What’s the deal with deism? Is it almost considered atheist? Could one go
to hell with the belief in deism?

You will find a wide range of groups and individual religious
beliefs which could be labeled as deist. It is wise to take any
definition of deism with a grain of salt. However, let me give a basic
definition. A deist is a person who believes in the existence of God, but
does not accept any particular definition of God according to any of the
major world religions. The deist believes in God as a creator, but (in
general… there may be exceptions to this) do not accept any scripture as
inspired by that God. It is interesting to take note of some of the very
famous personages in history who were deists. This list would include
George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Isaac Newton, Joseph
Priestley, Benjamin Franklin and many more. The freemasons were deists.
The Unitarian church is deist.

Bottom line, deists definitely do not accept the divinity of
Jesus Christ or the inspiration of the Bible. Therefore, by any
definition, they are not Christian. It may surprise you to hear that
Washington, Jefferson and others were deists, not “Christian,” even by the
most generic definition. These guys quoted the Bible often. They are the
ones which religious conservatives give credit to for making the US a
“Christian” nation. You should be aware that our founding fathers were
not Christian, and were trying to protect their ability to be deists in a
culture which was predominantly Christian, at least on paper.

Is a deist an atheist? No, they are not. The deist
definitely acknowledges that there is a force which created the universe
and set it in motion. Most deists believe that once the universe was
created, the Creator has kept his hands pretty much out of things,
allowing the universe to go along according to natural laws.

Can a Christian be a deist and are deists going to hell? You
may judge for yourself, but if one takes the Bible seriously, the answer
is clear. Consider 1 John 2:22,23; “Who is the liar? It is the man who
denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist–he denies
the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever
acknowledges the Son has the Father also.” Deists, by definition, do not
acknowledge the deity of Jesus Christ, making the answer to your question
from a Christian perspective obvious.

John Oakes

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