Jump to content

Welcome to Christian Writers!

We are a friendly community built around Christian writing, publishing, reading and fellowship. Register or sign in today to join in the fun!
Claire Tucker

Does anyone know the name for this worldview?

Recommended Posts

What is the name for the worldview where you belive that God created the world, but then stepped back and let it run by itself without any further involvement? Does it even have a name? Does anyone here know? 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 minutes ago, suspensewriter said:

Deists.

Correct.  It is the belief that God has created the universe but remains apart from it and permits his creation to administer itself through natural laws. Deism thus rejects the supernatural aspects of religion, such as belief in revelation in the Bible, and stresses the importance of ethical conduct. Deist believe in the moral teachings—but not divinity—of Jesus. This of course goes against what the Bible teaches. 

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Thanks, @Bob Leone. That's a nice overview of what they believe. 

 

Any suggestions or ideas as to how to show a deist the truth? 

Edited by Claire Tucker

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, Claire Tucker said:

Any suggestions or ideas as to how to show a deist the truth? 

 

The best route to take with a Deist is to first get him/her to see the inconsistencies and contradictions in her worldview. This is best done by asking penetrating questions like:

Every major religion contradicts the others on major issues like who God is and how we get to heaven, so how can they all be right?

If getting into heaven is a matter of being good and sincere, why did Jesus come to earth, die on the Cross, and come back from the dead?

There are many areas in the physical life where there are absolute truths, like mathematics and science, so why wouldn’t there be absolute truth in the spiritual world?

Also, your personal salvation story (how you came to know Jesus) will be helpful in helping establish the credibility of your message. 

Also let him/her know the Bible alone is the word of God and is absolute truth. It is without error. It cannot and should not be added to or subtracted from (2 Timothy 3:16-4:4; Revelation 22:18-20), and it is also the ultimate authority on spiritual matters. Every word of it is inspired by God, so you can’t just pick and choose what you ‘think’ is true.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Actually, I don't think that what Bob says will change their minds.  A committed deist is someone who is committed to living alone in the universe.  You can't prove that there is a loving,caring God to people who aren't open to it.  But most people are open to the way you live your life.  You can show them the way best by living your life in accordance with your faith, and let them draw their own conclusions.  When they see the fullness of your life in Christ, they will be attracted to it, and want to become part of it.  But do remember, that not all will welcome your closeness to Christ; some will reject it and some will be out and out repelled by it.  But some, that precious some, will come.

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've found that in modern times, most deists are operating agnostics. Deism is relatively speaking a mere stepping stone toward atheism. If God created the world and then left it to it's own devices (a common analogy would be of a wind-up toy) then God would not care to punish evil or condone good, for He is uninvolved. Therefore morality has no foundation aside from relativity. (that may be an argument that can be made carefully and respectfully)  Most deists, I have found, can't see how science alone brought about the universe, so they hold onto the idea of God creating it, but cannot seem to correspond that with all the pain and evil in the world, so they conclude that God must have created it but then left it to it's own designs and does not interact with the world. @Bob Leone's idea is also a good one I think, depending upon how it is approached. If the Deist expects to warrant heaven by his good works, then good questions to pinpoint discrepancies in his worldview would be questions such as How do you measure good deeds vs bad deeds? How do you know when the good has outweighed the bad? Are there neutral deeds, and where do you draw the line on those? and of course, are you measuring how good you are in relation to other people, or what standard of good are you using?  But like @suspensewriter said, no amount of argumentation will work if a person's life is hypocritical to their worldview. Most of the time, I think, relationship and living Christ in front of people is the greatest witness we can have. - - at the same time, with the argumentation - - we can also never underestimate the Holy Spirit's power to work in other people's lives, even or especially when we can't see it. So if this is research for a book character, I would consider sharing some things from the Deists heart of doubts or thoughts that show the reader he's opening up to certain ideas, or pondering things that show his heart is mutable, or even some event that shakes his worldview and causes him to doubt himself. If it's for someone you know... I'll be praying for you and the Deist and that God will soften his/her heart and give you the right words at the right time. 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

(apologetics is kind of my thing. 😋) ...and if you want more arguments, I have plenty more...  (though they should alway be used with gentleness and respect...) 

