All from wikipedia, the links are to the full article:

Deism is a religious philosophy and movement that became prominent in Great Britain, France, and the United States in the 17th and 18th centuries and continues to this day. Deism differs from theism in that according to Deism God does not interfere with human life and the laws of the universe.

Atheism, as a philosophical view, is the position that either affirms the nonexistence of gods[1] or rejects theism. When defined more broadly, atheism is the absence of belief in deities, alternatively called nontheism. Although atheists are commonly assumed to be irreligious, some religions, such as Buddhism, have been characterized as atheistic because of their lack of belief in a personal god.

Agnosticism (from the Greek “a,” meaning “without,” and Gnosticism or “gnosis,” meaning knowledge) is the philosophical view that the truth value of certain claims—particularly metaphysical claims regarding theology, afterlife or the existence of God, gods, deities, or even ultimate reality—is unknown or, depending on the form of agnosticism, inherently unknowable due to the nature of subjective experience.

My faith journey has always been about refining my understanding of spiritual ideas, including the idea of God. I feel pretty okay about that. Consider the following very limited survey of different understandings of God recorded by various Jewish writers:

“Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” Gen. 1:2. “Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man, ‘Where are you?'” Gen. 3:8-9. “Then Moses went up to God, and the LORD called to him from the mountain and said, ‘This is what you are to say to the house of Jacob and what you are to tell the people of Israel: . . .'” Ex. 19:3. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.” John 1:1-2.

Nonetheless, in pushing to come to a rational and relevant understanding of God that is as in line with my life experiences as these various expressions were in line with the experiences of these authors, I also constantly question if I am moving toward one of these -isms.

Anyway, this is a half post. It is a work in progress and pondering post. I’d be interested to hear what others think.

2 replies on “-ism’s”

Fascinating as always.

What is clear to me from the passages you are quoting is that these different writers obviously have very different views of what their god is. A god that can be hidden from is very different from any kind of god that most Christians today have a view of.

It is also clear how much of these writings/traditions come from older forms of beliefs. A lot of the prophesies of the Christian Bible are taken pretty directly from traditions and manuscripts older than Judaism — Egyptian and Mesopotamian come to mind immediately.

I’ve heard it said that Britain has become one of the most secular nations in the world, after mandating comparative religion classes in public school.

I’ve always heard that one is either agnostic or atheist, not both. I don’t see, from that definition, why they are exclusive.

I’ve heard it said that Britain has become one of the most secular nations in the world, after mandating comparative religion classes in public school.

There really is very little room for the notion that one’s religion is the only path to reveal deeper truths. I’ve managed to maintain a believe that religions point us toward a deeper truth called God. But the idea of a one true religion seems very difficult once one has looked around a little.

I knew a fellow who was researching the origins of the Old Testament. It brought him to a description of the Babylonian Temple, which was very similiar to that of the Hebrews, even down to an empty holiest of holies.

Leave a Reply