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NerdyKeith's avatar

What is your opinion of deism?

Asked by NerdyKeith (5464points) March 13th, 2016

Deism being the belief in a first cause that the deists call “God” or the God of Nature. Deists tend to reject revelation, prayer, miracles. Deists do not have a holy book or a church or any organised institution. Deism is regarded as a natural religion based on reason, observation of nature and the study of the sciences.

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20 Answers

jerv's avatar

I reject Deism, not out of a belief that there is no “creator”, but simply out of a heartfelt belief that the true nature of the multiverse and any higher power is beyond Man’s ability to comprehend.

“My own suspicion is that the universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose.” – J.B.S. Haldane

flutherother's avatar

I don’t accept it. It tries to have it both ways, a belief in God and a disbelief at the same time. If God exists He is here and now in the way he was at the start.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Deism, to me, is not particularly different from any other religion; maybe a little less irrational, but still based on some external and unproven magical force.

I’ll repeat what I have written before – a person can believe whatever religion they want; it’s none of my concern what you or anyone else believes. Just don’t ask me to buy into it.

NerdyKeith's avatar

@elbanditoroso Fair point. I’d never impose my beliefs upon others. We all need to be free to chose our own path.

Bill1939's avatar

I believe in a creative force that continues to evolve the universe. In this sense, I am deistic. Religions can introduce one to the notion of a source for the existence of everything. However, whether or not the dogma of that church, temple, mosque or other place of worship is wholly accepted, the relationship between an individual and their deity or deities is personal and unique. My spiritual evolution embraces aspects of books and teachings held holy by others. While my system of belief is largely based on “reason, observation of nature and the study of the sciences,” I do not regard it as a religion.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

It’s another attempt to explain the inexplicable.

Let it go.

Eat. Walk. Ride a bicycle. Drink cool water. Laugh. Make love. Cry. Hug often. Talk. Listen more. Enjoy the rhythm of your heartbeat. Meditate.


That’s my religion.

dappled_leaves's avatar

I don’t see the point of deism. If one rejects the idea of a personal god, then why not go all the way and say there is no god at all? If there is some sort of god force that gave everything a push to begin, but it has no further involvement in the universe, then why should anyone care that it exists? We have no evidence for it, and it wouldn’t affect my life, so I’d act as if it wasn’t there. Why would I bother to claim that as a faith?

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, if the belief is still based on an imaginary figure then I reject it like I do religion.

But to each her own.

Seek's avatar

In The God Delusion, Dawkins refers to deism as “sexed-up atheism”. I think that is accurate enough to be convenient.

‘There’s something somewhere out there that we don’t understand, and for sale of argument we’ll call that “God”.
It’s the very definition of the ‘god of the gaps’ argument. The universe works just as well without this particular semantic backflip, in my opinion.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Yeah. Nothing’s changed for me, anyway!

kritiper's avatar

There is no “God” or god or gods of any type/configuration.

Zaku's avatar

I relate to it much better than I relate to Christianity. I relate to religion as metaphor, in the sense that I have seen what to me is overwhelming evidence that no religion was meant to be taken literally by sophisticated people. Even in common language apart from religion, nature and the universe are ways of thinking about and relating to what is real and exists. To me, when taken properly, a God is just a metaphorical extension of what is, and one that can grant access to our emotional, instinctive, embodied, feeling, non-intellectual yet actual and existent relationships to what is, and to our experience of it. And that, can be extremely useful.

As a metaphor, relating to nature and considering it amazing and deserving of as much respect and reverence as humanity, I relate to very much. I can use the metaphor of Buddhism or even Christianity to do that, or I can think of it as Nature or Gaia or any other metaphorical framework. Usually though I use what seems right to me, which draws on elements of all I’ve learned and experienced, which sounds fairly close to how you described Deism, actually, though I have little interest in studying other people’s writings about it, unless/until someone I respect and relate to might recommend it to me, which I don’t remember having happened.

NerdyKeith's avatar

@Zaku Wondeful answer I must say. I really ought o look into Buddhism in more detail. I have a suspicion, that I could learn something from it. I don’t think I would become a Buddhist, but it could be very insightful for me.

Darth_Algar's avatar

If there is some creator, some Great Architect, to the Universe then it is unknowable and unobservable to me, and has set up the Universe to operate wholly without its intervention. Thus its existence is, as far as I am concerned, utterly irrelevant.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@NerdyKeith Buddhism is a really good philosophy for life. They don’t believe in any God or Gods. They simply say, “If you want to be happy in this life, here’s what you oughta do.”
To “become Buddhist” would be to deny God, or at least put him down the list of concerns. Other than that, it’s just a philosophy you can follow or not. If you want to claim Buddhism, you need to be familiar with it.
I’m just trying to say that “becoming a Buddhist” isn’t the same as “becoming a Christian.”

Same with the teachings of Confucius. The thing I find interesting is that Confucius lived 500 years before Christ. He was a master philosopher, and the Chinese accept him as that.
Christians, on the other hand, deified Jesus, rather than recognizing him as a philosopher. Jews believe Jesus was a prophet, not God himself. Which is why all the Jews are goin’ to hell, even though they are God Chosen People. ... ? ?

It’s funny how the Abraham religions make everything all mystical and magical. Rather than having philosophers, they have to have “prophets,” who claim to have been contacted by the supernatural or the divine, and to speak for them.

NerdyKeith's avatar

@Dutchess_III Thats good to know. Well most likely I’ll mostly be learning from Buddhism as a means of familiarising myself with its philosophy.

Dutchess_III's avatar

That’s exactly all they expect, if anything, @NerdyKeith. Allowing yourself to be educated.

Darth_Algar's avatar

To be fair there is a lot of mysticism in many branches of Buddhism. Buddhism is a fairly syncretic religion. Since it neither affirms nor denies any gods or dogmas, that makes it fairly easy to meld Buddhism with whatever beliefs you already have. Indeed, people have been doing so for thousands of years. That’s part of the reason why there are such widely varying schools of Buddhism – from Tibetan, which is highly mystical, to Zen, which, in contrast, is pretty atheistic.

The core of Buddhism, however, is simple, and is found in the Four Noble Truths and the Nobel Eightfold Path.

The Four Nobel Truths are that
– Life involves suffering
– Suffering has a cause
– Cessation of suffering is possible
– Through practicing the Noble Eightfold Path.

The Noble Eightfold Path is practiced through
– Right view
– Right intention
– Right speech
– Right action
– Right livelihood
– Right effort
– Right mindfulness
– Right concentration

No, of course, countless volumes have been written about what, exactly, each part of the Noble Eightfold Path means. But there’s no rigid dogma there that applies to everyone across the board, as many religions are wont to do. For example, Right livelihood would mean not being in an occupation that by necessity involves the suffering of other beings. Being a butcher, for instance, would be an example of such an occupation. However, this does not mean that working as a butcher is sinful (Buddhism has no concept of sin), or that no one should works as a butcher. It simply means that working as a butcher is not conductive to the cessation of suffering.

LostInParadise's avatar

I like that Dawkins quote that @Seek cited. I think that deism was more common at one time. Voltaire and Jefferson and some of the other Founding Fathers were deists. It provided an answer to the question of how the Universe could be so orderly, which was no longer needed after the theory of evolution.

NerdyKeith's avatar

I have to say I rather like Dawkins’ views on deism. He also said this

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