One of the things I’ve always had a difficult time with is the list of “beliefs” different religious groups have. Since many of my personal beliefs are quite unorthodox from a Christian standpoint, you can imagine that I’ve had a very difficult time subscribing to the doctrines of one faith group or another. I may find a few points match with my own belief structure, but see many others that don’t (such as hellfire doctrine, the infallibility of the Bible, that the Bible was literally written by God through mankind, that there is no source of Truth on this planet besides the Bible, and some others). As a result, even though I long for the community that can be found in a “church” group, I really do not fit in anywhere. And in most cases, unless you accept a church’s “Statement of Faith” whole-cloth, without deviation in the slightest, you cannot be a part of it, and/or you are looked down upon…and/or you are seen as someone who needs to be “saved”.
Like I said, I don’t fit the mold…nor do I need saving.
Let me preface this page with a couple of points. I am not one of those people that cuts and pastes verses from the Bible to “prove” my point when discussing theology. I do not believe that the Bible is the one and only source of Truth in this universe. I am absolutely not a “verse Christian”. However, you may see a lot of Bible quotes here for one reason: even though it is not perfect, the Bible does in fact have the greatest concentration of provable Truths out of any book I’ve come across in my life so far, especially where it concerns the life and sayings of Jesus Christ. But my point of this paragraph is…I find Truth in lots of different places, not just the Bible.
The following is a list of beliefs I can really get behind. I think this is the stuff that is lacking in much of Christianity today. Is it so important to be focused on the fact that Jesus “died for our sins”, or is it more important to focus on the Golden Rule, and try to live our lives according to it? I really feel like the latter. I don’t profess a belief in God because of what I can get out of it (a free pass to Heaven, not going to Hell, everlasting life, or whatever most people expect to get out of it). Even if it turns out there is no Heaven, and we die, and that’s it…well, I’ll still believe in and love God. Because God is Love, and we humans are here on earth as the fruit of that love. I’m not doing it because I will reap a reward. I’m doing it because it’s what I was Created to do.
God Is Real
There is only one God, Creator of the Universe and the natural laws that govern it.
God is With You
Every human being is a Child of God, and infused with the spirit of God. When we do God’s will we become closer to God.
God is Love
Jesus taught that it is God’s will for you to “love your neighbor (including enemies) as yourself,” (Matthew 22:39; 5:43-44) which means that “whatever you wish that people would do to you, do so to them.” (Matthew 7:12).
God’s Will is Apparent
God’s will is taught to everyone by God (John 6:45) in the design of human nature, and is learned through human experience and reasoning. We worship (honor) God by doing God’s will.
We All Sin
Failures to love others, by causing human suffering or by being indifferent to human suffering, are offenses (sins) against God, and are destructive to your soul.
If you repent of your sins and you forgive others who sin against you, God forgives your sins (Matthew 6:14-15), and restores your soul.
Love is Hope
If you try to live by love for others, and sincerely repent of your failures to love, you will enjoy satisfaction with yourself in this life, and you have reason to hope that God will give you another life.
(Source: http://christiandeism.com/beliefs/ )
Here’s a pretty solid definition of a Deist (in the context of Christian Deism, of course, since that’s what I identify with). I remember the day, after much study and reflection, I changed my Facebook status to “Christian Deist”. One of my good friends, D., sent me a private message, concerned about my soul. His understanding of Deism was and maybe still is (I’m not sure) colored by liberal college theological interpretations (the typical “Watchmaker/Clockmaker God” idea). This is not what I believe at all, nor do many, many other Deists.
Easier for me to quote with sources, since others have gotten this belief structure down pat pretty well by now. All sources throughout this blog will be shown so long as I can find them. And all quotes certainly will be sourced.
A “deist” is someone who recognizes that there is “design” in the natural world. Scientists have discovered “design” in the universe, such as the orbiting of the earth around the sun at a distance that enables life to exist on earth. The natural world appears to be designed to operate in accord with certain natural laws, such as the law of gravity in the orbiting of the planets. From the recognition of “design” in the natural world, deists infer the existence of an intelligent “designer” called “God.” In other words, a deist believes that the existence of the world is “intentional” rather than “accidental.”
The name “deist” comes from the Latin word “Deus” which means “God.” So a deist is someone who believes that God exists as the “designer” of the world. But to simply believe that God exists is not a personal religion. As a Jew, a man named Jesus certainly believed that the design of the universe reflects God’s creative power, as expressed in the Hebrew psalm, “The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament (sky) proclaims His handiwork” (Psalms 19:1) but Jesus also believed that God created human beings and provided certain laws (“commandments”) which are intended to govern our lives.
Christian deists believe that Jesus summarized these laws for humankind as “you shall love God” and “you shall love your neighbor.” Jesus said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And the second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:36-39).
Christian deists believe that love for God and love for neighbor are “natural laws” that are known to everyone because these laws are inherent in human nature. Jesus referred to God’s laws as God’s “commandments” or “word,” and Jesus said that this “word” is planted like a seed “in the heart” (Matthew 13:19). Since these natural laws are known by everyone, Christian deists find no need for any “supernatural” means of revelation of truth from God to humankind. Individuals can discover these laws for themselves and must choose whether to accept or reject God’s natural laws, as taught in Jesus’ parable of the “sower.”
Christian Deists believe that it was necessary for God to create the world to operate on its own in order for us to be individuals with freedom to direct our own lives. The world is designed to operate according to natural laws inherent in everything, including human beings, but sometimes failures in operation occur accidentally or by human mistake or intention. The possibility of failure is an inherent risk in a free world.
The fact that God created the world to operate on its own does not mean that God is a “Great Watchmaker” who creates the world like a clock, winds it up, and takes no further interest in it. The “Great Watchmaker” description of God is an invalid stereotype used by the opponents of deism, but it does not represent the views of Christian Deists. An analogy of a watch and a watchmaker has been used by some deists to refer to “intelligent design” in the world as evidence of the existence of an Intelligent Designer (God) but the analogy was never intended to imply that God is aloof from and uninterested in the world. Christian Deists believe that God is interested in us, as human beings, to whom God gave the greatest gift of all — our freedom to live as individuals.
(Source: http://www.christiandeistfellowship.com/ )