Although it is a theoretical question, it is still very interesting for me.

Is there a system of beliefs or at least a name for people who believe in the existence of God and that events described in the Bible did take place, but refuse to obey God and his commandments?

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    Demons? James 2:19 Though I assume you are limiting your question to humans. Sep 4, 2011 at 0:50
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    +1 for an interesting question. I have been known to remark that if I actually believed in the Calvinist deity I'd spit in his face, but I don't know any actual word for that situation. (TV Tropes suggests maltheism, but I don't think that quite works.)
    – TRiG
    Sep 4, 2011 at 1:42
  • @Steve: Well, he did say "people".
    – user32
    Sep 4, 2011 at 2:44
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    If everyone is a sinner then what you said applies to every Christian to some extent. So the answer would be "a normal person"? Sep 4, 2011 at 11:43

4 Answers 4


I think the closest fit would appear to be Deism:

Deism (i/ˈdiːɪzəm/ US dict: dē′·ĭzm) in the philosophy of religion is the standpoint that reason and observation of the natural world, without the need for organized religion, can determine that the universe is a creation and has a creator. Furthermore, the term often implies that this supreme being does not intervene in human affairs or suspend the natural laws of the universe. Deists typically reject supernatural events such as prophecy and miracles, tending to assert that a god (or "the Supreme Architect") does not alter the universe by (regularly or ever) intervening in the affairs of human life. This idea is also known as the Clockwork universe theory, in which a god designs and builds the universe, but steps aside to let it run on its own. Deists believe in the existence of a god without any reliance on revealed religion, religious authority or holy books. Two main forms of deism currently exist: classical deism and modern deism.

What I think the OP is asking for is a scholarly term to describe someone who believes that God exists, but denies that God is actively involved with his creation in any meaningful way. Such a disinterested God would not issue any "rules" for his created beings to obey. Further, such a person would deny that the Bible (or any religious text) is in any way a communication from God and would feel, therefore, no obligation to it's moral, ethical or sociopolitical code.

The definition of Deist seems to fit that rather well.

  • I suspect rather (though I could be just reading my biases into the question), that @golergka is referring to something like my hypothetical belief in Calvinism. I am very glad that the Calvinist deity doesn't exist. I think he's an immoral monster. If, somehow, I came to believe he did exist, I hope I'd have the courage of Huckleberry Finn, who freed his friend Jim from slavery with the words "All right, then, I'll go to Hell."
    – TRiG
    Sep 5, 2011 at 22:05
  • I think Deism is better describe by this sentence: "Deists typically reject supernatural events such as prophecy and miracles, tending to assert that a god (or "the Supreme Architect") does not alter the universe by (regularly or ever) intervening in the affairs of human life"
    – user729
    Oct 4, 2011 at 16:49
  • This basically means Deists believe in a God, but that God is not the biblical one.
    – user729
    Oct 4, 2011 at 16:55

Antinomian would be pretty close, I would think. Basically, it's the belief that since grace is applied in spite of a person's obedience, then the person is no longer obliged to be obedient. (Paul alludes to this attitude in Romans 6:15 as it does seem a logical conclusion of the Gospel, but he quickly dismisses it as a viable appreach with an unequivocal "By no means!")


They're normally referred to as religious moderates. They like to claim to be more "sophisticated" than religious fundamentalists (and atheists). But how does one become a sophisticated believer? By acknowledging just how dubious many of the claims of scripture are, and thereafter reading it selectively, bowdlerizing it if need be, and allowing its assertions about reality to be continually trumped by fresh insights? Scientific: "You mean the earth isn't 6,000 years old? Okay." Medical: "I should take my daughter to a neurologist and not to an exorcist? Seems reasonable." Moral: "I can't beat my slaves? I can't even KEEP slaves? Hmm..." There is a pattern here, and it is undeniable. Religious moderation is the direct result of taking scripture less and less seriously. So why not take it less seriously still? Why not admit that the Bible is merely a collection of imperfect books written by highly fallible human beings?

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    I agree with the answer of "religious moderates", but the rest of your answer tells me you are on the site for the wrong reasons. And that is coming from me as a secular Humanist, trying to have constructive dialog here. Sep 4, 2011 at 11:42
  • Could use a little less ranting, but it's actually a veery accurate answer.
    – Sklivvz
    Sep 4, 2011 at 11:45
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    Maybe just lose or rephrase the last line? Sep 4, 2011 at 11:51

Uncomfortable? Jesus offers a relationship (think major upgrade from belief system). See Rev 3:20 See Roman 3:23 If you stop at belief system its like owning a car and never using it.

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    – wax eagle
    Sep 4, 2011 at 1:08

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