Okay, Nerdy Keith, I'll bite: Why would someone be a deist?

Homepage Forums Theism Okay, Nerdy Keith, I'll bite: Why would someone be a deist?

This topic contains 39 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by  Unseen 5 years, 2 months ago.

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  • #1687

    _Robert_
    Participant

    I find deism to be a comfortable compromise, and even though I used to call myself a Christian, I was a deist for most of my life. I had not yet spent the time and research that would ultimately drive me to agnosticism/atheism. I was too busy. And I didn’t want to give up on the afterlife.

    Now I believe homo sapiens evolved to cooperate in large numbers and religion is one way to align a large number of us.

    #1692

    Unseen
    Participant

    Are you asking me who created the creator? The only answer I have for you regarding this; is that the God of Nature is likely eternal. Some atheists have a similar view on our universe itself and claim that the universe is eternal.

    If God is eternal then he exists in a context which is as eternal as he is. The multiverse? Why not a multiverse which operates on its own with no need of a god?

    Also, if you believe in God, you believe in magic. Your God is a cosmic sorcerer who pulls universes out of empty space as a stage magician might pull doves out of his sleeve.

    #1702

    SteveInCO
    Participant

    Deism to me is purely a philosophic position. Whether or not there was a “prime mover” is a philosophical question, that honestly really makes no difference.

    Where the trouble starts is when people start asserting said Prime Mover wants ME to do something, and that they know what it is and are willing to ram their conclusions down my throat.

    I can get along with deists. I can’t get along with the sort of fundie who is willing to use force to get me to do (what they think is) god’s will.

    #1724

    Unseen
    Participant

    NK, I found this argument online. Basically, one important thing it asks is whether, if God isn’t present and doesn’t act in the universe, what about Heaven and Hell? Is there no religious reason to do good, or is it just a practical matter. And is there no retribution for people who do terrible things and a reward for do-gooders? Is there an afterlife at all?

    And what about The Bible? If The Bible is the revealed word of God, wasn’t that God acting in the world a couple thousand years ago?

    If your view is that God never acted in the world, then he never revealed himself to mankind and we are left with just the universe and your claim that something/someone must have caused it, but couldn’t the cause of the universe be nothing more than a set of necessary antecedents and not a personal being at all? In other words, a cause which is just a cause and no more?

    BEGIN

    Deists claim that God plays no practical role in the lives of human beings. Deists claim that proof of God can be found through nature and the sciences. However, God isn’t necessary to explain anything naturally, and it makes no sense to disregard God up to the Big Bang or to some other event that is of yet unexplained. Why? Quite simply because at this point, any explanation goes. If anything, attributing the beginning to God seals up any other inquiries to the matter. The Deist thus faces the dilemma: If God isn’t necessary to explain anything, why believe in him? Or if God is necessary to explain nature, why claim otherwise?

    That aside, we determine that the only practical role that God can play in a human life is in the supernatural. Now, since Deists claim that God doesn’t interfere while we are alive, it follows that the only possible intervention or action from God can come in some sort of afterlife.

    If this is so, then we come to the following complications:

    Let us suppose that the Deist God rewards those that did good and punishes those that did evil. But wait a minute, if God has never revealed himself to humanity, and never will, how can a human possibly determine what this God think is good or evil? What may seem reasonable to a human may be but pure inanity to a God. Therefore, any search for what this God rewards will be marred by extreme uncertainties. The search will be futile and always inconclusive. In short, God plays no meaningful role in man’s quest for moral answers.

    But if the Deist claims that God doesn’t reward anyone in specific in the afterlife, or treats everyone equally, regardless of beliefs, why bother believing in a God that doesn’t play any meaningful role in your life OR in explaining natural phenomena?

    No matter how you slice it, Atheism is still the most practical and rational choice. (source)

    END

    • This reply was modified 5 years, 2 months ago by  Unseen.
    #1734

    Thomas Paine
    Participant

    It pains me to see so much time and energy spent on the possibility that superstition just might be an actual reality.

