First off: I believe in God and this belief is founded on reason rather than revelation. So we have that in common at least.
Now, I'd like to get a little bit more specific about my beliefs. To do that, I'll post my ideas in relation to some of the material on the Positive Deism website.
To begin: my response to Jay Boswell's "You Might Be a Deist" found here http://www.positivedeism.com/deistdoc2.html
My responses in bold.
You believe in God but are not accepting of the authoritarian creeds of any particular religion.
You believe that God's word is the universe (nature), not human-written holy books.
You like to reason or speculate what God might be like rather than be taught about it.
Agree. Although I enjoy reading about others' ideas and I incorporate the ideas of others into my own beliefs.
You think that religious ideas should reconcile with and not contradict science.
You believe God can be best found outside rather than inside a church building.
I believe God can be found anywhere.
You enjoy the freedom of seeking spirituality on your own.
Yes, but I also enjoy exploring ideas with others.
You are morally guided by ethics and conscience rather than by scriptures.
Yes. That being said, I do think scriptures can provide important insights sometimes. For instance, I'm sure that many of us would agree that Jesus made some helpful remarks about good behavior
You are an individual thinker whose religious beliefs are not formed from tradition or authority.
Yes, but of course I realize that I'm also a product of the culture in which I've lived my whole life. For instance, I probably would have arrived at a different worldview if I had grown up as an Australian Aborgine with traditional animist beliefs.
You like to call yourself rational or spiritual before you call yourself religious.
You believe that religion and government (church and state) should be separate.
Now I'm going to post my reflections on "Things That Deists Believe based on a post by Richard Albin" from the same page as the above. My responses are in bold.
Belief in an intelligent designer of the universe.
Belief that the intelligent designer is "outside" the universe, and not part of the universe (as in pantheism). [Editor's note: This is the view of "Classical" Deism. Some modern Deists have a different view.]
I believe that the universe is an aspect of God's Being. Stated another way: I believe that the universe is God but that there is also more to God than the universe. Apparently there are several terms for this (e.g., monism, panentheism), but like I said, I'm not too big on labels - especially when I don't understand them very well. You could say that I believe the universe is a "dream" or thought of God. We all have dreams, and everything seems separate in the dream. But it is all a projection of one mind. Of course I know I'm just speculating and that I don't have all the answers.
Belief that after the Deity created the universe, He stepped away from it to allow it to evolve naturally based on the laws of physics which He created without any need for His further intervention.
This is problematic for me because the question of whether or not God "intervenes" becomes moot when one believes everything that happens is literally an act of God.
Belief that the Deity does not perform "miracles" which defy the laws of physics, or intervene in a supernatural way in the affairs of mankind.
Similar to the above issue. But in this case, it is more specifically a question of whether or not God does things that violate His laws of physics. And my answer is that I do not know. I will say that it does not make sense for God to violate the very laws He established. However, perhaps there are another set of laws which include - or are a "superset" of - the laws of science as we understand those laws. And maybe if and when a "miracle" happens it is still in accord with a "higher law" even though it goes against the observed pattern of things (and this observed pattern is what we call "science"). But really my answer is I don't know. I can speculate all day, and it's fun, but I just can't say whether or not things happen that violate natural laws, or at least "seem" to. I know there is very little scientific evidence for these things (if any at all), but I also know that science is not identical to reason, but is simply a form of reasoning. And I know there is a lot of anecdotal evidence for the "miraculous"/"paranormal"/"supernatural" which has been appearing for as long as humans have existed. But since it is just anecdotal (and much of it is likely fabricated), I don't put too much weight on it. So I really don't know, but I think "miracles" might be possible. In any case, science is a very useful system, but it does not have all the answers. We can all agree on that much, at least.
Belief that the Deity does not reveal Himself to mankind through priests or other "enlightened" individuals, but rather through the workings of nature.
I agree with this essentially, but at the same time I think some individuals have obtained a better grasp of the nature of God/reality than others have obtained. I think such individuals have simply cultivated their own natural faculties to arrive at their understanding. I don't think there is anything "supernatural" about that. I just believe that some people have used reason, discipline, concentration..etc., to obtain a greater understanding than the average person. I don't think I'm such a person. As an example, you might say that some scientists fall into that category - Newton and Einstein come to mind. But this type of person is not necessarily a scientist. They could be a philosopher, a hermit, an auto mechanic, a housewife, a physician,...almost anything really.
Belief that the Deity imposes no pre-ordained, or divinely inspired moral code of behavior on mankind, but rather expects man to develop his own codes of conduct for living in harmony with his fellow man based on his God-given Reason.
I believe that God created a universe where it is generally rational to do what we commonly call "good" and generally irrational to do what we commonly call "bad". In that sense, I believe that God did institute right and wrong, and I agree that we must use our reason to determine what is right and what is wrong. That is not to say that God always rewards the good and punishes the bad. There is a lot wrong with this universe as I see it. Bad things do happen to good people and that is a huge problem. Does God care? Well, I do not think that God at the "core" of his Being is a person. I believe that God possesses intelligence and awareness, but I do not think that personhood is a trait God possesses in His most fundamental essence. However, we humans do possess personhood and since I believe that all that exists is a manifestation of God - I believe God has personhood via his human creations. So it falls on us to do our best to right the wrongs we see in the world.
Although there is no scientific evidence for an afterlife, most Deists do have a "hope" for an afterlife.
I pretty much agree with this. I might add "yet" after scientific evidence though, because I hope we get that evidence some day, although I do not think it is likely. If an afterlife does exist, it probably would be very difficult to prove or study using the scientific method.
So what do you think? Am I a Deist? Hope it was interesting at least.