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 is 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.
Backyard is Rising and Daisy Scouts are Excited.
Yes, it makes sense. I respect anonymity and ask the following question simply as a clarification: You admit you began as a Catholic and speak in the first person. Do you sign your name to your blogs? Also, are there any actual churchy gatherings of deist groups anywhere? I am a recovering United Methodist Clergy, downsized, now serving a non-denominational downtown church half-time, and as a Hospice Chaplain full-time. My theology is maturing and I am in my seventh year with Fontana Community Church, even though a majority of my congregation are quite Trumpy and perhaps a slim majority are inerrant Bible believers and I am a heterodox theologian from a liberal background who turned my brother and mother on to Brian McLaren. I will not be anonymous, contact me at my email below (don’t do Facebook, kind of a Luddite.
Most people are Deists and don’t realize it. If you point out specific articles of their faith, not only do they not support them; they usually aren’t even aware of them.