Though I am an Agnostic Atheist by belief, and I have an interest in some Pagan belief systems (mainly Wicca), Deism is one belief system that I have found interesting since I was introduced to it by a friend a few years back. At first I misunderstood it, but now that I have learned more about it, its interesting.
One of the big bias’s that is automatically against it, is it is an acknowledgment that some sort of deity likely DOES exist. Which indeed, puts it on par with the rest of the theistic belief sets that most Atheists are used to tearing down. The difference that many (it seems) miss, is that the “God” (deity) of Deism (unlike theism), is largely irrelevant to mankind (as opposed to our guardian of sorts). In this regard, I think that the maker of the above image, did not have a full understanding of the belief, judging from the caption.
For me, I learned in later years as an atheist that religion and “God”/Deity, are 2 different things. One has the fingerprints of man all over its “holy” literature, one is the ultimate enigma.
One of the big problems I have had with most religions, is there preoccupation with ONLY mankind, with the rest of the world being either irrelevant, or ours for the taking. Religions not only work great for controlling people with there ultimate fear (death), they also are suspiciously “human”. Not just in God’s seemingly silly trivial bias’s and rules, but in the absolute concentration towards mankind. Its the arrogance of man, seemingly, at its finest.
Which is where Deism is interesting.
The deity (or deity’s) of Deism, from my personal understanding, are not biased or favoring of any one organism. They just are there, fine tuners of the universe. For me, the best way I can think of describing it, is the deity is like the many people in the background, that keep your city running smoothly. The people that keep the power flowing, that keep the supplies and water coming in, that keep the trash and wastes going out. Most of us never see them, but we use reap the benefits of there labors on a daily basis.
To me, this is what the deity of deism, looks like. The earth and the universe is its (there?) focus, and the only priority is keeping things on an even keel, keeping the earth systems in check.
Using this hypothesis, one could say that said deity(‘s) have done a pretty good job, over the last billion or so years. This same hypothesis, could also be used to say that, the deity of Deism may not exactly be man-kind friendly. People of theism pray to god, and know that there chosen “god” will keep them safe from global climate change, and whatever else the planet will throw at us. But if one sees the deity of deism as a protector of the planet, you have to know what the biggest threat to the planet is at the moment, us.
Keep in mind, I am (as stated in the beginning), still on the Agnostic Atheist side of the fence. I just like to keep an open mind to different belief sets.
Though its easy to say stuff like “Well thats just SILLY!” to a Theist or Deist, one must not forget that the rules of evidence go BOTH ways. Just as a theist can not prove there position, neither can an atheist. So “There is NO God” is just as positive (and silly) a claim as “God is real, and in all of us”.
Defend your position, but do not become the position that your critiquing.
What is described above, can apparently be more applicable as a form of theism them Deism. I previously only associated theism as being hand in hand with religion, but it seems that the 2 concepts do not always go hand in hand.
For example, some make the argument that babies are born theists, due to the rigidity of the world as perceived from their ignorant viewpoint of their world. Life experience and education in our culture give us context to help us make sense of most aspects of our world.
Babies on the other hand, lack all of that life experience and education. Always a fun argument to use around many atheists, as they tend to state with absolute assurance that babies are born atheist.
Maybe. If the understanding of the concept was not a part of our culture.
But anyway, a “better” understanding of the belief system is below. And when in doubt, as always, use a search engine.
The word “Deism” is derived from the Latin word for God: “Deus.“
Deism is a natural religion. Deists believe in the existence of God, on purely rational grounds, without any reliance on revealed religion or religious authority or holy text. Because of this, Deism is quite different from religions like Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The latter are based on revelations from God to prophet(s) who then taught it to humans. We like to call natural religions by the title “bottom-up” faiths and revealed religions as “top-down.”
Many Deists reason that since everything that exists has had a creator, then the universe itself must have been created by God: