Quote from Blinking Spirit »I would not equate Spinozanism with the deism of Jefferson and Adams. (I would also not so swiftly dismiss the rest of the Founding Fathers who were not expressly deist.) The deists imagined a "watchmaker God", who created the universe then stood back to let it run along according to the laws he set down. For Spinoza, there's some controversy about how to interpret him, but he seems to have instead equated God and the universe: the universe is not a creation of God's, but is God, or exists within God as a part of God. This is called pantheism (all-is-God) or panentheism (all-is-in-God). The watchmaker God exercised his will in designing the universe to achieve his intentions, but the Spinozan God does not have free will, designs, or intentions, instead acting at all times according to his own perfect nature. To the deist, the laws of reality are like a blueprint, but to Spinoza, they're more like a heartbeat. Big difference.Quote from slipknot72102 »This type of belief in god is known as deism and most of the "founding fathers" of the united states were deist.
Panentheism and deism are sorta cousins. They just see spirituality slightly different. My wording wasn't quite clear instead of "type" I should have used "another belief in a similar vain of no person god."
Quote from Highroller »This thought most certainly has struck other people besides you. You are correct, if God damns people who do not believe in him, then God has behaved monstrously.Quote from Callahan09 »but, doesn't it strike anyone else as rather petty and arbitrary that God requires people to "accept"/"believe in" him, or else they are damned?
As Blinking pointed out, you're ignoring a lot of Congregationalists and Presbyterians in making that statement.
The majority of the big names. Washinton, Jefferson, John Adams, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison could all be described as deist. The only typical protestant of the big names is the much less know john jay who wanted to keep Catholics from holding office because he viewed them as the enemy. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deism#Deism_in_the_United_States