Compared to many people, I am rather young-in my early 20's, and yet I realize that, without a doubt, I am a Deist.
I grew up in a middle-size town in Michigan, with a single mother looking after me. She was very devout, so every Sunday, we went to a church that still operates today. I was fine with the Christian religion until I was about 13, when my mother told me that if I did not want to go to church, I did not have to. At first, I took her up on her offer to sleep in on Sunday-and wow, it felt great! But then I began to look into other religions. And each time, I was confused-every religion claimed to be the 'only one', the one through which their followers would be allowed into heaven. And not only that, they would be the ONLY ones allowed. Baffled, I decided to read the Bible more closely-and became even more confused at all of the contradictions inside. Why would a loving god, who I had been told loves us with all he is, condemn those who didn't follow him a certain way to burn forever in hell? Why would a loving god even create a hell (for it's mentioned that god created it as a place for Satan) in the first place? And why would a loving god allow a deceiver to even exist and corrupt his people?
I asked, and I was told that it was that god gave us free will to choose. But even then, I realized that made no sense-because again, if you did not chose the correct way, you would burn forever. The Bible also talked about following god as a 'Servant', and that he was Lord-and yet I was told the Bible said everyone was equal! How can we be equal if we are not considered equal to this 'loving' god, but only as Servants to do His will? And for that matter, I had doubts about this 'loving' god. Take the story of Job, where a man who was God's greatest follower became a subject to a BET between God and Satan. He lost everything, and he mourned, and he asked god why. Afterwards, when he had gotten everything back double, he was told not to question. How could that be loving?
Or how it talked about the Egyptians-that god would "harden Pharaoh's heart" so he would not permit the Jews to leave, and thus PUNISHED innocent people with plague, torment, and the loss of children! All because GOD HIMSELF must have wanted to see them punished? How could you then say that God loved everyone-because it becomes obvious through readings of the bible that the biblical god does NOT love everyone-he only loves his followers.
Not only that, but I have been witness to what terrible things so-called 'Christians' will do in the name of their god. From hypocrisy (something the bible says god hates) to shaming to outright hate and disgust towards people who will not conform to their religion. My mother, who is honestly more of a Deist in her thinking than she will admit, allowed a friend of mine who was a lesbian inside her house, hugged her, and told her she loved her for who she was. When she recounted this to some of her church members, they recoiled-actually recoiled!-in horror and said 'but how could you! Aren't you afraid that her sexual thinking will rub off on your daughter?' As if homosexuality was a disease instead of a sexual preference, and that her having it meant that she was infected and below them! I was once even told that my drawing style, which was modeled after the style of Japanese animation, was a part of the devil's work, and that it was sinful.
On the topic of sin, the more I read about it, the more I realize sin and the shaming of it was illogical. Some was common sense-it's not right to kill or steal, but not because it was a sin said by some kind of wrathful-yet-loving-god, but because it was simply WRONG! Some made no sense to me-why was having sex out of marriage a sin? Sex felt good, and I'd experimented with myself, but even some books I read said THAT was a sin! How could it be a sin if the act is pleasurable and we are made to feel that pleasure? For that matter, why was it a sin to watch other people have sex? Because it made you have pleasurable feelings and want to experience that pleasure? Or that the first sin was eating the fruit from the tree of knowledge? The implications of that were frightening-that their god NEVER INTENDED for us to think, to know? That ultimately, what their god wanted was mindless SERVANTS, and now that we were not mindless, we had to MAKE ourselves be mindless servants to him again? I did not want to follow a god that did not want me to use my natural reason!
I'd also heard other arguments: that marriage cannot happen without god, that morals cannot happen without god, that because we are flawed, sinful creatures, we must supplicate ourselves to this wrathful, jealous, 'loving' being and APOLOGIZE for our very natures that was said that HE created within us! I also knew that any new thing, most Christians opposed-Pokemon, Yugioh, Harry Potter-without even LOOKING at the material they claimed was of the devil, blindly following what their pastors had told them instead of actually using their OWN REASON to decide if it was bad for their kids or not!
As an intelligent, rationally-thinking woman, I decided I wanted nothing to do with organized religion-any organized religion. I had found through my studies that religion seemed to be a very, VERY good way of controlling and subjugating people, and ultimately making them do what the higher ups wanted them to do. I Looked and looked, but nowhere could I find the truth I had been searching for-instead, I only found fear and hate mongering. I still believed in God-a creator of the universe, and I believed he merely watched us-not interfering in our day to day lives, as so many Christians say, but watched and guided when necessary. Not so much a 'loving god' (although as I've outlined before, calling god 'loving' also makes me think it will be wrathful and jealous), but at least a benign presence. I loved the world around me, and I loved nature so much that I wanted to know everything I could about it, and I still try to this day. And each little scrap of fact merely confirmed what I believed-SOMEONE had to make this beautiful world around me, or at the very least set it into motion. I continued to pray to god-not to ask for things, but to say thank you for this glorious, complex world of nature around me.
However, I was not aware of Deism. For years, I merely thought I was the unusual one in my beliefs, and that when asked about my religion, I would say I believed in God but not in religion. Then one day, traveling on the Internet, I happened to click on a banner. That lead me to the site, and when I read what Deism was about, a rush of excitement ran through me. This was it. This was what I believed, and there were others out there who believed it with me! The joy I felt as I read the site-read what Deism was-nearly knocked me over. I was not alone! I finally had a name for what I believed!
Although I'm very new to Deism, I want to spread this good news-that you don't have to be shackled and imprisoned by what religion says you must do to love god. That you can follow your own natural inclinations-and that even if you are homosexual (or omnisexual, as I identify myself as) you can still love God. The amount of freedom is amazing-and it is the true blessing a God would give. You don't have to follow a certain set of rules how to dress, how to eat, how to live your life. God wouldn't care about those things. Instead, life your life in happiness, in peace, and in joy for everyone and the world around you. Life is beautiful, and never forget that! And thank God, I am not alone in realizing it!
*"Nones" are people who believe in God but not in religion. They hold Deistic beliefs but have probably never heard of Deism. A religious survey shows there are about 34 million "nones" in the U.S. alone.