    We could be helping others suffering from the mass delusion that is religion.

    #1735

    Thomas Paine
    Participant

    @ Unseen — I’m liking you a lot more as this topic progresses. You are saving me lots of time and energy presenting the work of many good philosophers who have proceeded us.

    Thanks

    #1754

    Nerdy Keith
    Participant

    If God is eternal then he exists in a context which is as eternal as he is. The multiverse? Why not a multiverse which operates on its own with no need of a god?

    Also, if you believe in God, you believe in magic. Your God is a cosmic sorcerer who pulls universes out of empty space as a stage magician might pull doves out of his sleeve.

    If God exists where exactly it exists is unknown to us. Outside space and time is a possibility I’m open to; as many have claimed to believe. For all I know the God of nature could have its own separate universe within a multiverse; but that would be speculating too much

    I don’t agree that believing in God as the same as magic. If I where a Christian who believed in miracles; you’d have a point there. Because miracles are basically a form of witchcraft when you think about it.

    I suppose the best way I can explain this to you is would be to say; that the alleged acts of the God of nature may sound like magic to human beings. But to more primitive human beings of the past; the science and technology we have today would seem like magic. If we could travel back in time to the dark ages or even the 1600s and show the common human an iPhone; I think we can both imagine what their reaction might be. Another point is that typically most deists believe that the God of nature works in accordance with nature; without deviation from what we have learned about and see in nature. Something a theistic believer cannot claim (although they dishonesty attempt to)

    At this point I just can’t accept that life is just the physical. I will have to do more research on the topic; but thats where I am at right now.

    • This reply was modified 5 years, 2 months ago by  Nerdy Keith.
    #1758

    Unseen
    Participant

    If God exists where exactly it exists is unknown to us. Outside space and time is a possibility I’m open to; as many have claimed to believe. For all I know the God of nature could have its own separate universe within a multiverse; but that would be speculating too much

    I don’t agree that believing in God as the same as magic. If I where a Christian who believed in miracles; you’d have a point there. Because miracles are basically a form of witchcraft when you think about it.

    I suppose the best way I can explain this to you is would be to say; that the alleged acts of the God of nature may sound like magic to human beings. But to more primitive human beings of the past; the science and technology we have today would seem like magic. If we could travel back in time to the dark ages or even the 1600s and show the common human an iPhone; I think we can both imagine what their reaction might be. Another point is that typically most deists believe that the God of nature works in accordance with nature; without deviation from what we have learned about and see in nature. Something a theistic believer cannot claim (although they dishonesty attempt to)

    At this point I just can’t accept that life is just the physical. I will have to do more research on the topic; but thats where I am at right now.

    What does “outside space and time” mean? For you to mean something by saying it, it must first mean something, so explain please. By my understanding of time, where there’s no time there’s no activity because activity is how we mark the passage of time. If there were no time, how did God ever get off the mark to start making the universe?

    If God can pull a universe out of nothing, he’s a magician by most definitions. What is your definition of “magician”? If he’s not a magician, he’s a miracle-maker, but you don’t seem to believe in miracles, either.

    If God can make a universe and he’s not a magician or miracle-maker, then he’s a grand technician. Where and how did he gain this knowledge and from whom?

    You say “…most deists believe that the God of nature works in accordance with nature; without deviation from what we have learned about and see in nature.” Did nature pre-exist the universe or even God? Your phrasing suggest so. It would seem that nature was there and God decided to obey its rules.

    “At this point I just can’t accept that life is just the physical. I will have to do more research on the topic; but thats where I am at right now.” Why can’t you accept that the world is matter and what happens in matter (an epiphenomenon of matter, in other words). The mind, for example, is an epiphenomenon of the brain. No brain, no mind. By the same token, if God has a mind he needs a body and a brain. Saying, “No he isn’t subject to physical law and he exists beyond space and time” is just a bunch of words with no meaning at all. It’s a non-explanation.

