Hello, been off the forums for a bit. My grandmother died a few months ago, and she was sick for most of last year, so it's been a bad time. Things are getting better, but I'd honestly say that 'my atheism' began wavering when she became ill last year.
Some of you might recall blogs I've posted, sharing my struggle. Well, I most definitely will never return to theism, or any form of religion, but I'm quite taken with Deism these days. It resonates with me, and it is largely a position of reason, that leads one there. Religious doctrine, parables, and dogma doesn't come into play, and Thomas Paine was probably one of the most brilliant men who ever lived.
Just curious ...what do some of you think about Deism?
I'm firmly atheist but of all things related to religion, deism is the least illogical. I'm pretty solid on my atheism, not really agnostic but if I were to start wavering deism (other than atheism) makes the most sense. Just a higher power, chillin out. Might be watching, might not be but certainly doesn't intervene. I still don't believe but if there is a god a la deism I'm sure it won't care if I do or don't believe. The great thing about deists, is that they have no dogma, no agenda and are very live and let live.
This is a great way of seeing it, I agree. I didn't care for this phrase but Richard Dawkins quoted once ''...deism is watered down theism.'' Not really, but I guess I can see where he's coming from.
Now that I think about it, my path to atheism basically involved a layover is deism. I first rejected all the christian doctrine pumped into me from my youth. My final stop was getting over my fear of retribution for disbelief. Then I finally admitted to myself that I had no reason to believe in any sort of god. Maybe you still have that belief in a higher power.
I think Dawkins's main point was that deism is based upon the same invalid logic as theism, just without the supposedly revealed knowledge and religious dogma. There's no more reason to believe in a deistic god than there is to believe in a theistic god.
There are just more reasons to actively disbelieve any given theistic god-proposal, since there's more there. Deism is too stripped-down to be falsifiable, almost (or perhaps actually) by design. That's the sort of thing that sets off my bullshit detector. When something has the marks of a more detailed proposition, but with all of the inconvenient, false details removed, I smell bullshit.
As someone with a background in science, including a fair amount of physics, my answer would be: "Not much." There are plausible theories or hypotheses which can deal with a good deal of if not most of the problematic phenomena back to the Big Bang, and as for that event, I still think that a variation on the concept of spontaneous emission is a far likelier explanation for what kicked everything off than some prime mover who went on vacation immediately after.
The laws of physics and of nature are sufficient to make happen what we have. I still see a deity as totally unnecessary.
True, Loren, but maybe not necessary, maybe a deity 'just is.' I think theism paints a picture of us needing a deity, but in reality, Deism doesn't really subscribe to any of that. In relation to science, there has been chatter that things didn't just come into play from 'one' big bang. That perhaps the universe 'always was.' It's a bit out there, but...Einstein even spoke about his views on 'eternity.' Maybe it means different things to different people. Thanks for your response.
If a deity "just is," without any additional baggage, is it any different than any other being we've yet to meet who may or may not have extraordinary abilities? Whether you're talking about deism or Spinoza's god or "god-as-order," they're all effectively non-functional concepts, at least as applied to any cosmological argument.
Sure, a deity may be out there, but if said deity is not needed to describe how reality works, why bother with it?
Good points. Really...I know what you are saying. In my 'journey' with all of this back and forth...belief and disbelief...I lean towards atheism all the time. But, there is something lacking there, perhaps for me...seeing that I was a theist since childhood. It's almost like I can't deal' not so much accept, that a deity doesn't exist. Perhaps, I just like believing, and not in any prepackaged religious version, but just in my own way. Does that make sense?
I come at this from a pragmatist's point of view. Something either works or it doesn't; an element can either contribute to an overall understanding of how reality works, or it can't. In a situation where phenomena have rational (if sometimes unusual and non-intuitive) explanations, any answer which can allude to magic or the supernatural is immediately suspect, both because it is completely inconsistent with the model created by science and because there is absolutely no evidence for it.
As Matt Dillahunty has repeatedly said, I want to believe as many true things and as few false things as possible, and I don't see any way a deity qualifies in that first category.
I agree with you Loren - very good explanations.
That perhaps the universe 'always was.' It's a bit out there, but...Einstein even spoke about his views on 'eternity.'
I just noticed this bit. The steady state model is pretty much obsolete at this point, though. Various conjectures about what was around prior to the big bang, in addition to various multiverse conjectures, might give us some sort of 'always was', but that wasn't what Einstein was referring to in his various cosmological models.
Deidre, I can't imagine how I would experience the death of a child or their children. I took care of both my mother and father when they died, and experienced a great relief for them and for myself even though I grieved their loss. They wanted to die and were ready. With children, that would be quite another kind of grieving.
I don't believe in deism as a possible explanation of how the universe, Earth and living things came into being. There is no one to hear prayers, or no power, other than natural processes, to explain existence. I don't believe in a consciousness that survives death.
When I need comfort or solace, I breathe slowly and deeply, clear my mind of chatter and meditate. Sometimes I sit quietly in my garden, or during the winter, find a quiet, peaceful place in my home to calmly reflect on being peaceful and calm. I have never had the challenge of the death of a young one and am not sure what will work. I do have an outstanding therapist I met during cancer treatment who can use guided meditation to help me recover composure.
I wish you well, Deidre.