Reverend Keith R. Wright (b. February 6, 1961) was one of the founders of the United Deist Church and its first elected president.
Fom a personal essay titled "The United Deist Church", written by Rev. Keith R. Wright, president of the United Deist Church, submitted to the Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance website (http://www.religioustolerance.org/wright_01.htm; viewed 30 November 2005):
Born in Columbus, Ohio he was an ardent proponent of Deism and the positive benefits of meeting in community. He believed that the only difference between an Atheist and a Deist is that a Deist believes in a God of First Cause. He was a Classical Deist in the very strict sense of the word. He only believed in a Creator which set forth all of the laws of nature and that is how we may know the true "word" of God. He didn't believe in an anthropormorphic God but that the true form of God is unknowable and our efforts should be in celebrating our existence as beings rather than worshiping God.
Rev. Wright was fond of using analogies examples and metaphors to make his ideas understood by anybody... Rev. Wright believed in challenging others to the test of reason in their faith. Especially other Deists. He felt that reason must be applied to belief and that Deism was a religion of faith in that the heart had faith in what the head believed based upon reason. He was an avid reader of Paul Davies, Frank Tipler, Richard Swinburne, A.O. Wilson and held in high regard the works of Thomas Paine and Ethan Allen. He was a non academic follower of particle physics and string theory and felt that a Unifying Theory would bring us closer to the mind of God. He denied the existence of Jesus of Nazareth... He felt that the Bible was a terrible work in that it created God in the image of man and that Aesops Fables were a better moral base for humans to follow.
Rev. Wright became a member of the Anti-Dominionism movement through his weblog under the pen name Incipit. He believed in separation of church and state and fought as an individual to maintain that separation.
Recent reports show that traditional Christian churches in Europe, Canada and the United States have shown significant changes in attendance over the last twenty years. It is believed that by the year 2020, Christianity will become a minority belief system. What will happen to the church community? What are some of the reasons? What does the future hold?
Traditionally, the Church has served many purposes in the community. A place to celebrate the milestones of our lives. Births, marriages, and deaths are all places into the framework of religious belief in the explanation and glorification of God. It is a place of comfort during troubled times and intense trauma to the community. It is a place of social and religious education. Since church attendance has fallen, this function has been abandoned or absorbed by other social structures within the community.
Some of the potential reasons for the decline in worship are, the improprieties of the clergy, financial obsession, charlatans, ambivalence, a doubting of faith or loss thereof, death, and leaving the community. Recent headlines over the Roman Catholic Church and the inability of the Vatican to reach an agreeable solution to the abuse crisis have caused many to reject their faith. Constant cries for more money to serve this ministry or that and how ordering a fetish over the phone may grant you special anointing from God anger some and disgust others. Faith healers are being exposed on major networks and people are speaking out against the charlatans who take advantage of the suffering of others. Some people just don't care about church at all. Many people turn away from their faith rather than to it. They can't reconcile what their religion says about life and the pain which they are feeling in the loss of someone. Traumatic experiences where cries to God for help which go unanswered cause the person to feel unloved by God because they believe that prayers should be answered. Finally, the church suffers from people moving and not adopting a new place of worship in order to start new roots.
What are we to do as people begin reasoning their way through religion and wake up realizing that God doesn't speak out of a book? Many go to the internet begin searching. Many end up at our website and are in tears. There are more of you out there than you know. You believe in God, you know that God exists because either your heart tells you and your brain reasons that revealed religions don't have the answer; we are no closer to peace and love than we were 2000 or 6000 years ago. The moral guidance offered by these religions has not stifled the corruption of government, industry, or the church. When you read your holy book, were you surprised at the errors in it and questioned the validity of a divine document with so many flaws? Do you fluctuate between belief in God and doubt because the thought of not having a group to associate with makes you uneasy? Do you believe in an intelligent design to the universe or believe that God created the universe and then went away? You may be a Deist. For centuries the belief in an architect of the universe was kept to oneself. You were a believer or a heretic. There was no advantage of community for those who believed this way and after the great awakening, many deists turned to Christianity rather than be branded a social outcast. This is where Deism has failed...until now.
We are attempting what has never been done before. We are hoping to combine the Deist belief in God and the community of the familiar church. This is not a Unitarian Universalist Church. We are not concerned with the vibration of crystals, the Earth Goddess, Drumming Circles, male/female bonding, talking with spirits or being theological gelatin. We believe in God. We believe in celebrating our existence on this planet with our fellow man in community, not alone. We want to celebrate the milestones of our life in the spirit of community in our relationship with God. We don't need millions of dollars to build universities, send satellites into the sky, or preach of the fall of man.
We are taking the first steps to creating The United Deist Church. We have been on the internet since 2002-APR and have made much progress to defining who we are and where we are headed. You are invited to become part of this exciting adventure where we cast off the chains of superstition, dogma, and doubt and create a new expression of what is divine to us and how we may express that in a religious community.
Tenets of the United Deist Church:
"I freely believe in God as being discovered through nature and reason, rejecting revealed religion and its authority over humanity. I believe that all humans are equal. Further, as God has not shown favor for one people over another and has given us all that we need, that we should follow God's example and give to others as we can."