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Salient: An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria University, Wellington Vol. 24, No. 6. 1961.

Deist's Final Say

Deist's Final Say

Sir,—The principal objection to my recent article on deism seems to have been my discussion on the Bible. While recognising that the Bible's origins are shrouded in mystery, my critics still emphasise that it is God's self-revelation to Man. They say that mechanical "proof" of this is not necessary, and base their argument upon the experiences which do not necessarily stem from the source that they describe.

I do believe B.T.D's sincerity, when he testifies to this experience, but I defy him to define it. Could it be that his experience is partly the result of an attitude of mind instilled from birth? Many people go through the motions of Christian living without experiencing anything. I prefer to be honest. I Have, Many Times, Attempted to Enter into this Experience, And Have Been Disillusioned.

Your correspondents draw upon scientific fact to establish the divine origins of the Bible. Yet, many of these ancient conclusions exceed the power of intelligent observation. The Bible records the phenomenon of the Great Flood and is supported by archeology— but this is not difficult to accept when we learn of the physical changes that have occurred in ages past. Primitive tribal geneology tells of a similar event, which hardly supports the Bible story that all mankind was wiped out, save a chosen few. Thus if we are to use the example of "proof," we must concern ourselves with the interpretation of fact, not just the facts themselves, and satisfy ourseles, whether or not, God or merely nature was responsible.

If B.D.G. had read my article carefully he would have found that I defined a Christian as one who wholly accepts the scriptures, and adheres to its two main commands i.e. (1) Love God; (2) Love thy neighbour. I find great difficulty in accepting the first requirement. I cannot see what tangible good results from it in terms of raising standards of living. I feel that if society is to expend its material efforts upon the glorification of God, the ideal of brotherly love is jeopardised. That is, I consider that the two principal commandments are, to some extent, incompatible.

A great inconsistency is that, whereas Man did enter into direct communion with Him, and Man did receive the benefits of His benevolence, God Does Nothing at the Present Time. Hence I agree with B.D.G. that God cannot (or does not) enforce his will upon Man, and does not concern himself with the eradication of evil, which is surely the deist contention. Is it right that we should owe allegiance to this kind of God? I am prepared to sacrifice any unsubstantiated promise of salvation for the little extra good I can render in a practical sense.

I am, etc.,



[In view of the many letters received answering Deist, we have decided to close this subject for a short period. Thank you, all Deist readers.—Ed.]