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Encyclopedia > Deism
Part of a series on
God
God

General approaches
Agnosticism · Atheism
Deism · Dystheism
Henotheism · Ignosticism
Monism · Monotheism
Natural theology · Nontheism
Pandeism · Panentheism
Pantheism · Polytheism
Theism · Theology
Transtheism
This article discusses the term God in the context of monotheism and henotheism. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (1212x750, 396 KB) Behind the cloud style crepuscular rays, taken in my neighborhood. ... This article needs additional references or sources for verification. ... “Atheist” redirects here. ... Dystheism is the belief that God does exist but is not wholly good, or that he might even be evil. ... Henotheism (Greek heis theos one god) is a term coined by Max Müller, to mean devotion to a single God while accepting the existence of other gods. ... Ignosticism (often confused with apathetic agnosticism or apatheism) is the view that the question of the existence of God is meaningless because it has no verifiable (or testable) consequences and should therefore be ignored. ... For other uses, see Monist (disambiguation). ... For the Celtic Frost album, see Monotheist (album) In theology, monotheism (from Greek one and god) is the belief in the existence of one deity or God, or in the oneness of God. ... Natural theology is the knowledge of God accessible to all rational human beings without recourse to any special or supposedly supernatural revelation. ... This article needs additional references or sources for verification. ... Pandeism (Greek πάν, pan = all and Latin deus = God, in the sense of deism), is a term used at various times to describe religious beliefs. ... Panentheism (from Greek (pân) all; (en) in; ; and (Theós) god; all-in-God) is the theological position that God is immanent within the Universe, but also transcends it. ... Pantheism (Greek: πάν ( pan ) = all and θεός ( theos ) = God) literally means God is All and All is God. It is the view that everything is of an all-encompassing immanent abstract God; or that the universe, or nature, and God are equivalent. ... Polytheism is belief in or worship of multiple gods or deities. ... Theism is the belief in the existence of one or more divinities or deities. ... Theology finds its scholars pursuing the understanding of and providing reasoned discourse of religion, spirituality and God or the gods. ... Transtheism is the belief in one or more deities. ...


Specific conceptions
Ahura Mazda
Alaha · Allah
Amaterasu· Susano-o
Baal · Bhagavan
Demiurge . Deus
Deva (Buddhism) · Deva (Hinduism)
God in Buddhism · God in Sikhism
Great Architect of the Universe · Holy Spirit
Holy Trinity · Jesus, the Christ
Krishna · Monad
Kami
Nüwa 女媧 · Oneness (concept)
Pangu 盤古 · Shang Ti
SUMMUM · Supreme Being
Tetragrammaton · The Absolute
The All · Alpha and Omega
The Lord · Creator deity
Ahura Mazda is the Avestan language name for an exalted divinity of ancient proto-Indo-Iranian religion that was subsequently declared by Zarathustra (Zoroaster) to be the one uncreated creator of all (God). ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Ilah. ... Allah is the Arabic language word for God. ... The Sun goddess emerging out of a cave, bringing sunlight back to the universe. ... Susanowo (Japanese: 須佐之男) (also transliterated as Susa-No-O and - incorrectly - Susano) in Shinto is the god of the Sea and storms. ... For other uses, see Baal (disambiguation). ... Bhagavan, also written Bhagwan or Bhagawan, from the Sanskrit nt-stem (nominative/vocative ) (hindi sandhi vichchhed:भ्+अ+ग्+अ+व्+आ+न्+अ)literally means: भ bh=bhoo soil अ a=agni fire ग g=gagan sky वा va=vaayu air न n=neer water BHAGAVAN is said to be composed up of all five matters other meanings possessing fortune, blessed, prosperous... The Demiurge, The Craftsman or Creator, in some belief systems, is the deity responsible for the creation of the physical universe. ... dEUS is an indie rock band based in Antwerp, Belgium, currently consisting of Tom Barman (vocals and guitar), Klaas Janzoons (keyboards and violin), Stéphane Misseghers (drums), Alan Gevaert (bass) and Mauro Pawlowski (guitar and vocals). ... This article is about Buddhist deities. ... It has been suggested that Deva (tribe) be merged into this article or section. ... Buddhism is usually regarded as a religion without an absolute God who created the universe ex nihilo (from nothing) and to whom devotion and worship are due (although veneration and worship of the Buddhas do play a major role in both Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism). ... The fundamental belief of Sikhism is that God exists, not merely as an idea or concept, but as a Real Entity, indescribable yet knowable and perceivable to anyone who is prepare to dedicate the time and energy to become perceptive to His persona. ... Great Architect of the Universe (GAOTU) is a term used within Freemasonry to denominate the Supreme Being which each member individually holds an adherence to. ... Topics in Christianity Movements · Denominations Ecumenism · Preaching · Prayer Music · Liturgy · Calendar Symbols · Art · Criticism Important figures Apostle Paul · Church Fathers Constantine · Athanasius · Augustine Anselm · Aquinas · Palamas · Luther Calvin · Wesley Arius · Marcion of Sinope Archbishop of Canterbury · Catholic Pope Coptic Pope · Ecumenical Patriarch Christianity Portal This box:      In mainstream Christianity, the... This article concerns the holy Trinity of Christianity. ... This article is about Jesus of Nazareth. ... Christ is the English term for the Greek word (Christós), which literally means The Anointed One. ... This article is about the Hindu deity. ... Look up Monad in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... “Megami” redirects here. ... For the character Nu Wa in the Chinese novel Fengshen Yanyi, see Nu Wa Niang Niang Nüwa iconograph in Shan Hai Jing In Chinese mythology, Nüwa (Traditional Chinese: 女媧; Simplified Chinese: 女娲; Pinyin: nÇšwā) is mythological character best known for reproducing people after a great calamity. ... In Chinese mythology, Nüwa (Traditional Chinese: 女媧 Simplified Chinese: 女娲 Pinyin: nÇšwā) is mythological character best known for reproducing people after a great calamity. ... Oneness is a spiritual term referring to the experience of the absence of egoic identity boundaries, and, according to some traditions, the realization of the awareness of the absolute interconnectedness of all matter and thought in space-time, or ones ultimate identity with God (see Tat Tvam Asi). ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... Pangu (Traditional: 盤古; Simplified: 盘古; pinyin: PángÇ”) was the first living being and the creator of all in Chinese mythology. ... Shang Di or Shang Ti (Wade-Giles) (上帝, pinyin Shàngdì), literally translated, Lord Above, Sovereign Above, or Lord On High, in Chinese culture, is the name used both in traditional Chinese religion as well as Chinese Christianity for the Supreme Deity. ... Summum is a religion begun in 1975. ... The term Supreme Being is often defined simply as God,[1] and it is used with this meaning by theologians of many religious faiths, including, but not limited to, Christianity,[2] Islam,[3] Hinduism,[4] Deism[5] and Scientology. ... It has been suggested that Yahweh be merged into this article or section. ... The Absolute is the totality of things, all that is, whether it has been discovered or not. ... The All is the Hermetic version of God, to some and not to others. ... Alpha and Omega is an appellation of Jesus in the book of Revelation (22:13) where he is also called the first and the last, the beginning and the end. ... The Tetragrammaton in Phoenician (1100 BC to 300 CE), Aramaic (10th Century BC to 0) and modern Hebrew scripts. ... The examples and perspective in this article or section may not represent a worldwide view. ...


General practices
Animism · Esotericism
Gnosis · Hermeticism
Metaphysics · Mysticism
New Age · Philosophy
New Thought
Religion
The term Animism is derived from the Latin anima, meaning soul.[1][2] In its most general sense, animism is simply the belief in souls. ... Look up Esotericism in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Hermeticism should not be confused with the concept of a hermit. ... Plato (Left) and Aristotle (right), by Raphael (Stanza della Segnatura, Rome) Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy concerned with explaining the ultimate nature of reality, being, and the world. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... New Age describes a broad movement characterized by alternative approaches to traditional Western culture. ... The philosopher Socrates about to take poison hemlock as ordered by the court. ... New Thought describes a religiophilosophical movement that developed in the United States during the late 19th century, originating with the metaphysical healing practices of Phineas Parkhurst Quimby and the “mental science” of Warren Felt Evans, a Swedenborgian minister. ...


Related topics
Chaos · Cosmos
Cosmic egg · Existence
God and gender · God complex
God the Sustainer · Spiritual evolution
Problem of evil · Euthyphro dilemma
Theodicy · Transcendence
To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article may require cleanup. ... The Ancient and Medieval cosmos as depicted in Peter Apians Cosmographia (Antwerp, 1539). ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Arguments for and against the existence of God have been proposed by philosophers, theologians, and others. ... This entry discusses how the Abrahamic faiths of Judaism, Christianity and Islam deal with God and gender. ... A god complex is a colloquial term used to portray a perceived character flaw as if it were a psychological complex. The person who is said to have a god complex does not believe he is God, but is said to act so arrogantly that he might as well believe... There are very few or no other articles that link to this one. ... ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Euthyphro dilemma. ... The Euthyphro dilemma is found in Platos dialogue Euthyphro, in which Socrates asks Euthyphro: Is the pious (τὸ ὅσιον) loved by the gods because it is pious, or is it pious because it is loved by the gods? (10a) In monotheistic terms, this is usually transformed into: Is what is moral... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... In religion, transcendence is a condition or state of being that surpasses, and is independent of, physical existence. ...

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Deism is a religious philosophy and movement that became prominent in Great Britain, France, and the United States in the 17th and 18th centuries and continues to this day in the form of Classical Deism and Modern Deism. Deism derives the existence and nature of God from reason and personal experience, in contrast to theism (with religions like Christianity, Islam and Judaism) which relies on revelation in sacred scriptures or the testimony of other people. This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ... Various Religious symbols, including (first row) Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Bahai, (second row) Islamic, tribal, Taoist, Shinto (third row) Buddhist, Sikh, Hindu, Jain, (fourth row) Ayyavazhi, Triple Goddess, Maltese cross, pre-Christian Slavonic Religion is the adherence to codified beliefs and rituals that generally involve a faith in a spiritual... The philosopher Socrates about to take poison hemlock as ordered by the court. ... (16th century - 17th century - 18th century - more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 17th century was that century which lasted from 1601-1700. ... (17th century - 18th century - 19th century - more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 18th century refers to the century that lasted from 1701 through 1800. ... Theism is the belief in the existence of one or more divinities or deities. ... Christianity percentage by country, purple is highest, orange is lowest Topics in Christianity Movements · Denominations Ecumenism · Preaching · Prayer Music · Liturgy · Calendar Symbols · Art · Criticism Important figures Apostle Paul · Church Fathers Constantine · Athanasius · Augustine Anselm · Aquinas · Palamas · Wycliffe Tyndale · Luther · Calvin · Wesley Arius · Marcion of Sinope Pope · Archbishop of Canterbury Patriarch... For people named Islam, see Islam (name). ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ...


