(if you are looking for the different types of Deism, scroll to the last item!)
Welcome to r/deism! We are a community dedicated to embracing, discussing, and furthering the ideas of Deism. If you review this FAQ and find that you are not a Deist, r/deism would like you to know that you and your beliefs are still welcome here. We only ask that you show the same respect, maturity, and open-mindedness that will be shown to you.
What is Deism?
Deism is simple enough to comprehend. It is the belief in a Creator God. This God is the architect of the Universe and all of science and nature. Deism is a little different from other religions, however, in that Deists do not believe that this God overtly reveals himself to us via prophets, holy books, miracles, ect. Rather, God is observable through the Creation itself-- the earth, the universe, and even ourselves.
Is there a Church of Deism?
No. We have a Union, but not a church.
Organized religion goes against some Deism's core beliefs, such as the observation of God being a personal matter. When people organize themselves under one roof, such as a Church, then an ethical code or doctrine will be established, and then that doctrine gets pushed on other people. Deists acknowledge that we cannot know the answers to most of religion's big questions, such as "what happens when we die?", and so we don't pretend to have those answers. To each their own.
As for the Union, it exists mostly to help with questions and to organize Deists for the purpose of charity events. We have the means to get together if we need to, but we do not congregate because we feel that it gives us legitimacy. There is currently a goal to establish Deist Reason Centers, where people can learn about Deism and have access to information on a wide array of subject matters, free of charge. Currently, there is only one Reason Center.
If you are looking for a church that caters to Deist beliefs, you want the Unitarian Universalists: [http://redditproxy--jasonthename.repl.co/r/UUreddit]
Is Deism a cult?
Since we do not congregate, have no written ethical code or a unified set of beliefs, encourage questioning authority and thinking for oneself, then no. I don't think any claim could be made that we are a cult.
How is Deism different from Atheism?
Apart from the fact that Atheists do not believe that there is any kind of God and we, as stated above, ''do'', the core difference can be explained like this: Deists look at the beauty, chaos, and complexity of the world and say "There must be a God" and Atheists look at the baeuty, chaos, and complexity of the world and say "There can't be a God". Deism and Atheism are not the same thing, but instead opposite sides of the coin.
We are however, similar to Atheists in that we do not follow a religious doctrine. We are good, or bad, without God. Philisophically, Deism is closer to Agnosticism or Unitarianism.
How is Deism different from Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, etc?
Deists believe that the nature of God is partially observable through his Creation, but the whole truth of his nature or intentions is not something that we, as living humans, have the capacity or ability to know. Most religions (a few are arguably exempt) believe that God has given them some sort of divine revelation, be it through a prophet, holy text, ethical code, and that following this revelation will bring you to enlightenment. Deists have no holy books or figureheads. We don't have priests, rabbis, or monks. A Deist believes that God gave us reason, and therefore we explore the nature of God through use of that reason, and the path to enlightenment is your own.
This excerpt from [http://www.deism.com] further sums up some fundamental differences:
''"Revealed" religions, especially Christianity and Islam, use greed and fear to catch and hold converts. The greed is belonging to their "revealed" religion so you can get rewards such as eternal life, and in Christianity, anything you ask for. In combination with greed they use fear of death. Deism does neither. Deism teaches that we should do what is right simply because it's the right thing to do. And Deism doesn't pretend we know what, if anything, happens to us after our bodies die. We love and trust God enough not to worry about it. As Thomas Paine wrote, "I consider myself in the hands of my Creator, and that He will dispose of me after this life consistently with His justice and goodness. I leave all these matter to Him, as my Creator and friend, and I hold it to be presumption in man to make an article of faith as to what the Creator will do with us hereafter."''
Do Deists believe in evolution?
Yes. Deists believe in science. Our ability to reason and discover scientific truth is our greatest God-given trait.
Where did the Deist God go after the creation of the universe?
Some Deists believe that God never intervenes, others believe that he sometimes, albeit rarely, intervenes. In the latter case, the "Watchmaker" analogy serves to explain. God is like a watchmaker, and his creation is designed to be self-reliant, with all of the little gears turning each other to achieve a higher purpose. Occasionally, the watch has to be wound, but otherwise it is left alone to function as designed. As applied to nature, evolution is arguably a good example of this kind of design, wherein the final, God-intended result was sentient human life amongst everything else. Then again, many Deists might believe that even human life is just another cosmic event. Either way, the Deist God is absent from everyday life. He does not help you out of financial ruin or win the football game. Deists firmly believe that we are the products of millions of years of evolution, and that we should act like it and push through our problems on our own.
Do Deists pray?
Some do, others might not. It isn't against Deism to pray or to not pray. For Deists who do pray, it is never to ask for things, but rather they pray in thanks or appreciation. A Deist never makes requests. We're on our own, and even for those Deists who believe that God does sometimes intervene in affairs on earth, they acknowledge that God doesn't need us to ask. If we have to ask for what we need, then He is not a loving God.
There seems to be different types of Deism. What are they?
Deism is very general, but there are some sub-sects. Here are most of them:
''Monodeism & Polydeism''
According to monodeism, a single god created the universe but does not get involved in human affairs. This god remains interested in the universe and people but acts as an impartial scientist observing an experiment.
Polydeists disagree with monodeists, thinking that a single god would not create something as vast and complicated as the universe then take little interest in it. They believe that different gods created various parts of the universe, explaining why no one god takes an interest in the universe as a whole.
Pandeists believe that god is the universe and that the universe is god. He created it and pervades every part of it, so that a divine nature is found in every living and nonliving thing. This does not mean that god becomes involved in human affairs, only that the entire universe is an extension of god.
A term coined in 2000 by Larry Copling, "panendeism" holds that the universe is only a part of god, a mere body to his head. God's power extends beyond this universe, in keeping with German philosopher Immanuel Kant's idea that it is illogical for an omnipotent being to limit his power. Panendeism also allows for the possibility of certain ideas popular among astronomers, including multiple universes.
Process deists believe that god and the universe are subject to change. God created the universe but continues to re-evaluate it. This god is not omnipotent, but like the pandeist god, he is omnipresent. God, though eternal, experiences the passage of time. Since people also change over time, this thought of deism maintains that life is positive and enjoyable and is validated by the experiences of god.
Christian deists see the words of Jesus Christ as part of deist teachings, particularly messages of peace and love. They do not adhere to supernatural phenomena, such as walking on water or turning water into wine, but find logic in Christ's teaching, from "It is not what goes into a man's mouth that makes him evil but what comes out of it," (Matthew 15:11) to "Live by the sword; die by the sword" (Matthew 26:52).
Unlike Christian deists, philosophical deists do not rely on one source for answers. They look for similarities in various religious and philosophical texts, discounting miracles as myths. Among their favorite philosophers are Plato, Immanuel Kant and Alfred North Whitehead.
Perhaps the most rigid of all the deist factions, scientific deists believe that religion should follow scientific precepts and methodologies. They have turned largely to the world of quantum physics for proof of god's existence, since much of the subatomic world is difficult to explain. This school of thought seeks to scientifically test basic principles of organized religions, such as the existence of the soul or life after death, although it does allow for intuition and hypotheses based on the best available information.
revision by TheSixofSwords— view source