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7 years ago  ::  Oct 13, 2007 - 1:31PM #1
BeliefnetCheryl
Posts: 341
Another topic from the old board--

voltaire360
   
I was researching Deism and I think I am a Deist. I agree that Reason is fundemental to my belief in God. However, I do not like how "hands off" Deism is on God. Most Deists believe that praying is useless. I kind of like the ceremonial setting a church has to offer. Why can't there be Deist prayers and Deist Churches and Deist preists( who don't necesarilly control salvation but are very educated individuals who specialize in pastoral care and presiding over the hypothetical "deist" church). Even though I disagree with a lot of the details that philosiphers added to Deism, can I still be considered Deist? I Believe that God is pretty hands off(sorry i keep using the expression) on the universe, but at certain times he can make intercessions into people's daily lives. Am I a Deist?
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6 years ago  ::  Nov 15, 2007 - 2:51AM #2
boldly_question
Posts: 13
voltaire360
   
>"I was researching Deism and I think I am a Deist. I agree that Reason is fundemental to my belief in God. However, I do not like how "hands off" Deism is on God. Most Deists believe that praying is useless."

Prayer has meaning if you consider it a means of reflecting on your life, your wants and needs, your successes and struggles.  You can use it as a form of meditation.  And, IMHO, there's nothing wrong with giving thanks to the Creator and meditating on "his" nature, since reason leads us to God but doesn't reveal who or what God is.

It doesn't strike me as fair that God would work a miracle for a few people but deny miracles to the majority.  Is their faith not strong enough?  Is God not compassionate or powerful enough?  Perhaps God is busy affecting the outcome of wars and the NFL.

That said, some Deists do imagine God working "under the wire," discretely tinkering with the Universe.  I would ask them why God needs to tinker in the first place.  Didn't the natural laws "he" established work right from the outset?

Thus, I believe natural factors alone determine what happens to us during our time on Earth. 

Certainly, I could be wrong.  Couldn't we all?     

>"I kind of like the ceremonial setting a church has to offer. Why can't there be Deist prayers and Deist Churches and Deist preists( who don't necesarilly control salvation but are very educated individuals who specialize in pastoral care and presiding over the hypothetical "deist" church)."

Deist churches, or "temples of reason," were established in France between the end of the Revolution and the rise of Napoleon.  These "temples" were mostly emptied-out Catholic churches, a big clue as to why the religious majority rejected and resented them.  Revealed religions such as Catholicism were outlawed.  The ruling party, represented by Robespierre, was eventually torn apart by infighting and backstabbing between Deists and atheists.  Signs above cemetaries, promulgated by the atheists, stated this was the final resting place, no afterlife, so sorry.  Calendars were rewritten to eradicate any references to Christianity, with 1792 being Year One.  The madness ended when Napoleon forced order by having the ruling party executed.  He declared the masses want and need their superstition, so let them have it freely, without penalty.

To me, it's ironic that Deist values led to religious tolerance in the United States, but took a radically different turn in France.

Modern Deist churches might work, provided we have learned the value of tolerance from the violence of history.  The biggest obstacle is getting freethinkers to agree on hymns and other rituals, never mind core beliefs.  To use the old cliche, it's like herding cats.  However, Unitarian Universalism has succeeded in bringing all types of freethinkers together.  Perhaps instead on reinventing the wheel, you could look there?  You might also look into the Masons.  They aren't intrinsically Deist, but they are tolerant of different God beliefs and offer the ritual symbolism you may desire. (Think of the Eye of Providence on the dollar bill.)

>"Even though I disagree with a lot of the details that philosiphers added to Deism, can I still be considered Deist? I Believe that God is pretty hands off(sorry i keep using the expression) on the universe, but at certain times he can make intercessions into people's daily lives. Am I a Deist?"

This probably sounds cliche and not particularly helpful, but only you can decide whether or not you're a Deist.  Keep in mind that many, if not most, Deists will gimace at the notion of miracles and divinely answered prayer, for the reasons I've mentioned above.
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6 years ago  ::  Dec 05, 2007 - 8:32PM #3
MoHskrNut
Posts: 46

BeliefnetCheryl wrote:

Another topic from the old board--

voltaire360

I was researching Deism and I think I am a Deist. I agree that Reason is fundemental to my belief in God. However, I do not like how "hands off" Deism is on God. Most Deists believe that praying is useless.



