I think this has a lot to do with how you define the word mysticism. The dictionary does so as…
- 1: the experience of mystical union or direct communion with ultimate reality reported by mystics
- 2: the belief that direct knowledge of God, spiritual truth, or ultimate reality can be attained through subjective experience (as intuition or insight)
- 3 : vague speculation : a belief without sound basis
- 4: a theory postulating the possibility of direct and intuitive acquisition of ineffable knowledge or power
Looking at each as a Deist and asking if I believe in such things for me goes as follows
- Can one experience of mystical union or direct communion with ultimate reality reported by mystics? Answer – Yes to varying degrees, one doesn’t need to “talk to God” or “hear God speak” for this to occur. There are many wondrous things in the world, many that we can explain that are still wondrous. A person that takes time to connect with, examine, meditate over, etc these things often develops greater insight. Many “mystics” may be scam artists, but that doesn’t devalue a connection to something beyond what you usually have. Experience this and you know it is real, that is all I can say.
- Do I believe that one can attain direct knowledge of God, spiritual truth, or ultimate reality through subjective experience (as intuition or insight). Answer – Well if it stopped at only “direct knowledge of God” I would say no. As a Deist I know and experience God in his creation as part of it. I don’t think anyone has a direct line to the creator, I think largely that would ruin our experience of life on earth. But yes I do think we can find spiritual truth and a greater understanding of reality via reflection and simply being open to things existing that we don’t yet fully understand. That energy is wondrous and we don’t fully understand all the ways our energy and the energies around us can interact yet.
- Is vague speculation : a belief without sound basis something for a deist? Answer – No, not at all, Deism is based on logic an reason and experience. There is no room for a belief without sound basis.
- Do I believe there is a way for us to attain a direct and intuitive acquisition of ineffable knowledge or power? Answer – As a deist I first seek knowledge and I will fess up, I had to look up ineffable, it is defined as, “too great or extreme to be expressed or described in words“. This gives me pause! Because again many things are subjective. This could mean things like levitation and seeing the future. I find these things largely nonsense. But it could also mean, simply something so special that you can’t really explain it, a perfect moment in the creation where you feel all is right, you know who and what you are and time is meaningless. Something that even when you explain it, no one can really understand it. I have had such moments hunting and fishing, in a garden, on the side of a mountain. They are rare and they are special and if you never had one, I can’t explain it to you.
It gets interesting when we actually examine concepts deeply instead of dismissing them out of hand doesn’t it? Now don’t get me wrong, I am not saying you need to believe what I believe to be a deist or that some how I am better off than you because I do understand these things and make them part of my life. There is no official you are in or out committee when it comes to deism. We all experience the creation in our own way with free will.
For me though a life that denies the mystical in the ways that I describe above isn’t what I personally want. I love the way the sun glimmers on grass in the morning before the dew is driven off by the sun. I understand fully the science behind it, that doesn’t do a thing to deny its beauty. Frankly the science is a miracle of sorts! We know scientific law, we know how light is refracted, how humidity and temperature work together but that makes the effect no less stunning. I marvel as much at the parts of the creation I understand as I do at the parts I have yet to understand.
With this open attitude I have lived my life now for about 10 years free of the shackles of any “faith” or the obligations assigned to it. It has a been a great way to live and the most fulfilling 10 years of my life.
This Question is Deeper Than You Think It Is?
Let me start out by saying I get what I mean and what most proclaimed Deists mean when they say, “I am a Deist”. The self declared Deist largely rejects all organized faiths, such as Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism, etc. Frankly if you want to discuss religion with me you will be just as likely to prove a point by quoting a X-Men comic as the Bible or the Qur’an. So don’t take my question here or my answer the wrong way. My hope is to help those who are examining Deism simply understand the core of what it means to be a Deist.
So here is my premise to you. Anyone that believes in a single God or a singularity of thought and energy for that matter is in essence a Deist, just not necessarily what the modern term has come to mean. A Deist is a person that believes in a Deity of some sort, a God, a singularity, a source, a creator, a great architect of the universe, the sum of all consciousness, etc. Now in the modern Deist movement there is more but let us first stop there. Let us simply ask do most people who call themselves Christians, Jews, etc. believe in such a thing, the answer is yes of course they do.
When we move into faiths like Buddhist and Hinduism with multiple Gods you might be tempted to point out that and say, well Deism sounds like monotheism and that is clearly in conflict with a “multiple Gods system”. Frankly though no it isn’t, such faiths always end up with a singularity eventually. Concepts such as the origins of the Gods themselves lead you there. Even in Pagan duality the masculine and the feminine, aka the God and Goddess the reality is both are seen in the end as a single source with duality of manifestation.
