Apologetics Critique Of Deism

  1. ReformedChristian
    Deism is defined as the belief that reason and and the Natural world are sufficient to determine the existence of God. Deists believe God is not knowable and untouchable. God is seen as the first cause of all creation, but he is not interactive within creation. Here is an analogy, think of God as a watchmaker that winds up a clock by setting up the creation process that are guided by laws which can only be known through reason and logic.

    The following are are a sample of beliefs that are held by Deist (1):

    1. The rejection of divine revelation because it can not tell us anything about God.

    2. A belief in God is based on reason and an understanding of nature . It is deduced from one’s person experience and the observance of nature.

    3.Man cannot have a personal relationship with God, but can have feelings of awe within the human soul and his creation

    4. Humans have the ability to use reason to arrive at moral principles that create a Utilitarian-Humanistic form of ethics

    5. Deists reject divine revelation and Holy writings such as the Bible, Quran, Torah and other religious text and creeds. It is up to the individual to determine how to honor God.

    5. All men and women and society are created equal according to Natural Law .

    6. Reason and respect is a gift from God which are to be used of men.


    Now that we have outline some of the beliefs of Deism lets examine their truth claims and do an internal critique for consistency.

    1. The rejection of divine revelation because it can not tell us anything about God.

    How does a Deist know this? Given in the introduction, we see according to their beliefs, God is neither knowable nor can be defined. How does the deist know God has not given divine revelation to creation? Is the deist all knowing and all powerful? To make this claim the deist has to know something about God to reject this claim.

    2. A belief in God is based on reason and an understanding of nature . It is deduced from one’s person experience and the observance of nature.

    How does a Deist know that his reasoning is valid? They have to presuppose it in order for it to be valid. Is it possible that the Deist can be wrong about everything he claims to know about God and Nature? Second Nature only tells us that God created the universe. It does not answer the questions of how, why, and the purpose of creation. If a belief in God is deduced from personal experience how does the Deist know his experiences and observance of nature is valid and not prone to self-deception? Maybe their experiences are an illusion created by an acid trip or perhaps in another reality he is strapped down in a psyche ward somewhere.

    3. Man cannot have a personal relationship with God but can have feelings of awe within the human soul and his creation.

    The Deist claims we cannot have a personal relationship with God yet again this is an absolute claim that he knows something about God that cannot be known. After all, the Deist rejects divine revelation. The Deist is again appealing to subjective experience and feelings as a form of truth. How does he know these things are valid?

    4. Humans have the ability to use reason to arrive at moral principles which create a Utilitarian-Humanistic form of ethics.

    This argument is nothing more an appeal to moral relativism, yet it’s an absolute truth claim that humans have the ability to reason and arrive at these principles. To appeal to utilitarian ethics is to say what is true for you but not for me and what feels Good for you follow your natural reason and instincts. If that is the case then we are no better to follow the moral principles of Jeffrey Dahmer by being a psychopathic cannibal or a virtuous person such as mother Theresa. A Deist can’t say that these actions are right or wrong; morals are left up to the individual’s choice to follow them or not follow them.

    5. Deists reject divine revelation and Holy writings such as the Bible, Quran, Torah and other religious text and creeds. It is up to the individual to determine how to honor God.

    Since a Deist rejects divine revelation and substitutes for reason, how does he know anything about God at all and how does he know their reasoning is valid?. Though the Deist rejects divine revelation and Holy writings, Deism does indeed have a creed. A creed is defined as (2):

    1.any system, doctrine, or formula of religious belief, as of a denomination.

    2.any system or codification of belief or of opinion.


    Deists do have a creed in the sense that they have a belief about God, Creation, Nature, Reality, Knowledge and Truth claims. The statement is also self-refuting, to say you hold to no creeds is a creed in and of itself.

    6. All men and women and society are created equal according to Natural Law .

    How does a Deist know that all men, women and society are created equal according to Natural Law? As we saw in point 4, moral principles are subjective and up to the individual. What Natural law is the deist appealing to? There is more than one theory of natural law. (3)


    7. Reason and respect is a gift from God which are to be used of men.

    How does a Deist know that reason and respect is a gift from God? How would he define them in a Deistic worldview? How does he know that his reasoning is valid? Why should we respect others given that morality is subjective to the choice of the individual?

    Deism boils down to the rejection of God’s divine revelation in favor of human autonomy and reason Romans 1:21-28. The reason a Deist can know anything at all is because God has written the law on their hearts, and they know creation testifies to his existence, but they suppress the truth in unrighteousness.

    Sources:

    1. https://www.allaboutphilosophy.org/deism.htm

    2. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/creed

    3. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/natural-law-theories/

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