Deists typically reject supernatural events (prophecy, miracles) and tend to assert that God does not interfere with human life and the laws of the universe. Deists commonly respect divine revelation prominent in organized religion, along with holy books as conveying the reasoning and personal experience of others. Revelation of the Last Judgment by Jacob de Backer Revelation is an uncovering or disclosure via communication from the divine of something that has been partially or wholly hidden or unknown, which could not be known apart from the unveiling (Goswiller 1987 p. ... Many religions and spiritual movements hold certain written texts (or series of spoken legends not traditionally written down) to be sacred. ...

Contents

Overview

The concept of Deism covers a wide variety of positions on a wide variety of religious issues. See the section Features of Deism, below. Deism can also refer to a personal set of beliefs having to do with the role of nature in spirituality.


The words Deism and theism are both derived from the word god:

  • The root of the word Deism is the Latin word deus, which means "god".
  • The root of the word theism is the Greek word theos (θεóς), which also means "god".

Prior to the 17th century the terms ["Deism" and "Deist"] were used interchangeably with the terms "theism" and "theist", respectively. ... Theologians and philosophers of the seventeenth century began to give a different signification to the words.... Both [theists and Deists] asserted belief in one supreme God, the Creator.... and agreed that God is personal and distinct from the world. But the theist taught that god remained actively interested in and operative in the world which he had made, whereas the Deist maintained that God endowed the world at creation with self-sustaining and self-acting powers and then abandoned it to the operation of these powers acting as second causes.[1] Latin is an ancient Indo-European language originally spoken in Latium, the region immediately surrounding Rome. ... dEUS is an indie rock band based in Antwerp, Belgium, currently consisting of Tom Barman (vocals and guitar), Klaas Janzoons (keyboards and violin), Stéphane Misseghers (drums), Alan Gevaert (bass) and Mauro Pawlowski (guitar and vocals). ...

A helpful discussion of Deism, theism, and other positions on divine beings can be found in the theism article. Theism is the belief in the existence of one or more divinities or deities. ...


Perhaps the first use of the term Deist is in Pierre Viret's Instruction Chrestienne (1564), reprinted in Bayle's Dictionnaire entry Viret. Viret, a Calvinist, regarded Deism as a new form of Italian heresy.[2] Viret wrote: Pierre Viret (Orbe 1511 - Orthez 1571) was a Swiss reformed theologian. ... Pierre Bayle. ... Topics in Christianity Movements · Denominations Ecumenism · Preaching · Prayer Music · Liturgy · Calendar Symbols · Art · Criticism Important figures Apostle Paul · Church Fathers Constantine · Athanasius · Augustine Anselm · Aquinas · Palamas · Wycliffe Tyndale · Luther · Calvin · Wesley Arius · Marcion of Sinope Pope · Archbishop of Canterbury Patriarch of Constantinople Christianity Portal This box:      Calvinism is a theological...

There are many who confess that while they believe like the Turks and the Jews that there is some sort of God and some sort of deity, yet with regard to Jesus Christ and to all that to which the doctrine of the Evangelists and the Apostles testify, they take all that to be fables and dreams.... I have heard that there are of this band those who call themselves Deists, an entirely new word, which they want to oppose to Atheist. For in that atheist signifies a person who is without God, they want to make it understood that they are not at all without God, since they certainly believe there is some sort of God, whom they even recognize as creator of heaven and earth, as do the Turks; but as for Jesus Christ, they only know that he is and hold nothing concerning him nor his doctrine.

In England, the term Deist first appeared in Robert Burton's The Anatomy of Melancholy (1621).[3] Robert Burton is the name of several notable men: Robert Burton, (1577-1640), English scholar, cleric, and author Robert Burton, (1747-1825), North Carolina delegate to Continental Congress Robert Burton, (born c. ...


Lord Herbert of Cherbury (d. 1648) is generally considered the "father of English Deism", and his book De Veritate (1624) the first major statement of Deism. Deism flourished in England between 1690 and 1740, at which time Matthew Tindal's Christianity as Old as the Creation (1730), or 'the Deist's Bible', gained much attention. Later Deism spread to France, notably via the work of Voltaire, to Germany, and to America. Edward Herbert, Baron Herbert of Cherbury (March 3, 1583 - August 20, 1648) was a British soldier, diplomat, historian, poet and religious philosopher. ... Matthew Tindal (c. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ...


Historical background

Deistic thinking has existed since ancient times (e.g., in philosophers such as Heraclitus and most especially Plato, who envisaged God as the Demiurge or 'craftsman')) and in many cultures. The word Deism is generally used to refer to the movement toward natural theology or freethinking that occurred in 17th-century Europe, and specifically in Britain. Heraclitus of Ephesus (Ancient Greek - Herákleitos ho Ephésios (Herakleitos the Ephesian)) (about 535 - 475 BC), known as The Obscure (Ancient Greek - ho Skoteinós), was a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher, a native of Ephesus on the coast of Asia Minor. ... PLATO was one of the first generalized Computer assisted instruction systems, originally built by the University of Illinois (U of I) and later taken over by Control Data Corporation (CDC), who provided the machines it ran on. ... Natural theology is the knowledge of God accessible to all rational human beings without recourse to any special or supposedly supernatural revelation. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into Freethought. ...


Natural theology is a facet of the revolution in world view that occurred in Europe in the 17th century. To understand the background to that revolution is also to understand the background of Deism. Several cultural movements of the time contributed to the movement.[4] Natural theology is the knowledge of God accessible to all rational human beings without recourse to any special or supposedly supernatural revelation. ...


The discovery of diversity

The humanist tradition of the Renaissance included a revival of interest in Europe's classical past in Greece and Rome. With study of the past came a growing awareness that the world in which the classical authors lived was quite different from the present. See also the specific life stance known as Humanism For the Renaissance liberal arts movement, see Renaissance humanism Humanism is a broad category of ethical philosophies that affirm the dignity and worth of all people, based on the ability to determine right and wrong by appeal to universal human qualities... The Renaissance (French for rebirth, or Rinascimento in Italian), was a cultural movement in Italy (and in Europe in general) that began in the late Middle Ages, and spanned roughly the 14th through the 17th century. ...


In addition, study of classical documents led to the realization that some historical documents are less reliable than others, which led to the beginnings of biblical criticism. In particular, as scholars worked on biblical manuscripts, they began developing the principles of textual criticism and a view of the New Testament as the product of a particular historical period different from their own. This article is being considered for deletion in accordance with Wikipedias deletion policy. ...

"Life and works of Confucius", by Prospero Intorcetta, 1687.
"Life and works of Confucius", by Prospero Intorcetta, 1687.

In addition to discovering diversity in the past, Europeans discovered diversity in the present. The voyages of discovery of the 16th and 17th centuries acquainted Europeans with new and different cultures in the Americas, in Asia, and in the Pacific. They discovered a greater amount of cultural diversity than they had ever imagined, and the question arose of how this vast amount of human cultural diversity could be compatible with the biblical account of Noah's descendants. In particular, the ideas of Confucius, translated into European languages by the Jesuits stationed in China, are thought to have had considerable influence on the Deists and other philosophical groups of the Enlightenment who were interested by the integration of the system of morality of Confucius into Christianity.[5][6]. Image File history File links Metadata Size of this preview: 701 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (1783 × 1526 pixel, file size: 656 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) Faithful reproductions of two-dimensional original works cannot attract copyright in the U.S. according to the rule in Bridgeman Art Library v. ... Image File history File links Metadata Size of this preview: 701 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (1783 × 1526 pixel, file size: 656 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) Faithful reproductions of two-dimensional original works cannot attract copyright in the U.S. according to the rule in Bridgeman Art Library v. ... Confucius (Chinese: ; Pinyin: ; Wade-Giles: Kung-fu-tzu), lit. ... The Society of Jesus (Latin: Societas Iesu), commonly known as the Jesuits, is a Roman Catholic religious order. ... Look up Enlightenment in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Christianity percentage by country, purple is highest, orange is lowest Topics in Christianity Movements · Denominations Ecumenism · Preaching · Prayer Music · Liturgy · Calendar Symbols · Art · Criticism Important figures Apostle Paul · Church Fathers Constantine · Athanasius · Augustine Anselm · Aquinas · Palamas · Wycliffe Tyndale · Luther · Calvin · Wesley Arius · Marcion of Sinope Pope · Archbishop of Canterbury Patriarch...


In particular, cultural diversity with respect to religious beliefs could no longer be ignored. As Herbert wrote in De Religione Laici (1645),

Many faiths or religions, clearly, exist or once existed in various countries and ages, and certainly there is not one of them that the lawgivers have not pronounced to be as it were divinely ordained, so that the Wayfarer finds one in Europe, another in Africa, and in Asia, still another in the very Indies.

This new awareness of diversity led to a feeling that Christianity was just one religion among many, with no better claim than any other to correctness.


Religious conflict

Europe had been plagued by vicious sectarian conflicts and religious wars since the beginning of the Reformation. In 1642, when Lord Herbert of Cherbury's De Veritate was published, the Thirty Years War had been raging on continental Europe for nearly 25 years. It was an enormously destructive religious war that (it is estimated) destroyed 15–20% of the population of Germany. Closer to home, the English Civil War pitting King against Parliament was just beginning. The Protestant Reformation was a movement which began in the 16th century as a series of attempts to reform the Roman Catholic Church, but ended in division and the establishment of new institutions, most importantly Lutheranism, Reformed churches, and Anabaptists. ... The victory of Gustavus Adolphus at the Battle of Breitenfeld (1631) The Thirty Years War was a conflict fought between the years 1618 and 1648, principally in the central European territory of the Holy Roman Empire, but also involving most of the major continental powers. ... For other uses, see English Civil War (disambiguation). ...


