Summary: I am
convinced that God is so far beyond human comprehension that no religion has, or will ever, come close to knowing the truth (it
would be easier to teach insects about "automobile insurance"). All religions are man-made. We created god in our own image, not
the other way around. But here is the sad truth: many misguided people would not think twice about killing you in the name of
their religion, or their god, so I fear the violence will never end ("my invisible man in the sky is more
powerful than your invisible man in the sky"). Deism seems to me to be the only compromise.
Summary for Americans:
The Puritans (mostly Protestants and Anabaptists) migrated
from Europe to the new world to escape religious persecution. But once in America, they set up a system of religious hegemony
where they persecuted anyone who did not meet their religious standards. Such was the environment that
hosted Salem Witch Trials between 1692 and 1693.
The American Declaration of
Independence was written generations later during the Age
of Enlightenment where most educated people no longer believed "the bible was literally true" but understood it to be "the
inspired word of religion" rather than "the inspired word of god". In fact, we have written proof from the huge volume of
letters written by the Founding
Fathers of the United States indicating that the majority of them were no longer Christians but were Deists.
Additional proof can be found in the Treaty of
Tripoli (which was written in 1796 and appeared in every American newspaper that year before it was ratified) which
Article 11. As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the
Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of
Mussulmen (Muslims); and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility
against any Mahometan (Mohammedan) nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext
arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.
Note: purple words are my modern corrections (not part of the original text)
Many American citizens are are not aware of this fact (while some religious Americans prefer to ignore it): The First Amendment to the American Constitution (1789) reads "Congress shall make no law respecting an
establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or
the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances" This is known
as the Establishment Clause which places a clear
separation between church and state. This is the first known legal document exposing the benefits of The Enlightenment.
Colin Powell (2003) and Nikki Haley
selling religious war at the United Nations.
Deism offers us an opportunity, right now, to, as Thomas
Paine wrote about the American Revolution, "begin the world over again." This is much more
important than most people realize.
Objectively looking at our world today, we see there are literally billions of people who believe man-made books that are
steeped in ancient fear, ignorance and nonsense while claiming to be God's communication with humanity. Books which promote
religious violence on a global scale and which teach that The Supreme Intelligence/God ordered people to commit acts of genocide
against their neighbors. Is it any wonder our world today suffers from so much religious violence?
All of the Abrahamic "revealed" religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) have "holy" scriptures which promote religious
violence. The Abrahamic "revealed" religion that arguably has the most influence on US government policy makers, policy makers
who have the very real ability to start wars, is Judaism. This is due primarily to the raw political power of the Israel lobby and to the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament based neoconservative movement.
These two powerful and influential organizations were successful in getting US politicians from both parties to start the Iraq
War for the benefit
if the Jewish state of Israel. They are now working, in much the same way as they did 15 years ago to start the Iraq War, to get
US politicians to start a war for the same reasons against Iran.
Fifteen years ago Lawrence Wilkerson was US Secretary of State Colon Powell's chief of staff. He was involved in helping Powell
sell the lie that Iraq had nuclear and biological weapons of mass destruction in order to win support for a US war against Iraq.
Wilkerson has written an important article in the New York Times about the parallels between that successful effort to start
the Iraq War and the current effort to start a war against Iran. (Click here for an article about the pro-Israel editorial policy of the New York Times.)
comment: only uneducated fools are anti-Semitic. The author of this blurb is criticizing Zionism which
many people see as another word for colonialism.
Now the vital importance of Deism becomes clear. If enough people were educated about Deism, and held Deistic beliefs instead of
nonsensical and harmful beliefs promoted by the "revealed" religions, it would be much more difficult for world powers to wage
religious wars. We would have a much better world for ourselves and for future generations.
I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute, where no Catholic prelate would tell the
president (should he be Catholic) how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote;
where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference; and where no man is denied public
office merely because his religion differs from the president who might appoint him or the people who might elect him.
I believe in an America that is officially neither Catholic, Protestant nor Jewish; where no public official either
requests or accepts instructions on public policy from the Pope, the National Council of Churches or any other
ecclesiastical source; where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the
general populace or the public acts of its officials; and where religious liberty is so indivisible that an act
against one church is treated as an act against all.
Biblical text should not be interpreted as properly literal, but rather as metaphorical, if it contradicts what we know
from science and our God-given reason.
(Augustine of Hippo, De Genesi ad literam 1:19-20, Chapt. 19 , De Genesi ad literam, 2:9)
Man is a Religious Animal. He is the only Religious Animal. He is the only animal that has the True Religion - several of
them. He is the only animal that loves his neighbor as himself then cuts his throat if his theology isn't straight.
