Essay on deism

HeWhoNeverWas
HeWhoNeverWas's picture
Posts: 8
Joined: 2011-01-20
User is offlineOffline
Essay on deism

I'm writing an essay about a particular group of deists who believe in the Abrahamic God of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam but not religion, yet carry on with religious activities belonging to their previous faith (e.g. Muslim deists who pray five times a day, Christian deists who fast during Lent, etc). Besides the fact that they're still exercising these practices, what other fallacies could I write about? These are my main points so far:

 

- The Abrahamic God has not come forth to humanity without introducing a religion with each attempt.

- The Abrahamic God specifically condemns "faith without religion". IOW, you can't go to heaven without accepting the religion as believing in the existence of God alone will not suffice.

- In practical terms, if their belief in God without religion is true, it isn't fair to those who believe in religion. Like say, if a Christian deist does not accept Jesus or if a Muslim deist who drinks alcohol go to heaven, it wouldn't be fair to those who accepted Jesus/abstained from certain activities. The former lived out their lives while the latter stuck to their code, and yet the former believes their reasoning will get them to heaven.

- It's basically an insult to their God because his religions were not good enough for them. If you believe in God, then you must believe God is perfect. If God is perfect, there would be no problems with his religions to turn you into this form of deism.

 

Anything other suggestions? Because I think I've pretty much hit the nail on the head with this one.


HeWhoNeverWas
HeWhoNeverWas's picture
Posts: 8
Joined: 2011-01-20
User is offlineOffline
*any other suggestions

*any other suggestions


butterbattle
ModeratorSuperfan
butterbattle's picture
Posts: 3730
Joined: 2008-09-12
User is offlineOffline
If they are really deists,

Welcome to the forum.

If they are really deists, then activities like praying and fasting are admittedly worthless. So, just on that point, they are being inconsistent.

HeWhoNeverWas wrote:
- The Abrahamic God has not come forth to humanity without introducing a religion with each attempt.

I'm not sure what you mean here. Every time God revealed himself to mankind, he made a new religion?

HeWhoNeveWas wrote:
- The Abrahamic God specifically condemns "faith without religion". IOW, you can't go to heaven without accepting the religion as believing in the existence of God alone will not suffice.

Well, maybe they don't believe that God condemns it.

HeWhoNeverWas wrote:
- In practical terms, if their belief in God without religion is true, it isn't fair to those who believe in religion. Like say, if a Christian deist does not accept Jesus or if a Muslim deist who drinks alcohol go to heaven, it wouldn't be fair to those who accepted Jesus/abstained from certain activities. The former lived out their lives while the latter stuck to their code, and yet the former believes their reasoning will get them to heaven.

It's not fair because the latter has to do more for their God?

Well, many liberal religious people think that faith in Allah, Jesus, etc. is all it takes for them to get to heaven. So, it's not really the fact that they're deists that makes it unfair. Aren't all of these people being unfair to a Scientologist then? The Scientologist must spend a lot of his/her resources and time taking classes to increase their thetan level.

HeWhoNeverWas wrote:
- It's basically an insult to their God because his religions were not good enough for them.

Who said those were God's religions? Not me. Maybe what the deists are doing is the right religion.

HeWhoNeverWas wrote:
If you believe in God, then you must believe God is perfect.

Why?

HeWhoNeverWas wrote:
If God is perfect, there would be no problems with his religions to turn you into this form of deism.

If God is perfect, then his religion would be perfect. But, believing that God is perfect doesn't mean that your religion will be perfect.

HeWhoNeverWas wrote:
Because I think I've pretty much hit the nail on the head with this one.

Not really.

 

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


harleysportster
atheist
harleysportster's picture
Posts: 3312
Joined: 2010-10-17
User is offlineOffline
It seems with all

It seems with all theists, no matter how broad or all-inclusive that they wish  their god to be, there are always a whole bunch of contradictions.

God is a mystery and unknowable but god seems to have the exact same perspective on life that they or their leaders do.

God is loving but god also "punishes". Generally, they try the cop out statement of "god doesn't allow anything to happen, it is our free will that does it"

They will say their are many paths to god, yet they claim that their path is the true path and all the others are misunderstood. (Sometimes, they try to cop out of that one by saying, Well , we did not say our way was the only true way, but it is the only true way for us which is another contradiction).