Such massive sectarian violence inspired a visceral rejection of the sectarianism that had led to the violence. It also led to a search for natural religious truths — truths that could be universally accepted, because they had been either "written in the book of Nature" or "engraved on the human mind" by God.


Deism also had a great connection to religious toleration.


Advances in scientific knowledge

The 17th century saw a remarkable advance in scientific knowledge: the scientific revolution. The work of Copernicus, Kepler, and Galileo destroyed the old notion that the earth was the center of the universe and showed that the universe was incredibly larger than ever imagined. These discoveries posed a serious challenge to biblical authority and to the religious authorities, Galileo's condemnation for heresy being an especially visible example. In consequence, the Bible came to be seen as authoritative on matters of faith and morals but no longer authoritative (or meant to be) on matters of science. The event which many historians of science call the scientific revolution can be dated roughly as having begun in 1543, the year in which Nicolaus Copernicus published his De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres) and Andreas Vesalius published his De humani corporis fabrica (On the... Nicolaus Copernicus (in Latin; Polish Mikołaj Kopernik, German Nikolaus Kopernikus - February 19, 1473 – May 24, 1543) was a Polish astronomer, mathematician and economist who developed a heliocentric (Sun-centered) theory of the solar system in a form detailed enough to make it scientifically useful. ... Johannes Kepler (December 27, 1571 – November 15, 1630) was a German mathematician, astronomer and astrologer, and a key figure in the 17th century astronomical revolution. ... Galileo can refer to: Galileo Galilei, astronomer, philosopher, and physicist (1564 - 1642) the Galileo spacecraft, a NASA space probe that visited Jupiter and its moons the Galileo positioning system Life of Galileo, a play by Bertolt Brecht Galileo (1975) - screen adaptation of the play Life of Galileo by Bertolt Brecht... Galileo can refer to: Galileo Galilei, astronomer, philosopher, and physicist (1564 - 1642) the Galileo spacecraft, a NASA space probe that visited Jupiter and its moons the Galileo positioning system Life of Galileo, a play by Bertolt Brecht Galileo (1975) - screen adaptation of the play Life of Galileo by Bertolt Brecht...


Isaac Newton's discovery of universal gravitation explained the behavior both of objects here on earth and of objects in the heavens. It promoted a world view in which the natural universe is controlled by laws of nature. This, in turn, suggested a theology in which God created the universe, set it in motion controlled by natural law, and retired from the scene. (See the Watchmaker analogy.) Sir Isaac Newton FRS (4 January 1643 – 31 March 1727) [ OS: 25 December 1642 – 20 March 1727][1] was an English physicist, mathematician, astronomer, natural philosopher, and alchemist. ... The watchmaker analogy, or watchmaker argument, is a teleological argument for the existence of God. ...


The new awareness of the explanatory power of universal natural law also produced a growing skepticism about such religious staples as miracles (i.e., violations of natural law) and about books, such as the Bible, that reported them. A miracle, derived from the old Latin word miraculum meaning something wonderful, is a striking interposition of divine intervention by God in the universe by which the ordinary course and operation of Nature is overruled, suspended, or modified. ...


Whereas the Age of Faith found its truths in religious tradition, the Age of Reason found its truths in observable natural phenomena and individual human reason.


Features of Deism

Critical and constructive Deism

The concept of Deism covers a wide variety of positions on a wide variety of religious issues. Following Sir Leslie Stephen's English Thought in the Eighteenth Century, most commentators agree that two features constituted the core of Deism: Sir Leslie Stephen (November 28, 1832 – February 22, 1904) was an English author and critic, the father of two famous daughters, Virginia Woolf and Vanessa Bell. ...

  • The rejection of revealed religion — this was the critical aspect of Deism.
  • The belief that reason, not faith, leads us to certain basic religious truths — this was the positive or constructive aspect of Deism.

Deist authors advocated a combination of both critical and constructive elements in proportions and emphases that varied from author to author. A revealed religion is one which perceives a symbolic center in a set of revelations given by a deity. ...


Critical elements of Deist thought included:

  • Rejection of all religions based on books that claim to contain the revealed word of God.
  • Rejection of reports of miracles, prophecies and religious "mysteries".
  • Rejection of the Genesis account of creation and the doctrine of original sin, along with all similar beliefs.
  • Rejection of Judaism, Christianity, Islam and other religious beliefs.

Constructive elements of Deist thought included: Genesis (‎, Greek: Γένεσις, meaning birth, creation, cause, beginning, source or origin) is the first book of the Torah, the Tanakh, and the Old Testament of the Bible. ... “Original Sin” redirects here. ...

  • God exists and created the universe.
  • God wants human beings to behave morally.
  • Human beings have souls that survive death; that is, there is an afterlife.
  • In the afterlife, God will reward moral behavior and punish immoral behavior.

Individual Deists varied in the set of critical and constructive elements for which they argued. Some Deists rejected miracles and prophecies but still considered themselves Christians because they believed in what they felt to be the pure, original form of Christianity — that is, Christianity as it existed before it was corrupted by additions of such superstitions as miracles, prophecies, and the doctrine of the Trinity. Some Deists rejected the claim of Jesus' divinity but continued to hold him in high regard as a moral teacher (see, e.g., Thomas Jefferson's famous Jefferson Bible). Other, more radical Deists rejected Christianity altogether and expressed hostility toward Christianity, which they regarded as pure superstition. In return, Christian writers often charged radical Deists with atheism. Thomas Jefferson (13 April 1743 N.S.–4 July 1826) was the third President of the United States (1801–09), the principal author of the Declaration of Independence (1776), and one of the most influential Founding Fathers for his promotion of the ideals of Republicanism in the United States. ... The Jefferson Bible, or The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth as it is formally titled, was an attempt by Thomas Jefferson to glean the teachings of Jesus from the Christian Gospels. ... “Atheist” redirects here. ...


Note that the terms constructive and critical are used to refer to aspects of Deistic thought, not sects or subtypes of Deism — it would be incorrect to classify any particular Deist author as "a constructive Deist" or "a critical Deist". As Peter Gay notes:

All Deists were in fact both critical and constructive Deists. All sought to destroy in order to build, and reasoned either from the absurdity of Christianity to the need for a new philosophy or from their desire for a new philosophy to the absurdity of Christianity. Each Deist, to be sure, had his special competence. While one specialized in abusing priests, another specialized in rhapsodies to nature, and a third specialized in the skeptical reading of sacred documents. Yet whatever strength the movement had— and it was at times formidable— it derived that strength from a peculiar combination of critical and constructive elements.

Peter Gay, Deism: An Anthology, p. 13

It should be noted, however, that the constructive element of Deism was not unique to Deism. It was the same as the natural theology that was so prevalent in all English theology in the 17th and 18th centuries. What set Deists apart from their more orthodox contemporaries was their critical concerns. Natural theology is the knowledge of God accessible to all rational human beings without recourse to any special or supposedly supernatural revelation. ...

Defining the essence of English Deism is a formidable task. Like priestcraft, atheism, and freethinking, Deism was one of the dirty words of the age. Deists were stigmatized — often as atheists — by their Christian opponents. Yet some Deists claimed to be Christian, and as Leslie Stephen argued in retrospect, the Deists shared so many fundamental rational suppositions with their orthodox opponents... that it is practically impossible to distinguish between them. But the term Deism is nevertheless a meaningful one.... Too many men of letters of the time agree about the essential nature of English Deism for modern scholars to ignore the simple fact that what sets the Deists apart from even their most latitudinarian Christian contemporaries is their desire to lay aside scriptural revelation as rationally incomprehensible, and thus useless, or even detrimental, to human society and to religion. While there may possibly be exceptions, ... most Deists, especially as the eighteenth century wears on, agree that revealed Scripture is nothing but a joke or "well-invented flam." About mid-century, John Leland, in his historical and analytical account of the movement [View of the Principal Deistical Writers], squarely states that the rejection of revealed Scripture is the characteristic element of Deism, a view further codified by such authorities as Ephraim Chambers and Samuel Johnson. ... "DEISM," writes Stephens bluntly, "is a denial of all reveal'd Religion." Latitudinarian was initially a pejorative term applied to a group of 17th century British theologians who believed in conforming to official Church of England practices but who felt that matters of doctrine, liturgical practice, and ecclesiastical organization were of relatively little importance. ... John Leland (1691 - 1766) was an English Presbyterian minister and author of theological works. ... Ephraim Chambers (c1680 - 15 May 1740), was an English writer and encyclopedist, who is primarily known for producing the Cyclopaedia, or Universal Dictionary of Arts and Sciences. ... For other persons named Samuel Johnson, see Samuel Johnson (disambiguation). ... William Dennison Stephens (b. ...

James E. Force, Introduction (1990) to An Account of the Growth of Deism in England (1696) by William Stephens

One of the remarkable features of Deism is that the critical elements did not overpower the constructive elements. As E. Graham Waring observed,[7] "A strange feature of the [Deist] controversy is the apparent acceptance of all parties of the conviction of the existence of God." And Basil Willey observed[8]

M. Paul Hazard has recently described the Deists of this time 'as rationalists with nostalgia for religion': men, that is, who had allowed the spirit of the age to separate them from orthodoxy, but who liked to believe that the slope they had started upon was not slippery enough to lead them to atheism.

Concepts of "reason"

"Reason" was the ultimate court of appeal for Deists. Tindal's Lockean definitions of reason, self-evident truth, and the light of nature are especially lucid. Matthew Tindal (c. ... This article is about John Locke, the English philosopher. ...

By the rational faculties, then, we mean the natural ability a man has to apprehend, judge, and infer: The immediate objects of which faculties are not the things themselves, but the ideas the mind conceives of them.... Knowledge [is]... nothing but the perception of the agreement or disagreement of our ideas. And any two of these, when joined together so as to be affirmed or denied of each other, make what we call a proposition... Knowledge accrues either immediately on the bare intuition of these two ideas or terms so joined, and is therefore styled intuitive knowledge or self-evident truth, or by the intervention of some other idea or ideas .... this is called demonstrative knowledge...

