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Deism vs Theism

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/5/2017 Category: Religion
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 866 times Debate No: 99627
Debate Rounds (5)
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Looking for a debate about which is more rationale toward the existence of God: deism or theism. I will be in the position of pro deism.

Deism is defined as the belief in God based on your personal observations of nature or the cosmos. It rejects holy books and divine intervention.

Theism is defined as the belief in God based on divine revelation (holy books), divine intervention, miracles, and God being active in the world.

The 1st round is the acceptance round and further defining your theist position.
The 2nd round will be opening arguments.
The 3rd round will be rebuttals.
The 4th round will be rebuttals.
The 5th round will be closing statements.

Voters: please be honest and weigh both sides of the debate. The side that seems to be the most logical, regardless of your religion (or lack of), should earn your vote.



Hello i accept this DEBATE! i am a theist, and i believe in a holy text and divine intervention
Debate Round No. 1


Deism is the more logical approach to the belief in God. It is not based on holy books, divine revelation, prophets or miracles. It is based on one's personal observations of the world around them (nature) and/or the study of the cosmos. To a deist, they see design and purpose in nature/cosmos, not randomness.

Contrarily, theism relies on holy books and divine revelation. Those holy books were not written by God, but rather by humans. When referencing both Judaism and Christianity, the original scrolls that would become the Old Testament were destroyed when Nebuchadnezzar II burned Jerusalem in 587 BCE. Those original works are referred to as the Autographs. Since they no longer exist (and haven't for ~2,500 years) no one can say with absolute certainty that the Bible that is read today is infallible. Humans make mistakes all the time, and it is because of human error that the Bible is not absolute.

Furthermore, divine revelation means that someone is interpreting a dream or voices in their head. You can't prove divine revelation in any shape or form. You have to take it on blind faith that the person speaking is being truthful and has no agenda that they are trying to push on others. That is part of the reason for so many different denominations; difference of opinions and biblical interpretation. If God wanted to protect His book and keep it infallible, then why in the heck are there numerous translations, many of which disagree with the text? The answer is very simple; there's big money in religion and publishing houses have copyrights. Once again, the human influence.

Another aspect that clutters up theism is the language-time barrier. When reading the Bible in English, you lose the cultural idioms of the ancient Hebrew and Koine Greek. We are removed from that era by thousands of years, and what we understand a verse to mean is often completely different than its intention. For example, if you were to get zapped back in time to 1100 CE and saw a knight in full plate armor on horseback, you might say "that's so cool!" The knight would look at you funny because it is August, 95 degrees, he is burning up and sweating his butt off. He would not understand the idiom of "cool!"

The Bible contains many verses talking about fascinating stories and/or miracles. I will touch on a few of these.

Garden of Eden: we did not come from a single pair of humans called Adam and Eve, and certainly not 6,000 years ago. Genetics has already shown that it would take 10,000 original humans to account for all the diversity in the world today. Furthermore, no one has ever seen the cherubim with a flaming sword, guarding the way to the Tree of Life. No satellite imagery has ever captured it.

The Exodus: there is no archaeological evidence to suggest that the exodus ever happened. Over 1,000,000 people wandering around the desert for 40 years, yet nothing has ever been found. Also, the common English translation regarding the exodus is that they crossed the Red Sea, but the actual Hebrew means the Sea of Reeds, which is a swampland. The chariots could not follow, even if the story was real.

Jesus' Miracles: throughout the NT we read about Jesus performing miracles. Driving out demons left and right, raising the dead, healing the sick, etc. The only problem is that those "demons" were actually just medical conditions that people did not understand 2,000 years ago. Take epilepsy for example. Someone would fall to the ground and their body would shake violently. Those people did not understand what it was, so they defaulted to the supernatural and blamed demonic possession. We now know better.

In summary, the Bible was not meant to be taken literally. It is a collection of stories that tell a lesson about morality or compassion, along with some mythological history as to how or why something was done. Most likely, those stories started out around a campfire when a child asked an elder, "why do we speak different languages?" The elder cooked up a story about a tower and it went from there. If you read the Bible as a book of metaphors and allegory, then things become much simpler and you don't have all the baggage that comes with theistic dogma.


