WELCOME TO DEISM
Deism has a lot to offer you! It also has a lot to offer society! Deism is knowledge* of God based on the application of our reason on the designs/laws found throughout Nature. The designs presuppose a Designer. Deism is therefore a natural religion and is not a "revealed" religion. The natural religion/philosophy of Deism frees those who embrace it from the inconsistencies of superstition and the negativity of fear that are so strongly represented in all of the "revealed" religions such as Judaism, Christianity and Islam. (These religions are called revealed religions because they all make claim to having received a special revelation from God which they pretend, and many of their sincere followers actually believe, their various and conflicting holy books are based on.) When enough people become Deists, reason will be elevated over fear and myth and its positive qualities will become a part of society as a whole. Then, instead of having billions of people chasing after the nonsensical violence promoting myths of the "revealed" religions, people will be centered on their God-given reason which will lead to limitless personal and societal progress!
This is not a utopian pipedream. Deism has the potential to connect with every human being because every human being possesses God-given reason. Because of this fact, Deism clicks with the vast majority of people who are made aware of it. This God-given reason, which is so dear and key to Deism, is the natural state of humanity. The superstitions of the man-made "revealed" religions are NOT the natural state of humanity. The cause of our God-given reason being overrun with these man-made myths and superstitions is very simple. ACTIVE people promoted these falsehoods. Some of these active people were motivated by self gain while others were acting on ignorance. Since the problem was brought about by ACTIVE people, it can be corrected by ACTIVE people. As the number of ACTIVE Deists grows, our actions and energies will cause Deism to eclipse the "revealed" religions of the world and Deism will eventually, through lots of hard teamwork and altruism, replace the "revealed" religions. Humanity and the individuals who make up humanity will then be able to reach their full progressive potential!
Please familiarize yourself with Deism by reading the many articles found here. By using this site you will learn such things as God and religion are two distinct things, that one of the many benefits Deism offers you and your family and friends is solid protection from cults, that America's Declaration of Independence is a Deistic document, that the Bible and Koran paint a very evil and insane picture of God, that the Designer of Nature is as real as the designs in Nature, plus much, much more!
We hope the following statement by the man who did more than any other person to bring Deism to everyone, Thomas Paine, will ring true in your heart and mind after you learn what Deism really is: "There is a happiness in Deism, when rightly understood, that is not to be found in any other system of religion. All other systems have something in them that either shock our reason, or are repugnant to it, and man, if he thinks at all, must stifle his reason in order to force himself to believe them.
"But in Deism our reason and our belief become happily united. The wonderful structure of the universe, and everything we behold in the system of the creation, prove to us, far better than books can do, the existence of a God, and at the same time proclaim His attributes."
*Knowledge is defined as: “acquaintance with facts, truths, or principles, as from study or investigation; general erudition.” Knowledge of such things as code requires intelligence and working code is in DNA. This knowledge, plus knowledge that people can’t create principles which Nature is built on, among other forms of knowledge, allows us to have belief in The Supreme Intelligence/God that is beyond a reasonable doubt, as this legal phrase is defined in Federal Judicial Center, Pattern Criminal Jury Instructions (1987). That definition is: “Proof beyond a reasonable doubt is proof that leaves you firmly convinced. There are very few things in this world that we know with absolute certainty, and in criminal cases the law does not require proof that overcomes every possible doubt.” This is covered in more depth in God Gave Us Reason, Not Religion.
Compiled by the World Union of Deists
I'd like to thank everyone who contributed their ideas to this new Deist Glossary! Your help is much appreciated! The editor.
Cult: In Deism, a cult is an embracing of unreasonable beliefs by a group of people. Based on this definition, Judaism, Christianity and Islam are all cults because their members suspend their God-given reason in order to believe or accept the unreasonable dogmatic teachings and superstitions such as God giving real estate as a gift to the Jews, the resurrection and ascension of Jesus, faith-healing (as just one example of faith-healing being a superstition, if faith-healing was REAL innocent helpless children would not be dying from the attempts of their parents at Biblical faith-healing) and Mohammed's ascension to heaven, among many more false and unreasonable claims. Because Deism always promotes free and independent thought and reason, it is impossible for Deism to become a cult.
Deism: Deism is the recognition of a universal creative force greater than that demonstrated by mankind, supported by personal observation of laws and designs in nature and the universe, perpetuated and validated by the innate ability of human reason coupled with the rejection of claims made by individuals and organized religions of having received special divine revelation. (For an outstanding article on the definition of Deism click here.)
Faith: This word has been so terribly abused by "revealed" religions that it has come to really mean the suspension of an individual’s God-given reason in order to accept, or at least to tolerate, an unreasonable claim made by a "revealed" religion. It is the only way "revealed" religions can get people to accept such insane and unreasonable claims and ideas as original sin, walking on water, healing the sick without medical care, splitting the Red Sea, etc. Deists prefer to use the word "trust" instead of faith due to the twisted meaning the word "faith" has acquired after centuries of abuse from the "revealed" religions.
One key difference between Deism and the "revealed" religions is that Deists don't believe faith is required to believe in God. This quote from Voltaire sums it up, "What is faith? Is it to believe that which is evident? No. It is perfectly evident to my mind that there exists a necessary, eternal, supreme, and intelligent being. This is no matter of faith, but of reason."
God: The eternal universal creative force which is the source of the laws and designs found throughout Nature.
Intelligent Design: Intelligent Design refers to the structures in Nature, such as that of DNA, which can be observed and the complexity of which required an intelligent Designer. In this context "structure" means something arranged in a definite pattern of organization. In Deism, Intelligent Design has absolutely nothing to do with the unreasonable Biblical myth of creation.
