Author Topic: Can A Deist Be Considered Atheist?  (Read 3201 times)

Offline SkyChief (OP)

Can A Deist Be Considered Atheist?
« on: March 10, 2016, 03:45:12 AM »
IMO, the short answer is no.

But apparently there are some Deists who strongly differ with that and consider themselves atheist.

For this discussion, lets stipulate some conventional definitions of terms:

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de·ism
ˈdēizəm,ˈdāizəm/
[noun]
Belief in the existence of a supreme being, specifically of a creator who does not intervene in the universe. The term is used chiefly of an intellectual movement of the 17th and 18th centuries that accepted the existence of a creator on the basis of reason but rejected belief in a supernatural deity who interacts with humankind.

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a·the·ism
ˈāTHēˌizəm/
[noun]
Disbelief or lack of belief in the existence of God or gods.


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Some deists will argue that the "supreme being" which they believe in is actually not (a) god.

I would argue that if looks like a god, walks like a god, and quacks like a god,   ITS A GOD.

And therefore believing in ANY supreme being, spiritual entity, holy creator, etc., does not meet the fundamental qualifying criterion for atheism.



"A man should look for what is, and not for what he thinks should be."    - Albert Einstein

Online Baruch

Re: Can A Deist Be Considered Atheist?
« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2016, 07:19:15 AM »
I agree ... see ShoutBox.

Some people would argue that reality is bigger than conventional physics ... but would deny the supernatural.  Some conventional physics would argue that there is nothing beyond physics ... only ignorant lay people think otherwise.  Materialists who color outside the box, might be considered deist, but not accurately.  I would call them flexible materialists.  I am a flexible materialist.  In modern terms, a materialist is someone who only admits atoms exist, and their combinations.  This was all debated 2000 years ago by Lucretius, and before him Epicurus, and before him Democritus and maybe Leucippus.  Also in India.  Epicurus said that gods exist, as super-beings, but not in the Judeo-Christian fashion.  And that unlike mythology, super-beings have nothing to do with lower life forms like humans ... they party-hardy on Mt Olympus.  Epicurus would count as a deist.  Very few back then, would go the logical distance, and say there are no super-beings.  Saying that Alexander or a Roman Emperor wasn't a super-being could get you into trouble.  Jesus fell into this same model, except he was the anti-Alexander, anti-Emperor ... until the Roman emperor adopted him (the Romans were into adoption) ... then Jesus became the ultimate power behind the throne "Christos Pantokrator" ... Christ World Ruler.  Though the Buddhist emperor of India, Ashoka, did this long before ... as Chakra-Vartin ... aka Master of the Wheel (of Fate).
שלום

Re: Can A Deist Be Considered Atheist?
« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2016, 11:04:41 AM »
And therefore believing in ANY supreme being, spiritual entity, holy creator, etc., does not meet the fundamental qualifying criterion for atheism.
Of course.  Who argued otherwise?  Up until now, I never heard of deists claiming to be atheists.  Usually, they debate against atheism and for the existence of some sort of deity.

Offline aitm

Re: Can A Deist Be Considered Atheist?
« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2016, 11:24:27 AM »
I could see the point. If, as the definition implies, deist believe in a creator that does not  intervene in human events, for all practical purposes, the accidental creator. As such, it would not qualify as a god as a god normally quantifies as one that does intervene in human events. I have no issue with that. I can easily agree to that premise and even would not have a problem identifying myself as one as well. I do not believe there is an god interested in us at all, however I do not dismiss the possibility of the accidental creator, or even of a creator that purposefully created the universe, and has no interest in it and does not intervene in it, providing we state as well, that it could not be an ever eternal creator.
A humans desire to live is exceeded only by their willingness to die for another. Even god cannot equal this magnificent sacrifice. No god has the right to judge them.-first tenant of the Panotheust

Offline SkyChief (OP)

Re: Can A Deist Be Considered Atheist?
« Reply #4 on: March 10, 2016, 11:33:25 AM »
Baruch, earlier in the ShoutBox you replied " So on one level a Deist is a kind of atheist, but of the Enlightened sort."

Interestingly, this is precisely the argument these people use to rationalize the inclusion of Deist under the "protection" of the atheist umbrella.

And this is what makes me mad. They are deliberately misusing the term atheist to push their belief system in front of all other god-based world-views and religions.