Now look you can nit pick technicalities above but if you are a Deist you are not bound by any of these faiths or traditions so you should be able to examine them with out emotional attachment. The simple premise here is that most people of any “faith” first and foremost believe in a Deity or group there of, said group though has a single origin in the end. I simply point to this and say, all belief in such things creates an origin in Deism for all faiths.
True it tends to go wrong from there. Yet if we understand this origin than leaving behind a faith we have been mostly brainwashed into becomes much easier for many people. As a former Catholic I can tell you by my late teens I had fully determined the church was in my view full of shit. I in effect believed in nothing they they were telling me was true. Yet as certain things came into my life such as sexual relationships there were fleeting moments of guilt. I would catch myself and simply realize that I did not believe this programming but understood it was still in me.
Now frankly I am one of the most strong willed people I know. I will fight to the last breath for a person in need, I live my life on my terms and always have. So today looking back over 20 years ago and remembering these tinges of guilt, I have to wonder what it is like for people less strong willed, less rebellious and frankly less intelligent then I am. If the last part sounds arrogant I apologize, I do have a very high IQ and it places me far into the top 2% of the population. So I am simply acknowledging this as something that will effect a person’s ability to reason and break free of programming.
So as a self declared Deist for over a decade now I often talk to people that want to “let go” but struggle. I often wonder why and I think this may be the place it leads to, we who believe in anything beyond the phyical world in a sense are all Deists. If you read this blog you likely have questions, you may not accept my answers but they help you find your own right? Just the very nature of knowing that there is a God no matter how you personally define God, leads to some level of a need to understand.
I think this basic belief is coded into us. It is why almost all people of the world have some sort of a religion, spirituality or faith. Atheism is a very modern invention and I believe it is mostly a direct rebellion against religion’s attempt to control society and the many contradictions and frankly ridiculous contentions that all revealed religions have. Most people won’t make the leap to Atheism because in their hearts and though their reason they know there is something beyond ourselves. Again I think it is mostly hard coded into our being, we know because we are all a part of the creation, so an echo of the creator is within us all.
So that longing is filled with what ever faith most of us are born into. If we are not born into a faith, it is filled by what ever the prevailing evangelism around us turns out to be. In that faith we find answers, we find community, we find structure and we find acceptance. Many of us though also find a murderous God, nonsensical claims, ridiculous rules and many things that clearly don’t add up. So we depart from one faith, often to another only to find the same results. Eventually many people just sort of believe in their faith but don’t practice it. This is very true of both Christianity and Judaism.
I think many more people would be open to Deism or find it easier to accept if they simply understood all of this that perhaps it is the Deist in them, who has attached itself to a religion. That it has done so because it has a need for something beyond the phyical world. That their faith of choice was simply what happened to be available and fit best for a time. So to any with this struggle let me say.
- Deism makes no demands of you, if you think something in wrong and your former faith also says so, don’t do it, no one will judge you on this side of things for that. We would only ask that you set said social convention for yourself, not for others.
- Deism has one real rule, do no harm to others. We believe this though reason and enlightenment not due to fear of punishment. Do not fear that leaving behind an archaic faith will lead to a life of evil deeds. Likely you are a good person because that is simply who you are intrinsically. It is also likely that you understand harming others is not only wrong but in the end does you equal or worse harm, that this is simply how the universe and therefore society works.
- There is no need to “convert to Deism”, it isn’t an organized faith, there are no “police”, no one gets to tell you what Deism is, you discover this in time. Deists communicate with others, present ideas and use reason and logic to form their own moral codes and conceive of answers to big questions. Most see life as a wondrous journey. In this journey metaphorically you may want to go see the Grand Canyon and I the Beaches of the Gulf Coast. We can discuss what each experiences but I have no desire to drag you to Florida and you have no need to insist I go to Arizona. We may both choose to do so with each other or perhaps visit on our own or with others at a later time.
I hope this makes sense. Being a Deist is simply a choice when it comes to base your life on logic and reason while acknowledging something beyond what we can see. That the creator exists but isn’t marking down demerits. There is indeed a creator but he/she/it is not a murderer of children. An understanding that free will is just that, free will. We come here largely by choice, we live by our own choices and we are free to explore with a limitless idealism. We are also free to limit ourselves with religions, self loathing, etc. It is up to us, most Deists just think the creation is so marvelous we don’t need to be limited at all, as our knowledge evolves our limitations fall.