God "wants" something that is best for us but god gave us free will to do what we wish.

God is ultimately unknowable and how dare anyone try to figure him out or question him, yet they have him all figured out.

God is the ALL, but they will not hear anything negative assigned to the qualities of their god. If god is ALL, why does he only have good points ?

God can not be understood by human logic, yet they apply human logic to understand their god.

They assign terms like "this happened for a reason, god brought us together, god lead me to this place, etc." to point to the ideas of destiny, fate and karma, but fall back on that free will thing for other things. Does god allow free will sometimes  and does not allow free will when he is intervening in the lives of many ?

God is unconditional love but only loves you if you follow certain conditions.

The underlying teaching of every religion is basically the same. Accept what they tell you as the truth or be cast out. Simply because they wish to pick and choose certain appealing aspects of their dogma to attract more followers doesn't make their teachings any more valid than say, the nutcases at the Westboro Baptist Church.

As for specific points on why an amalgamation of contradictory religions would cancel themselves out, I am sure that any new type of mixing  of religions will be quite easy for them to do. They will take certain snippets of their "holy" books, proclaim those snippets as the core of their teachings, ignore all other references in the Bible or Koran that points against what they are doing and declare themselves as the only true way. It seems that is what every sect and denomination of every religion does.  

I am sure that you can find hundreds of references to refute them in your essay. Especially since the god of the bible declares himself to be a "jealous" god.

 

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
― Giordano Bruno


HeWhoNeverWas
HeWhoNeverWas's picture
Posts: 8
Joined: 2011-01-20
User is offlineOffline
butterbattle wrote: I'm not

butterbattle wrote:

I'm not sure what you mean here. Every time God revealed himself to mankind, he made a new religion?

Based on my understanding of the three religions, yes. He either sends a prophet for a group of people/certain region or sends one prophet for "all" the people (establishing a new religion and book with each attempt).

 

HeWhoNeverWas wrote:
- The Abrahamic God specifically condemns "faith without religion". IOW, you can't go to heaven without accepting the religion as believing in the existence of God alone will not suffice.

Well, maybe they don't believe that God condemns it.

That's precisely my point. They pick and choose when they're labeling themselves as deists. I've never heard of a deist "in-betweener". If you're going to fast during Lent, what's keeping you from going to Church on Sunday or praying to Jesus? Having them accept certain aspects of their religion while at the same time claiming to not be a part of said religion doesn't make sense to me.

 

HeWhoNeverWas wrote:
- In practical terms, if their belief in God without religion is true, it isn't fair to those who believe in religion. Like say, if a Christian deist does not accept Jesus or if a Muslim deist who drinks alcohol go to heaven, it wouldn't be fair to those who accepted Jesus/abstained from certain activities. The former lived out their lives while the latter stuck to their code, and yet the former believes their reasoning will get them to heaven.

It's not fair because the latter has to do more for their God?

Well, many liberal religious people think that faith in Allah, Jesus, etc. is all it takes for them to get to heaven. So, it's not really the fact that they're deists that makes it unfair. Aren't all of these people being unfair to a Scientologist then? The Scientologist must spend a lot of his/her resources and time taking classes to increase their thetan level.

Yes, and I wouldn't say they're being unfair by comparing them to a Scientologist because I'm specifically talking about the Abrahamic God. The Scientologist works to make his life better before he dies/gets reincarnated to do the whole process all over again while the believer works to guarantee himself an eternity in heaven upon death.

Unless I'm creating a stick-man argument here, let me try to find an explanation... say you're working your ass off for a promotion at some office job. You're hard-working and successful, while one of your co-workers is the exact opposite. Yet somehow your employer sees it fit to give both of you the same promotion. The level of frustration may differ from person to person, but imagine how that would be on the 'divine' scale. Because the Abrahamic God is a just god who rewards those who obey him, it wouldn't be fair to give those who did not obey him (or fully obey him, depending on whatever definition the extent of belief and obedience has to be for the particular religion) the same reward (eternal paradise).

 

HeWhoNeverWas wrote:
- It's basically an insult to their God because his religions were not good enough for them.

