Friday, August 22, 2008

Progressive Deism vs. Progressive Christianity

I have some links to Progressive Christian sites here on my blog. I do this because I am a Deist that is married to a Christian and sometimes I attend and I am active in a Christian church. This for many Deists would be unbearable but I have found some enjoyment in the process.

However, I don't walk in and stop being a Deist.

My beliefs are important to me and I don't mind expressing them when the time is right. This can be rough in a Christian setting depending on the Christians involved and the beliefs that they have. Luckily for me, the church I attend is diverse with everything from the traditionalist to the Progressive.

Which leads to the point of this post.

My goal here to show that Progressive Deism and Progressive Christianity share many beliefs regarding God and other theological aspects. Many PCs don't believe in an intervening God. Many PCs don't believe that God performs miracles. Many PCs believe that God does not human like nature.

There are many others beyond these.

The difference really comes down to focus. PDs focus on reason and nature while PCs focus on Jesus and the Bible.

So, when I enter the church I am a PD who allows himself to shift my focus to Jesus and the Bible but I use reason as my yardstick for evaluating what is being stated. Overall, this has worked well for me with only a few complications along the way.

To be fair, Progressive Christianity is very broad in nature and there are those PCs that would not agree with my list and some would even argue there is not God but overall we have many similarities and those are more important than the differences especially when engaging in community.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Deism and the Devil

I was recently reading an article regarding how United Methodists view the Biblical devil. Many do not believe in a supernatural being but then again many do. So, I thought I would put forth what Deists believe about the devil.

I often get asked what Deists believe regarding the existence of the Devil and the answer is also quite simple, we don’t. Deists do not believe in an evil being that brings evil into the world and opposes God at every turn. There are many reasons for this but here are a few:

Reason One:

Believing in God and the devil is polytheistic as this means that there are essentially two Gods at work. One is good and the other evil. Now, some will state that the devil is not a God but is rather a fallen angel. Another is that the devil is less powerful than God and that God is omnipotent. However, these make little sense. If the devil is a fallen angel then God could easily deal with the devil unless God is indeed not omnipotent. On the other hand, if the devil is not as powerful as God and God is omnipotent then God allows the devil to exist and bring evil and suffering on mankind. Not a very nice or caring God (at least in my book).

Reason Two:

There is no evidence for a supernatural evil being doing horrible things to mankind. There are those that will bring up C.S. Lewis and state that the greatest act of the devil was to convince us that he does not exist. If this is true then God has even more to answer for and some explaining to do.

Reason Three:

If the devil is orchestrating things from behind the scenes then mankind is not responsible for their actions that bring about destruction and suffering. When we ignore those that need our help it is not our fault as the devil made me do it. When we purposely go out of our way to harm others it is not our fault as the devil made me do it. I could go on and on with this line of thought but the truth is that humans are responsible for evil in the world and we need to accept that and own up to it.

Those are the main reasons for now but they get my point across. Deism does not posit a devil and demons or any other type of supernatural evil beings.

Nuff said.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Deism as Process

Even though I have a link to Deism for the Modern Mind blog I want to put special attention on this post. It is a quick read and gets right to the point about what Deism is and why we should refrain from becoming a religion. Here is the link:\


Thursday, June 26, 2008

Deism and the Afterlife

In general, Deism as a religious philosophy trys to answer the same questions that we all want answered. In many cases we Deists give an answer even if it is quite basic (and in most cases it is). However, there is one area that Deists don't give an answer on and this may be one of the reasons Deism never has been able to grow larger than it is.

The area is the afterlife.

The Deist view of the afterlife is best stated by Thomas Paine:

"I believe in only one God; and I have hope for happiness in an afterlife."

The most important word in that sentence is "hope." We Deists hope for an afterlife and believe that one may exist. However, we can never really know no matter what anyone says on the subject.

As such, we do not accept the beliefs of other religions that tell us there is an heaven/hell or reincarnation. We simply ask what evidence exists for such places and concepts and have found none.

However, there is a bigger reason for why we Deists hope rather than believe in an afterlife. This has to do with the concept of an afterlife. Far too many religions have focused on what happens when we die and in turn this has caused many to forsake this life in favor of the next perfect life that is to come along.

Deists know that this life is what we have now and we know that it is all we have at the moment. Deists know that there is no proof in an afterlife so the best plan is to hope for one and then focus on this life. Deists believe that we must live this life to the fullest as it may be the only one that we have.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

This is Just Wrong

First you must read this:,2933,368863,00.html

I fully admit that I am not a Biblical scholar but I do seem to remember reading that Jesus told his followers that change in the world would not come directly from God but from humanity getting up and doing something to change things.

This would include science and medicine.

However, here you have a group that believes that all one must do is pray and God will deliver if he so desires. This is not only bad theology it is just plain stupid. We had the ability to save the lives of these kids with our current knowledge yet it was refused because these people believe that prayer is all one needs.

