Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Deism But Were Afraid To Ask
How do Deists view Jesus?
Deists have varied views on Jesus. The majority view Jesus as a philosopher and find wisdom in his beliefs and ideas. There are also those that do not believe that he existed and was created by others. Some may even view him as a mystic. There is a group that call themselves Christian Deists and considers Jesus to be their primary philosopher.
Do all Deists believe that God created the universe and then stepped back?
No, but there are many Deists who believe this way and are probably the majority. They believe that God created the universe and set it in motion based on natural laws and then stepped back and observes (like a scientist and his experiment). This has been related to the idea that God created and then abandoned which is nonsense. However, contrary to popular belief, Deism is not defined by its view of God but is defined by where the belief in God originated (reason). There are some Deists that believe that God acts as a subtle guiding force behind the universe and governs by the natural laws, a sustainer if you will. In each view, an awe and reverence for God and his creation exists and plays a pivotal role for all Deists regardless of belief into the nature of God.
Do Deists believe that God intervenes in human affairs?
This question is hard because how people interpret and define words. For this answer, intervention means that God would involve himself in our lives and perform supernatural acts such as miracles and revelations. As should be known by now, Deists do not accept miracles and revelations as evidence for the existence of God. Many believe that God could do these things but does not for whatever reason. In many cases this stems from the belief that God does not possess human qualities but is something abstract and incomprehensible. To answer the question finally, Deists do not believe that God involves himself directly in human affairs but some believe that God is involved in the guidance/governance of the universe.
If God is not active in the universe, then does this not imply abandonment?
In the case of Monodeism, God creates then steps back and observes. In this viewpoint, God is passive and is involved in the universe but not in a direct fashion. An analogy would be that God is a scientist and the universe is the experiment. God observes but does not intervene in the process that has been set in motion. Essentially, God is mentally involved with the universe but not physically so abandonment has not occurred.
Why do Deists not accept divine revelation as a valid?
Deists do not accept divine revelation because of the many problems that this method of communication has attached to it. First, there exists geographical isolation that must be overcome that is a not so much a problem today but was extremely limiting back when many of the so-called prophets existed. Second, revelations are viewed from the perspective of secondary information. Any information given to the individual is only for the individual and cannot be shared by others as only he/she had the revelation and we cannot know what they heard. Therefore, it is hearsay and does not have to be believed or accepted. Third, many do not believe that God communicates in such a fashion and reject all revelations as false and improbable. Essentially, why would God use such a poor method to communicate with man?
Do Deists believe that there is a purpose to life?
Yes and no. Deists do not believe that there is an absolute mandate by God on what our purpose is in this existence. However, based on Reason we can come to our purpose and what that purpose is. Most Deists believe that the following is our purpose in life. "Our purpose is to honor God by using our God-given Reason to understand what is means to be alive is every sense of the word (to live life to the fullest) and act in such a way as to secure human happiness and contentment." Reason dictates that life is short and that this may be all there is. Furthermore, we must all live together on this planet and in this existence and should make it desirable for all. Therefore, we must do what is best for ourselves and others based on natural law and Reason and that is our purpose.
Do Deists believe in the Devil?
No. Deists believe that the Devil was a creation of pre-modern man to help explain evil and destruction in the world. Pre-modern man had made God in an anthropomorphic view and then to increase feelings of security they made God like a parent that loves his creation. However, the question that had inevitably came up was how could God love his creation but allow evil? This was answered with the creation of an evil God that made and promoted evil in the world. However, in the western view, God is all-powerful and no other god can exist so the Devil was reduced in power and stature. This corrected the problem and absolved God of responsibility but in return it created numerous contradictions that Deists cannot accept. Thus, Deists do not believe that any type of supernatural being exists that creates and promotes evil in the world.
How Do Deists Explain Evil in the World?
This is difficult to answer and can only be viewed from our perspective as humans. Essentially, evil is an act that produces harm on other humans for no other reason than it could be done. There is no element of survival, no element of self-defense, only that the person (or persons) committing the act wanted to bring harm and destruction on others. This evil exists because man has the ability to produce such acts. We all have choices and those choices determine the direction that we will go into. In cases of evil, people have made conscience decisions to harm others and produce evil. In theological terms, there is no real answer except that we cannot truly know why the universe is like it is. For many Deists, it is part of the creation and one that we can only overcome by the use of Reason and compassion towards others. So, to answer the question, there is no real answer as to why the world has evil from the theological perspective and from the empirical perspective it is because humans chose to harm others for no other reason than they can.
How Do Deists Rectify there View of God and Evil?
For most Deists, the answer is simply that God is not good or evil but just “is.” Deists do not assign human characteristics to God and therefore do not have the problem of a good vs. bad God that plagues so many other theological viewpoints. This answer is not one that gives you much ease but does not produce such contradictions that tend to exist. God is not viewed as a “being” that allows evil to exist but is seen in abstract terms (which is what Reason demands). God does not have the burden of being made in man’s image but instead is incomprehensible and indefinable in human understanding and terms. Therefore, it makes no sense to apply human ideas and views onto God but instead God must be looked at from a vantage point that we cannot truly view from. So, God is not good or evil but is something else altogether.
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