Edited by Jared Williams
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
33 minutes ago, Jared Williams said:

So if this is research for a book character

Yes, it's for a story idea that's bouncing around my mind at the moment

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Thomas Jefferson was greatly influenced by Deism:  https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_views_of_Thomas_Jefferson
 

One idea for you concerns Jefferson’s own “Bible”:  Jefferson Bible

 

One of your characters, say “Dave the Deist”, could be someone who is searching for God and has deist tendencies without realizing it, until he stumbles on Jefferson’s Bible.   Dave experiments with adding a few verses that were stricken out by Jefferson, to see for himself what kind of impact that might have on him.   Ultimately, it begins to dawn on Dave that the Scriptures are a chain of pearls, each of which by the Holy Spirit speak Life (God Himself) to the human  heart.

Edited by Ragamuffin_John
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

In such a story, I would show several logical, theologically sound approaches that fail, but make some headway, then one thing that breaks through. Desperate need helps, as I can attest from personal experience. In my life, the prayer was simple: "God, I still don't even know if you exist, but if you don't, there is no hope for my life." For me, that came after I met people from a church who treated each other differently from the way I had ever seen people treat each other. I didn't know what it was then, but it is Christian love.

 

Prayer. A second thing that changed my life was a person noticing that I was depressed and offering to pray for me. Several days later I remembered that this person said they would pray, and peace entered my heart for a few hours, allowing me to get some work done instead of giving up.

 

Another thing I might do (also based on personal experience) is weave in their backstory, then have several key elements of their life match a Bible verse that they stumble upon at the right time. Another example from personal experience.

 

As a kid, I dreamed about climbing the hill behind my house. I never got to the top of the hill in my dream. Over the years, it became a symbol in my mind of the path to heaven. Sometimes my climb would be interrupted by a distraction (often a beautiful woman) and I would leave off the climb. A second image from my childhood was a book by Alexander Key called "The Forgotten Door" where aliens from another world could run as fast as deer. I wished I could run as fast as a deer. Shortly after my desperate prayer given above, on a whim, I searched the Bible for verses about climbing hills and found Habakkuk 3:17 and following. That passage is a psalm about praising God even if every human activity fails. It ends with the hope that God "will make my feet like hind's feet; he will make me to climb on my high hills." (A hind is a deer.) Meditating on that prayer every day for 18 months enabled me to complete my bachelors thesis at MIT and graduate. It took me seven years to graduate and that last semester they warned me in a letter that they were going to expel me if I didn't finish that term. So such a deep connection between a Bible verse and a person's childhood could be a springboard for personalizing faith.

Edited by paulchernoch
  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Deism is correct, but I also think there is another word for it.

 

Einstein had a similar world view.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, Ragamuffin_John said:

Thomas Jefferson was greatly influenced by Deism:  https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_views_of_Thomas_Jefferson
 

One idea for you concerns Jefferson’s own “Bible”:  Jefferson Bible

 

actually, Jefferson had an issue with the Trinity. Jefferson's bible is a revisionist history item that a lot of people fall for. Most people don't know much about it, but Jefferson's Bible used to have a different name given to it by Jefferson himself - - "The Philosophy of Jesus of Nazareth, being Extracted from the Account of His Life and Doctrines Given by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John; Being an Abridgement of the New Testament for the Use of the Indians, Unembarrased with Matters of Fact or Faith beyond the Level of their Comprehensions."

 

in essence, he was writing a book of ethics for the native americans. 

 

there is a big push in american schools history text books to paint the founding fathers as deists and atheists, which just isn't true. Jefferson and Franklin were perhaps arguably the least religious, but I've done a lot of research on them and their words and deeds contradict the idea of them being deists in the pure sense of the word and certainly not atheists... 

 

I haven't done much research on Einstein, but I do know he and Benjamin Franklin had an evolving view of faith as they grew older...

 

here are some quotes I like from Einstein...

 

Edited by Jared Williams
  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Albert Einstein - "God Almighty does not throw dice."

Albert Einstein - "I'm not an atheist, and I don't think I can call myself a pantheist. We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books but doesn't know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human beings toward God. We see the universe marvelously arranged and obeying certain laws but only dimly understand these laws. Our limited minds grasp the mysterious force that moves the constellations."

Albert Einstein - "I want to know how God created this world. I am not interested in this or that phenomenon, in the spectrum of this or that element. I want to know His thoughts; the rest are details."
 

 

and Benjamin Franklin

 

Benjamin Franklin - "You will see in this my notion of good works, that I am far from expecting to merit heaven by them. By heaven we understand a state of happiness, infinite in degree, and eternal in duration. I can do nothing to deserve such rewards... Even the mixed imperfect pleasures we enjoy in this world, are rather from God's goodness than our merit, how much more such happiness of heaven!"
 

Benjamin Franklin - "I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth - that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid?"

