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 Any Advantage to Being a Deist or Pandeist?

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Gnomon
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PostSubject: Any Advantage to Being a Deist or Pandeist?   Sat Feb 23, 2008 8:22 pm


What say ye? Does Deism add something valuable to your life, beyond the "advantages" of Non-Theism??



quote from a FreeThinker forum:
Just as Gurra100 is curious about the relationship between atheism and meaningfulness, I am wondering just now whether there are specific advantages in being a Deist and Pandeist. Are there? Do either of these -isms add something valuable to a person's life?

Here's my response:
As a recent "convert" to Deism, I have been asking myself that same question. In my own case, I am essentially an Atheist who believes that this universe was created a few billion years ago by something equivalent to what is commonly known as "God". That belief is not a matter of capital-F Faith, but the result of years of amateur study of science and philosophy. My current "-ism" is a hybrid: for all practical purposes, I am an Atheist---no religion, no worship, no prayer---but for philosophical purposes, I am a Theist---because the latest alternative cosmologies are no more convincing to me than the metaphorical accounts in Genesis. Eventually, I discovered that there were a few other idealistic-iconoclasts like me, who called themselves Deists.

When I was an Agnostic, I rejected all divine revelations, but I was still open to the possibility of a Creator---because I had no better answers to ultimate questions. Yet I had no personal experience or any conclusive evidence of such a thing. However, my Christian worldview was shattered long ago by the hard-won realization that the Bible is not of divine origin. So for many years I have been constructing a new worldview---a new belief system---on the ruins of that ancient cathedral of faith. In a sense, I was starting over from a position of radical doubt similar to that of Descartes and Rarebear. But lacking their high-octane intellect, I was unable to actually abandon everything I had learned up to that point.

So, starting from not-quite-zero, I began to learn all I could about such non-religious fields of knowledge as Cosmology, Physics, Psychology, and Deep Ecology. Eventually, I saw that Science and Religion are both belief systems based on incomplete knowledge and spotty understanding. But I also saw that cutting-edge science was edging closer-and-closer to a worldview similar to that of the ancient philosophers and religious founders. 19th century Materialism/Reductionism is gradually giving way to a new paradigm more like Spiritualism/Holism. I know that sounds hokey and New Agey, so in a vain attempt to avoid prejudicial rejection, I often spell it "Wholism", or use more technical terminology such as Systems Theory, Cybernetics, or Chaos & Complexity Theory.

Due to my 30 years as an Agnostic, I am still uncomfortable with bible-baggage terms like "spiritualism". So I prefer to use terminology related to current theories of Information, such as "Entropy", "Memetics" and "Autopoiesis". But we are still talking about essentially the same thing. I also have a problem with the term "God", so I sometimes spell it as "G*D" to avoid confusion with the biblegod. And yet, it seems to me now that aggressive modern science has simply strayed into the forbidden territory that was previously labeled metaphysics and superstition. Just as the medieval church gave Latin and Greek names to its supernatural mysteries, the post-eval institutions of science are still using dead languages to label their technical arcanities.

Anyway, here I am : in limbo between science and religion, between objective and subjective, between empirical and theoretical. And what are the advantages to my precariously-balanced position? None that I can think of---except that I now have a more complete and integral understanding of how and why the world works. But my ideal worldview of Wholeness and Harmony is still incomplete and under construction (and subject to ridicule)---and I still don't know what it all means. So I continue to search for valuable nuggets of little-t truth to fill-in the gaps caused by my youthful experiments in radical doubt. Any suggestions?
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PostSubject: Re: Any Advantage to Being a Deist or Pandeist?   Sat Feb 23, 2008 9:23 pm

It sounds like your path was similar to mine in many ways.

Have you ever attempted any sort of contemplative practice or phenomenology. I don't suggest it for the hocus pocus metaphysical benefit. I suggest it because unlike the other approaches that you've taken to truth which are mainly 3rd person approaches, I think that the 1st approach of meditation helps one to understand their own rational thought processes better, which in turn strengthens our understanding of the 2nd, 3rd and even 4th person perspectives of the world. Plus it has added health benefits as well. Smile

Anyway for me, Deism has opened up doors to science, philosophy, and spirituality that I didn't even know existed before and it has nourished my interest, excitement, and appreciation for the little things in life. I feel that it's allowed me to grow, and strengthen as a person in ways that Atheism, Agnosticism, or Theism never would have allowed.

