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Deism
A Statement of personal belief

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Freethinker43
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 19, 2016 12:03 am  Deism Reply with quote

I believe in God and I believe that God works through nature, specifically through evolution and the Big Bang Theory. I believe that we serve each other best when we use our God- given reason. I believe that the philosophy of Deism is the most practicable one today. Here's a link for those interested in exploring deistic tenets: http://www.deism.com/index.html.
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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 11: Tue Dec 20, 2016 2:18 pm   Reply

Divine Insight wrote:

Freethinker43 wrote:

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. My belief system is very simple: I believe in a God that is perceived through His Creation. I do believe that God can be accessed through prayer and meditation. God works through people and He works through technology. I see no need for a lot of verbiage for what ( for me) are very simple and direct beliefs. The Universe is self- created ( by the unseen Hand of God, if you like).
The one universal " Word of God" is the Creation we see.
God dwells within as well as without.
We fail and then we fail again, sinning against each other, occasionally being in a state of grace where we are in harmony with ourselves, our God and each other.
If that doesn't sound like deism to you, then so be it.


It's definitely deism as opposed to pantheism if you think of God as being a separate entity from yourself. Very Happy

I don't see how it could be deism though if you claim that God "works through people". That would hardly be a God who doesn't intervene in human affairs. If he's "working through people" then he's intervening via using some people as puppets.

I would also add that any religion that teaches people that a God could be "working through them" is potentially extremely dangerous. This could too easily result in people going out and doing things in the name of a God they claim is working through them. I think this is the basic philosophy of Islamic extremists.


That's a common misconception, that " Deists believe God doesn't intervene in human life" http://moderndeist.org/is-there-any-value-in-prayer-for-a-deist, http://www.enlightenmentdeism.com/?page_id=22 The question there is simply how. Generally, it is believed that God works through natural means for everything. Are you eager for somebody to be cured of a disease? Pray God that He works through the medical regimen to bring about the person's cure. It's a 50/ 50 chance the person will, anyway. That 50/ 50 is a lot better than the 70/ 30 chance that existed a couple of centuries ago.

Does God work through people to improve the world? Sure does. Was God working through those thrice- damned terrorists who caused the events of 9- 11? No. The result was loss of life and the fall of two countries overseas. Some demonic influence that delights in devastation and destruction was undoubtedly at work.
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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 12: Tue Dec 20, 2016 3:02 pm   Reply

[Replying to post 11 by Freethinker43]

From the link you provided:

Quote:
Like just about any question you can ask in regard to deism you will get many different answers from many different deists.


In other words deism is about as ill-defined as a theistic philosophy can be.

It's apparently open to subjective opinion and has no concrete definition or meaning.

It even mentions:

Quote:
Some would likely tell you that you are just as well suited to send off a letter to the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy as to pray to God. On one level I agree and on another I completely disagree. Please understand that one of the reason I write in this blog is so those considering Deism as a valid choice can understand that deism has room for such choices, it isn’t simply “atheist lite” or something like that.


In other words, Deism is just a meaningless label that anyone can use to lay claim to believing in "Deism" which is apparently totally ill-defined and can be anything anyone wants it to be.

What does this amount to then other than associating personal imagination with a term? (in this case the term is "Deism") A term that apparently anyone is free to use as a label for how they personally imagine their Tooth Fairy or God to be. Very Happy

I have a Deist Tooth Fairy. She only intervenes in the world through my teeth. Wink

If I bite you consider that to be "Divine Intervention". Mr. Green
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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 13: Tue Dec 20, 2016 3:46 pm   Reply

Right on, man. Deism isn't complicated and its very simplicity enables people to pursue their own truth through Nature and Nature's God. If you bite me, it was obviously meant to be or it wouldn't have happened. If I take a deep breath and forgive you and move on, the incident is very quickly forgotten. You can count on my respecting your panentheism as your perception of God and how you can relate to Same, though. My God communicates through my conscience and part of that " mandate" of mine is to respect everyone's belief or non- belief as being part of their own personal walk through life.
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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 14: Tue Dec 20, 2016 4:25 pm   Reply

[Replying to post 13 by Freethinker43]

Thanks for starting this thread and discussing this topic. You have made me realized the real value of secular atheism.