If there is no bible, no divine intervention, or miracles how do we know what is true or what go wants us to believe in? If im a deist(for example) how do i know that t is not gods will to kill all non-deists?(if god does not communicate with us) is it what you think is right in your heart? If so it was right in Hitlers heart to kill all Jews so is it right? no, it isn't(obviously)

Also you say that the people who were possessed in the bible just had diseases like epilepsy? So your telling me that if i get so strong that i break out of metal chain run around naked and cut my self , and also say that im a legion of demons its just epilepsy? that is completely illogical!

You say that Adam and Eve only existed 6000 Years ago, and that there is no angel with sword? OK let me break this down the bible not once said when the world started, or when adam was born OK? Plus you also say that, "there is no satellite image of the angel with the flaming sword" OK if you think that the garden was to be protected GOD would let you see the garden(on a satellite image?)? also what if the garden was destroyed so then angel no longer had something to protect?

You say there's no archeological evidence of the exodus? So your telling me that if walk around the desert eating nothing but magical food from heaven that rots within a day is going to stay in a desert for thousands of years is still going to be there? You said well there is no chariots. So what if the chariots already got discovered and taken out when the sea receded?
Debate Round No. 2


I never said that the Bible did not exist. It was written by humans, and we all make mistakes, especially over several thousand years as the Bible gets copied time and again, and translated across languages. Truth is in the eye of the beholder.

As to knowing what is right or wrong, most people will be guided by a moral conscience. The most die hard atheist could be the most moral person on the planet, never once committing murder, rape, robbery, etc. They are guided by their conscience, knowing right from wrong.

Yes, people in the Bible were afflicted with diseases or neurological issues. Deafness, blindness, epilepsy, etc. The people back then did not understand what caused those conditions, so they often blamed it on the supernatural. In other words, demonic possession. As a matter of fact, as Bibles were revised over the years, the condition that described the boy in Matthew 17 was changed as medical science progressed.

KJV Matthew 17:15 - Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatick, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water.

NIV Matthew 17:15 - "Lord, have mercy on my son," he said. "He has seizures and is suffering greatly. He often falls into the fire or into the water.

NKJV Matthew 17:15 - "Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and suffers severely; for he often falls into the fire and often into the water.

Epilepsy is not demonic possession. It is a neurological condition. The ancients could not have known that because they did not have MRIs, Echoes, X-rays, etc. What you describe with breaking chains, cutting yourself and running around naked is not demonic possession. That is a mental disorder...or drug overdose such as PCP.

I did not say Adam and Eve existed 6,000 years ago. Young Earth Creationists (YEC) make that claim. You are right that the Bible never states the world is 6,000 years old, but that is inferred by counting the generations from Adam to Jesus. That is a major talking point for YEC.

Not only is there no satellite imagery of a magical garden, but no one has ever taken a photo of said angel with a flaming sword anywhere near the Tigris or Euphrates Rivers, which are listed in Genesis. That whole area has been mapped out. Just like you said the Bible never stated how old the world was, it does not state that the Garden of Eden was destroyed either. You can't have it both ways.

As to the exodus, it's not that there is no food that has been recovered, but rather that a million+ people left no tools, pottery, weapons, shelters, wheels, yokes, bits, bridles, graves, stonework, etc. NOTHING has ever been found. Furthermore, there are no records from the Egyptian hieroglyphs that even mention the exodus. There are no records that even remotely indicate that at some point way back in BCE, the Egyptians suddenly lost much of their wealth, commerce, or infrastructure. Let me pause here and give you a little history lesson...

The Hyksos people lived in the Nile Delta, and had Canaanite names. They were eventually kicked out of Egypt by Pharaoh Ahmose I, and guess which path they fled along? The Sinai Peninsula and into Levant. They continued eastward and founded a city that is the center of dispute between Muslims and Jews to this day: Jerusalem. There is speculation that the Hyksos were the Hebrews, and it was not a story of slavery to freedom, but rather a story of defeat and shame. They changed the story to save face for future generations.

As to the chariots, you did not understand when I said the Hebrew writings of the OT (Tanach, if you are Jewish) were mistranslated. It is not the Red Sea with Charlton Heston parting it down the middle with massive walls of water on either side, but rather the Sea of Reeds, a low land swamp region that could be crossed on foot but not by chariot. Many modern translations even have footnotes correcting the error.


OK you said that deists base what they do off what they think is moral in their hearts right? doesn't that mean that Hither and Josef Stalin are great deists? What they did is what they thought was right and moral in their hearts.

