Does Deism preclude Atheism?

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James Evans's picture
Does Deism preclude Atheism?

For those of you who don't know, deism is the belief that, at some time, there was a god who created everything. It then either disappeared, or sat back to watch what happened with its creation, observing, but not interacting. It does not read minds, or answer prayers, or give a damn about sin. It does not create natural disasters or make bad things happen to good people. In essence, it is only a god in that it created all. My question is this: If you believe in Deism as the source of the universe, and that the god which created the universe did so and then ceased to exist, does that mean that you are not an atheist? Does atheism mean believing that there has never been a god, or that you only believe there is no current god?

By the way, these are not my beliefs. I am simply trying to create a good debate topic.

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DarkLight's picture
I think atheism is not

I think atheism is not believing in the existence of a creator. Not just one that "bailed out" but none at all. That being said, I believe that both religious and none religious people are clueless to this, as no one can truly answer how this universe came to be and probably never will.

Georg Buscha's picture
In my eyes, deism is a form

In my eyes, deism is a form of functional atheism for people who aren't quite ready to give up the emotional security blanked of a possible after-life. However deism definately is a step in the right way because it stop people from doing a lot of stupid stuff, like praying for something and expecting it to work. Deism is a lot more in touch with reality because of god's non-involvement, which means if you want something done, you yourself have to make it happen. This is a very healthy and productive attitude and it promotes inter-personal progress.

To be honest I have no problem with deists. On a day to day basis, they are essentially atheists, they just have a little more hope for what comes after death than I do, and who am I to blame them or try to take that away?

ajs's picture
Georg, you have a very

Georg, you have a very strange definition of atheism if you're willing to include deists in it. We fundamentally do believe in the existence of a God, which is that big check-box at the top of the "are you an atheist" list.

Also to the larger topic, not all deists believe that God is gone / non-active. There's a spectrum. At one end, you have the people who think that God sits around waiting for someone to pray for a touchdown (I often call them Touchdownatarians) at the other you have the "God is dead" crowd. Deists spread out from the latter side and occupy a lot of the gray area up to the middle and various members of religions occupy the former side, and spread out toward the middle from there.

There's even a fair amount of overlap.

Henry Plantagenet's picture
I'm with George. I think a

I'm with George. I think a number of "deists" are atheists who just don't want to admit it yet.

mysticrose's picture
Atheist don't believe in past

Atheist don't believe in past or current gods. For them, universe was made by evolution itself not by any deity that religious people believe. I

I just have question for deists. What is your view about afterlife? What happen if a person dies?

SammyShazaam's picture
I love puzzles of logic like

I love puzzles of logic like this :) And I love Nietzsche as well, so let's pretend God is dead!

In my mind, as an Atheist believes that there is no god. While many Atheists probably believe that there never was, and just for the sake of inclusion, never will be a god (that would be interesting), is there anything in the actual definition of this non-religion that dictates that these beliefs can't be included under this semantic umbrella?

I don't think there is, and especially since there is no unifying doctrine of any sort for atheism, I don't see how anyone else could say there is. As long you believe that there is no god at this precise and present moment in time, you are an atheist.

Most religions have a concept of god that transcends time, so therefore if he was, he is and will continue to be (or She or They, this is in no way limited to Christianity), and it might be for that very reason :) Nietzsche failed to point out that God can die daily, and many of them do across the cultures, but they're still there.

TW Duke's picture
There do seem to be gray

There do seem to be gray areas in Atheism also.

Henry Plantagenet's picture
I'm surprised the theists

I'm surprised the theists haven't come up with some sort of Three-Stooges deity -- a god who got blown up by his own Big Bang.

SammyShazaam's picture
Several religions do have

Several religions do have gods that have made the world out of their own bodies. Never accidentally, though.

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