Back during the 17th and 18th centuries there was a movement among certain intellectuals that posited an underlying religion (one might say “philosophy”) that underlay all other religions. In fact, this underlying religion was the true religion, uncorrupted by priestcraft and myth. Some of these thinkers advocated a position known as deism. Well, it looks like the deists are back. The new United Deist Church sets forth the following creed:
I freely believe in God as being discovered through nature and reason, rejecting revealed religion and its authority over humanity. I believe that all humans are equal. Further, as God has not shown favor for one people over another and has given us all that we need, that we should follow God’s example and give to others as we can.”
It looks like this religion is mostly about the humans who practice it – they are rational, moral people who can figure out everything they need to know about god. In saying next to nothing about god (except that god “has given us all that we need”), this looks like Auguste Comte’s religion of humanity – and like much contemporary Christian belief. The deist preacher – like many Chrostian preachers of today – would have no trouble proclaiming that God loves people, meaning something like, “God’s main goal for your life is to be happy and successful. Think positive. Be a nice person. Be reasonable.” I wish the deists were the only ones who preached this.
Man, we have a lot of work to do.