From Southern Baptist to Deism
by Kaleesha Williams
Now I’m hearing cries of, “Faith! Faith” from the audience.
Let me explain something. I didn’t stray from Christianity to see if something better was out there. I put my trust in the Bible for many years and found it couldn’t hold my weight. Intellectually and emotionally I was left wanting, and abusing myself for not “getting it.” I think the only reason I got as far as I did was because I had caught hold of some truth in my search for it; there is a wise, powerful, benevolent creator who bestowed upon every man the gift of reason (some just can’t get the box open). Over the years, as I have studied to “shew [my]self approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth,” Christianity proved false, Judaism and the Tanach proved false. Finally I knew why they couldn’t support me! It wasn’t me, it was them! My foundation was cracked. What a relief! I considered what was left, the only things that never failed, and found that others call it Deism. At deism.com the simplest definition of Deism is, “Knowledge of God based on the application of our reason on the designs/laws found throughout Nature.”
This recent discovery came at a time when I was leaning very heavily upon the Bible. It had been an extremely hard summer full of stress and battles with depression. I did not give up my faith in the Bible because of this stress, rather I was clinging fast to it. Certain selections of Yehovah’s words were a light unto my path, a balm to my soul (and still are, incidentally. You can find truth anywhere). Yeah, I had questions, but I had faith that they would be answered in His time. As you read in my spiritual journey, when Bobby began to see inconsistencies within the Bible, I didn’t want to hear it. Emotionally, I felt, “do not take this away from me. I need it .” Turns out, what I needed was within me all along. A wise woman (my mom) recently encouraged me, “It is like having your life-jacket stripped from your body and then being pushed into the water. Panic hits because you think you will drown, but you soon discover that you can swim! (Or that the water is only 2 feet deep.)” It’s just like that.
Certain people in my life who don’t know me very well think I’ve just grown frustrated with Christianity, maybe frustrated with God because of my trials. I tell you, that’s not it at all. It’s just that I have finally found answers that don’t insult my reason; answers to questions brought about by my frequent reading of the Bible as I sought to understand Yehovah to love him and serve him better. I have reasoned and seen that the Bible is an inconsistent, complicated and sometimes silly work of mankind, not of God. Anyone who studies it will have questions and if they find answers they will produce more questions. Ultimately you have to choose faith without reason or reason without faith.
Many people will see this recent step as the natural next step from my “bondage” to the old testament law. They say, “Of course you feel free now!” I don’t even know what to say to these people. Their ideas of the Torah of Yehovah being “nailed to the cross” is as twisted as it gets. Obedience to the Torah makes more sense than any mainstream Christian teaching out there. They say, “Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.” I say, “How do I do this?” The Torah is the how . If you don’t understand that, you don’t even begin to understand the God of your Bible.
It seemed more right to me that God would tell us how he wants to be loved and worshipped than to leave us guessing, or worse, to take spiritual possession of us to make it happen. I found freedom in the Torah. That said, I do rejoice that I have more freedom now. See, I believed that as a follower of Yehovah my life would be devoted to learning how to please him. I desired to please him, more than anything else. I thought the Bible was his revelation to us and that by studying it I could learn this, but it did get complicated. How could it not, as the Bible is merely the words of mankind about their God, subject to the faults of man? The first “Sabbath” (we continue to see it as a type of Sabbath; a day of rest and family intimacy) after our “awakening,” I felt so incredibly at ease. I was not burdened with the concern of whether or not I was pleasing Yehovah. If we watch movies and sleep instead of studying the Bible, is that displeasing to you, Father? Scripture says not to boil or bake on Sabbath; is my use of the crockpot displeasing to you? (Some of you will still see that as bondage to the law, others of you will understand my concern, my desire to please my Father.) Having come to the realization that Nature’s God probably doesn’t give a hoot if I swat flies on the Sabbath, but just wants me, his precious creation, to live a good life and be good to those around me… Oh, so freeing! Not only that, it actually stirs in me a greater desire to be good, to make the most of the life I’ve been given, to enjoy his creation to the utmost.
So, yeah, I’m free from the law, but not because of Jesus. The supposed atonement of Jesus has its own issues. Do you realize how absurd it is to look me in the eye and tell me that you are so wicked, sinful to your core, that someone innocent had to be tortured and to die for you? Do you realize how twisted that is? That your God had to debauch a young married woman to enter this world to die because he gave you laws you couldn’t keep to show you how wicked you were? You can have faith that that somehow makes sense and is somehow good, but don’t you dare tell me that what I believe is illogical. Don’t you dare go around saying that Greek mythology is nonsensical and cruel and that your way is better.
Maybe you’re thinking I just didn’t have enough faith. You may be right. Maybe faith is a virus that’s going around and some of us just don’t catch it. But you believe what the Bible says. Why? Because it works for you? (I say that if the Bible works for you it’s because your are applying natural principals). Or do you just have faith that Bible is true? The faith bug didn’t hit me, but I applied Biblical principals, followed the example of the noble Bereans of Acts 17 and, “received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” I didn’t say, “Well, the Bereans searched and believed, so I don’t have to search, I can just take their word for it.” I searched, I studied, I prayed, I sought for logic in the Bible. I saw order and logic in God’s creation and assumed this was part of Yehovah God’s nature, not realizing Yehovah was different from Nature’s God. The more I learned the more I was forced to choose between faith and reason and the harder it was to make sense of things.
The supposed Apostle Paul says that, “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” One of my dictionaries says it’s, “belief or trust: belief in, devotion to, or trust in somebody or something, especially without logical proof.” Another says, “1. Complete trust or confidence in someone or something. 2. Strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.”
One can have faith in anything, apparently, as long as one is willing to lay aside one’s reason. That is something I am either unwilling or unable to do. If you can, more power to ya. We can reason through the Bible ’til the cows come home and it’s going to boil down to whether or not we can put our faith in something we have no logical reason to believe is trustworthy. You can tell me the Bible is trustworthy, but I ask again, why do you believe that? Because someone said it is the word of God? Because it gives evidence of itself? Come now. It’s called the revealed word of God but there’s a funny thing about revelation. Another quote from deism.com, in their glossary of terms:
“Revelation: The act of revealing or of making known. In the religious sense, revelation usually means divine revelation. This is meaningless, since revelation can only be revelation in the first instance. For example, if God revealed something to me, that would be a divine revelation to me. If I then told someone else what God told me it would be mere hearsay to the person I tell. If that person believed what I said, they would not be putting their trust in God, but in me, believing what I told them was actually true.”
There is not and cannot be a more reliable revelation of God than his very creation. See my post regarding that.
The deism.com definition of faith:
“This word has been so terribly abused by “revealed” religions that it has come to really mean the suspension of an individual’s God-given reason in order to accept, or at least to tolerate, an unreasonable claim made by a “revealed” religion. It is the only way “revealed” religions can get people to accept such insane and unreasonable claims and ideas as original sin, walking on water, healing the sick without medical care, splitting the Red Sea, etc. Deists prefer to use the word “trust” instead of faith due to the twisted meaning the word “faith” has acquired after centuries of abuse from the “revealed” religions.
“One key difference between Deism and the “revealed” religions is that Deists don’t believe faith is required to believe in God. This quote from Voltaire sums it up, “What is faith? Is it to believe that which is evident? No. It is perfectly evident to my mind that there exists a necessary, eternal, supreme, and intelligent being. This is no matter of faith, but of reason.”
The Almighty creator of heaven, earth, and all that is within them is the one in whom I put my trust. I do not believe that the Jewish or Christian Bibles are reliable revelations of our Creator and can no longer place my trust in them (or those who wrote them, or those who teach them) and so choose not to have faith in them. Thomas Paine said, “It is necessary to the happiness of man, that he be mentally faithful to himself. Infidelity does not consist in believing, or in disbelieving, it consists in professing to believe what he does not believe.”
All that being said, I repeat that if you can put your faith in the Bible and the Christian or Jewish God, and that makes you a better person, more power to ya. I am not out to disrupt your faith. I have many incredible, dearly loved friends that are completely happy in what they believe. The above is in answer to those who are curious about the path Bobby and I have chosen for our family. I will continue to read parts of the Bible not as the authority in my life but for the wisdom and goodness of it, same as with anything else I read, see, or hear.