On Deism: If Deism were true, would it matter?

doctoro
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On Deism: If Deism were true, would it matter?

In sum: If a deistic God exists, would "its" existence affect your life, be relevant to your life, matter to you, or even be something that you would spend any time thinking about?

In answering this question (just for the sake of the thought experiment), you must grant that this "deistic" God exists. Note that I am not asking if it exists does or not, only if it DID exist, would it matter?

======

All further material beyond this point is just support or further explanation. In addition, I make my own answer to the question.

My definition of "DEISM" for the purposes of this debate: Positive affirmation of the existence of a "GOD" who, at the VERY LEAST, has the following three properties:

1. Logically non-contradictory.

2. The creator, initiator, or prime mover of the Big Bang and the creator of the matter & energy that expanded during the Big Bang.

3. Intelligence.

I think that most "atheists" on this forum would conclude:

A) We KNOW that all definitions of God in all world religions are logically contradictory, and therefore, they are impossible and false.

B) There MAY EXIST some possible logically non-contradictory definition of God -- and that this "version" of God has at least some probability of existence. We have no evidence for such a God, but we cannot rule out its existence. Furthermore, there may be an infinitely large number of logically non-contradictory definitions of God with multiple combinations of properties.

If you disagree with me up to this point, please explain why (if you define yourself as an atheist).

-----

I will argue that IF a deity comprising the aforementioned 3 properties DOES exist; his existence bears NO relevance to my own existence.

Note that I have not attributed the following properties to this imaginary deity: all-knowing, all-powerful, & all-loving. Actually, we KNOW by logical non-contradiction that such a being cannot have all of those omnimax properties. He could have 2 of those, but not 3 of them.

Now some will argue that if God does not have those three properties, he is not worthy of the title of God; but this is inane prattle and poppycock. Not worthy of the Christian definition, yes; but ruling out the existence of such a logically non-contradictory being is impossible.

So, I will invoke Bertrand Russell's celestial teapot analogy. If you don't know what it is, look it up. Simply put, I cannot rule out an INFINITE number of logically non-contradictory imaginary beings. And because of this, I am not going to base my life or even concern myself with the existence of any of them. You see, I agree that "Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence." Things without evidence that cannot be disproven; however, are not something I am going to WASTE my intellectual energies on. If a prime mover of the universe with a minimal amount of properties to exists; SO WHAT? Who cares? As I have defined the deity that I remain agnostic towards; I see absolutely NO reason for me to base my life on belief in such a being. For all intents and purposes, it makes NO difference whatsoever if I believe or disbelieve in such a being. Just like the existence of a purple snarfwidget, an invisible unicorn, or an intergalactic ruler named Xenu who lived millions of years ago. Who cares?

Shall I concern myself with whether the snarfwidget is purple or green?

In sum, I find my life philosophy to be guided by atheism, that is negative BELIEF in God. I would define belief as that which my actions are based on. I would not define belief as a positive or negative probabilistic, provisional acceptance or denial for a certain proposition. Beliefs define our actions. Even more appropriately, one might say that our ACTIONS define our beliefs.

I do not live as though God existed, therefore I am an atheist and I do not believe in God. This is all that matters. And I find that there would be absolutely no difference in how I live my life if a deistic God exists or doesn't exist.

This whole post is a continuance of my response to a myriad of posts by user "Ripple." He seems confused about what Atheism and Agnosticism mean; and he implores us, in essence, to discuss deism (based on the definition that I have given).

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


doctoro
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http://www.moderndeism.com/h

http://www.moderndeism.com/html/deism_defined.html

 This article describes the "modern tenets of deism" which I will dissect one at a time:

 1. Belief in God based on Reason, Experience and Nature (nature of the universe) rather than on the basis of holy texts and divine revelation. Essentially, through the use of Reason, God’s existence is revealed by the observation of the order and complexity found within nature and our personal experiences.

RESPONSE:

Fair enough.  I agree that no holy texts or divine revelations are true.  If a God (that matters to MY existence) exists, he MUST be comprehensible by reason and observation in the natural world.  However, I strongly disagree that the order and complexity in the universe leads one to conclude God exists.

The argument from design AND the cosmological argument fail to prove logical necessity of a "God".  For this reason, nature might exist without a creator.  And as for personal experiences, I find all of them to fit natural explanations.

2. Belief that the nature of God is abstract and generally incomprehensible which puts it beyond definition for humanity at this time.  Furthermore, human language is limited and inadequate to define God; however, man can use Reason to theorize and speculate on what this possible nature is.

