Do you believe in God, but not in a specific religion? That is how I felt. It is a real thing too. We call it Deism, and here is my explanation.
Religions and beliefs are an exciting part of life. No matter if we believe in something more significant or not, religion is still part of our lives. Over the centuries, religions and beliefs have been vital elements in regulating human society. But the most important part about this topic is to understand that it is a decision and a right. So, each one has the right to believe, or not believe, in what we want. Nothing is wrong or right in this subject.
It took me a long time to set my beliefs and understand what my position was. I was born and raised in Catholicism. Even my university was a Catholic university. But when I became a young adult, I started understanding myself. That is how I discovered that I was a Deist. Let me explain to you what all this is.
Deism is not a religion. It is a form of belief and thinking, a philosophy based upon the existence of a single supreme being. So, in Deism, there is this belief, but God differs from the God religions set. In this form of thinking, God is a creator or a first cause of the creation of the universe. But God does not intervene or change its design.
Deism differs from religion in many ways. There is a belief in a supreme being or God, but that being’s gender, or how they may look, is not relevant. Deism focuses more on the fact that a powerful being created everything, instead of establishing differences to characterize God in a certain way. In this form of belief, who, or what, the creator was is not as relevant as the force of creation itself. Deism can be defined as:
The belief in a single god who does not act to influence events, and whose existence has no connection with religions, religious buildings, or religious books, etc.Cambridge Online Dictionary, (2020)
So, another key aspect of Deism is the fact that God does not intervene in its creation. That is a huge difference because most religions are built around the belief of a God that continually alters things. Also, most religions establish God as a superior being that punishes or blesses each one of the tiny elements it created.
But one of the most interesting parts about Deism is the belief that God has nothing to do with religion, even when religions are usually related to a specific God. There is not a real element to prove the connection between a certain God, religion, and its creation. All we have are writings and ideals created by humans. So, religions were created by human beings, not by God. And the truth is that humans make mistakes, and their writings can have errors too.
Characteristics of Deism
A Self-Operating Universe
According to Deism, the universe operates by itself. That means everything that happens is just the result of a constant and circular cause-effect reaction. The reason is that God created the universe and let it run itself according to its natural laws. And that explains why, most of the time, humans can not control what happens. Because, as a tiny part of the universe, that principle also applied to humans.
To understand this point better, here is how Cuthbert Westmoreland explains it in his 2015 book Deism: The Knowledge of God – Based Reason and Nature:
A common system of Deist belief is that the Big Bang which created the universe signifies the last time God interfered in creation, and everything resulting from that unexplained burst of energy is simply a chain reaction from that initial push.Cuthbert Westmoreland
That is a relevant point because science hasn’t been able to find out what the force that originated the Big Bang was. And for now, the Big Bang seems the most correct and accepted theory for the reason and creation of existence. It is reasonable to think that the force that caused all the chain reactions of the universe and existence might be God.
Deism is a form of belief based on rationalization. This means most Deists believe in what they can see or what is rationally sustainable. So, theories supported by science as the Big Bang are accepted. In that way, Deism is based on the rational explanation of all, including the universe. And even us as one of its tiniest parts. That is why there is a self-operation principle that rules everything in the universe.
A Unique Appreciation of God
In Deism, there is a different appreciation of God, because Deists appreciate God through nature and reason instead of on revelations. That is why there is not a form or a characterization of God. Consider the amount of conflicts religions brought to humanity just because of the disagreements about how God might look or its characteristics.
That is the best explanation behind the fact that there are no creeds or holy books in Deism is because humans made all those books and writings. And if we understand God as a noninterventionist, that means those books do not have a reason to exist. Along with that, if God is a noninterventionist creator, it would not come and communicate certain ideas to people. So there is no realistic and verifiable way to sustain those books and writings that most religions claim and praise.
Cuthbert Westmoreland has something to say on that subject as well, also from Deism: The Knowledge of God – Based Reason and Nature:
“It’s extremely common for revealed religions to claim that god has arbitrary instructions or moral codes that he would like us to follow…It’s also very common for revealed religions to be built upon ancient myths with very little supporting evidence.”Cuthbert Westmoreland
In Deism God is not a punisher or a blesser. That means God does not mistreat or urge people under any condition. Because something scary and unfair about most religions is the constant punishment and submission. All those ideals, rules, and intimidation are a reason for suffering for the same humanity that created them and their offspring.
Why I Decided My Belief Was Deism
As I said before, I was born and raised under Christianity, specifically Catholicism. But while I was growing up, I suffered from all my religion claimed. And it was not because I was doing something bad; it was mostly fear of what was next and what could come. Also, the whole apocalypse and the amount of punishing we could get by a single action made me fear rather than believe.
But there was something I was clear about, I knew then and still know now that there is a God. There is something else, a vast being to which we owe existence itself. Along with all I explained, many situations in life were pretty bad and still happened. And that made me ponder. Why is God punishing us? Why do terrible things happen even if we regularly pray against them? After that, when I turned17, I started identifying myself as an atheist.
I didn’t stop there. Something inside of me still felt like there was a divine creator. So when I started university and began studying psychology, I started discovering myself. That made me realize that there was a God. But it doesn’t intervene in its creation, because nature is self-operational. And after researching and reading a lot, I found a philosophy that sustained the way I understood God. That was Deism.
In conclusion, I want to say that I respect all religions, and this article is not meant to offend or disrespect anyone. I understand life and existence as a journey, in which we continuously learn about ourselves. So, this article is an invitation and encouragement for you to start discovering your beliefs. We all have the right to believe in whatever we want, but Deism is a great option for those who, like me, don’t want to lock in a religion.