Christmas and Easter

This essay is written in response to email from readers who asked, “Do Christian deists celebrate Christmas and Easter?” This question has arisen because some readers, who have recently discovered that they are Christian deists, feel uncomfortable with the trinitarian interpretation of Christmas and Easter.

My answer to the question, “Do Christian deists celebrate Christmas and Easter?” is “yes.” But to explain this answer, I would like to provide some information about the meaning of these two holidays.

Many people do not know that the “Christmas” and “Easter” holidays are based on religious traditions that are centuries older than Christianity. As the Christian movement ventured beyond Judea and into the Gentile world, the movement encountered other religious traditions which were assimilated by Christians and redefined in Christian terminology.

From human history, we know that there are two particular times of the year celebrated by human beings in countries north of the equator. One is in the Winter, in December, and the other is in the Spring, around March or April.

From their observation of nature in the Northern Hemisphere, human beings have recognized that the longest night of the year occurs in December. After that night, the daylight increases and time of darkness decreases. This natural phenomenon has come to symbolize the “coming of light” in various religious traditions.

Some celebrate this change from darkness to light as the Winter solstice (on December 21 or 22). In Zoroastrianism and Mithraism, the mythological god called “Mithra” was the “god of light” whose “birthday” was celebrated on December 25.

In Judaism, the holiday called “Hanukkah,” or the “Feast of Lights,” is observed in December for eight days. Hanukkah commemorates the Jews’ victory in gaining freedom from Syria in 168 BCE and the rededicating of their temple. It is celebrated by lighting candles in the Hanukkah menorah.

In Christianity, the holiday is called “Christmas” and celebrates the “birthday” of Jesus who is called the “light of the world.” The December 25th date for the “birthday” of Jesus was apparently borrowed from the “birthday” of Mithra, the “god of light” in Zoroastrianism and Mithraism.

From all of the above, it is apparent that the “coming of light” has made December a special time for celebration. The increasing “light” of day that overcomes the “dark” of night is seen as a time for rejoicing and hope.

In trinitarian theology, Christmas is seen as the event in which God became “incarnated” as a human being, named Jesus, through a miraculous birth to a virgin mother. In trinitarian theology, this “virgin birth” is considered necessary so that Jesus could be born “without sin” (unlike other human beings who inherit “original sin” from “Adam”) and therefore able to be an unblemished “sacrifice” to atone for the sins of humankind.

Many of the Christmas hymns reflect this trinitarian theology which Christian deists do not accept. In the hymn “Silent Night,” the trinitarian theology is seen in the wording “all is calm, all is bright ’round yon virgin mother and child.” In “The First Noel the Angel Did Say” the fourth verse states, “Then let us all with one accord sing praises to our heavenly Lord who made heaven and earth of naught and with His Blood mankind has bought.” This wording claims that Jesus is God who created the world and who died as a blood sacrifice to pay for the sins of humankind.

Since Christian deists do not accept this trinitarian theology found in many Christmas hymns, the questions arise, “Can Christian deists celebrate Christmas?” and “What does Christmas mean to Christian deists?”

Let me approach these questions in this way. Christian deists see Jesus as a human being who discovered within himself the truth that God intends for human beings to live by love for God and love for each other. Jesus taught that this truth is known by all persons because God’s “word” is sown in every human heart. The “good news” or gospel, according to Jesus, is that the “kingdom of God” becomes a reality on earth as we choose to live by love. As deists, we know this from our own experience and observation. To Christian deists, Jesus was a man who taught this truth so we honor Jesus as a teacher of the truth.

Jesus referred to himself as the “light of the world” and he said, “he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). But Jesus also told his disciples, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and its gives its light to all the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16). Christian deists believe that Jesus taught the truth because it is confirmed by our own experience. This truth provides a light to guide us in living every day. As we live by this truth, we are a “light of the world,” as Jesus was. Christian deists honor Jesus by celebrating his birthday because he was a man whose life exemplified the “light” that comes from God.

Christian deists should celebrate Christmas as human beings have long celebrated this time of year in the Northern Hemisphere of the earth–as a time of human joy and hope symbolized by the “coming of the light.”

