C.S. Lewis observed in The Abolition of Man (1947) that pantheist or cosmic humanism and materialist secular Humanism and similar variants appeared in Western history in the heart of Christendom during the Renaissance. The Renaissance reawakened a magic view of the world closely connected with pagan Gnostic sectarianism, Eastern pantheism as well as Hermetic and alchemical-scientism. Along with Eastern pantheism came spiritual evolution, reincarnation, karma and occultism. Early on Lewis understood that Cosmic and Secular Humanism were merely two sides of the same revival of pagan monism. Thus he argued, Cosmic and Secular Humanism are not enemies in principle but rather cooperating philosophies united against the Creator Who exists outside of the time-space universe, His Revelation to mankind, Christian theism, and Christian-based civilization.
One very important way in which both philosophies are united is in the idea of humanity as deity. Though this idea is seldom avowed openly, it is expressed,
"....by ascribing to man attributes of God: sovereignty (or autonomy), complete rationality, and moral perfection." (Idols for Destruction, Herbert Schlossberg, p. 42)
Materialism is of the worldview of monism which is held in common by pantheism and spiritualism and dates back to pagan antiquity and was or is taught by all non-biblical thought systems.
Greek Stoics and Epicureans, for example, were materialistic monists and these two schools of natural science and evolution held the ancient world of thought in allegiance well into the Roman Empire. Epicureanism reigns supreme in our own age through modern evolutionary materialism, positivism, atheism and secular humanism. These four variants are merely revamped and revised Epicureanism which denies all gods or god, souls, spirits, first principles and metaphysics.
Since the end of WW II, materialism has been slowly bleeding over into quasi-Hindu pantheism. Brooks Alexander observes that because materialism and pantheism are from the same root they tend to cross-pollinate and:
"mingle, producing a brood of offspring that exhibits the genetic heritage of its parents in a confused and confusing array. Soon it becomes impossible to say whether a given movement, trend or school of thought is a secular impulse that has absorbed Eastern/occult values, or an Eastern/occult teaching that has dressed itself in secular language." (The Rise of Cosmic Humanism: What is Religion?" Brooks Alexander, SCP Journal, 1981-82, p. 2)
Transhumanism is an example of the mingling described by Alexander. Over on the omegapoint website for example, evolutionary transhumanists argue that they are on the verge of godhood. Transhumanists have long since abandoned Darwin's biological conception favored by materialists of every stripe in favor of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin's pantheist conception.
Chardin proposed that after millions of years of evolution, a pantheist god of natural forces had finally emerged out of matter in much the same way as the ancient Egyptian's self-created deity Ra had emerged from Nu---primordial matter. So whereas materialism completely rejected God, Chardin's conception brought Him back as a divine cosmic energy comparable to Hinduismâ€™s Brahman, the one supreme, universal impersonal, non-living Spirit that is the origin and support of the phenomenal universe.
With the cosmos now thoroughly divinized and respiritualized with hordes of spirits, transcended masters, spirit guides, and ghosts, Chardin held that humanity could achieve a form of godhood or a high level of spirituality called the Omega Point. Attainment of godhood was an evolutionary process achievable through discipline and dedication to the path of enlightenment, meaning by way of certain occult rituals such as Yoga, ancient mysteries, and hermeticism.
Metaphysically, transhumanism is quasi-Hindu and Theosophist pantheism and is the increasing choice of materialists who are tired of having to deny their own spirits (minds). Thus for instance Andre Comte-Sponville, one of France's most respected humanist philosophers makes a case for atheist spirituality in his recent best-seller, "The Little Book of Atheist Spirituality."
A new "spiritualized" science is arising, declared New Age favorite, Willis Harmon, Stanford University professor of engineering-economic systems and senior scientist at SRI. In an article titled, â€œWhat Are Noetic Sciences?â€ Willis writes:
â€œâ€¦A new science is arising, a science of the human mind much broader than psychology has been to date. We have called it â€˜noeticâ€™ science, after the Greek word for intuitive knowing. Perhaps it is somewhat inaccurate to speak of it as though it were totally newâ€¦It is the SECOND STAGE of a two-stage process. The first stage, the rise of modern materialistic science, is one of the most important evolutionary leaps in human historyâ€¦the new science is not really new. It is the esoteric core of all the worldâ€™s religions, East and West, ancient and modern, becoming exoteric, â€˜going publicâ€¦â€™â€
One-time Christian, but now a pantheist, former Vice President Al Gore describes his pantheist conception of a christ-or-god spirit within all things:
â€œMy understanding of how God is manifest in the world can be best conveyed through the metaphor of the hologram; I believe that the image of the Creator, which sometimes seems so faint in the tiny corner of creation each of us beholds, is nonetheless present in its entirety..â€¦My own faith is rooted in the unshakable belief in God as creator and sustainer, a deeply personal interpretation of and relationship with Christ, and an awareness of a constant and holy spiritual presence in all people, all life and all things.â€ (Al Gore, â€œEarth in the Balance: Ecology and the Human Spiritâ€)
Occult New Age spirituality is also pantheism and in its' many forms, such as Wicca, Goddess worship, green nature worship, and Druidism, is moving with great speed over and across America.