Yes The Bible was wrote by humans but humans have the ability to do great good as bad. The bible is not bad it is good depending on how literally you take it, or if you twist it from its original form.
Also you bring up one scripture and multiple forms of it? bringing up one scripture and saying that proves your entire point is like me saying that all amusement park kill people and then bring up one time were someone died at one. Bring up more than one scripture OK?

You said that you never said adam and eve were in the garden 6000 years ago? Here is a quote from you, "Garden of Eden: we did not come from a single pair of humans called Adam and Eve, and certainly not 6,000 years ago."

You said there's no imagery of the angel right? OK! #1 why would GOD want you to see that angel? He wouldn't! also if the garden were destroyed over time why would the angel stay there?

As to what you said about the exodus, you are making no sense at all! If you were living in middle of the desert for 40 years, with limited resources why would you leave your pottery, yolks, or anything behind? Also they could have brought anyone who died with them, or just buried there bodies without graves. If you were hated by a pharaoh would you say, "hey lets bury their bodies and give an indication of were they are! so they can tamper with their graves!" No you wouldn't!

OK if they could cross the Reed Sea with chariots wouldn't they not bring their chariots? Also someone could have found those perfectly good in-tact chariots and said, "hey look i found these perfectly good mint-condition chariots maybe ill pick these up, and take them home!"

Also if your a deist, and do not believe in miracles doesn't that mean that praying for help is useless? Yes, it does.

Christianity is obviously the best take on belief in god!
Debate Round No. 3


I did not say that deists do what is right in their hearts. I said we observe nature/cosmos and use our personal observations for the belief in God. What was stated was that morality is based on knowing right from wrong, and choosing to be a moral person. As to your Hitler reference (even though you said Hither), he was raised as a Catholic by his mother, and often stated that he supported Christianity in his public speeches. No, he was not a deist.

The Bible, in its original form, is unknown to us as the Autographs were destroyed ~2,500 years ago. And if you think it is nothing but good, do you realize that it sanctions slavery, the murder of children and rape? It was written by men, in a primitive time, and from what would be considered a barbaric culture by today's standards.

I did not say Adam & Eve WERE in the Garden 6,000 years ago. I said they were certainly NOT in the Garden 6,000 years ago. The Earth is far older that 6,000 years. I am not a Young Earth Creationist.

Once again, the Bible never says the Garden of Eden disappeared. Therefore, it should still be there (hint: it's not because it never existed). The story is allegorical anyway.

As for the exodus, you are not grasping the concept that 1,000,000+ people living in an area for 40 years would leave a trace of their civilization. There's nothing.

I don't believe in miracles, not because I don't believe in God (I do), but because divine intervention goes against the concept of free will. How many veterans that had an amputation and prayed for a miracle regrowth received said miracle? ZERO.

Here is an experiment: designate a World Prayer Day. Have every believer pray at the same time for world peace. Surely God would honor such a vocalized request! Then wait and see how long it takes before another terrorist act is committed. My guess is less than a week.

Deism trumps Christianity (and pretty much any other religion) as far as the logical belief in God. Just know that deism is not a religion; it is a philosophy.


What if I DON'T know right from wrong? does that mean what i have observed to be right(even if its wrong) is good?
If i don't have a book(or some other source) to tell me what is right and what is wrong how would i know what is right? If I live in a hole my entire life how am i going to know what color the sky is unless someone tells me so?

Yes humans can corrupt and twist the bible, that's why i don't trust scriptures that contradict other ones. For example(hypothetically) if the bible tells me that murder is wrong then tells me to kills someone ti will not trust that scripture.

Also i you done believe in miracles, a holy book, GOD talking to you, or Jesus, how do you know that god even exists. From the sound of it deists have no true reason to believe in GOD, and might as well be atheists!

You also say that if we make a world prayer day and pray for world peace it will not happen, that IS true. Because we would be praying for there to be no evil people basically, GOD WILL NOT take away our free will so praying for world peace is useless. GOD has worked in my life, and my faith in him has got me through hard times like divorces.

Also this debate is useless and is not gonna change you or anyone else opinion, it like telling a Muslim to convert to Christianity!
Debate Round No. 4


If you don't know right from wrong, then you need your moral compass re-calibrated. I have friends that are atheists, that have never believed in any type of deity, yet are some of the most compassionate and benevolent people you'll ever meet. Children emulate what they see and hear, and often times will connect with whatever their parents believe. If they have good parents that teach them morality, chances are they will be moral as well. Or, at least they will know right from wrong, even though they may choose to do something in the wrong category.

