Ah, religion, an often heated topic by many; one where often people are very offended by the opinions and ideas of others who do not think as they do.
**Possible trigger warning in this entry**
Let me first give you a bit of my religious background and then we shall go from there, I was born into and raised in the Methodist church, up until I was about 15-16 when I made the conscious decision to make the switch to a nondenominational Christian, I have always had issues with certain doctrines and ideologies of some churches, this is not to say that they are wrong, it is just that I cannot put my faith into them. I stayed a nondenominational Christian for quite some time even into my adulthood, when I then worked for a Baptist church as the Childcare Coordinator and Department head of the Nursery, a job which I held for 7 years. But still, with all of that, I never felt liked I belonged anywhere. I tried very hard to maintain a faith of traditional standards, by all means, we went to church every Sunday and every Wednesday, faithfully, just as I had done in my younger years. But yet, some things still felt forced, pushed, or just did not settle well within my soul. Now through the years, I tried praying, I tried to do what was expected of me, but yet I never fully felt at peace, I never felt like myself… I felt as though I was being forced to believe what everyone around me believed and was demanded I do so, without question. If I had questions or feelings otherwise, I was told I was wrong, or that it was the Devil’s thinking. That these ideas, the thoughts, these questions of mine were wrong on every single level, and if I continued to question things that it was a one-way train straight to hell.
Now let me ask you this, isn’t one of the key things to life, Do unto others as you would have them do unto you? I mean, if you want someone to come around to your way of thinking, if you are to lead by example, should you not take a different approach than always talking about the negative, about always talking about the consequences if you do not agree with someone else, if your heart does not match theirs exactly… Should you really discard them like trash? If you cannot tell, I do have some issues with people who do this, and that is on my conscious, it is something I am working on within myself, to not hold onto those things, to forgive and move on.
Well let us fast forward some in my religious life and get to the very heart of it all, what made me question my upbringing and what brought me to where I am today with my beliefs.
Then tragedy struck my life, it was the most terrifying and soul-crushing thing I had ever experienced in my entire lifetime, at a time I was told I should pray, and not stop praying, I attempted to, to try to find some answers and some peace. What could have happened that made me question everything? What could have possibly been that bad? Well, we as a family suffered a double loss one autumn night, we had a suicide and a homicide happen. It broke me inside, it tore me down in every sense of the matter, I was angry, hurt, dismayed and I prayed for days, months and even a year after with no sign of my faith bringing me the peace that I needed. I turned to the church I was working for at the time and asked for guidance and some semblance of hope, to only have more things go wrong in the wake of the tragedy we had faced. They told me my son was not welcomed at the church any longer because he at the time was undiagnosed for ADHD, and they said without medication he could not be there… They also soon after fired me for living with my now husband and not being married to him at the time, all of this made me question Christianity as a whole, why would a religion whose purpose is to teach of love and acceptance at its core be full of people who are not? Why would they turn away not only a child who was innocent? Why would they turn away a mother in need? These were serious pressing questions that stayed with me for several years, their decisions and their actions do not represent all Christians as a whole, I am aware of that. However, in my lifetime, I have had far too many experiences that are very much the same as to the way they acted. But I have also experienced, some very kind and loving ones too. Which is why I do not judge it as an entire religion, only through the experience I have had personally, and for me, the good does not outweigh the bad.
I do not feel at peace or at home in a church, I never have… I feel like an outsider looking in, no matter how much I tried, wanted, or wished for it to connect with me on a deeper level it never did and never has. It just simply is not who I am and I am perfectly okay with that. I for a while stuck with the nondenominational part of Christianity because there isn’t a set denomination to it, it does not follow the teachings of the Baptist Church, the Methodist Church, the Catholic Church, it still teaches the same dogma but not through a denominational setting. But even in a much more relaxed Christian setting, I still was not at home, not at peace.
Then one day, through a client of mine, I discovered something… something that made so much sense to me, something that made me feel peace with myself and peace with my ideas. What was that you may ask. Deism, its very foundation and ideas spoke to me like nothing else ever has. And my client, she herself is a deist. After hearing briefly about it, I went online and started reading, the more I read the more I was convinced this is what I had always been. My soul was searching for answers, searching for reasoning, searching through the questions I had always had and finding them. It was like the light had been turned on inside me.
To quote Thomas Paine ” The mind once enlightend cannot again become dark.”
