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.
Thank you for this well-thought post! Just this year reason prevailed and I became a deist, coming from Christianity. I had struggled with the “so…can I still pray?” question some and realized that it is up to me now, because there is no larger organization telling me what, when or how to go about life. Your post and the emphasis on individual freedoms, reason and science is particularly encouraging. I also like how – through engaging physics – you described how God (energy, matter) is in all of us. I will definitely keep reading your posts because they get my critical thinking juices flowing. Thanks again – C.
@C.M. Thank you so much for your comment, my first real one at this blog. If you have any other concerns, struggles or questions let me know. It will give me more to write about. Right now I need that.
Good evening! I liked this–very well thought out and put. I come from a little background of ceremonial magick (a phase) that, while ludicrous, kinda gives me more of an idea on how I look at God as a Deist.
God won’t bend nature to me, but I think God can empower, embolden, and even change me, at my request. If I seek the Creator’s change, He can change me, or give me the strength to change. Is this positive thinking? Perhaps.
Another way to look at it without disrupting the freewill of things is to think of it from the multiple universes view. Maybe God sees all the various paths of my life, and when I pray, he can adjust my particular path, or give me insight.
Just throwing out some verbal salad…What do you think?
Makes sent to me. As I feel I am part of God and so are you of course not only are we connected as beings but we are also connected to a “higher power”, which is God or simply the total consciousness of the universe.
The only way I see it differently is you sort of say, at your request God can empower you and that sort of sounds like “pushed power”, you ask and he sends it sort of, make sense?
I see it more of a pull power, the power is there you take it whenever you want it. It isn’t magic and I think we agree on that. But by connecting we can achieve more, do more, be more inspiring to others. Is it really an external power like plugging into a battery or is it internal power we have already simply being activated. My answer is I don’t really care as long as it works.
Either way works. I definitely don’t think it is magic, but I do think that God plays a role in our lives, be it concious or empowering.
Hi, I’m trying to do a bit to understand how the Deists that were our founding fathers likely would have described their faith. It seems lately that I often hear “Oh, but several of them were not that religious. They were only Deists”. …as if like you noted they feel this is something like “atheist lite”. So before I go digging & research to try and find if they (the Deists among the 204 involved in our founding documents) were Deists, Christian Deists, or some other Deist I may not be familiar with, can you help answer any of these questions? How many were there? and did they leave any written prayers to offer insight as to how deeply religious they were. Were they self described Deists or labeled as such. Would there be any notable differences in their belief v. the modern Deist?
Thanks In advance. Any help appreciated.
I am one of those who have prayed for rain for my garden, but also have prayed for God to save my wife from dying from cancer. My plants are doing well, and it has now been 2 years since my wife has passed away from cancer.
Deistm struk me as a lightning the moment my wife stoped breathing in my arms. I still pray for her though, because I know that all energy I put out in prayers for her, will remain in the universe as specified in the law of “Conservation of Information”. There is a chance a creator somehow somewhen can pick up and reconstruct the information. Just as a conversation, telling him what have happened and what I thought about it.
When you say, “God is in us, God is part of us”, you sound more like a pantheist or panentheist than a deist. But that is your choice. I do believe in prayer in that you can seek personal advice or virtue from the deity for yourself, but he will never alter natural law for anyone or cause anyone to bend to your will. For example, you cannot say “Please make x and X do this.” But you can pray, “Please give me the right words and arguments to persuade x and x.”
Pantheism is a philosophy not a faith. Deism is simply the belief in a creator, how said creator manifests itself isn’t known or claimed to be know by deists. My statements you note are far more related to physics and cosmology than to faith.
I am a Deist and can’t pray. This is because I don’t believe in Bible and its contents. The other reason is that the God of the bible committed many inhuman crimes. Praying to God sound like praying to Adolf Hitler. Look at some examples:
1) Capital Punishment Crimes:
Kill People Who Don’t Listen to Priests
Anyone arrogant enough to reject the verdict of the judge or of the priest who represents the LORD your God must be put to death. Such evil must be purged from Israel. (Deuteronomy 17:12 NLT)
You should not let a sorceress live. (Exodus 22:17 NAB)
“If a man lies with a male as with a women, both of them shall be put to death for their abominable deed; they have forfeited their lives.” (Leviticus 20:13 NAB)
A man or a woman who acts as a medium or fortuneteller shall be put to death by stoning; they have no one but themselves to blame for their death. (Leviticus 20:27 NAB)
Death for Hitting Dad
Whoever strikes his father or mother shall be put to death. (Exodus 21:15 NAB)
Death for Cursing Parents
1) If one curses his father or mother, his lamp will go out at the coming of darkness. (Proverbs 20:20 NAB)
2) All who curse their father or mother must be put to death. They are guilty of a capital offense. (Leviticus 20:9 NLT)
Death for Adultery
If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife, both the man and the woman must be put to death. (Leviticus 20:10 NLT)
Death for Fornication
A priest’s daughter who loses her honor by committing fornication and thereby dishonors her father also, shall be burned to death. (Leviticus 21:9 NAB)
Death to Followers of Other Religions
Whoever sacrifices to any god, except the Lord alone, shall be doomed. (Exodus 22:19 NAB)
They entered into a covenant to seek the Lord, the God of their fathers, with all their heart and soul; and everyone who would not seek the Lord, the God of Israel, was to be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman. (2 Chronicles 15:12-13 NAB)
Kill False Prophets
If a man still prophesies, his parents, father and mother, shall say to him, “You shall not live, because you have spoken a lie in the name of the Lord.” When he prophesies, his parents, father and mother, shall thrust him through. (Zechariah 13:3 NAB)
Kill the Entire Town if One Person Worships Another God
Suppose you hear in one of the towns the LORD your God is giving you that some worthless rabble among you have led their fellow citizens astray by encouraging them to worship foreign gods. In such cases, you must examine the facts carefully. If you find it is true and can prove that such a detestable act has occurred among you, you must attack that town and completely destroy all its inhabitants, as well as all the livestock. Then you must pile all the plunder in the middle of the street and burn it. Put the entire town to the torch as a burnt offering to the LORD your God. That town must remain a ruin forever; it may never be rebuilt. Keep none of the plunder that has been set apart for destruction. Then the LORD will turn from his fierce anger and be merciful to you. He will have compassion on you and make you a great nation, just as he solemnly promised your ancestors. “The LORD your God will be merciful only if you obey him and keep all the commands I am giving you today, doing what is pleasing to him.” (Deuteronomy 13:13-19 NLT)
Kill Women Who Are Not Virgins On Their Wedding Night
But if this charge is true (that she wasn’t a virgin on her wedding night), and evidence of the girls virginity is not found, they shall bring the girl to the entrance of her fathers house and there her townsman shall stone her to death, because she committed a crime against Israel by her unchasteness in her father’s house. Thus shall you purge the evil from your midst. (Deuteronomy 22:20-21 NAB)
Kill Followers of Other Religions.
