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Deism: What Is It?


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I'm bringing this over from the ExChristians and Social Conscience thread, Post 203. In that post, Greatest I Am responds to my question about his beliefs. However, I am left with more questions than answers. Since it is off-topic there I decided to start a new thread. Anyone is welcome to respond.

 

QUESTION 1:

 

Greatest, you refer to an apotheosis you "went through." I looked up the term and it seems to mean for a person to be elevated to the level of the divine or rank of god (Wikipedia, Dictionary.com). You say "It lasted only five or six seconds,: so you don't seem to mean the same thing as this--you don't think you are divine or a god, do you? Thus, my question is: What do you mean by apotheosis?

 

The other definition at the same link in Dictionary.com doesn't seem to fit at all. It is about literary expression.

 

QUESTION 2:

 

You say you don't believe in a supernatural god. I looked up deism to see what deists believe, or what deism is. Here is the link I looked at: Religious Tolerance. There seems to be a definite belief in a First Cause that is greater and more powerful than the universe--above nature, and this seems to be called God. My question is: How is this not supernatural?

QUESTION 3

 

At the same link, I read that deism is belief in God + reason. Somewhere I read that deism is a natural religion. I have also heard about natural theology. I am very unclear about all these terms. I studied theology in a Lutheran seminary. It was overtly Christian--traditional, orthodox Christian. But the theologians used a lot of reason to figure out their theological arguments within the parameters of their belief in God. They talked about the theological circle--life informs theology and theology informs life. They used scientific data and discovery to interpret the Bible, and all the modern textual criticisms.

 

My question is: How is the "belief in God" and "reason" of deism different from that of these Lutheran Christians?

 

How can you, Greatest I Am, say your God is not supernatural if he is described as the creator and maker of the universe--above nature?

 

Not sure if I am expressing myself clearly but maybe this is enough to start a conversation...Now I'm looking at your post again. I see you call yourself an agnostic, too. How can a person call himself agnostic and deist? In the Religious Tolerance link above, deists seem to be believers. Agnostics, I thought, lacked belief in god. I guess I'm just confused but you say you are happy to talk about your beliefs so I trust posting this thread is okay with you.

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How can a person call himself agnostic and deist?

Here's one of my favorite quotes - this is from Harry Emerson Fosdick:

 

All intelligent faith in God has behind it a background of humble agnosticism.

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How can a person call himself agnostic and deist? In the Religious Tolerance link above, deists seem to be believers. Agnostics, I thought, lacked belief in god.

 

I haven't followed the discussion that spawned this thread, but anyone claiming to be both deist and agnostic apparently doesn't understand what they are.

 

A deist believes that there is a creator, while an agnostic is unsure whether or not a creator exists. Those categories don't really overlap.

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I'm bringing this over from the ExChristians and Social Conscience thread, Post 203. In that post, Greatest I Am responds to my question about his beliefs. However, I am left with more questions than answers. Since it is off-topic there I decided to start a new thread. Anyone is welcome to respond.

 

QUESTION 1:

 

Greatest, you refer to an apotheosis you "went through." I looked up the term and it seems to mean for a person to be elevated to the level of the divine or rank of god (Wikipedia, Dictionary.com). You say "It lasted only five or six seconds,: so you don't seem to mean the same thing as this--you don't think you are divine or a god, do you? Thus, my question is: What do you mean by apotheosis?

 

The other definition at the same link in Dictionary.com doesn't seem to fit at all. It is about literary expression.

 

QUESTION 2:

 

You say you don't believe in a supernatural god. I looked up deism to see what deists believe, or what deism is. Here is the link I looked at: Religious Tolerance. There seems to be a definite belief in a First Cause that is greater and more powerful than the universe--above nature, and this seems to be called God. My question is: How is this not supernatural?

 

QUESTION 3

 

At the same link, I read that deism is belief in God + reason. Somewhere I read that deism is a natural religion. I have also heard about natural theology. I am very unclear about all these terms. I studied theology in a Lutheran seminary. It was overtly Christian--traditional, orthodox Christian. But the theologians used a lot of reason to figure out their theological arguments within the parameters of their belief in God. They talked about the theological circle--life informs theology and theology informs life. They used scientific data and discovery to interpret the Bible, and all the modern textual criticisms.