The many ways that Christians celebrate Christmas, with Christmas trees, Yule logs, candles, lights, and giving of gifts, come from many different traditions. And the story of the birth of Jesus adds a tradition of love and care in the midst of human struggle, as Mary and Joseph overcame obstacles to provide for the baby Jesus. All of these beautiful symbols help us to express joy at Christmas time.

Now, let us think about Easter. Easter is celebrated on the first Sunday after the first full moon after March 20, the nominal date of the Spring Equinox. Easter Sunday comes in March or April. The name of the holiday, “Easter,” apparently comes from “Eostre” which was the name of the Great Mother Goddess of the Saxon people in Northern Europe. Eostre was a Goddess of fertility. The name of the Goddess, Eostre, comes from an ancient word “eastre” for “Spring.”

Spring, of course, is a time of new life. It is a time when new plants begin to grow and new leaves appear on trees. The “dead of Winter” ends with the rebirth of vegetation in the cycle of life. Also, it is a time when many animals give birth to their young.

In human history, the celebration of “new life” in the Spring appeared many centuries before Christianity. The cycle of life that is so evident in the Spring has inspired human beings to have hope for life beyond death.

In trinitarian Christianity, the Easter holiday was adopted as the day to commemorate the “resurrection” of Jesus. Jesus was crucified by the Romans on Friday of Passover week in the Jewish tradition. He was laid in a rock tomb on Friday before sundown and the tomb was found to be empty on the following Sunday morning. Then Jesus, who was physically wounded but alive, met secretly with his disciples for some days before Jesus disappeared.

Jesus’ disciples believed that Jesus had died and was brought back to life by God. The apostle Paul claimed that belief in Jesus’ “resurrection” was one of the two requirements for obtaining salvation from sin and death. Paul wrote, “If you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9).

Trinitarian Christians believe that the “resurrection” of Jesus is evidence of life after death, and Easter Sunday is used to celebrate this hope. Christian Deists believe that God’s power to give life is demonstrated in the fact that we have life now. Obviously, what God has already done, God can do again. As human beings have recognized for centuries before the time of Jesus, there is a cycle of life of which we are a part. Each Spring, Christian deists celebrate “new life” and the hope it brings for the future. Christians have borrowed the name “Easter” from a tradition older than Christianity but the basic meaning of the celebration is known naturally: God has the power to give life.

One Easter weekend, my wife and I decided to celebrate Easter Sunday at a beautiful State park that is known for its waterfalls and wild flowers. We took our little camper to the park and set our alarm clock for before dawn on Easter Sunday. That morning, in the darkness, we hiked to one of the waterfalls and waited for the sun to rise. On that fresh Sunday morning, as the dawn came, we could understand how human beings have always experienced reverence and awe in observing a beautiful sunrise and the majesty of new life in the flowers and trees. The experience of “Easter” that morning transcended any one religious tradition. “Easter” is a universal experience available to anyone who chooses to observe it.

The two “holy seasons” of the year belong to everyone. Celebrate the joy that comes from the “coming of the light” at Christmas, and celebrate the hope that comes from the “new life” we see evidenced at Easter. Different religious traditions may describe these holy days in different terms but the basic meanings are shared by all who choose to celebrate.

May you find joy and hope in the celebration of these universal holy days which we as Christians call “Christmas” and “Easter.”

The Christian Deists: Christians Without Churches

People often ask, “Why don’t Christian deists have churches?”

The word “church” usually refers to religious organizations that have professional ministers, and buildings for public worship. Christian deists do not have these.

Why don’t Christian deists have churches?

Primarily, the answer is, “Christian deism is a personal religion. Churches are not necessary in the practice of Christian deism.” But there are other reasons why Christian deists do not have “churches,” in the usual sense of this word.

As a Jew, Jesus attended the synagogue in Nazareth and, on special holy days, he went to the Jewish temple in Jerusalem. But Jesus was well aware of the problems that can accompany religious organizations.

In Jesus’ day, the Jerusalem temple had become a place of business where animals were sold for sacrifices and money-changers made profits from Jewish pilgrims exchanging their foreign currency (Mark 11:15). Jesus tried to remedy the commercializing of religion by driving the merchants and money-changers from the temple. The commercializing of Christianity is an enormous problem today, as blatantly evidenced by the numerous TV and radio “evangelists” seeking money donations in exchange for audio tapes, books, and other “gifts.”