If there were not some propositions which need not to be proved, it would be in vain for men to argue with one another [because there would be no basis for demonstrative reasoning] ... Those propositions which need no proof, we call self-evident; because by comparing the ideas signified by the terms of such propositions, we immediately discern their agreement, or disagreement: This is, as I said before, what we call intuitive knowledge.... [Intuitive knowledge] may, I think, be called divine inspiration as being immediately from God, and not acquired by any human deduction or drawing of consequences: This, certainly, is that divine, that uniform light, which shines in the minds of all men...

Matthew Tindal, Christianity as Old as the Creation (II)[9]

Deists did appeal to "the light of nature" to support the self-evident nature of their positive religious claims.

By natural religion, I understand the belief of the existence of a God, and the sense and practice of those duties which result from the knowledge we, by our reason, have of him and his perfections; and of ourselves, and our own imperfections, and of the relationship we stand in to him, and to our fellow-creatures; so that the religion of nature takes in everything that is founded on the reason and nature of things.

I suppose you will allow that it is evident by the light of nature that there is a God, or in other words, a being absolutely perfect, and infinitely happy in himself, who is the source of all other beings....

Matthew Tindal, Christianity as Old as the Creation (II)[10]

Once a proposition is asserted to be a self-evident truth, there is not much more to say about it. Consequently, Deist authors expended most of their ink using reason as a critical tool for exposing and rejecting what they saw as nonsense. Here are two typical examples. The first is from John Toland's Christianity Not Mysterious.[11] John Toland (November 30, 1670 - March 11, 1722) Very little is known about his true origins other than the fact that he was born in Ardagh on the Inishowen Peninsula, a predominantly Catholic and Irish speaking region, in north west Ulster. ...

I hope to make it appear that the use of reason is not so dangerous in religion as it is commonly represented. ...

There is nothing that men make a greater noise about than the "mysteries of the Christian religion." The divines gravely tell us "we must adore what we cannot comprehend." Some of them say the "mysteries of the Gospel" are to be understood only in the sense of the "ancient fathers." ... [Some] contend [that] some mysteries may be, or at least seem to be, contrary to reason, and yet received by faith. [Others contend] that no mystery is contrary to reason, but that all are "above" it.[12]

On the contrary, we hold that reason is the only foundation of all certitude, and that nothing revealed, whether as to its manner or existence, is more exempted from its disquisitions than the ordinary phenomena of nature. Wherefore, we likewise maintain, according to the title of this discourse, that there is nothing in the Gospel contrary to reason, nor above it; and that no Christian doctrine can be properly called a mystery. ...

Now, as we are extremely subject to deception, we may without some infallible rule, often take a questionable proposition for an axiom, old wives' fables for moral certitude, and human impostures for divine revelation....

I take it to be very intelligible from the precedent section that what is evidently repugnant to clear and distinct ideas,[13] or to our common notions,[14] is contrary to reason. ... No Christian that I know of expressly says reason and the Gospel are contrary to one another. But very many affirm that ... according to our conceptions of them [i.e. reason and the Gospel] they seem directly to clash. And that though we cannot reconcile them by reason of our corrupt and limited understandings, yet that from the authority of divine revelation we are bound to believe and acquiesce in them; or, as the fathers taught them to speak, to "adore what we cannot comprehend." This famous and admirable doctrine is the undoubted source of all the absurdities that ever were seriously vented among Christians. Without the pretense of it, we should never hear of transubstantiation, and other ridiculous fables of the Church of Rome. Nor should we be ever bantered with the Lutheran impanation....

The first thing I shall insist upon is that if any doctrine of the New Testament be contrary to reason, we have no manner of idea of it. To say, for instance, that a ball is white and black at once is to say just nothing, for these colors are so incompatible in the same subject as to exclude all possibility of a real positive idea or conception. So to say as the papists that children dying before baptism are damned without pain signifies nothing at all. Main article: Eucharist (Catholic Church) Transubstantiation (in Latin, transsubstantiatio) is the change of the substance of bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ occurring in the Eucharist according to the teaching of some Christian Churches, including the Roman Catholic Church. ... Impanation is a name employed to denote the union of the body of Christ with the bread of the Eucharist. ... This article is about the theological concept. ...

John Toland, Christianity Not Mysterious: or, a Treatise Shewing That There Is Nothing in the Gospel Contrary to Reason, Nor above It (1696)

I have known some, who have alleged as a reason why they have forsaken the Christian faith, the impossibility of believing. Many doctrines (say these) are made necessary to salvation, which 'tis impossible to believe, because they are in their nature absurdities. I replied, that these things were mysteries, and so above our understanding. But he asked me to what end could an unintelligible doctrine be revealed? not to instruct, but to puzzle and amuse. What can be the effect of an unintelligible mystery upon our minds, but only an amusement? That which is only above reason must be above a rational belief, and must I be saved by an irrational belief? ... You all agree that the belief of your Trinity is absolutely necessary to salvation, and yet widely differ in what we must believe concerning it; whether three Minds or Modes, or Properties, or internal Relations, or Oeconomies, or Manifestations, or external Denominations; or else no more than a Holy Three, or Three Somewhats... If I should be persuaded that an explanation of the Trinity were necessary to save my soul, and see the Learned so widely differing and hotly disputing what it is I must believe concerning it, I should certainly run mad through despair of finding out the Truth... This article or section contains too many quotations for an encyclopedic entry. ...

William Stephens, An Account of the Growth of Deism in England (1696), pp. 19-20

Arguments for the existence of God

Thomas Hobbes— an early Deist and important influence on subsequent Deists— used the cosmological argument for the existence of God at several places in his writings. “Hobbes” redirects here. ... The cosmological argument is a metaphysical argument for the existence of God, traditionally known as an argument from universal causation, an argument from first cause, and also as an uncaused cause argument. ...

The effects we acknowledge naturally, do include a power of their producing, before they were produced; and that power presupposeth something existent that hath such power; and the thing so existing with power to produce, if it were not eternal, must needs have been produced by somewhat before it, and that again by something else before that, till we come to an eternal, that is to say, the first power of all powers and first cause of all causes; and this is it which all men conceive by the name of God, implying eternity, incomprehensibility, and omnipotence.

Thomas Hobbes, Works, vol. 4, pp. 59-60; quoted in John Orr, English Deism, p. 76

History of religion and the Deist mission

Most Deists saw the religions of their day as corruptions of an original, pure religion that was simple and rational. They felt that this original pure religion had become corrupted by "priests" who had manipulated it for the priests' personal gain and for the class interests of the priesthood in general.


According to this world view, over time "priests" had succeeded in encrusting the original simple, rational religion with all kinds of superstitions and "mysteries" — irrational theological doctrines. Laymen were told by the priests that only the priests really knew what was necessary for salvation and that laymen must accept the "mysteries" on faith and on the priests' authority. This kept the laity baffled by the nonsensical "mysteries", confused, and dependent on the priests for information about the requirements for salvation. The priests consequently enjoyed a position of considerable power over the laity, which they strove to maintain and increase. Deists referred to this kind of manipulation of religious doctrine as "priestcraft", a highly derogatory term.


Deists saw their mission as the stripping away of "priestcraft" and "mysteries" from religion, thereby restoring religion to its original, true condition — simple and rational. In many cases, they considered true, original Christianity to be the same as this original natural religion. As Matthew Tindal put it: Matthew Tindal (c. ...

It can't be imputed to any defect in the light of nature that the pagan world ran into idolatry, but to their being entirely governed by priests, who pretended communication with their gods, and to have thence their revelations, which they imposed on the credulous as divine oracles. Whereas the business of the Christian dispensation was to destroy all those traditional revelations, and restore, free from all idolatry, the true primitive and natural religion implanted in mankind from the creation.

Matthew Tindal, Christianity as Old as the Creation (XIV)[15]

One implication of this Deist origin myth was that primitive societies, or societies that existed in the distant past, should have religious beliefs that are less encrusted with superstitions and closer to those of natural theology. This became a point of attack for thinkers such as David Hume as they studied the "natural history of religion". This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Natural theology is the knowledge of God accessible to all rational human beings without recourse to any special or supposedly supernatural revelation. ... David Hume (April 26, 1711 – August 25, 1776)[1] was a Scottish philosopher, economist, and historian. ...


Freedom and necessity

Enlightenment thinkers, under the influence of Newtonian science, tended to view the universe as a vast machine, created and set in motion by a Creator Being, that continues to operate according to natural law, without any divine intervention. This view naturally led to what was then usually called necessitarianism: the view that everything in the universe — including human behavior — is completely causally determined by antecedent circumstances and natural law. (See, e.g., La Mettrie's L'Homme machine.) As a consequence, debates about freedom versus determinism were a regular feature of Enlightenment religious and philosophical discussions. Necessitarianism (Principle in metaphysics) — Necessitarianism is determinism applied to human beings: the doctrine that human beings do not have free will but are determined in their actions by antecedent, external causes. ... Julien Offray de La Mettrie (December 25, 1709 - November 11, 1751) was a French physician and philosopher, the earliest of the materialist writers of the Enlightenment. ... Determinism is the philosophical proposition that every event, including human cognition and behavior, decision and action, is causally determined by an unbroken chain of prior occurrences. ...


Because of their high regard for natural law and for the idea of a universe without miracles, Deists were especially susceptible to the temptations of necessitarianism. Reflecting the intellectual climate of the time, there were differences among Deists about freedom and necessity. Some, such as Anthony Collins, actually were necessitarians. This page is about Anthony Collins the philosopher. ...


Beliefs about immortality of the soul

Deists held a variety of beliefs about the soul. Some, such as Lord Herbert of Cherbury and William Wollastson,[16] held that souls exist, survive death, and in the afterlife are rewarded or punished by God for their behavior in life. Others such as Thomas Paine were agnostic about the immortality of the soul: Edward Herbert, Baron Herbert of Cherbury (March 3, 1583 - August 20, 1648) was a British soldier, diplomat, historian, poet and religious philosopher. ... William Wollastson (1659-1724) was an English clergyman and a deist. ... Thomas Paine (Thetford, England, 29 January 1737 – 8 June 1809, New York City, USA) was a pamphleteer, revolutionary, radical, and intellectual. ...

I trouble not myself about the manner of future existence. I content myself with believing, even to positive conviction, that the power that gave me existence is able to continue it, in any form and manner he pleases, either with or without this body; and it appears more probable to me that I shall continue to exist hereafter than that I should have had existence, as I now have, before that existence began.

Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason, Part I, Recapitulation Thomas Paine (Thetford, England, 29 January 1737 – 8 June 1809, New York City, USA) was a pamphleteer, revolutionary, radical, and intellectual. ... For the 18th Century intellectual and scientific movement, see The Age of Enlightenment. ...

Still others such as Anthony Collins,[17] Bolingbroke, Thomas Chubb, and Peter Annet were materialists and either denied or doubted the immortality of the soul.[18] This page is about Anthony Collins the philosopher. ... Henry St John, 1st Viscount Bolingbroke, Baron Saint John Of Lydiard Tregoze and Battersea, (September 16, 1678 – December 12, 1751), was an English statesman and philosopher. ... Thomas Chubb, 1747 Thomas Chubb, (September 29, 1679 – February 8, 1747), was an English Deist, born near Salisbury. ... Peter Annet (1693-1769), English deist, is said to have been born at Liverpool. ...

Deist terminology

Deist authors — and 17th- and 18th-century theologians in general — referred to God using a variety of vivid circumlocutions such as:

// The United States Declaration of Independence was an act of the Second Continental Congress, adopted on July 4, 1776, which declared that the Thirteen Colonies were independent of the Kingdom of Great Britain. ... Benjamin Franklin (January 17 [O.S. January 6] 1706 – April 17, 1790) was one of the most well known Founding Fathers of the United States. ...

The history of Deism

Precursors of Deism

Early works of biblical criticism, such as Thomas Hobbes's Leviathan and Spinoza's Theologico-Political Treatise, as well as works by lesser-known authors such as Richard Simon and Isaac La Peyrère, paved the way for the development of critical Deism. This article is being considered for deletion in accordance with Wikipedias deletion policy. ... “Hobbes” redirects here. ... Frontispiece of Leviathan, etching by Abraham Bosse, with input from Hobbes For other uses, see Leviathan (disambiguation). ... Baruch Spinoza Benedictus de Spinoza (November 24, 1632 - February 21, 1677), named Baruch Spinoza by his synagogue elders and known as Bento de Spinoza or Bento dEspiñoza in the community in which he grew up. ... Written by the philosopher and pantheist Baruch Spinoza, the Theologico-Political Treatise or Tractatus Theologico-Politicus was an early criticism of religious intolerance and a defense of secular government. ... Richard Simon (May 13, 1638 - April 11, 1712), was a French biblical critic. ... Isaac La Peyrère, or Pererius, (1596-1676) was a French Millenarian and formulator of Pre-Adamite theory. ...


Early Deism

Edward Herbert, portrait by Isaac Oliver (1560–1617)
Edward Herbert, portrait by Isaac Oliver (1560–1617)

Lord Herbert of Cherbury (d. 1648) is generally considered the "father of English Deism", and his book De Veritate (On Truth, as It Is Distinguished from Revelation, the Probable, the Possible, and the False) (1624) the first major statement of Deism.[19][20] Image File history File links Edward_Herbert_1st_Baron_Herbert_of_Cherbury_by_Isaac_Oliver. ... Image File history File links Edward_Herbert_1st_Baron_Herbert_of_Cherbury_by_Isaac_Oliver. ... Isaac Oliver c. ... Edward Herbert, Baron Herbert of Cherbury (March 3, 1583 - August 20, 1648) was a British soldier, diplomat, historian, poet and religious philosopher. ...


Like his contemporary Descartes, Herbert searched for the foundations of knowledge. In fact, the first two thirds of De Veritate are devoted to an exposition of Herbert's theory of knowledge. Herbert distinguished truths obtained through experience, and through reasoning about experience, from innate truths and from revealed truths. Innate truths are imprinted on our minds, and the evidence that they are so imprinted is that they are universally accepted. Herbert's term for universally accepted truths was notitiae communes — common notions.


In the realm of religion, Herbert believed that there were five common notions.

  • There is one Supreme God.
  • He ought to be worshipped.
  • Virtue and piety are the chief parts of divine worship.
  • We ought to be sorry for our sins and repent of them
  • Divine goodness doth dispense rewards and punishments both in this life and after it.

Lord Herbert of Cherbury, The Antient Religion of the Gentiles, and Causes of Their Errors, pp. 3–4, quoted in John Orr, English Deism, p. 62

It is worth quoting Herbert at some length, to give the flavor of his writing. A sense of the importance that Herbert attributed to innate Common Notions will help in understanding how devastating Locke's attack on innate ideas was for Herbert's philosophy.

No general agreement exists concerning the Gods, but there is universal recognition of God. Every religion in the past has acknowledged, every religion in the future will acknowledge, some sovereign deity among the Gods. ... Accordingly that which is everywhere accepted as the supreme manifestation of deity, by whatever name it may be called, I term God.

While there is no general agreement concerning the worship of Gods, sacred beings, saints, and angels, yet the Common Notion or Universal Consent tells us that adoration ought to be reserved for the one God. Hence divine religion— and no race, however savage, has existed without some expession of it— is found established among all nations. ...

The connection of Virtue with Piety, defined in this work as the right conformation of the faculties, is and always has been held to be, the most important part of religious practice. There is no general agreement concerning rites, ceremonies, traditions...; but there is the greatest possible consensus of opinion concerning the right conformation of the faculties. ... Moral virtue... is and always has been esteemed by men in every age and place and respected in every land...

There is no general agreement concerning the various rites or mysteries which the priests have devised for the expiation of sin.... General agreement among religions, the nature of divine goodness, and above all conscience, tell us that our crimes may be washed away by true penitence, and that we can be restored to new union with God. ... I do not wish to consider here whether any other more appropriate means exists by which the divine justice may be appeased, since I have undertaken in this work only to rely on truths which are not open to dispute but are derived from the evidence of immediate perception and admitted by the whole world. ...

The rewards that are eternal have been variously placed in heaven, in the stars, in the Elysian fields... Punishment has been thought to lie in metempsychosis, in hell,... or in temporary or everlasting death. But all religion, law, philosophy, and ... conscience, teach openly or implicitly that punishment or reward awaits us after this life. ... [T]here is no nation, however barbarous, which has not and will not recognise the existence of punishments and rewards. That reward and punishment exist is, then, a Common Notion, though there is the greatest difference of opinion as to their nature, quality, extent, and mode. ...

It follows from these considerations that the dogmas which recognize a sovereign Deity, enjoin us to worship Him, command us to live a holy life, lead us to repent our sins, and warn us of future recompense or punishment, proceed from God and are inscribed within us in the form of Common Notions. ...

Revealed truth exists; and it would be unjust to ignore it. But its nature is quite distinct from the truth [based on Common Notions] ... [T]he truth of revelation depends upon the authority of him who reveals it. We must, then, proceed with great care in discerning what actually is revealed.... [W]e must take great care to avoid deception, for men who are depressed, superstitious, or ignorant of causes are always liable to it. ... Elysian redirects here. ... Metempsychosis is a doctrine among some followers of Eastern teachings which expresses the theory of transmigration, that the human spirit may incarnate from one body to another, either human, animal, or inanimate, which is very different from the doctrine of reincarnation, which holds that man is an evolving being progressing...

Lord Herbert of Cherbury , De Veritate, quoted in Gay, Deism: An Anthology, pp. 29 ff.

According to Gay, Herbert had relatively few followers, and it was not until the 1680s that Herbert found a true successor in Charles Blount (1654–1693). Blount made one special contribution to the Deist debate: "by utilizing his wide classical learning, Blount demonstrated how to use pagan writers, and pagan ideas, against Christianity. ... Other Deists were to follow his lead."[21] Charles Blount, 1st Earl of Devon and 8th Baron Mountjoy (1563 - April 3, 1606) served as Lord Deputy and as Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland during the Elizabethan and Jacobean eras. ...


John Locke

The publication of John Locke's An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1689, but dated 1690) marks a major turning point in the history of Deism. Since Herbert's De Veritate, innate ideas had been the foundation of Deist epistemology. Locke's famous attack on innate ideas in the first book of the Essay effectively destroyed that foundation and replaced it with a theory of knowledge based on experience. Innatist Deism was replaced by empiricist Deism. This article is about John Locke, the English philosopher. ... In philosophy and psychology, an innate idea is a concept or item of knowledge which is said to be universal to all humanity — that is, something people are born with rather than something people have learned through experience. ... It has been suggested that Meta-epistemology be merged into this article or section. ...


Locke himself was not a Deist. He accepted both miracles and revelation, and he regarded miracles as the main proof of revelation.[22]


After Locke, constructive Deism could no longer appeal to innate ideas for justification of its basic tenets such as the existence of God. Instead, under the influence of Locke and Newton, Deists turned to natural theology and to arguments based on experience and Nature: the cosmological argument and the argument from design. Sir Isaac Newton FRS (4 January 1643 – 31 March 1727) [ OS: 25 December 1642 – 20 March 1727][1] was an English physicist, mathematician, astronomer, natural philosopher, and alchemist. ... Natural theology is the knowledge of God accessible to all rational human beings without recourse to any special or supposedly supernatural revelation. ... The cosmological argument is a metaphysical argument for the existence of God, traditionally known as an argument from universal causation, an argument from first cause, and also as an uncaused cause argument. ... A teleological argument (or an argument from design) is an argument for the existence of God based on evidence of design in nature. ...


The flowering of British Deism (1690–1740)

Peter Gay places the zenith of Deism "from the end of the 1690s, when the vehement response to John Toland's Christianity Not Mysterious (1696) started the Deist debate, to the end of the 1740s when the tepid response to Middleton's Free Inquiry signalized its close."[23] John Toland (November 30, 1670 - March 11, 1722) Very little is known about his true origins other than the fact that he was born in Ardagh on the Inishowen Peninsula, a predominantly Catholic and Irish speaking region, in north west Ulster. ... Conyers Middleton (December 27, 1683 - July 28, 1750), English divine, was born at Richmond in Yorkshire. ...