Natural Religion: Belief in God based on the application of reason on the laws/designs of Nature as opposed to revealed religion which is based on alleged revelations.
Philosophy: The study of the truths and principles of being, knowledge, or conduct.
Reason: The mental powers used with forming conclusions or inferences based on facts. Deists look at reason as the second greatest gift from Nature's God to humanity, second only to life itself.
Religion: From Wikipedia - Religion is a social-cultural system of designated behaviors and practices, morals, worldviews, texts, sanctified places, prophecies, ethics, or organizations, that relates humanity to supernatural, transcendental, and spiritual elements.
Revelation: The act of revealing or of making known. In the religious sense, revelation usually means divine revelation. This is meaningless, since revelation can only be revelation in the first instance. For example, if God revealed something to me, that would be a divine revelation to me. If I then told someone else what God told me it would be mere hearsay to the person I tell. If that person believed what I said, they would not be putting their trust in God, but in me, believing what I told them was actually true.
Revealed Religion: An organized system of belief in and worship of God based on the belief that God communicated/communicates with certain individual founders/members of the particular revealed religion. As mentioned above, by believing in any of the revealed religions a believer is not putting their trust in God, but in the person/people making the claim of receiving the divine revelation.
Trust: Trust is confidence in a person or thing based on reason and experience.
Frequently Asked Questions about Deism
What is the basis of Deism?
Reason and nature. We see the design found throughout the known universe and this realization brings us to a sound belief in a Designer or God.
Is Deism a form of atheism?
No. Atheism teaches that there is no God. Deism teaches there is a God. Deism rejects the "revelations" of the "revealed" religions but does not reject God.
If Deism teaches a belief in God, then what is the difference between Deism and the other religions like Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, etc.?
Deism is, as stated above, based on nature and reason, not "revelation." All the other religions make claim to special divine revelation or they have requisite "holy" books. Deism has neither. In Deism there is no need for a preacher, priest or rabbi. All one needs in Deism is their own common sense and the creation to contemplate. Also, "revealed" religions, especially Christianity and Islam, use greed and fear to catch and hold converts. The greed is belonging to their "revealed" religion so you can get rewards such as eternal life, and in Christianity, anything you ask for. In combination with greed they use fear of death. Deism does neither. Deism teaches that we should do what is right simply because it's the right thing to do. And Deism doesn't pretend we know what, if anything, happens to us after our bodies die. We love and trust God enough not to worry about it. As Thomas Paine wrote, "I consider myself in the hands of my Creator, and that He will dispose of me after this life consistently with His justice and goodness. I leave all these matter to Him, as my Creator and friend, and I hold it to be presumption in man to make an article of faith as to what the Creator will do with us hereafter."
Do Deists believe that God created the creation and the world and then just stepped back from it?
Some Deists do and some believe God may intervene in human affairs. For example, when George Washington was faced with either a very risky evacuation of the American troops from Long Island or surrendering them, he chose the more risky evacuation. When questioned about the possibility of having them annihilated he said it was the best he could do and the rest was up to Providence. The Deist George Washington also wrote that Providence is inscrutable.
Do Deists pray?
Some Deists pray while others do not. Deists do not dictate the lives of others, so this decision is an individual choice. We don't believe God intervenes in Natural Laws to deliver whimsical demands, but we acknowledge that prayer can be cathartic. Many Deists thank The Supreme Intelligence/God for life, reason and the amazing Universe.
Are there Deist rituals, vows, etc.?
No. Since Deism does not attempt to control people, there is no need for rituals. Regarding vows, like wedding vows or words at a funeral, we believe they are too important to the individuals involved to have been written by anyone else. Deists are too independent to rely on a member of the clergy to do these important things for them.
Are there Deist churches or temples?
No. However, we are working towards having Deist Reason Centers all around the world. As the World Union of Deists continues to grow we will have Deist Reason Centers staffed with volunteer doctors, nurses and dentists to provide people who lack the means and who haven't been able to be healed by a faith-healer with free medical and dental care. We'd also like to offer the public free literacy programs as well as classes in astronomy, biology, and all of the sciences. This is very much in line with Thomas Paine's ideas which he expressed in The Age of Reason.
How do Deists view God?
We view God as an eternal entity whose power is equal to his/her will. The following quote from Albert Einstein also offers a good Deistic description of God: "My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble minds. That deeply emotional conviction of the presence of a superior reasoning power, which is revealed in the incomprehensible universe, forms my idea of God."
Is Deism a cult?
It's impossible for Deism to be a cult because Deism teaches self-reliance and encourages people to constantly use their reason. Deism teaches to "question authority" no matter what the cost.
Unlike the revealed religions, Deism makes no unreasonable claims. The revealed religions encourage people to give up, or at least to suspend, their God-given reason. They like to call it faith. For example, how logical is it to believe that Moses parted the Red Sea, or that Jesus walked on water, or that Mohammed received the Koran from an angel? Suspending your reason enough to believe these tales only sets a precedent that leads to believing a Jim Jones or David Koresh.
What's Deism's answer to all the evil in the world?
Much of the evil in the world could be overcome or removed if humanity had embraced our God-given reason from our earliest evolutionary stages. After all, all the laws of nature that we've discovered and learned to use to our advantage that make everything from computers to medicine to space travel realities, have existed eternally. But we've decided we'd rather live in superstition and fear instead of learning and gaining knowledge. It's much more soothing to believe we're not responsible for our own actions than to actually do the hard work required for success. Deism doesn't claim to have all the answers to everything, we just claim to be on the right path to those answers.
More articles about Deism