Saturday, October 17, 2015

What is deism? Not what you think!


Keep in mind, Victor, that those words were penned by a deist - a man who believed there were no consequences to his actions (or inactions). His "God" was a distant, uninvolved, non-actor, Who cared not what happened in the creation He (quite unaccountably) set in motion aeons ago. 

Lord, give me an honest atheist any day over a damned deist!

I don't think you have Jefferson's desim quite right Bob. It's quite different from what most people think it is.

If you believe in the idea of a transcendent, as opposed to a simply immanent God (such as many Hindus accept), there are choices here as well. For example, some believers in God are called deists, in that they don’t accept special revelation. By special revelation, I mean deliberate activity on the part of God to make people aware of who God is and what he expects from people. Typically people think of deists as holding that God created the universe and then ceased to be active within it.

However, historically deists were committed to the following five points.
1) God exists
2) God is to be worshipped
3) The practice of virtue is the true worship of God
4) People must repent of wrongdoing
5) There are future rewards and punishments.

This is somewhat different from what people today think of as deism.

Avery Dulles on Jefferson's Deism.


B. Prokop said...

I repent in dust and ashes.

Jim S. said...

You need to take the exclamation point off the end of the link, otherwise it won't work.

Walter said...

I agree with Victor that Jefferson's beliefs are not what passes for deism today.

As someone who labels himself as a deist, this is why I often tell people that my beliefs align with the early British deists (with the exception that I embrace aristotelian metaphysics). What people think of as deism today is simply atheism with an intelligent but disinterested First Cause.