Honestly it is a fair question for the non Deist to ask. If Deism makes so much sense why are there not more of us? To me it comes down to a few things. First there is no way to use Deism as a system of control, so it doesn’t benefit the State or any “church” it only benefits the individual to encourage Deism. While it would certainly benefit mankind as a whole that is not the type of “benefit” I am speaking of.
We also have a marketing issue, how many people out there say things like, “I believe in God but not religion”, all of those people are Deists they just don’t know that they are. Perhaps our biggest issue though is because we lack lore, we lack stories and stories are the best tool any marketer has. We examine all of this and more today.
Hey Jack, Really love this podcast. Hope you had a nice vacation(TSP listener too…)
Hey thanks the Deist Cast will return after I get this workshop next week off my lap.
I believe this actually is a non-issue. In most countries throughout the world active participation in the indigenous religions has been sharply declining over the past 20 to 40 years.
In fact both in the US and in most European countries census results in the 90s and beyond consistently point at 50% or more of the population having “no religion”. And even that is an understatement, as many people for the sake of convenience or hypocrisy would still label themselves with their former creed.
Branding all “non religious people” as atheists however would be blatantly incorrect. Many of them still believe in some kind of “power” behind the creation of matter, even if they no longer extend any prayers to it. So, if anything, they should probably qualify as deists.
Seen that way, deism is certainly strongly gaining traction, and might actually be one of the major life philosophical groupings world wide.
What could be seen as a pity is the seeming disinterest of most of these “newly liberates” to further analyse their current belief system. Hence deism does not crop up in the formal census results.
Very good podcast, Jack. In my opinion, religion is about a search for comfort, not a search for truth. Unfortunately, the human condition of our frailty and mortality leaves us with existential angst that religion, despite its lack of facts and evidence, helps to alleviate. Most of us would rather accept “answers” that bring us peace and comfort, rather than deeper questions that not only suggest that we don’t know, but that we might never know. This is why, IMO, the God of revealed religion is the Parent-in-the-Sky, fulfilling the role of divine protector and guarantor of everlasting existence. The deity of deism offers neither. We have no other protection from nature or “fate” other than what we create. And though we have taken steps to lengthen our lifespans, we are not yet immortal and indeed have the courage to ask if immortality would be the best thing for us in the long run. There are not many people who would be…comfortable…living with such disturbing questions and the lack of bullet-proof answers. Therefore, the religions thrive on having all of their answers bundled up in a fairly cohesive package as long as one can suspend reason, rational, and, in many cases, morality. Sailing into the unknown is not for everyone. But, to me, it is where we will find what makes us the most human.
Bill McCracken WOW! Talk about food for thought. Wonderfully written and beautifully made. I loved reading every fucking word.
I’ve been a regular poster on the Positive Deism forum for several years. But recently, activity on that forum has dwindled down to a trickle, except for lots of new posts by irrelevant ad-bots. So my latest posts have been on the topic : Where Have All the Deists Gone? One theory is that former freestanding Deist websites have faded away as most of the social dialogs have been absorbed into the all-consuming spider-web of the Facebook world. Another possibility is that Deism has already reached its maximum penetration of the popular mind, and the numbers are minimal for the same reason that hard rational thinking is a minority activity. In any case, as far as internet traffic is an indication, enthusiasm for Deism seems to have cooled from its peak around the year 2000.
Anyway, my latest post on the “Deist Gone” thread includes some excerpts from the “Why Aren’t There More of Us?” thread of Modern Deism.
Nice job Jack, today is our of my happiest day because I was delight about my finding of this great blog. Being an African especially Nigerian its Hard finding someone who share my belief as a Deist. My listen to your above podcast, I am 98% in support of what you said and am really proud for someone like you out there.
I would like to sing up for this blog, how can I do that?
Great blog Jack
Maybe my question that I am gonna ask not related with your post here, since I tried to click on comments on top navigation , but it shows a lot of programming coding (don’t know why).