I'm sorry I was asleep and missed your shout.
"A man should look for what is, and not for what he thinks should be."    - Albert Einstein

Offline aitm

Re: Can A Deist Be Considered Atheist?
« Reply #5 on: March 10, 2016, 12:02:16 PM »
They are deliberately misusing the term atheist to push their belief system in front of all other god-based world-views and religions.

I would certainly be interested in seeing an example of this. I have never heard of "one of them" making any demands.
A humans desire to live is exceeded only by their willingness to die for another. Even god cannot equal this magnificent sacrifice. No god has the right to judge them.-first tenant of the Panotheust

Re: Can A Deist Be Considered Atheist?
« Reply #6 on: March 10, 2016, 01:00:12 PM »
And this is what makes me mad. They are deliberately misusing the term atheist to push their belief system in front of all other god-based world-views and religions.

To many atheist is a dirty word and often used in the pejorative. I went from theist to deist to atheist to then redefine myself as a secular humanist. Words are a thing with me, so specific definitions are big in my world. Secular humanist doesn't seem to carry the connotations atheism does, so I prefer to call myself that. You also get a WTF response when you identify as that, which opens doors for discussion. My personal thing. Carry on.

Offline SkyChief (OP)

Re: Can A Deist Be Considered Atheist?
« Reply #7 on: March 10, 2016, 01:03:26 PM »
I would certainly be interested in seeing an example of this. I have never heard of "one of them" making any demands.

Well, perhaps I wasnt clear.  They're not making any demands, per se, rather, they're special pleading for inclusion to the ranks of atheists.
As if by doing so this somehow validates their god/supernaturtal entity paradigm.

Here's an example of the bizarre logic axioms they use to justify this: (I bolded the relevant parts)

"So like all English words meanings change over time. Languages are fluid. And given that English is spoken by many different cultures across the world, it is particularly fluid and there is no authority to dictate a 'standard' or 'official' definition.

Appealing to a 'standard' definition simply does not work.

Some people identify as deist, but reject specifically theism. Hence a-theist can be applied to them. A God that is not a theistic God does not conflict with atheism under some definitions. In fact deism emerged specifically as a rejection of the concept of a personal interactive God.

Some forms of deism overlap with pantheism, panentheism and even Buddism. But are distinguished from theism in that there is no revelation, no saviour and no personal God.

In the case of deism, it makes no claims of evidence for me to reject. Deism claims no revelation, has no holy texts and posits no personal God. The universe with a deist God and without it would be the same, so it is irrelevant to the whole purpose of apologetics. And to the fact that when it comes to discussing Christian apologetics, I am atheist. I do not believe the God in question exists."


- parsivalshorse -
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Notice the very last statement "I do not believe the God in question exists."

There was no god in question in context of the argument on the other forum. There is no god in question when it comes to atheism;

 Zeus = Apollo = Athena = Yahweh = Thor = Balder = Spirit Entity which is the creator of all things = Aurora etc, etc.. They're all the same.  No need for any distinction regarding beliefs in gods and spiritual entities when it comes to atheism. 

To be truly atheist, one must lack belief in ALL of them.


« Last Edit: March 10, 2016, 01:10:14 PM by SkyChief »
"A man should look for what is, and not for what he thinks should be."    - Albert Einstein

Online Baruch

Re: Can A Deist Be Considered Atheist?
« Reply #8 on: March 10, 2016, 01:05:43 PM »
Baruch, earlier in the ShoutBox you replied " So on one level a Deist is a kind of atheist, but of the Enlightened sort."

Interestingly, this is precisely the argument these people use to rationalize the inclusion of Deist under the "protection" of the atheist umbrella.

And this is what makes me mad. They are deliberately misusing the term atheist to push their belief system in front of all other god-based world-views and religions.

I'm sorry I was asleep and missed your shout.

It is still there.  I did the ShoutOut because I didn't realize there was also a post.  People claiming deism now might be confused with agnosticism.

In the 18th century, it would have been politically correct ... to not claim that a deist was an atheist, because deists didn't want to run afoul of the felony law against being an atheist.  So this was atheism-lite.  Had this happened after 1850 ... they would have just said atheist.  Because as aitm posted ... a strict deist position is very close to atheism vs Abrahamic deities.