I don't feel that praying is useless. It is a way of showing your support. Giving thanks for what you have, who or what you have become etc. It also makes you think more about what is going in your life. I believe God gives us the power and the knowledge. It is up to us to put the two together and make it work. Praying if nothing else allows us to dwell on what we want to accomplish. IMHO it makes me think of ways to achieve certain goals. But then that is just me.

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6 years ago  ::  Dec 13, 2007 - 12:46PM #4
DnRichards
Posts: 2
It seems to me that another benefit to prayer besides giving thanks,  is that prayer helps (should) take the focus off of ourselves. Does God answer prayer, and is God still speaking? In my life, it's been that small still voice that prompts me to do good.
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6 years ago  ::  Dec 15, 2007 - 10:32AM #5
PurpleKU77
Posts: 97
I think I am Deist too, but wonder if Deists got together for "worship," would they have to wear frock coats and tricorner hats?
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6 years ago  ::  Dec 15, 2007 - 1:11PM #6
MoHskrNut
Posts: 46
Don't forget the white powdered wigs.....Let's stay with traditon!!!
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6 years ago  ::  Dec 20, 2007 - 6:25AM #7
RevKeithWright
Posts: 137
[QUOTE=PurpleKU77;140993]I think I am Deist too, but wonder if Deists got together for "worship," would they have to wear frock coats and tricorner hats?[/QUOTE]

Yes, we do....we used to meet at the top of Mt. Mitchell, next to the French Broad River, and at Graveyard Fields in NC...now it is on the beach...just before sunrise....and in shorts and an aloha shirt.

There is no "sermon", per se, it is more of a celebration of life...of deeply realizing that we are stardust...and for a brief time, are able to experience awareness.  We aren't social activists during this time.  We have distilled everything to some simple truths.  There was a creator.  The universe was designed perfectly at the moment of creation and since it is perfect, doesn't need prayer to "fix" it, but we offer prayers of thanks because we can, that we are all interconnected by the laws of physics, strings, and the laws of conservation of matter and energy...we share water communion as we are made of mostly water and this brings to our awareness of this shared bond throughout humanity.  We are skeptics and see truth in the natural and shun the supernatural...there is far too much to the real world to be amazed at than faith in scamming humans.

It is great to be alive, and to be able to share this with you.
May your day be filled with joy and wonder,
Namaste,
Rev. Keith R. Wright
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6 years ago  ::  Dec 20, 2007 - 6:42AM #8
RevKeithWright
Posts: 137
[QUOTE=boldly_question;70327]voltaire360
   
>"
That said, some Deists do imagine God working "under the wire," discretely tinkering with the Universe.  I would ask them why God needs to tinker in the first place.  Didn't the natural laws "he" established work right from the outset?
>"I kind of like the ceremonial setting a church has to offer. Why can't there be Deist prayers and Deist Churches and Deist preists( who don't necesarilly control salvation but are very educated individuals who specialize in pastoral care and presiding over the hypothetical "deist" church)."

.[/QUOTE]

Verus Amicus Est Tamqam Alter Idem.
Cicero

I agree with what you are saying to the very core of who I am.  Prayer offends me as I believe it insults God...what we have...this precious life...isn't enough...we feel the need to control it, direct it.  We need to be more like water and flowing through this life rather than a dam trying to stop it and redirect it according to our whims and desires.

Contrast two similar aquatic activities...being in a powerboat and running at full throttle...have you ever experienced that?  It was exhillerating...but nothing profound or spiritual...and being on an innertube, floating peacefully down a spring run..going witht he flow and contemplating life...spiritually profound and rejuvenating...you emerge from this activity with a renewed sense of self and of what truly matters.

The Deist church is very real...I am just taking my time in reestablishing it.

