Richard Dawkins author of the “Selfish Gene” and “The God Delusion” and poster boy for the “New Atheism” scornfully called pantheism “sexed up atheism”.
Is this true?
Pantheism shares a few characteristics with atheism. Pantheists do not believe in a creator god. We do not believe in the supernatural or magic. We do not believe in miracles. We do not believe in heaven, hell, angels, devils or demons.
The key to understanding the position that some take with equating pantheism with atheism is in the understanding of the new atheism’s views on God. So far as the atheists are concerned if you do not believe in the personal God of one of the Abrahamic religions then you are an atheist.
This is wrong. Pantheism is a different conception of God, more complex and nuanced. We believe that there is direction and purpose in the universe whereas the true atheist believes that everything happens by random chance without direction. Although atheists do not like to admit this they believe that the universe is a dead void. Pantheists believe that the universe is a living thing and that there is a purpose to the universe and that purpose is the evolution of awareness, of consciousness.
Now there are people who will split hairs here. Strong atheists, weak atheists. anti-theists, non-theists and many others. It is far simpler than that. If you believe that the universe is dead, random and without purpose then you are an atheist. If you believe that the universe is alive and purposeful then you are a pantheist.
Whatever your belief system you are entitled to it. Moreover whatever you believe will not change what is. So, believe as you will.