 

and Thomas Jefferson

 

Thomas Jefferson - "My views... are the result of a life of inquiry and reflection, and very different from the anti-christian system imputed to me by those who know nothing of my opinions. To the corruptions of Christianity, I am, indeed, opposed; but not to the genuine precepts of Jesus himself. I am a Christian in the only sense in which he wished any one to be; sincerely attached to his doctrine in preference to all others..."

Thomas Jefferson - "Perfect happiness, I believe, was never intended by the Deity to be the lot of one of his creatures of this world; but that he has very much put in our power the nearness of our approaches to it, is what I steadfastly believe. The most fortunate of us, in our journey through life, frequently meet with calamities and misfortunes which may greatly afflict us; and, to fortify our minds against the attacks of these calamities and misfortunes, should be one of the principal studies and endeavors of our lives. The only method of doing this is to assume a perfect resignation to the Divine will, to consider that whatever does happen, must happen; and that, by our uneasiness, we cannot prevent the blow before it does fall, but we may add to its force after it has fallen."

Thomas Jefferson - "The Christian Religion, when divested of the rags in which they have enveloped it, and brought to the original purity and simplicity of its benevolent institutor, is a religion of all others most friendly to liberty, science, and the freest expansion of the human mind."

 

 

So in the sense of deism being the belief that God created the world and then left it to its own devices, as in doesn't interfere with it at all, doesn't really fit the description of these men... i think... 

 

sorry to rant a little on it...I get a little passionate about the subject...

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

perhaps you can have someone who is in awe of nature, and can't see how such beautiful design and order could be made by chance, but struggles with the idea of pain and evil and a God being okay with it. Perhaps some pain in his/her past keeps him/her from trusting in a God who would allow such a thing to happen, so he/she rejects God being present and active in the world - agreeing with Nietzsche that 'god is dead, and we killed him'  - then having your protagonist live a life of humility, gentle strength, and self-sacrifice that boggles his/her mind and causes them to ask that person questions about why or how they can be that way. he/she would initially be put off by your protagonists answer, and perhaps it would lead to some arguments about God's interaction in the world or the foundations of morality or even the veracity of the bible (which would only be distractions to the true issue at his/her heart)  and then perhaps prayer leads not only him/her to have a softening of heart, but also help the protagonist to see what the true issue is - the pain in his/her past.   

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, but he did write this, too:

 

"In consequence of some conversation with Dr. Rush, in the year 1798-99, I had promised some day to write him a letter giving him my view of the Christian system. I have reflected often on it since, and even sketched the outlines in my own mind. I should first take a general view of the moral doctrines of the most remarkable of the antient [ancient] philosophers, of whose ethics we have sufficient information to make an estimate, ...

I should then take a view of the deism and ethics of the Jews, and show in what a degraded state they were, and the necessity they presented of a reformation. I should proceed to a view of the life, character, and doctrines of Jesus, who sensible of incorrectness of their ideas of the Deity, and of morality, endeavored to bring them to the principles of a pure deism, and juster notions of the attributes of God, to reform their moral doctrines to the standard of reason, justice and philanthropy, and to inculcate the belief of a future state.

This view would purposely omit the question of his divinity, and even his inspiration. To do him justice, it would be necessary to remark . . . that his system of morality was the most benevolent and sublime probably that has been ever taught, and consequently more perfect than those of any of the antient philosophers." (Ltr. to Joseph Priestly, Apr. 9, 1803.)

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Many Muslims I have met are deists. God has a hundred names but they will never meet Him as a person in Islam. Even paradise is simply a "garden of earthly delights" without interaction with God.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/20/2020 at 8:29 AM, Carolyn W said:

Many Muslims I have met are deists.

Muslims fit the basic tenet of deism, but not all. 

The Muslims do believe that their god is unknowable and hands off. Like the deist believe.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Throwing my hat in the ring - 

 

As @Jared Williams mentioned above, deists are often basically agnostics these days. It might be interesting. @Claire Tucker, to research the faith journeys of people who were once agnostics and became Christians. 

 

The thing about agnostics/deists is that they are okay with a level of uncertainty of opinion. "Is there a God?" "I suppose. I don't know that it matters." Atheists, in contrast, have made a committed decision that there is no God at all. I expect it's easier to convince someone determined to make a decision that their reasoning is wrong, than it is to convince someone that they have to make a committed decision at all. 

 

So, back to your writing, @Claire Tucker, for your deist character to have a realistic faith journey (this is, of course, not counting a miracle of God, which is wholly possible as well) I expect it would be a deeply complex and long process. So, turning to the stories of former agnostics, looking for perhaps common patterns in their processes of realization, could be helpful.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.