Deism

Deism

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.

Somewhere between Agnosticism and Theism, Deism is a seemingly happy medium.

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.

Correction: 

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:

http://www.religioustolerance.org/deism.htm

Greed

Another from the forgotten pieces library . . .

When one thinks about the main “Sin” that one hears about being “condemned” by churches, whats the first one that comes to mind? Of course. Homosexuality.

There is however, two others that often go completely under the radar. Two that are both far more pervasive, AND far more damaging, on a world wide scale. Those two, are Greed and Gluttony.

Greed and gluttony are the basis of western society. The economy is the god of the west, to be worshiped, fed, and sacrificed to, no matter the price. One can say that greed and gluttony are almost the root of all evil to mankind. Many of the problems that exist in the world today, everything from income inequality within nations, income inequality of western world vs. undeveloped world, to climate change, have roots in greed and gluttony. Both these “Sins” are not only actively wiping the future out from under people in the present, but also for our children.

Many within the christian community call themselves pro-life. Because every embryo is sacred, to be cherished and protected from harm. Yet, the loudest voices from within this SAME community, often advocate for the ways of the fossil. Keep digging up and burning up coal/oil/gas, because this creates and keeps jobs.

Yet the current paradigm we are in, the path of the fossil, is actively destroying any future that these “cherished” human beings have. Pro-life? I don’t think so.

So you can see now, how damaging Greed and Gluttony VIA capitalism really are. Yet, do you ever hear condemnation of it? I know I don’t.

Most of the Christians I have ever met can give me a thousand pages of information as to why homosexuality is WRONG, EVIL, the work of Satan himself. They will push THAT biblical verse. They will tell you how it just is NOT natural (because typing “Homosexuality is NOT natural!” and sending it to the whole world is as natural as a tree outside there home).

Some will spend seemingly hours explaining how the mechanics of it are just wrong, the penis is designed for this, NOT that! This is for the excretion of stuff, not for the insertion of stuff. Hell, for being straight, these people seem to know more about gay sex then a homosexual.

But ask about Greed and Gluttony, and do you get pages and pages of information of condemnation, mechanical description as to how its “wrong”, hours of babble? Nope. What you get (if you get any reply at all), is either a short one or 2 sentences of agreement, or rationalization as to how they are not apart of this.

I’ve always wondered why. Oh, who am I kidding, I made an assumption, but for the purpose of this writing, ill elaborate. What could be the reasoning?

Guilt? Is it a reaction of being apart of this paradigm? Turning the other cheek, if ya will?

Ignorance? Has this never occurred to them?

What about bias?

Do these people cling to christian beliefs, partly (or fully) just because its the only venue left where they can openly express there bias against certain others (mainly homosexuals)?

Just some thoughts that been running though my mind for awhile. Give your opinion.

Why the talk of “Sin” from an atheist?

Because when your talking to someone who claims to be a follower of a said set of rules and “values”, one should not be afraid to give a little reminder to them. It doesn’t matter that I don’t follow your way of life. What matters, is that you expect me to emulate YOU, when YOU don’t even seemingly take the whole thing seriously.

Praying Can’t Hurt

I have heard this said many times by different people, both moderately and very religious. Even as an atheist, I used to agree. Its a nice gesture, no different then saying “you are in my thoughts“.

You hear it all the time, whenever something bad happens somewhere in the world. The religious send their prayers. Both regular and high profile people alike, are in solidarity in their prayers. And its not just for big events. People pray for friends and relatives for all sorts of reasons. In my travels around internet religious debates as an atheist, I have been told “I will pray for you” more times then I can count. And im sure most people have had similar experiences.

For the longest of time, I looked at it as just a kind gesture. Somewhat silly, but none the less harmless.

But is prayer REALLY harmless? Yes. And No.

There is nothing harmful about saying a prayer for personal comfort. The action in itself is not destructive.

But the problem comes in the mindset of the people who make the prayer. It is very easy to become reliant on an answered prayer, or to put to much faith in a prayers usefulness. And of course, there is the issue of the arrogance one can show with their  prayers.

First of all, for prospective, I think prayer is a useless and silly gesture. Just to be clear.

When it comes to the “arrogance” aspect, I reflect back to my forum cruising days. Theists telling me that I was  in their prayers, I used to think of as a nice gesture. But later , I begun to find this as somewhat arrogant, and of course, useless.

Lets consider the reasoning for the prayer.

I live in the western world, I do not have all that many trials and troubles that I can speak of. I have more mental and emotional  baggage then an Air Canada flight to Hawaii, but I am not starving or living life in fear. So apparently, I am just worthy because of my NON faith.

Millions in the world, have much bigger problems, in the NOW. People home and abroad are starving, growing up in bad conditions, or otherwise living lives of personal hell. Do they not seem more worthy of prayer?

Which brings me to the next point, praying for the sick/poor/homeless/victims of a disaster or other disadvantaged people. The common practice is to send prayers out, put faith in the almighty one of there choosing to help the people in need. I can understand this more when it comes to the less fortunate (both because they have less money to give, and they tend to be undereducated or otherwise know nothing else), but not so much for more high stature names. Royals, celebrities, athletes. People that you know rake in the millions and billions.

Though I am not against the act of praying, I raise an eyebrow when that is the ONLY action taken from the said individual. Granted, it does depend on how much disposable income you have. But if you have the means, and you want to REALLY help whatever your chosen cause is, don’t just pray.

Prayer does not feed, dress or put the homeless into affordable housing. Prayer does not feed starving people and children, nor does it solve the many injustices perpetrated all over the world. And it certainly WILL NOT solve many of humanity’s big impending problems (climate change, resource depletion in an overpopulated world ect).

It is for this reason, that I do not condone prayer. The act in itself is relatively harmless, assuming it is out of genuine concern (and not arrogance). But the last thing we need as a species right now, is a reliance on an answered prayer to solve all of our problems. Because the only answer we will get, is extinction.

Prayers and thoughts may be comforting, but its actions that move mountains.

Hell – What Would It Be For You?

Maybe the reason im writing this is because im listening to This Godless Endeavor by Nevermore. But either way, I have an interesting challenge for you. What would be your personal hell?

When the term “Hell” comes up, most of us think of the obvious religious “place”. Where all the sinners like you and me, will all perish and burn for eternity, for the harsh crime of,  screwing up in our following of several hundred  giant books of rules. Any one of which could be the WRONG one, but not all of which can be the RIGHT one.

And of course, its a place of “convenience” for people. We have all told people “Oh, go to hell!”. And many use the threat as a soap box for whatever religious dogma there selling you.

But though many use the word, not many (me included), give any thought to, what YOUR OWN personal hell could be.

If it were an eternity of torture, I could easily look at my own life.

On many days, a job in retail can be torturous to even the strongest of people. And im not at all strong, in any sense. Practicly any time I stick my nose out the front the door, is torturous.  But even at 8 hours, the end of the day is always there, no matter what the day had in store.

I can imagine a personal hell, for me, would be an eternal shitty retail shift. Or any such situation, where there is no exit or light at the end of the tunnel in sight (also could be applied to my personal life).

What would this be for you?