Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Incredulous Christian

A Christian recently expressed disbelief and skepticism for my claim of peacefulness within Deism. The following represents part of our conversation:
After decades of Christianity I have finally found tremendous peace in Deism. Looking back, I am reminded of the profound faith it took to be a Christian. An unreasonable faith, based on fantasy, fear, myth, prejudice, elementary errors and blatant conflicts as presented in the Bible. For myself, it simply got to the point where I could no longer believe in the perfectness of God as revealed through such an imperfect body of literature. No more apologists, no more rationalizing, no more excuses – it’s just wrong.
G.B. said: I would love to hear more about this ‘tremendous peace’ of which you speak. I hear your feelings about the Christian writings and their story, but I would love to know what specifically your deism offers for you to feel peaceful.

Yes I have tremendous peace in Deism, as well as joy, liberation, comfort in belief, and profound awe of God’s work. I am no longer shackled by the delusions and ascendancy of a select few people, but can lead a sound and fulfilling life which utilizes, to the best of my abilities, the reasonable wisdom of all human history.

The fact is, if you were born into a Muslim family, especially within a Muslim nation, odds are overwhelming that you would be Muslim. And much the same can be said of Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, etc. If you are an adherent of one, you are heretical to another. Choice of religion is societal, not divine.

Most people, if fully informed, would look at Scientology as a complete farce. A mind controlling cult that bilks millions of dollars from adherents, created by a science fiction writing madman. Looking at his organization reasonably and objectively, Hubbard’s methods are easily discounted. Those outside the group find it difficult to understand how those inside could have been manipulated into belief. And these same ideals of reason and objectivity can carried over to Mormonism, Christian Science, Islam, Christianity, Judaism, etc.

Those things considered divine in any given faith will not be found unique to that faith. God, satan, immaculate conception, virgin birth, savior, healing, heaven, hell, miracle, angel, prophet and much more, share a common thread in many faiths. Several of those faiths predate and contributed to Christianity as well as other faiths. I understand that the faithful who read this will feel that theirs is the correct one, and that their holy text is the true word, but there are other compelling faiths which present proof within their holy texts. It is paramount to understand that scripture, in and of itself, is not proof.
G.B. said: If Christianity is false then we’ve added rules and codes, morality and ethic that constrains our taking full advantage of our life in the Now.

YES! I want make clear, though, that as a Deist I believe morality and ethics are very important, but certainly not divine. In other words, it’s through God's gift of Reason we find the answers, not revelation.

Religion, in every instance, stifles the progression of man. It makes the world flat (and the center of the Universe), rather then putting a man on the moon. It prays and lays on hands, rather then giving needed medical attention. It credits God for good and bad, rather then discovering bacteria and antibiotic. It rebukes and murders those who lack identical beliefs, rather then finding peace among cultures. It lives in the past, rather then encouraging and embracing the future.

After all, if we ambitiously learn new things we might find scripture errant and unreasonable, right?

One Deist Φ


Harvey said...

I can easily agree with virtually all of your stated beliefs. As an agnostic/atheist who has "sought" a deity over my entire life, I cannot understand your apparent conclusion that there still exists some creative force (which you choose to call "God") which is responsible in some way for all of our Universe.
Athough I still hold open the possibility of a Deity in my own mind, I have as yet failed to find any compelling evidence for the existance of one, save only for the observation that every culture we know of has seen fit to create one. Furthermore, although I do not believe that God exists, I have had no trouble finding "peace" in the realization that this reality is all there is and that Mankind's only "purpose" is (as is true of all other animals) to survive long enough to perpetuate our species by breeding and nurutring our children to the point where they are able to reproduce as well. The realization that when we die we cease to exist as conscious entities holds no fear for me, nor do I feel the need for any reassurance that I will still exist in any more important ways than I did before I was conceived.
I find that none of this either encourages or interferes with my ability to strive for kind, caring. or ethical behavior, based upon both my original religious upbringing and my study of the advice of millennia of wise philosophers.
In short, I would be interested in how your "Deist" construct serves to provide "peace" or better understanding of this existance that is not available to anyone who either disbelieves or does not see any need for a God.

oneblood said...

I have found nothing but peace in leaving my Christianity. It, in a way, has helped me draw closer to who he seems to have been: intelligent, reckless, compassionate, and perhaps even mentally ill. I can see him now as one of many human beings who have changed my life forever. What doesn't necessarily follow from that is perfection or deity.

Because of how I was raised, I needed some of Jesus' teachings to show me the 'other' if you will. It was my first and biggest step in awareness. But religion is man made, structure upon structure to justify itself, and almost everywhere you turn there are falsehoods, and paradoxes. By leaving the church, and denying Christ in a sense, I was able to accept truth's ascendency in my life and leave paradoxes and fictions to those who wish to contemplate them.

I know I'm presupposing god's existence when I say this, but I see "him" in math, science, art, relational experiences etc. I don't need to bow, or join, or proselytize. "He" is as close as "he" as ever been; and that brings a great peace indeed.

Well put OneDeist.

Harvey said...


As usual, you have clearly and succinctly expressed your belief in a creative entity. What I find admirable in this is your realization that if you have succeeded in this and have thereby found peace and a heightened ability to understand and cope with your earthly existance that you have no need to get affirmation from anyone else by trying to convince or coerce them to agree with you. Most of us unbelievers would have many fewer issues with our "Christian" brothers and sisters (and Muslims, for that matter) if they did not seem to need to do so.

oneblood said...

One Deist, please forgive the pedestrian quality of this question beforehand.

Is the Deism you practice one that recognizes prayer and meditation as perhaps simply 'an ordering of the mind,' but not an outright dismissal. Since it produces no miracles other than internal ones, maybe the question should be more blunt. In your definition of Deism, do you support 'prayer and meditation?'

I do realize that nominally 'prayer' presupposes the efficacy of transcendental communication, which I think Deism dismisses, nevertheless, I don't know so I ask.

Thank you for your time.

OneDeist said...

My personal practice within Deism includes prayer. I don't do this with the expectation of God hearing, and I especially don't expect any reaction or intercession from on high. But I do use this time to contemplate my world, being thankful for both the blessings and the challenges that life presents.

Prayer, I believe, gives each of us time for introspection - to acknowledge the good in our lives as well as to focus on problem solving or dealing with the things which are not so pleasant. It gives us a moment to reflect on our consciousness and our individual realities.

One Deist Φ

Christina Cronk said...

What a fascinating blog! So glad I stumbled across it.

I agree with your position, that there are definite differences between religion and spirituality... and find spirituality more freeing, more peaceful and accepting of cultural difference. Holding to religious structure is like wearing shackles and pretending they're not there.

Excellent post. Thank you for sharing.

One Deist Φ said...

Thank you!

Wow, over a year since my last post ... :-(

Really enjoyed reading a good portion of your blog too, Christina.

One Deist Φ