1) If your own full brother, or your son or daughter, or your beloved wife, or you intimate friend, entices you secretly to serve other gods, whom you and your fathers have not known, gods of any other nations, near at hand or far away, from one end of the earth to the other: do not yield to him or listen to him, nor look with pity upon him, to spare or shield him, but kill him. Your hand shall be the first raised to slay him; the rest of the people shall join in with you. You shall stone him to death, because he sought to lead you astray from the Lord, your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that place of slavery. And all Israel, hearing of this, shall fear and never do such evil as this in your midst. (Deuteronomy 13:7-12 NAB)
2) Suppose a man or woman among you, in one of your towns that the LORD your God is giving you, has done evil in the sight of the LORD your God and has violated the covenant by serving other gods or by worshiping the sun, the moon, or any of the forces of heaven, which I have strictly forbidden. When you hear about it, investigate the matter thoroughly. If it is true that this detestable thing has been done in Israel, then that man or woman must be taken to the gates of the town and stoned to death. (Deuteronomy 17:2-5 NLT)
Death for Blasphemy
One day a man who had an Israelite mother and an Egyptian father got into a fight with one of the Israelite men. During the fight, this son of an Israelite woman blasphemed the LORD’s name. So the man was brought to Moses for judgment. His mother’s name was Shelomith. She was the daughter of Dibri of the tribe of Dan. They put the man in custody until the LORD’s will in the matter should become clear. Then the LORD said to Moses, “Take the blasphemer outside the camp, and tell all those who heard him to lay their hands on his head. Then let the entire community stone him to death. Say to the people of Israel: Those who blaspheme God will suffer the consequences of their guilt and be punished. Anyone who blasphemes the LORD’s name must be stoned to death by the whole community of Israel. Any Israelite or foreigner among you who blasphemes the LORD’s name will surely die. (Leviticus 24:10-16 NLT)
Kill False Prophets
1) Suppose there are prophets among you, or those who have dreams about the future, and they promise you signs or miracles, and the predicted signs or miracles take place. If the prophets then say, ‘Come, let us worship the gods of foreign nations,’ do not listen to them. The LORD your God is testing you to see if you love him with all your heart and soul. Serve only the LORD your God and fear him alone. Obey his commands, listen to his voice, and cling to him. The false prophets or dreamers who try to lead you astray must be put to death, for they encourage rebellion against the LORD your God, who brought you out of slavery in the land of Egypt. Since they try to keep you from following the LORD your God, you must execute them to remove the evil from among you. (Deuteronomy 13:1-5 NLT)
2) But any prophet who claims to give a message from another god or who falsely claims to speak for me must die.’ You may wonder, ‘How will we know whether the prophecy is from the LORD or not?’ If the prophet predicts something in the LORD’s name and it does not happen, the LORD did not give the message. That prophet has spoken on his own and need not be feared. (Deuteronomy 18:20-22 NLT)
Infidels and Gays Should Die
So God let them go ahead and do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies. Instead of believing what they knew was the truth about God, they deliberately chose to believe lies. So they worshiped the things God made but not the Creator himself, who is to be praised forever. Amen. That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. And the men, instead of having normal sexual relationships with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men and, as a result, suffered within themselves the penalty they so richly deserved. When they refused to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their evil minds and let them do things that should never be done. Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, fighting, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip. They are backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful. They are forever inventing new ways of sinning and are disobedient to their parents. They refuse to understand, break their promises, and are heartless and unforgiving. They are fully aware of God’s death penalty for those who do these things, yet they go right ahead and do them anyway. And, worse yet, they encourage others to do them, too. (Romans 1:24-32 NLT)
Kill Anyone who Approaches the Tabernacle
For the LORD had said to Moses, ‘Exempt the tribe of Levi from the census; do not include them when you count the rest of the Israelites. You must put the Levites in charge of the Tabernacle of the Covenant, along with its furnishings and equipment. They must carry the Tabernacle and its equipment as you travel, and they must care for it and camp around it. Whenever the Tabernacle is moved, the Levites will take it down and set it up again. Anyone else who goes too near the Tabernacle will be executed.’ (Numbers 1:48-51 NLT)
Kill People for Working on the Sabbath
