Modern Deist Manifesto Based on Classical Deism

by Lewis Loflin

I believe in one God, and no more; and I hope for happiness beyond this life. I believe the equality of man, and I believe that religious duties consist in doing justice, loving mercy, and endeavoring to make our fellow-creatures happy. Thomas Paine
"We can not command religion, for no man can be compelled to believe anything against his will." Theodoric the Great

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Classical Deism was defined by Lord Herbert of Cherbury (d. 1648) and was one of the earliest proponents of Deism in England. In his book "De Veritate," (1624), he described the "Five Articles" of English Deists:

1. belief in the existence of a single supreme God
2. humanity's duty to revere God
3. linkage of worship with practical morality
4. God will forgive us if we repent and abandon our sins
5. good works will be rewarded (and punishment for evil) both in life and after death.

The following was drawn from classical definitions of Deism and other classical religious sources. One doesn't have to follow everything as such but one doesn't get to make up what they want - deism is not a "method". This is not dogma but a framework - I have no authority over others for the same I reject the authority of all organized religion.

I reject the authority of religious leaders to dictate belief to anyone. Study the works of the heretics and put these great works in proper context. Many conclusions about the Bible, etc. are based on reason and the "literal" word - claims of special revelation is simply opinion of the claimant.

I believe in the separation of religion and state. There's no such term as "church" or such terms in the Constitution. The State is to remain neutral which is not the case today. Ongoing efforts to de-Christianize the culture and substituting other secular pseudo-religions (environmentalism is the most common) philosophies is not neutrality.

I believe in God sustainer and creator of the universe and all that is in it.

All people are created equal in the "eyes" of our creator. All people regardless of race, sex, etc. are be treated equally and not divided into differing groups seeking special privileges or falling prey to those seeking to divide us.

Our rights derive from God and are not to be overthrown nor do we allow those in power to concoct special unequal rights to benefit any particular group. Equal treatment is not to be reinterpreted as equal outcome.

That we are to be judged by God (and thus society) based only on individual merit, character, and conduct.

All people are "in the image of God" in the sense that we are conscience beings. We exist above nature for that very reason.

God is unitary or One and has no sons, relatives etc. God is neither male nor female as we understand it, but perhaps has "sides" of both.

God transcends Creation and is beyond time and space from the material universe we inhabit. Thus God doesn't inhabit matter nor is matter in God. I reject all forms of New Age nonsense such as pantheism, Panentheism, pandeism, etc. Conflating God with matter is simply old Greek paganism and is the origin of the Christian Holy Spirit.

All forms of New Age style mysticism is rejected.

God does not perform magic tricks or suspends the laws of physics - God has no reason to guiding the universe as is.

The soul is immortal and the next life will be contingent on our conduct in this one. (Classical Deism, Judaism, etc.) An afterlife or any form of "heaven" can't be proven with material processes, but we can hope.

God alone as creator and sustainer of the universe is to be worshipped alone. Worshipping creation (or ourselves) is nonsense.

The best form of worship is to live ones life in a moral manner and to treat others in a humane and just manner.

We all make mistakes that is what human is about. Recognizing this charity and repentance are the key to forgiveness here and now.

God is present and active in the universe, but is non-controlling. Humans have free will and the ability to choose their own path within limitations of the world we live in.

I reject wholesale concepts such as Original Sin, eternal damnation, Hell, any form of Satan or a Devil, prophecy, etc. The idea little children killed by abortion or die as infants are going to burn in Hell for not converting to Christ is repugnant and irrational.

The idea humanity is collectively condemned for the alleged actions of two people as repugnant. We are responsible for our own actions only - not that of others.

While I believe divine revelation is possible, these claims are unreliable and unprovable. Reason must overrule blind faith or else one can get sucked into cults and extremism.

While one may draw inspiration from the various Holy Books, philosophies, etc. I reject the authority of alleged revelations and will treat them as the opinion of their authors which often depict God in a negative light. I reject the authority of all organized religion.

Reason like all things human is limited and prone to error. The Bible, Torah, etc. should be studied and considered with an open mind and treated with respect - I believe they contain "truth" and can counter the extremism of dogmatic secularism. In other words faith can moderate reason and reason can moderate faith.

Faith has its place but Classical Deism relies on reason first.

I believe in modern science and the scientific method, but is limited only to describing material processes and is to remain free of religion, mysticism, and politics and vis-versa. Mixing in any the latter it ceases to be science.

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The following are based on a classical deist viewpoint - we are here to learn not just mindless attacks.