Even in local churches, where many sincere ministers earn their livings, money often becomes a divisive issue among church members as they debate how much to pay the minister, how much to spend on new buildings, and other money-related matters. Often the amount of money spent on their churches far exceeds the amount spent on relieving human suffering.

Jesus’ view about places of worship is seen in his conversation with a Samaritan woman (John 4:20-24). The woman said, “Our fathers worshipped on this mountain (a temple on Mount Gerizim in Samaria); and you (Jews) say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father . . . . the hour is coming, and now is, when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for such the Father seeks to worship him.”

According to Jesus, true worship takes place only in “spirit and truth.” The word “spirit” refers to the inner self of a person. It refers to a person’s attitude and thoughts.

The meaning of the word “truth” can be found in Jesus’ statement in John 3:20-21, where the New Testament Greek word for “truth” is translated “true.” Jesus said, “for every one who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does what is true comes to the light, that it may be clearly seen that his deeds have been wrought in God.” According to Jesus, “truth” means doing “what is true,” or good deeds.

Christian deists agree with Jesus that buildings for worship are not necessary. As Jesus said, “True worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth.” We worship (honor) God through our good atttitude and thoughts, and by our good deeds.

Christian deists do not believe that Jesus intended to organize an institutional church. Those who claim that Jesus founded the “Christian church” point to Matthew 16:16-19. Here, the disciple Peter proclaimed his belief that Jesus was the Jewish messiah, and Jesus responded by saying to Peter, “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” This, of course, is the scripture that the Roman Catholic Church uses to claim that the church holds the keys to heaven. It is alleged that Peter became the first “bishop” in the City of Rome, and Peter passed on the “keys” to the bishops (popes) who succeeded Peter.

The Roman Catholic Church has misinterpreted Jesus’ statement, “I will build my church.” At the time of Jesus’ and Peter’s conversation, Jesus and his followers believed that they were participating in a revolutionary movement to reestablish the Kingdom of Israel, which the Jews called the “kingdom of heaven” or “kingdom of God.” When Peter proclaimed his belief that Jesus was the Jewish messiah who would reestablish the “kingdom,” Jesus said that Peter would have a place of leadership in the movement, as indicated in the statement that Peter would be given the “keys” to the “kingdom of heaven.”

As a leader in the movement, Peter would have authority, as indicated in the statement that “whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” This is a phrase that Jesus uses elsewhere (Matthew 18:15-18) to say that someone has authority to make decisions.

In Matthew 18:15-18, Jesus told his disciples how to resolve any conflicts between themselves, “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained a brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.* Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

(*Note: “Gentiles” and “tax collectors” for the Romans are examples of persons who were usually excluded from Jewish groups.)

Note that in Matthew 18:15-18, Jesus said to all of his disciples the same thing that Jesus said to Peter, “whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” In this instance, the phrase refers to decisions made by the “church” when settling disputes among the disciples of Jesus. The “church” would have final authority to make a decision in the dispute. What did Jesus mean by the word “church?” He certainly was not referring to the Roman Catholic Church, or any other Christian church, since no Christian church existed during Jesus’ lifetime.

The New Testament Greek word which is translated “church” is “ekklesia” which means an “assembly” or group of people. In Matthew 18:15-18, Jesus was referring to his group of followers, then and there. Jesus was simply saying that his group of followers had authority to make decisions to settle disputes among themselves. It was the practice among some Jewish sects to discipline their members for offenses, and even exclude offenders from the group (as seen in the Dead Sea Scrolls sect of Jews).

It is clear from Matthew 16:16-19 and Matthew 18:15-18, that the phrase about “binding and loosing” simply meant “having authority to make decisions.” It is also clear that the word “church” simply referred to Jesus’ “group” of followers. When Jesus said that he would “build my church” in Matthew 16:16-19, Jesus was saying that personal commitment to the “kingdom of heaven,” as expressed by Peter, would be the foundation (“rock”) on which Jesus would “build” his group or assembly (ekklesia) of followers.

It should be noted that Jesus used a word which is translated as “church” in only two verses in the New Testament (Matthew 16:18 and 18:17). The word used in New Testament Greek manuscripts is “ekklesia” which actually means an assembly, or group, of people, not an organization of any kind. If Jesus had intended to “build” an institutional “church,” like the Roman Catholic Church, certainly Jesus would have said more about it.