 

My question is: How is the "belief in God" and "reason" of deism different from that of these Lutheran Christians?

 

How can you, Greatest I Am, say your God is not supernatural if he is described as the creator and maker of the universe--above nature?

 

Not sure if I am expressing myself clearly but maybe this is enough to start a conversation...Now I'm looking at your post again. I see you call yourself an agnostic, too. How can a person call himself agnostic and deist? In the Religious Tolerance link above, deists seem to be believers. Agnostics, I thought, lacked belief in god. I guess I'm just confused but you say you are happy to talk about your beliefs so I trust posting this thread is okay with you.

 

Yes it is thanks.

The quote function does not want to work for me but here goes.

 

Apotheosis. It is to become God like in the sense that one is given a glimpse of the afterlife with the Godhead. That Godhead or cosmic consciousness is what I think the ancient shaman found and unfortunately built it into the God of scriptures that has become the catch all term for all of man’s hopes, dreams and wishes. Note how every human attribute is given to God in spades. He is now omni everything.

 

Finding our true Godhead, or God of this world is in a sense rather disappointing. No miracles or supernatural powers. On the other hand, it shows man as being the supreme entity on earth and that is as it should be.

 

Deists, as that word is used today, is basically someone who believes in the I D God or God of the gaps. An absentee creator God. I do not believe in a creator God and no longer use Deist in describing myself. Deists would be definition believe in the supernatural.

 

To become as God, apotheosis, is a process that just shows you the starting point of becoming as God. Somewhat like a high school grad finding the university. Apotheosis is the beginning of the elevation. Not the end.

 

Regards

DL

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Now I'm looking at your post again. I see you call yourself an agnostic, too. How can a person call himself agnostic and deist?

 

Hmm. I do not recall ever taking on the agnostic label.

As you say, there would be a conflict in my beliefs if I did.

 

Regards

DL

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Now I'm looking at your post again. I see you call yourself an agnostic, too. How can a person call himself agnostic and deist?

 

Hmm. I do not recall ever taking on the agnostic label.

As you say, there would be a conflict in my beliefs if I did.

 

Regards

DL

 

I went back to the other thread and reread that post. I think I got "Gnostic" confused with agnostic. My bad.

 

I also reread your other post here in this thread. I think I'm beginning to get a better idea of what you believe. In fact, I identify with what you call apotheosis. It sounds like what Christians call the new birth. I think it is a psychological process.

 

Deists, as that word is used today, is basically someone who believes in the I D God or God of the gaps. An absentee creator God. I do not believe in a creator God and no longer use Deist in describing myself. Deists would be definition believe in the supernatural.

 

If you don't identify as Deist anymore, you may want to take the word "Deist" out of your avatar. I see it under "Still have any Gods? If so, who or what?" Possibly that is where I got the idea that you are a deist.

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According to Paine in The Age of Reason, the way Deism and science goes together is that the best way to understand the creator is to study creation. He makes some interesting arguments in the book. Religious texts are subject to be changed, and their authenticity and authority can never really be established. However, creation cannot change or be corrupted in the same way. In addition, all people see the same creation.

 

I think Deism made a bit more sense at a time when theories of biological and cosmological evolution were still absent. These days, we know enough to know that a creator is simply unnecessary. Nonetheless, it was still quite advanced for its time. I think the US would be a very different place today if the initial surge of Deism had really spread into something.

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Here is a post I did on Providence that has some stuff about the Deist perception and its history in America.

http://www.ex-christ...__1#entry633938

 

 

Thanks for that link, wester. Excellent essay. I responded in the thread.

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I think Deism made a bit more sense at a time when theories of biological and cosmological evolution were still absent. These days, we know enough to know that a creator is simply unnecessary. Nonetheless, it was still quite advanced for its time.

 

Excellent points. I've been trying to figure out why these brilliant thinkers were deists rather than atheists--why it took so long for atheism to take a real hold. But that makes a great deal of sense.

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