We know there is something more, some just accept that and enjoy the creation and their lives from there. Some ask and examine deeper questions. Some are very “spiritual” and others academic. The common bond is only that something beyond what we understand exists and that logic and reason tell us that. As to how we let that knowledge impact our lives, well we think free will is exactly that, freedom to choose for ourselves at the individual level.
Could getting everything you ever wanted and more really make you miserable? Is that even possible? May be?
This post orginated as a comment in response to a reader of a previous post called, “What Do Deists Think Happens After We Die“. You can see the question here and my response to it here. This is really a great subject to explore so I figured I would expand my response into a full post.
When it comes to what death and the other side are like, I can only theorize based on those who have had NDEs and returned. Their accounts though as I blogged in the past must be seen like a person from another planet telling you what America is like. Further that person from another planet was dropped into a large Airport and didn’t really fully understand what the beings walking past them were saying and only met a few that talked to them. They also only saw America by looking out the window and were only there for a few minutes.
If you asked this being upon their return to their own world what was earth like, they would have a pretty good idea. If your world knew of a place called America and this airport had been say JFK Airport in New York they would also have some really accurate perceptions of America. Most words would have been in English, likely TVs would have been on focused on American News, products and services that are sold to Americans would be there. You could see out the windows and know America at least in parts of it has lots of water, rivers, oceans, etc.
Many impressions though would be very inaccurate. Some things this being might have considered to be almost magical might turn out to be mundane if they stuck around for a while. On the other hand some things they wouldn’t even bother to notice at first might prove to be amazing if they had a longer visit to experience things. Some of those things might even change the way the thought about their own existence forever. What would that be, well we don’t know, in this thought expirment we are on the other side of the experiment, are we not?
So let’s flip it now with the previous concepts in mind. Some believe the afterlife is anything we choose. That we are like some version of Star Trek’s Q once we cross over. They say in the afterlife or “next level” we can have anything we wish, create any reality and go to any space or time. This is possible but not exactly what I think. I believe that as limited as we are at this plane of existence there are likely some limitations at the next and so on and so forth. I also believe beings such as us might become truly bored if we were so unlimited and bound by absolutely nothing. In this way I feel if the afterlife is really wholly unlimited we would likely indeed create a new place to go to, a new challenge for ourselves. We might even erase many of our memories from past experiences to make the challenge more enjoyable and learn more from it.
There is an old episode of The Twilight Zone that this makes me think of. I am talking the old black and white series Rod Serling did in the 50s. A conman/gambler/thief dies and ends up with a guide. He is still on earth and everything looks the same. He is told he can have anything he wants, a prime suite in the hotel, girls, food, money, the best clothes money can buy anything. Women swoon on him, every pull of the slot machine is a jack pot, etc. He enjoys this life for a while then gets bored. The guide suggests perhaps he misses his old profession as a thief and that perhaps he could rob a bank or something like that for excitement.
He gets excited but realizes it won’t be real. He asks the guy, “is there a chance I could get caught”, to wit the guide replies “sure anything you want”. The guide even pulls out a pad and pen to get the details just right. You know like what percentage of chance that you get caught, get shot and injured, etc. It’s a set your own parameters type of thing. Again ANYTHING HE WANTS. This conman now realizes it is all too easy, it isn’t real, he hates this “heaven”. The episode ends with him saying to his guide, “This is a mistake, I don’t belong here, send me to the other place, I don’t belong here”. The guide goes into a maniacal devil style laugh “where do you think you are, this is the other place”.
The irony is there may be a lot of truth to that. Not in a hell but that beings such as us may enjoy “games” way to much to be free of all limits for long. That could be a case for reincarnation or just a case for the fact that we might create other worlds, challenges and levels for ourselves.
Think about a video game you might enjoy playing and imagine you found a cheat code that made you unstoppable. If it was something you could do a few times at critical points of the game it might be fun and cool. If it were permanent, how quickly would it go from cool, to boring to, “I don’t enjoy this at all any more”.
Personally, I am not a gamer but I know enough who are to know that once a gamer really beats a game it becomes boring is cast to the side and replaced with a new challenge. I do enjoy playing darts for instance and while I get really excited when I do it right and drop 3 bulls in three throws or nail a “ton 80″ on rare occasions it is the challenge that does this. I am sure if I could put darts into a board as perfectly as I choose every time with no effort it would be cool for a while. Yet other then to make a few bucks playing competitively I don’t think the game would do much for me for long.