Why don’t Christian deists have professional ministers?

Christian deists believe that everyone is responsible for “ministering” to, or serving, others. But Christian deists do not believe that a person should be paid for doing this. When Jesus sent his disciples out to preach the coming of the “kingdom of God,” Jesus said, “You have received without pay, give without pay” (Matthew 10:8). On their missionary journeys, the disciples were allowed to accept only room and board from their hosts, and the disciples were prohibited from accepting money payments. This sounds like good advice.

How do Christian deists worship God?

As explained previously, Christian deists believe that we should worship “in spirit and in truth.”

For Christian deists, worship is a personal matter. This follows the example of Jesus. Jesus prayed by himself and with close friends in private homes. He opposed the public display of religious practices.

Jesus said, ” Beware of practicing your piety before men in order to be seen by them; for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.

“Thus when you give alms, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by men. Truly, I say to you, they have their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your alms may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

“And in praying, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” (Matthew 6:1-8)

In summary, Christian deists believe that religion is a personal and private matter. Christian deists are not opposed to “getting together” for fellowship and religious education, but Christian deists do not believe in public worship “services” because such activity can easily become a hypocritical display of pretended religion.

Getting Together as Christian Deists

Christian Deism is basically a personal religion that is practiced by individuals. It does not require Christian deists to be members of any religious organization. The worship of God is essentially a private matter.

However, this essay is written in response to e-mail which I have received from readers who asked how they can meet other Christian deists in their communities. These readers suggest that it would be helpful to establish local groups to provide a visible presence for Christian deism in the community to:

1. Offer individuals a place where they can inquire about Christian deism as a personal religion;

2. Provide a religious education program for adults and children; and

3. Provide mutual support and social fellowship for Christian deists.

In response to the requests that I have received, I have promised to make some suggestions for those who choose to establish some kind of Christian Deist group in a local community. I agree that some kind of local Christian Deist group could be helpful to many Christian deists, and could offer the general public an opportunity to be aware that there is a Christian Deist alternative to trinitarian churches.

For persons interested in organizing a local Christian Deist group, I would like to suggest several matters to be considered.


Should a Christian Deist group call itself a “church”? The New Testament Greek word “ekklesia,” which is translated by the English word “church,” simply means an “assembly of persons.” Unfortunately, the word “church” has acquired a connotative meaning as a special place for public worship. Christian deists believe that worship of God is a personal and private matter. Christian deists do not believe in public worship. Jesus warns that public worship can lead to a hypocritical show of self-righteousness (Matthew 6:1-6). And Jesus taught that true worship requires no special place (John 4:20-24).

I would suggest that a local group of Christian deists call themselves a “fellowship” rather than a “church”. Since the essence of Christian deism is love for each other, the word “fellowship” seems to suggest a group that provides mutual support and caring for its members. I would suggest the name: “Christian Deist Fellowship.”


The Christian deist movement began in opposition to trinitarian doctrines which churches had developed after the time of Jesus. Early Christian deist writers recognized that trinitarian clergy often used their professional positions in the churches to impose their views and control over the lay members of the churches. These professional ministers opposed the deist belief that all persons have natural knowledge of God’s “truth,” and these professional ministers sought to protect their role in the church by assuming that clergy were superior to lay persons in understanding and interpreting scriptures. In response to this attitude of superiority on the part of these trinitarian ministers, Christian deist writers generally viewed such ministers as obstacles to a lay person’s freedom to read and interpret the teachings of Jesus in the light of the individual’s own reasoning.

Early Christian deists saw the organizational hierarchy of the trinitarian church as the means used by the professional clergy to enforce their “authority” over the lay membership of the church and to require adherence to so-called “orthodox” trinitarian doctrines.

Church history shows that the Christian movement began with informal gatherings of followers of Jesus, but eventually these groups acquired leaders who assumed special authority over the other members. The primary leader in a local church became known as the “bishop.” Eventually the bishop of the church at Rome tried to assert his rule over churches in other cities. This led to a split between churches in the “west,” which accepted the bishop at Rome as leader, and the churches in the “east” which refused to accept the bishop at Rome as leader. The “western” church eventually became known as the “Roman Catholic Church” out of which the Protestant Christian churches came in the sixteenth century.

