The Problem With Deism

Deism is the belief that there is a God, but that he is completely distant and unknowable. The god of deism does not interact with creation, or have anything to do with it. For one who began as an atheist, this belief in a god of some kind no matter how distant is a step in the right direction. However, deism does not go far enough, spiritually or logically.

For one, the god of deism is completely out of touch with the created universe. This god sits around somewhere in the invisible and merely exists, as if existence is all there is to God.

Secondly, a god who does not have anything to do with the universe or people is certainly not worthy of worship. It doesn’t make sense to worship a god who does not even care if you worship it, nor does it have any inclination toward you in any way whatsoever.

Thirdly, a god who does not have anything to do with people has no purpose for existing in the first place. The god of deism is a shadow, a caricature of the divine but without any attributes. That god merely is.

There must be more to the true God than mere existence, distance and transcendence. He must, by necessity, care about the universe and the things existent in it. He must be involved with creation. If these things are not true, then God is not worthy of our time. But if they are true, then he is worthy of worship.

The true and living God does not resemble the god of deism. The deist must go the step further, to understanding that the true God is present and active in creation. Don’t stop with the knowledge that there is a God out there somewhere. Find out who he is and why it matters. The answer will change your life.

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15 Responses to The Problem With Deism

  1. mjackson75 says:

    Hi Krista,
    I read your post, and really appreciate it. I’d like to respond as such:

    1. I think there’s a fundamental difference between the Christian God and the Deist God. As a professor of mine used to say, “you’re looking through Jesus colored glasses.” 🙂 The difference is that I believe the Creator created and ordered the universe according to natural laws. In this sense, it can look at creation and still admire. I don’t think of a creator just sits and exists. Who knows, perhaps it is still creating!

    2. I agree. I don’t worship the creator, instead, I recognize the creation and try to treat it accordingly. I don’t think the creator had any designs on our worship.

    3. Here I do disagree. I don’t think we can wrap the creator’s purpose or existence around this creation’s existence. In fact, to me it is pointless to even think about the purpose of the creator as it is in fact eternal. What was the point of God’s existence before he created the world, whenever that was?

    4. I think the creator is involved in creation in the sense of the natural laws that were put into place. There must be some reason the earth is at exactly the distance from the sun to welcome life. I think the laws of nature are in fact a working of the creator, therefore, there is care of the universe and the things existent in it. As far as creating and leaving, I’m more insistent that the creator doesn’t intervene in the laws of nature.

    Thanks again, you do cause me to think!

    Regards.

  2. Manos says:

    ‘For one, the god of deism is completely out of touch with the created universe.’

    This is merely a restatement of the definition of a deist god, infused with a snort of disapproval. It is so far from an argument that it betrays your true objection: you don’t like the deist point of view; it does not make you feel good about the god in question. This is, however, as you yourself have pointed out elsewhere in your writings, very poor theology.

    ‘Secondly, a god who does not have anything to do with the universe or people is certainly not worthy of worship.’

    There is no problem with that. One’s professed religion does not indicate who one worships but rather what one believes to be the fundamental truths of the world and what one believes they suggest as a right way to live one’s life.

    Also, why is it given that a creator God must be worthy of worship? Would anything created by mankind have any incentive to worship us? With the exception of art perhaps, we always seem to have a use in mind for our creations.

    In fact, a work of art is probably the best parallel to creation in a deist context. The deist god, like an artist, created the world so that it would exist, and for no other reason.

    ‘Thirdly, a god who does not have anything to do with people has no purpose for existing in the first place. ‘

    Wow. Again you betray yourself. God exists for people. But surely, as the previous poster pointed out, God exists outside the space and time which mankind inhabits, and what is His purpose outside of the universe?

    ‘There must be more to the true God than mere existence, distance and transcendence. He must, by necessity, care about the universe and the things existent in it. He must be involved with creation. If these things are not true, then God is not worthy of our time.’

    God ‘must’ nothing. He is not some civil service with a remit to adhere to. The vanity of this statement is Luciferian to the umpteenth degree. And ever if God is involved with the Universe, why is this involvement ‘by necessity’ ordered and benign? We may feel it necessary, in the very real sense that we need God to care, but it is not logically necessary.

    • Aaron Dantoni says:

      If he exists his involvement IS a necessity. Much like the Father and Mothers necessity is needed in their childs life or that of two lovers involvement in each others lives. Hell, or just as a gardner to his/her garden. One doesnt just simply create something and never interact with it ever again. I am a drummer and I build drums for a living but even on that level I interact with my creation.

  3. jack says:

    thank god i’m an atheist

  4. tscott says:

    what is the deist view of jesus?

  5. I’m sure different deists have different views of Jesus, but these would all be opinions of him as a man. Since deists don’t believe in a personal God, the idea of Jesus being God in the flesh is totally foreign.

  6. Katie says:

    If God was truly a deistic deity, then I seriously doubt the universe and everything in it would exist. Everything that begins to exist must have a cause, so if God simply didn’t care, there would be no need for the universe to have come into existence at all.

  7. Katie says:

    Yes, the question of Jesus is something worthwhile to ask a Deist in your spare time because the smarter ones know it’s a stumbling block for Deism, just as Atheists seem to know that it’s a stumbling block for general Atheism.
    How many times have we heard people say that we should live by Jesus’ teachings, but reject the notion that he was God in the flesh? This, as C.S. Lewis said, is irritating and truly reveals the biblical literacy of the person suggesting it considering that Jesus said about himself, “I am the way, the truth and the life, and no man comes to the father but through me” and, “Before Abraham even existed, I AM!”…What a statement!