Hundreds of professional and amateur scientists actually believe that the Bible pretends to teach science. This is a good
deal like assuming that there must be authentic religious dogma in the binomial theorem
Georges Lemaître (1933) Roman Catholic priest and
Scientist (who first proposed the Big Bang after analyzing the
mathematics behind Einstein's General Theory of Relativity)
Properly read, the Bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived
Theists are convinced god exists; philosophers are convinced god does not exist; deists are skeptics sitting between the
This is a composite quote. The first two segments comes from Edward Gibbon (1737-1794). The third segment came
from Leo Damrosch
My "2 cents" on religious world conflict
Europeans learned during the 30 Years War (1618-1648)1
that religion and politics don't mix. In fact, it was the principal of religious freedom2 that was the basis for
ideas which created the United States of America. So I'm confused when:
the USA enthusiastically supplies arms to a democratic theocracy (Israel) who is in a war with a group of people trying to
become a democratic theocracy (Palestine). On the flip side, Palestine receives and uses arms supplied by Iran and Syria
against Israel while their own people starve in the streets dreaming of the afterlife.
the USA is best friends with a tribal theocracy (Saudi Arabia) who look the other way while Saudi religious police engage in
kidnappings in the name of Sharia Law. To make matters worse, Saudi Arabia is the largest purchaser of US military hardware
and are most likely supplying weapons to ISIS (Islamic State In Syria) and ISIL (Islamic State in Libya).
comment: so just as the US and USSR created many problems in the middle-east by fighting a proxy-war
during during the 1980s in Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia (Sunni) is fighting a proxy war with Iran (Shia) in Libya and Syria. To
make matters worse, American arms sold to Saudi Arabia are being used to attack people in Yemen. What do you suppose happens
when anyone looses their home or family then trips over a piece of metal stamped "Made in U.S.A."? You guessed it: life long
enemy waiting for an opportunity to enact revenge on the United States, their allies, or Americans.
many Americans today reject science and logic while openly embracing religious fundamentalism (including a literal belief in
Bible scripture) and political extremism. They even claim that America was founded on Christian principles even though many of
the US Founding Fathers (Washington, Adams,
Madison, Jefferson, Franklin, etc.) were Deists. The joke (perhaps irony
is a better word here) gets better when Ronald Reagan, who becomes president with help from fundamentalist Christian groups
organized by people like Jerry Falwell, quotes a few lines from Thomas Paine during his inauguration. (Many religious people, then and
now, labeled Thomas Paine an atheist even though Paine was a self-described Deist)
The world will never have peace until there is a protestant-style reformation in all religions which will
enable people to take back control of their churches from zealots and extremists. Every citizen must strive to ignore anyone
(religious or otherwise) who instigates war or martyrdom. We also must be wary of any religious person with "political
ambitions" or "ties to people with political ambitions" (you probably think I am referring to some Islamic Imams and Clerics but
American Christians like Jerry Falwell also spring to mind)
in this war, Catholics and Protestants fought each other for the bodies, souls and property of the other group. A whole
generation passed until the children of the people who started the war put a stop to the madness.
in this context "religious freedom" can be rephrased as "each citizen being free of the other person's religion"
Two more cents
After the 9/11 attacks on New York in 2001, I read three books on Islam as well as Islamic History to attempt to understand
Islam's principles. While contemporary Muslims usually refer to Mohamed only as a prophet, he was also a politician as well as a
military general. This perspective sheds new light on Muslim discontent which obviously extends beyond religion into theocracy.
