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Is Deism a Religion?

World Union of Deists Emblem: God, Nature, Reason

No. Deism is not a religion, it’s a philosophy.

Consider Christianity. In order to become a Christian, interaction with someone else is necessary. The interaction may take the form of verbal conversation, or the reading of text written by someone else, or probably both.

It is not possible to become aware of the Christian doctrine without an external influence. A person who has never heard of Christianity could not sit alone on the top of a mountain and suddenly become a Christian.

Religions are memes. They are delusions passed from one person to another and require no original thought. Religions have set beliefs and rituals which must be learnt and practiced. Life today is considered to be a dress rehearsal for an afterlife. Adherence to the prescribed belief promises a blissful afterlife, whilst transgressions and disbelief threaten eternal punishment. Guilt, sin and self-condemnation are all essential components of religious doctrines.

Religions are ‘off-the-shelf’, ready-made belief systems. They are driven by fear but are proclaimed to be driven by virtue. Believing one is virtuous leads to conceit and unjustified self-importance.

Religions thrive on faith. If faith and reality contradict, faith is considered to be right, and reality is considered to be wrong. If necessary, claims of miracles are used to substantiate faith and override reason.

Faith is indestructible because it is non-falsifiable. Proving that a religious doctrine is false is made impossible by the clever manipulation of fictitious miracles.

Deism has none of the above. Indeed, our person sitting alone on top of the mountain has all he needs to be a Deist. There is no requirement for influences from other human beings. There are no scriptures, no preachers, no persuasions, no threats. Dogmatic beliefs and superstitions are not part of Deism. Deism truly comes from within, fuelled by an awareness of the natural world. There is merely the realization that there is an organizing force behind the universe in which we live. This realization is borne of common sense.

Deism has no chains. It carries no baggage. There are no compulsions or abstinences that must be obeyed. There are no tantalizing promises or tormenting fears. Deism has no rituals which are intended to influence the future. There are no prophets or miracles to explain the impossible.

There is simply a quiet acceptance of the obvious. Deism is a very personal awareness and has no need for faith or the group therapy of formal religions.

Most of all, no one else is necessary.

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"If faith and reality contradict, faith is considered to be right, and reality is considered to be wrong."

An example is when I stated in a message thread (on another web site) that I felt that my being a Christian, and supposedly having a "personal relationship with Jesus Christ", had not been of help to me (which is reality), and I was thus no longer a Christian.

A Christian responded by saying that it was Satan who wanted me to think that way. That was his position based on his faith. It is also an example of what has come to be known as gaslighting, i.e. convincing somebody his/her perception of reality is wrong.


This sort of belligerence is not helpful to Deism, particularly when the opinion of one or few is published in the name of the World Union of Deists.

Deism is a religion based in philosophy. It requires the belief in God in some form, which is inherently supernatural, or at the very least supranatural.

True, this religion is often personal to each Deist, guided by their own philisophical inquiry. However, that inquiry is almost never without outside influence. Whether it is the influence of another religion that one comes to doubt, or the influence of great philosophers that one comes to believe, we may reach our conclusions by ourselves, but it is rarely if ever truly alone.

The philosophy that…

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