3 Ways to Make Sure Your Students Don’t Become Deists

Deism is a movement that started in the 17th-18th century that attempts to replace Christianity with a nonrevelatory religion of a transcendent but impersonal deity (The Popular Encyclopedia of Apologetics by Hindson and Caner). Basically, deism is the believe that there is only one God, but God is not necessarily personally involved with His creation. He only “steps in” when people need help. People who embrace deism are more concerned about the “moral codes” and principles from Christianity than actually having a relationship with God. They see Christianity as a religion that is moral and worth embracing, but not necessarily getting involved in a relationship with God.

The moment I mentioned the word deism some of you wrote me off thinking it is not very popular. Before you stop reading this, let me just point out that this is probably more popular than you realize. Our culture is filled with people who “profess” to be Christians, but don’t actually “possess” a relationship with God. So called “Christians” in our culture live by Christian moral and regularly attend church, but they do not necessarily embrace a personal relationship with God. We see this in Scripture in Matthew 7:21-23. Sadly, students in our culture embrace this idea of deism without even realizing it. They don’t come out and say, “Hey, I’m a deists!” Their lifestyle says otherwise. They embrace religion and even Christianity, but don’t actually consistently walk with God in a personal relationship. They call on God or post “Christian Facebook status” when things get tough, but they don’t have a personal relationship with God that changes their entire being. The National Study of Youth and Religion found that 13% of teenagers who believe in God had a Deistic concept of the divine. This percent is only growing as our culture become less Christian. This type of deism that students embrace is labeled Moralistic Therapeutic Deism.

Some might say at least students are embracing God and Christianity, but the problem is just embracing the truths of Christianity is not enough to save! Place your faith and trust in Christ’s finished work on the cross for your sins is the only way to be saved (John 14:6, Romans 10:10-13). We must embrace the truths of Christianity because we have been changed (2 Corinthians 5:17) and born-again (John 3:3). The danger in students becoming deists is that they may never have saving faith and will one day spend an eternity in hell apart from their Creator.

As student pastors, parents, and people who care about the spiritual life of students, how do we make sure students embrace a relationship with God and not a form of deism? Here are 3 ways I believe we can help students stay away from any form of deism:

1. Teach students what deism is. As I said earlier, many students embrace a form of deism, but don’t realize it. As student pastors and parents, we must explain to them what deism is. As we do this, we must show them the fallacies in it and how it does not line up with the teaching of Scripture. In a way, we must do apologetics with our students. We must poke holes in the false religion of deism (this form of apologetics is called polemics), but also proclaim God’s word and the truths of Christ (this for of apologetics is called positive apologetics). Students who understand and see deism as a false view of God will be more likely not to embrace it and hopefully embrace a real personal relationship with God through Jesus.

2. Tell them God wants all of them, not just part of them. This is the core of this issues. Students see God has just a part of their life, not their whole life. This is what Moralistic Therapeutic Deism is, making God part of your life and only going to that part when you really need help. My youth professor in college illustrated this concept like an egg carton. Students life’s our like an egg carton. They have a bunch of different parts and they place something different in each part. So when they embrace God, they put Him in one part. That one part doesn’t effect their entire life. This is dangerous! God demands us to lay down our bodies! When you lay down your body, your laying down everything! God doesn’t want to be a part of students life’s, He wants to be their entire life! They need to embrace Christ as Lord of their life! They need to know and be encouraged to do this!

3. Don’t be a “Christian Deists” yourself. Sadly, many Christians, including student pastors and parents, are somewhat of “Christian Deists” themselves. We embrace Christ and have a personal relationship with Him, but we seem to only go to God when we need help or when we are preparing a sermon. We don’t spend consistent time with God daily. We don’t have constant communication with God in prayer. If we are not careful, we will embrace a form of “Christian Deism” that will rub off on students. God demands everything! Are we really giving Him everything as leaders?

Deism is a scary thing because it is so easy to live it. As student pastors and parents, we must be on guard of this in our life’s and the life’s of the students around us. The bottom line is this, God wants all of us and He wants us to have a consistent, daily, personal walk with Him. Lets model and teach students this kind of faith.

