It’s totally reasonable why there are people who have assumed I am an atheist. For starters I was an atheist for a number of years. It’s only been about a year I’ve reconsidered my beliefs.
So I figured I would educate people on the differences between an atheist and a deist.
An atheist is someone who doesn’t believe in any kind of god. Typically they also don’t believe in any kind of supernatural stuff at all.
By contrast a deist is someone who does believe in a creator or superior engineer of the cosmos.
That’s really the big difference. Beyond that, atheists and deists tend to be very similar. Both tend to live their lives with reason and logic at the foreground. Both reject revealed religions and miracles. Both favor science and understanding.
But whereas an atheist begins with the predisposition that there is no creator and things typically happen by consequences rather than predefined structure. Deists often believe in a creator and universe that is set up to work like a tuned machine.
Richard Dawkins in his book “The God Delusion” refers to deism as “watered down theism.” He’s right. It is. But there are often other differences between deism and generic theism.
For instance, theists tend to believe that God or gods interact on a regular basis, dictate laws and change things as desired. Including the answering of prayers and changing the cosmos accordingly. Theists also tend to believe in an afterlife more often then deists do and any range of other beliefs. Theists have more of a “hands-on” kinda god.
By contrast, deists tend to look at the universe as a whole. All things fit together and are what they are. We use science and reason to understand the world around us. We don’t believe that a God or gods dictate laws to us through books or revealing themselves to only certain key people at certain times. Instead we often believe that the laws of the universe are written into the universe itself. Some of which have to be discovered and some that are plain as day.
Deism is about discovery. We start with the predisposition that there is a creator, we believe this. From there, we discover the universe around us using reason, logic and science as tools to unlock the secrets that lay beyond.