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Christian Deism

Discussion in 'Denomination-specific Theology' started by Vanguard PCD, Feb 23, 2013.

  1. Vanguard PCD

    Vanguard PCD Progressive Christian Deist

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    If you have followed me on the Unorthodox Theology forum, you can probably guess that I am not the typical Protestant or Catholic based Christian. I am too much of a free thinker to accept several of the doctrines that other denominations adhere to. I have been asked to explain my faith, so here goes...

    I am a Christian Deist.

    To understand that, you need to know the foundation behind Christian Deism. It is more of a philosophy than an actual religion or denomination. The best way I can describe it is on a point by point basis.

    1. God is the supreme being, the creator, the Father.

    2. The Holy Spirit is an essence/manifestation of God.

    3. Jesus is God's son, although some other deists don't accept this. Some think he was merely the greatest of all of God's teachers/prophets, but a man none-the-less.

    The Trinity, as this is called, is not really all that important in the grand scheme of things. You won't find the Trinity mentioned anywhere in the Bible. It is a Christian belief that developed some time later. It's origins are actually somewhat of a mystery. Yes, the different parts of the Trinity are talked about in various verses, but none come out and make the claim.

    4. I firmly belive in free will. God gave us that gift, and with it the freedom to choose salvation. It is not demanded of us. God does not want automatons. We will be judged before the throne of God one day, based on our actions. That is in the Book of Revelation.

    5. God created the universe and the laws governing nature. The events that happen in nature are not a result of evil, God punishing a region, or anything mystical. It is merely "mother nature" doing what she does.

    6. Faith plus works is a must. Along with this is also the need for spiritual growth and enlightenment. Never stop asking questions, seeking knowledge, or gaining understanding.

    7. Mainstream denominations have the concept of Hell all wrong. Gehenna will become the Lake of Fire after the judgments. When you die, you go to the grave, and your soul awaits the resurrections and judgment. That is also in Revelation.

    8. I do not take the Christian Bible literally, word for word. There are far too many metaphors, allegories, parables and etiologies. There are also far too many contradictions and discrepancies.

    9. I embrace scientific understanding and reasoning.

    10. My faith and belief does not hinge on a single verse, concept or doctrine. If archaeology uncovers something that disproves part of the Bible, so be it. The Bible was written by men, and is subject to error.

    The following is a list of other deists (Christian or otherwise) based on their beliefs:

    George Washington
    Thomas Jefferson
    John Adams
    Benjamin Franklin
    James Madison
    Abraham Lincoln
    Isaac Newton
    Leonardo da Vinci
    Mark Twain
    Matthew Tindal
    Max Born
    Neil Armstrong
    Thomas Edison
    Wernher von Braun

    The list goes on and on. It would seem that I am in good company with my beliefs!
     
  2. orangeness365

    orangeness365 cookie monster

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    John 14:6
    Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
     
  3. Vanguard PCD

    Vanguard PCD Progressive Christian Deist

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    Very good...now use it in context with the surrounding verses:

    Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way where I am going.” Thomas *said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?” Jesus *said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.

    In other words, follow Jesus' example.

    BTW, you do realize that everything you read in the Bible was not actually written by God or Jesus, but by men? This means that you can't avoid the possibility that someone might have "put words in God's or Jesus' mouth" so to speak, in order to drive home an idea or belief. We don't actually have the autographs, so we don't know.
     
  4. orangeness365

    orangeness365 cookie monster

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    but it was written by holy people and prophets! :eek:
     
  5. Vanguard PCD

    Vanguard PCD Progressive Christian Deist

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    Oh really?

    Who wrote the Torah (Genesis-Deuteronomy)? Traditionally it is Moses, but that is even subject to debate now because of the different writing style in the chapters.

    Who wrote the Book of Acts? Some will say Luke, but this is highly debatable (and is still under debate today).

    Who wrote the Book of Job? Author is unknown.

    Who wrote the Book of Ruth? Author is unknown.

    Who wrote the Book of Hebrews? Author is unknown.

    The Book of Isaiah was not written entirely by Isaiah.

    John wrote the Book of Revelation. But which John?
    John the Apostle
    John the Evangelist
    John of Patmos

    All 3 had very different writing styles.
     
  6. orangeness365

    orangeness365 cookie monster

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    ok you got me. I don't know.
     