You don't trust Scripture that contradicts a verse that you deem to be moral or good, which means you pick and choose. That is one of my biggest gripes with Christianity. There is a lot of cherry picking going on, and the rest is tossed aside.

I do not believe in miracles because of free will. All holy books were written by humans and contain human errors. I believe that Jesus was a great teacher and prophet, and if more people would follow his teachings, the world would be a better place. But he is not the only "wise man" from history.

Deists believe in God because we connect with nature and/or the cosmos and see design and purpose, not randomness. I have a post on the forums talking about deism. Feel free to explore it.

So you agree that a World Prayer Day won't change anything, because of free will?! Excellent! Then why do YOU believe in miracles, if we have free will and God won't intervene?

A debate like this is not meant to change one or the other's mind. It is designed to explore ideas and concepts, and perhaps look at the other side of a coin. However, there is a reason that Richard Dawkins refuses to debate a deist. He knows he would lose because you can't disprove the deist position. There's nothing to attack or go after.

I look forward to your summary.


OK you say that if GOD intervenes it means that he is taking away free will, This is ridiculous! I can want my family member to be healed and pray for it, and GOD could answer my prayer, and he wouldn't be making me do something i don't want to do(thus not taking away free will)! the only reason that praying for world peace would take away free will is because he would have to change what people believe and their personalities to do it!

As to cherry picking, if someone tells me to kill someone, then later tells me to donate to the poor, not listening to him telling to kill someone but donating to the poor is not cherry picking.

Saying that you believe in GOD because you look at the cosmos is non-intellectual. because the definition of cosmos is, "the universe seen as a well-ordered whole." so that makes no sense. I believe in GOD because he has worked in my life, and done miracles for me and my family.

There is a lot to attack about deism and my arguments have proved that!

So i Hop people will look at the facts, which is that deist is a twisted form of Christianity/Judaism/Islam. AND gives no good reason to believe in GOD, all Deists with the facts they state might as well be atheist!
Debate Round No. 5
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by whiteflame 1 year ago
>Reported vote: JonHouser// Mod action: Removed<

1 points to Pro (S&G), 1 point to Con (Conduct). Reasons for voting decision: From a rational point of view, deism leads us to believe that there is a God. Theism tells us who that God is, and what He wants from us. Theism (from the Bible) tells us that even without theism we would know that there is a God based on deism. Con lost in a big way due to Spelling and Grammar, but I could not give Pro a win based on that, so I balanced it with conduct. Neither of you should win this debate.

[*Reason for removal*] (1) S&G is insufficiently explained. This point may only be awarded in instances where one side"s argument is significantly more difficult to understand. It"s not clear from this RFD that that is the case here. (2) Conduct is insufficiently explained. The voter cannot just use this point to balance another they"ve chosen to award " it must be clear that the side getting this point has earned it as a result of misconduct from their opponent.
Posted by johnoregan 1 year ago
In my experience both parts of deism and parts of theism, and probably parts of 50 more 'isms I don't know about, are all relevant to God's nature.
Posted by Debatwinnerpro 1 year ago
i Also went to Harvard university... Apparently
Posted by Debatwinnerpro 1 year ago
yes i am!
Posted by AmericanDeist 1 year ago

Looking at your profile, it says you are 13, yet you are married and have a Post Doctoral education. Hmmm...
Posted by PowerPikachu21 1 year ago
The purpose of existence is a heavily debated topic in philosophy, and I don't think God would explain it, even if he existed, leaving us to find out for ourselves. As for why God isn't contacting us, most people claim it's because we lost God's trust, though it's just as likely he never existed in the first place.
Posted by Rjupudi18 1 year ago
My question to desists. If you believe an impersonal and distant God had created the Universe, why hasn't he/she/it made contact with us? If it was intelligent and powerful enough to create stars, galaxies, life, etc, why isn't it able to contact humans. And what is the purpose of the creation of the universe?
Posted by LughHeim 1 year ago
Deism is by far and away the most rational you can possibly be to defend the existence of a God. That is why in current debates with people like William Lane Craig, they do not defend their religion. They defend deism, the concept that there might possibly be a God-like being somewhere out there.
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