Pandeism

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    "The fact that we exist is proof that God is motivated to act in some way. And since only the challenge of self-destruction could interest an omnipotent God, it stands to reason that we . . . are God’s debris."
    Scott Adams, Gods Debris

    Pandeism is a theological theory which proposes that a god created the Universe by becoming the Universe. This god currently exists as an unconscious force sustaining the Universe. Various explanations have been introduced as to why this happened, mostly revolving around the creator needing to learn something through the human experience, or perhaps wishing to experience nonexistence itself. The latter is the device used in Scott Adams' book Gods Debris. Variations also speculate as to our purpose, and whether the creator will ever go back to being what it was before, and whether we will have a part in that.

    This position is arrived at through the combination of Deism (the archetype for Have You Seen My God?) and Pantheism (the same for Pieces of God).

    Examples of Pandeism include:


    Anime and Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

    • Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Madoka erases herself from existence in order to become an eternal embodiment of hope for the universe. She still appears to be conscious, however.
      • Altered in the movie, where her consciousness and existence as a mortal is separated from the embodiment of hope.

    Film[edit | hide]

    • The Fountain somewhat inaccurately characterizes Mayincatec mythology as "First Father sacrificed himself for the Tree of Life," and so in essence became the world.

    Literature[edit | hide]

    • Scott Adams' "Gods Debris" uses this trope and posits that the creator is wishing to experience nonexistence itself.
    • The Survivors, a 1976 novel by Simon Raven, features a character with this belief. One character observes, "God became the universe. Therefore the universe is God." while the other counters "In becoming the universe God abdicated. He destroyed himself as God. He turned what he had been, his true self, into nullity and thereby forfeited the Godlike qualities which pertained to him. The universe which he has become is also his grave. He has no control in it or over it. God, as God, is dead."
    • Critic Dan Schneider suggests this theory to be the one at work in Robert A. Heinlein's Stranger in A Strange Land, as the basis of Valentine Michael Smith's created religion.
    • This is how universes are created in Alan Dean Foster's Glory Lane. A god-like being commits suicide which creates another universe with another godlike being made of dark matter who commits suicide again, creating another universe and another god-like dark matter being and so-on ad infinitum.
    • The Jack Kerouac novel Desolation Angels comments about how we are bits of a Universe which decided to become us and then forget it had become us: "And you have been forever, and will be forever, and all the worrisome smashings of your foot on innocent cupboard doors it was only the Void pretending to be a man pretending not to know the Void...."
    • Alfred Tennyson personally identified as a Pandeist, and this theological underpinning influenced much of his nature poetry.
    • Jorge Luis Borges hints this way in "Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius", and moreso in "Otras inquisiciones" (1952): “El tiempo es la sustancia de que estoy hecho. El tiempo es un río que me arrebata, pero yo soy el río; es un tigre que me destroza, pero yo soy el tigre; es un fuego que me consume, pero yo soy el fuego. El ‘mundo, desgraciadamente, es real; yo, desgraciada­mente, soy Borges.” (** “Time is the substance from which I am made. Time is a river which carries me along, but I am the river; it is a tiger that devours me, but I am the tiger; it is a fire that consumes me, but I am the fire. The 'world, unfortunately, is real, I, unfortunately, am Borges.”)
      • Borges wrote sympathetically of Philipp Mainländer: "Like me, he was an impassioned reader of Schopenhauer, under whose influence (and perhaps under the influence of the Gnostics) he imagined that we are fragments of a God who destroyed Himself at the beginning of time, because He did not wish to exist. Universal history is the obscure agony of those fragments."

    Music[edit | hide]

    Mythology[edit | hide]

    • YMMV, but the Pangu myth in Chinese tradition may qualify. Pangu is a human man born in nothing ness, and he separated the sky and the earth, then died, and his body parts became everything on the world.
    • Some Pandeists find pandeistic language in certain passages of The Bible

    Live Action TV[edit | hide]

    • The Minbari religion from Babylon 5 can be summarized as this. In one episode, Delann describes it thusly:
      • "We believe that the Universe itself is conscious in a way we can never truly understand; it is engaged in a search for meaning, so it breaks itself apart, investing its own consciousness in every form of life. We are the Universe trying to understand itself."

