Why Deism?  From Paganism to Christianity to Deism


Why Deism?
From A Pagan To A Christian To A Deist

by Sam Burke

I would like to tell the story of my conversion to Deism.

I was raised in a liberal Christian home. My parents are liberal Christians and I was raised in that mindset. However, when I was in 2nd grade I was old enough to really decide what I believed: I rejected Christianity as illogical. I thought the idea of Original Sin was ridiculous, that we were being punished for the sins of our ancestors. I later found out that that was normal in the Collectivist Honor Shame Societies such as the one the Bible was written in, but I didn't know that at the time. Even if I had, I would have scoffed at the idea and it would not have convinced me any more than it does now. So I became a Polytheist for years.

When I was in 8th grade my aunt, who is an Atheist, let me read a book called Christianity Is Not Great: How Faith Fails, much to the horror of my parents. It gave me arguments against Christianity. This made me feel somewhat hostile to Christianity and all Monotheistic Religions. (I was still Pagan.)

In 9th grade I became a Christian. This was due to multiple things, such as guilt, the Resurrection Argument, and supposed Bible Scientific Foreknowledge. It only lasted a few months. I saw the Bible Scientific Foreknowledge debunked, I saw Thomas Paine's Examination Of The Prophecies which debunked the so-called 'prophecies' of Jesus. The 'prophecies' were taken out of context.

I desperately looked at the Christian responses. The most common one was that these prophecies have "Double Meanings." How convenient!!! I desperately clung to my Faith and accepted these responses. I also became aware as I read more of the Bible that the Westboro Baptist Church (a homophobic hate group in Topeka Kansas that protests at the funerals of people including children and even dead soldiers, because apparently America is "doomed" for tolerating homosexuality ) was right about some of their most abhorrent teachings. The name of their website is God Hates Fags.Com. They believe God hates gay people, and they get this from Leviticus 20:13: "If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads." And Leviticus 20:23: "You must not live according to the customs of the nations I am going to drive out before you. Because they did all these things, I abhorred THEM." This bothered me, but I accepted it.

Towards the end I logically figured out that Double Predestination (God Predestines people to both Heaven And Hell) is true. If God is omnipotent and Omniscient then he could have created infinite amounts of people. Why did he not then only create the people who would choose to do good and go to Heaven? What I realized was that the Christian God must choose to create people because of what they would choose to do. So Double Predestination must be true if Christianity is true. To my shame, that was not enough to deconvert me. However, the next day I was watching a video by a former Westboro Baptist Church member Megan Phelps Roper. It was called: "Phelps on God's will and why she is no longer Christian - YouTube" I assumed it would not threaten my Faith and I watched it out of curiosity. Boy was I wrong! It was about the Horrific Predestination passage: Romans 9. Romans 9:16-23: "It does not, therefore, depend on human desire OR EFFORT, but on God’s mercy. For Scripture says to Pharaoh: 'I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.' Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and HE HARDENS whom HE WANTS to harden. One of you will say to me: 'Then why does God still blame us? For who is ABLE to resist his will?' But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did YOU MAKE ME like this?’ Does not the potter have the right TO MAKE out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use? What if God, although choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the OBJECT OF HIS WRATH PREPARED FOR DESTRUCTION? What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom HE PREPARED in advance for glory."

According to the Bible, God Creates people for the express purpose of torturing them in Hell in order to glorify himself in front of the objects of mercy. Not just that, he forces them to act that way and then he punishes them for it. This is evil and I knew it.

I went to the park in my neighborhood and I thought about it. I thought about becoming a liberal Christian, but I realized that would be pointless. If God communicated a Perfect Word to us, why do we need to pick and choose? And if we are moral enough to pick and choose, then why do we even need to have a Revelation? I see no point in cherry-picking the Bible.

I then asked myself "what about the Resurrection?" Then I honestly thought about it and realized that it is nothing more than a God Of the Gaps Argument. It is essentially a "We cannot explain the resurrection of Jesus so it must have been a Miracle argument." (Thankfully our innate God-given reason tells us it is nothing but a myth. The editor)

I don't know what happened. I have some ideas, but I realized that I don't need to explain it. It is a perfectly fair and humble statement to admit that I don't know. As Lawrence Krauss said: "Ignorance bothers me far less than the Illusion of Knowledge."

So the question remained, what do I believe now? I considered the words of Thomas Paine "running headlong into Atheism," but I decided that there are still good arguments for the existence of God. So I decided to become a Deist.

I was aware of Deism when I was a Christian, and I tried to refute it. I tried to make objections to it. The first one I made was that since God exists it is a bit of a coincidence that we have Religious Experiences of him. I thought that meant that Theism was the default position. This is wrong for multiple reasons:

1. Religious Experiences clearly aren't reliable because they produce contradictory experiences, even in the same religions, so they are clearly not from God.

2. Because the Science known as Neurotheology has eliminated any need for the supernatural as an explanation for Religious experiences.

3. Because not everyone has the ability to have Religious Experiences, some people are Predisposed to Atheism because of certain conditions. An example of this is Autism see here: PsycNET. (I am not implying that Atheists are mentally ill, just that people with certain religions are more likely to be Atheists, just as people with some mental illnesses are more likely to be religious.)

Another example is the Pirah who never believed in any God or god's: The-piraha-people-who-define-happiness-without-god. This refutes the claim that Religion is from God. This put's Deism back as the default position.

Another objection people make is Pascal's Wager which argues that it is safer to bet that Christianity is true in order to avoid going to Hell on the chance it is true. There is a very easy response to it: What about a God who rewards Skepticism and punishes Faith? Does not the world around us show that societies which are scientific and skeptical do better than the ones that aren't? It seems as if God loves skepticism more than Faith. What if God is outraged by the fact that people attribute a book to him that says children who curse their parents should be stoned to death (Leviticus 20:9) and sends believers to Hell? I don't think it is very likely, but it is more likely than people being rewarded for Faith, especially Blind Faith.

So this is how I became a Deist.







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News of Interest to Deists
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The survey shows a giant step forward for Deism in the fact that it actually uses the word "Deist" and for the very significant raw numbers it shows as representing the number of people who are Deists.  In reality, the number of Deists is actually higher than the survey shows because the survey uses an outdated definition of Deist. For a more accurate definition please see our Deism Defined page.

Click here to read the actual survey. (It's in PDF)
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