The LORD then gave these further instructions to Moses: ‘Tell the people of Israel to keep my Sabbath day, for the Sabbath is a sign of the covenant between me and you forever. It helps you to remember that I am the LORD, who makes you holy. Yes, keep the Sabbath day, for it is holy. Anyone who desecrates it must die; anyone who works on that day will be cut off from the community. Work six days only, but the seventh day must be a day of total rest. I repeat: Because the LORD considers it a holy day, anyone who works on the Sabbath must be put to death.’ (Exodus 31:12-15 NLT)
2) God’s Murders for Stupid Reasons:
From there Elisha went up to Bethel. While he was on his way, some small boys came out of the city and jeered at him. “Go up baldhead,” they shouted, “go up baldhead!” The prophet turned and saw them, and he cursed them in the name of the Lord. Then two shebears came out of the woods and tore forty two of the children to pieces. (2 Kings 2:23-24 NAB)
God Kills the Curious
And he smote of the men of Beth-shemesh, because they had looked into the ark of Jehovah, he smote of the people seventy men, `and’ fifty thousand men; and the people mourned, because Jehovah had smitten the people with a great slaughter. And the men of Beth-shemesh said, Who is able to stand before Jehovah, this holy God? and to whom shall he go up from us? (1Samuel 6:19-20 ASV)
Killed by a Lion
Meanwhile, the LORD instructed one of the group of prophets to say to another man, “Strike me!” But the man refused to strike the prophet. Then the prophet told him, “Because you have not obeyed the voice of the LORD, a lion will kill you as soon as you leave me.” And sure enough, when he had gone, a lion attacked and killed him. (1 Kings 20:35-36 NLT)
Killing the Good Samaritan
The ark of God was placed on a new cart and taken away from the house of Abinadab on the hill. Uzzah and Ahio, sons of Abinadab guided the cart, with Ahio walking before it, while David and all the Israelites made merry before the Lord with all their strength, with singing and with citharas, harps, tambourines, sistrums, and cymbals.
When they came to the threshing floor of Nodan, Uzzah reached out his hand to the ark of God to steady it, for the oxen were making it tip. But the Lord was angry with Uzzah; God struck him on that spot, and he died there before God. (2 Samuel 6:3-7 NAB)
3) Murdering Children
Kill Sons of Sinners
Make ready to slaughter his sons for the guilt of their fathers; Lest they rise and posses the earth, and fill the breadth of the world with tyrants. (Isaiah 14:21 NAB)
God Will Kill Children
The glory of Israel will fly away like a bird, for your children will die at birth or perish in the womb or never even be conceived. Even if your children do survive to grow up, I will take them from you. It will be a terrible day when I turn away and leave you alone. I have watched Israel become as beautiful and pleasant as Tyre. But now Israel will bring out her children to be slaughtered.” O LORD, what should I request for your people? I will ask for wombs that don’t give birth and breasts that give no milk. The LORD says, “All their wickedness began at Gilgal; there I began to hate them. I will drive them from my land because of their evil actions. I will love them no more because all their leaders are rebels. The people of Israel are stricken. Their roots are dried up; they will bear no more fruit. And if they give birth, I will slaughter their beloved children.” (Hosea 9:11-16 NLT)
Kill Men, Women, and Children
“Then I heard the LORD say to the other men, “Follow him through the city and kill everyone whose forehead is not marked. Show no mercy; have no pity! Kill them all – old and young, girls and women and little children. But do not touch anyone with the mark. Begin your task right here at the Temple.” So they began by killing the seventy leaders. “Defile the Temple!” the LORD commanded. “Fill its courtyards with the bodies of those you kill! Go!” So they went throughout the city and did as they were told.” (Ezekiel 9:5-7 NLT)
God Kills all the First Born of Egypt
And at midnight the LORD killed all the firstborn sons in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh, who sat on the throne, to the firstborn son of the captive in the dungeon. Even the firstborn of their livestock were killed. Pharaoh and his officials and all the people of Egypt woke up during the night, and loud wailing was heard throughout the land of Egypt. There was not a single house where someone had not died. (Exodus 12:29-30 NLT)
Kill Old Men and Young Women
“You are my battle-ax and sword,” says the LORD. “With you I will shatter nations and destroy many kingdoms. With you I will shatter armies, destroying the horse and rider, the chariot and charioteer. With you I will shatter men and women, old people and children, young men and maidens. With you I will shatter shepherds and flocks, farmers and oxen, captains and rulers. “As you watch, I will repay Babylon and the people of Babylonia for all the wrong they have done to my people in Jerusalem,” says the LORD. “Look, O mighty mountain, destroyer of the earth! I am your enemy,” says the LORD. “I will raise my fist against you, to roll you down from the heights. When I am finished, you will be nothing but a heap of rubble. You will be desolate forever. Even your stones will never again be used for building. You will be completely wiped out,” says the LORD. (Jeremiah 51:20-26)
(Note that after God promises the Israelites a victory against Babylon, the Israelites actually get their butts kicked by them in the next chapter. So much for an all-knowing and all-powerful God.)
