Will America's Deistic Shift Lead to a Libertarian Shift?

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March 12, 2009

Deism, the simple belief in God based on the application of our reason on the designs in Nature, the study of which is science, and which Deists see as evidence of the Designer, seems to be growing in America . One of the most authoritative surveys on religion in America , the American Religious Identification Survey, shows that for the first time the number of Americans who fit the traditional dictionary definition of a Deist, belief in a higher power but not in a personal God, is at 12 percent. This definition of a Deist is not completely accurate. Many Deists do not believe in a personal God while others do. Since there is no dogma in Deism, people are free to believe what they want. The only two requirements for being a Deist is belief in God as mentioned above and rejection of all the claims of the 'revealed' religions to having received a special divine revelation, to having special powers of healing, etc. If this more broad definition was included in the classification of Deistic belief in the survey, the number of people holding a Deistic belief would be much greater.

Deism is very libertarian in nature. There are no priests, rabbis or any clergymen to tell people what to do, what not to do and what to believe. There are no holy books to follow. From the ARIS report, it seems that a growing number of Americans are turned off by the bureaucracy of organized 'revealed' religions. For example, the survey shows the percentage of Christians in the U.S. fell from 86 percent in 1990 to 76 percent in 2008. The main reason given for this decline is rejection by people of organized religion. Deism is much more in line with the libertarian point made by Bill Maher when he said, 'Religion, to me, is a bureaucracy between man and God that I don't need.'

In addition to people rethinking their religious beliefs and moving towards Deism, many people who are still remaining within Christianity are nevertheless rethinking their beliefs and moving away from the more traditional, inflexible, bureaucratic, government-like sects. Most of them are embracing non-denominational Christianity. Mark Silk, the director of the Public Values Program which conducted the survey, said, 'It looks like the two-party system of American Protestantism ' mainline versus evangelical ' is collapsing.'

As people get into Deism more, they eventually become aware of the Biblical teachings in Romans 13: 1-7 which teaches people to be obedient to and fearful of 'the powers that be'/government officials. They also learn of Thomas Jefferson's Deistic/libertarian ideas on this twisted Biblical teaching that he expressed in a letter he wrote on June 24, 1826 , just two weeks before his death on July 4. Jefferson wrote, 'May it' (the Fourth of July) 'be to the world, what I believe it will be, (to some parts sooner, to others later, but finally to all,) the signal of arousing men to burst the chains under which monkish ignorance and superstition had persuaded them to bind themselves, and to assume the blessings and security of self-government. . . . The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately, by the grace of God.'

Hopefully, as people express their libertarian nature in religion by moving away from the formal 'revealed' religions and towards the natural religion/philosophy of Deism and to other less traditional belief systems, they will carry this over into politics. With being freshly burned by the 'change we can believe in' meaningless and empty mantra of Obama and the Democrats, perhaps they will in greater numbers begin to realize that politicians, regardless of what they say and which party they belong to, are nothing but politicians. Their words have no meaning because their driving force is self-promotion. When this happens, the plutocratic con-game will be over!

c4">Robert Johnson is a paralegal and a freelance writer in Florida. He was raised Roman Catholic, but after reading Thomas Paine's The Age of Reason, he became a Deist. In 1993 he founded the World Union of Deists and in 1996 he launched the first web site devoted to Deism, www.deism.com. He is listed in Who's Who in Hell and is the author of Deism: A Revolution in Religion, A Revolution in You.

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Will America's Deistic Shift Lead to a Libertarian Shift?

by Robert L. Johnson

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Robert Johnson is a paralegal and a freelance writer in Florida. He was raised Roman Catholic, but after reading Thomas Paine's The Age of Reason, he became a Deist. In 1993 he founded the World Union of Deists and in 1996 he launched the first web site devoted to Deism, www.deism.com.  He is listed in Who's Who in Hell and is the author of Deism: A Revolution in Religion, A Revolution in You and An Answer to C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity.  He wrote the introduction to The Age of Reason, The Complete Edition and also writes for Examiner.com.