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PostSubject: Re: Any Advantage to Being a Deist or Pandeist?   Sat Feb 23, 2008 11:34 pm

P.S. I know QueenQaab well. Say hi for me. Smile

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PostSubject: Re: Any Advantage to Being a Deist or Pandeist?   Sun Feb 24, 2008 2:53 am

Here's one advantage: When Christians come to my door to tell me about Jesus, I tell them I'm a Deist.
If I said I was an Atheist, they'd probably call their entire congregation out to save me, but most of them haven't got a clue what Deist means, so they leave me alone. Smile

Seriously, my parents tried to raise me Catholic, but the indoctrination didn't take. For years, I called myself an Atheist, but it didn't satisfy the need for answers. I can't say I have any answers now, either, but I've learned to ask smarter questions!
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PostSubject: Re: Any Advantage to Being a Deist or Pandeist?   Sun Feb 24, 2008 7:36 pm

Quote :

Have you ever attempted any sort of contemplative practice or phenomenology.
My part of the world has probably just about the least penetration of New Age religious concepts. However, years ago I attended the Unity Church in my neighborhood for at least two non-spiritual, ulterior reasons. First I wanted to meet girls, and having left the church of my youth, my social circle was atrophied. Second, I was curious about meditation and other cool new-agey stuff I had been hearing about.

They had regular classes in Alpha-Theta meditation, where a little EEG machine would register your brain-waves in order to provide positive feedback. The machine said that I was indeed reaching alpha and theta patterns during mantra meditation. But, other than being restful, nothing else ever happened during the next year or so of practice. I gradually drifted away from the practice because I was not being rewarded with any "benefits" beyond what a good night's sleep would provide.

I also tried a flotation tank, where you lay in a dark, sound-proof, clam-shell, egg-shaped container of body-temperature epsom salts. What I learned from my few sessions is that during sensory deprivation, the mind attunes itself to any and all external stimuli---before it turns inward. The tiny drops of condensation from the lid sounded like tsunamis to my rational-dualistic ears. Besides, I had better things to do with my time---such as chasing girls---and more immediately gratifying.

On another occasion I tried hypnosis as a means of removing some self-defeating mental habits. Although the hypnotist assured me that I had been in a hypnotic trance, I was aware of everything, and the final "stiff arm" suggestion failed to register with my subconscious.

Years later, I tried an experimental helmet set-up for trans-cranial magnetic stimulation of the brain. It was supposed to physically induce "transcendent" or "religious experiences". Yet again, nothing out of the ordinary. My skeptical, rational consciousness has too firm a hold on the reins to succumb to such mechanical stimulations. Since my skull is so impenetrably-thick, I no longer have to wear tin-foil head-covers to protect against Martian mind-control.

Being raised as a good Christian boy, I never took any of the 60s and 70s drugs that promised some groovy, mind-expanding trips. But my limited experience with alcohol leads me to believe that I would probably feel the negative effects much more than the positive.

Therefore, my inner-self seems to be a hard nut to crack. Consequently, I am stuck at the turquoise-glass ceiling of Vision-Logic. And I am no longer actively searching for spiritual transcendence. Just plain old superficial, rational understanding will have to suffice for me. Unless, of course, you can recommend some new techniques for instant rapture. The traditional paths to enlightenment are just too slow for my short attention span, and too much work for my lazy brain.
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PostSubject: Re: Any Advantage to Being a Deist or Pandeist?   Sun Feb 24, 2008 8:01 pm

Well sounds like an interesting journey to me Gnomon! Good to share the road with ya a bit.
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PostSubject: Re: Any Advantage to Being a Deist or Pandeist?   Sun Feb 24, 2008 8:09 pm

I just pay extra special attention to the moment that I'm in. All the sensory data, the people I'm around, my own thoughts, etc. I can do this pretty much anywhere at any time. There's really no need for special helmets or tanks or any of that other "new agey" hocus pocus kind of stuff.

I think most people in the west try too hard and are to focused on initial "results". The practice is about grounding yourself in the moment. If you happen to have some other form of "spiritual awakening" in the process that's a bonus, but that shouldn't be the intent IMHO.

