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 Deist Doctrine and Denominations

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Gnomon
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PostSubject: Deist Doctrine and Denominations   Mon Sep 01, 2008 7:03 pm

As I peruse the internet, I occasionally come across "Deist" sites that have their own particular "doctrinal" emphasis, with slight variances from other Deist beliefs.

Is this just a healthy sign of free interpretation of the ambiguous evidence, or the beginnings of denominationalism within the immature "Modern Deist Movement"?

Can a philosophical "movement" or "paradigm" become a formal religion without some formal doctrine? Should it?

<<Yahoo Groups:
Spiritual-Deism is the belief in a GOD
that one can communicate with, through
meditation or prayer,
- but Not
in dogmatic or book revealed religion.
>>

<<Spiritual-Deism teaches that personal guidance can be received through 'Gnosis' by the daily practice of meditation.>>
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Gnomon
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PostSubject: Re: Deist Doctrine and Denominations   Mon Sep 01, 2008 7:23 pm

Here's another difference of opinion on the"Modern Deism" Yahoo Group.

Question: Religious Functions?
<< Why no ordained Deist? And I don't mean in the typical way. There is
a social benefit of having other people who have similar beliefs.
Ordained Deist who can council or comfort them or to perform services.
Events like acknowledging a birth, performing a marriage, performing
a funeral, comforting grieving family members and other various social
duties. Maybe even work to explain the concept of Deism to others.
>>

Reply: Personal Philosophy
<< I do know of one minister who is a Deist. I know of no others. I think
part of the reason there are almost no ordained Deists is that Deists
think of Deism as a philosophy rather than as a religion. Perhaps the
biggest reason there are no ordained Deists is that Deists see Deism
as a level playing field. We all have the ability to reason.
Ordination would take away that level playing field.
>>

Can an ivory tower philosophy become a religion for the masses without sacrificing individual freedom for communal dogma?
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Gnomon
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PostSubject: Re: Deist Doctrine and Denominations   Mon Sep 01, 2008 8:06 pm

Many of the Alt-religion discussion groups claim to be non-denominational or ecumenical in their attitudes. But there don't seem to many takers. Are they too broadminded for those looking for something specific to believe in?


Theist-Non-theist Place
<< Description
Discussion of issues relevant to theism and nontheism (i.e. agnosticism, atheism, even deism or pantheism).
>>
The logo is a picture of Yggdrasil from the Norse Eddas.

Natural_Religion
<< This is a forum for the discussion of ideas related to the philosophy of Deism and natural religion. We are committed to the pursuit of free thought regardless of the cost. While Deism is the focus, atheists, agnostics, pantheists, and other freethinkers are very welcome.
>>
This group seems to have only one member.
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Aaron
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PostSubject: Re: Deist Doctrine and Denominations   Tue Sep 02, 2008 9:58 am

I think there are probably as many different denominations of Deism as there are deists. It's just a factor of being a "freethought" belief.

Gnomon wrote:
Can a philosophical "movement" or "paradigm" become a formal religion without some formal doctrine? Should it?

<<Yahoo Groups:
Spiritual-Deism is the belief in a GOD
that one can communicate with, through
meditation or prayer,
- but Not
in dogmatic or book revealed religion.
>>

<<Spiritual-Deism teaches that personal guidance can be received through 'Gnosis' by the daily practice of meditation.>>

I'm not sure but I think that once someone tries to insert doctrine into Deism it ceases being a deistic belief. I do believe there is a difference between doctrine and description however. Perhaps the "Spiritual Deists" are just trying to describe a different point of view rather than trying to create a new doctrine.

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Aaron
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PostSubject: Re: Deist Doctrine and Denominations   Tue Sep 02, 2008 10:11 am

Gnomon wrote:
Can an ivory tower philosophy become a religion for the masses without sacrificing individual freedom for communal dogma?

I don't think Deism is a philosophy any more than Theism is a philosophy. IMO Deism is just a category of belief. But to answer your question, at this time I think the masses prefer dogma over free-thought. Free-thought takes time, energy, and work. The average person would rather have there spiritual beliefs handed down to them by "experts" who have already done the work and who can tell them what they want to hear.

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Gnomon
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PostSubject: Re: Deist Doctrine and Denominations   Tue Sep 02, 2008 4:24 pm

Aaron wrote:

I don't think Deism is a philosophy any more than Theism is a philosophy. IMO Deism is just a category of belief.

I think I see your point. Modern Deism is not (yet) a formal philosophy like Stocism or Epicureanism. Personally, I prefer to think of it simply as an informal Worldview; it's my understanding of how the world works. But I see evidence that people are trying to develop both a formal Deist philosophy and a practical Deist religion. Probably the main missing ingredient is a famous guru or founder to popularize it.

I'm OK with the Philosophy trend, but I'm ambivalent toward the idea of building a Religion around Deism. I think most people feel the need for some kind of religion, including a standardized doctrine. And it might be better to build it around a Deist worldview, than some UFO cult. But historically, religions have tended to dumb-down the original philosophical core into a lowest common denominator. I know that sounds elitist, because it is. Am I selfish to want to keep Deism as a generic worldview for a few freethinkers, instead of a specific religion for the masses?
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Gnomon
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PostSubject: Re: Deist Doctrine and Denominations   Tue Sep 02, 2008 11:35 pm

The quote below from a Viral Meme webpage touts Buddhism as a positive memeplex. It sounds compatible with Deism as a general philosophical (individualistic) worldview rather than a specific operational (collective) dogma. And yet, the majority of Buddhists in the world today are not simply private practitioners of a technology, but adherents of a traditional communal belief system---a religion. Since the Buddha clearly had no intention of founding a formal religion, the dominance of the Mahayana sect of Buddhism today may serve as a warning to Deists who think they can have a religion without doctrine and rituals. As social animals, humans seem to be inclined more toward cultural traditions than do-it-yourself technologies. Are freethinking Deists anti-social cats instead of pack-running dogs? Why do you think they call it dogma? Very Happy


[4] Buddhism does not attempt to suppress reason by dogma. Unlike most other religions, Buddhism isn't so much about things to believe, as things to do. It is a technology of mind improvement. This is why Buddhists often refer to themselves as practictioners rather than believers. The Buddha told his students to trust their own experience of the effectiveness of the teachings, and not believe things just because he said so.

http://kwelos.tripod.com/memes.htm
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