Patty, my better half, discovered an interesting article while researching how to understand “deism”:
I found the article to be very illustrative of this Scripture passage: “…having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people. They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over gullible [minds]…” (2 Timothy 3:4b-6a, NIV, my edit) It also renewed my realization of how quickly in the history of both the Exodus and the Gospels errant and deceiving teachings were introduced — teachings which undermined and perverted the pure messaging of God.
The article discussing Deism informs at one point, “Possibly the most famed person to hold this position was Thomas Jefferson, who praised “nature’s God” in the “Declaration of Independence” (1776) and edited the “Jefferson Bible” — a Bible with all reference to revelations and other miraculous interventions from a deity cut out.”
Jefferson perverted the Scripture by exalting his own personal opinions, leaving a mere skeleton of the Bible.
Here’s the rub: the “revelations and other miraculous interventions” recorded in the Bible have a whole bunch of eyewitnesses who wrote down their experiences, testifying to the historical facts of the Bible’s revelations and miracles. That reality makes the “Jefferson Bible” a ridiculous work which exposes an arrogance in the writer. I say “arrogantce” because Jefferson was a slave owner, adulterer, a member of the American Aristocracy, and so on — maybe a pillar of Political Society, granted, but a pillar of morality, maybe not so much. However, deism is structured to look the other way.
His belief system thus allowed him to make convenient changes that suited his own sensitivities. That frees him to live by a fluctuating moral “standard.” As things turned out, he made many contributions, and America today, pretty much reflects the deist philosophy. Does that balance out? Being answerable to no one? My understanding of the Bible is that a righteous life is not a moral balancing act and everyone is answerable to someone.
Write your own Bible. Anything that makes you uneasy, edit out. Anything you want to put in, put in. Don’t like the law of gravity? Ignore it.
Maybe all human beings go through the same process at one point or another, rationalizing away their shortcomings by their own efforts. I know I used to. Look. It is like our attempts to stand before the Judge in Traffic Court, making excuses for our violations, trying to escape a fine. But that does not make it right, nor does it turn the Judges head. There always comes a verdict based on the written established laws — whether we like it or not.
Deism is a fancy word for Relativism where, as defined in the article, deist can pick and choose the rules that apply to themselves, escaping responsibility for any resulting harm, perhaps while holding others to higher standards.
“He [Jefferson] proposes beginning with a review of the morals of the ancient philosophers, moving on to the “deism and ethics of the Jews”, and concluding with the “principles of a pure deism” taught by Jesus, “omit[ting] the question of his divinity, and even his inspiration.”
Do you see the blatant error? Did Jesus teach Deism? Did the Jewish people receive the Ten Suggestions? Was God even involved with the Exodus? Miracles? The Bible, as an historical document, says otherwise.
A form of godliness, but denying God’s authority and power. Looks good to others — that play-acting, that false front — just don’t get too close. And hey! “If it feels good, do it.”
Of course, to those of us who have found the personal relationship the Gospel offers, that is, knowing that Jesus of Nazareth is alive and well, continuing to intervene in the natural world He made, and specifically, in our own lives, forgiving and making life new, providing knowledge and insight and loving corrections, and even our daily bread …
Deism, Relativism, Secular Humanism, “a horse by any other name” is a righteousness determined by whoever thinks of themselves as righteous. To which the Bible says, “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind, our sins sweep us away.” (Isaiah 64:6, NIV) Note that the literal translation of “filthy rags” is “used sanitary napkins.” When we are our own rulemakers and judges, answering to no one, the convenience of self rule becomes a convenient but cavernous escapade of nihilism.*
* — Nihilism: “a: a viewpoint that traditional values and beliefs are unfounded and that existence is senseless and useless
Nihilism is a condition in which all ultimate values lose their value.
— Ronald H. Nash
b: a doctrine that denies any objective ground of truth and especially of moral truths” (Merriam Webster Dictionary)
My conclusions point me to the differences between Religion and Relationship:
“You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship…” (John 4:22, MEV), and “We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true by being in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.” (John 5:20, NIV)
Things I discovered when checking the accuracy of phrases I wasn’t sure of:
https://idioms.thefreedictionary.com › here+is+the+rub “Seen in many different variations, including “here’s the rub,” “that’s the rub,” and “therein lies the rub,” the phrase was famously used in Shakespeare’s Hamlet.”
https://neeness.com/a-horse-by-any-other-name-saying/ “A Horse By Any Other Name Saying: Juliet says this phrase in lines 43–44, Act-II, Scene-II of Romeo and Juliet.”
Sorry. I didn’t know I was plagiarizing Shakespeare.
“Many of the founding fathers — Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, Madison and Monroe — practiced a faith called Deism. Deism is a philosophical belief in human reason as a reliable means of solving social and political problems.” https://www.americanprogress.org/article/the-founding-fathers-religious-wisdom/
It seems to me that today illustrates that “human reason” has a few gaping holes of its own reasoning! It is not very reliable at all! “Reason” by deisms standards, that is, by its lack of standards, is unreliable, because human opinions are oozing from divergent and opposing viewpoints. What is morality and what is immorality? Everything is relative to the convenient and fluid convictions of each and every individual.
Examples are in the news and on social media every single day.
My final question: In the light of the Founding Fathers deism, is this nation, or has this nation ever been a “Christian Nation”?