    #1777

    Nerdy Keith
    Participant

    What does “outside space and time” mean? For you to mean something by saying it, it must first mean something, so explain please. By my understanding of time, where there’s no time there’s no activity because activity is how we mark the passage of time. If there were no time, how did God ever get off the mark to start making the universe?

    If God can pull a universe out of nothing, he’s a magician by most definitions. What is your definition of “magician”? If he’s not a magician, he’s a miracle-maker, but you don’t seem to believe in miracles, either.

    If God can make a universe and he’s not a magician or miracle-maker, then he’s a grand technician. Where and how did he gain this knowledge and from whom?

    You say “…most deists believe that the God of nature works in accordance with nature; without deviation from what we have learned about and see in nature.” Did nature pre-exist the universe or even God? Your phrasing suggest so. It would seem that nature was there and God decided to obey its rules.

    “At this point I just can’t accept that life is just the physical. I will have to do more research on the topic; but thats where I am at right now.” Why can’t you accept that the world is matter and what happens in matter (an epiphenomenon of matter, in other words). The mind, for example, is an epiphenomenon of the brain. No brain, no mind. By the same token, if God has a mind he needs a body and a brain. Saying, “No he isn’t subject to physical law and he exists beyond space and time” is just a bunch of words with no meaning at all. It’s a non-explanation.

    Ok fair enough, outside space and time is generally understood to be a higher plane of existence or rather outside the natural universe. How God went about starting things off from this location? I simply don’t know. Perhaps it doesn’t require to leave its habitat (so to speak) in order to start thing off. Acknowledging that this is a transcendent higher being.

    Well a magician to me is a person who performs optical illusions. But I think you mean wizard. A wizard is a being that bends the very core of reality.

    Where did God gain its knowledge? I’m not sure exactly. One idea that comes to mind is that the God of Nature being a first cause of life in the universe (possibly many other universes) may have learned from its creations. That is not to say that it interferes, intervenes, or revels itself; which I still reject. But if this deity would require to learn from experience like we do; it stands to reason it would have to observe the natural behaviour of one of its creations. Maybe it did create another universe; with even more imperfections; learned from its mistakes; then repeated the process to reduces the errors.

    Now you may be wondering. But if this God doesn’t leave its habitat. How would it observe anything? If I can communicate with you from Ireland to (America is it? Excuse my ignorance if you are from somewhere else). If NASA can communicate with a space shuttle in orbiting the moon or possibly another planet. I would say its reasonable to believe that the God of Nature is able to come up with some means of surveillancing life in other universes. How exactly it does this? I don’t have a specific answer for you. It would be beyond our comprehension I would imagine.

    Did nature pre-exist the universe or even God? Well two things here. I don’t believe anything pre-exists the God of Nature. As far as I’m concerned; it is the originator of everything that ever was. Secondly I may have not quite explained myself clearly with some of my explanations regarding nature. I call the deity I believe in the God of Nature; because that is exactly what it is. The God of Nature. The creator of nature, the one who set up the laws of nature, laws of physics, evolution, the big bang etc. But then again; I would also be open the idea that the God of deism and nature being part in parcel. And that nature as we know it; is merely an expansion on what nature was prior to the Milky Way and the rest of the universe existing.

    Well I used to have the viewpoint that the universe is just matter and energy and so forth. I just feel that I have not explored all the possibilities and plausibilities. So that is what I am doing; I’m exploring all the options. I still think organised religion is a load of rubbish; but deism is very different from an organised faith. Its a belief system if applied and understood correctly; it can work with science.

