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.