The reason I am referring to this history of the trinitarian church is to point out the danger of having professional clergy in a religious organization. Such professional leaders tend to assume their “superiority” over other members of the organization and tend to impose their views on other members. In my view, if Christian deists organize local groups, it is important that such groups be led by lay persons who recognize that no member is superior to another.


Early Christians met in small groups in private homes. This could be the place where a local group of Christian Deists could gather. I would suggest that the meeting place be called simply a “meeting house” to avoid the connotative meaning of the word “church” as a place of public worship. If the group outgrew the private home setting, the group could rent or buy a meeting place. If the group meets in a place other than a private home, I would suggest that the place still be called a “meeting house.” Some groups, such as Quakers, have found that buying a house provides a satisfactory meeting place.


What are the purposes of getting together as Christian deists? And what can Christian deists do at meetings? Of course, there are a number of different purposes that may be accomplished at meetings, and there are a number of different activities that may accomplish these purposes. Here are some of them:

1. Social fellowship

People enjoy being with other people who share the same basic philosophy or beliefs that guide them in their everyday living. Social fellowship is an important part of any religious group. Christian deists, who feel uncomfortable with the ideas and beliefs espoused by persons in other religious organizations, seek relationships with other Christian deists who share the “worldview” of Christian deism.

Christian deists can gather in a home-like atmosphere and enjoy some refreshments and visiting while gathering for a meeting.

2. Affirmation of beliefs

After the time of fellowship, the meeting could begin with an affirmation of the basic beliefs of Christian deists. The affirmation begins with a statement that God is our creator, and continues with the personal commitment to love God and to love our neighbors as ourselves. This is a statement of the creed of Christian deists. The following could be recited by the group:

“God is my Creator. I shall love God with all my heart, with all my soul, and with all my mind, and I shall love my neighbor as myself.” (Based on Matthew 22:37-39.)

3. Time for meditation

The affirmation of beliefs could be followed by a time of quiet meditation. The word “meditation” may make you think of a monk, sitting cross-legged on a mountain, having an esoteric experience beyond the capability of ordinary persons. Actually, meditation is quite simple and can be done by anyone.

The word “meditate” simply means “to think about.” A person’s concentration of thoughts can be enhanced if a person sits in a quiet place and closes his or her eyes to shut out the distractions of surrounding sights. When you do this, the first thing that you realize is the fact of your own existence. Most of our attention each day is concentrated on “doing” and we ignore the remarkable fact of our “being,” or existence. By shutting out the sights and sounds around us, as much as possible, we are confronted with the fact of our “being” alive.

Our recognition of “being” helps us to appreciate life as a gift that we have received through no action or decision of our own. Jesus said that “God is spirit” (John 4:24) and “it is the spirit that gives life” (John 6:63). As we become aware of the life, or spirit, that is within us, we become aware that there are no boundaries to our spirit and there is nothing that separates us from the Source of all life, God. In meditation, we become more aware of being part of something that is greater than, and transcends, the circumstances of our daily life. Our appreciation for life, in ourselves and in others, increases as our awareness of “being” expands through meditation.

Our increased awareness of ourselves and others, can lead a person to think about his or her relationships with others. A person can use a time of meditation to examine how he or she is living in relation to others. Love for others is the principle that should guide our relationships with others. It is important for Christian deists to review their own words, thoughts, and actions on a regular basis to recognize any way they have caused another to suffer or to recognize any failure to try to relieve suffering when possible. Where failures to love are recognized, the individual can silently confess such failures and pray for God’s forgiveness. Repentance and forgiveness are central in the practice of Christian deism and can be a part of the time for meditation.

4. Time for sharing joys and concerns

The meeting should provide a time when individuals can share their joys and concerns. Their joys may be about a birth, marriage, graduation, honor, or some other good experience. Their concerns may be about an illness, death, world event, or other matter of concern. This time of sharing helps the members to understand and support each other. A ceremony of lighting of a candle by the individual can be a way to give recognition to the joy or concern expressed.

5. Religious education

The principles and practices of Christian deism, based on the teachings of Jesus, should occupy a part of the meeting. There are many ways of doing this. One way would be to have a member read one of my essays, and then encourage comments and discussion regarding the topic of the essay.