My question is, how does human firstly become intellect, or how does human get its knowledge from beginning?
Though acceptance of feedback mostly. Humans take in information like all living beings, touch that and it hurts, don’t do it again, etc. Eat that you get sick or that other guy did it and died, don’t eat that. Water from here is good, from here it is bad. On and on.
Unlike any other being we know of though we can record said knowledge so it doesn’t have to be learned over and over and over. Allowing each generation to build upon the last.
Some animals do a primitive version of this, sort of like early human “word of mouth”. A mother chimp will prevent her baby from eating a dangerous plant, but she doesn’t know really why, she doesn’t understand, her mother and so on just prevented it. There is no book of what is dangerous, if it is not seen as dangerous it will be tried. Hence move a Chimp to a place with poisonous vegetation she has not seen before and she is likely to try it, if it tastes good she will eat enough to get sick or die, only then will the next cycle of don’t eat that begin.
Humans though are aware that if you don’t know, it could be bad and we have ways to “test” new things and find a result with out dying.
Then there is intrinsic knowledge. One doesn’t teach an infant to nurse, you give it a breast and it just does it. A baby sleeps, breathes, craps, etc with intrinsic knowledge.
That said it seems the higher the life form the less developed it is at birth and hence the less available intrinsic knowledge is.
A two day old duckling can run, jump, swim, preen, eat, catch insects, hunt to find said insects, hide from a predator, recognize danger, recognize its mother. In the wild at about 2 days of age most ducks will basically “parachute” several stories in height out of a tree to the forest floor. Their light weight, and fluffy nature allows them to hit the ground with no damage and follow mom to the nearest water.
As humans physically grow much of their knowledge is simply intrinsic knowledge, that leads to exploration, that leads to feedback and the process continues.
Of course as we teach them, empower them, then they can learn from the past and from the current work of others. This growth is exponential.
300 years ago only the rich could afford books, most were illiterate, teachers, preachers, etc. were the source of knowledge for most people.
50 years ago you could learn a lot at a library with a set encyclopedias and reading books, but how much and how fast was limited. To learn about say one specific species of snake you might have to comb though 20 books to really learn all you wanted to know about it.
Today wiki has replaced dozens of brands of encyclopedias, now it was in 2012 that the last print encyclopedia was printed and that was just an old dead tech clinging on by the skin of its teeth.
The speed of learning for those that wish to learn today can exceed the knowledge of a doctorate degree in a few months of independent research.
What arguments would you use against a theist in a debate?
I don’t debate theists. I give them my view and accept their right to believe their imaginary friend is better than the next theists imaginary friend.
As the bible says, don’t cast your pearls among swine! It isn’t worth it, debate with such people is like paying chess with a pigeon, all they do is shit all over the board and strut around like they won.
Why aren’t there more of us? I suspect that independent-minded Deist-types(“spiritual-but-not-religious”, or political “nones”) number in the millions, but they are scattered all over the globe, and have little contact with each other. CoMD is one of the few remaining Deist sites where people all over the world can make virtual contact. So instead of gathering in a church, we remain independent thinkers hunkered down at our computers and talking to ourselves.
Bucking the trend of declining Deist presence online, I recently started a philosophical blog & forum that was “inspired” by the quaking chasm of religious & political polarization of modern societies. It wasn’t intended to be specifically a Deist site, but it has turned out to refer to Deism in almost every post, because an open-minded & rational approach will be essential for any solutions to closed-minded & emotional us-versus-them conflicts on many levels. As long as the world remains divided between Catholics and Muslims, between Conservatives and Liberals, we will have no choice but to hide in our bunkers and fight for our side, whatever that may be. Unless a renewed Deist movement can fill those gaps with reason & patience.
Unfortunately, since I don’t do Facebook, few other Deists are aware of the site. So I’m mostly talking to myself. The blog may be a bit too multilayered & technical for most tastes, but attempting to reconcile religion & politics & science is a daunting task, with no simple solutions. For those who might be interested in some heavy thinking, here’s the links :