God Will Kill the Children of Sinners
If even then you remain hostile toward me and refuse to obey, I will inflict you with seven more disasters for your sins. I will release wild animals that will kill your children and destroy your cattle, so your numbers will dwindle and your roads will be deserted. (Leviticus 26:21-22 NLT)
More Rape and Baby Killing
Anyone who is captured will be run through with a sword. Their little children will be dashed to death right before their eyes. Their homes will be sacked and their wives raped by the attacking hordes. For I will stir up the Medes against Babylon, and no amount of silver or gold will buy them off. The attacking armies will shoot down the young people with arrows. They will have no mercy on helpless babies and will show no compassion for the children. (Isaiah 13:15-18 NLT)
4) Miscellaneous Murders
More of Samson’s Murders
(The Lord saves Sampson from standing trial for 30 murders and arson by allowing him to kill 1000 more men.) When he reached Lehi, and the Philistines came shouting to meet him, the spirit of the Lord came upon him: the ropes around his arms become as flax that is consumed by fire and the bonds melted away from his hands. Near him was the fresh jawbone of an ass; he reached out, grasped it, and with it killed a thousand men. (Judges 15:14-15 NAB)
Peter Kills Two People
There was also a man named Ananias who, with his wife, Sapphira, sold some property. He brought part of the money to the apostles, but he claimed it was the full amount. His wife had agreed to this deception. Then Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart? You lied to the Holy Spirit, and you kept some of the money for yourself. The property was yours to sell or not sell, as you wished. And after selling it, the money was yours to give away. How could you do a thing like this? You weren’t lying to us but to God.” As soon as Ananias heard these words, he fell to the floor and died. Everyone who heard about it was terrified. Then some young men wrapped him in a sheet and took him out and buried him. About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. Peter asked her, “Was this the price you and your husband received for your land?” “Yes,” she replied, “that was the price.” And Peter said, “How could the two of you even think of doing a thing like this – conspiring together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Just outside that door are the young men who buried your husband, and they will carry you out, too.” Instantly, she fell to the floor and died. When the young men came in and saw that she was dead, they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. Great fear gripped the entire church and all others who heard what had happened. (Acts 5:1-11 NLT)
This is what the Lord of hosts has to say: ‘I will punish what Amalek did to Israel when he barred his way as he was coming up from Egypt. Go, now, attack Amalek, and deal with him and all that he has under the ban. Do not spare him, but kill men and women, children and infants, oxen and sheep, camels and asses.’ (1 Samuel 15:2-3 NAB)
You Have to Kill
Cursed be he who does the Lords work remissly, cursed he who holds back his sword from blood. (Jeremiah 48:10 NAB)
The Danites Kill the Next Town
But the territory of the Danites was too small for them; so the Danites marched up and attacked Leshem, which they captured and put to the sword. Once they had taken possession of Lesham, they renamed the settlement after their ancestor Dan. (Joshua 19:47 NAB)
God Kills Some More
Then the LORD said to me, “Even if Moses and Samuel stood before me pleading for these people, I wouldn’t help them. Away with them! Get them out of my sight! And if they say to you, ‘But where can we go?’ tell them, ‘This is what the LORD says: Those who are destined for death, to death; those who are destined for war, to war; those who are destined for famine, to famine; those who are destined for captivity, to captivity.’ “I will send four kinds of destroyers against them,” says the LORD. “I will send the sword to kill, the dogs to drag away, the vultures to devour, and the wild animals to finish up what is left. Because of the wicked things Manasseh son of Hezekiah, king of Judah, did in Jerusalem, I will make my people an object of horror to all the kingdoms of the earth.” (Jeremiah 15:1-4 NLT)
God Promises More Killing
I will make Mount Seir utterly desolate, killing off all who try to escape and any who return. I will fill your mountains with the dead. Your hills, your valleys, and your streams will be filled with people slaughtered by the sword. I will make you desolate forever. Your cities will never be rebuilt. Then you will know that I am the LORD. (Ezekiel 35:7-9 NLT)
The Angel of Death
My angel will go before you and bring you to the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hivites, and Jebusites; and I will wipe them out. (Exodus 23:23 NAB)
Destruction of Ai
Then the LORD said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid or discouraged. Take the entire army and attack Ai, for I have given to you the king of Ai, his people, his city, and his land. You will destroy them as you destroyed Jericho and its king. But this time you may keep the captured goods and the cattle for yourselves. Set an ambush behind the city.” So Joshua and the army of Israel set out to attack Ai. Joshua chose thirty thousand fighting men and sent them out at night with these orders: “Hide in ambush close behind the city and be ready for action. When our main army attacks, the men of Ai will come out to fight as they did before, and we will run away from them. We will let them chase us until they have all left the city. For they will say, ‘The Israelites are running away from us as they did before.’ Then you will jump up from your ambush and take possession of the city, for the LORD your God will give it to you. Set the city on fire, as the LORD has commanded. You have your orders.” So they left that night and lay in ambush between Bethel and the west side of Ai. But Joshua remained among the people in the camp that night.
Early the next morning Joshua roused his men and started toward Ai, accompanied by the leaders of Israel. They camped on the north side of Ai, with a valley between them and the city. That night Joshua sent five thousand men to lie in ambush between Bethel and Ai, on the west side of the city. So they stationed the main army north of the city and the ambush west of the city. Joshua himself spent that night in the valley. When the king of Ai saw the Israelites across the valley, he and all his army hurriedly went out early the next morning and attacked the Israelites at a place overlooking the Jordan Valley. But he didn’t realize there was an ambush behind the city. Joshua and the Israelite army fled toward the wilderness as though they were badly beaten, and all the men in the city were called out to chase after them. In this way, they were lured away from the city. There was not a man left in Ai or Bethel who did not chase after the Israelites, and the city was left wide open.
