Deism In Modern Times?

Discussion in 'Philosophy and Religion' started by Jimbee68, Dec 21, 2016.

  1. Jimbee68

    Jimbee68 Member

    Just how seriously is Deism (in a nutshell, the belief God can be known on rational grounds) taken today?

    I know there are Deism sites all over the internet. But they all seem to run by non-scientific laymen. And that is really my question: Are there any scientists today, who would proudly take the label "Deist"?

    I know I first heard of Deism in high school. And I even considered myself one for a time. And with good reason too, one of my high school teachers, Mr. K, rather thought of himself as a Deist too, I think.

    Then again, a lot of scientists seem to think we should all be atheists. In fact, and I can't figure this one out, but my dictionary lists "atheist" as a "synonym" for Deist. What on earth does THAT mean?

    So how seriously is Deism taken among scientists now? And (gasp), has it just degenerated into modern day atheism? Inquiring minds (mine) want to know.

    :scholar: [​IMG]
  2. MeAgain

    MeAgain Dazed and Confused Staff Member

    I would imagine it would depend on how you define God and his/her/its relation to the natural world.
  3. themnax

    themnax Senior Member

    there is nothing unnatural about non-physical existence. only unprovable.

    god-like beings don't have to hide in the exceptions,
    when they can have their own parallel non-physical universe,
    or even all of the space that is outside of and beyond
    all universes, even should there happen to be multiples of them.

    this is my one caveat/exception to empericism:
    that everything does NOT "have to" exist, in order to do so.

    to this i offer as illustration,
    that we, as a species, do not "have to" exist at all,
    and yet we do anyway.

    this i feel applies equally,
    to the possible, even probable,
    existence of god-like beings

    (who's existence has been pretty well proven to be not required for those things we seem to know, to do so)
  4. Mountain Valley Wolf

    Mountain Valley Wolf Senior Member

    I actually have a term that refers to Western Man's need to bring God (or whatever label you want to use) into man’s physical mundane world, defined by his terms, conditions, and context, to which he places God into a box within his reality: Logosummonism. Deism is a part of this dynamic. It is a development to some extent in any civilization, the roots of which emerge in the planter stage of development. But Western man has taken it to its logical end conclusion (and Western culture being the dominant Global culture of the Modern Age, has spread this across East and West).

    But Logosummonism separates us from our subconscious selves and from the ecstatic spiritual experiences of our ancestors.

    However we are at the end-conclusion of Western thought--the Post-Modern Crisis---Nietzsche's Age of Nihilism. If we can resolve this crisis then Western thought can rise up again like a Phoenix, but we cannot reverse the path it has taken, e.g. the church will never again be the Unifying Truth of our culture (but Modern Culture is no longer Western in that regard anyway---it is global. The other problem is that we now see the world from Post-Enlightenment eyes). Therefore as a phoenix, it would rise up with a whole new weltanschauung from that which shaped civilization.

    The problem of the Postmodern Crisis is that there is no deeper meaning that gives our lives value. There is no unifying truth. We have a pseudo-unifying truth of consumerism, but it doesn't provide true meaning, value, or authenticity. This means that Modern Man does not have an answer to the deepest why----by this I am referring to what Spinoza said, that every question of why leads to another question of why. As you go through this process of asking why, the questions get deeper and deeper. Eventually they lead to that ultimate why---the answer to which is the divine absolute. If we don’t reach that point, he said, then the questions of why will continue forever, and life is completely absurd.

    The last presidential election is a perfect example of the current state of nihilism. And now we live in a world where the government feeds us 'alternative' facts contrary to what we can all see to be a shared truth. The world is sinking rapidly into nihilism. This could very well be the decadent end of Western civilization (well, over time anyway—such things do not play out in a matter of a few months or a few years or even a few decades). On the other hand, like the fire from which the phoenix rises from, it can simply be a means of breaking down the old weltanschauung, so the phoenix can be reborn. I don’t think it is a coincidence that the philosophy of deconstruction appeared just as postmodern nihilism began to manifest on a culture-wide basis----just as America began facing the pains of its own existential crisis in the early 1960’s—at the point when it became most apparent that science had failed as the new Unifying Truth.

    But again, we can’t go backwards. We can’t determine that this religion or that religion is to be the unifying truth. Modern Man has embraced materialism, and this too is a problem, as religion itself holds no merit for large segments of our Modern culture. As I said earlier, we now view the universe through post-enlightenment eyes.