Now, as a Deist I don't believe in intercessory prayer but I see nothing wrong with praying to give one strength and I understand when people do this type of thing even though I may not. However, the idea that all one needs to do is pray and then God will provide if he so decides while you wait around for the results is completely foreign to me and obviously dangerous.

Ben Franklin stated one time that "God helps those that help themselves" and I believe this to be true. I believe that God has given mankind all we need to make the world a better place (call it the kingdom of God if you so desire) and it is up to us to bring about these changes. This does not throw out prayer but it states that after the prayer one must turn to the knowledge and abilities that we have gained over the past years to then make and implement those changes.

Friday, June 13, 2008


I was recently reading a Progressive Christian blog that I like and the following views on God were posted:

1 - God in Omnipotent

2 - God is not Omnipotent

3 - There is no God

It was a very interesting post that dealt with the power of God and the issue of theodicy (suffering in the world). These three viewpoints were given on the nature of God and how God relates to suffering in the world.

However, a problem exists with these choices from the Deist point of view. The problem is that there is another option that is not given here.

Let me explain.

In Deism, we reject the view that God is a being or more to be more technical that God has human qualities (also called anthropormorphic). In this case, God cannot be understood as omnipotent (or not omnipotent) because power is a human quality which does not apply to God.

So, I put forward this fourth choice:

4 - Omnipotent is not a term that can be applied to God.

Omnipotence, Omnibenevolence, Omnithis and Ominthat have no place when discussing God as they are terms that made sense when God was viewed as a human-like being but have no use anymore once we come to look at God from new points of view. This can be very hard for people to do because it is hard for us not to view God as human-like but when we do we have the ability to move past what has caused us many problems which is creating God in our image.

You may be asking what God is then and all I can say is that the totality of God is beyond what we can comprehend and our use of language that serves us so well in other aspects of our lives serves very little purpose here.

I talk more on this later.

I choose number 4 as my option.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

A Deistic Like Comment

Here is an excerpt from a book by Pervez Amirali Hoodbhoy, the chairman of the department of physics at Quaid-e-Azam University in Islamabad, Pakistan.

He states:

Let's face it: the day of the Sky God is long gone. In the Age of Science, religion has been downsized, and the medieval God of classical religions has lost repute and territory. Today people pay lip service to trusting that God but they still swallow antibiotics when sick. Muslim-run airlines start a plane journey with prayers but ask passengers to buckle-up anyway, and most suspect that people who appear to rise miraculously from the dead were probably not quite dead to begin with. These days if you hear a voice telling you to sacrifice your only son, you would probably report it to the authorities instead of taking the poor lad up a mountain. The old trust is disappearing.

Nevertheless, there remains the tantalizing prospect of a divine power somewhere "out there" who runs a mysterious, but scrupulously miracle-free, universe. In this universe, God may choose to act in ingenious ways that seem miraculous. Yet these "miracles" need not violate physical laws. Extraordinary, but legitimate, interventions in the physical world permit quantum tunneling through cosmic worm holes or certain symmetries to snap spontaneously. It would be perfectly fair for a science-savvy God to use nonlinear dynamics so that tiny fluctuations quickly build up to earthshaking results—the famous "butterfly effect" of deterministic chaos theory.

Nietzsche and the theothanatologists were plain wrong—God is neither dead nor about to die. Even as the divine habitat shrinks before the aggressive encroachment of science, the quantum foam of space-time creates spare universes aplenty, offering space both for a science-friendly God as well as for self-described "deeply religious non-believers" like Einstein. Many eminent practitioners of science have successfully persuaded themselves that there is no logical contradiction between faith and belief by finding a suitable God, or by clothing a traditional God appropriately. Unsure of why they happen to exist, humans are likely to scour the heavens forever in search of meaning.


The Search for Transcendence

In an interview with Karen Armstrong she puts forth the notion that religion is the search for transcendence.

Now, let me repeat that:

Religion is the search for Transcendence.

For me, this is the perfect definition of religion and if adopted by all there would no longer be war and destruction associated with religion. In this case, transcendence is God (or Nirvana, or Brahman, or the many other names and concepts we hold). God is not something to be understood and defined but something that is to be experienced.

Far too often, we define God and then demand that God is this way and all must agree with us. This then leads to dogmatism and then onto control. Yet, God cannot be defined because the very nature of God is beyond as God is not a transcendent being but transcendence itself.

How does one define God then? Simple, they don't because they can't.

Now, this does not stop us from doing so and I am one that has his own concept of God. However, it is nothing more than my concept based on reason, observation and my experiences. Despite what many will say they do the exact same thing and create a concept of God that works for them.

As long as we admit that it is a personal concept and not the real deal we are fine and I wish that all people could see this to be the case.