Then the LORD said to Joshua, “Point your spear toward Ai, for I will give you the city.” Joshua did as he was commanded. As soon as Joshua gave the signal, the men in ambush jumped up and poured into the city. They quickly captured it and set it on fire. When the men of Ai looked behind them, smoke from the city was filling the sky, and they had nowhere to go. For the Israelites who had fled in the direction of the wilderness now turned on their pursuers. When Joshua and the other Israelites saw that the ambush had succeeded and that smoke was rising from the city, they turned and attacked the men of Ai. Then the Israelites who were inside the city came out and started killing the enemy from the rear. So the men of Ai were caught in a trap, and all of them died. Not a single person survived or escaped. Only the king of Ai was taken alive and brought to Joshua.
When the Israelite army finished killing all the men outside the city, they went back and finished off everyone inside. So the entire population of Ai was wiped out that day – twelve thousand in all. For Joshua kept holding out his spear until everyone who had lived in Ai was completely destroyed. Only the cattle and the treasures of the city were not destroyed, for the Israelites kept these for themselves, as the LORD had commanded Joshua. So Ai became a permanent mound of ruins, desolate to this very day. Joshua hung the king of Ai on a tree and left him there until evening. At sunset the Israelites took down the body and threw it in front of the city gate. They piled a great heap of stones over him that can still be seen today. (Joshua 8:1-29 NLT)
Killing at Jericho
When the people heard the sound of the horns, they shouted as loud as they could. Suddenly, the walls of Jericho collapsed, and the Israelites charged straight into the city from every side and captured it. They completely destroyed everything in it – men and women, young and old, cattle, sheep, donkeys – everything. (Joshua 6:20-21 NLT)
God Kills an Extended Family
“You have done more evil than all who lived before you. You have made other gods and have made me furious with your gold calves. And since you have turned your back on me, I will bring disaster on your dynasty and kill all your sons, slave or free alike. I will burn up your royal dynasty as one burns up trash until it is all gone. I, the LORD, vow that the members of your family who die in the city will be eaten by dogs, and those who die in the field will be eaten by vultures.'” Then Ahijah said to Jeroboam’s wife, “Go on home, and when you enter the city, the child will die. All Israel will mourn for him and bury him. He is the only member of your family who will have a proper burial, for this child is the only good thing that the LORD, the God of Israel, sees in the entire family of Jeroboam. And the LORD will raise up a king over Israel who will destroy the family of Jeroboam. This will happen today, even now! Then the LORD will shake Israel like a reed whipped about in a stream. He will uproot the people of Israel from this good land that he gave their ancestors and will scatter them beyond the Euphrates River, for they have angered the LORD by worshiping Asherah poles. He will abandon Israel because Jeroboam sinned and made all of Israel sin along with him.” (1 Kings 14:9-16 NLT)
The men of Israel withdrew through the territory of the Benjaminites, putting to the sword the inhabitants of the city, the livestock, and all they chanced upon. Moreover they destroyed by fire all the cities they came upon. (Judges 20:48 NAB)
The Angel of Death
That night the angel of the Lord went forth and struck down one hundred and eighty five thousand men in the Assyrian camp. Early the next morning, there they were, all the corpuses of the dead. (2 Kings 19:35 NAB)
Kill Your Neighbors
(Moses) stood at the entrance to the camp and shouted, “All of you who are on the LORD’s side, come over here and join me.” And all the Levites came. He told them, “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: Strap on your swords! Go back and forth from one end of the camp to the other, killing even your brothers, friends, and neighbors.” The Levites obeyed Moses, and about three thousand people died that day. Then Moses told the Levites, “Today you have been ordained for the service of the LORD, for you obeyed him even though it meant killing your own sons and brothers. Because of this, he will now give you a great blessing.” (Exodus 32:26-29 NLT)
Kill the Family of Sinners
And Joshua said to Achan, My son, give, I pray thee, glory to the LORD God of Israel, and make confession to him; and tell me now what thou hast done, hide it not from me. And Achan answered Joshua, and said, Indeed I have sinned against the LORD God of Israel, and thus and thus have I done. When I saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, then I coveted them, and took them, and behold, they are hid in the earth in the midst of my tent, and the silver under it.” [Note that the sin is not looting, but failing to give the loot to the treasury of the Lord.] “So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran to the tent, and behold, it was hid in his tent, and the silver under it. And they took them from the midst of the tent, and brought them to Joshua, and to all the children of Israel, and laid them out before the LORD. And Joshua, and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, and the silver, and the garment, and the wedge of gold, and his sons, and his daughters, and his oxen, and his asses, and his sheep, and his tent, and all that he had: and they brought them to the valley of Achor. And Joshua said, why hast thou troubled us? the LORD shall trouble thee this day. And all Israel stoned him with stones, and burned them with fire, after they had stoned them with stones. And they raised over him a great heap of stones to this day. So the LORD turned from the fierceness of his anger: wherefore the name of that place was called the valley of Achor to this day. (Joshua 7:19-26 Webster’s Bible)
Kill Followers of Other Religions
While the Israelites were camped at Acacia, some of the men defiled themselves by sleeping with the local Moabite women. These women invited them to attend sacrifices to their gods, and soon the Israelites were feasting with them and worshiping the gods of Moab. Before long Israel was joining in the worship of Baal of Peor, causing the LORD’s anger to blaze against his people. The LORD issued the following command to Moses: “Seize all the ringleaders and execute them before the LORD in broad daylight, so his fierce anger will turn away from the people of Israel.” So Moses ordered Israel’s judges to execute everyone who had joined in worshiping Baal of Peor. Just then one of the Israelite men brought a Midianite woman into the camp, right before the eyes of Moses and all the people, as they were weeping at the entrance of the Tabernacle. When Phinehas son of Eleazar and grandson of Aaron the priest saw this, he jumped up and left the assembly. Then he took a spear and rushed after the man into his tent. Phinehas thrust the spear all the way through the man’s body and into the woman’s stomach. So the plague against the Israelites was stopped, but not before 24,000 people had died. (Numbers 25:1-9 NLT)