Now, with Deism there are many facets and subsections of its core, many have their own way of reasoning when it comes to those subsections. You have Traditionalists, Modern, Spiritual, Christian, just to name a few, and each one has the basis of God created the universe, and some believe that God herself/himself is indifferent to humans in that creation. And to some, that seems like a bad thing, but to others, it makes so much sense. Others believe in a personable God, one that only interferes with miracles when the universe calls for it but not before then because it would throw the natural balance of existence off. Then there are those who are a mixture of those two core beliefs, where they believe that God, for the most part, is indifferent, but can intervene when it does not throw off the natural balance.
There is no set dogma to Deism, it is a way of thinking and believing that uses reason, common sense, and science to find answers. Many see Thomas Paine as the founder of it as a scientific belief structure, but it is not a religion. Through his book The age of reason, deism took a foothold in the Americas, but this is not the first time it has appeared in history as a belief system and or structure.
belief in the existence of a supreme being, specifically of a creator who does not intervene in the universe. The term is used chiefly of an intellectual movement of the 17th and 18th centuries that accepted the existence of a creator on the basis of reason but rejected belief in a supernatural deity who interacts with humankind.
Deism (/ˈdiːɪzəm/ DEE-iz-əm or /ˈdeɪ.ɪzəm/ DAY-iz-əm; derived from Latin “deus” meaning “god”)
Also per the deism site:
Deism is knowledge* of God based on the application of our reason on the designs/laws found throughout Nature. The designs presuppose a Designer. Deism is therefore a natural religion and is not a “revealed” religion. The natural religion/philosophy of Deism frees those who embrace it from the inconsistencies of superstition and the negativity of fear that are so strongly represented in all of the “revealed” religions such as Judaism, Christianity and Islam. (These religions are called revealed religions because they all make claim to having received a special revelation from God which they pretend, and many of their sincere followers actually believe, their various and conflicting holy books are based on.) When enough people become Deists, reason will be elevated over fear and myth and its positive qualities will become a part of society as a whole. Then, instead of having billions of people chasing after the nonsensical violence promoting myths of the “revealed” religions, people will be centered on their God-given reason which will lead to limitless personal and societal progress.
This is not a utopian pipedream. Deism has the potential to connect with every human being because every human being possesses God-given reason. Because of this fact, Deism clicks with the vast majority of people who are made aware of it. This God-given reason, which is so dear and key to Deism, is the natural state of humanity. The superstitions of the man-made “revealed” religions are NOT the natural state of humanity. The cause of our God-given reason being overrun with these man-made myths and superstitions is very simple. ACTIVE people promoted these falsehoods. Some of these active people were motivated by self gain while others were acting on ignorance. Since the problem was brought about by ACTIVE people, it can be corrected by ACTIVE people. As the number of ACTIVE Deists grows, our actions and energies will cause Deism to eclipse the “revealed” religions of the world and Deism will eventually, through lots of hard teamwork and altruism, replace the “revealed” religions. Humanity and the individuals who make up humanity will then be able to reach their full progressive potential.
Thomas Paine “There is a happiness in Deism, when rightly understood, that is not to be found in any other system of religion. All other systems have something in them that either shock our reason, or are repugnant to it, and man, if he thinks at all, must stifle his reason in order to force himself to believe them.”But in Deism our reason and our belief become happily united. The wonderful structure of the universe, and everything we behold in the system of the creation, prove to us, far better than books can do, the existence of a God, and at the same time proclaim His attributes.”
*Knowledge is defined as: “acquaintance with facts, truths, or principles, as from study or investigation; general erudition.” Knowledge of such things as code requires intelligence and working code is in DNA, and people can’t create principles which Nature is built on, among other forms of knowledge, allows us to have belief in The Supreme Intelligence/God that is beyond a reasonable doubt as this legal phrase is defined in Federal Judicial Center, Pattern Criminal Jury Instructions (1987). That definition is: “Proof beyond a reasonable doubt is proof that leaves you firmly convinced. There are very few things in this world that we know with absolute certainty, and in criminal cases the law does not require proof that overcomes every possible doubt.” This is covered in more depth in God Gave Us Reason, Not Religion.
One of the things I find so appealing about deism is that no matter how you perceive your belief, you are not judged for asking questions, you are not judged for putting the pieces together to fit you as an individual, your ideas are yours, your thoughts are validated, your questions are answered. Deism accepts the fact that humans are flawed creatures, that humans go through many things in life that are hard but if you search hard enough there is some reasoning to it all, not all reasoning is divine in nature and some of it comes from the flawed nature around us, but there is always reasoning and thought.
I am at one with the natural God and nature, I feel the most peace when I am out in the woods, up in the mountains, by a river or a lake, or even out for a long drive into the vast wilderness around us, all of those are my church, all of those make my soul happy. This is me, I am a Deist.