Likely I would stand further from the board, get a board with smaller areas or something, or just find a new game. Most of us played tic-tac-toe as a kid. First you play with no strategy and if you have an opponent doing the same it is fun, then you and your opponent quickly learn a few techniques and it gets more fun for a bit. Sooner or later you both learn a few rules of the game such as if X marks corner O should mark center, etc. Soon every game ends in a tie. Or if you play someone who doesn’t know the rules, every game can indeed be won, both are as boring as shit though are they not.
Next thing you know you are outside playing tic-tac-toe bean bag toss because that adds a layer of challenge and skill and perhaps then you are on to horse shoes or something totally different. The key is for most of us if we truly master something simple we are done and on to something next. It takes something complex to hold a master with it for long.
Chess or music for instance have infinite layers to explore, so some people do dedicate their entire lives to them. The same with say dancing, writing stories, playing a sport at the top level, etc. Yet what if none of this challenged us? You could write and know more then Shakespeare did in his entire life in a millisecond. You could write and play more beautiful music then Bach with your mind and it would be heard as you thought it up. Nothing was beyond you, no challenge existed at all, everything was perfect you even got the Crown in Heaven you were promised in church.
How long before you said, “man I have got to do something to have some fun” and dove into some sort of “game” you created for yourself and created limitations so that you would enjoy it? Such is found in many things in life and I believe that pattens that repeat are often constant patterns.
Those of you that have never considered this angle before might try reading Illusions by Richard Bach. It is a good first step into many of these concepts and a fun easy read you can get though in about an hour or so if you choose to. It is also a fun story that is good to just read as such and the author is quite creative in the way he weaves permission into the narrative for you to not believe a thing he has to say if you don’t want to. Those of you who know what the “Master’s Book” says at the end, know what I am talking about.
Some Questions Require an Open Mind if an Answer is to be Given.
Let me say right up front this question actually pissed me off. It wasn’t from a person interested in Deism it was from a Christian who was angry that I had the damn nerve to be a Deist in the first place and choose it over Christianity. Frankly it wasn’t really a question it was more a demand…
Why is Deism Superior to Christianity!
As though I owed it to him to justify my choice, so much for free will! The truth is I believe Deism speaks for itself and it is a choice, I have no desire to convert anyone from anything to Deism. If any group is out there I most want to reach it is the atheist who I feel is missing out on so much and I know most have become atheists due to people like the guy that asked me this question. They feel religion is so unbelievable that atheism is the only answer. Most do not even know that there is such a thing as Deism or what it is. Those people I hope do at least learn there is a middle ground but I also respect their choice.
Christians though I have no desire to convert because it is generally difficult to even discuss faith with them. They tend to want to quote bible verses and don’t get something that is so important for them to understand in talking with a non believer in their faith. If you are a Christian please pay attention to this, I am not being offensive I am just trying to help you understand a fact
“When you quote the bible to people that don’t believe in the bible you are no more likely to convince them of something then if you quoted something from a Harry Potter book”
Again I mean no disrespect we just do not believe what you do, your book has no power over us and using it is pointless with us. You can chant John 3:16 for a hundred years and it won’t “save us”. I don’t object to debate with an open minded Christian but man is it more productive for both of us if they understand the above, sadly most don’t and next thing you hear is “But in Romans 1 we are told” and they just don’t get that we don’t care what it says, you might as well say to us, “but Dumbledore said to Harry” because it will mean about as much to us. We may see wisdom in some of it but we also find wisdom at times in things like a comic strip or a TV commercial too.
The person who asked me this question and demanded an answer was coming from this twisted view point. It would not matter what I said he would have never been happy so I simply didn’t respond. I have no desire to convert this man to Deism at all. He was looking for a fight and I simply didn’t give him one.
My view is Christianity is full of reasons in its own book to doubt it as the “divinely inspired word of God” hell the comparisons between Jesus and the Egyptian God Horus should give anyone pause, you can see them here. God testing a man by asking him to kill his own son? Stoning people to death for sin? The only man worth saving in a city was willing to give his daughters to a crowd and allow them to be raped? I am such an evil, vile piece of crap that Jesus took my place on the cross because that is what I deserve? God who is all powerful and wise killed everyone in his own creation because he was angry? God who is perfect is jealous? It goes on and on. Most Christians that want to debate non Christians are well versed in this stuff and convince themselves they are right, they call it faith.
I don’t bring up these issues to convince anyone who believes in the Bible in spite of them of anything. There is no point to that, I only point out that they exist and any Christian with a conscious will eventually find them in their own hearts. Some are so addicted to their faith they will accept nonsensical answers as fact and move on, others will begin to truly examine them though and it is indeed why many choose to leave what ever form or a Church they are part of. It is for such people only that I will answer this question.