    Now this idea that if a God exists; it must have a physical body. I don’t accept that. We don’t know the properties of God (not the deistic God anyway). We know quite a bit about the alleged Gods of Hinduism, Christianity, Islam. Because their holy books are very descriptive to what these Gods are like. And we can deduct them out of existence (so to speak). Deism is said to be an unfalsifiable hypothesis. So nobody can really say; the God of Nature must look like Galdalf from Lord of the Rings or look like Alanis Morissette. We simply do not know. But thats ok. Its the same in science; we don’t know everything. I constantly find my self explaining to theists over on Yahoo that; science is basically a process for seeking out the truth; not quite a system of absolutism. In a way deism as philosophical system functions in a similar way in congestion with science. I suppose one could kind of say the same thing about atheism; but I think most of you would argue that its not really a philosophical view point; just absence of faith.

    Anyway thats my two cents

    #1789

    Unseen
    Participant

    Ok fair enough, outside space and time is generally understood to be a higher plane of existence or rather outside the natural universe. How God went about starting things off from this location? I simply don’t know. Perhaps it doesn’t require to leave its habitat (so to speak) in order to start thing off. Acknowledging that this is a transcendent higher being.

    Well a magician to me is a person who performs optical illusions. But I think you mean wizard. A wizard is a being that bends the very core of reality.

    Where did God gain its knowledge? I’m not sure exactly. One idea that comes to mind is that the God of Nature being a first cause of life in the universe (possibly many other universes) may have learned from its creations. That is not to say that it interferes, intervenes, or revels itself; which I still reject. But if this deity would require to learn from experience like we do; it stands to reason it would have to observe the natural behaviour of one of its creations. Maybe it did create another universe; with even more imperfections; learned from its mistakes; then repeated the process to reduces the errors.

    Now you may be wondering. But if this God doesn’t leave its habitat. How would it observe anything? If I can communicate with you from Ireland to (America is it? Excuse my ignorance if you are from somewhere else). If NASA can communicate with a space shuttle in orbiting the moon or possibly another planet. I would say its reasonable to believe that the God of Nature is able to come up with some means of surveillancing life in other universes. How exactly it does this? I don’t have a specific answer for you. It would be beyond our comprehension I would imagine.

    Did nature pre-exist the universe or even God? Well two things here. I don’t believe anything pre-exists the God of Nature. As far as I’m concerned; it is the originator of everything that ever was. Secondly I may have not quite explained myself clearly with some of my explanations regarding nature. I call the deity I believe in the God of Nature; because that is exactly what it is. The God of Nature. The creator of nature, the one who set up the laws of nature, laws of physics, evolution, the big bang etc. But then again; I would also be open the idea that the God of deism and nature being part in parcel. And that nature as we know it; is merely an expansion on what nature was prior to the Milky Way and the rest of the universe existing.

    Well I used to have the viewpoint that the universe is just matter and energy and so forth. I just feel that I have not explored all the possibilities and plausibilities. So that is what I am doing; I’m exploring all the options. I still think organised religion is a load of rubbish; but deism is very different from an organised faith. Its a belief system if applied and understood correctly; it can work with science.

    Now this idea that if a God exists; it must have a physical body. I don’t accept that. We don’t know the properties of God (not the deistic God anyway). We know quite a bit about the alleged Gods of Hinduism, Christianity, Islam. Because their holy books are very descriptive to what these Gods are like. And we can deduct them out of existence (so to speak). Deism is said to be an unfalsifiable hypothesis. So nobody can really say; the God of Nature must look like Galdalf from Lord of the Rings or look like Alanis Morissette. We simply do not know. But thats ok. Its the same in science; we don’t know everything. I constantly find my self explaining to theists over on Yahoo that; science is basically a process for seeking out the truth; not quite a system of absolutism. In a way deism as philosophical system functions in a similar way in congestion with science. I suppose one could kind of say the same thing about atheism; but I think most of you would argue that its not really a philosophical view point; just absence of faith.

    Anyway thats my two cents

    “Ok fair enough, outside space and time is generally understood to be a higher plane of existence or rather outside the natural universe.” That’s a lot of New Age gobbledygook. Maybe God lives in an eternal hot tub inside a crystal pyramid at the end of a rainbow with centaurs and unicorns grazing outside.