Today, we don't have felony laws against atheism in the West .. so the whole point sort of goes away.  I find it ... tendentious to posit a deity that isn't omnipresent ... to assume one at the beginning only.
שלום

Offline SkyChief (OP)

Re: Can A Deist Be Considered Atheist?
« Reply #9 on: March 10, 2016, 01:36:06 PM »
People claiming deism now might be confused with agnosticism...

Today, we don't have felony laws against atheism in the West .. so the whole point sort of goes away.  I find it ... tendentious to posit a deity that isn't omnipresent ... to assume one at the beginning only.

Agreed on all these assertions.

I should point out though, that while not being a felony, there are SEVEN State Constitutions which preclude Atheists from holding public office in that respective State. 

But that's stuff for a different thread, I suppose. 

"A man should look for what is, and not for what he thinks should be."    - Albert Einstein

Offline aitm

Re: Can A Deist Be Considered Atheist?
« Reply #10 on: March 10, 2016, 02:13:41 PM »
To be truly atheist, one must lack belief in ALL of them.

Again, I would argue as I did in post 3, that god and a creator are not the same thing. Humans can create stuff. Nor do I have any problem accepting that position into the ranks. Believing in a creator that is not a god is as much an atheist as not believing in a god. I can see no objection to it personally.
A humans desire to live is exceeded only by their willingness to die for another. Even god cannot equal this magnificent sacrifice. No god has the right to judge them.-first tenant of the Panotheust

Re: Can A Deist Be Considered Atheist?
« Reply #11 on: March 10, 2016, 02:41:23 PM »
Again, I would argue as I did in post 3, that god and a creator are not the same thing. Humans can create stuff. Nor do I have any problem accepting that position into the ranks. Believing in a creator that is not a god is as much an atheist as not believing in a god. I can see no objection to it personally.
I dunno.  Some sort of divine being who created the universe seems an awfully lot like a god.  In fact, I'm pretty sure that's the very definition of a god.  And separating deism from deity (I suspect that they might have some sort of root word in common) seems like an exercise in futility.

Offline PickelledEggs

Re: Can A Deist Be Considered Atheist?
« Reply #12 on: March 10, 2016, 04:43:30 PM »
Deist is a belief in a deity, even in a general sense. Atheism is the lack or disbelief in deities. Deity is just another word for god... How is this hard to understand?
"Tell Pilate to release the files!!!" - Bill Hicks
"I have an open mind, but not so open that my brains will fall out" -James Randi
"One who truly hates himself cannot love, he cannot place his trust in another." - NGE

Offline SkyChief (OP)

Re: Can A Deist Be Considered Atheist?
« Reply #13 on: March 10, 2016, 04:59:32 PM »
Again, I would argue as I did in post 3, that god and a creator are not the same thing. Humans can create stuff. Nor do I have any problem accepting that position into the ranks. Believing in a creator that is not a god is as much an atheist as not believing in a god. I can see no objection to it personally.

In this context, an "accidental" creator, a "purposeful" creator, a "non-interventionist" creator,  are all manifest portrayal of a god entity.

As A non-believer, I make no distinctions between any spiritual creators. Even though the timeline of these creators might not intersect.

For example, the Abrahamic god has always existed - this particular god needs no creator because "He has always been".  *rolls eyes*.

The Deist god existed before the creation, and all involvement ceased 1/trillionth of a second after creation occurred... At least thats my understanding of it.

Naturally, the concept of god(s) to a non-believer will differ greatly from a believer, or even an agnostic.

I suppose it all comes down to semantics and etymology.
"A man should look for what is, and not for what he thinks should be."    - Albert Einstein

Offline Mr.Obvious

Re: Can A Deist Be Considered Atheist?
« Reply #14 on: March 10, 2016, 05:07:01 PM »
Baruch, earlier in the ShoutBox you replied " So on one level a Deist is a kind of atheist, but of the Enlightened sort."

Quote
(13:04:32) Baruch: So on one level, a deist is a kind of theist, but of the Enlightenme​nt sort

One letter.
Jeesh, I'm confused now.
E = Mc²

In the end, we are all standing in the dark,
trying to figure out why we are here.
But let us not choose one direction
without proof of where it is headed.

Check your pocket for matches
so we can observe and learn together
as fast friends and relative idiots.