Rupert Sheldrake (Ph.D. from Cambridge University its director of studies in cell biology) is excited that Gaia worship is replacing the living God. He writes:
â€œBut today, with the rise of the green movement, Mother Nature is reasserting herself, whether we like it or not. In particular, the acknowledgment that our planet is a living organisms, Gaia, Mother Earth, strikes a responsive chord in millions of people.â€ (Rupert Sheldrake, â€œThe Rebirth of Nature: The Greening of Science and of God")
In 1876, the English theologian G. H. Pember described the unbelievable revival of paganism that was already occurring in his day right in the heart of Christendom:
â€œâ€¦if we investigate early Paganism by the light of recent discoveries, we soon perceive that its chief strength lay in its intellectual attractions, and that many of its priests and initiates were distinguished as philosophers and men of science. But â€“ still more strange! â€“ if, after our investigation, we glance at the world of to-day, we see the men of this nineteenth century returning to the wisdom of long past ages...almost every characteristic of antiquity seems to be reappearingâ€¦And impossible as it would have seemed a few years ago, all these â€˜superstitionsâ€™ are floating back to us upon the tide of â€˜modern thoughtâ€™. They come no longer veiled in mystery, nor claiming to be miraculous or Divine; but, in accordance with the spirit of the age, present themselves as the fruit of science, as an evidence of the progress of knowledgeâ€¦" (G.H. Pember, â€œEarthâ€™s Earliest Agesâ€)
The revival of paganism in the 19th century invaded the realms of philosophy, science and religion. Taking note of this invasion, in 1898 Samuel J. Andrews wrote:
â€œIn examining the anti-Christian influences now at work, we find current pantheistic philosophy the most fundamental and powerful. Beginning with the century, it has now penetrated all regions of human thought. Theology, Literature, Science, Art, all bear its impress.â€ (Samuel J. Andrews, â€œChristianity and Anti-Christianityâ€)
Andrews argued that before the Antichrist can seat himself in the temple of God â€œshewing himself that he is Godâ€, there must first come this change in the minds of many Westerners concerning their conception of God. From evolutionary materialism and then to pantheism, all the pantheistic streams, said Andrews, will finally meet in the coming of Antichrist. Pantheist philosophy,
â€œ....teaches man that he is Divine, and he is quite ready to believe it, and to act accordingly. Science, which shews the greatness of the universe, and which should teach him humility, only enlarges his conception of the greatness of the intellect which is able thus to search out Natureâ€™s mysteriesâ€¦If humanity is under the law of dynamic evolution, or if a Divine Principle is ever developing itself in men, must there not be a continual upward religious progress?â€¦It is also to be remembered that in rendering homage to one who appears as the rival of Christ, men will not do homage to one who differs in his nature from themselves, and superior to them; but to their own nature as embodied in him. In exalting him, they exalt themselvesâ€¦The time may not be far distant when multitudes will say what a few now affirm: â€˜It is a dishonour done to human nature to teach that in any man of the past it has reached its culmination.â€™â€¦This is the spirit that prepares the way for the Antichrist. Christ being deposed from His place as the only Godman; all men being as to nature equally with Him Godmen, the nations are prepared to welcome one who will prove to the deceived and wondering world his Divinity by his might acts, wrought in Satanic powerâ€¦As a representative of deified humanity, he will seat himself in the temple of God, and â€˜all the children of prideâ€™ will worship him. And thus the kingdom of Man will come, and the world will say, this is the kingdom of God, this is the King.â€
At the turn of the century, a brilliant visionary, English Catholic theologian Robert Hugh Benson foresaw the stunning events we are witnessing today, the wholesale rejection of the living God of Revelation tied to the fall of Westerners into idolatry and paganism. Benson saw through the scientific pretenses of materialism and its' primary doctrine, evolutionary theory, leading him to describe it and its' ideological movement Communism as "quiet pantheism."
In his book, "Lord of the World" Benson predicted that evolutionary thinking would prepare Westerners and Americans not only to embrace the 'new' pagan religion but to worship and adore Antichrist, for this human-god (Mr. Felsenburgh) is the first perfected product of nature and evolutionary forces. Mr. Felsenburgh is,
"...the Son of Man,' the 'Savior of the world,' we knew Him in our hearts as soon as we saw Him, as soon as He stood there. It was like a glory around his head (and now we) understand it all... It was He for whom we have waited so long; and He has come, bringing Peace and Goodwill in His hands." (pp. 85, 89)
Jehovah is gone. Now at long last man's natural Savior has arisen:
"The reign of God has really begun (and) we are all partakers of God" because God is in everything, including all men...."Jehovah has fallen. He is in His grave." In His place is the evolved Son of Man, a god indeed and a man as well..."a god because human and a man because so divine." (ibid, pp. 93, 95)