Deism: About the God who possibly went away
Beliefs, practices and symbols
Beliefs and Practices:
John Earwood has written a concise description of a typical Deist's approach
to deity, humanity and the rest of the universe:
"Deism rejects all of the religious scriptures and dogmas
created by fallible humans, as sources of final Truth. Instead, Deists try to
avoid unwarranted assumptions, and focus on what is obvious. The world of
Nature is where we live and breathe and have our being. But it doesn’t seem to
be eternal, so someone, or some thing, must have created it. Since the
Creator, whoever She is, does not reveal Herself to us directly, we have no
way of knowing what Her intentions for us were. So, as the dominant creatures
on earth, we must work together to make our own way in the world. The
philosophy of Deism is based on a single, axio-matic premise: that some
pre-existing Prime-Mover made us a physical, spherical home, then wound it up,
and turned it loose to evolve its own path through space and time. This
reasonable inference is not a fixed point of faith, however. It’s just a
convenient place to start our philosophical journey, because it leaves us free
to deal with reality, without falling into the trap of logical conclusions
derived from unwarranted assumptions." 11
There is no central authority that defines Deist beliefs and practices, as is
the case -- for example -- in the Roman Catholic church. Thus, Deists vary
considerably in their beliefs. One core belief shared by essentially all Deists
is that God created the universe, established its natural laws, "wound it up"
and then disassociated himself from creation. Some commentators refer to Deists
as believing in a God who acts as an absentee landlord.
|A few Deists believe that God still
intervenes in human affairs on rare occasions. However, most believe that God is
wholly transcendent. God does not listen to or answer prayers; God does not
intrude in nature by creating miracles. |
||They believe that the only paths towards knowledge are logic, reasoning, and observation.|
||They respect portions of the holy texts of other religions, like the Torah, Christian
Scriptures (New Testament) and Qur'an. However, they believe that these books
are errant because they were written by humans; they do not believe that any of
these books can be considered inerrant,
inspired by God or to be the Word of God.|
|They believe that miracles do not happen. The "world operates by natural
and self-sustaining laws of the creator." 1
That is, the world continues to function under the same laws that God initially
|They do not view God as an entity in human form. God does not have human
feelings like love, hate, anxiety, happiness, etc.|
||Deists hold diverse beliefs concerning the exact nature and attributes of
God. Some believe that God has no interest in humans and may not even be aware
of our existence.
||They believe that one cannot access God through any organized religion, set
of beliefs, rituals, sacraments, or other practice.
||God has not selected a chosen people (e.g. Jews or Christians) to be the
recipients of any special revelation or gifts.
||Deists generally deny the existence of the Trinity as conceived by
Christians. They generally view Jesus as a philosopher, rabbi, teacher and
healer, but not as the Son of God, or as a member -- along with God and the Holy Spirit -- in a Godhead. Their beliefs are similar to those of the Jewish Christians -- the initial Christian movement centered in Jerusalem
and led by James, the brother of Jesus.
They believe that a practical system of ethics and a moral code can be
derived from reason without the need to appeal to religious revelation and
church dogma. According to the web site of The United Deist Church of Asheville:
"Most Deists believe humans are too innately noble to require
supernatural coercion and threats of eternal damnation to behave morally." 2
||Most Deists view God as having left his creation behind. Thus, prayer makes
no sense to them. However, some pray to express their appreciation to God for
his works. The latter generally do not ask for special privileges, try to assess the will of God through prayer, or ask God to perform miracles.
||Most Deists do not actively evangelize the public.
There is no universally accepted Deism symbol. Deists are an independent lot,
so perhaps there should be multiple symbols for their religion instead of a
single image. The following have been suggested:
"Scott" suggested a sunburst symbol for his website. He wrote: "For my web site I chose a sun burst. It is a light, which represents truth,
which is key to Deism. The sun burst is probably the oldest known
religious symbol. ... I like the sunburst, because it represents truth and the
symbol itself appeals to something deep in all of us. I give permission to
anyone else to copy, reproduce and use the sunburst symbol I use on this web
site if they want use it as a symbol of Deism." 3|
"David" has worn a Mobius strip necklace. A Mobius strip starts with a flat
ribbon; the ends are twisted and attached together. The result is a ribbon with
only one main surface. It can be further twisted to form an infinity symbol.
This is the unofficial
symbol of the Church of Sunny Deism. They are looking for a new one.
The words "A new cycle of the ages - Deism" means that as the religion and philosophy of Deism gains greater acceptance, Deists believe that negative elements of the previous cycle -- such as fear and superstition-based religious beliefs -- are vanishing.
The uncompleted lower portion of the pyramid symbolizes all of the work and progress achieved by previous generations of humanity, and that we still have important work remaining to be done.
The separated top part of the pyramid represents humanity's potential to be sought after.
The bright burst of light represents the light of reason and God -- the Designer of both life and reason.
The reference to Nature's God highlights that Deists have faith in "Nature's God" rather than in the writings of holy books written by humans. The same Deist expression appears in the U.S. Declaration of Independence where it is often mistaken as a reference to the Christian deity.
A similar symbol is found on the back of the American one dollar bill. It is used by the Masonic Order, and appears at the top of the center towers of
the temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
in Salt Lake City, UT.
| "The Thinker," perhaps the
most famous sculpture by Auguste Rodin, is often associated with Deism. Its
outline appears in the logo of the Deist Alliance. 8 We have not seen it proposed as a symbol.|
|Others have suggested the use of:|
||A sine wave: This is a mathematical function found widely throughout nature.|
|A hurricane symbol: |
An asterisk *
|The Jerusalem Cross has been suggested for Christian
Deists. It contains memory helps that point to twenty words that paraphrase the
statements that Jesus used to describe the essence of his message. The 20 words
are: "There is one God. I will love God with all my heart and love all others as
I love myself." See Mark 12:28-31 and Luke 10:25-28 for two versions of Jesus'
original statements. 9|
|The Greek letter Phi: "Φ"
This is created by overlaying a 0 and a 1. It can be interpreted as referring to
the instant of creation: before then, there was nothing; after creation there
was everything -- or rather the makings of everything. Phi itself represents the
number with the approximate value of 1.618033. It is called the Golden Mean, the
Golden Ratio, the Golden Section, and the Divine Proportion. It is also found
widely throughout nature. 10|
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
- "World View: Deism," at:
- The United Deist Church of Asheville, at:
- "Scott," "The Symbol of Deism," 2008-NOV-19, at:
- "Symbol/deism," Dynamic Deism Fellowship & community Forum, at:
- "Mobius Magic," Mobius Products and Services, at:
- The symbol of the United Deist Church of Asheville is also a Mobius
- "Possibility," The Church of Sunny Deism," at:
- The Deist Alliance is a cooperative venture among a number of
Deist groups. See:
- "The Christian Deism Symbol," at:
http://www.christiandeism.com/ The home page itself does not appear to be
- "One Deist," "Why Phi? Not WiFi," Deism Today blogspot, 2008-APR-26, at:
- John Earwood, "The Elusive Deity of Deism. 'What in god’s name do you
believe?'," 2005-FEB-03, at:
http://godvsthebible.com/ This is a PDF file.
Copyright 1999 to 2015 by Ontario Consultants on Religious
Latest update: 2015-JUN-15
Author: B.A. Robinson