Recommended Resources:
Soul Searching Documentary-This is a must have DVD for student pastors and parents.
The Christian Atheist by Craig Groeschel

Published by Austin McCann

Austin is the student ministries director at Redemption Chapel in Stow, OH. He has a BA from Piedmont International University and a Master of Arts in Religion with a Christian leadership focus from Liberty University School of Divinity. Austin enjoys reading, writing, playing basketball and golf, and spending time with his family.

Join the Conversation


    1. Gary,

      I don’t think I’m willing to go that far yet, but I believe we will be surprised at just how many professing “Christians” really were not Christians and pretty
      much deists (even though they don’y admit it or use that term).


  1. As a practicing Deist, I think your definition holds true for Deism in the Enlightenment period but not in Modern Times. There is no “set rules” necessarily of what a Deist must believe, or cannot. Deists can have a relationship with God, we just believe that it is an independent experience for the person, something that the individual reaches to obtain. Deism is built upon individual experience and reason. If I believe that God is personal towards me, then that is just my belief and Deists respect personal belief without regard to social validation unlike the Christian religion which is built upon other people validating that your belief is true. Furthermore, I believe that the reason so many “Christians” are becoming Deists is because they believe that organized religion is pointless in the scheme of life and doesn’t promote anything good but politics and unnecessary evils. I personally became a Deist because of personal disdain with the Church and skepticism that the Bible is without error, period. Even after so many translations, rewrites, reprints, passing through the hands of millions. I think you should do a little more research, you are just using a couple of people to define an entire belief system. The problem with giving Deism one standing definition is we don’t require that everyone should believe the same set of principals.

  2. God gave everyone free will, and that includes the freedom to think for themselves. If you truly believe that God intervenes in our lives, then you should not have to “make sure your students don’t become deists.” Your students should feel the presence of God and not have to doubt everything in your fable that you call the bible. Maybe the reason your students are converting to a more rational, realistic belief system is because they are tired of people like you scaring them into believing the bible and God’s miracles, when they have yet to see any miracles for themselves. You have no proof that the bible is God’s word, and your “faith” is just leading the blind. If God wanted your worship and your praise so bad, then he would do everything in his power to make sure his children believe that he is almighty. He’s God, all powerful and mighty, why would God need the praise and worship from us? There’s a reason that we are called HUMANS and he is called GOD. We are not all powerful and wise like the creator is. I, myself have been Catholic my whole life until recently converting to deism. Even as a child at 10 years old, nothing in your precious little book made sense to me, and that’s because God gave me natural free will and rational thinking. Your words in the bible can only scare someone for so long until they require some kind of miracle, some kind of proof that still ensures their fear in your so called “faith.” Your “loving” God lets millions of his own children suffer and go hungry every single day. If God intervenes in our lives, then why do his children still suffer? These are the questions that you need to answer to your students without pulling excerpts out of the bible. Stop feeding people your hogwash that you call faith when you have no proof that you are 100% correct. You don’t know if heaven or hell is real, you don’t know if Jesus Christ really died on a cross, you don’t know if Moses really parted the Red Sea. Stop tying to prove the things that you can’t, and maybe just try teaching your students that God created the world, laws of nature, and gave us free will. Our only duty as humans and God’s descendants is to love our brothers and sisters and give more than we take. Take care of this beautiful, precious earth, and live life striving for peace and happiness. Everything else is uncertain in our lives, just accept that. If we humans live a peaceful, joy filled life, then we shouldn’t have to wonder what’s going to happen after we die. Maybe if ALL of us lived like this, then we could fix our own problems, put an end to hunger and suffering for the innocent. I am deist, and God IS MY WHOLE LIFE. I just don’t try and explain the things that can’t be fully explained. I have never felt happy, never felt peace while being Catholic. Now that I am Deist, I walk alongside my Creator everyday and admire all of the beautiful things of nature in this perfect world. I truly feel one with God, a feeling I had never experienced as a Catholic.

  3. All of theistic theology is fully accounted for and superseded in Pandeism (pantheistic Deism), a branch of Deism wherein it is determined from logical and rational examination of our Universe that our Creator in fact became our Universe at the outset. We are all part of an within our Creator; there can be no closer sense of connection to our Creator than sensing being part of it, as the Pandeist does, and wishing to fully live out this oneness by living a fulfilling and giving life as an experience to be shared with out Creator. Pandeism fully accounts!! Blessings!!

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