of Powerlessness over addiction and coming to believe in a Higher Power. However, the pantheist believes that he is part of this higher power. As part of God, he cannot be powerless over anything as abstract as addiction. If he were, God would not exist in him.

The action steps begin with relinquishing control to God. But if the addict is in any sense part of God, he would simply be handing the reigns of his life from his left hand to his right. The pantheist must spend his life trying to purge himself of character defects and make amends to others in order to keep good karma. {* Side note- Karma tells us we get what we deserve. Christianity tells us Jesus took what we deserve in order for us to get what He deserves.}

As maintenance goes, the pantheist must spend the rest of his life doing works to live up to his standards in order to reach enlightenment. The prayer and meditation in this worldview consists of talking to yourself and working to find your inner God. As usual, we will rewrite the 12th step to fit the Pantheist worldview.

12. Having had a “spiritual” experience as a result of ourselves, we sought to carry this message to other gods and practice contradiction in all of our affairs.

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