"Incomprehensible"?  Then why bother?  Who gives a shit if it exists or not?  Invisible unicorns may escape my comprehension or observation, but I do not obsess over the existence of invisible unicorns.  Rather, I think about OTHER things that ARE germane to my existence; such as where do I eat my next meal, or how am I going to pay my rent?

I do agree that IF a God does exist, reason would be able to discern logically non-contradictory definitions or sets of properties for such a God.  But once again, would it matter if I concerned myself with it?

Are snarfwidgets purple or green?  Who gives a shit?

3. Belief that mans relationship with God is transpersonal.  However, this does not create a feeling of a distant and cold deity but of one in which God has a profound and unfathomable relationship with all of creation (nature) rather than just one aspect of it.

I find THIS to be totally incomprehensible nonsense.  If God can't affect my life, who cares?  Why have a "relationship" with an intelligent being who can't talk to you, can only communicate by hijacking your brain processes, and cannot do anything to affect your life?

There are BILLIONS of people in the world who exist who I cannot or DO NOT interact with who I don't know.  Should I care about having a "profound" or "unfathomable" relationship with any of them?

No, I prefer to concern myself with the REAL WORLD, not the fantasy land of invisible unicorns, snarfwidgets, and leprechauns who I can have a transpersonal, profound, unfathomable (and quite unhealthy) relationship with.

 4. Belief that humanity has the ability to use Reason to develop ethical/moral principles and through the application of Reason these principles can be used to implement moral behavior, which in turn creates a Utilitarian-Humanist morality. Essentially, humans can be guided by their conscience in matters of morality.

If a deistic God DID NOT exist, point 4 would be the same.  There is no difference on the question of ethics with regard to atheism or deism.  But; I object to the term "conscience" because it is completely vague. 

5. Belief that humans have the individual capability of experiencing God, which is defined as spirituality.  These spiritual experiences are multi-faceted and can include awe, epiphany, fellowship and even the transcendental. Essentially, each human is capable of having a profound experience of God and nature.

For humans to have a "spiritual" experience with God, we would have to be dualist beings with immaterial souls.  This is logically contradictory and cannot be true.  There is no possible way for a "soul" to interact with a the "mind" running on the physical body/brain substrate.  Scientists (Andrew Newburg, MD et al) have found parts of the brain on SPECT imaging that are triggered in transcendental "experiences".  The orientation and attention centers of the brain are "turned off" as a result of homeostatic mechanisms in the brain.  Simply put, you bombard your brain with enough stimuli, your brain shuts off certain parts of your brain to maintain homeostasis.  There is NOTHING overtly "supernatural" about transcendent experiences.  In fact, Newburg SPECT scanned the "transcendent" experiences of an ATHEIST who focused on images of God -- such as Michaelangelo's old man in the clouds image of God.  I do not think that "transcendent" experiences are supernatural in ANY way.  In fact, I would argue they are quite <I>natural</I>.   

6. Belief that God should be honored in a way that the individual believes is best and most appropriate for them.  Individuals must determine for themselves how best to honor God and only they can develop how to accomplish this. For many, it is a multi-faceted and an individualized process.

Relative, subjective practice of theism?   How politically correct.  I will choose to honor God in a way that is best and appropriate for me:  Nonbelief in it.  An intrinsic assumption of this supposition is that God SHOULD BE HONORED.  What if God DOESN'T WANT US TO WORSHIP HIM, DOESN'T CARE, AND DOESN'T EVEN KNOW THAT WE ARE WORSHIPPING HIM?

The author of these precepts obviously posits that God has some level of omniscience and omnipotence.  I do not grant that a logically non-contradictory God can have such properties.  Furthermore, this deistic version of God is anthropomorphic.  What reasoning do we have to assume such a thing?  The author projects his own human desires and qualities onto a deistic being.

7. Belief in the principle of Natural Law that states that all men and women are created equal to each other with inherent freedom and liberty so that no human has more worth than another. Essentially, each human is equal in terms of the freedoms that they have and in the eyes of the law.

  "Natural Law" is bogus.  I agree that all people should have equal freedoms and liberties; but this can only be enforced by subjective human will; not objective natural "law".  In fact, I would argue that our own humanity REMOVES US from the realm of natural law.  I read a brilliant essay against SOCIAL DARWINISM that concluded that it is our ethical duty to provide for the needs of all humans; even those less fortunate than ourselves; less intelligent; and less "fit" for survival.  In short, we are ethically BOUND to help less "fit" individuals and OVERCOME OR SUBVERT "natural law".

8. Belief that mankind’s purpose is to use our God-given reason to understand what it means to be alive in every sense of the word (to live life to the fullest) and to act in such a way as to secure human happiness and contentment for all involved.

