All good things must come to an end, but a well-performing work get a sequel, right? The question then becomes, is the sequel better than the original? Does it manage some trick to match, or even eclipse the first effort?

Posing that question to the author is like asking a parent to decide which of their children is their favorite. Whatever effort a parent might make in so choosing, the author has, at least, the advantage of somewhat more control over how their second book responds to what criticisms are made of the first. Though generally critically lauded, the main complaint about Pandeism: An Anthology was that it was, as was often wordsome, a challenging read, with many authors churning out dense theological (and sometimes even mathematical) discussion, without leaving all that much room for fun. True, the poetry (by lovely resident poet Amy Perry) interspersing some of the chapters was light and pleasant; and even some other authors included a measure of poetry in their work. But that was that. And so in Pandeism: An Anthology of the Creative Mind we've sought to better that aspect.

The writing is lead off by "Thoughts on Deism and Pandeism" by one of the most esteemed contributors yet to grace this project, Varadaraja V. Raman, a physicist and philosopher who has lived long enough to become a legend in his own time, interweaving his life experiences with his philosophical discoveries in the Eastern religions. Next, IBM researcher Walter Hehl provides "Popper’s Three Worlds, Computers and Religion," mixing doses of software science and the modern Geist into the equation, and William C. Lane returns from the previous volume's exploration of Liebniz and the pandeistic possibilities of the "best possible world" to simply ask, "Is Pandeism Possible?" (he thinks yes it is).

Next we have a seminal "Philosophisch-deistische und theosophische Anschauungen" by Max B. Weinstein, dead 101 years now, translated by enigmatic Englishwoman Deborah Moss. Weintstein's 1910 book was really the first to examine Pandeism in full and in depth, and not coincidentally one of the first to find much to the positive side to convey about it. And then, with "A Deist’s Case for Pandeism," EL Sudworth takes his shot at illustrating a more modern case for Pandeism, bring organic and multiversal theories into play. After excerpting the piece on "Deism" from The 1906 Jewish Encyclopedia by Kaufmann Kohler and Emil G. Hirsch, "Is Pandeism Kosher for Jews?" is the question asked by Roger Price (his conclusion is that it is not, and that Pandeism lacks certain benefits of the more ancient religions, primely a sense of community connectedness). This is followed more hopefully (from the perspective of the Pandeist) with "Stoicism as a Spiritual Practice for Pandeists" by Floridian police detective Chris Fisher, which finds Pandeism and Stoicism to be excellently compatible worldviews.

This is followed by two winning pieces from our 2018 Pandeism Collegiate Writing Competition, "Fractal Divinity, the Purpose of Life, and Romanesco Broccoli" by Scott Somerville, noting the relationship between a fractally connected Universe and certain pandeistic ideations, and "The Ontology of Pandeism: A New Genesis from Man" by Michael Minogue, noting how the ofttimes contrarian nature of Pandeism complements the contrarian act of existing at all.

And then we get, quite honestly into the bizarrely fun ones, the wholly unexpected turns of thought, the things which are newer than new to the whole of the human experiment of drawing connections between concepts. With "Protopandeism: Hidden Divinity, Ex Materia Creation and the Necessity for the Arts as Suggestive of Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle," John Ross Jr delivers on exactly the sort of craziness one would glean from such a title, weaving together threads of thought from the title-dropped Vonnegut to the Jewish mystic Maimonides. After that is "Robert A. Heinlein’s Multiple-Ego Solipsism, and the Pandeism of Fictional Worlds" by Knujon Mapson, delivering thoughts on how many such worlds could function pandeisticially; "Godfrey Higgins, Cosmic Catastrophe and the Planetary Gods’ Debris: Revisiting the Mythohistorical Roots of Modern Pandeism" by Julian West, reminding us of the seed of historical fact underlying every mythological tale. Then "Defining Fifteen Theological Words" by Jayson X delves with directness into concepts of meaning and implication. And lastly -- and by no accident, the most down-to-earth piece of all, is "Eternal Energy & Information by Prof. Jimmy “Ninja” Chaikong," the Thai-rooted Texan who went from being a mixed martial arts contender to a folksy blues-rocker, and has recently opened his own dojo to teach future MMA champions--and to teach kids sportsmanship and perseverance through respectful physical combat. As before, the work is well-seeded with interludes of poetry, this time not just from Amy Perry, but from fellow-contributors V.V. Raman and John Ross Jr., and the entire enterprise is capped off with a short note of love to the reader and a passage from "The Higher Pantheism" by Alfred Lord Tennyson.

As amazed as I was that Pandeism: An Anthology even ever succeeded in seeing publication, I am and remain even more awed that a second book has now been born into what is now therefore a series -- and with a third book, packing in even more perspectives, yet on the way. Such a blessing is life, and so may all be blessed in it!!



IRON NODER XII