Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Defense of Deism

Basically, Deism is the belief that there is a sentient force, God, which, at least, created the Universe. After creation, Deists are allowed to follow their own interpretations of the Universe, to attempt to understand God’s will and plan, and if there even is a “plan,” using reason as their guide, as opposed to superstition, fear and ancient religious texts. Also, Deists believe that other religions, “revealed” religions, are man made and do not represent the will of God so much as the ideas of people.

Given the varying sects within all religions, the basic divisions, it’s clear that there is no absolute, “God ordained” religion. Why do so many people argue about “the word of God,” argue and kill over it, while each sect believes God somehow loves them, or backs them more than any other? This is obviously indicative of a basic flaw in our human concept of religion. We believe we need to justify our beliefs with some artifact or text which somehow received the official seal of God. Once made, this claim requires ultimate blind adherence, even when obvious facts contradict it. This leads to unavoidable schism, within religions, between religions and between the believers and truth itself. Because if the words you follow are “God ordained” how can they contain mistakes. So if one word is questioned, then the entire precept that “God’s” word must be followed collapses. So the deception must be maintained to avoid religious extinction.

Deists, with an adherence to rational thought, and rejection of “revealed” religions, do not face this need for deception, as their beliefs in a higher power do not necessarily contradict reality. Science and the quest for knowledge is more out of respect and wonder at God’s creation, less a need to alter facts to justify one’s “official seal from God.” Deists are allowed to realize different ideas and stories about God down through the ages were just that, stories, ideas, lessons, etc. In the same way stories can be told about the Sun, stories can be told about God. Stories of the Sun might be incorrect, but this doesn’t negate the existence of the Sun. It is a way we can connect and relate to the Sun. The same goes for God, and stories about God. These stories represent human ideas, and a beauty and creativity reflecting the human desire to understand their creator.

These same stories when used to bludgeon the human mind into belief lead to an effect opposite their intent. Those not inclined to succumb to force or coercion in the forming of their beliefs automatically balk at the misrepresentation of man’s imperfect knowledge of God’s creation, preferring to believe nothing rather than believing in obvious untruth. Thus, minds that might be allowed to embrace their relationship with God and seek out the more mystical aspects of creation are, instead, turned away from God. Atheists and Agnostics, when confronted with blind belief will tend toward the healthy reaction of rejection. Likewise, believers within the religious community, when confronted with the obvious truths presented by science, will conversely be required to reject these truths to maintain their “faith.”

The decentralized nature of Deism allows for security of principle through dispersal of will. Across the Globe people have embraced the idea that the Universe either had or might possibly have had a creator. The open nature of the concept allows for the strength of differing ideas and the flourishing of the potential of our God given brainpower. We may seek out the truth and God at the same time using all the faculties of our wits combined. Incapable of removing his own ego, thoughts, social and cultural ideas and fallibility, Man should not set himself up as the voice of God. We should remain open to the truth and the possibilities before us, that God does exist and can withstand the challenges of reality. We can know that God, as the creator of all things will eventually be revealed through the course of reason and quest for truth, as opposed to the backward thinking, close minded clenchings of literalists.

-By Bill Sims

1 comment:

  1. Very good article Bill. As a Pantheistic Deist I applaud your insight. Nice work.