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 Deism: Alive and Well in America

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Aaron
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PostSubject: Deism: Alive and Well in America   Fri Sep 25, 2009 11:53 pm

This is from the Wall Street Journal. It was published a few days ago.

Quote :
By Steven Waldman

When historians refer to some of the Founding Fathers as "Deists," it's as if they're talking about an extinct philosophy, like alchemy or phrenology. Very few Americans go around describing themselves as Deists.

Well, perhaps that ought to change. A new study reveals that a rapidly growing number of Americans hold the belief system that used to be described as Deism.

Deism was a philosophy, especially popular in the 18th century, holding that God had created the universe and its laws but then receded from the action. It was treated as heretical -- akin to atheism -- because Deists rejected Biblical authority. Thomas Jefferson, for instance, wrote that the authors of the canonical Gospels were "ignorant, unlettered men" who laid "a groundwork of vulgar ignorance, of things impossible, of superstitions, fanaticisms, and fabrications." He famously crafted his own Bible sans miracles.

This brings us to a new study about the rise of "Nones," Americans who profess no religious affiliation. Trinity College analysts now conclude that Nones make up 15% of the population and that, given their rate of rapid growth, their numbers might soon surpass the nation's largest denominations.

The rise of the Nones is usually decried by religious leaders as a sign of secularization or atheism's ascent, but get this: 51% say they believe in God.

Now, some of those folks might just be religious people in between churches. So the Trinity folks asked them to describe what kind of God they believed in. 24% say they believe in "a higher power but no personal God."

That would mean about 3.6% of Americans could be considered Deists, making them more common than Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, or Mormons.

And that's if you use a pretty narrow definition of Deism. In my book, Founding Faith, I argued that even the so-called Deists of the 18th Century were a bit more religious than we think. Both Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin believed that God intervened in history. A recent study by the Pew Religion Forum found that 35% of Nones pray weekly or daily.

I suspect that some modern American Deists are actually quite like Jefferson and Franklin. They don't believe in Scripture, or cotton to organized religion. But in the privacy of their home, they think that the distant, aloof God occasionally checks in to listen to their prayers.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125365145301031757.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

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PostSubject: Re: Deism: Alive and Well in America   Sat Sep 26, 2009 3:52 pm

Quote :
Well, perhaps that ought to change. A new study reveals that a rapidly growing number of Americans hold the belief system that used to be described as Deism.

As unique ancient cultures are rapidly becoming homogenized into a generic world culture, their ancient ethnic gods are also beginning to blend into a generic world deity. Indeed, some form of Deism may be mandatory if the anticipated and forboded "New World Order" is to emerge from the current chaos of old word disorder.

Memetic evolution, largely in the form of technological progress and market merging, seems to be converging on an across-the-board unified worldview. We're not there yet, but the frantic last-ditch jihads of outdated belief systems may be an indication that a new epoch in world history is about to begin.

I don't think G*D is pulling strings to make that happen, but it does look as if this automated creation does have some kind of built-in Prime Directive. Maybe mankind is headed for an Omega point after all. Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Deism: Alive and Well in America   Sat Sep 26, 2009 11:29 pm

I think Theism in some form will always exist, but perhaps if/when technology and humanity continue to evolve, Deism will see a larger role.

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