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PostSubject: Re: Any Advantage to Being a Deist or Pandeist?   Sun Feb 24, 2008 11:31 pm

Aaron wrote:
I just pay extra special attention to the moment that I'm in. All the sensory data, the people I'm around, my own thoughts, etc. I can do this pretty much anywhere at any time. There's really no need for special helmets or tanks or any of that other "new agey" hocus pocus kind of stuff.

I think most people in the west try too hard and are to focused on initial "results". The practice is about grounding yourself in the moment. If you happen to have some other form of "spiritual awakening" in the process that's a bonus, but that shouldn't be the intent IMHO.

When I was younger, I meditated a lot. But my teachers didn't understand---and called it day-dreaming.

Now that I am older, I often fall into a mindful, meditative state. But my co-workers don't understand---and call it senility. Drool
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PostSubject: Re: Any Advantage to Being a Deist or Pandeist?   Sun Feb 24, 2008 11:41 pm

Quote :
Now that I am older, I often fall into a mindful, meditative state. But my co-workers don't understand---and call it senility.

Mywife calls it laziness Laughing
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PostSubject: Re: Any Advantage to Being a Deist or Pandeist?   Mon Feb 25, 2008 5:01 am

Try jumping out of an airplane at 13,000 ft. That was the most "in tune" I've ever been.
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PostSubject: Re: Any Advantage to Being a Deist or Pandeist?   Mon Feb 25, 2008 6:26 am

What I get out of deism is a sense of purpose. I feel like I live in this mysterious machine called the Universe that God wants me to reverse engineer and in reverse engineering it I learn something about him. If I was an atheist I would feel like I lived in a pointless chaotic explosion and that I was a pointless accident. I need a reason for being. It's hard wired in me. Understand?

As to the whole meditation thing. I feel like I'm always in a state of constant meditation. I experience my own mind more than I do the real world. My thoughts go by so fast that I can't keep up and I feel like I'm conscious of my subconscious. I feel at peace when I'm not thinking. I feel whole and a sense of oneness when my mind just stops and all I do is feel. Looking at something beautiful like the stars helps. I hate being schizophretarded Exclamation
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PostSubject: Re: Any Advantage to Being a Deist or Pandeist?   Mon Feb 25, 2008 11:35 am

Your philosophy/theology is the cornerstone for your orientation in reality; a necessary element both to our survival and our fulfillment. Atheism offers the same benefits except the element of hope for something beyond this life that deism offers.
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PostSubject: Re: Any Advantage to Being a Deist or Pandeist?   Mon Feb 25, 2008 11:37 am

stretmediq wrote:
Try jumping out of an airplane at 13,000 ft. That was the most "in tune" I've ever been.

Yes, nothing forces you to reprioritize and take a look at the "big picture" more than a healthy fear of dying. Smile

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PostSubject: Re: Any Advantage to Being a Deist or Pandeist?   Mon Feb 25, 2008 11:39 am

Helium wrote:
Quote :
Now that I am older, I often fall into a mindful, meditative state. But my co-workers don't understand---and call it senility.

Mywife calls it laziness Laughing

LOL... Very Happy

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PostSubject: Re: Any Advantage to Being a Deist or Pandeist?   Tue Feb 26, 2008 10:18 am

Paineful,

I agree that Atheism offers the same benefits as Deism but that is only because they are practicing Deism. What I mean is they live like their lives have purpose even though they believe they are an accident. They study science because they want to think god's thoughts after him even though they don't believe he exists. They use their reason to figure out right from wrong even though they don't believe in good and evil. They hold people responsible for their actions even though they believe freewill is an illusion. I don't really know how to explain my point. It just seems to me that they behave as if the universe is a logical rational ordered machine that has a purpose and life should be valued even though the foundation of their believes is that the universe is a chaotic purposeless accidental random explosion.
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PostSubject: Re: Any Advantage to Being a Deist or Pandeist?   Tue Feb 26, 2008 1:26 pm

Schizophretard wrote:
Paineful,

What I mean is they live like their lives have purpose even though they believe they are an accident.

Good point, although if you pressed them on it, they'd have to deny it, or that they have any purpose or meaning other than be subjects of the will to survive and to live as comfortably as possible.