  7. elopez

    elopez Newbie

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    The word "Trinity" is not mentioned in the Bible, yes, however, the general concept of the doctrine is outlined in Scripture, especially in the Gospel of John. The origin of the doctrine of the Trinity is not really that much of a mystery. Teachings of the doctrine can be found in writings from first century Christians, with the most explicit concept coming from the third century Latin theologian, Tertullian.

    After all, just because the specific word "Trinity" is not in the Bible does not mean it is false.

    Every Christian should believe in free will. I agree that it is God given and there is even Scriptural proof for such, but I do not agree that we have the liberty to save ourselves. I think that we do not have the will to do such, so God must intervene and save us.

    While I find this to be true, one cannot neglect the instances in Scripture that shows God causing certain natural occurrences. So I'd reason to say that although God causes natural occurrences, He does not cause all of them.

    Jesus speaks of a punishment without end, just as there would be life without end. That is what I go by.
     
  8. branchofthevine

    branchofthevine Newbie

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    We do not know many authors of the old testament books except a few like Baruch for Jeremiah, but basically scribes have recorded throughout history and passed them down faithfully. We have very accurate sources for them.

    For Isaiah, there could be two authors, or two prophets Isaiah breaking from 1-39, and 40-66, but the text doesn't mention a different author. Therefore Deutero-Isaiah must be added to it. Isaiah doesn't just have one writing style so it could be one author. Jewish tradition, Josephus, and Qumran, and New Testament references actually support only 1 author for the book of Isaiah.

    There whole John debate is mute because it is the same guy. John the Apostle is the Evangelist, and was exiled to Patmos.

    The book of Acts if volume 2 to Luke, both are written by Luke. This is accepted as the author.

    Hebrews used to be thought to be written by Paul, others by Barnabas, but yeah it is unknown. And no, not knowing the authorship of a letter does not make it un-inspired.


    As for your first 10 points, most are okay actually. however, the term Son of God refers to the Davidic Messiah which is understood as God. Basically you cannot call Jesus the Son of God and refuse to believe He is God, that is not how things work. He is fully God and fully man.

    It might be helped to clarify your faith and works as a must point because one could take it as one must have faith and works to be saved which is completely wrong and opposes the gospel. However, if one is saved by grace their faiths will produce good works (see book of James).


    I agree mostly with your nature point except that I don't like saying "mother nature" because I don't believe in such a thing. I firmly believe in the sovereignty of God over nature and it does what nature does. -> basically agreeing with the point that hurricanes and natural disasters are not from evil, but are natural.

    The Bible was written by men who were filled with the Holy Spirit. It isn't like it just dropped down from Heaven, but was written over a long period of time, and from different people from different social classes. The people wrote what they did and God guided it, and inspired it.
    -What kind of errors do you think the Bible has in it?

    When you call yourself Christian Deist though, do you think God is just hands off from all His creation? That is sort of what Deism means.
     
  9. Vanguard PCD

    Vanguard PCD Progressive Christian Deist

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    But what we, as Christians, don't have is the oral teachings of the Torah, that defines for Judaism how to interpret what is written. It was later written in the Talmud. It goes deeper than this, but that is a post within itself.

    Except that part of it was written after the captivity, and the entire book generally covers three different periods.

    Actually, they may be three different individuals. Traditional belief, that dates back to the 2nd century CE, identifies them as the same person. This is now being challenged by modern day scholars, based on writing styles. I do not use post hoc, ergo propter hoc as a basis for a conclusion.

    Acts is not. The old belief is that it was Luke, but modern scholars challenge this also. Even certain study bibles will tell you the author is unknown or unverified.

    I never said that Jesus wasn't God. However, for every verse that indicates that Jesus and God are one in the same, there is another that contradicts it. Examples:

    John 10:30 I and the Father are one.
    John 14:28 My Father is greater than I.

    Granted, they have both been taken out of context. That's the problem most people have...cherry picking verses to illustrate a point.

    Do you know how many Christians I know that claim to be saved, but don't a thing to help others? They go to church on Sunday and put on their happy face, and then come Monday they cuss everyone out on the road. The bold above is good in theory only.

    Let's look at Revelation 20:12-13 And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds.

