Some people are born into a religion, while others find it later in life. I have always been a believer; God has always been a part of my life since I was a twinkle in my parents' eyes. There was no question that God existed, but there was much more to it than that. Our faith was our life.
I heard the message loud and clear from the day I was born. There wasn't even the need for an explanation; God was accepted as a fact of life. Of course, there was much more to life than the mere existence of God. The fact of God, intimated a responsibility to God... if God exists, there must be a reason for our existence, and there must also be a "guide" to show us how we can be in line with His purpose.
My life followed this course, otherwise known as Christianity, all the way to seminary- the logical choice for a guy with a natural bent for analysis and research. Nothing satisfied my curiosity like another book, another article, about God and our commitment to him. It wasn't enough that our family went to church on Sundays... every Sunday without fail. I wanted to preach and teach others about the way to a deeper faith in God.
Being born into this faith made it easy, almost too easy. And although I never took my faith for granted, I didn't spend much time thinking about WHY my faith was so important. I simply accepted all of it as true, as the right way. There was plenty of reason to believe, but little reason to doubt. My attention was always on how to better serve my God and to be more pleasing to him... more like him... I should have paid better attention to what that really meant.
I can't say I never had doubts about certain things, like why there seemed to be some pretty immoral things about God's people and his requirements for them. And there were some potential contradictions that were very difficult to reconcile. But as we were taught in seminary: "The secret things belong to the Lord". In other words, some things cannot be understood because we are fallible and God is infallible and beyond our comprehension. If we simply trust him, he will take care of the rest. It became a bit of a joke among the students. But it painted a very real picture that we ought not question God because he is... well... God... as if he is above question.
It did not occur to me until many years later that no one, not even the creator of the universe, can be above question. I slowly came to the conclusion that only evil men could invent such a God, one who can do as he pleases without accountability. Such an authority flies in the face of true morality, besides being a very bad example for his followers.
I nearly made it to the age of forty before understanding that this God, the one I had been following my entire life, was a fraud... an invention of men. But I also found that nothing could convince me that God did not exist; life does not make sense without him. Despite mountains of evidence, I struggled to resist losing the faith of my parents, but could no longer reconcile the teachings of the book I had revered for so long. I am so grateful to have discovered an amazing alternative to such barbaric mythology.
Deism teaches that there is a God for these reasons:
1. In the same way that religions assume a creator (e.g. Romans ch. 1), our observation of the world around us points to intelligence. While it may be "easier" to believe that everything just happened by chance, pure evolution seems as mythological as any religion. I will refrain from any details, but evidence abounds that there must be a "designer" and "director" of the abundance of life in, and the laws that govern, our universe. We can, therefore, assume a creator, who has overseen the processes of life as we know it.
2. Our minds are the greatest tool in this universe, not only to create whatever we can imagine, but to guide us to fulfill, even maximize our purpose for existence. God has given us a greater gift than religion can posit: reason, with which we can avoid superstition and deception, and discern the true nature of existence.
3. Men can tell us what they want us to do, but only God can enable us to be what we were made to be. We know of God, not through mysterious books, but his own image stamped in our minds and the very core of our being.
4. Reason dictates that fear and guilt poison the mind, but God gives peace and freedom. I was never so satisfied and content as when I shed the unreasonable beliefs of religion, in favor of the freedom of Deism- the simple, unadulterated belief in the God of Nature.
5. As a professing Christian, I had a vested interest in the welfare of religion; God freed me from that obligation when I allowed my reason to shine where I once had been forbidden to explore. Religion suppresses the truth, contrary to what their own books say. Deism claims no revelation, no word from God, therefore the mind is free from the mysterious and open to the truth of the creator.
It is only in Deism that the truth about God can be found. Holy books of revelation tell us what men want us to believe. Only the human mind, open to what our five senses can discern, can reveal to us the one who gives us life. Religion teaches that the mind is evil and separated from God. And it is in such an environment that we are enslaved to a God or Gods of our own creation. Holy books like the Bible tell us to not be deceived by the fables of men, yet relate stories that defy nature and our most basic sensibilities. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. Belief in a God requires no such proof; simple observation provides all the evidence we need to see him.
We need not speculate about heaven or hell, angels and demons, and spiritual warfare. Unfounded beliefs do not become God, and he is reduced to the level of men by the atrocities attributed to him. Why do we struggle with the thought that God has left us to determine our own fate, but also given us the tools to solve our own problems and make our world the best place for us to thrive and grow? Rules and regulations cannot bring me closer to God. It is this bondage from which the creator has freed me.
Finally, I believe in God because I see the hatred, conflict, and suppression that man-made Gods have wrought in the history of the world. I see that men wish only to control and take advantage of those who are weaker, and who have resigned themselves to follow like sheep. But when we see through this myth, we also see the purpose for which we were created. No holy book has ever unleashed the true, human potential.
I believe that God wants each of us to take responsibility for our own lives, and not sacrifice it to the ideas and benefit of another. He did not make us to enslave us. He made us free. Religion takes that freedom away, because they know not God. There is no shame in kissing religion goodbye!