"God-given" reason?  No.  Reason is primary ABOVE even God (if he exists).  Math, reason, and logic exist in all possible worlds, and God cannot do things that contradict logic.  In addition, ethics cannot come from God.  God MUST have reasons for commanding certain ethics, so there is NO REASON why humans couldn't elicit these reasons for themselves.  In addition, the deist essentially believes in evolution.  If evolution is true, humans acquire reason NATURALLY, not supernaturally.  But yes, reason is the best way to secure human happiness and progress. 

9. Belief that Reason and Respect are God-given traits to mankind and that we are to utilize them in all aspects of our daily lives thus creating a pragmatic approach to life. This includes respecting other alternative views and opinions of God (other religions) as long as they do not produce harm and/or infringe upon others.

 This is logically contradictory.  If we evolved from other animals, reason cannot be God-given or supernatural.  Respect of other differing religions is not tenable.  I and others would argue that ALL religions (espousing belief in God) cause harm.  (I separate this from Buddhism & Taoism which are essentially atheistic).

 

In sum; deism is a quagmire of unreason.  If a deistic God exists, there is no PRACTICAL effect on my life that would be any different if a deistic God DID NOT exist. 


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WARNING: It’s late. I’m

WARNING: It’s late. I’m sleepy. I don’t write or think well when I’m sleepy.

It sounds like you think just like me on this subject. The personal gods of the world religions today all contradict themselves and I can easily rule them out. But as the deistic god's parameters are undefined, I cannot rule it out.

I am an atheist, but I acknowledge that there may, by some small chance, be a god. But in the case that there is a god, it is probably a non-personal, deistic one. So, it really doesn't matter in the end. The deistic god does not deal in human affairs; therefore, it has given us no rules or laws, unlike the theists' gods. We would have no way of knowing what pleased it or angered it, if anything. So, no matter how we lived our lives or what we worshiped, we would still end up wherever it is we would end up… if we were supposed to end up anywhere at all.

I was a deist for a short while after I got out of Christianity. I was still convinced that life was too complex to exist without a creator, but I had already worked out that the Christian god didn't work at all. Then, after examining evidence, I went on to be an atheist. I was an agnostic fence-sitter in there for a short time too as I was still researching. I would have broken away sooner, but I went to a Christian school all my life where they taught intelligent design. Sad

Flying Spaghetti Monster -- Great Almighty God? Or GREATEST Almighty God?


triften
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The issue I have with deism

The issue I have with deism is that it still runs into the infinite regress issue. Many of the arguments are based on personal incredulity (the "complexity" argument) and really explain nothing at all. Why invent something uber-complex to explain the existence of something that is "merely" incredibly complex?

Additionally, I agree with the irrelevance:

What if God started the universe rolling and walked away? (So what?)

What if we're actually brains in jars, plugged into a perfect simulation of reality? (So what?)

What if the universe was actually created last Thursday with the appearance of age? (So what?)

 

-Triften


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Well, as far as the

Well, as far as the infinite regress problem goes, I don't think any side has the best answer. We all have answers, but we cannot disprove each other. Both the deistic and theistic god would exist outside of this world and be separate from natural law as it is. And for the atheist side, who's to say linear time existed at all before the big bang or our existence? No one can fully comprehend an infinite regress.

The deistic god is not defined, other than having the power to create the universe. It does not have to be omnipotent, omniscient or all loving. It is only a possible intelligence that could be responsible for setting the universe in motion in the beginning. If a being were capable of creating matter and this world, it would not be unreasonable to assume it created the world's laws as well.

And I don't see how the idea of a deistic god is "uber-complex." The answer is only intelligence and an admittance of our ignorance, not an attempt to explain, but the acknowledgement that we do not understand. Your problems of complexity are made by invoking natural law, to which the god would likely be immune. The deists do not claim to understand or know. The theists, on the other hand, choose to define their god and make it contradict itself. They make it complex.

I think most deists are deists because of apparent design. They see things that are seemingly too complex to exists without a creator, but I think most people here see apparent design for what it is… apparent.

But anyway, if a deist god ended up existing, it wouldn’t matter for us. No one would die knowing the god.

Sorry to get off the irrelevance subject, but I felt the need.

Flying Spaghetti Monster -- Great Almighty God? Or GREATEST Almighty God?


Very_Irreverand_Bill (not verified)
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Krehlic;   I like how you

Krehlic;

 

I like how you put things, and your understanding.

I lean towards deistic thought myself. To be more accurate I'd probbaly be defined as an Anti-Theistic Agno-Deist{agno- "agnostic"}.