Among the Deists, only Anthony Collins (1676–1729) could claim much philosophical competence; only Conyers Middleton (1683–1750) was a really serious scholar. The best known Deists, notably John Toland (1670–1722) and Matthew Tindal (1656–1733), were talented publicists, clear without being deep, forceful but not subtle. ... Others, like Thomas Chubb (1679–1747), were self-educated freethinkers; a few, like Thomas Woolston (1669–1731), were close to madness. This page is about Anthony Collins the philosopher. ... Conyers Middleton (December 27, 1683 - July 28, 1750), English divine, was born at Richmond in Yorkshire. ... John Toland (November 30, 1670 - March 11, 1722) Very little is known about his true origins other than the fact that he was born in Ardagh on the Inishowen Peninsula, a predominantly Catholic and Irish speaking region, in north west Ulster. ... Matthew Tindal (c. ... Thomas Chubb, 1747 Thomas Chubb, (September 29, 1679 – February 8, 1747), was an English Deist, born near Salisbury. ... Thomas Woolston (1669 - January 21, 1731), English deist, born at Northampton in 1669, the son of a reputable tradesman, entered Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, in 1685, studied theology, took orders and was made a fellow of his college. ...

Peter Gay, Deism: An Anthology[24]

Other prominent British Deists included William Wollastson, Charles Blount, Shaftesbury (who did not think of himself as a Deist, but shared so many attitudes with Deists that Gay calls him "a Deist in fact, if not in name"[25]) and Bolingbroke. William Wollastson (1659-1724) was an English clergyman and a deist. ... Anthony Ashley Cooper, 3rd Earl of Shaftesbury (February 26, 1671 – February 4, 1713), was an English politician, philosopher and writer. ... Henry St John, 1st Viscount Bolingbroke, Baron Saint John Of Lydiard Tregoze and Battersea, (September 16, 1678 – December 12, 1751), was an English statesman and philosopher. ...

After the writings of Woolston and Tindal, English Deism went into slow decline. ... By the 1730s, nearly all the arguments in behalf of Deism ... had been offered and refined; the intellectual caliber of leading Deists was none too impressive; and the opponents of Deism finally mustered some formidable spokesmen. The Deists of these decades, Peter Annet (1693–1769), Thomas Chubb (1679–1747), and Thomas Morgan (?–1743), are of significance to the specialist alone. ... It had all been said before, and better. . Peter Annet (1693-1769), English deist, is said to have been born at Liverpool. ... Thomas Chubb, 1747 Thomas Chubb, (September 29, 1679 – February 8, 1747), was an English Deist, born near Salisbury. ...

Peter Gay, Deism: An Anthology[26]

Matthew Tindal

Especially noteworthy is Matthew Tindal's Christianity as Old as the Creation (1730), which "became, very soon after its publication, the focal center of the Deist controversy. Because almost every argument, quotation, and issue raised for decades can be found here, the work is often termed 'the Deist's Bible'."[27] Following Locke's successful attack on innate ideas, Tindal's "Deist Bible" redefined the foundation of Deist epistemology as knowledge based on experience or human reason. This effectively widened the gap between traditional Christians and what he called "Christian Deists", since this new foundation required that "revealed" truth be validated through human reason. In Christianity as Old as the Creation, Tindal articulated a number of the basic tenets of Deism: Matthew Tindal (c. ...

  • He argued against special revelation: "God designed all Mankind should at all times know, what he wills them to know, believe, profess, and practice; and has given them no other Means for this, but the Use of Reason."

David Hume

David Hume
David Hume

The writings of David Hume are sometimes credited with causing or contributing to the decline of Deism. English Deism, however, was already in decline before Hume's works were published. Furthermore, Hume's writings on religion were not very influential at the time that they were published.[28] Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (825x1000, 91 KB) Found at Web Gallery of Art File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): David Hume Empiricism Allan Ramsay (1713-1784) Category talk:Philosophers User:Primalchaos... Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (825x1000, 91 KB) Found at Web Gallery of Art File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): David Hume Empiricism Allan Ramsay (1713-1784) Category talk:Philosophers User:Primalchaos... David Hume (April 26, 1711 – August 25, 1776)[1] was a Scottish philosopher, economist, and historian. ...


Nevertheless, modern scholars find it interesting to study the implications of his thoughts for Deism.

  • Hume's skepticism about miracles makes him a natural ally of Deism.
  • His skepticism about the validity of natural religion cuts equally against Deism and Deism's opponents, who were also deeply involved in natural theology. But his famous Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion were not published until 1779, by which time Deism had almost vanished in England.

In its implications for Deism, the Natural History of Religion (1757) may be Hume's most interesting work. In it, Hume contends that polytheism, not monotheism, was "the first and most ancient religion of mankind". In addition, contends Hume, the psychological basis of religion is not reason, but fear of the unknown. Natural theology is the knowledge of God accessible to all rational human beings without recourse to any special or supposedly supernatural revelation. ...

The primary religion of mankind arises chiefly from an anxious fear of future events; and what ideas will naturally be entertained of invisible, unknown powers, while men lie under dismal apprehensions of any kind, may easily be conceived. Every image of vengeance, severity, cruelty, and malice must occur, and must augment the ghastliness and horror which oppresses the amazed religionist. ... And no idea of perverse wickedness can be framed, which those terrified devotees do not readily, without scruple, apply to their deity.

David Hume, The Natural History of Religion, section XIII'

As E. Graham Waring observed:[29]

The clear reasonableness of natural religion disappeared before a semi-historical look at what can be known about uncivilized man— "a barbarous, necessitous animal," as Hume termed him. Natural religion, if by that term one means the actual religious beliefs and practices of uncivilized peoples, was seen to be a fabric of superstitions. Primitive man was no unspoiled philosopher, clearly seeing the truth of one God. And the history of religion was not, as the Deists had implied, retrograde; the widespread phenomenon of superstition was caused less by priestly malice than by man's unreason as he confronted his experience.

Experts dispute whether Hume was a Deist, an atheist, or something else. Hume himself was uncomfortable with the terms Deist and atheist, and Hume scholar Paul Russell has argued that the best and safest term for Hume's views is irreligion. For information about the band, see Atheist (band). ... Paul Russell is Professor in Philosophy at the University of British Columbia, where he has been teaching since 1987. ... This section does not cite its references or sources. ...


Continental Deism

Voltaire at age 24
by Nicolas de Largillière

English Deism, in the words of Peter Gay, "travelled well. ... As Deism waned in England, it waxed in France and the German states."[30] Image File history File links 358518. ... Image File history File links 358518. ... Nicolas de Largillière (October 20, 1656 - March 20, 1746), French painter, was born at Paris. ...


France had its own tradition of religious skepticism and natural theology in the works of Montaigne, Bayle, and Montesquieu. The most famous of the French Deists was Voltaire, who acquired a taste for Newtonian science, and reinforcement of Deistic inclinations, during a two-year visit to England starting in 1726. Michel Eyquem de Montaigne (February 28, 1533 - September 13, 1592) was an influential French Renaissance writer, generally considered to be the inventor of the personal essay. ... Pierre Bayle. ... Montesquieu can refer to: Charles de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu Several communes of France: Montesquieu, in the Hérault département Montesquieu, in the Lot-et-Garonne département Montesquieu, in the Tarn-et-Garonne département This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Sir Isaac Newton FRS (4 January 1643 – 31 March 1727) [ OS: 25 December 1642 – 20 March 1727][1] was an English physicist, mathematician, astronomer, natural philosopher, and alchemist. ...


French Deists also included Maximilien Robespierre and Rousseau. For a short period of time during the French Revolution the Cult of the Supreme Being was the state religion of France. Maximilien François Marie Isidore de Robespierre (IPA: ; 6 May 1758 – 28 July 1794) is one of the best-known leaders of the French Revolution. ... Rousseau is a French surname. ... The French Revolution (1789–1815) was a period of political and social upheaval in the political history of France and Europe as a whole, during which the French governmental structure, previously an absolute monarchy with feudal privileges for the aristocracy and Catholic clergy, underwent radical change to forms based on... The Cult of the Supreme Being was a religion based on deism created by Maximilien Robespierre, intended to become the state religion after the French Revolution. ...


Kant's identification with Deism is controversial. An argument in favor of Kant as Deist is Alan Wood's "Kant's Deism," in P. Rossi and M. Wreen (eds.), Kant's Philosophy of Religion Re-examined (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1991); an argument against Kant as Deist is Stephen Palmquist's "Kant's Theistic Solution". Immanuel Kant Immanuel Kant (April 22, 1724 – February 12, 1804) was a Prussian philosopher, generally regarded as one of Europes most influential thinkers and the last major philosopher of the Enlightenment. ...


Deism in America

Thomas Paine
Thomas Paine

In America, Enlightenment philosophy (which itself was heavily inspired by Deist ideals) played a major role in creating the principle of separation of church and state, expressed in the religious freedom clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution. Founding Fathers who were especially noted for being influenced by such philosophy include Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Cornelius Harnett, Gouverneur Morris, and Hugh Williamson. Although these men were members of traditional Christian denominations (Hugh Williamson was a Presbyterian and the rest were Episcopalians), their political speeches show distinct Deistic influence. Other notable Founding Fathers may have been more directly Deist. These include Ethan Allen[31] and Thomas Paine (who published The Age of Reason, a treatise that helped to popularize Deism throughout America and Europe). Elihu Palmer (1764-1806) wrote the "Bible" of American Deism in his Principles of Nature (1801) and attempted to organize Deism by forming the "Deistical Society of New York." radical thinker! File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... radical thinker! File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Thomas Jefferson (13 April 1743 N.S.–4 July 1826) was the third President of the United States (1801–09), the principal author of the Declaration of Independence (1776), and one of the most influential Founding Fathers for his promotion of the ideals of Republicanism in the United States. ... Benjamin Franklin (January 17 [O.S. January 6] 1706 – April 17, 1790) was one of the most well known Founding Fathers of the United States. ... Cornelius Harnett (April 20, 1723–April 28, 1781) was a American merchant, farmer, and statesman from Wilmington, North Carolina. ... Gouverneur Morris Gouverneur Morris (January 31, 1752 – November 8, 1816) was an American statesman who represented Pennsylvania in the Constitutional Convention of 1787 and was author of large sections of the Constitution of the United States. ... Hugh Williamson Hugh Williamson (December 5, 1735–May 22, 1819) was an American politician. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Thomas Paine (Thetford, England, 29 January 1737 – 8 June 1809, New York City, USA) was a pamphleteer, revolutionary, radical, and intellectual. ... For the 18th Century intellectual and scientific movement, see The Age of Enlightenment. ... This article or section contains information that has not been verified and thus might not be reliable. ...