Who said those were God's religions? Not me. Maybe what the deists are doing is the right religion.

 

This goes back to my point about believing in the Abrahamic God and engaging in religious practices despite claiming to be deists. They believe in the 'perfect' Abrahamic God, the same one who gave them their religious practices. But at the same time they don't think that this particular God is good enough to dictate their lives through his religions. Pardon me if I'm wrong, but I think their description of the Abrahamic God does not match the understood characteristics of the Abrahamic God. And yes, I realize everyone else has their own contradictory depictions about some characteristics of God. But I'm only writing about this particular group and how they don't fit with the divine characteristics every other group can agree upon.

HeWhoNeverWas wrote:
If you believe in God, then you must believe God is perfect.

Why?

That is what the Abrahamic God claims. You see many examples of this in Islam such as the "99 names of Allah" (The Reckoner, The Merciful, etc).

HeWhoNeverWas wrote:
If God is perfect, there would be no problems with his religions to turn you into this form of deism.

If God is perfect, then his religion would be perfect. But, believing that God is perfect doesn't mean that your religion will be perfect.

 

But I think if you're going to believe in this particular God, you'd have to say it is perfect... since, you know, everything God does in his "mysterious" ways has a purpose and is executed without flaw with the calculated precision you'd expect from a divine being.

 

harleysportster wrote:

God "wants" something that is best for us but god gave us free will to do what we wish.

When it comes to free will I think we react to a situation in such a way that we couldn't react any other way because that's who we are, and that's how we react based on everything from our character and how we are taught down to how our hormones are balanced. While we have the illusion of "choice", we could not act any other way because of our genetic disposition and external factors. These are factors I believe cannot be properly comprehended or measured because they range from your environment to the people around you who add to your personal experiences and widen your existing pool of knowledge.


harleysportster
atheist
harleysportster's picture
Posts: 3312
Joined: 2010-10-17
User is offlineOffline
HeWhoNeverWas wrote:how we

HeWhoNeverWas wrote:

how we react based on everything from our character and how we are taught down to how our hormones are balanced. While we have the illusion of "choice", we could not act any other way because of our genetic disposition and external factors. These are factors I believe cannot be properly comprehended or measured because they range from your environment to the people around you who add to your personal experiences and widen your existing pool of knowledge.

I agree with you on that. I was merely pointing out the irrational concepts and contradictions that surround god belief, free will being one of them.

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
― Giordano Bruno


Ktulu
atheist
Posts: 1830
Joined: 2010-12-21
User is offlineOffline
butterbattle

butterbattle wrote:

HeWhoNeverWas wrote:
If God is perfect, there would be no problems with his religions to turn you into this form of deism.

If God is perfect, then his religion would be perfect. But, believing that God is perfect doesn't mean that your religion will be perfect.

HeWhoNeverWas wrote:
Because I think I've pretty much hit the nail on the head with this one.

Not really.

Lol, welcome to the forum; don't let butter put you down, but you do have to refine your arguments.

HeWhoNeverWas wrote:

When it comes to free will I think we react to a situation in such a way that we couldn't react any other way because that's who we are, and that's how we react based on everything from our character and how we are taught down to how our hormones are balanced. While we have the illusion of "choice", we could not act any other way because of our genetic disposition and external factors. These are factors I believe cannot be properly comprehended or measured because they range from your environment to the people around you who add to your personal experiences and widen your existing pool of knowledge.

Look up determinism as it pertains to freewill.  I think you'll find your views mirrored to a certain degree.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Determinism#Free_will_and_determinism

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standard_argument_against_free_will

 

HeWhoNeverWas wrote:

I'm writing an essay about a particular group of deists who believe in the Abrahamic God of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam but not religion,

 

So, your essay is regarding Christians, Jews and Muslims, that still believe in their god but not in their religion?

HeWhoNeverWas wrote:

  yet carry on with religious activities belonging to their previous faith (e.g. Muslim deists who pray five times a day, Christian deists who fast during Lent, etc). Besides the fact that they're still exercising these practices, what other fallacies could I write about?

This next clause seems to contradict what you've just stated as your essay's main topic.  You mean they still practice religion even though they lost their faith? Don't get me wrong I wish to contribute, I just want to understand what you're after.

