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  Pantheism (Greek, ‘all-god-ism’) is used to describe such diverse subjects as the classical Hindu belief that the divine is present in everything (which is why the polite Indian greeting is a bow with both hands folded together, as if in prayer: one worships the god within the other person) and the poetry of, for instance, Walt Whitman. The word was coined by John Toland (1670 - 1722), to mean that the whole universe is divine and God is to be found in everything.

Pantheists fall into two categories. First are religious pantheists, who are to be found in all the major world religions except, theoretically, Islam. Second are philosophical pantheists, the most influential of whom was Spinoza in the 17th century, with his formula Deus sive natura (‘God, otherwise Nature’).

Panentheism (Greek, ‘everything in God’) is the precisely opposite view to pantheism. Instead of God being in everything, panentheism says that everything exists (that is, has reality) because it exists in God. EMJ



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