When it was started, it was an excellent place to gain concensus of Deists from around the world.  I want to take that information and experience and expand on it.  There was too much argument and I feel that it was too ambiguous...people are more of the, "Tell me what to believe" kind so I want to distill the tenets to their most pure form.  God created the universe, simplicity in living is paramount, understanding our origins as where our elements came from to become truly spiritually aware (few people are impressed that they are stardust..they are so jaded that it doesn't knock them to the ground when they realize WHAT they are how rare life on this planet is), sharing our commonalities of need, (food, shelter, clothing, water, and love), and finding joy in meeting, rather than perversely exceeding those needs.

I am finding great joy in meeting you through this forum.  It has been too long that I have been away.
Namaste,
Rev. Keith R. Wright
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5 years ago  ::  Nov 03, 2008 - 8:49PM #9
cclendenen
Posts: 34
[QUOTE=Original angel;865985]Hi cheryl
Are you a deist ?
Any road that lead to some thing start some where.
And since this is  I hope a discusion of Deism. one need to examen and clarify what deism is.wich in esence is the aceptance that our origins are obscure but one self is interested in clarifing what those origen may be. one ultimate God, many, all.
If one look in to open systems versus closse systems one is face with very important desitions related to the ability of any deity influencing any out come in a close system in the other hand if is a open system this deity may afect or not  any out come. and if this true concept such as freedon, choices cause,determinism and games are predetermen by that entitie or(God) so any out come is all ready postulated.
If any God enter in to a close system this God is subject as we all are to the game  in the closse system so this God by including it self in this universe limit its power and is subject as any one to increase or decrease in power.
This subject i'm sure not may have contemplate it some have and is in need to be exposed more.
I know this is heavy stuff  I fell that it is a important subject in the understanding of Deism.
do you agree?
original angel[/QUOTE]

My own belief is that the universe was created, but that once the laws of nature were set in motion, there would be no reason for the Creator to violate those natural laws. To paraphrase Ambrose Bierce, prayer is asking God to violate the laws of the universe on behalf of a single person. At best, giving thanks for the Creator's beneficence and providence certainly is not something I could imagine  anyone finding fault with, but it also seems rather pointless. Why would Nature's God need prayer or worship? What can humans provide that the Creator might find useful or needful? What would be the reason behind prayer?

As for churches and priests? I would like to think there can be such a thing as a Deist church. I think a Deist church can provide a social structure and a sense of community where people with shared religious values can share knowledge and experiences. Priests? I think not. Deism is non-dogmatic, and ceremonies can remind former theists of the bad experiences they had at their former churches. At most, I can image a lay ministry that could help guide new members to sources of information and learning, perform certain officiating functions at life events such as weddings and funerals, or even do some counseling if qualified. But a priesthood? I think not. From what source would the priesthood draw its authority? Deism has no central governing body or organizational structure. Deists cannot claim any authority passed down in the name of God. What preaching is there to be done? Try to think of anything that a priest would do in a Deist church, and I could find dozens of Deists who would reject every one of those functions you might name. Deism has rejection of the clergy at its very roots. I don't think a priesthood is valid for Deism.
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5 years ago  ::  Nov 04, 2008 - 10:40PM #10
cclendenen
Posts: 34
[QUOTE=Original angel;871323]I agree partialy with your position on what fuction a priest would have in the said church.
I do fell that there is a funtion for such priest  which lie in education  that can empower the individual with correct information about origins, and orientate the individual toward more proactive spiritual levels by understanding of basic issues if agreed upon by the member of such churhes.
this basic issues lie in the area of what may the self be, what the self is doing here. reasons, and from that how to conduct one self so that the self as well as the group have purpose, goals and a life worthy for the individual as well as the group.
original angel.[/QUOTE]
And I feel that a lay person with knowledge and experience can (and should) fulfill the role you describe. The mere word "priest" is liable to make a Deist run away fast. Facilitators, elders, even ministers could be terms for those in an officiating role for functions like weddings or funerals or mutually agreed-upon functions.

I do not understand what you mean by "more proactive spiritual levels" and how a "priest" in a Deist church would orient an individual in any direction. How to conduct one's self is a purely individual choice. So would the determination of what constitutes a worthy life. A Deist church could not have dogma or tenets dictating anyone's conduct. Could you expand on what you mean by this line of reasoning?

Certainly, the group and individuals could and would have goals, but I would imagine the group goals would be defined by consensus or an elected board of some sort, and individual goals would be individual options.
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