Some acknowledge a need for fulfillment, the explanation for which they do an elaborate tap-dance. But the majority aren't atheists at all; they're merely anarchists and anti-religion rebels without an alternative and who're just as unthinking and dogmatic as those they oppose.
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PostSubject: Re: Any Advantage to Being a Deist or Pandeist?   Thu Feb 28, 2008 9:30 am

I know what you mean it's like they spend most of their time trying to disprove Jesus instead of proving that "chance" is our creator. It also annoys me that they say they are not a faith because they lack faith. It's true that the word Atheist defines what they don't have faith in but to fill the void they place "chance" in the place of God. They can't prove that the universe is the lucky winner in some kind of cosmic slot machine. So, they have faith in "chance".

Many of their arguments and the way they interpret the facts of science seem strange to me. For an example one of the arguments I've heard against creationism sounds like they are proving Atheism by proving Deism. They would point out that the Bible god designed the universe in such a way that he has to intervene to maintain the creation. They would say that he did a miracle by creating the natural laws and that he had to do more miracles to make life. They would ask," Why didn't God just design the universe in such away that the only miracle he would have to do is create the natural laws and create them in such a way that life wouldn't require another miracle?" So, their whole point is that the Bible god is stupid because he claims to have designed the universe so bad that he has to fix things with miracles. Then they would argue that the universe doesn't require miracles and that life evolved. So, now their point is since life evolved and since there is no miracles then God must not exist. This is really strange to me because they are saying that if God was smart he would of designed the universe so perfectly that no miracles would ever be required and since miracles aren't required God must not exist. This makes no sense! This doesn't prove that God doesn't exist. This just proves that Bible god is stupid and the real god is smart. They are arguing in the wrong direction. They should show that Bible god is stupid, that a smart god would make the universe in such away that it would work perfectly without needing miracles, that the universe isn't perfect, that the universe requires miracles but doesn't get them, and since the universe doesn't get miracles that are needed there must not be a god. In other words they should show that the universe is worse than the way Bible god done it and not that it was done better but they couldn't make such an argument because the universe does work perfectly without constant maintenance. I think it's kinda funny that if God does miracles they believe he doesn't exist, if he doesn't do miracles they believe he doesn't exist, and that since the universe looks like how a smart god would do it they believe he doesn't exist.

I also think their argument of monkeys typing something from Shakespeare is stupid. With this argument they have proved to me that there is no evidence of design that will work for them because they can always say,"It could happen by chance!" What they don't seem to understand is that if they can't prove it happened by chance then it also could of happened on purpose. This argument just proves it could be by chance or on purpose but it doesn't prove which one happened and therefore both are faiths. There is just one small difference between these two faiths, one is reasonable and one is blind. Here's my typing monkeys argument:

You go in a room and find a man with a computer that has a program that types random text. He shows you two pieces of paper full of text. One appears to be a short story and one appears to be unintelligible random text. He asks you to tell him which one he typed and which one the random text program generated. Could you tell him for sure which is which? No you can't because your answer would be based on faith because you don't have enough information to tell which is which. Both pages have the same amount of text. So, the probability of the random text program generating either of them is the same. The same goes with the man. Since both pages have the same amount of text the probability of the man typing either is the same. Both pages could of just as easily been written by the man or the computer. So, if you're honest with yourself you'll admit that you don't know and both are based on faith. The best you can do is determine which faith is more reasonable and therefore more believable. So, you think to yourself,"The man has intelligence and the computer doesn't. The short story is intelligible and random text is unintelligible. So, I have good reason to believe that the short story was written by the man and that the random text was generated by the computer. I can't think of any good reason for it to be the other way around." So, you answer the man,"Sir, I honestly can't tell which is which because I don't have enough information but I have good reason to believe that you typed the short story and the computer generated the random text." After you leave the room an Atheist enters to take the test. He answers the man,"You thought you could trick me! Both could of been generated by chance! Therefore, it is obvious that the computer generated both!" Idea
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PostSubject: Re: Any Advantage to Being a Deist or Pandeist?   Thu Feb 28, 2008 9:53 am

Schizophretard wrote:
It also annoys me that they say they are not a faith because they lack faith. It's true that the word Atheist defines what they don't have faith in but to fill the void they place "chance" in the place of God. They can't prove that the universe is the lucky winner in some kind of cosmic slot machine. So, they have faith in "chance".

