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Deism in Practice

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There is a gap between what we believe and what we can prove, and we bridge that gap with reasoned faith. I believe that there is plenty of room for both the sacred and the spiritual in a world governed by scientific principles. That is reasoned spirituality…

Deism in Practice

Science and spirituality do not have to be at war with one another. Deism offers reasoned spirituality. Deism provides a foundation and a framework that allows you to decide what beliefs to build into your worldview. What you construct will be uniquely yours. What does a Deist practice? This is the responsibility of each individual Deist. Deism has no required
practices. No one has made all the decisions for you.

What does it mean to be a Deist? What do I as a Deist do with my religious philosophy? How does Deism influence my daily life? Deism satisfies my spiritual needs because I am a questioning soul; Deism has some answers, and those answers make sense. What is it like to look at life through Deist eyes? I find myself looking at life through three lenses: reason, nature, and experience. Come experience with me life as seen through a Deist’s eyes.

As a Deist, I accept only what is reasonable. I reject the senseless, the contradictory, and the absurd. I don’t expect perfection. Perfection exists only in concepts, almost never in the real world. I also find it reasonable to acknowledge my other human characteristics – intuition, inference, passion and imagination – but I still put everything to the test of reason. My world has to make sense.

Einstein said, “Science without religion is lame; religion without science is blind”. A Deist named David Pyle, now a Unitarian Universalist minister, paraphrased this as, “Without faith, reason is cold, but without reason faith is blind”. I believe that both Einstein and Pyle are correct. There is a gap between what we believe and what we can prove, and we bridge that gap with reasoned faith. I believe that there is plenty of room for both the sacred and the spiritual in a
world governed by scientific principles. That is reasoned spirituality.

How does looking through the lens of nature affect my beliefs and how I act? I am a student of life and of nature. I have thousands of years of science and philosophy at my fingertips, and nature still inspires me everywhere I look. When I look at the fine-tuned nature of the universe, I find it difficult to accept the notion that it is all the product of randomness. I see too much design and complexity. The universe makes more sense to me if there is a designer. There is more hope if life has a purpose, if the creation has a Creator.

Above all, I am an observer of human nature. We are social animals, but after all these millennia we are still learning how to live together in societies. It is in our nature to live together with other people, but it is also natural for us to want to be free. We can voluntarily restrict our actions in a society in order to achieve harmony, but when others place restrictions on our freedom, it is in our nature to resist if we disagree with their reasons for constraining us.

It is entirely natural that I did not choose my religion as a child. My parents chose for me as their parents did for them, and I did not question their choice. It is human nature to trust our parents, and I accepted their religion on faith. But as I grew more independent and started examining my given beliefs critically, I had to make my own decisions. I could not choose unquestioning faith over reason.

I believe spirituality is innate in our human nature. We need to connect to our essential inner self and to something greater than self. We all feel connected to nature. We are influenced by nature’s cycles and rhythms. We stand in awe of nature’s power and beauty. Connecting with other human beings is spiritual. Being a part of a team or a choir or a community can be profound and uplifting. And I am sure that I do not have to tell you what a moving experience it is to connect physically and emotionally in an intimate, loving and committed relationship.

It is in our nature to learn and to try to make life better, even when we must take two steps forward and one step back. We experience life, and we pass along what we learn. We will never live long enough to experience everything, so we learn and benefit from the experience of others. But we must be careful. It is in the nature of some people to control others, so we must examine the evidence to see whether or not we should trust what others claim to have experienced.

When I came to look at the world through Deist eyes I began to comprehend that reason is the best way to make sense of life, and I came to many realizations. I began to understand that no one has a monopoly on truth. I saw that those who believe that they possess the only real truth inevitably think I should believe what they believe. As a Deist I prefer to think for myself and decide for myself what is true. When I look at life through Deist eyes I realize that nature is speaking to me, but not with words. My observations of nature tell me that my choices are really up to me, that I should stand on my own two feet and take responsibility for my own life.

The most spiritual people I know attain a serenity that is evidence to me that they have moved past religious strife and conflict. The most spiritual people I know, irrespective of their faith, do not get hung up on literal interpretations of any religious texts. They lead by example, and I am inspired to follow them because I know they have glimpsed the real truth. When I look at the world through Deist eyes I pick out a few messages that ring true, those that are backed up by the evidence, that do not contradict the laws of nature and that are grounded in common sense. This is reasoned spirituality. Because what works for me may not work for you, take what you find of value here, and follow your own path.

Share your thoughts. Leave a comment:

3 Responses to “Deism in Practice”

  1. Dave Gaddis
    March 6, 2011 at 3:14 pm #

    Chuck, great article! Thanks for posting it on SBNR…

  2. Name
    March 7, 2011 at 11:46 am #

    I always knew I was a Deist!

  3. Walter White
    June 28, 2013 at 6:54 am #

    Thank you for your clear explanation and truth. I have lived my life with God’s Love, Truth and Peace as my guide for over 20 years and I am content. I was recently labelled a Spiritual Deist by some Christians and had to look it up. How did I ever manage without having that label inscribed on my forehead. MAybe I’m just a plain Deist though. I love and respect all peoples customs and beliefs with no need to change them. My own view of God is an an Infinite Being and Creator beyond my comprehension with the connection being on those concepts of Love, Truth and Peace. Thanks!

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