As you say, we just have belief systems that we embrace, and we should respect all other belief systems as well.

I kind of agree to a point. The point where I would begin to disagree is when another belief system causes a person to start thinking that they are being guided by a God or that their actions might in any way be approved by some supreme authority. That's where all theistic views have the potential of becoming dangerous. Even something like Buddhism.

However, secular atheism is totally free from that danger. Secular atheism is the only worldview that basically demands that a person must necessarily be totally responsible for their own actions. They can't claim that they are being guided to do something by some outside entity, and certainly not a supreme being.

So as a worldview secular atheism demands the most personal responsibility.

I never really thought it that way until you helped me realize that every theistic worldview necessarily has the danger of a person thinking that some God might be acting through them. Even those who claim to believe in a deistic God.

Thanks for bringing that realization into high relief. Very Happy
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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 15: Tue Dec 20, 2016 4:57 pm   Reply

Divine Insight wrote:

[Replying to post 13 by Freethinker43]

Thanks for starting this thread and discussing this topic. You have made me realized the real value of secular atheism.

As you say, we just have belief systems that we embrace, and we should respect all other belief systems as well.

I kind of agree to a point. The point where I would begin to disagree is when another belief system causes a person to start thinking that they are being guided by a God or that their actions might in any way be approved by some supreme authority. That's where all theistic views have the potential of becoming dangerous. Even something like Buddhism.

However, secular atheism is totally free from that danger. Secular atheism is the only worldview that basically demands that a person must necessarily be totally responsible for their own actions. They can't claim that they are being guided to do something by some outside entity, and certainly not a supreme being.

So as a worldview secular atheism demands the most personal responsibility.

I never really thought it that way until you helped me realize that every theistic worldview necessarily has the danger of a person thinking that some God might be acting through them. Even those who claim to believe in a deistic God.

Thanks for bringing that realization into high relief. Very Happy


I'm glad that this conversation was enlightening for you! Smile
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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 16: Tue Dec 20, 2016 5:36 pm   Reply

Freethinker43 wrote:

I'm glad that this conversation was enlightening for you! Smile


Well, I always knew this was true of most other religions, but your views on deism has revealed to me that even deism isn't immune to this.
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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 17: Tue Dec 20, 2016 9:42 pm   Reply

Divine Insight wrote:

Freethinker43 wrote:

I'm glad that this conversation was enlightening for you! Smile


Well, I always knew this was true of most other religions, but your views on deism has revealed to me that even deism isn't immune to this.


It's human nature, sir. I'm quite all right with it ( naturally you didn't jump on me to try to get me to deny my beliefs, did you? This was simply intended as a constructive conversation, I'm sure) and as I consider my path as valid as anybody else's, the only thing that would cause me to reevaluate my claims would be my own studies. Ethics are very highly subjective, reliant on social, religious and personal values. Folks do like to blame God for their own poor choices, but that is why we have things like laws and conditioned social behavior to minimize the damage such people would inflict on themselves and others. The fact that as a species, we tend to have regulatory laws is also something that points to a Higher Power that acts as a Lawgiver. Very Happy
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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 18: Thu Feb 16, 2017 11:23 pm   Reply

Divine Insight wrote:


Well, I always knew this was true of most other religions, but your views on deism has revealed to me that even deism isn't immune to this.


Just...wow! This thread does not cover deism very well. Allow me to clean it up...

Deism is the simple belief that God exists, as opposed to atheism which denies the existence of God. We do not pretend to know the characteristics of God, nor do we make up mythological stories to explain the world around us. Deists reject holy books, divine intervention and revelation. Deists do not believe in miracles or prayers that ask for something. Our prayers are ones of gratitude, even if no one is listening. We honor God as the Creator, nothing more.