    Real Life[edit | hide]

    • Some expressions of Hinduism delve in this direction, tho this is most often through Western interpretation of Hindu doctrine.
    • NASA astrophysicist Bernard Haisch proposes a theological model in his book The God Theory which has an infinite God becoming an infinite number of Universes to actualise its experience of all forms of existence; human consciousness is simply a filtered fragment of the now-sublimated consciousness of this God.
    • Literal, self-proclaimed pandeists.

    Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

    Tropes[edit | hide]

    • Above Good and Evil : This creator may have no knowledge of good or evil going into the creation; acquiring such knowledge may even be the purpose of the creation.
    • All Myths Are True : Not necessarily true but at least explained as manifestations of the unconscious mind of God underlying everything.
    • Anthropic Principle : Whatever needed to happen in order for God to become the Universe, happened.
    • Applied Phlebotinum : Whatever God was before it become the Universe, and whatever it used to become the Universe.
    • Assimilation Plot : Some versions suppose this to be the ultimate endgame.
    • Call Nature A God: Especially the scientific pandeism variants, where God is non-personal and non-sentient and in fact indistinguishable from nature.
      • A God Am I or A God Is You are also invoked, since everyone is part of nature - but since it's everyone, no one person is elevated above the rest as a result.
      • They say that as if it's a bad thing. Many Pandeists specifically object to using the word God, because everyone else expects it to have the personal, sentient meaning; the preferred nomenclature is the Creator, or the Deus.
    • Clap Your Hands If You Believe : In some conceptions, belief is enough to work minor miraculous results, at least.
    • Crossover Cosmology Of a more abstract kind, this one bringing in ideas from Pantheism and Deism, and sometimes from more distant theories like Emanationism.
    • Energy Beings : We are all simply aspects of our Creator, which is itself a being of energy
    • God Is Dead : Or the nearest equivalent. Until it isn't. Except in variations where it really, really is.
    • Have You Seen My God? : God is "gone" -- because God is everything.
    • Karma : Some versions hold that when you go back to being one with God, you get to share in reliving all the pleasure--and pain--you brought to others in life.
    • Older Than Feudalism : Traced back to the Milesians of Ancient Greece.
    • Outgrown Such Silly Superstitions : See Deism
    • Perfect Pacifist People : Justified on the belief that violence committed against another person is actually committed against the Creator; which means, ultimately, against the self.
    • Pieces of God : Everything is.
    • Puff of Logic : The view taken by Pandeism as to theistic beliefs -- as Pandeism is based on logic, and claims to account for all phenomena upon which other faiths are premised without requiring additional divine capacities, it is asserted to logically supersede all faiths which do require such capacities.
    • Reincarnation : Some versions have it, some don't, but all suppose at least that we are pieces of God, and probably that we will at some point be reassembled into God.
    • Take a Third Option : Splits the line between atheism and theism. Or between Pantheism and Deism, which already both sort of do that.
    • Who Wants to Live Forever? : One possible reason why a God would cease to be a God and become a Universe instead.
    • You Cannot Grasp the True Form : Those who are somehow able to contact the mind of our Creator as it unconsciously underlies our Universe find that experience so incomprehensible that their tiny human minds automatically defend themselves by interpreting such encounters as intentional communications from culturally familiar conceptions of gods, thereby explaining all revelation and scripture.
    • Your Mind Makes It Real : Miracles, seemingly answered prayers, and revelations occur across multiple faiths because the Universe-creating entity has become us (and the rest of the Universe) and believers in any religion are able to unwittingly tap into their own little slice of Creator-power.

    Useful links