At the customary time for offering the evening sacrifice, Elijah the prophet walked up to the altar and prayed, “O LORD, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, prove today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant. Prove that I have done all this at your command. O LORD, answer me! Answer me so these people will know that you, O LORD, are God and that you have brought them back to yourself.” Immediately the fire of the LORD flashed down from heaven and burned up the young bull, the wood, the stones, and the dust. It even licked up all the water in the ditch! And when the people saw it, they fell on their faces and cried out, “The LORD is God! The LORD is God!” Then Elijah commanded, “Seize all the prophets of Baal. Don’t let a single one escape!” So the people seized them all, and Elijah took them down to the Kishon Valley and killed them there. (1 Kings 18:36-40 NLT)
Kill All of Babylon
“Go up, my warriors, against the land of Merathaim and against the people of Pekod. Yes, march against Babylon, the land of rebels, a land that I will judge! Pursue, kill, and completely destroy them, as I have commanded you,” says the LORD. “Let the battle cry be heard in the land, a shout of great destruction”. (Jeremiah 50:21-22 NLT)
Micah Kills a Whole Town
Then, with Micah’s idols and his priest, the men of Dan came to the town of Laish, whose people were peaceful and secure. They attacked and killed all the people and burned the town to the ground. There was no one to rescue the residents of the town, for they lived a great distance from Sidon and had no allies nearby. This happened in the valley near Beth-rehob.Then the people of the tribe of Dan rebuilt the town and lived there. They renamed the town Dan after their ancestor, Israel’s son, but it had originally been called Laish. (Judges 18:27-29 NLT) (Note that God approves of this slaughter in verse 6.)
Well a lot of energy went into that and I don’t disagree with any of it BUT what the hell does that have to do with your ability to pray?
I simply don’t believe in “the God of the bible”. I believe much has been done in the name of many gods but it has nothing to do with who god really is.
So help me out here, how does the bible keep you from praying. It would seem the only way would be you actually believe it is fact and choose to not honor such a god?
It just doesn’t make any sense. A Buddhist doesn’t believe the Bible but prays in their way. Many Deists pray in the way I describe an internal dialog that allows us to connect with something deeper.
I just don’t get “I am a Deist and can’t pray. This is because I don’t believe in Bible and its contents.”
Why would you let a book you don’t believe prevent you from doing anything from eating bacon to praying?
If I believe that God doesn’t interact we our life on the earth, there’s no need for me to pray to him. The other fact is that God doesn’t answer any prayer—there wouldn’t be any suffering.
Ah but that doesn’t answer my questions to you does it?
Here I asked why you can’t pray because you cited the murderous, jealous, vengeful God in a book that holds no power over you.
Elsewhere I asked if a prayer need to be answered for it to have value.
None of your responses answer that.
Just to be clear it is a friendly conversation, I don’t think anyone needs to pray for sure. I just think prayer, isn’t always “please make ______ happen”. Such prayers are frankly pointless on this we agree.
But say you have a tough decision, a discussion with yourself internally and tapping into your larger wisdom really is a form of prayer isn’t it?
Do you not do this or just not see it as prayer?
Do you not think that we can on some level tap into a greater knowledge by going within, is that not a form of prayer?
Or another way of asking this question is should we as Deists allow revealed religions to dictate to us what is prayer? Should we let a false belief about prayer hijack the concept of prayer any more then we would allow a false belief about sex to do the same thing. If religion takes something and damages it should we discard it or make it right for ourselves if it has benefit to us to do so?
If God is our creator, then isn’t He responsible for us, His children? All people are born defective, none of us are perfect or equal when it comes to our chemical makeup, as some people are smarter, healthier or more athletic. Our genetic makeup in essence directs us to act, think and be susceptible to disease or not. So, we ultimately do not have any control or “free will”. People generally do not like this idea as they would be mere puppets. However, “free will” is simply an illusion and God is in complete control, right up to your name and address. If God is all powerful and knows the beginning to the end in the physical realm, He must stack the deck.
You will probably say without “free will” life is meaningless. For some it seems that way, however, my presumption is that even though it seems we choose, our choices are not only predictable but our brains are wired so that our thoughts come from Him, our creator, not from us. It seems like we choose but it’s an illusion. What we do is who we are, and who we are was made by Him. You have no control over your brain, the energy surrounding or coursing through it, and life is not meaningless, simply because we recognize beauty and have emotions of love for one another, Why God has allowed all the religions of the world is a mystery to me. Why He has created trillions of stars in multiple universes is also a mystery. So, we live with many mysteries and do the best we can knowing He is in control and we don’t have to rely or succumb to superstitions.
Praying to our Creator a prayer of thanksgiving, may be appropriate, as He has given us sustainable life, which we can try to enjoy with the energy He provides.
The creators responsibility was more than met by our very creation. We have the knowledge we need and ability to think and feel and act justly or with malice. It is up to us.
The assertion that God is now responsible to do more for us because we are flawed is itself flawed. If God is to be responsible for us his children then I would judge him a shitty parent. The majority of his children are starving, many are bullying the others. Millions are in prison. Those in charge of the family are largely assholes destroying our economy and our environment.
If I evaluate our current situation by your view, “God is to be involved and responsible for us” I say our God sucks at his job and most of this shit is his fault.