The reason why deists do not believe in divine intervention or miracles is because of free will. We understand that the bad things that happen in the world are either from natural causes (earthquakes, floods, etc.) or from people choosing to do something that affects others (murder, robbery, etc.). People are responsible for their actions, not some supernatural boogeyman. If God were to intervene, it would no longer be free will.

Do we believe in the afterlife? I can only say that I hope that there is an afterlife, but I can't prove that one exists. Hopefully living as a moral person will grant me such a reward, but I live for the here and now, not what might be later on that is beyond my control. I will say that energy, once created, can't be destroyed...and the human body is full of energy. Where does that energy go when the body physically dies? Is that energy what others might call a soul or life force? Is that what makes up my self awareness and consciousness, and makes me a unique individual? No one knows.

Deism supports evolution, science and medicine. We encourage independent thought and using logic as a tool to look at all sides of a situation. One must think rationally, not impulsively. So how does this differ from atheism?

The belief in God.

Next comes the obvious question...why do we believe in God? The simplest answer is that we choose to. The more complex answer can only be given from my point of view, as deism is a personal philosophy, not a religion with specific dogma. When I look at nature or study the cosmos, I do not see randomness. I don't believe that non organic material suddenly spawned organic material and put life in motion. I see design and purpose, but that does not mean that God is controlling everything.

I hold to the idea that through the Big Bang, God created the universe to include the laws of nature. Everything was set in motion and time flows on. God does not need to be at the helm of the ship, steering the cosmos and putting a divine finger on all that happens. For all we know, there is a multiverse and God is off creating elsewhere, just as It did here. In short, the cosmos follows natural law and everything works as intended.

Deism and atheism agree on most points all the way up to the Big Bang. Atheism has yet to be able to show what caused the Big Bang. Deism takes it one step further and points the finger at God. Can we prove it? Of course not! But neither can atheists disprove it. We simply have to agree to disagree on that point. Just as the concept of a Creator does not make sense to atheists, the concept of there not being a Creator does not make sense to deists. We don't see eye to eye on that, and that is perfectly fine. We need at least something to debate about, and be able to challenge each other!
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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 19: Fri Feb 17, 2017 1:32 pm   Reply

American Deist wrote:

Divine Insight wrote:


Well, I always knew this was true of most other religions, but your views on deism has revealed to me that even deism isn't immune to this.


Just...wow! This thread does not cover deism very well. Allow me to clean it up...

Deism is the simple belief that God exists, as opposed to atheism which denies the existence of God. We do not pretend to know the characteristics of God, nor do we make up mythological stories to explain the world around us. Deists reject holy books, divine intervention and revelation. Deists do not believe in miracles or prayers that ask for something. Our prayers are ones of gratitude, even if no one is listening. We honor God as the Creator, nothing more.


The problem here is that until you actually define the term "God" and precisely what you mean by your use of that term, then it's a meaningless word.

American Deist wrote:

The reason why deists do not believe in divine intervention or miracles is because of free will. We understand that the bad things that happen in the world are either from natural causes (earthquakes, floods, etc.) or from people choosing to do something that affects others (murder, robbery, etc.). People are responsible for their actions, not some supernatural boogeyman. If God were to intervene, it would no longer be free will.


So why do you need to imagine a supernatural boogeyman at all then? What purpose does it serve?

American Deist wrote:

Do we believe in the afterlife?


Are you a spokesperson for Deism? If not, then you'd probably be better off not proclaiming what deists believe by using the term "we" like as if you are speaking for everyone who uses the term Deism to describe their own personal imaginary boogeyman.

After all, we have at least one "Christian Deist" on this site who most likely would not agree with your views on Deism.

American Deist wrote:

I can only say that I hope that there is an afterlife, but I can't prove that one exists. Hopefully living as a moral person will grant me such a reward, but I live for the here and now, not what might be later on that is beyond my control.


We would all like to believe in various fantasies. That's really not a good reason to take a strong stance on a specific ideology of a supernatural boogeyman. Why say that you "believe" in an ill-defined deistic God when what you really mean to say is that you have high hopes that some sort of supernatural boogeyman might possibly exist?