    To bring meaning, and value, back into our Modern culture we will have to reintroduce Modern Man to such things as a nonphysical reality, or an absolute reality, we will have to deconstruct the existing culture-wide weltanschauung—not only that which is based on materialism, but even in those paradigms of thought that have been the basis of civilization (duality, objectivism, etc) . This has to be done through the rationale of science, otherwise it would be meaningless to large segments of the culture. Likewise it cannot define the absolute, because that too would leave it meaningless to large segments of the culture (it would therefore have to be open to subjective interpretation, allowing even atheists to validate their own beliefs through it). It would therefore have to embrace the multiplicity of our archaic ancestors rather than the dualism that began in our planter cultures.

    Otherwise, we are left to fall deeper and deeper into the decadence of nihilism.
  5. Okiefreak

    Okiefreak Senior Member

  6. Okiefreak

    Okiefreak Senior Member

    First of all. Deism is not "the belief that God can be known on rational grounds." It is the belief that God, however (S)he is known, created the universe but is indifferent about it's fate or what we do or don't do. God, to the Deist, is the Cosmic Watchmaker, Who winds it up and watches it tick. If your dictionary is telling you that Deism and atheism are synonyms, throw it in the trash and get a new one. Atheism is simply the disbelief in deities of any kind. Second, scientists can be theists, deists, atheists or agnostics in their off hours, but science per se has nothing to say on the subject, although some scientists, philosophers and theologians have used the findings of science to make arguments for or against God. Physicist Paul Davies has been called a "deolgoian" for essentially defending modern deism, although he doesn't do it "proudly" or use the label. Others, like Robert Spitzer (former physicist and Catholic priest), (former physicist and Anglican priest), put forward reasoned-based arguments for traditional theism; and still others, like biologist Richard Dawkins and physicist Victor Stenger, are militant atheists. A study by the science journal Nature in 1999 found that 40% believe in a personal God and 40% do not. Where deism fits is uncertain, but it probably overlaps those two categories. For an interesting deistic treatment of God and the universe, see astrophysicist Hernard Haisch's The God Theory, in which he conceptualizes God as the creator of space and time, and therefore beyond them. God, says Haisch, is involved in an ongoing effort to self-actualize its potential and experience by exploring this in infinite permutations and comvinations, one of which we inhabit. I'm not a scientist, but I consider myself a Christian and a panendeist--the latter being a combination of Deism and pantheism in believing that God is both immanent and transcendent in nature. I think of God in two contexts: whatever is responsible for the laws of physics and the summation of human idealism. I tend not to believe in a Cosmic micro-manager, but I wouldn't bet the farm on it.
  7. MeAgain

    MeAgain Dazed and Confused Staff Member

    And to a deist God is separate from his creations and uninvolved in what they do..I believe.
  8. Wu Li Heron

    Wu Li Heron Well-Known Member

    Deism, as in the usual traditional popular metaphysical deist beliefs, is not taken all that seriously by modern science, however, Contextualism, pantheism, and panentheism bring new meaning to the word as possibly representing yin-yang dynamics and one of the two faces of Janus or, indivisible-yet-divisible complimentary-opposites along the same lines as up and down, back and front, left and right. For example, my own beliefs are more Taoist or Contextualist and for me a belief in God is no different than a small child looking up to their parents as gods and reflects the supersymmetry of the recursion in the law of identity. We look up at the stars in the heavens and feel small and vulnerable and we look down on ubber tiny quanta and they appear random and meaningless simply due to the supersymmetry of everything going down the nearest convenient rabbit hole or toilet of your personal preference. Among other things this explains why a both a belief in God and atheism can confer certain advantages as well as disadvantages. Hence, it is modern science that still needs to change as well as traditional ideas about God because we are spirits in the material world when everything can be described as simultaneously alive and dead. In technobabble, a paradoxical version of John Wheeler's "Participatory Anthropic Principle applies" where who is doing all the creating and what is being created inevitably becomes debatable as we no longer make distinctions between who we are and what we are doing embodying poetry in motion in the moment. Such views support agnosticism more than either deism or atheism and knowing that what we do not and cannot know can become much more important than anything we think we already know, that God or the greater truth plays peek-a-boo with everything, and we must ultimately take our own awareness and personal journey on faith. If there is a God, modern science is about to prove they prefer to remain anonymous and, considering all their fans and opponents, I really can't blame them.
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