They also use the tactic of saying the burden of proof in on the theist because theirs is an unbelief. But claiming a position (there is no God) is just as much of a belief and doesn't relieve them of the need for proof either.
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PostSubject: Re: Any Advantage to Being a Deist or Pandeist?   Thu Feb 28, 2008 10:05 am

True! Does my monkey argument make sense to you?
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PostSubject: Re: Any Advantage to Being a Deist or Pandeist?   Thu Feb 28, 2008 10:17 am

Schizophretard wrote:
I know what you mean it's like they spend most of their time trying to disprove Jesus instead of proving that "chance" is our creator. It also annoys me that they say they are not a faith because they lack faith. It's true that the word Atheist defines what they don't have faith in but to fill the void they place "chance" in the place of God. They can't prove that the universe is the lucky winner in some kind of cosmic slot machine. So, they have faith in "chance".

I have to laugh because that's pretty close to how I define god...

"God is the possibility of possibility..." ~Rabbi Marc Gafni

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PostSubject: Re: Any Advantage to Being a Deist or Pandeist?   Thu Feb 28, 2008 6:57 pm

Schizophretard wrote:
True! Does my monkey argument make sense to you?

Yes, if you accept their premise, which I don't. You've still gotta have monkeys, or in this case a descent size quantum computer, as the agent of action to do the typing or computing or changing or whatever.
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PostSubject: Re: Any Advantage to Being a Deist or Pandeist?   Fri Feb 29, 2008 3:15 am

Quote :
What say ye? Does Deism add something valuable to your life, beyond the "advantages" of Non-Theism??

For me it adds a working theory. Could be right, could be wrong. Hey, I'm a damn good poker player. Percentages are good enough for me. I don't need the whole damn truth to always come out on top - at least not in poker. lol!
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PostSubject: Re: Any Advantage to Being a Deist or Pandeist?   Fri Feb 29, 2008 5:48 am

Aaron,

What do you mean by ,"that's pretty close to how I define god."?
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PostSubject: Re: Any Advantage to Being a Deist or Pandeist?   Fri Feb 29, 2008 10:28 am

Schizophretard wrote:
Aaron,

What do you mean by ,"that's pretty close to how I define god."?

For me "god" is a pretty abstract concept. I don't necassarily see god as some sort of intellectual being that resides somewhere "out there". My conscept of god is more in line with the idea of infinite possibility.

I think that "chance" and "possibility" are pretty miraculous in themselves. That's why I referenced the quote; "God is the possibility of possibility..." by Rabbi Marc Gafni.

At least that's how I view god in it's ineffable unmanifest form. The manifest is just an extension of the unmanifest.

"The One is all things and no one of them; the source of all things is not all things; all things are its possession- running back, so to speak, to it- or, more correctly, not yet so, they will be." ~Plotinus - the 5th Ennead

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PostSubject: Re: Any Advantage to Being a Deist or Pandeist?   Fri Feb 29, 2008 4:31 pm

Schizophretard wrote:
Paineful,

I agree that Atheism offers the same benefits as Deism but that is only because they are practicing Deism. What I mean is they live like their lives have purpose even though they believe they are an accident. They study science because they want to think god's thoughts after him even though they don't believe he exists. They use their reason to figure out right from wrong even though they don't believe in good and evil. They hold people responsible for their actions even though they believe freewill is an illusion. I don't really know how to explain my point. It just seems to me that they behave as if the universe is a logical rational ordered machine that has a purpose and life should be valued even though the foundation of their believes is that the universe is a chaotic purposeless accidental random explosion.

Schizo

That is an excellent summation of the Atheist/Deist dilemma. May I quote you on another forum where the Atheists are ganging up on me?

Being fair-minded freethinkers, they have even started a new thread to give me and other "theists" the opportunity to explain our rational reasons for believing in an invisible, intangible, inactive, unimaginable God-ghost. I'm afraid I don't have any more debating points other than the same circular arguments that have been going around for millennia.

To me, G*D is an axiom not a syllogism; a tautology, not a rational calculation; an inference, not a deduction.
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