Further I must add, I am not answering it in the way I would answer why is one football team better then another. I can analyze players for that, build a case, use their past records and make an impartial judgement based on known facts. In religion much isn’t known, it is about belief even for a Deist, much of what I consider to be true is based on what I believe based on logic and reason. For that reason I can’t say that Deism is superior to any faith for anyone but myself. These are my personal top ten reasons I feel Deism offers me more then Christianity ever could, if you don’t agree that is your choice and I honor your right to it.
1. Deism isn’t guilty of the false promise of free will. Christianity says you have free will then instantly says you have rules to follow. Not rules that you are guided by based on your own logic and reason but rules written for you in a book based on oral tradition. I truly have free will as a deist and that I consider a gift of my creation.
2. The God of Deism has never killed a child, hardened a heart, wiped out all life on a planet or sentenced anyone to an eternity of suffering for not doing what he wanted them to. In short as a Deist I at no time have to make an excuse for a judgmental, jealous, malicious and murderous God.
3. The God of Deism doesn’t consider any group of people based on race, creed, sexual orientation, etc. superior to another. In other words my god isn’t a bigot.
4. My God doesn’t require worship, why would anyone want such a thing, specifically a perfect being?
5. My God doesn’t judge me he/she/it trusts that I am capable of doing that myself.
6. The God of Deism has never resulted in a crusade, a witch burning, a holy war or death of anyone simply because they had a different belief.
7. The God of Deism doesn’t let me blame my failings on a mythical Satan which he himself created.
8. The God of Deism has never gambled on the fate of a human being with an adversary such as he did with Job. The Deist god doesn’t gamble with human suffering for his own agenda.
9. The God of Deism allows for a duality of the creator meaning possessing both masculine and feminine attributes. There is no way a male entity could be all knowing this entity would have to have feminine attributes as well to understand its own creation. In other words my God isn’t a male chauvinist.
10. Most importantly Deism doesn’t claim to have all the answers, there is no guarantee of what happens when we die, how humanity will or will not fail to adapt to the future. The end isn’t written, as a Deist I know I am literally a co-creator with God, that my actions as small as they seem are actually creating a future that is of yet unwritten. I know that I am responsible for more then just myself but yet I am free to choose how I help, who I help and why I do so it up to me. There is no get out of jail free card and no opportunity to say anything doesn’t matter because in the end we expect God to show up and establish a perfect kingdom anyway.
Again this is what I believe, personally. I am sure someone like the guy that asked the original question will show up here at some point and be offended by this and try to save me or others from my line of thinking. Just know you are free to believe what you want to, I wrote this not to change your mind but for the person who has already decided that they no longer will follow dogma and myth and is now exploring for answers outside of revealed religions.
A Gift of Fear? No Thanks I will Pass!
I like many that come to Deism have a catholic background. There is a wonderful sense of mystery inside Catholicism if you can get past the guilt, false fears and superstitions and I think this is why so many former Catholics become Deists.
I say this to point out I do not resent all of my Catholic upbringing despite what I am about to say. I want to tell you a story, unlike many myths this one is true and the details as accurate as the 29 years of time separating me from them will allow.
One day in our religious portion of the school day we were learning about the Seven Gifts of the Holly Spirit which are,
- Fear of the Lord
Now at 11 years of age I wasn’t exactly hip on the whole piety thing, after learning what it was but I understood why we would be told it was a virtue. On the other hand understanding, wow yea, I want that, so much I wanted to understand! The others too except for one, “fear of the lord” seemed like pretty great stuff. So given understanding was first I asked the teacher to help me understand why I should fear a God that loves me. Not just loves me but loved me so much he sent his son to die for me. I mean I don’t know about you but that sounds like a guy I should trust and never fear.
So I asked simply why I should fear a God that loves me that much. She did her best to talk around the issue but I wouldn’t let up and I would not accept “because it says so in the book” so the teacher got mad because she had no answer and sent me to the principal. The principal to be fair was kind and understanding. Once she realized I wasn’t sent out for bad behavior that the teacher just basically said I can’t get you an answer so go see someone perhaps that can help you. For once I was being disruptive without harsh discipline, may be this would pay off!
She also had no real answer for this question and didn’t even try, she sent me back to class and promised to have the Monsignor (senior priest at a church) talk to me later. When that happened, the Monsignor kindly lectured me on the wisdom of God and the gifts of the Holy Spirit etc but he had no real answer either. He tried an end around and said “John if god showed up right now, in front of us wouldn’t you be afraid”. I asked him if I would know it is in fact God and not some ghost, if I would really know it was the Lord himself, he said yes. I thought he was going to fall over when I said very confidently “well then no, I trust God”.
