Chuck poured his reason and heart into this compendium. I provide it to you in his honor and as a reminder of his leadership and compassion. He is certainly missed.
Editor’s Forward by Chuck Clendenen
“Seek out that particular mental attribute which makes you feel most deeply and vitally alive, along with which comes the inner voice which says, ‘This is the real me,’ and when you have found that attitude, follow it.” — James Truslow Adams
Deists place high value on reason, nature and experience. Reason and experience tell us that things in nature adapt and evolve to survive in a changing world. Deism survives, but to do so it has had to adapt. This book is a celebration of Deism in the 21st century, which is not the Deism of the 18th century.
The Enlightenment brought a change in religious thought that flourished in certain circles, then faded. The digital age is a new period of enlightenment. The Deism that flourished during the 18th century is enjoying a resurgence. The words of Thomas Paine once stirred the common folk of the New World to throw off the chains of the British monarchy, but his views on religion were unpopular. He and other Deists, however, have inspired many of us to embrace the God of Nature and let reason rule our spiritual lives. But many of us have ventured beyond Classical Deism and the Deism of Paine. Today’s Deists are stretching and extending those original Deistic concepts in many new directions.
This book celebrates the Deism of a new era. Contemporary Deism includes both Neo- classical Deism and evolving forms. We are seeing Deists explore new ideas that lead to a broader definition of Deism for the modern reasoning mind.
It is very common to hear Deists say that they did not consciously “convert” to Deism from something else. They began to doubt their former beliefs and began thinking in ways that to them seemed more rational. They later discovered that what they had come to believe actually had a name, and the name for their new worldview was Deism. This book’s intended audience includes anyone interested in rational and reasonable spirituality, whether you are a Deist, an Agnostic, an Atheist, a Humanist, a Bright, another type of Freethinker or simply curious.
This book is meant to expose people to today’s Deism, but it is not intended to convert anyone. It describes today’s Deism and provides a broad sampling of contemporary Deist thought through essays on a wide variety of subjects. What you do with these messages is entirely up to you.