(Under “Lessons for Meetings,” below, I am listing some basic topics which are covered by some of my essays. I apologize if I appear presumptuous in suggesting that my essays be used as “readings” at Christian Deist meetings, but I intended these essays to provide an overall view of Christian deism from historical and theological perspectives, and I do not know of other current writers who are explaining how Christian deism can be practiced today. Hopefully, there will be many more Christian deist writers in the near future.)

Another way to provide religious education at a meeting would be to have one teaching of Jesus (one or a few verses) printed and distributed to all members at one week’s meeting for each person to think about during the week, and to be discussed by the group at the following week’s meeting. By giving one week’s focus on one particular teaching, it is likely that a number of persons will gain some insight during the week to share with others. Members could be invited to discuss some experience they had that helped them understand the teaching.

If there are children at the meeting, perhaps they can have a separate story time and other activities to help them develop a healthy self-image as loving and responsible individuals having respect for God and all people.

6. Music and singing

When Jesus and his disciples were together, they sang a hymn. Music can have a place in a meeting of Christian deists. Perhaps a member can play a musical instrument and sing a song appropriate for the meeting. Recorded music can be used also. Hymns and other songs, sung by the group, can carry messages of joy, hope, love, and peace. Hymns that express Christian deist beliefs and values should be selected. Hymns based on trinitarian doctrines should be avoided.

7. Other activities

There are many other activities that may be part of a meeting of Christian deists. Poems and stories can encourage and enlighten members as they seek to live each day by love for God and love for neighbor. Individuals could bring poems or other brief inspirational writings to read at the meeting.

8. General comment

Meetings should be characterized by simplicity and sincerity. Some planning is required but the activities do not have to be complicated or elaborate. The meetings should help members grow in their personal practice of the principles of Christian deism. A relaxed and friendly atmosphere should prevail.


My essays may be used as “lessons” to be read by a reader at a Christian Deist meeting:

Lesson 1. Understanding Ourselves

Purpose: To understand the importance of our own view of life.

Read Essay: “What Am I?”

Lesson 2. Natural Religion

Purpose: To understand the basic premises of natural religion.

Read Essay: “What is Natural Theology”

Lesson 3. God’s Natural Laws

Purpose: To understand the two natural laws governing humankind.

Read Essay: “The Natural Religion of Jesus”

Lesson 4. Love Your Neighbor

Purpose: To understand what it means to love your neighbor, and why causing human suffering or being indifferent to human suffering is a “failure to love” others and is called “sin.”

Read Essay: “Love Your Neighbor”

Lesson 5. Love for God

Purpose: To understand what it means to love God, and why the failure to use our God-given abilities for good purposes is a “failure to love” God and is called “sin.”

Read Essay: “How Can You Love God?”

Lesson 6. The Kingdom of God

Purpose: To understand what the “Kingdom of God” is, and that God’s laws governing humankind are known naturally by everyone.

Read Essay: “The Kingdom of God”

Lesson 7. Repentance and Forgiveness

Purpose: To understand the necessity of repentance and forgiveness as ongoing processes in life.

Read Essay: “Repentance and Forgiveness”

Lesson 8. The Gospel of Jesus

Purpose: To understand the gospel (good news) message of Jesus, “The Kingdom of God is at hand,” and how Jesus’ gospel is different from the message preached by Paul of Tarsus.

Read Essay: “What is the Gospel?”

Lesson 9. The Theology of Paul of Tarsus

Purpose: To understand how Paul of Tarsus created his own message which is contrary to the beliefs of Jesus.

Read Essay: “The Theology of Paul”

Lesson 10. Trinitarian Theology

Purpose: To understand how Church councils developed trinitarian theology which is taught in trinitarian churches today. (Christian Deists do not accept trinitarian theology.)

Read Essay: “What’s in a Creed”

Lesson 11. The Humanity of Jesus

Purpose: To understand Jesus as a human being whose view of the “Kingdom of God” includes everyone who lives by love for God and neighbor, and how Jesus’ beliefs led to his crucifixion.

Read Essay: “A Man Named Jesus”

Lesson 12. Christian Deism (Part 1)

Purpose: To understand the basic beliefs of Christian deists.

Read Essay: “What is a Christian Deist?”

Lesson 13. Christian Deism (Part 2)

Purpose: To understand how one Christian deist defines his own beliefs.