    If you don’t like magician, I prefer sorcerer to wizard.

    “Where did God gain its knowledge? I’m not sure exactly. One idea that comes to mind is that the God of Nature being a first cause of life in the universe (possibly many other universes) may have learned from its creations. That is not to say that it interferes, intervenes, or revels itself; which I still reject. But if this deity would require to learn from experience like we do; it stands to reason it would have to observe the natural behaviour of one of its creations. Maybe it did create another universe; with even more imperfections; learned from its mistakes; then repeated the process to reduces the errors.”

    So, despite this (what else to call it?) place God lives/exists in, which is beyond time and space, things nevertheless happen there. How is that even possible?

    “Now you may be wondering. But if this God doesn’t leave its habitat. How would it observe anything? If I can communicate with you from Ireland to (America is it? Excuse my ignorance if you are from somewhere else). If NASA can communicate with a space shuttle in orbiting the moon or possibly another planet. I would say its reasonable to believe that the God of Nature is able to come up with some means of surveillancing life in other universes. How exactly it does this? I don’t have a specific answer for you. It would be beyond our comprehension I would imagine.”

    So, basically you don’t know, it just happens somehow. You know it happens and the best you can do is speculate(?).

    “Did nature pre-exist the universe or even God? Well two things here. I don’t believe anything pre-exists the God of Nature. As far as I’m concerned; it is the originator of everything that ever was. Secondly I may have not quite explained myself clearly with some of my explanations regarding nature. I call the deity I believe in the God of Nature; because that is exactly what it is. The God of Nature. The creator of nature, the one who set up the laws of nature, laws of physics, evolution, the big bang etc. But then again; I would also be open the idea that the God of deism and nature being part in parcel. And that nature as we know it; is merely an expansion on what nature was prior to the Milky Way and the rest of the universe existing.”

    If he always was (nothing pre-existed him) then eternity would seem to be plenty of time for God to have learned everything there is to know long before creating our universe, and yet you depict him as learning from his creations. That means, among other things, that this God isn’t omniscient. That his intelligence is mortal intelligence.

    “Well I used to have the viewpoint that the universe is just matter and energy and so forth. I just feel that I have not explored all the possibilities and plausibilities. So that is what I am doing; I’m exploring all the options. I still think organised religion is a load of rubbish; but deism is very different from an organised faith. Its a belief system if applied and understood correctly; it can work with science.”

    Why do you feel a need for a “belief system”?

    “Now this idea that if a God exists; it must have a physical body. I don’t accept that. We don’t know the properties of God (not the deistic God anyway). We know quite a bit about the alleged Gods of Hinduism, Christianity, Islam. Because their holy books are very descriptive to what these Gods are like. And we can deduct them out of existence (so to speak). Deism is said to be an unfalsifiable hypothesis. So nobody can really say; the God of Nature must look like Galdalf from Lord of the Rings or look like Alanis Morissette. We simply do not know. But thats ok. Its the same in science; we don’t know everything. I constantly find my self explaining to theists over on Yahoo that; science is basically a process for seeking out the truth; not quite a system of absolutism. In a way deism as philosophical system functions in a similar way in congestion with science. I suppose one could kind of say the same thing about atheism; but I think most of you would argue that its not really a philosophical view point; just absence of faith.”

    “Deism is said to be an unfalsifiable hypothesis.” Sort of like the hypothesis that there’s an invisible and ineffable rhinoceros in my living room. You’ll find that unfalsifiability is anathema to most of the atheists here. If something can’t be falsified, it’s ipso facto meaningless.

    “In a way deism as philosophical system functions in a similar way in congestion with science. I suppose one could kind of say the same thing about atheism; but I think most of you would argue that its not really a philosophical view point; just absence of faith.”

    But Deism is just a conjecture. It’s something that might be the case, however unlikely. It goes way way way beyond any facts. And why? Just to hang on to a crumb of a God who is unfalsifiable simply because you never really provided a description other than that he’s undescribable?

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