 

"Don't seek these laws to understand. Only the mad can comprehend..." -- George Cosbuc


HeWhoNeverWas
HeWhoNeverWas's picture
Posts: 8
Joined: 2011-01-20
User is offlineOffline
Ktulu wrote:So, your essay

Ktulu wrote:

So, your essay is regarding Christians, Jews and Muslims, that still believe in their god but not in their religion?

 Pretty much.

 

HeWhoNeverWas wrote:

  yet carry on with religious activities belonging to their previous faith (e.g. Muslim deists who pray five times a day, Christian deists who fast during Lent, etc). Besides the fact that they're still exercising these practices, what other fallacies could I write about?

Ktulu wrote:
This next clause seems to contradict what you've just stated as your essay's main topic.  You mean they still practice religion even though they lost their faith?

Sort of. For a real life example, I have a friend who comes from a Muslim family but does not identify herself as a Muslim. In her own words, she says she is a person who believes in God with every fiber of her being but does not believe in religion. She has sex and drinks alcohol because she believes they are not sinful, but fasts during the month of Ramadan because she genuinely believes it's the right thing to do. It's like seeing a vegan wear a leather belt.

 

Thanks for the help. Smiling

 


butterbattle
ModeratorSuperfan
butterbattle's picture
Posts: 3730
Joined: 2008-09-12
User is offlineOffline
HeWhoNeverWas wrote:Based on

HeWhoNeverWas wrote:
Based on my understanding of the three religions, yes. He either sends a prophet for a group of people/certain region or sends one prophet for "all" the people (establishing a new religion and book with each attempt).

It makes sense. It's easier to start a religion if there's a prophet or even an incarnation of God to rally around.  

HeWhoNeverWas wrote:
That's precisely my point. They pick and choose when they're labeling themselves as deists. I've never heard of a deist "in-betweener". If you're going to fast during Lent, what's keeping you from going to Church on Sunday or praying to Jesus? Having them accept certain aspects of their religion while at the same time claiming to not be a part of said religion doesn't make sense to me.

Well, what is their reasoning for engaging in these activities?

HeWhoNeverWas wrote:
Unless I'm creating a stick-man argument here, let me try to find an explanation... say you're working your ass off for a promotion at some office job. You're hard-working and successful, while one of your co-workers is the exact opposite. Yet somehow your employer sees it fit to give both of you the same promotion. The level of frustration may differ from person to person, but imagine how that would be on the 'divine' scale. Because the Abrahamic God is a just god who rewards those who obey him, it wouldn't be fair to give those who did not obey him (or fully obey him, depending on whatever definition the extent of belief and obedience has to be for the particular religion) the same reward (eternal paradise).

Why would Christians be frustrated? If God only rewarded those who obeyed him, then he wouldn't reward deists.

From the deists' perspective, they're not cheating Christians either. I doubt that they think they're disobeying God. 

I agree that these deists are picking and choosing arbitrarily, but that's what they all do. Deists just went even further in that direction. I'm not sure how they're "cheating" or being "unfair" to the religious. 

HeWhoNeverWas wrote:
But at the same time they don't think that this particular God is good enough to dictate their lives through his religions.

I highly doubt that this was their train of thought. For the most part, it's probably just psychologically comforting for them to continue some of the routines that they used to practice.

HeWhoNeverWas wrote:
Pardon me if I'm wrong, but I think their description of the Abrahamic God does not match the understood characteristics of the Abrahamic God. And yes, I realize everyone else has their own contradictory depictions about some characteristics of God. But I'm only writing about this particular group and how they don't fit with the divine characteristics every other group can agree upon.

So, this makes them....unfair to everyone else?

HeWhoNeverWas wrote:
That is what the Abrahamic God claims. You see many examples of this in Islam such as the "99 names of Allah" (The Reckoner, The Merciful, etc).

You mean that's what followers of the Abrahamic God claims. Why do deists have to believe that?

HeWhoNeverWas wrote:
But I think if you're going to believe in this particular God, you'd have to say it is perfect... since, you know, everything God does in his "mysterious" ways has a purpose and is executed without flaw with the calculated precision you'd expect from a divine being.