I agree with most of the shit in these discusions in this thread; yes, 'god"{just a human made word for the ultimate, if such exists as something with intelligence; but a computer has a level of intelligence too, so "intelligence" or an intelligent deisgner/kickstarter/whatever could be somehting grand, or simply intelligent in a computing and calculating sense, and lack personality in all senses; who knows, and wh cares? I suppose some 'classic deists" might- some of the modern deists are still stuck in the mindset of the deists of the enlightenment era, which bordered on liberal theism in some cases; some deists, such as myself are like atheists or agnostics that believe in this intelligence- at least as a "probability" though NOT "Certainty".}

The issue I have is that though I essentially live my life like an atheist or agnostic{or "anti-theist" }perhaps; and am "nontheis"}, but still intrpret the evidence as indicating something unknown, and yet displaying some sort of "intelligence" having started it- set up natural laws, and that's pretty much it;

Sure, this "god" is useless to me in my practical everyday life; though to "speculate" on it can be intriguing or fun at times{and what is so harmful or irrational about that? So long as it is basically a past time or hobby intellectually and in conversations,etc-philosophically}, but I agree with everyone here that "if" it exists, it does'nt mean shit to me in my real everyday life, fine. In tat sense I am ungodly, godless, and like you atheists; but would'nt it also be intellectually dishonest to just be a plain and simple atheist only- when the possibility of it's existing is a 'probability" in ones mind; etymologically- I am both atheistic and deistic{as well as agnostic}, which is why I am often arguuing that al of us non-theists of these stripes need to start supporting each other{or at leats not demonizing each others positions and each other; we have a fuck of alot mor einc ommon than we have not in commn, we have shared enemies, and we are all nature/reason and science based, we just happen to intrpret the "apparent" design as implying something different, a differnce which as you all elegountly point out- doe'snt matter squat; so what if I think the "apparent design" points to the simplest answer may be the right one- it is designed{at leas from the get go and left alone by some cold and distant intelligence}, whats so irrational about this;

I'm toying with the idea of calling myself antitheistic, as well as all 3 non-theisms, because I am in my life and way I am -all 3.

And many others are like me, it is not as contradictory as some would like to think.

In Reason:

Irrev.Bill


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Welcome

Welcome Very_Irreverand_Bill!

We're glad you're here. 

When you get a moment, hop over to General Conversation, Introductions, and Humor and introduce yourself! 

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Iconoclastithon
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Susan wrote: Welcome

Susan wrote:

Welcome Very_Irreverand_Bill!

We're glad you're here. 

When you get a moment, hop over to General Conversation, Introductions, and Humor and introduce yourself! 

Hi Susan. Actually I think I allready did that awhile back.

I actually joiuned the forums awhile back and introduced myself{ I think}, and then started a thread supporting deism and attacking militant atheism as well as theism. I actually did this just to be adversarial, I think alot of atheists are atheists without thinking about why[but then s are alot of deists}.

Anyways that debate was VERY HEATED,LoL!

I'm starting to consider atheisms case a little more, which is why I posted this post above. I was googling "Atheistic Deism"{you know to consider the combatibility of the two}, I'm probably more an anti-theistic agnostic-deist{or agnostic-pan-en-deist}, but according to the classic defnition of and the etymological origins of the term "atheism"- I am essentially atheist whilst deistically inclined and agnostic in my methods{I suppose adamantly Non-theist, would likely be the best definition for what I am}, as it means "without god"{only more recently has the "without BELIEF IN god" come to be added}.De-facto atheist ,loosely deist maybe? 

My views are complicated, likely because I the multiverse and reality is comlicated and mysyerios and yet govered by natural laws{so far as we know at the moment anyhow; allthough as for what we sometimes call "supernatural", if anyhting of that type exists- I'd guss that it might be not SUPER natual but simply natural law that we have yet little to no understanding or knowledg eof in our current sciences, this MAY change, or may not}- meh... does'nt matter, I'm merely speculating, I'm essentially a rationalist at heart.

Anyways, I MIGHT do another INTRO on the intro forum, but I think I allready did one; I just was'nt posting for very long and have'nt visited for awhile is all.

Anyways, thanks for warmly welcoming me.

In Reason:

Very irrev.Bill

 

 

"There is no greater weapon against errors of any kind than REASON, I have never used any other and I trust I never shall"-Thomas Paine

"God is the power of first cause, nature is the law, and matter is the subject acted upon"-Thomas Paine


aiia
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Iconoclastithon

Iconoclastithon wrote:
Susan wrote:

Welcome Very_Irreverand_Bill!

We're glad you're here.

When you get a moment, hop over to General Conversation, Introductions, and Humor and introduce yourself!