Wouldn't the latter be a more honest position to take even for yourself?

In other words, would Agnosticism be a far more accurate description of what you actually know or cannot know?

Just asking.

American Deist wrote:

I will say that energy, once created, can't be destroyed...and the human body is full of energy. Where does that energy go when the body physically dies? Is that energy what others might call a soul or life force? Is that what makes up my self awareness and consciousness, and makes me a unique individual? No one knows.


In modern physics it's not true that energy cannot be created or destroyed. We actually learn than in basic physics, and this does appear to be a property of the universe as a whole, however, modern cosmologist now believe that energy can indeed be created and/or destroyed as long as an equivalent amount of gravity is also created or destroyed along with it. Because of this, the sum total energy content of the universe may actually be zero.

American Deist wrote:

Deism supports evolution, science and medicine. We encourage independent thought and using logic as a tool to look at all sides of a situation. One must think rationally, not impulsively. So how does this differ from atheism?

The belief in God.


You answered your own question. The only difference appears to be an unwarranted "belief" in an invisible supernatural boogeyman that cannot be demonstrated to exist, or even need to exist.

American Deist wrote:

Next comes the obvious question...why do we believe in God? The simplest answer is that we choose to.


In other words you're simply hoping one exists. It's just wishful thinking.

So ultimately you "Believe" that your hope is true.

American Deist wrote:

The more complex answer can only be given from my point of view, as deism is a personal philosophy, not a religion with specific dogma. When I look at nature or study the cosmos, I do not see randomness.


Neither do secular naturalists see "randomness" when they study nature. In fact, science wouldn't even be possible if everything just happened randomly. However, just because the universe has consistent properties does not automatically imply that there needs to be an intelligent design behind it. It's simply not random. That doesn't automatically make it "intelligent".

American Deist wrote:

I don't believe that non organic material suddenly spawned organic material and put life in motion. I see design and purpose, but that does not mean that God is controlling everything.


We understand that organic material is indeed constructed of inorganic material. It's all the same atoms, just arranged differently. In fact, we are the ones who created the labels "Organic" and "Inorganic". And it's not always clear precisely when these labels should be applied. The line between organic and inorganic material is not well-defined in nature.

American Deist wrote:

I hold to the idea that through the Big Bang, God created the universe to include the laws of nature. Everything was set in motion and time flows on. God does not need to be at the helm of the ship, steering the cosmos and putting a divine finger on all that happens. For all we know, there is a multiverse and God is off creating elsewhere, just as It did here. In short, the cosmos follows natural law and everything works as intended.


You're almost describing Pantheism here instead of Deism. However, you have just revealed the major difference between Pantheism and Deism when you said: "God is off creating elsewhere"

This statement reveals that you think of "God" as being an independent sentient entity that is well aware of what it is doing, and is currently off paying its attention to something else rather than to this creation.

Why do you think this intelligent sentient "God" is going around creating other things whilst ignoring previous things He/She/It created? What would be the point to that? Does God have Attention Deficit Disorder?

Is God so limited in His/Her/Its abilities that it can only focus on a few things at a time and therefore need to ignore its previous creations whilst its off creating new things?

In Pantheism God can't go anywhere because we are a direct manifestation of God. God isn't a separate "Deity", but instead God is simply the ultimate essence of our very own nature.

By the way, I'm not claiming to "believe" in Pantheism. However I do understand Pantheism and how it differs from Deism, and I hold that if there is a "God" entity it's far more likely to be as Pantheism describes than it is to be like Deists imagine.

Deists imagine "God" to be a sovereign sentient individual entity that is separate from humans (i.e. can be off doing other things and ignoring humans entirely). This requires that God has an "Ego" (i.e. its own sense of individuality) In other words, this is an anthropomorphic idea of "God" not unlike Yahweh or Zeus, etc.


American Deist wrote:

Deism and atheism agree on most points all the way up to the Big Bang. Atheism has yet to be able to show what caused the Big Bang. Deism takes it one step further and points the finger at God.


