RULES: Please ask questions related to Deism and refrain from making comments until I post Brian’s answers. –gasmonso
My name is Brian Jones, better known here by my posting name of Humanistic Jones. I am a deist from Marietta, Georgia. I was born into a Roman Catholic family and thought that I followed the tenants of the religion pretty well. Around the age of 16, I came to a realization, that I didn’t. I had managed to personally resolve that evolution was possible, that the universe was billions of years old, and that the bible was a great moral work. When my personal belief became known however, I was told to choose… the literal bible, or science. Can you guess what I chose?
Deism as a movement is not very prevalent. The major tenant of Deism is that there is a god, but that there is no Revelation of universal truth. Most deists also fall under a humanistic bent, felling that more than religious development, the development of human society should be the main focus. This is all pretty simplified and I’ll expound a bit further down.
I encourage any questions that you may have, from all sides of the fence. I will do my best to answer them with politeness and accuracy. I know I will probably get questions from the religious believers amongst the readers (and I’m looking forward to those, I love discussion), I am also looking forward to questions from the other naturalist and humanists amongst you. Have fun, go to town, and I’ll be back with the answers in due time.
Peace to all,
Brian "Humanistic" Jones
Being a naturalistic religion, many ends of Deism are open to the personal interpretation of the believer. Most Deists come from Theistic practices, finding that though the existence of god is logical, the "Revealed Truths" of organized religions are not. A surprising duality exists in the fact that while a Deist would argue vehemently against Religion being made a public institution (such as becoming a part of the common law or being taught in schools) we also feel called to stand up for any injustice committed against a religion simply because of their beliefs. To quote Voltaire, one of our movement’s greatest minds, "I disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it!"
There are a few different flavors of Deism, the two broadest categories being Critical Deists and Constructive Deists. Critical Deism is the rejection of revealed religion where Constructive Deism is the belief that Reason leads us to some basic religious truths.
To expound on these (taken from www.moderndeism.com)
Critical deism’s rejection of revealed religion might include some or all of the following:
-Rejection of all religions based on books that claim to contain the revealed word of God.
-Rejection of the claim that the Bible is the revealed word of God.
-Rejection of reports of miracles and prophecies.
-Rejection of religious "mysteries" such as the doctrines of transubstantiation, the Trinity, the Incarnation, etc.
-Rejection of only the parts of the Bible that contain miracles, prophecies, or mysteries.
-Rejection of Christianity.
Some Deists rejected miracles and prophecies but still considered themselves to be Christians — because they believed in what they felt to be the pure, original form of Christianity, i.e. Christianity as it existed before it was corrupted by additions of such superstitions as miracles, prophecies, and the doctrine of the Trinity. Some Deists rejected the claim of Jesus’s divinity, but continued to hold him in high regard as a moral teacher (see, for example, Thomas Jefferson’s famous Jefferson Bible). Other, more radical, Deists rejected Christianity altogether, and expressed hostility toward Christianity which they regarded as pure superstition. In return, Christian writers often charged radical Deists with atheism.
Constructive deism held some or all of the following beliefs:
-God exists and created the universe.
-God wants human beings to behave morally.
-Human beings have souls that survive death, i.e. there is an afterlife.
-In the afterlife, God will reward moral behavior and punish immoral behavior.
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