Currently (as of 2007) there is an ongoing controversy in the United States over whether or not America was founded as a "Christian nation" based on Judeo-Christian ideals. This has spawned a subsidiary controversy over whether the Founding Fathers were Christians or Deists or something in between.[32] Particularly heated is the debate over the beliefs of Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington, for some of whom the evidence is mixed.[33] However, Benjamin Franklin wrote in his autobiography, "Some books against Deism fell into my hands; they were said to be the substance of sermons preached at Boyle's lectures. It happened that they wrought an effect on me quite contrary to what was intended by them; for the arguments of the Deists, which were quoted to be refuted, appeared to me much stronger than the refutations; in short, I soon became a thorough Deist. My arguments perverted some others, particularly Collins and Ralph; but each of them having afterwards wrong'd me greatly without the least compunction, and recollecting Keith's conduct towards me (who was another freethinker) and my own towards Vernon and Miss Read, which at times gave me great trouble, I began to suspect that this doctrine, tho' it might be true, was not very useful."[34] In a letter written towards the end of his life Franklin expressed interest in Christianity though he stated that prior to this he had been uninterested in Religion. Benjamin Franklin (January 17 [O.S. January 6] 1706 – April 17, 1790) was one of the most well known Founding Fathers of the United States. ... Thomas Jefferson (13 April 1743 N.S.–4 July 1826) was the third President of the United States (1801–09), the principal author of the Declaration of Independence (1776), and one of the most influential Founding Fathers for his promotion of the ideals of Republicanism in the United States. ... George Washington (February 22, 1732 – December 14, 1799)[1] led Americas Continental Army to victory over Britain in the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), and in 1789 was elected the first President of the United States of America. ... Benjamin Franklin (January 17 [O.S. January 6] 1706 – April 17, 1790) was one of the most well known Founding Fathers of the United States. ...


The waning of Deism

Deism is generally considered to have died out as an influential school of thought by around 1800. It is probably more accurate, however, to say that Deism evolved into, and contributed to, other religious movements. The term Deist fell into disuse, but Deist ideas and influences did not. They can be seen in 19th-century liberal British theology and in the rise of Unitarianism, which adopted many of its ideas. Even today, there are a significant number of Deist Web sites. Topics in Christianity Movements · Denominations Ecumenism · Preaching · Prayer Music · Liturgy · Calendar Symbols · Art · Criticism Important figures Apostle Paul · Church Fathers Constantine · Athanasius · Augustine Anselm · Aquinas · Palamas · Luther Calvin · Wesley Arius · Marcion of Sinope Archbishop of Canterbury · Catholic Pope Coptic Pope · Ecumenical Patriarch Christianity Portal This box:      Unitarianism is the belief... For other uses, see Ceremonial Deism. ...


Several factors contributed to a general decline in the popularity of Deism, including:

  • the writings of David Hume and Immanuel Kant (and later, Charles Darwin), which increased doubt about the first cause argument and the argument from design, turning many (though not all) potential Deists towards atheism or panendeism
  • loss of confidence that reason and rationalism could solve all problems
  • criticisms of excesses of the French Revolution
  • criticisms that Deism was not significantly distinct from pantheism and then that pantheism was not significantly different from atheism
  • criticisms that freethought would lead inevitably to atheism
  • frustration with the determinism implicit in "This is the best of all possible worlds"
  • the fact that Deism remained a personal philosophy and never became an organized movement (was, in fact, inconsistent with having an organized movement, compared with organized religions)
  • an anti-Deist and anti-reason campaign by some Christian clergymen to vilify Deism and equate it with atheism in public opinion
  • Christian revivalist movements which taught that a more personal relationship with a deity was possible

David Hume (April 26, 1711 – August 25, 1776)[1] was a Scottish philosopher, economist, and historian. ... “Kant” redirects here. ... For other people of the same surname, and places and things named after Charles Darwin, see Darwin. ... Categories: Wikipedia cleanup | Stub | Philosophy of science | Religious Philosophy | Theology ... A teleological argument (or an argument from design) is an argument for the existence of God based on evidence of design in nature. ... “Atheist” redirects here. ... Panendeism is simply Deism together with the belief that the universe is a part of God, but not all of God. ... For other uses, see Reason (disambiguation). ... In epistemology and in its broadest sense, rationalism is any view appealing to reason as a source of knowledge or justification (Lacey 286). ... The French Revolution (1789–1815) was a period of political and social upheaval in the political history of France and Europe as a whole, during which the French governmental structure, previously an absolute monarchy with feudal privileges for the aristocracy and Catholic clergy, underwent radical change to forms based on... Pantheism (Greek: πάν ( pan ) = all and θεός ( theos ) = God) literally means God is All and All is God. It is the view that everything is of an all-encompassing immanent abstract God; or that the universe, or nature, and God are equivalent. ... “Atheist” redirects here. ... Freethought is a philosophical viewpoint that holds that beliefs should be formed on the basis of science and logical principles and not be compromised by authority, tradition, or any other dogma. ... “Atheist” redirects here. ... Determinism is the philosophical proposition that every event, including human cognition and behavior, decision and action, is causally determined by an unbroken chain of prior occurrences. ...

Deism today

Contemporary Deism attempts to integrate classical Deism with modern philosophy and the current state of scientific knowledge. This attempt has produced a wide variety of personal beliefs under the broad classification/category of belief of "Deism". The Modern Deism Web site includes one list of the unofficial tenets of modern deism.


Classical Deism held that a human's relationship with God was impersonal: God created the world and set it in motion but does not actively intervene in individual human affairs but rather through Divine Providence. What this means is that God will give humanity such things as reason and compassion but this applies to all and not individual intervention. Italic text This article does not cite any references or sources. ... In theology, Divine Providence, or simply Providence, is the sovereignty, superintendence, or agency of God over events in peoples lives and throughout history. ...


Some modern Deists have modified this classical view and believe that humanity's relationship with God is transpersonal which means that God transcends the personal/impersonal duality and moves beyond such human terms. Also, this means that it makes no sense to state that God intervenes or does not intervene as that is a human characteristic which God does not contain. Modern Deists believe that they must continue what the classial Deists started and continue to use modern human knowledge to come to understand God which in turn is why a human-like God that can lead to numerous contradictions and inconsistencies is no longer believed in and has been replaced with a much more abstract conception. The term Transpersonal is often used to refer to psychological categories that transcend the normal features of ordinary ego-functioning. ...


A modern definition has been created and provided by WUD that provides a modern understanding of Deism:


"Deism is the recognition of a universal creative force greater than that demonstrated by mankind, supported by personal observation of laws and designs in nature and the universe, perpetuated and validated by the innate ability of human reason coupled with the rejection of claims made by individuals and organized religions of having received special divine revelation."


Because Deism accepts God without accepting claims of divine revelation, it appeals to people from both ends of the religious spectrum. Antony Flew, for example, is a convert from atheism, and Raymond Fontaine[2] was a Roman Catholic priest for over 20 years. William Veader is another well-known Deist. Antony Flew. ...


Category of Belief

Deism, like Theism, is a category of belief rather than a religion.


A Category of Belief is a basic theological position taken by an individual. Theism is a faith based belief in a God while atheism is either absence of belief that deities exist or a rejection of such belief. “Atheist” redirects here. ...


Now, before going further, the reason that Theism and Deism are different categories is because of how Theism and Deism see God. Theism sees God as a being that has a personal relationship with existence while Deism sees God as a non-being that has a transpersonal relationship with God (which is to say that God transcends the personal/impersonal duality).


There are four types of Categories of Belief and they are Theism, Deism, Atheism and Agnosticism. Next comes the Sub-category of Belief which is how one sees God(s) and these are Mono, Pan, Panen and Poly. After this we get Religion which is when principles and creeds are introduced to the belief system but the institution has not been created yet. The institution comes with the formation of a Denomination and then finally a Community is formed when a group develops around the institution. Look up denomination in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... A community is a social group of organisms sharing an environment, normally with shared interests. ...


A general breakdown would look like this:


Category of Belief - Sub-Category of Belief - Religion (principles and creeds) - Denomination (institution)- Community (fellowship)


Here are comparison examples of Theism vs Deism:


Theism - Monotheist - Christianity - United Methodism - Anytown United Methodist Church


Deism - PanenDeist - None Exists - None Exists - Internet Discussion Forum


Unlike Theism, Deism has no Religions nor Denomination as of yet and may never. However, each Deist like each Theist must develop their own beliefs within the context of the Transpersonal God.


This is why there is so much diversity within Deism as it is not a religion but a category of belief.


Modern Deism on the Web

In 1993, Robert L. Johnson established the first Deist organization since the days of Thomas Paine and Elihu Palmer with the World Union of Deists. The WUD offered the monthly hardcopy publication THINK!. Currently the WUD offers two online Deist publications, THINKonline! and Deistic Thought & Action! As well as using the Internet for spreading the Deist message, the WUD is also conducting a direct mail campaign.


1996 saw the first Web site dedicated to Deism with the WUD site www.deism.com . From this effort, many other Deist sites and discussion groups have appeared on the Internet such as Positive Deism, Deist Info, Modern Deism and many others. In the last few years, the Deist Alliance was created so that many of the sites on the internet could come together to support each other and advocate Deism. The Deist Alliance has its own quarterly newsletter that is written by members and readers.