From my view it is all our fault, not God’s or Satan’s ours and ours alone. God gave us what we needed, he did his job perfectly, the burden to see that now lies with us.
To ensure you would not die as a baby, God gave us a reproductive cycle that make sure humans are at least functional before they can reproduce. To make sure we had food a planet that provides food and one covered with water. He gave use via our evolution a brain like nothing else we know of.
Deists are accused of saying “God abandoned his creation”, no he painted a master piece and handed the brushes over to us to complete it. I don’t think God is disinterested with his creation, he just knows all he needs to know about it to be totally okay with things, in the end he knows we will understand. Pain may come from that, but if we are immortal, the consequences in the grand scheme of things are not that big a deal.
First of all, I think you would be hard pressed to find an artist who after he paints a masterpiece hands his brushes over either to the person he just painted or to an amateur with instructions to complete it. A work of masterful art is to be enjoyed by everyone not tampered with and destroyed.
Secondly, I can turn your argument around and say, with “free will” look at the mess were in, and yet God keeps on creating people. How is that any better than not having “free will”? It’s a conundrum and Epicurus stated the problem best with his ” God” quote, I’m sure your familiar with.
When you say, “he (God) did his job perfectly” seems ridiculous when you learn that nine million babies per year die because of disease or natural disaster. I don’t see any free will there. We can only hope their destiny will be in a better place
So, I’m trying to use logic and put responsibility where it belongs and for good or bad it belongs with our Creator. He’s not asking for your worship or to be glorified or even to acknowledge Him, so your tirade seems misplaced. Thomas Paine before dying acknowledged that God was in control of his destiny. How could it be otherwise?
thank you for your post.am still in the process of discovering more about deism and through reason and proof,i believe that prayer is not bad.prayer to a supreme being that created the universe,created me and so somehow lives within me.
One aspect of the Unity Church belief system that resonates with me is that “… God is good and present everywhere… the spirit of God lives within each person; therefore all people are inherently good.” And while I don’t subscribe to their faith that is how I tend to envision God – spiritual energy. It is this belief that helps me have a perceived personal connection with God. Not necessarily with prayer (as I believe prayers fall on deaf ears) but with positive thinking. For me, believing that virtue is instilled in us from a higher power promotes will power and aids in decision making and life choices.
Thank you for putting into words things that I am struggling with. It really helps
Hello Modern Deist and All,
Finally, FINALLY, I have come across others who have similar thoughts and perspectives as I do AND most importantly to accept and acknowledge that we have our individual thoughts. Modern Deist, I couldn’t have asked for a better thought provoking open website. Modern Deist, we all owe you so very much. Thank you.
Modern Deist, your introductory “post” was spot on. I was concerned that Deists believed there is a Creator, but that the Creator was “distant” from people of today and that Deists did not believe in prayer. When I read your initial post it was with a sign of relief.
I like you believe that God DOES answer prayer. I have seen that over and over again in my own life. When I have a problem/issue that I try to solve myself, it is only when I give up and say “God, please help me in this issue that is of concern to me. AND thy will be done. Over and OVER again God has been there and I know I can just relax and let God guide me.
God has never abandoned his creation which began 13.7 billion years ago and continues today. We must be able to think beyond ourselves.
Please permit me to provide some thoughts regarding the posts of others.
Regarding C.M. – “because there is no larger organization telling me what, when or how to go about life.” WOW did you ever hit the nail on the head!!!! I call that freedom. I have never been in the box and never ever will be.
Ace – “God won’t bend nature.” Very true from my perspective. As Pope Francis said recently “God does not do magic” Which I translate to “God does not do miracles. THAT for me puts a whole new perspective on the Bible. And Modern Deist added some excellent thoughts.
And now to Apollinaire N – Apollinaire, thank you for all the Biblical quotes. My thoughts regarding all those terrible things you quoted from the Bible are in my opinion the Jewish rabiis simply adding those horrid things to control the masses and blaming God for those things. That is why to me the Old Testament is not God speaking and why I do not accept it as the God I know.
Back again Modern Deist and All,
Perhaps I should give you some background about myself. I was born and raised in a Lutheran home. While in Confirmation class our pastor said some things that bothered this 7th/8th grader from a small Midwestern town. One thing I still remember very vividly was “Unless you are a Lutheran you will not go to heaven. I could not believe what he said.
Fast forward – I was a research chemist back in my working days. I observed a number of things regarding elements and molecules from a chemical and physics perspective that led me to believe there IS a God. Things just could not be so well organized and have the properties they did on a purely random basis. I still believe that.
Several years ago I started to research the Universe and life. It has been and still is an incredible ride. The beginning of the Universe scientists are still working on. Oh yes, there are a number of theories. They just need time to reach the conclusion many of us have, and that is the Creator created this mind blowing awesome Universe and is still doing so today.
Then there is life on planet Earth. That is just as awesome as the Universe. To know that 350 million years ago life began on land and evolved from fish. And we humans began evolving from primates 6-7 million years ago (some say closer to 12 million years ago). Evolution is REAL.
Hope you are still with me. LOL
From my previous post you know I do not believe in miracles. That eliminates a lot of what is in the Bible. The Archbishop of the Church of Sweden does not believe in the virgin birth of Christ, nor does she believe there is a hell. Only recently have I come to accept and believe that there is NO afterlife. When we die we die. We are no different from any other form of life on planet Earth.
I need a break and I’m sure so do you. Next time I will get back to the comments given by those of you who responded to the original post of Modern Deist.
Have a GREAT Day!!!
My is a question;do Deists hv some Scriptures which guide their faith?