  8. Jonathan says:

    Actually Katie –
    You should probably take into account that most atheists/deists out there weren’t born atheists/deists. Most atheists/deists are atheists/deists because they were troubled by the bible, decided to study it (in more depth than the majority of even the religious christians, and probably more than you ever have or will) and decided that for a variety of good reasons they just couldnt accept it.
    do you think they WANT to not believe in a god? who wouldnt want to believe in a god?! most deists dont even believe in an afterlife, for the record. so do you think they want to live their life thinking that eventually they will die, their bodies will rot in the ground and they will cease to exist? they WISH they could believe in the bible instead of having to be somewhat of a minority and go against the general population.
    the question of jesus is not a stumbling block for deism nor atheism. in fact, is is their biggest strength, and the one they use towards their advantage the most. a stumbling block for atheism would be deism and all its arguments. but if an atheist is in an argument, christianity is his best way to win it.

  9. Jim says:

    Just because a man said that doesn’t mean it is true. Throughout history, from Zoroaster to Sathya Sai Baba today, men have claimed divine revelation and in some cases divinity. It takes a radical mind to produce radical thought. Jesus had radically new views on morality that ought to be studied and considered, and the fact that he thought he was God doesn’t contradict those. Think about it: if you were alive in his illogical time of ruthless stonings and blatant irrationality, and came up with these ideas, wouldn’t you think you were a bit Godly? You take Jesus as the one God-claiming middle-eastern man who was right, I cannot accept that. Especially when the quotes you so readily elicit come from a book put together hundreds of years later with Roman blood money.

    • Aaron Dantoni says:

      I doubt Zoroaster or Baba taught about “love your neighbor as yourself” and to “turn the other cheeck”. Or that either of those two, had they been sentenced to death like Jesus had been, that they would have just went along with it without some sort of justification. Jesus was not sentenced to the cross for just being a radical, he was sentenced because he called himself “The Son of the living God”. Either Jesus was who he said he was(The Son of God) OR he was a liar and a lunatic. If he was a liar why then would anybody call him a good teacher? Good teachers don’t lie.

  10. Dave says:

    What a slanderous statement about Deism.

    Deism in my eyes view is what the Old Testament is all about…a God who created the heavens and the earth and watched the World from above as it crumbled under sin.

    In an attempt to show is undying love for His children, “He sent his one and only son” to die for us to show how much HE loves us…thus the purpose of the New Testament.

    Thomas Jefferson was a Deist.
    I myself believe in this philosophy as well. Jesus is NOT God…Jesus was the son of God. Why else would he talk about the One who sent him?? The One who he prayed on behalf of in order to do miracles on “Gods” behalf…not on his own. The one who he cried out to on the cross as he gave his last breath, “My God, My God…why have your forsaken me??” Was he talking to himself?? Seriously…there is a God…and thus I consider myself to be a Deist.

    Jesus knew his Father…and he was sent to show us the way to have a personal relationship with God.

    Deism is not an extract from Jesus and or God.
    Deism simply acknowledges that there is one God. One who has great love for all of His children who inhabit the earth. Jesus was sent to spread the message to everyone. Jesus sent his own disciples to spread the Word of God…not the Word of Jesus. Jesus spoke the Words of God…Jesus acted through the power and glory of God our Father.

    How dare you, Ravi, claim that Deism is an simply a God who is separate from the Earth. That is not what Deism is about…and I pray that God will open your eyes and heart as you continue your ministry.

    • Aaron Dantoni says:

      Dave,
      I don’t think i can argue you to my side but to say that Jesus was not God is a misunderstanding of Jesus’s whole message. I suggest reading Luke 18: 18-23. In those verses a man says to Jesus “good teacher” Jesus replies, ” why do you call me good, don’t you know there is none good but God?”. In that one small exchange Jesus broke down the mans predispositions about who he thought Jesus was. Jesus also claimed to be able to forgive sins. That may not sound like much but to a Jew in the first century, trust me, that statement was saying that Jesus was claiming to be God. Not merely like him or just a son of his. Jesus was saying I am the one who can right your sins and make you white as snow.

  11. God in the Old Testament was constantly intervening in the lives of his people, from men like Moses who saw him face to face, to the prophets who he used to speak to the people as a whole. Deism claims an unrelational god who wound up the universe and let it go to run on its own.

    If God is only deistic, then you cannot hope he will open anyone’s mind.

    I have written extensively on the question of Jesus as God (starting here), and plan on writing on it again in the near future. Please see those posts, and stay tuned for more.

  12. K. Mapson says:

    The perceived shortcomings of Deism as set forth in this piece are resolved in Pandeism, which proposes (and supports logically as the least assumptive model) that our Creator created our Universe from the whole of its own substance– that is, that our Creator became our Universe. The Arjuna narrative of the Bhagavad Gita has Vishnu doing exactly this, so as to share in the experience of our Universe. It cannot be stressed enough that this explanation fully accounts for all theological phenomena– for all miracles and scriptures and revelations and prophecies and spirit-being perceptions, across all faiths– as miscomprehensions of limited human minds touching upon a unconscious underlying ultimate of which we are all part. Simply put, Pandeism fully accounts!!

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