Most Muslims consider any Quran not written in Arabic to be profane translations. This means that imams and clerics not able to
read Arabic must turn to the hadiths (non-Arabic translations are allowed) which number between 4000 and 8000. Demanding that
the primary holy text stay in the original language is reminiscent of pre-protestant Christianity demanding that the Bible stay
in Latin (even though many original documents were only available in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek)
Next I read three books on Christianity which rendered me equally confused. Mention "the big schism in Christianity" and most
modern people with think "Catholic vs. Protestant" rather than "Eastern Orthodox vs. Roman Catholic"
A very simple summary involves the Trinity (a word never found in the
bible) which is derived from the evolution of the Nicene Creed
(publicly recited in churches as an affirmation of what the attendees believe) which first appeared in 325 AD. The Trinity
controversy begins with the insertion of the Filioque in 451 AD at the First Ecumenical Council at Chalcedon making Jesus literally
divine. In a theocratic power play in 1054 (was this religious or
political?) the Roman Catholic church excommunicated Christian churches who did not accept Filioque which resulted in a spit
between Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox. If the Greek church is labeled "orthodoxy" (straight thinking) then the Roman Catholic doctrine, and everything descended from it (Anglicans,
Baptists, Calvinists, Lutherans, Methodists, and Pentecostals to only name six of many), are "heretical"
Food-for-thought: many protestants scoff at the catholic practice of "praying to Mary" but if belief in
the divinity of Jesus is heretical, then "praying to Jesus" should also be discouraged. As far as I can tell, the Muslim world
prays to Allah rather than Mohammad which may be more correct (especially if Allah is just another name for God)
Our Modern World
of enlightenment was kicked off by Europeans like Spinoza
(1632-1637) who laid the groundwork for the 18th century Enlightenment
and modern biblical criticism (an open minded scholarly study
and investigation of biblical writings seeking to make discerning judgments about these writings). For most of Europe, this put
an end to governments recognizing "superstition" and supporting acts like "witch burning". Roman Catholics behaved badly with
the inquisitions until Napoleon put a stop to the last one (of five) in
Spain. Spinoza's enlightenment continued in 18th and 19th century Europe where many more original bible manuscripts (scrolls)
were acquired then compared with ancient historical records and found to be changed or just
quote: this school reached its apogee with the influential synthesis of Julius
Wellhausen (1844-1918) in the 1870s, at which point it seemed to many that the Bible had at last been
fully explained as a human document.
many people continued the enlightenment efforts of Spinoza including John Locke (1632-1704) and David
Hume (1711-1776) to only name two of many, Thomas Paine
(1737-1809) is the name most citizens might recognize today. He wrote many things including "the importance of the separation
between church and state" and "racial equality" (he proposed "abolishing slavery 100 years before Lincoln").
The following three titles are a "must read" for all modern citizens:
comment: Most of the American founding fathers were deists and anyone who tells you otherwise is lying (even if you
heard it from the pulpit). If you don't believe me then you should start by first reading the Treaty
of Tripoli which was ratified unanimously by the U.S. Senate on June 7, 1797 and signed into law by President John Adams
on June 10, 1797.
quote:As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense,
founded on the Christian religion,—as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or
tranquility, of Mussulmen [Muslims],—and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any
Mahometan [Muslim] nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an
interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.
After this treaty was published in ~ 200 newspapers it should be noted that there is no record of any public outrage of any
Charles Darwin started out a Christian (he graduated with a degree
from Trinity College, Cambridge and was destined to be an Anglican Parson) he became a deist after questioning the
premature death of three of his ten childrenbefore publishing On
the Origin of the Species in 1859. Meanwhile, most Anglican Parsons and Deacons who read Darwin's book did not see it as
an attack on religion; they saw it as science's description of nature which had been put into motion by a prime-mover god.
But here is another view where some people say evolution is actually described in Genesis 1-24:
notice that he "brings forth" rather than "creates"
I now call myself a Desist who is convinced that all religions are completely man-made.
Like literature, music and art, religion is just another human cultural expression and humanity would,
most likely, be poorer without it. Since no rational person would ever "torture", "murder" or "go to war" over literature, music
or art, then those who believe these activities are permitted in the name of religion need to be educated otherwise. No one will
ever be able to prove (or disprove) the existence of god so there is little point in trying. Meanwhile arguing about the
inaccuracies found in all religious writings make me think that humanity's only hope is to keep personal religious beliefs
private. This means we must all strive for a secular society.
Humanity's Coming Dark Age (a warning)
The Rise and Fall of Empires (published: 2003-01-29)
Symptoms before each collapse: ignorance, superstition, religious fundamentalism, xenophobia,
intolerance, rejection of science
Deism [ dee-iz-uh m ] is the belief that
reason and observation of the natural world
are sufficient to determine the existence of God, accompanied with the rejection of revelation and authority as a source of religious knowledge. Deism gained prominence in the
17th and 18th centuries during the
Age of Enlightenment—especially in Britain, France, Germany and America—among intellectuals raised as Christians who believed in
one god, but found fault with organized religion and could not believe in supernatural events such as miracles, the
inerrancy of scriptures, or the Trinity.