Perhaps some do and some don’t many see wisdom in the bible but it is more the way you see wisdom in any book. Some like me know the bible well but actually get more from Eastern Faiths like Taoism and Buddhism. One need not see Jesus as a Savior to consider much of the advice attributed to him as wise and useful.
I don’t believe in the multiple Gods of Buddhism at all, I still find great usefulness in the lessons of duality and non attachment.
Thomas Jefferson created the Jefferson Bible. It is the 4 Gospels with all the miracles and claims of deity removed. He did so because while he didn’t believe in the faith at all, he said “the code of conduct in these words is the finest ever written.” A copy of this was given to every US Rep and Senator until the early 1900s. Look that up.
Welcome to freedom, no one tells you what to believe, how to believe, when or if you should pray or even if you should bother.
I am wondering about Gods’s love, being the creator, omnipotent, omnipresent, the All Mighty, Is there love there, or it’s just about the energy?
I’ve been into metaphysics for awhile, and of course, God is the only real love there is ,though impersonal. That is why the very principle is it does not see anything not of itself.
I am self taught, and every religion, says pretty much the same, yet religion is the very thing that will separate us.
I am very interested to realize, that maybe I have not made the best of just using my mind.
I love your website and thank you for a comment.
So basically does God love God’s creation.
You want my honest answer, I have no idea. Such a thing requires a personhood and I am not sure God is that, my instinct is God is not a “person like entity” at all.
Perhaps it is simply that God is in all things, including love. And God is most purely expressed in true love for all people and things.
That we exist to do what God alone cannot fulfill.
I had a severe crisis that shook me to my core. In my distress, I discovered that the religion my parents and community taught me must not be true because it did not conform to reality. I have searched for answers fervently, and “atheist” mostly fit, but did not completely fit, so I have started to think of myself as a deist and am just now checking out the views from this angle. Most of the universe is dark matter, am not willing to assert that no god exists. I keep coming back to this one thing, though, that I have noticed in standard religions: [ God is great if you lower the standards low enough or if you make enough excuses for Him. The buck definitely does not stop with him. Humans carry more responsibility that He does. ] I struggle to see any indication that he cares at all. And if He does not, why bother? Yet, I am not able to reject deity completely. I have some anger issues, probably shows.
Thank you so much for providing reasonable and cogent perspectives for someone who is new to deism. Perhaps this is tangential, but I have always been intrigued with searching for the meaning and purpose of my existence, i.e. is there a teleological process of which I am an integral part or am I mere dust in the wind? I can accept death without hope for another life to come. Yet, I cannot help but think that, because neither matter/energy can be destroyed, perhaps my existence and yours are necessary/integral to creation. Would you be so kind to comment. Thanks!
We know that if there is a Higher Intelligence, it provisioned a place (one way or another) that feeds us, gives us enjoyment and beauty, and the freedom to discover a personal purpose. There is much work to be done. None of it may last or have any meaning in a million years, but it presents us with challenges to stimulate us in our time. Perhaps all of this is to train us for something afterwards. I can hope that, although I don’t know. As for prayer, communicating gratefulness for what has been provisioned seems appropriate, in whatever form that takes. Asking for guidance – I am less sure that this matters much because most of what humans engage in is meaningless in the long run. Like, should I take this job or should I go to this city to live? etc
I’ve loved reading these posts from like-minded people and want to share why I no longer believe in the “traditional” way of prayer. In 2012, I was let go from my job of 12 years at a Protestant church. I lived alone and supported myself. For two years I somehow kept my head above water and survived, all the while looking for another job on a daily basis. I also prayed on a daily basis that God would not let me lose my house, and that He would lead me to another job. Two years and two months later, I had prayed hundreds of prayers, applied for a hundred jobs, and my house was foreclosed on. I was forced to move back to my hometown, taking a job there I hated, living in an apartment I hated, and miserable that I had to leave my friends and even my grown son behind. This made me think back over my life. I grew up in a Baptist home where I was taught God hears and answers our prayers. But I remembered how, even as a child, it never felt like my prayers were being heard. They felt more like just thoughts in my head. I always figured it was me. I wasn’t “praying right”. Anyway, that’s my thoughts and lifelong experiences with prayers. I’ve given up prayer and my life hasn’t changed for the better or worse because of it. I’m thankful that I “discovered” Deism, which agrees with the way I’ve always felt about religion.
Expressing gratitude is something we can do in a general way like many kinds of people do, whether we are affirming good things in our life (through poetry, painting, writing, conversations, social media, cheerful attitude), or encouraging others, or speaking out to the forces of Nature in a prayerful way (as this article suggests). Whether or not God hears us or approves of this is up to God. Either way, we are enriched from being thankful for the resources and opportunities we enjoy.
[…] Article about How I View Prayer as a Deist […]
This is a fascinating discussion but I see the last post was in 2018. Is anyone still active but maybe have found a different or better blog?
I don’t post a lot but I do respond to comments. I may do some more Deist Podcasts later this year.
Fundamentals question: Is matter the manifestation of consciousness, or is consciousness the manifestation of matter?
I hold to the first. So, the metaphor is this: All of this is happening in God’s head. Nothing exists outside the mind of God. (God not defined, (that would be blasphemy)
It’s a wonderful feeling to look around, and feel that way. You cant be cast out because there is no out.
In the beginning there is nothing. Where did God get the stuff?
We are by, for, and OF God.
Sin (error) is not feeling this way.
Prayer may help us to get back to that sense of things.
As far as the scary stories go, Don’t sweat the metaphors (and it’s all metaphor.
The answer is we honestly don’t know.