Deism – What is it? What do deists believe?
The term “deism” comes from the Latin word deus, which means god. Deism is the belief that God, or a god, exists; this belief is based solely on evidence from the natural world and human reason apart from the revelation of the Bible or other sacred writings. Deism became important during the Age of Enlightenment in 17th and 18th Century Western worldviews, also influencing some early American intellectuals and political leaders.
Some aspects of deism include the belief that God is not involved in His creation, the rejection of supernatural miracles, the rejection of the Bible as the inspired Word of God (though many Deists believe it is a good book), and the rejection of the Christian belief in the Trinity. Two primary forms of deism include classical deism and modern deism.
Classical deism has existed since ancient times and centers on the idea of one Supreme Being who created all things. This thought system evolved in ancient Greek literature as well, and can be seen in the apostle Paul’s argument for the Christian message to those in Athens in Acts 17:23-27: “What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him.”
Modern deism attempts to integrate the teachings of classical deism with modern scientific knowledge. While classical deism adheres to a view of God as a Creator who has no personal relationship with humanity, some modern deist teachings suggest a view of God that defies the category of being personal or impersonal but is rather transpersonal, or simply beyond understanding.
How does the Christian faith compare and contrast with deism? Both systems agree in a single Creator God. Beyond this, little agreement exists. Since deism rejects supernatural revelation, deism does not accept the Bible as the inspired Word of God that serves as the basis for other Christian beliefs. Of special importance is deism’s rejection of Jesus Christ as divine. The Bible teaches Jesus alone is the way to know God personally and to spend eternity with Him (John 3:16; Ephesians 2:8-9; Acts 4:12). In addition, deism’s rejection of supernatural miracles is at odds with the many miracles recorded in the Bible.
A final note of difference is found in the contrast between deism’s impersonal view of God and Christianity’s personal view of God. In deism, the Creator has no personal involvement with humanity. Christianity teaches Jesus came because of His love for us. He desires to know each of us personally, providing salvation to those who believe and making them children of God (John 1:14).
Deism: Deism is the recognition of a universal creative force greater than that demonstrated by mankind, supported by personal observation of laws and designs in nature and the universe, perpetuated and validated by the innate ability of human reason coupled with the rejection of claims made by individuals and organized religions of having received special divine revelation.
Is Deism a form of atheism? No. Atheism teaches that there is no God. Deism teaches there is a God. Deism rejects the “revelations” of the “revealed” religions but does not reject God.
Do Deists pray? Only prayers of thanks and appreciation. We don’t dictate to God.
Are there Deist rituals, vows, etc.? No. Since Deism does not attempt to control people, there is no need for rituals. Regarding vows, like wedding vows or words at a funeral, we believe they are too important to the individuals involved to have been written by anyone else. Deists are too independent to rely on a member of the clergy to do these important things for them.
Are there Deist churches or temples? No. However, we are working towards having Deist Reason Centers all around the world.
How do Deists view God? We view God as an eternal entity whose power is equal to his/her will. The following quote from Albert Einstein also offers a good Deistic description of God: “My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble minds. That deeply emotional conviction of the presence of a superior reasoning power, which is revealed in the incomprehensible universe, forms my idea of God.”
Is Deism a cult? It’s impossible for Deism to be a cult because Deism teaches self-reliance and encourages people to constantly use their reason. Deism teaches to “question authority” no matter what the cost.
Unlike the revealed religions, Deism makes no unreasonable claims. The revealed religions encourage people to give up, or at least to suspend, their God-given reason. They like to call it faith. For example, how logical is it to believe that Moses parted the Red Sea, or that Jesus walked on water, or that Mohammed received the Koran from an angel? Suspending your reason enough to believe these tales only sets a precedent that leads to believing a Jim Jones or David Koresh.
What’s Deism’s answer to all the evil in the world? Much of the evil in the world could be overcome or removed if humanity had embraced our God-given reason from our earliest evolutionary stages. After all, all the laws of nature that we’ve discovered and learned to use to our advantage that make everything from computers to medicine to space travel realities, have existed eternally. But we’ve decided we’d rather live in superstition and fear instead of learning and gaining knowledge. It’s much more soothing to believe we’re not responsible for our own actions than to actually do the hard work required for success.
Deism doesn’t claim to have all the answers to everything, we just claim to be on the right path to those answers.
Deism has a lot to offer you! It also has a lot to offer society! Deism is knowledge of God based on the application of our reason on the designs/laws found throughout Nature. The designs presuppose a Designer. Deism is therefore a natural religion and is not a “revealed” religion. The natural religion/philosophy of Deism frees those who embrace it from the inconsistencies of superstition and the negativity of fear that are so strongly represented in all of the “revealed” religions such as Judaism, Christianity and Islam. (These religions are called revealed religions because they all make claim to having received a special revelation from God which they pretend, and many of their sincere followers actually believe, their various and conflicting holy books are based on.) When enough people become Deists, reason will be elevated over fear and myth and its positive qualities will become a part of society as a whole. Then, instead of having billions of people chasing after the nonsensical violence promoting myths of the “revealed” religions, people will be centered on their God-given reason which will lead to limitless personal and societal progress!
This is not a utopian pipedream. Deism has the potential to connect with every human being because every human being possesses God-given reason. Because of this fact, Deism clicks with the vast majority of people who are made aware of it. This God-given reason, which is so dear and key to Deism, is the natural state of humanity. The superstitions of the man-made “revealed” religions are NOT the natural state of humanity. The cause of our God-given reason being overrun with these man-made myths and superstitions is very simple. ACTIVE people promoted these falsehoods. Some of these active people were motivated by self gain while others were acting on ignorance. Since the problem was brought about by ACTIVE people, it can be corrected by ACTIVE people. As the number of ACTIVE Deists grows, our actions and energies will cause Deism to eclipse the “revealed” religions of the world and Deism will eventually, through lots of hard teamwork and altruism, replace the “revealed” religions. Humanity and the individuals who make up humanity will then be able to reach their full progressive potential!
The definition of false teaching is of course, those ideologies that lead away from God and the truth. Here are some more false religions that need to be studied with God’s help in order to be able to refute their positions and rescue their members.