In the end I was reminded the first item on the list was understanding and that it would come in time with prayer and study and reflection. That is was good of me to ask such questions but for now I would have to have faith in God and trust his teachings. I let it go, I knew I had made my case. The answer was oh I understand it but I can’t explain it just accept it.
There is a proverb “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom”. Proverbs 9:10. This is the root of this “gift” of fear.
In my 40 odd years I have gone from Catholic to Baptist to Methodist to Deist and only Deism can answer this question I asked 29 years ago and no one could answer inside any church. The answer is, you shouldn’t and it isn’t a gift!
So I have written my own version of this proverb, “The release of any irrational fear including of your own creator is the true beginning of wisdom”. Frankly if anyone wants to provide me with a gift, I will skip any that include fear.
When I discuss religion with pagans, atheists, agnostics and even non monotheistic revealed religions like Buddhists saying I am a deist may result in what is that, but never what’s the point. Just about all of these folks seem to simply accept that I simply believe what I believe.
Many of course don’t agree, well if they did they would be deists too right?
Actually with these folks I find many self described pagans to not be pagans at all, often they are deists they simply take the name pagan as almost a protest against organized faith. I also find many self labeled atheists to be more accurately agnostics and many agnostics to be closer to deists, but those are subjects for another post on another day.
When I tell a Christian I am a deist though, the common question is “so what’s the point?” I can see why a Christian specifically a devote christian would feel that way because here are some basic tenets of deism…
- There is a god, a creator an architect, some larger intelligence that is responsible for the creation itself.
- As deists we are driven by fact, reason and inspiration, there are no “rules” only morality. Said morality is driven by reason.
- Due to this we are all responsible 100% for ourselves, we do good for good’s sake, we do evil due to weakness and greed. The penalty for evil is guilt, law and karma. (Note – Karma here is not Buddhist karma but simple reality, do good and good is returned onto you, do evil and evil is returned to you. Basically your fellow humans are smart enough to treat decent people and scumbags differently.)
- We can know God though God’s creation, though reflection, though our fellow man, though science (which explores the creation) and though a type of prayer that is more an inner dialog with our true selves, yet we can’t define exactly what God is, where and how God exists and certainly not what God looks like.
- Prayer has value but many of us don’t even call it praying. It is more a quiet internal discussion that allows us the inner dialog and reflection mentioned above and will lead us through reason to our own answers. Yet we know God isn’t a genie that grants wishes so we are not going to pray for snow and think God answered a prayer because it happened to snow.
- We don ‘t go to church, kneel, bow down to anyone or anything. We don’t have rules for what we can eat on what day. We don’t condemn other faiths, we don’t condemn others for their lifestyle choices, pretty much our only real rule is don’t harm others.
- When we die many of us believe in some sort of afterlife, others think our energy simply returns but consciousness ceases, some believe in reincarnation and we are all okay with each other. One thing we all tend to agree with though is there will be no “judgement” other then some of us believe we may in fact judge ourselves.
- Some of us are very spiritual, contemplate deeply on the creation, pray in our way often and deeply investigate the spiritual realm. Some of us deeply explore accounts by those who have had near death experiences or with deep meditation practices. Others simply say, “hey there is some sort of creator to all of this” and live our lives without much thought of it. Most are somewhere in the middle of these two extremes and yet we all get along and no one has a need to convince the others of anything.
Yes I can see where a Christian would ask what the point is. In Christian faith there is a list of rules which all are called to follow and a belief that no one can do it anyway. So God sent himself to earth to be killed on behalf of his children because that is the only way he can save them. Christians believe God intervenes with man actively (which would deny us free will) and feel there is a strict penalty for anything less then seeking forgiveness in his dead and risen son. That all men are inherently wicked because Satan (who God also created) tempts them.
I could go on but I think you get the point. Christians struggle with the point of Deism mostly because it is largely counter to everything they have come to believe is true. They would rather believe they can “know God” even if said God ordered the deaths of children, called for the stoning of adulterers, killed every living thing on the planet other then one family and two of each animal and sent his own son to death on a cross before accepting that they can’t really know God.
So what is the point of deism? Well the eight bullet points above are in large part the point. For me though the bigger point is as a deist I do not have to make excuses for my God. Such as
Well God is eternal and everlasting and knows all, yet he is also a jealous God who killed countless millions. It is all okay though because he later offered his own son as a sacrifice and allowed him to be brutally murdered and killed in a horrible way on our behalf because that is what we all actually deserve. Because of that he will never kill countless millions again or ask that disobedient sons be stoned, etc.