    If having faith (saved by grace) is supposed to produce good works/deeds, but it doesn't, then it is up to the individual to make sure that they produce good works of their own accord, because it is those works that they will be judged by. Judaism, Islam and Catholicism all believe in faith + works.

    It's a metaphor for acts of nature.

    The reference for "inspiration" is 2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness...

    However, not everything in the Bible is "Scripture."

    As to the errors, I have no problems believing that the autographs are inerrant. But since we don't have those, inerrancy is a moot point. The errors are numerous, and include translational errors done by human hands.

    Isaiah 14:12 is a prime example.

    Yes, classical deism views God as creating the universe, life on earth, setting the laws of nature, pressing the start button and walking away.

    It is my belief that God created this planet, the life on it and the natural laws governing it. I also believe in free will, so yes, God is hands off unless we come to Him. Even then there is no guarantee that He will intervene.

    Our's is not the only planet in the universe. Our space exploration consists of less than 60 years. Do I believe that intelligent life exists elsewhere? Absolutely! Why wouldn't it?

    The Bible is written from one cultural view, from one section of the world, in a time when they knew very little about science.
     
  10. shturt678

    shturt678 Senior Veteran

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    I think we need to remove "free-will" out of the equation as all have an "enslaved-will" by the definition of "Free-will" applying to the Bible. This is just for starters. Thank you for your patience.
     
  11. Vanguard PCD

    Vanguard PCD Progressive Christian Deist

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    I'll also point out that modern "Liberal Protestant" churches have their roots in Christian Deism. As a matter of fact, there aren't that many actual CD churches, but there are plenty of LP churches, that have actually absorbed the deists. They are harmonious with each other.
     
  12. shturt678

    shturt678 Senior Veteran

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    Or does Christian Deism have their roots in Christianity??? Not that familiar with "Deism" but very familiar with John Locke and framing the Constitution ... hence these posts interesting and educational for me.
     
  13. Vanguard PCD

    Vanguard PCD Progressive Christian Deist

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    Yes Christian Deism (CD) has its roots in Christianity. As a matter of fact, the two commandments under the new covenant in the NT, are the bread and butter of Christian Deism:

    1. Love God.
    2. Love your neighbor.

    If you actually study what Jesus preached, He was pretty much a Christian Deist.

    CD is more of a philosophy than an actual religion. Liberal Protestant Christianity would be the "denomination" and the type of church that most modern CDs would go to. It's for free thinkers, those who don't get hung up on biblical inerrancy, and for those who accept that the Bible is not 100% literal.
     
  14. Tangible

    Tangible 100% Saint & 100% Sinner

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    Is that anything like moralistic therapeutic deism?
     
  15. Keachian

    Keachian On Sabbatical

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    I find this interesting, how can we take the idea that God is not involved in creation now that he has finished creating (a tenent of deism) and merge it with the idea of prophets as seen in the Bible (Heb 1:1, Pet 1:20, 2 Tim 3:16) that God communicates with us.
     
  16. WisdomTree

    WisdomTree Philosopher

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    Hi there! Interesting sets of beliefs you got there.

    I thought deism was a belief in God, but one who is either indifferent or ignorant of his creation? So in other words, theism with an atheistic prinicple. Your sets of belief seems more like liberalism and/or postmodernism due to your belief in the after-life.

    In my opinion, I don't think Thomas Jefferson was a Christian Deist, but a Christian Atheist, but that's just me.

     
  17. Albion

    Albion Facilitator

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    People who feel attracted to Deism naturally find encouragement in the famous people from history who are called Deists. HOWEVER, most of those alleged Deists WERE NOT actual Deists but Christians of a style that was affected by the Enlightenment. We look at it today and say "Deist," but that's a real exaggeration.

    It's like calling every Democrat a Socialist or every athlete a dumb jock. Yes, you can compile some characteristics in order to make your point, but it always comes at the expense of the whole picture.
     
  18. shturt678

    shturt678 Senior Veteran

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    Not that I'm anyone significant, your post Albion rings with profound truth within my soul sir, been a long time since been into these areas, but do remember some things. Thank you for a little light this morning to encourage me.
     
    Albion likes this.
  19. everbecoming2007

    everbecoming2007 Member

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    Is God entirely transcendent and remote, even unaware of us? Is God immanent to you? Is God transcendent and immanent? What is your take on prayer? Do you have devotions, prayers, or meditation?
     
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