In Deism, we believe that God cannot be defined or truly understood and the only way we can glimpse the true nature of God is by using our God-given Reason to observe the one thing that we know came from God which is nature. As such, we then have the ability to search for the transcendent and experience it as well.

I will end with this thought. Religion should be about three things and they are:

1 - The experience of transcendence (God)

2 - The ability to live a fulfilling life

3 - The goal of making the world a better place

More on these later.

Interesting Article Regarding Evolution

Deists have no problem with Evolution.

While many of us believe that design exists within the creation we believe that the design leads to the creative process of evolution that comes about by natural selection. Furthermore, we reject Intelligent Design as it is nothing more than Creationism dressed up to look like science and has it the other way around.

As such, this article from Loom gives solid evidence for evolution in a laboratory setting which for Deists is just more evidence of the creative process that is within nature and is a part of the overall design of the universe.

Here is the link:


Monday, June 9, 2008

The Un-Official Tenets of Deism

Here are the Un-Official Tenets of Deism from the Modern Deism website:

1. Belief in God based on Reason, Experience and Nature (nature of the universe) rather than on the basis of holy texts and divine revelation. Essentially, through the use of Reason, God’s existence is revealed by the observation of the order and complexity found within nature and our personal experiences.

2. Belief that the nature of God is abstract and generally incomprehensible which puts it beyond definition for humanity at this time. Furthermore, human language is limited and inadequate to define God; however, man can use Reason to theorize and speculate on what this possible nature is.

3. Belief that mans relationship with God is transpersonal. However, this does not create a feeling of a distant and cold deity but of one in which God has a profound and unfathomable relationship with all of creation (nature) rather than just one aspect of it.

4. Belief that humanity has the ability to use Reason to develop ethical/moral principles and through the application of Reason these principles can be used to implement moral behavior, which in turn creates a Utilitarian-Humanist morality. Essentially, humans can be guided by their conscience in matters of morality.

5. Belief that humans have the individual capability of experiencing God, which is defined as spirituality. These spiritual experiences are multi-faceted and can include awe, epiphany, fellowship and even the transcendental. Essentially, each human is capable of having a profound experience of God and nature.

6. Belief that God should be honored in a way that the individual believes is best and most appropriate for them. Individuals must determine for themselves how best to honor God and only they can develop how to accomplish this. For many, it is a multi-faceted and an individualized process.

7. Belief in the principle of Natural Law that states that all men and women are created equal to each other with inherent freedom and liberty so that no human has more worth than another. Essentially, each human is equal in terms of the freedoms that they have and in the eyes of the law.

8. Belief that mankind’s purpose is to use our God-given reason to understand what it means to be alive in every sense of the word (to live life to the fullest) and to act in such a way as to secure human happiness and contentment for all involved.

9. Belief that Reason and Respect are God-given traits to mankind and that we are to utilize them in all aspects of our daily lives thus creating a pragmatic approach to life. This includes respecting other alternative views and opinions of God (other religions) as long as they do not produce harm and/or infringe upon others.


This was recently posted over at the Positive Deism forums and I thought that I would share it here:

Cherish Your Doubts by Robert T. Weston

Cherish your doubts, for doubt is the attendant of truth.

Doubt is the key to the door of knowledge; it is the servant of discovery.

A belief which may not be questioned binds us to error, for there is incompleteness and imperfection in every belief.

Doubt is the touchstone of truth; it is an acid which eats away the false.

Let no one fear for the truth, that doubt may consume it; for doubt is a testing of belief.

The truth stands boldly and unafraid: it is not shaken by the testing:

For truth, if it be truth, arises from each testing stronger, more secure.

Those that would silence doubt are filled with fear; their houses are built on shifting sands.

But those who fear not doubt, and know its use, are founded on rock.

They shall walk in the light of growing knowledge; the work of their hands shall endure.

Therefore let us not fear doubt, but let us rejoice in its help:

It is to the wise as a staff to the blind; doubt is the attendant of truth.

Friday, June 6, 2008

My Christian Wife

Here is a post that is non-educational and expresses some of my views and opinions.

I truly love my Christian wife (I know that it sound corny but please continue). She means the world to me and I love spending every minute I can with her. Obviously, we have our theological differences but spending time in discussion we have found we have more similiarities than differences (which I believe is true for most). We focus on the similiarities and that is how we have been able to make it past the problems of interfaith marriage that can befall many.

We compromise when needed and work towards a solution that is beneficial for both of us and our children. Love is incredibly powerful and can get passed most problems that arise but only when it is the primary focus of a relationship. My wife and I have this and I have been blessed by it. I do believe in the concept of innate potential (as compared to original sin) and the love that my wife and I share is an aspect of this potential. I can't imagine life without her and look forward to being with her for the rest of this life and the next (whatever that may be).