The point is also that I can answer many questions about God and creation with “I don’t know” and be okay with that. I don’t have to know, I can accept that I am a limited being in a limited plane of existence at a specific point in space-time and that is simply where I am, at least for now. I don’t have to walk around with some sort of twisted notion that I am not to be worldly and then also say God has no problem with me being wealthy and successful.
What is the point? The point is simply that we are as Deists free, 100% free. I don’t for a second feel that any creator would create something as amazing as humans and want anything less then true freedom for them. We are the most advanced life form we know of and yet self aware enough to know we are not as advanced as such station would seem to indicate. We know that our future can be wonderful or awful and that it is up to us to determine that. We can split and atom for either good or evil, we have traveled off our our world and set foot on a foreign one. We can use our bodies to inflict pain on others, or pleasure or to heal others.
The reality is a human being is a miracle in the true sense of the word itself. The point of deism is it sets us 100% free to be that miracle. To create poetry, write stories, inspire others, explore the creation and be who we are, free of judgement for simply doing that. This scares Christians because they often say, “what would happen if everyone did just that”, as though only fear of the fires of hell prevent rape, murder and massive harm by every man to every other man. Well, the problem with that belief is there are million of atheists, agnostics, deists along with non Christians of other faiths and many who don’t describe themselves in anyway that have never harmed anyone and likely never will.
The point? Freedom, that is indeed the point. So my answer to the question of “what would happen if everyone did just that” is simply, I think we would have the happiest society ever known to mankind.
Like just about any question you can ask in regard to deism you will get many different answers from many different deists. Many would likely tell you that there is no value in prayer based on the belief that “God does not intervene” shared by deists. 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.
Here is how I agree, if you want it to snow and pray for such and it snows, God most assuredly did not “answer your prayer”. If so then we must ask why would God do this and ignore your request that your crippled child would one day walk or ignore your prayers that your wife not die of cancer. Frankly such a God to me is a cruel and heartless being I would want nothing to do with. If we however accept that God simply created the entirety of creation and left all beings with free will that changes. Cancer becomes simply a way some people die and if anyone gets the blame it is us for our lifestyle or industry for its waste, but not God. If you are praying for things to happen or for the world to become a utopia or anything in this vein, I agree with many fellow atheists, write Santa a letter it will do just as much good.
Yet I do pray, in my own way and judge no other man’s means by which he does so. When I pray it is about tapping into the internal intelligence and the dynamic energy fields that exist around us. I do believe God is in all of us, because I understand physics. We now know a few things about energy and matter, the first is that energy and matter are the same thing. Matter is simply assembled energy in a particular pattern. We also now know that when any two particles are joined that they are forever linked. Scientists have separated previously bonded particles by space and time and manipulated one, the other responds with no delay in time to account for the spatial separation between them. This is earth shattering science.
The key though is it shows us that once linked energies are forever part of each other. As we know the creator is the source of all energy and matter we can therefor reason that we are all connected to the creator and the creator is within all of us. Hence with prayer we can connect to the creator and to each other. This is a conversation, often with a part of ourselves we don’t seldom acknowledge. In this conversation we can discover answers, obtain clarity and tap into our tremendous potentials as energetic beings. When we do so we find answers, said answers lead to decisions and choices. To me God definitely has a hand on the creation it is just done though his creation, a creation we are part of.
We also must acknowledge that research has shown prayer or positive intention is felt from one human to another. We must acknowledge that sometimes belief alone causes people to heal from what were believed to be terminal illness. These are not simply the realm of sleazy televangelists, these are proven factual occurrences. So while I agree that God doesn’t “fix stuff” or change the future because someone asks him to, I don’t think that rules our prayer, internal dialog or meditation or however you choose to interact with the creator in your own life.
Well, as always the question is answered differently by different deists but this is one there is largely a consensus on. Most deists would say, indeed there is “one creator”, one supreme intelligence but many different views of that exist. Again I can only give you my view.
I would define God as a singularity. I personally define God sum total of all consciousness and intelligence that exists in the entirety of all space, matter, time and dimension. Some would call this pantheism, most of those that do so with any negativity are followers of one of the revealed religions.
Pantheism is simply defined as, “the view that everything is part of an all-encompassing immanent God,or that the universe, nature, god and divinity are all identical.” A lot of evangelical pastors get their panties in a wad over pantheism stating that it basically says that everything is god, hence man is god. This is simply typical defensive religion, acting out when anything challenges their view of faith.