Hi Susan. Actually I think I allready did that awhile back.

I actually joiuned the forums awhile back and introduced myself{ I think}, and then started a thread supporting deism and attacking militant atheism as well as theism. I actually did this just to be adversarial, I think alot of atheists are atheists without thinking about why[but then s are alot of deists}.

Anyways that debate was VERY HEATED,LoL!

I'm starting to consider atheisms case a little more, which is why I posted this post above. I was googling "Atheistic Deism"{you know to consider the combatibility of the two}, I'm probably more an anti-theistic agnostic-deist{or agnostic-pan-en-deist}, but according to the classic defnition of and the etymological origins of the term "atheism"- I am essentially atheist whilst deistically inclined and agnostic in my methods{I suppose adamantly Non-theist, would likely be the best definition for what I am}, as it means "without god"{only more recently has the "without BELIEF IN god" come to be added}.De-facto atheist ,loosely deist maybe?

My views are complicated, likely because I the multiverse and reality is comlicated and mysyerios and yet govered by natural laws{so far as we know at the moment anyhow; allthough as for what we sometimes call "supernatural", if anyhting of that type exists- I'd guss that it might be not SUPER natual but simply natural law that we have yet little to no understanding or knowledg eof in our current sciences, this MAY change, or may not}- meh... does'nt matter, I'm merely speculating, I'm essentially a rationalist at heart.

Anyways, I MIGHT do another INTRO on the intro forum, but I think I allready did one; I just was'nt posting for very long and have'nt visited for awhile is all.

Anyways, thanks for warmly welcoming me.

In Reason:

Very irrev.Bill

 

 

You cannot have 2 accounts. I suggest you keep "Iconoclastithon" and stop using "Very_Irreverand_Bill" as it is recorded as having only 1 post.

People who think there is something they refer to as god don't ask enough questions.


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Hey Bill, …just thought

Hey Bill,

…just thought I’d add some thoughts. Smiling

From what you've said, I think you are in the same book as most everyone here, but perhaps on a different page. I'd say we're all agnostic to some extent (some more than others), but very few of us (atheists), if any, consider theology to be an adequate substitute for that possible intelligence. If there is a god (very unlikely in my mind), it probably isn’t going to be a personal one.

I can't imagine a rational agnostic being torn between the idea of the Abrahamic God and no god at all, or the existence of Jesus as opposed to the non-existence of any deity. Anyone who has put enough thought into the subject to come so far as being agnostic, probably isn't going to consider the validity of such outstanding claims as made by any modern (or extinct) religion; much less bend over backwards to reconcile the numerous contradictions apparent in all these beliefs. But, I suppose an agnostic could think a personal god to be just as likely, leaving dogma out of it (if that’s even possible). Though, I never did.

But as for the term “agnostic deist;” I find it to mean someone who is agnostic, but leans much more towards deism than atheism. In the same way, an “agnostic atheist” would be someone who leans towards the belief in no god rather than a god of any kind. This would include “de facto atheists.” But these atheist terms say nothing of the person’s feelings on deism or theism, other than their unlikelihood.

But yea, I believe deists and atheists are very much alike in their way of thinking. I mean, don’t get me wrong, the whole existence-of-a-non-personal-god thing is very much worthy of debate still, but deistic beliefs never hurt anyone. Science and reason is the cornerstone of both belief systems. Only, the two come to very different conclusions as to the origin of things. And while this is a very significant and serious subject -- without ridiculous beliefs in divine revelation and absurd or obscene laws -- Deists and atheists are very much compatible people. That is, in their outlook on life and the world. Though, believing that you were created, directly or indirectly, by another extremely powerful being, would make anyone feel a bit more special.

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Krehlic wrote: Though,

Krehlic wrote:
Though, believing that you were created, directly or indirectly, by another extremely powerful being, would make anyone feel a bit more special./

 

I was a deist until a few months ago and that is the exact reason I held on to a creator for as long as I did.  I eventually came to the realization that my clinging to a creator was an emotional response, not a rational response.  It made me feel better to have someone 'in charge', even if I didn't think they were paying attention to me.  God was a bit like a big fuzzy blanket that I could hide my head under when the big, bad universe came a-knocking.

"When you hit your thumb with a hammer it's nice to be able to blaspheme. It takes a special kind of atheist to jump up and down shout, 'Oh, random fluctuations-in-the-space-time-continuum!'"-Terry Pratchett


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Deism did not stop

Deism did not stop developing in the 18th century. Modern Deism does not necessarily hold to a definition of "God" as a creator.

http://www.rationalresponders.com/forum/the_rational_response_squad_radio_show/6896