Read Essay: “Creed of a Christian Deist”

Lesson 14. Christian Deism (Part 3)

Purpose: To understand how one Christian deist views the the crucifixion and survival of Jesus.

Read Essay: “The Cross and the Empty Tomb”

Lesson 15. Christian Deism (Part 4)

Purpose: To understand the history of Christian Deism, and how Christian deists rejected the trinitarian doctrines of original sin, the divinity of Jesus, the substitutionary theory of atonement, supernatural revelation, and alleged miracles.

Read Essay: “History of Christian Deism”

Lesson 16. Christian Deism (Part 5)

Purpose: To understand Christian deism as expressed by a leading Christian deist in 1730.

Read Essay: “Matthew Tindal, Christian Deist”

Lesson 17. Christian Deism (Part 6)

Purpose: To understand how Christian deism differs from cultural religions.

Read Essay: “Deism and Cultural Religions”

Lesson 18. The Practice of Christian Deism (Part 1)

Purpose: To understand how an individual may practice Christian deism in everyday life.

Read Essay: “Christian Deism as a Personal Religion”

Lesson 19. The Practice of Christian Deism (Part 2)

Purpose: To understand how a Christian deist may approach Bible study and prayer.

Read Essay: “A Christian Deist’s View of Bible Study and Prayer”

Lesson 20. The Practice of Christian Deism (Part 3)

Purpose: To understand the meaning of worship, and why Christian deists do not have professional ministers or “churches” for public worship.

Read Essay: “The Christian Deists: Christians Without Churches”

Lesson 21. The Practice of Christian Deism (Part 4)

Purpose: To understand that the basic premises of “deism” are found in the teachings of Jesus, and the practice of Christian Deism is based on these premises.

Read Essay: “Deist and Christian Deist”

Lesson 22 The Practice of Christian Deism (Part 5)

Purpose: To understand the meaning of Christmas and Easter.

Read Essay: “Christmas and Easter”

Lesson 23 The Practice of Christian Deism (Part 6)

Purpose: To understand the books known as the four gospels in the New Testament.

Read Essay: “Understanding the Four Gospels”

Lesson 24 The Practice of Christian Deism (Part 7)

Purpose: To understand more ways to practice Christian Deism every day.

Read Essay: “Practicing Christian Deism”


Inevitably there will be some expense of money to support the activities of a Christian Deist Fellowship. Such expenses may be for literature, refreshments, and possibly rent and utilities. Such expenses should be paid from voluntary and anonymous donations from the members of the Fellowship. How finances are handled is important because we see some religious groups and religious leaders using unscrupulous or intimidating ways of dealing with money.

I would suggest that Christian deists make most of their personal donations of money to humanitarian causes (I personally like the Ronald McDonald House for cancer patients and their families) but some donations of money will be required to pay the expenses of having a Christian Deist Fellowship. Hopefully, these costs will be kept to a minimum, and all donations made privately. Cash donations can be placed privately in a box, and donations by check can be deposited directly into the Fellowship’s bank account by the donor who is given bank deposit slips. No one else should know how much a person donates to the Fellowship. This is what Jesus meant when he said that “alms” should be given “in secret” (Matthew 6:3-4). There is no place for high pressure fund raising in a Christian Deist Fellowship. All financial giving by Christian deists should come voluntarily out of love for God and “neighbor.”


If you are interested in organizing a Christian Deist Fellowship, you will need to locate other Christian deists in your community. You could run a newspaper ad that suggests that persons read my web page, “The Human Jesus and Christian Deism,” and contact you if they are interested in a local group of Christian Deists. You could advertise an organizational meeting and provide copies of my Christian deist essays which you are free to print from your computer and duplicate. You may print copies and distribute them, if they are given without charge or provided on a non-profit basis.

I receive emails from individuals seeking to know other Christian Deists in their city or state. If you would like for me to notify you of any such inquiries from individuals in your city or state, you may send me your name, city/state/country, and email address. I will notify you of any inquiry from your area if the individual wishes me to do so.

I will only provide first names and email addresses to the individuals who wish to communicate with other Christian Deists in their own communities. After email communication and, perhaps, telephone conversations, the individuals can decide whether to meet in person. Since I will not know the individuals personally, I believe that first names and email addresses are all that I should provide.

If you have any other ideas about how to organize a local Christian Deist Fellowship, please let me know