Frankly pantheism is a far more inclusive view of what Christians call “the body of Christ”. To say that we and everything else that exists is a part of God is not to say that we are all God, that is just nonsense. That would be like saying since your big toe on your left foot is part of you, your toe is you. Cut off your toe and you still exist, incinerate it, compost it or feed it to a dog and you still exist do you not? Yet while attached to you it is part of you right? If you stub it you feel pain, if it is tickled you laugh, if you get a foot rub you feel pleasure or if you get bit by an ant on it you itch.
This is why I choose to use my reason to see God as a singularity. I believe that you and I and my dog and all energy and consciousness are part of God, yet that singularity exists in a single point as well. In fact reason would lead us to believe that this is the only way God could be omnipotent and omnipresent. For God to know you as well as you know yourself God would have to be part of you, see though your eyes and understand the world and the universe as it exists in your heart.
Think about it this way, the creator cannot be omnipresent if God only sees the universe or more accurately the multiverses as they exist for God. God must know how all things exist for all beings. This is how I view God, a singularity of all consciousness and intelligence that is connected to the same.
NDEs Give Only the Briefest Windown into Life After Death
As I stated yesterday when I blogged about whether deists believe in an afterlife, it is quite simply true that you will likely get a different answer from just about every deist you ask. A few may say nothing happens at least from your perspective. They may simply say your time passes and your body and energy are recycled, in a true mechanistic way. Though many others, dare I say most deists believe that some part of us continues and that it happens in a way that can only be defined as a continuation of our individual existence. That is what I believe.
As to what it might be like, I have to start out with the only honest answer anyone can truly give; I don’t know what it will be like. We never will truly know until we die, even near death experiences (when legitimate) can only be a brief window into what might await us.
Consider if a person told you they knew what life was like in America even though they had always lived in say Japan. What would you think if you asked this person how and they said, oh well I have been to America. Likely that would open you to the fact that they might have some understanding of American life. But what if you next heard they had only been to New York City? Would such a visit really tell our Japanese friend what America was like?
Further what if they didn’t speak much English? So there was a language barrier as well to cloud their view into the American lifestyle. Lastly what if you learned that this visit was very short, say our friend never even left JFK airport, they simply arrived, went to a restaurant at the airport, visited two gift shops and then boarded a plane back to Japan? Do you think they would understand anything deeply about life in America?
So even the person that has a true NDE and experiences something akin to “crossing over” would not really know what the long term existence would be like would they? Surely beings in this next plane use language at a higher level, surely there is more to see then one can experience while still bound by human ideas and limitations? So my answer must be “I don’t really know”, if I am to use logic and reason in examining the question.
Though here are some things that the experiences of others and logic leads me to believe may occur…
- I believe at some point, likely by our own choice we have a “life review” such would be filled with both joy and regret for anyone who lived as a human being for any significant period of time. I believe this because those who died and came back report it and because it makes sense, if I died and still had my memories and individual consciousness, I would want to examine my life experience wouldn’t you? Additionally we know information once created always exists, so the information would be available.
- I believe we likely are able to shape our own reality around ourselves at least early on. We might be assisted by others with this or it might be all us, I just don’t know for sure. I believe this because it is the only explanation for the vast differences in NDE experiences.
- I believe at some point we must make a decision about what to do next, where to go, what to become. How many options are there, what limits if any exist at this point? I have no real idea. I do believe some may choose to reincarnate as humans once again, but I don’t think it is trap like the Buddhists believe and I don’t think it is likely as common as most who believe it reincarnation think it is.
- I believe we do meet with others, share experiences, communicate and I think there is likely a case to be made for a “soul group” of sorts, or call it a “family”. I think we are likely helped with our decisions by this group and I do believe some beings choose to meet in another life, not “soul mates” in the way a romantic would imagine. I think we do it to accomplish something, learn from each other or just to have fun. I have met a few people with such an instant kinship that this is the only reasonable explanation I can come up with.
- As I believe the creator gave all beings free will so I am pretty sure that whatever happens we control. I also believe as an energetic being free of the physical world that we likely have more control after death then during life in what we do, how we do it, where we go next, etc.
Yet again the reality is all of the above is what I think, not what I know. I do know there is a part of us that can exist apart from the body. Yet I can’t know exactly what happens when that link is severed permanently, just as our made up Japanese friend could never understand American life from a 30 minute visit to JFK Airport.
The more important question for you is what do you think happens and why? As a deist you are free to believe whatever you wish about this question, but logic and reason dictate that you should take a hard look at the why behind any belief that you make central to your life.