In fact, my biggest defender regarding being a Deist is my wife. She takes it personally if someone comes after me because I am a Deist. She and I both believe that the person should not be judged by beliefs but by actions.

These reasons are why I do not share some of the Anti-Christian views that my counterparts within Deism do. I have known many people who are Christians and both good and bad exist within it. Conversely, I have met many freethinkers and both good and bad existed there to.

The most important thing to me is not what a person believes theologically but how they treat others. Simply, they need to treat others based on reason which includes kindness and respect. This does not mean that we cannot enter into debate and have disagreements but we must not fall into the trap of disrespect as this is not becoming of humans or Deists.

Deism and the Absentee Landlord

Unfortunatley, while my second post is going to have some personal views in it regarding Deism its main focus will be educational. So, here goes.

Deism was created during the Enlightenment in Europe as a way of bringing reason to bear down on Chrisitianity. However, while it may have started like this it quickly became its own separate belief system. While Deism started with a bang it ended with a whimper until recently when the usage of the word regained use by Modern Deists. Unfortunately, the disappearance of Deism has led to many false beliefs regarding the theology and one of the worst is the Absentee Landlord fallacy.

One of the hallmarks of Christianity is a God that is active in the creation. Deism on the other hand has been defined as the God that set the universe (the creation) in motion and then stepped back to only observe (or left all together) to never intervene. This is the Deism most hear about (if they hear about it at all).

Contrary to popular belief, the God of both classical and modern Deism is active and not simply an observer. The God of classical Deism set the world in motion based on certain natural laws and then works within these laws to bring about change and evolution of the creation and that includes humanity as well. The classical Deists believed that God was in the creation but only within certain confines so their view of God was of one that did not intervene directly in human affairs (revelations, miracles and the like) but influenced the creation through the natural laws and would act on humans in a fashion that took this into account.

A good example would be morality. The classical Deists believed that God gave man a sense of right and wrong so we would make the world a better place but also gave man free agency so that it was up to mankind to utilize this innate morality properly. Also, they denied "original sin" and saw man having "original blessing" which is also called Innate Potential in the modern usage. This included gifts from God such as a sense of morality but also the concept of Grace.

Many classical Deists also believed that man would be judged after death and receive either a reward or punishment for our actions. As one can see, this hardly sounds like a God that abandoned his creation but rather a God that was active. Modern Deism holds to many of these views and does not adhere to a God that has no activity in the universe. God may not be seen as a being by modern Deists but the idea of a mechanistic universe in no need of an active creator is not an aspect of Deism in the past or present.

If you have any questions please ask.

A Comparison of Deism and Christianity

Here at Progressive Deism my goal is to express my views on Deism and related topics. However, education is always a good thing so every once in awhile I like to educate others about Deism. One of the ways to accomplish education of anything is to compare it to something that is along the same lines and in this case that would be comparing Deism to other religions.

So, a simple and effective way of learning about what Deism is and what the basic beliefs are is to compare it to something else that is well-known and in this case the best choice would be Christianity for obvious reasons. Here is a list of basic beliefs held by Deists as they compare to the basic beliefs of Christianity.

Please note that this is not a faith vs faith comparison but a way of showing similarities and differences.

Belief in God:
Christianity = Yes
Deism = Yes

Nature of God:
Christianity = Transcendent/Non-Evolving
Deism = Transcendent/Evolving

Characteristics of God:
Christianity = Omnipotent
Deism = Incomprehensible (beyond human understanding)

Relationship with Humanity:
Christianity = Personal/Individual
Deism = Transpersonal/Overall Humanity

Christianity = Direct/Visible Signs
Deism = Abstract/Subtle Signs

Foundation of Faith:
Christianity = Revelation
Deism = Reason

Basis for Morality:
Christianity = Commandments/Golden Rule
Deism = Golden Rule

Christianity = Holy Bible
Deism = Nature

Christianity = Heaven
Deism = Unknown (but hope for one)

Innate Sin:
Christianity = Yes
Deism = No

Innate Potential (also called original blessing):
Christianity = No
Deism = Yes

Free Agency:
Christianity = Yes
Deism = Yes

Acceptance of Supernatural Events:
Christianity = Yes
Deism = No

Compatible with Science:
Christianity = Varied (dependent on sect)
Deism = Yes

I hope that this list helps those trying to understand Deism and new posts will be made that discusses each point in more detail. If you have any questions just let me know.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Welcome to Progressive Deism

Welcome to Progressive Deism,

The goal of this blog is to discuss and promote the modern and progressive view of Deism in which the concept of Deism is undergoing evolution due to the constant changes in knowledge that are happening daily around us.

This blog will be focused on my opinions and beliefs regarding Deism rather than just a general overview that exists on many websites.
Please enjoy as the comment field is open to all but please utilize reason and respect as I plan to do and show the world what Deists are truly made of.