Pointing a finger at an imaginary ill-defined invisible supernatural boogeyman as the magician who EXPLAINS the mysteries of the universe does not constitute "One Step Further". Rolling Eyes

In fact, this is extremely flawed thinking.

To begin with if the universe is "magical" then there would be no need for a magician. In fact, if you have an magician that can "explain" it then it's no longer "magic". Magic that has been explains becomes SCIENCE.

So a God who can explain the magic he does would not be a God but instead he would be a Scientist.

Also, if he can indeed explain how he does his magic then his magic must be performed using perfectly natural processes that can be "explained" in a meaningful way.

The idea that there needs to be a magician if there is magic stems from the fact that on earth magicians aren't actually doing magic. Instead they are performing the art of illusion. The reason that earthly magicians can be said to be an explanation for magic is because they can explain how the illusion is done and why it isn't truly magic. Very Happy

So the idea that by proposing a magician "God" this somehow explains away the apparent magic of our universe is actually an extremely flawed idea.

So if you think Deism (or any form of theism) is "One Step Further" than Atheism, you are sadly mistaken.

Proposing the existence of an invisible boogeyman magician does absolutely nothing toward explaining anything.

American Deist wrote:

Can we prove it? Of course not! But neither can atheists disprove it.


Atheists don't need to disprove it. A claim that is proposed without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.

A claim that an invisible boogeyman magician exists does not need to be disproved to be dismissed.

American Deist wrote:

We simply have to agree to disagree on that point.


If that's the claim then there's nothing to debate right?

So a Deist cannot offer a meaningful "debate" for why they believe in an invisible boogeyman magician.

I agree. A deist can believe whatever they like. But they have no ammunition to debate their "beliefs". Very Happy

The atheists are correct when they say that the deists have nothing more than wishful hopes and dreams to offer.

American Deist wrote:

Just as the concept of a Creator does not make sense to atheists, the concept of there not being a Creator does not make sense to deists.


But I've already explained the fallacy of the thinking of the deists. They think that they are taking things "One Step Further" by proposing a supernatural magician who can explain away the magic. But that very thinking is flawed.

So they lose that debate.

American Deist wrote:

We don't see eye to eye on that, and that is perfectly fine. We need at least something to debate about, and be able to challenge each other!


But there's nothing to "Debate" when you have already openly confessed that you merely believe in this invisible supernatural boogieman simply because you choose to:

American Deist wrote:

Next comes the obvious question...why do we believe in God? The simplest answer is that we choose to.


See? Even you don't have a good reason, other than the flawed reasons you already gave about not believing that the universe is "Random". Atheists don't think the universe is random either. That doesn't point to an invisible boogeyman.

Your second argument was that you can't see inorganic material giving rise to organic material. But those very definitions are inventions of men, and nature does not draw clear lines between the two.

Your last argument was that you think you are taking things "One Step Further" than Atheism by suggesting that an invisible boogeyman magician explains everything!

But that thinking is flawed as well. And unexplained invisible boogeyman magician doesn't explain anything. An unexplained hypothesis is no explanation at all.

So you really have no ammunition for debate. All you have is a desire to believe in an unexplained invisible boogeyman because you think this somehow takes things "One Step Further" than atheism, when in fact, it doesn't help to move anything forward at all.
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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 20: Fri Feb 17, 2017 1:49 pm   Reply

Divine Insight wrote:

In modern physics it's not true that energy cannot be created or destroyed.


Stopped reading right there, because your statement is false. No need to go any further.

First law of thermodynamics – Energy can neither be created nor destroyed. It can only change forms. In any process, the total energy of the universe remains the same.



Anyone else that might be reading this, his only counter argument was his personal opinion of "the belief in a supernatural boogeyman [God] is silly."

That does not disprove the philosophy of deism. Prominent atheist Richard Dawkins refuses to debate deists because he knows he can't win that debate. He has even stated that, "***IF*** there is a God, it would most likely be the God of deism."
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