Deism is derived from deus, the Latin word for god. The earliest known usage in print of the English term deist is 1621, and deism is first found in a 1675 dictionary. Deistic ideas influenced several leaders of
the American and French Revolutions. Two main forms of deism currently exist: classical deism and modern
Notable members include most (15/16) of the American "Founding Fathers" including Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson,
George Washington, John Adams and James Madison. Also includes revolutionary writer Thomas
Paine and US Civil War president Abraham
World Union of Deists God gave us reason, not religion
quote: The Bible was not
handed to mankind by God, nor was it dictated to human stenographers by God. It has nothing to do with God. In
actuality, the Bible was VOTED to be the word of God by a group of men during the 4th century A.D. (after receiving a
lot of financial support by the Roman emperor Constantine)
Many modern Christians believe the world is only 6,000 years old
Most do not know that this so-called fact comes to us from a 17th
century Irish Bishop by the name of Ussher who did so by tallying the begats found in bible
genealogies (Adam begat Seth, Seth begat Enoch, etc.) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ussher_chronology
However, Timothy 1:4 and Titus
3:9 instruct the faithful to "Avoid foolish questions and genealogies."
a rational critique of both the Old and New Testaments
according to Asimov (a non-practicing Jew), humanity should treat Bible stories the way we treat Greek
Just plain weird (here are just a few of the many strange things found in the bible)
Everyone reading this already knows the story about god stopping the sun in the sky in Joshua-10 (which is retold in
2-Kings-20). In reality, god could have more-easily caused this battle to have been won just by causing the other side
to fall by any quick-acting illness (dysentery springs to mind). If you believe that god stopped the sun in the sky
(or more accurately, that the Earth was stopped from rotating for anywhere between 40 minutes and 23 hours), then you
would probably believe anything including that David Copperfield actually employs real magic.
So the LORD said, “My Spirit will not contend with man forever, for he is mortal; his days shall be 120 years.”
The Nephilim (giants) were on the earth in those days, and afterward as well, when the sons of God (angels) had
relations with the daughters of men. And they bore them children who became the mighty men of old, men of renown.
Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great upon the earth, and that every inclination of the
thoughts of his heart was altogether evil all the time.…
And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb (Jesus) stood on the mount Sion, and with him and hundred forty
and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads.
And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard
the voice of harpers harping with their harps:
And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man
could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.
These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they
which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God
and to the Lamb.
And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.
The Nicene Creed is a verbal affirmation of what a church
congregation believes about the New Testament
It first appears in 325 AD under the first council of Nicaea when the Roman emperor Constantine was attempting to make
Christianity the official state religion of the Roman empire
In the late sixth century (although some claim as early as 481 AD), the Latin-speaking churches (Rome) added the words "and
from the Son" (Filioque).
I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceedeth from the Father "and from the Son".
Who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified.
The Eastern (orthodox) churches argued that this a violation of Canon VII of the Third Ecumenical Council, since the words were not included in the text by either
the first Council of Nicaea (325 AD) or that of the first Council of Constantinople (381 AD)
The Eastern Church is still referred to as "orthodox" (straight thinking)
The opposite of "orthodox" is "heretical" (although some churches offer the word "heterodox" as a form of religious
This means that Western churches (beginning with Roman Catholicism) are "heretical"
If you ever prayed to Mary or any other saint then you are a "heretic"
If you ever prayed to Jesus then you are a "heretic"
This also means that most everything derived from Roman Catholicism (including all the Protestant sects) are
includes: Lutherans, Calvinists, Baptists, Anglicans, Anabaptists (Amish, Hutterites, Mennonites, etc),
Episcopalians, Mormons just to name a small short list of many.
possible exceptions: any Christian sects that see Jesus as either a prophet or perfect sacrifice but not a
deity. Includes Unitarians and possibly
Quakers comment1: in a recent biography of Micheal Faraday I read that he was raised in the Sandemanian faith which I had never heard about. This is an
off-shoot of the Church of Scotland (home of the
Enlightenment) with the Sandemanians believing that: "Jesus lived, then was put to death for our sins, and nothing
more; they also believe that everything after the death of Jesus, including the resurrection up to to the
ascension were fabrications". After reading this I thought to myself: "hey I might be Sandemanian". comment2: there are so many Christian sects today that even the Christians cannot keep up
with them all. But I think a clear distinction can be made between the Unitarians (who do not profess a belief in a "triune god" or "the trinity") and everyone
else who might be better described as Trinitarians.
Christian bible scholars like Bart Ehrman tell us that half
of the books of the 27 books of the New Testament are Pseudepigraphs
(forgeries). It does not matter how well intentioned the authors were, if you are serious about religion then you had
better not teach from the forgeries especially where they knowingly conflict with other teachings.
The Gospel of Matthew - contrary to popular belief by
commoners, this book was not written until 40 years after the death of Christ