Actually, what does it mean for the religion to be perfect?

Religious people often admit that they are not perfect, because of free will. They also might say, "The mainstream church is corrupt" or "The Bible is inspired by God, but written by man," so it is not perfect.

 

 

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


Ktulu
atheist
Posts: 1830
Joined: 2010-12-21
User is offlineOffline
HeWhoNeverWas wrote:Sort of.

HeWhoNeverWas wrote:

Sort of. For a real life example, I have a friend who comes from a Muslim family but does not identify herself as a Muslim. In her own words, she says she is a person who believes in God with every fiber of her being but does not believe in religion. She has sex and drinks alcohol because she believes they are not sinful, but fasts during the month of Ramadan because she genuinely believes it's the right thing to do. It's like seeing a vegan wear a leather belt.

 

Thanks for the help. Smiling

In this specific example I would have to say that much like every other theist, she interprets the Quran as it fits her ideals.  Her justification is that the Quran doesn't specifically say anything about alcohol, but it does say that drunk people are led by the devil to forget about prayer.  So she can easily rationalize it as though alcohol doesn't interfere in her relationship with god, as long as she keeps it in check.  As far as fasting during Ramadan is concerned, that's a different matter all together.  Fasting is supposed to purify your being so that you may be closer to god, in this manner this would fit perfectly with her deistic paradigm.  She would get the best of both worlds since she doesn't have to go to a mosque and she can prove to her god that she really means business.  

This is all wild speculation since I have extremely little to go on.  The conclusion that I'm trying to draw is that theism is very subjective, deism is just as subjective.  When rationalizing my way to atheism I've gone through phases where I accepted parts of religion that made sense to me, it's natural.  She'll most likely come around in a few years. 

"Don't seek these laws to understand. Only the mad can comprehend..." -- George Cosbuc


HeWhoNeverWas
HeWhoNeverWas's picture
Posts: 8
Joined: 2011-01-20
User is offlineOffline
Ktulu wrote: In this

Ktulu wrote:

In this specific example I would have to say that much like every other theist, she interprets the Quran as it fits her ideals.  Her justification is that the Quran doesn't specifically say anything about alcohol, but it does say that drunk people are led by the devil to forget about prayer.  So she can easily rationalize it as though alcohol doesn't interfere in her relationship with god, as long as she keeps it in check.

What baffles me the most is how she can skip through one of the defining points of this religion to 'justify' her drinking. There's not a Muslim or ex-Muslim I know of that does not clearly know the Koran forbids alcohol.

[5:90] O you who believe, intoxicants, and gambling, and the altars of idols, and the games of chance are abominations of the devil; you shall avoid them, that you may succeed.

[5:91] The devil wants to provoke animosity and hatred among you through intoxicants and gambling, and to distract you from remembering GOD, and from observing the Contact Prayers (Salat). Will you then refrain?

Ktulu wrote:
As far as fasting during Ramadan is concerned, that's a different matter all together.  Fasting is supposed to purify your being so that you may be closer to god, in this manner this would fit perfectly with her deistic paradigm.  She would get the best of both worlds since she doesn't have to go to a mosque and she can prove to her god that she really means business. 

I agree with your points on fasting, but because fasting in Ramadan is a pillar of Islam, is she still not doing something exclusive to Muslims while claiming to not be one of them? One of those intrepret-it-the-way-I-like moments, I guess.

She isn't compelled to go to the mosque in the first place anyway. Back then the mosques were mostly gathering places for men and women to ask questions to Mohammed (a community center of sorts). And as the hadith puts it:

"It is more excellent for a woman to pray in her house than in her courtyard, and more excellent for her to pray in her private chamber than in her house."

 

Quote:

theism is very subjective, deism is just as subjective.

I'm going to add that. Thanks again. Smiling


BobSpence
High Level DonorRational VIP!ScientistWebsite Admin
BobSpence's picture
Posts: 5911
Joined: 2006-02-14
User is offlineOffline
I've always been mildly

I've always been mildly fascinated that they don't see tobacco as an intoxicant in any sense. The 'Hookah' is quite popular in Islamic cultures, indeed it is seen as part of their traditions.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology