Talk:Deism/Archive 6

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Archive 1 Archive 4 Archive 5 Archive 6

Contemporary deism?

I note that has over 500 articles relating to the general topic of deism. That source, however, has been blacklisted, and I can honestly say that few if any of the pieces it contains could even remotely be considered independent. Having checked various reference books on philosophy and religion, including both those that deal with religion in general and Melton's guide to American religions, which seems to list virtually every denomination which has achieved notability, and at least a few, like a church for worshippers of JFK in Los Angeles and a "group" called "A Candle" which seems to have been, basically, just one person. Of the general sources , I find that many say, in their articles on "deism", that deism as is described in their books basically ceased to exist in the 18th century, and none make any sort of reference whatsoever to any sort of modern deism. The Melton book also lists no deist groups. I have also checked the various databanks available to me and found, basically, only three individuals in recent times who are identified as "deists." One is Anthony Flew, who is indicated in numerous sources as having converted to believing in a prime mover of some sort late in life, and described as a "deist" on that basis. Other than that, the only clearly reliable sources I can find which use the word "deism" in contemporary context are references to one Colorado newspaper columnist who converted from Catholicism to what he calls deism, and a "deist" minister in Alabama who raised a lawsuit of some sort. Having looked, however, I have not seen any independent reliable sources that give me any reason to believe that either of the latter two qualify as notable, or that the statements they make can reasonably be seen as reflecting the views of contemporary "deism," although I could be wrong.

At least one of the lists 10 favorite websites for "deist" organizations, but having looked the various databanks available to me, I find no reference in any independent reliable sources to any of them, and, honestly, it is hard to really say that any of them necessarily speak for the broader "deist" community, which raises questions about whether they as individual groups are in a position to speak for contemporary "deism" in any sort of authoritative way, or whether they just speak for themselves. I also find a few books on the topic of modern deism, including Deist: So That's What I Am, Religion For the 21st Century - The Age of New Deism, and Deism: A Revolution in Religion - A Revolution in You, although I am in no way certain that any of them are not self-published, or that they reflect notability. However, based on this information that I have been able to gather, I very much doubt that any sort of contemporary deism meets either individual notability guidelines, or that it deserves much attention in this article as per WP:WEIGHT.

I do however note, somewhat to my own distress, that there is a very closely related term, Moralistic therapeutic deism, which so far as I can determine, based on what I have seen about the modern non-notable deist groups, seems to more or less have similar principles and description to those of at least some of these contemporary deism movements, although I have no doubt that the term is objected to by modern self-described deists.

So, where if anywhere should content relating to this new deism be placed, and what should the nature of that content be? John Carter (talk) 16:15, 23 June 2013 (UTC)

Difference of opinion non-academic?

I want to call to attention the comparison of edits at --- assuming both of these are in the Age of Reason, there is a small debate here, but from an academic perspective Thomas Paine's agnosticism is pretty much universally accepted. I'm not sure if that is notable to include on an article on Deism though. I wanted to get others' opinions before starting a revert war. BranSul (talk) 21:47, 30 August 2013 (UTC)

Definition Problems

This article's definition confuses Deism with Pantheism. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2601:1:9480:2E:5808:FCB4:B50D:5D5C (talk) 18:57, 16 December 2012 (UTC)

If you are referring to the definition in the lead section of the article, it does not confuse deism and pantheism. Or are you referring to a later section of the article?Dulcimer music 02:31, 18 December 2012 (UTC)JDefauw — Preceding unsigned comment added by JDefauw (talkcontribs)

"Panendeism combines deism with panentheism, the belief that the universe is part of God, but not all of God. A component of panendeism is 'experiential metaphysics' – the idea that a mystical component exists within the framework of panendeism, allowing the seeker to experience a relationship to Deity through meditation, prayer or some other type of communion.[75] This is a major departure from classical deism."

This entire definition of 'panendeism' is indentical to some strains of panentheism; if you can experience the 'Deity' through "meditation, prayer, or some other kind of communion", then deism - a belief premised on lack of revelation - is dispelled. Is there then anything that really differentiates those strains of panentheism from 'panendeism'? (talk) 08:28, 18 October 2013 (UTC)

Lead date changes of book

With this edit a contributor has changed the dates of the first dictionary that contained the word "deism". That has been reverted and returned to status quo, because the facts are not clear on this. The Roman numeral date cited may or may not be MDCCLXXV (1775), because the actual date in the cited book is MDCLXXV (1675). There is a gap between the "C" and the "L" that may be due to a faded "C", or it may just be due to the early printer's setting faults. Also, it was cited that the 1721 version contained "deism", but I don't see how this can known with certainty, since there is no preview of its pages available. It would be a good idea to receive other opinions about this before major changes are made to the "facts" in the lead of this article. – Paine Ellsworth CLIMAX! 08:53, 25 January 2014 (UTC)
PS. It may also be of value to note that the accessdate parameters were entered incorrectly in the above edit. The month and day format was reversed, which caused CS1 errors to be generated. PS added by – Paine Ellsworth CLIMAX!

The Roman Numerals that give the publication date for the source cited has a faded second "C", thus resulting in an incorrect transcription. The correct date is 1775, not 1675. Nathan Bailey, the author of source cited, died in 1742. While no date of birth is confirmed, if we assume he was 20 at the age of an alleged publication date of 1675, then he would have died at age 87... quite old for that period. More concretely, it has been confirmed that Bailey first published his An Universal Etymological English Dictionary in 1721, nowhere close to 1675. We for certain know that this entry is found in the 1775 edition, though we can reasonably presume that it was also in the first, 1721 edition. This could be confirmed by reviewing the hard copy of it. Simply put, the date cited to this specific source was incorrectly transcribed. It has been corrected to 1775 and should remain. BJ Swearer (talk) 07:43, 31 January 2014 (UTC)

Notice also a date written of 1775 written in on the first page of the introduction, which appears to be an annotation. BJ Swearer (talk) 08:37, 31 January 2014 (UTC)

I deleted the section on first occurrences of the words "deist" and "deism", since it was based on primary sources, and thus constituted original research. The Wikipedia policy of relying on secondary sources for these kind of claims was instituted mainly to prevent this sort of disputes based on individual editors interpretation of sources (in this case the reading of a date). So if no reliable secondary source can be found for the claim of this term first appearing in either 1675 or 1775 or some other year, this stays out of the article. --Saddhiyama (talk) 13:30, 31 January 2014 (UTC)
I've been able to do a bit more digging into Bailey's work. Numerous sources indicate that the first publishing was in 1721, though I couldn't find any digital source for this version. AbeBooks is currently listing an original 1721 edition for $764.62, if anyone wants to buy it to see if it contains an entry for "deism". There are several free ebooks available online including the one from 1775 originally cited on this page (which has been noted by at least two other reviewers as having been incorrectly cited to 1675), as well as from the years 1773 1763, 1755, 1731 and 1726 being the earliest. I also found this version from 1731 that does not have an entry for "deism", but does have an entry for "deists" and gives a similar though I think, a more interesting definition: "Deists: a sect among the Christians of most or all denominations, who believe there is one God, a providence, the immortality of the soul, virtue and vice, rewards and punishments; but reject revelation, and believe no more than what natural light discovers to them, and believe no other article of the Christian religion or any other." BJ Swearer (talk) 19:52, 31 January 2014 (UTC)
p.s. I've yet to figure out how to link the citations... obviously, I'm new to Wikipedia editing. If anyone can fix the references I attempted, I'd much appreciate it. BJ Swearer (talk) 20:16, 31 January 2014 (UTC)
As a lover of antiquarian books myself I can sympathise with your quest. However your research is unfortunately not acceptable in Wikipedia in that form. The information is pertinent, but we do require the statement from some published scholar regarding this. A Google search for the earliest listing of this word is simply not acceptable, and I am sure you would agree with me that it wouldn't be in a scholarly publication either. I would be surprised if some scholar hasn't covered the earliest use of the term already, so please take your time to uncover that citation, anything else would be a waste of your time. Thanks. --Saddhiyama (talk) 01:59, 1 February 2014 (UTC)
This is really quite simple - the linked resources are primary sources, just in digitized form. It doesn't matter that the sources were found via a Google search... that would be like saying that one cannot cite a digital copy of the Declaration of Independence unless they've gone to the Library of Congress and read the original document in person. While not yet published by a 3rd party, I'm not just a mere "lover" of the topic, but rather a formally trained historian (soon to have a Masters in the field). I really don't care whether or not anyone wants to add the info about the historical occurrences of the term "deism" in dictionaries, but factually incorrect information should not be on here. Thus, I'm just glad that the incorrect citation (1675) has been removed as there is no doubt that the source the citation linked to revealed a work published in 1775... whoever first put the citation in there should have actually read the publication info with the text rather than just trust the Google "book info summary" attached to it. To note, I actually have done some in depth research on the matter and self-published an article regarding the topic. Granted, since adding this little bit of extra research, I'm going to have to update that article... BJ Swearer (talk) 08:14, 1 February 2014 (UTC)
I do have a Masters degree in history as well, however since we rely on secondary sources and not the personal achievements of individual editors it is of little relevance here. --Saddhiyama (talk) 12:27, 1 February 2014 (UTC)
The establishing of historical facts relies solely on primary source documentation. You, an advanced degree holder in the science, should know that. If we are attempting to establish the first occurrence of the term "deism" in an English dictionary, all available evidence indicates that the first usage can be confirmed in Nathan Bailey's 1726 publication. Until any further revealing evidence is presented, this should be stated as "fact". I will edit the article to reflect this. BJ Swearer (talk) 21:25, 1 February 2014 (UTC)
I found a bit more info regarding Edward Phillip's earlier work. The changes have been reflected in the main article. BJ Swearer (talk) 04:38, 2 February 2014 (UTC)
As a fellow degree holder you should be able to read and understand basic policy. We don't do original research based on primary sources on Wikipedia, that is something for secondary reliable sources, and we in turn use those secondary sources. So again, please refrain from adding your original research to this article. Thanks. --Saddhiyama (talk) 00:13, 7 February 2014 (UTC)

Hobbes a deist?

Can we get a source on that? I've never read this Orr book, but I have done a fair amount of graduate work on Hobbes. I've also read Rogow's biography of Hobbes. I've never read the claim that Hobbes was a deist. Much more frequently is the charge that he was an atheist. Much of Leviathan is devoted to arguing (tendentiously) that passages in the Bible that seem to contradict Hobbes's metaphysics or political philosophy in fact do not. Were Hobbes a deist, he wouldn't think that the quotations in the Bible are authoritative in the first place, and he wouldn't use them as evidence to support his positions. (talk) 18:37, 24 June 2014 (UTC)

First paragraph

Seems to me "a rejection of religious knowledge as a source of authority" is either jibberish or backwards. "Rejection of authority as a source of religious truth" seems to make more sense, tho'. I also think "rejection of supposed revelation" is an important characteristic of deism. Both were included in the 1st paragraph long ago, and I see no reason for removal nor for reversal.--JimWae (talk) 07:16, 28 March 2015 (UTC)

Perhaps even more sense would be made by "rejection of religious authority as a source of truth"? – Paine EllsworthCLIMAX! 18:21, 29 March 2015 (UTC)

Massive overhaul to the article

Rhedrick has made a huge number of changes to the article (in something marked as a minor edit). They are too numerous to discuss all at once. In my view, some of them fail to improve the article. I propose reverting the edit and discussing the significant changes that might lead to disagreement here, taking them one at a time. Taxman1913 (talk) 07:49, 30 May 2015 (UTC)

The edits have been as massively reverted as they had been initiated. I was also very concerned about many of the edits, especially when I noticed that the "Spiritual deism" section had again been added. Seems like almost a ruse to try to cover up that addition, which has been reverted a time or two. But I'll AGF and wait for the new editor to comment. Thank you, Taxman1913, for your vigilance! – Paine  03:28, 31 May 2015 (UTC)
Just noticed that this contributor isn't so "new" after all. Another edit, their only other contribution, was reverted with this edit a couple of years ago. – Paine  03:45, 31 May 2015 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── It seems obvious that User:Rhedrick took the article back in time, possibly as far as early 2011. This is evidenced by several edits to include the removal of "isms" from the {{God}} template and the renewal of a {{contradict-inline}} template that was originally placed in the Overview section in March 2011. That leads me to believe that the username is probably a sock of one of the users who continually try to reinstate the section on spiritual deism. Since that username has only been used for vandalism, it should probably be blocked. – Paine  13:52, 31 May 2015 (UTC)

Spiritual deism

Moving this here - unsourced, appears to be original research-y. Bacchiad (talk) 21:57, 3 January 2015 (UTC)

Spiritual deism is the religious and philosophical belief in one indefinable, omnipresent god who is the cause or the substance (or both) of the universe. Spiritual Deists reject all divine revelation, religious dogma, and supernatural events and favor an ongoing personalized connection with the divine presence through intuition, communion with nature, meditation and contemplation. Generally, Spiritual Deists reject the notion that God consciously intervenes in human affairs.

Spiritual deism is extremely general and is not bound by any ideology other than the belief in one indefinable god whose spiritual presence can be felt in nature. As such, spiritual deism is not infected by political principles or partisanship of any kind.

Some Spiritual Deists label themselves "Spiritual But Not Religious".

This is an important category of modern deism, Suggested text for a Spiritual Deism section below Subcategories of modern Deism...
====Spiritual Deism====
Spiritual Deism is a belief in the core principles of classical Deism with an emphasis on spirituality including the connections between humans and each other, nature and God. Within Spiritual Deism, there is an absolute belief in a personal God as the creator of the universe along with the ability to build a spiritual relationship with God through daily prayer and meditation.[1][2] While Spiritual Deism is very open-ended, its followers generally believe that there can be no progress for mankind without a belief in a personal God.[2] Taxman1913 (talk) 19:40, 12 January 2015 (UTC)
Since no one has commented on this, I'm incorporating it into the article. Taxman1913 (talk) 14:37, 10 February 2015 (UTC)


  1. ^ Clendenen, Chuck. "Deism in Practice". Spiritual But Not Religious. Retrieved January 13, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b "Spiritual-Deism". Yahoo! Groups. Retrieved January 13, 2015. 
Since both of those sources are evidently unacceptable, the article should be returned to status quo until reliable sources can be found. – Paine EllsworthCLIMAX! 01:08, 12 February 2015 (UTC)
While I agree that the two sources are not reliable, it seems they should be considered questionable, not unacceptable. The material referenced was written by Spiritual Deists about themselves. It is not unduly self-serving and makes no exceptional claims. It makes no claims about third parties. I see no reason to doubt its authenticity; nothing in the sources conflicts with well-sourced material in the article about Deism as a whole. The Deism article is not based primarily on these questionable sources. Based on the sources meeting these criteria described in the self-published and questionable sources as sources on themselves in the identifying reliable sources guideline, it seems appropriate to keep the information about Spiritual Deism based on these questionable sources in the article until better-sourced references can be found. Taxman1913 13:40, 12 February 2015 (UTC)

I would keep this material out of the article if there are no reliable sources referring to it. Classical Deism has nothing to do with a personal god and this all sounds more like just new age spiritualism that has not much to with Deism itself. warshy (¥¥) 14:00, 12 February 2015 (UTC)

I tend to agree. As a huge fan of Paine, I do know that Deism has little if anything to do with belief in a personal god. When that belief is present, then it's no longer "Deism" – it becomes some other form of faith. I have returned the article to status quo pending further discussion and WP:RS discovery. – Paine EllsworthCLIMAX! 19:43, 12 February 2015 (UTC)
Very apt observation about "Deism" not being longer real Deism. I'd say, in fact, that whereas spiritualism may be some "other form of faith," Deism is more an un-faith than a "faith" properly speaking. This so called "Spiritual Deism" is actually a total reversal on its head of classic Deism, and as such it is better kept out of here as long as possible, barred some reliable sources that would determine otherwise. Thanks for returning the article to status quo in the meantime. warshy (¥¥) 20:06, 12 February 2015 (UTC)
The effort I made to differentiate a questionable source from what was incorrectly called an unacceptable source has been for naught. My comments were flatly ignored, and my edit was reverted without any meaningful attempt to discuss the issue. This reversion seems to, in part, reflect a bias as to what should and should not be regarded as Deism.
Looking at the article's lede, we see the definition: Deism...combines a rejection of religious knowledge as a source of authority with the conclusion that reason and observation of the natural world are sufficient to determine the existence of a single creator of the universe. How does Spiritual Deism not fit into that definition? Where does it say that Deism includes the rejection of the existence of a personal god? The definition given in the article's lede is an excellent one; it is sufficiently descriptive yet broad enough to encompass many types of thought. There is absolutely no doubt that Paine is one of the most important thinkers in the history of Deism. However, he was not the Deist Pope, and if others disagree with him, it doesn't force a conclusion that either he or they are wrong. In fact, I think Paine would be delighted to see how people in this day and age have taken the core foundations of Deism and thought about what it means to them resulting in a variety of worldviews all based on Classical Deism.
In contrast to the views expressed on this talk page that "Deism has little if anything to do with belief in a personal god", I would say that Classical Deism does contemplate belief in a personal god but does not generally believe in a relationship with God. This is an important distinction, and it is the relationship that is the primary element separating Spiritual Deists from Classical Deists, not the belief in a personal god. Lord Edward Herbert believed that "there is one Supreme God, and He ought to be worshiped." See González, Justo L., The Story of Christianity Volume 2: The Reformation to the Present Day, page 190, HarperCollins Publishers, New York City, 1985, ISBN: 978-0-06-063316-5. Just as Paine's words merit great attention, so do those of Lord Edward Herbert, universally regarded as the Father of English Deism. So the question is how could Lord Edward Herbert have thought God ought to be worshiped without believing in a personal god? He saw living a virtuous and pious life as the primary means of worshiping God. In other words, he saw worship as something expressed through the way people treat God's creation: other people, animals and nature. At a very basic level, Spiritual Deism is a modern application of these concepts with the added element of frequent prayer and meditation which creates a relationship with the Almighty. Just as Paine would be proud of these folks for thinking for themselves, Lord Edward Herbert would be proud as well.
The article is about Deism, not Classical Deism. There is much diversity in how Deism is understood by its adherents. Panendeists also contemplate a personal relationship with God. Should the section describing those beliefs be removed as well? Pandeists do not believe a personal God currently exists since God became the universe when he created it. This conflicts with Lord Edward Herbert's assertion that a personal god currently exists. Should references to pandeism also be removed as not real Deists? Frankly, the reversion of the edit describing Spiritual Deism looks like a witch hunt for apostates. Taxman1913 (talk) 13:04, 13 February 2015 (UTC)
You just expressed your POV, as I had done earlier expressing my own POV. We disagree. However, neither my POV nor yours really matter here. Wikipedia writes articles that reflect a neutral POV (NPOV), and in order to achieve that, it uses RS - reliable sources. Your long essay above did not advance anything in terms of reliable sources. In a sensitive matter that involves actually personal beliefs, I don't think we should be using "questionable sources." As I said above, barred some reliable sources that would determine otherwise, the exclusion of the material is absolutely justified, in my view, and should stand. [Your indentation above confuses me, but I refrained from changing it.] Regards, warshy (¥¥) 17:44, 13 February 2015 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── To Taxman1913: First, allow me to say that your views are being read, so please don't think you're being ignored in any way. Even a quick scan of the article should give one pause before including any kind of personal relationship with a god. That just isn't Deism, neither classical nor modern. It is that very lack of a personal relationship that makes this faith attractive to those who become disenchanted with how religion has screwed this world, and especially to those who are in leadership and who absolutely must find ways to keep church and state separated. I don't even understand the name or what "Spiritual Deists" could possibly be about. It seems to imply that, except for them, there is no spiritualism in Deism, which is a serious flaw. Do you think that modern Deists are not "spiritual", with the exception of this little sect? Even Thomas Paine knew and wrote of the natural aspects of the creator and its relationship with the human spirit. Of course, I suppose we must be careful with that word, "spirit", since it can mean more than one thing to different people. I would love to continue to discuss this, but this talk page is not the place to do it. The bottom line for me is that, as warshy pointed out, your POV, my POV, anyone's POV has no place here except where it will or might improve this article on Deism. I personally find your description (and I'm very sorry it had to be removed) beautiful, attractive in many ways, and yet too much like those religions that lead to huge followings and organized, "acceptable" murder, such as found during War. So rather than try to convince us with your essays, just find some reliable sources that will support the claims. A word about sources – as editors we are allowed to disagree on terms like "questionable" and "unnacceptable" when it comes to sources, but we shouldn't disagree about policies and guidelines forged over many years of disagreement and consensus. You will always find someone who makes no distinction between "questionable" and "unacceptable" when it comes to controversial claims in articles to which they are custodial. If there really is such a thing as "Spiritual Deism" that is as you described, then there should be something important and empowering written on the subject. Find that written something and I will add the claim back into the article for you! – Paine EllsworthCLIMAX! 01:48, 15 February 2015 (UTC)

I'm sorry it took me so long to respond to this. My primary disappointment was not that we disagreed; it was that there was a discussion on this talk page on which I had commented, and changes were made without addressing my comments about questionable versus unacceptable sources. It seemed that the primary reason for deleting my text had been a conclusion drawn that Spiritual Deism is not really Deism. I completely disagree with that, as I described above. You've now addressed them, and I agree to disagree. I still think the sources are questionable, and you think they're unacceptable, and that is all ok. In the interest of full disclosure, I consider myself a practicing Spiritual Deist. Frankly, I don't like the idea of citing that Yahoo Group, because there are many comments of a blatantly racist nature frequently posted there. But I found no better source to define it. I haven't been able to find a source that would not be questioned, and this may be because there are too few people practicing this. That may indicate that the sect itself isn't even notable enough to merit mentioning in the article, a point which is moot right now. While I can see a conclusion being drawn that use of the term Spiritual Deist implies that all other Deists are not spiritual, I don't think this is the intention. Rather than the descriptive adjective being exclusionary, it is emphatic. Thank you both for responding. Taxman1913 (talk) 07:45, 30 May 2015 (UTC)
It's a pleasure, Taxman1913! I just reread the above comments and I have a question for you. I understand that the purpose of putting the descriptive adjective in front of "deism" is for emphasis and not for exclusion; however (and since you've outied as a spiritual deist), perhaps you can explain how exactly is a spiritual deist different from a, well, a regular/plain/usually-no-adjective deist? Deists already emphasize that spirit is an important part of deism, so why would such emphasis as you express even be necessary? I think for most people who know anything about deism, for someone to say that they're a "spiritual deist" would just mean to them that the someone is just a deist who places more emphasis than usual on the "spiritual". In other words, "spiritual" is not meant to be a part of a name of a type of deism, it is just deism with emphasis on one aspect of deism. So what is it about this emphasis that calls people such as yourself to seem to separate yourselves from other deists? so much so that there is a need to name a whole different type of deism, such as has been done with pandeism, which has its own article, and panendeism, which does not? – Paine  14:45, 31 May 2015 (UTC)
@Paine Ellsworth: The primary distinguishing characteristic is the lifetime development of a personal relationship with God through daily prayer and meditation. These prayers are never supplicative. That would make Spiritual Deists something other than Deists, since it inherently assumes God might intercede on our behalf if we ask nicely. The prayers express gratitude to the Creator for that which has been provided for us. This includes everything in our lives from things as simple as daily meals to our relationships with other people. No, God didn't go to the grocery store, buy the food and prepare it. But our ability to do those things and earn the money to pay for it comes from God. The daily prayer is tantamount to a personal reflection about the gifts we have received from God and the good they have brought into our lives. Over the course of a lifetime, this may build a spiritual relationship with God, as we make the Creator just as much a part of our daily lives as our family and friends. I say "may", because I have no way to know whether this will work for everyone. The relationship is not reciprocal in the present. We understand that the gifts we receive from God are part of His plan set in motion eons ago. We do not look for signs in our daily lives to indicate that God is showing us favor in return for our prayers, and we do not interpret positive things that happen in our lives in that way.
The daily prayer is a form of worship which is not inconsistent with Lord Edward Herbert's assertion that "there is one Supreme God, and He ought to be worshiped." This leads to the question of the nature of God. In Spiritual Deism, God is viewed as a personal God with whom a relationship is possible and encouraged. However, the relationship is essentially unilateral in the present, because we do not expect a response or sign from God. This really splits hairs about what the meaning of the term "personal god" truly is and whether the "relationship" contemplated by Spiritual Deists can truly be regarded as a relationship, even if the presence of God is truly felt during prayer. This is not the personal god contemplated by the Abrahamic faiths who is constantly asked to intervene, believed to have done so, sends prophets and even gets angry. But how can you pray to or worship a force that is outside the bounds of being a person? If Lord Edward Herbert thought God ought to be worshiped, it follows that he must have seen God as a sentient being and not an impersonal force. It just wouldn't make sense to worship something like the wind. There must be a being to receive the worship.
For me personally, although prayer is an important component of how we worship God, it is not the highest form of worship. I return to Lord Edward Herbert who said that virtue and piety are the chief parts of divine worship. I haven't seen this notion expressed precisely in the way I do by others purporting to practice Spiritual Deism. But I see it as a core tenet of any form of Deism. What better way could there be to express our appreciation for God's creation than to treat it well? Our actions carry far more weight than our words and thoughts. This starts with the way we treat our fellow human beings, God's greatest creation, and extends to other creatures, other living things, the earth and the universe. This is what ultimately defines us; engaging in daily prayer and meditation giving thanks to the Creator for things which our actions indicate we do not appreciate is hypocrisy. Daily prayer and meditation may help us feel closer to God and strengthen our resolve. But our actions remain our own responsibility. This is a major issue I have with the Spiritual-Deism Yahoo! group where racist white-supremacist views are often expressed. In my view, those who hold such beliefs are hypocrites.
I don't think Spiritual Deism, given its difference with the mainstream, can or should be restricted to a classical monotheistic understanding. I see no reason why there cannot be Spiritual Polydeists or Spiritual Panendeists. Spiritual Pandeism and Spiritual Scientific Deism would constitute contradictions in terms. I hope this has been helpful. Taxman1913 (talk) 22:30, 31 May 2015 (UTC)
But the reason Panendeism has no page all its own here is simply that it seems to exist no earlier than 1995, and not to have terribly caught on in the past two decades. Pandeism has been around in some formulation or other since the late 1700s. Google "Spiritual Pandeism" or "Spiritual Pandeist" and you'll garner results; there are none for "Spiritual Panendeism".... Pandeist (talk) 08:05, 1 June 2015 (UTC)
@Pandeist: I had not previously given much thought to the existence of Spiritual InsertAdjectiveHere Deists before Paine Ellsworth raised the question in the discussion above. As I said above, I don't think Spiritual Deists have any intention of staking a claim to the right of exclusive use of the word spiritual, and Paine has previously correctly stated that the word could have many different contexts. What I've found from searching as you suggested is that Spiritual Pandeists distinguish themselves from other Pandeists primarily by their belief that God created and became the universe in order to share in the experience of all He created, because it was impossible for Him to have these experiences and learn from them without doing so. If I've got this understanding correct, then it has nothing to do with the context in which I used the word spiritual in my above description of Spiritual Deism. So, I suppose my statement above should have said, "Spiritual Pandeism and Spiritual Scientific Deism would constitute contradictions in terms within the confines of the context I've applied to the word spiritual in my description of Spiritual Deism." Am I correct about this? Do Spiritual Pandeists typically engage in daily prayer and meditation with the objective of building a relationship with God? If so, this is difficult for me to understand, since they believe that they themselves are a part of God. It would seem to me that Spiritual Pandeists would regard every contact they have with other people, creatures, plants, mountains, lakes and streams to be contacts with God. So, what would be the need to build a relationship with God when one interacts with God every minute of the day?
Yes, I agree with you that Panendeism is in its infancy. I have no idea how large or small a following it has. I recall finding a Website long ago describing it comprehensively. It seemed to have been created by the person who developed Panendeism. In contrast, I am aware that Pandeism is much older, and I don't dispute your 18th century assertion. I'm not sure Panendeism has enough followers to make it notable enough to merit its own Wikipedia article. I don't know whether there is a way to determine that. Frankly, the same could be said of Spiritual Deism. Unlike Pandeists, Panendeists believe that the Creator remains a sentient being. As such, Panendeists could conceivably pray to such being. Taxman1913 (talk) 03:17, 2 June 2015 (UTC)
I am actually so glad you have asked these questions -- the right questions, I think. I firstly would never conceive of begrudging any other philosophy the right to describe the spirituality of their view. Now, when we speak of "Spiritual InsertAdjectiveHere Deists" we must remember that "Deism" is metatheory, and that when you think of the prototypical Deist you are likely conceiving of one adhering to Monodeism (there being one Creator, distinct from our Universe). Now as to the question, "do Spiritual Pandeists typically engage in daily prayer and meditation with the objective of building a relationship with God?" Well I'd surely venture that for any type of Deist (as with many types of theist) this varies by the person; one may believe in a certain state of things being the theological order of our Universe and not act accordingly, as seen by the many theistic believers in an intervening deity who nonetheless don't pray daily.
But as to the reasoning supporting prayer (or meditation), for the Spiritual Pandeist it would be considered thusly: we are all part of our Creator, and so some fragment of our Creator, of its wisdom and its capacities, is within each of us. And though it may not be presently conscious and intervening that does not mean we cannot benefit from its presence within us. Verily, one would tell you that if Jesus and Muhammad and Arjuna and the Buddha were able to perform miracles at all, or to serve as founts of preternatural wisdom, it is precisely because they, perhaps without even realizing this was what they were doing, were exercising an unusual talent for tapping into the divine becoming underlying all things, and all of us. This is the connection which we may achieve with our Creator, through meditation (prayer is essentially the meditative force sent outward). Now as to the next question, "do Pandeists regard every contact they have with other people, creatures, plants, mountains, lakes and streams to be contacts with God"? This addresses the pantheistic element of Pandeism, but makes the error of conflating the fragment of a thing with the thing itself. Consider this: you are you, and your hair is part of you; if you get a haircut, the cut hairs could be called "fragments" of you, but you would not consider contacts with them to be the same as contacts with you. Even your individual brain cells are not you. And each of us is a far smaller fragment of our Universe than any cell in our brains or bodies. Now, we are not inconsequential either, because, of all the things in our environment, we alone reason and contemplate, and we alone have the capacity to accelerate our own future evolutionary path, until we do indeed become far more "godlike" in our own right. So, summing up, we do not outwardly "pray," precisely because the fruitful direction of those energies is into meditation, directed towards what is within.
And lastly, as to the ages of ideas.... well, F.E. Peters and Max B. Weinstein would insist that Pandeism (subsumed in other philosophies) is thousands of years old. And perhaps Panendeism has as-yet undiscovered earlier antecedents as well. For Pandeism, early uses of the word itself are not so clearly delineated (a circumstance shared with "Deism" and "Pantheism" as well, naturally), and so some arguments have arisen, did people speaking of Pandeism (or "Pandeismus" or "Pandeismo") 150 or 200 years ago or more really mean something more pantheistic or more panentheistic or what have you, but perhaps time hones terms. I would add as well, I do not begrudge Panendeism its philosophical legitimacy over its comparative newness -- all ideas are at some time new ideas. But the Pandeist might still propose that, if a pandeistic account fully accounts for all proof observed in our Universe, then the principle of parsimony weighs against presuming any unnecessary, unobservable thing to exist outside our Universe. Blessings!! Pandeist (talk) 06:35, 4 June 2015 (UTC)
Thank you, Taxman1913, for helping me to understand all this! You too, Pandeist – I suppose the goal for a given set of beliefs of becoming celebrated and notable enough to be included in an encyclopedia would be secondary to the development of those beliefs within ourselves. Most major belief systems seem to have had adherents who experienced a "divine event(s)" that, for others, was a form of third-party, hearsay evidence. That is what makes it so difficult – to pick one set of beliefs and to accept its tenets as one's own. How does one know that one has chosen the right one? Is there a "wrong" one? Are they all wrong with only one exception? And, of course, which is the exception(s)? I read what I just wrote and see that I'm beginning to sound like an atheist or an agnostic, neither of which pulls me in. Thank you again for shedding light on the subjects of pandeism, panendeism and deism, spiritual or with no adjective. Here's wishing the best of everything to you and yours! – Paine  17:26, 6 June 2015 (UTC)
Thank you, Pandeist, for the detailed explanation. It is clear that word "spiritual" is being used differently in the phrase Spiritual Deist compared with Spiritual Pandeist, and the approach to prayer or meditation is different. I have enjoyed learning more about Pandeism. Taxman1913 (talk) 05:04, 8 June 2015 (UTC)
And thank you, for the uplifting conversation. I'll take a stab at Paine's question as well..... How, indeed, does one know that one has chosen the "right" one? Noteworthy here is that in any kind of Deism, we do not require a deity's communication of a revelation or other such intervention in the affairs of our Universe. It could best be put that Deism discerns a Creator great enough to set forth our exact Universe to operate just as it ought without needing any intervention. So how do Deists know of Deism at all? By reasoned examination of our Universe. And so one may discern which belief system is most likely to be true by determining which is the most parsimonious explanation, in accordance with fundamental logic. Pandeist (talk) 04:06, 9 June 2015 (UTC)

Random subheader

Hmm – I guess the part of what you say, Pandeist, that makes even Deism feel "random" is the "reasoned examination of our Universe". Here we are, stuck on a relatively tiny rock (no offense, Gaia) that is an oasis in a dangerous, aggressive universe. Any reasoned examination of said universe must be extremely limited at best, so I really don't see any firm basis in logic from which to draw evidential conclusions. Maybe it's just me, but how can one examine this megavast universe from this space pebble and learn anything at all about the creator that would, say, turn the head of an atheist? I'm all for "believing" and "faith", but I have to admit that it would be nice to have some evidence to sink my teeth into. – Paine  11:35, 12 June 2015 (UTC)

@Paine Ellsworth: In my view, there are two possible paths that led to you and I having this conversation. The first involves the random smashing of atoms into one another and the resulting chain of evolution it set off. The second is that a Creator set all that in motion as part of a plan that is far beyond our comprehension. Admittedly, the second explanation requires a leap of faith without proof. But upon closer examination, we ought to consider the likelihood of the first possibility before simply accepting it. What are the odds that without a plan, human beings could have evolved from single-cell organisms after the Big Bang? While we are part of the web of life on this planet, we also have the capacity to completely dominate (and destroy) it in a way that far exceeds that of any other creature. This didn't simply arise in recent times; we have dominated the planet for millennia. Our ability to reason is far beyond that of any other creature in this world. We also have the capacity to act in contravention of our natural instincts to survive and preserve our species. This allows us to do kind things for others even if they will not meet either of those objectives. While many animals protect their young and organize themselves into families or communities, we have an unlimited capacity to love even those outside our community and even outside our species. We are the only creatures that possess the ability to someday leave this planet and establish communities on other worlds. All these things taken together could be the result of some random smashing of atoms. But it appears that the more likely answer is that we have been put here for a purpose by a Higher Power. If our only purpose were survival and propagation, why would we have evolved into such emotional beings when that clearly works to our disadvantage? In my opinion, God wants us to experience these emotions, or we would not have them. I don't have any proof, and I don't know the reason. But none of that matters. We all know that love brings us joy. Perhaps it brings God joy as well. Kindness may be the deepest expression of love. We have a tremendous responsibility as stewards of this world. Treating God's creation including other animals, plants and the earth with kindness is how we can show appreciation to the Creator for all He has given us. The leap of faith needed to embrace Deism is infinitesimal compare with asserting atheism. Taxman1913 (talk) 15:13, 12 June 2015 (UTC)
As an avid student of perhaps the first 'Pantheist' (Spinoza has been called many other names too, much less glamorous than that particular one) in modern Western culture, I think he may have said that this conversation is certainly part of god or of nature, however you prefer to call it. And it is only happening because it is possible within the attributes of this Deus sive Natura's infinite substance. As for any 'plans' it may have had, they would be unfathomable to us human beings anyhow, I would think. I am also trying to think if I know anything about what he may have said about a "creator" at all? I guess, this is the next question I will try to answer to myself in this matter. If I come up with a reasonable answer to it, I may add it here later. warshy (¥¥) 19:08, 12 June 2015 (UTC)
@User:Paine Ellsworth, allow me to confront head on the proposition that we occupy "an oasis in a dangerous, aggressive universe." Imagine for a moment that you are a being capable of creating a Universe, and wish to create one from which intelligent life will come about. But imagine that your power is not absolute, but instead of encompassing the ability to plop down fully-formed already evolved life forms here and there, is limited to the setting forth of only the initial physics of a Universe. Knowing that ingelligent life must be molecularly complex, and that requisite molecular complexity requires heavy elements, you would need to create a Universe which has natural forges of sufficient power to rend heavy elements out of light ones -- a Universe of stars. And the power necessary for this rending is power which would be dangerous to those very molecules if they did not form at a sufficient distance from the stars which formed their atoms. Compare the deliberate human act of agency of making fire. If one saw a fire, one might think, fires are dangerous to humans so an intelligent human cannot have made so dangerous a thing intentionally; and yet we intentionally make fire all the time to serve our purposes, which are served by ourselves staying a safe distance from the flames even as we benefit from them. So, too, with that great ball of fire above us. The dangerousness of our Universe is simply what necessarily goes along with the productive capacity of our Universe. And as for observation, I would contend that we are able to see deeply into the ends of our Universe, and since physics is universal, are able to crack its underlying coding from most any vantage point. Blessings!! Pandeist (talk) 19:51, 12 June 2015 (UTC)

Page image.

Right now the quote-unquote page image for Deism is a pic of a book about Confucious. Surely we can perch something more germane atop this range? Pandeist (talk) 20:08, 17 May 2016 (UTC)