Panendeism

Panendeism combines Deism with panentheism, the belief that the universe is part of God, but not all of God. The term was purportedly coined in late 2000 by Larry Copling in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, although some earlier uses have been spotted. For example, a 1995 news article quotes this use of the term by Jim Garvin, a Vietnam vet who became a Trappist monk in the Holy Cross Abbey[3] of Berryville, Virginia, and went on to lead the economic development of Phoenix, Arizona. Garvin described his spiritual position as "'pandeism' or 'pan-en-deism,' something very close to the Native American concept of the all- pervading Great Spirit..."[35] Panentheism (from Greek (pân) all; (en) in; ; and (Theós) god; all-in-God) is the theological position that God is immanent within the Universe, but also transcends it. ... Fort Lauderdale, known as the Venice of America, is a city located in Broward County, Florida. ... Official language(s) English Capital Tallahassee Largest city Jacksonville Largest metro area Miami metropolitan area Area  Ranked 22nd  - Total 65,795[1] sq mi (170,304[1] km²)  - Width 361 miles (582 km)  - Length 447 miles (721 km)  - % water 17. ... Year 1995 (MCMXCV) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display full 1995 Gregorian calendar). ... James D. Garvin (born February 5, 1950) is a retired American basketball player. ... Vietnam veteran is a phrase used to describe someone who served in the armed forces of participating countries during the Vietnam War. ... Trappist can refer to: a religious order - see Trappists some of the products, made by the order - see Trappist beer This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ... St. ... Berryville is a small main street community located in Clarke County, Virginia. ... Nickname: Location in Maricopa County and the state of Arizona Coordinates: , Country United States State Arizona Counties Maricopa Incorporated February 25, 1881 Government  - Type Council-Manager  - Mayor Phil Gordon (D) Area  - City  515. ... Pandeism (Greek πάν, pan = all and Latin deus = God, in the sense of deism), is a term used at various times to describe religious beliefs. ... Native Americans in the United States are the indigenous peoples from the regions of North America now encompassed by the continental United States, including parts of Alaska. ... The Great Spiritpoo is a conception of a supreme being prevalent among Native American and First Nations cultures. ...


Copling coinage came while developing a more Deistic interpretation of the panentheistic approach to understanding the Divine. The term was first published on Copling's website,[4] in early 2001. A more complete description of the concept was later made available via an article published on Copling's personal website ([5]) in 2004. The original ideology known as "PanenDeism", as outlined by the writings of Larry Copling, continues in its present development.


Pandeism

Pandeism combines Deism with Pantheism, the belief that the universe is identical to God. Pandeism holds that God was a conscious and sentient force or entity that designed and created the universe, which operates by mechanisms set forth in the creation. God thus became an unconscious and nonresponsive being by becoming the universe. Other than this distinction (and the possibility that the Universe will one day return to the state of being God), pandeistic beliefs are identical to Deist. The term, pandeism, was coined in 1859 by German philosophers and frequent collaborators Moritz Lazarus and Heymann Steinthal in Zeitschrift für Völkerpsychologie und Sprachwissenschaft. They wrote: Pandeism (Greek πάν, pan = all and Latin deus = God, in the sense of deism), is a term used at various times to describe religious beliefs. ... Pantheism (Greek: πάν ( pan ) = all and θεός ( theos ) = God) literally means God is All and All is God. It is the view that everything is of an all-encompassing immanent abstract God; or that the universe, or nature, and God are equivalent. ... This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ... Heymann/Hermann Steinthal, German philologist and philosopher; born at Gröbzig, Anhalt, May 16, 1823; died at Berlin March 14, 1899. ...

Man stelle es also den Denkern frei, ob sie Theisten, Pan-theisten, Atheisten, Deisten (und warum nicht auch Pandeisten?)[36]

This is translated as:

Man leaves it to the philosophers, whether they are Theists, Pan-theists, Atheists, Deists (and why not also Pandeists?)

In the 1960s, theologian Charles Hartshorne scrupulously examined and rejected both deism and pandeism (as well as pantheism) in favor of a God whose characteristics included "absolute perfection in some respects, relative perfection in all others" or "AR", writing that this theory "is able consistently to embrace all that is positive in either deism or pandeism", concluding that "panentheistic doctrine contains all of deism and pandeism except their arbitrary negations".[37] Charles Hartshorne (June 5, 1897 – October 9, 2000) was a prominent philosopher who concentrated primarily on the philosophy of religion and metaphysics. ...


Opinions about the nature of God

Modern Deists hold a wide range of views on the nature of God and God's relationship to the world. The common area of agreement is the desire to use reason, experience, and nature as the basis of belief.


There are a number of subcategories of modern Deist, including Spiritual Deism, Monodeism, Pandeism, Process Deism, Christian Deism, Scientific Deism, Humanistic Deism. Some Deists see design in nature and purpose in the universe and in their lives (Prime Designer). Others see God and the universe in a co-creative process (Prime Motivator). Some Deists view God in classical terms and see God as observing humanity but not directly intervening in our lives (Prime Observer), while others see God as a subtle and persuasive spirit (Prime Mover). For other uses, see Ceremonial Deism. ... Pandeism (Greek πάν, pan = all and Latin deus = God, in the sense of deism), is a term used at various times to describe religious beliefs. ...


Opinions about prayer

Many classical Deists were critical of some types of prayer. For example, in Christianity as Old as the Creation, Matthew Tindal argues against praying for miracles, but advocates prayer as both a human duty and a human need. External link to portion of text Matthew Tindal (c. ...


Today, Deists hold a variety of opinions about prayer:

  • Some contemporary Deists believe (with the classical Deists) that God has created the universe perfectly, so no amount of supplication, request, or begging can change the fundamental nature of the universe.
  • Some Deists believe that God is not an entity that can be contacted by human beings through petitions for relief; rather, God can only be experienced through the nature of the universe.
  • Some Deists do not believe in divine intervention but still find value in prayer as a form of meditation, self-cleansing, and spiritual renewal. Such prayers are often appreciative (i.e., "Thank you for ...") rather than supplicative (i.e., "Please God grant me ...").[6]
  • Some Deists, usually referred to as Spiritual Deists, practice meditation and make frequent use of Affirmative Prayer, a non-supplicative form of prayer which is common in the New Thought movement. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Spiritual_Deism

Alexander Pope, generally considered to have Deistic sympathies, composed a poem he called "The Universal Prayer.[7] This article does not cite any references or sources. ...


Albert Einstein, had a kind of Deistic view. [8] “Einstein” redirects here. ...


See also

This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ... The cosmological argument is a metaphysical argument for the existence of God, traditionally known as an argument from universal causation, an argument from first cause, and also as an uncaused cause argument. ... Theistic evolution, or the less common term, Evolutionary Creationism, is the general belief that some or all classical religious teachings about God and creation are compatible with some or all of the scientific theory of evolution. ... Freethought is a philosophical viewpoint that holds that beliefs should be formed on the basis of science and logical principles and not be compromised by authority, tradition, or any other dogma. ... George Washington (February 22, 1732 – December 14, 1799)[1] led Americas Continental Army to victory over Britain in the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), and in 1789 was elected the first President of the United States of America. ... Infinitism is a theory in epistemology, the branch of philosophy that treats of the possibility, nature, and means of knowledge. ... This is a partial list of people who have been categorized as deists, the belief in a God based on natural religion only, or belief in religious truths discovered by people through a process of reasoning, independent of any revelation through scripture or prophets. ... This is a list of the religious affiliations of Presidents of the United States. ...

References

  1. ^ Orr, John (1934). English Deism: Its Roots and Its Fruits. Eerdmans, p. 13. 
  2. ^ See the article on the history of Deism in the online Dictionary of the History of Ideas.
  3. ^ Reill, Peter Hanns; Ellen Judy Wilson title = Encyclopedia of the Enlightenment (1996). {{{title}}}. Facts On File, article: Deism. 
  4. ^ The discussion of the background of Deism is based on the excellent summary in "The Challenge of the Seventeenth Century" in The Historical Jesus Question by Gregory W. Dawes (Westminster: John Knox Press, 2001). Good discussions of individual Deist writers can be found in The Seventeenth Century Background and The Eighteenth Century Background by Basil Willey.
  5. ^ "Windows into China", John Parker, p.25, ISBN 0890730504
  6. ^ "The Eastern origins of Western civilization", John Hobson, p194-195, ISBN 0521547245
  7. ^ Waring, E. Graham (1967). Deism and Natural Religion: A Source Book, Introduction, p. xv. 
  8. ^ Willey, Basil (1940). The Eighteenth Century Background, p. 11. 
  9. ^ Gay, Peter (1968). Deism: An Anthology. Van Nostrand, pp. 114 ff.. 
  10. ^ Waring, E. Graham (1967). Deism and Natural Religion: A Source Book, p. 113. 
  11. ^ Quoted in Deism and Natural Religion: A Source Book, pp. 1–12
  12. ^ Some mysteries are "above" reason rather than "contrary" to it. This was Locke's position.
  13. ^ Note the reference to Descartes' "clear and distinct ideas"
  14. ^ Note the reference to Lord Herbert of Cherbury's "common notions"
  15. ^ Waring, E. Graham (1967). Deism and Natural Religion: A Source Book, p. 163. 
  16. ^ Orr, John (1934). English Deism: Its Roots and Its Fruits. Eerdmans, p. 137. 
  17. ^ Orr, John (1934). English Deism: Its Roots and Its Fruits. Eerdmans, p. 134. 
  18. ^ Orr, John (1934). English Deism: Its Roots and Its Fruits. Eerdmans, p. 78. 
  19. ^ Willey, Basil (1934). The Seventeenth Century Background. 
  20. ^ Orr, John (1934). English Deism: Its Roots and Its Fruits, p.59 ff.. 
  21. ^ Gay, Peter (1968). Deism: An Anthology. Van Nostrand, pp. 47-48. 
  22. ^ Orr, John (1934). English Deism: Its Roots and Its Fruits. Eerdmans, pp. 96-99. 
  23. ^ Gay, Peter (1968). Deism: An Anthology. Van Nostrand, pp. 9-10. 
  24. ^ Gay, Peter (1968). Deism: An Anthology. Van Nostrand, pp. 9-10. 
  25. ^ Gay, Peter (1968). Deism: An Anthology. Van Nostrand, pp. 78-79. 
  26. ^ Gay, Peter (1968). Deism: An Anthology. Van Nostrand, p. 140. 
  27. ^ Waring, E. Graham (1967). Deism and Natural Religion: A Source Book, p. 107. 
  28. ^ Orr, John (1934). English Deism: Its Roots and Its Fruits. Eerdmans, p. 173. 
  29. ^ Waring, E. Graham (1967). Deism and Natural Religion: A Source Book, Introduction, p. xv. 
  30. ^ Gay, Peter (1968). Deism: An Anthology. Van Nostrand, p. 143. 
  31. ^ See: this
  32. ^ This andThis demonstrate this controversy well. David L. Holmes's The Faiths of the Founding Fathers is a recent study of the subject.
  33. ^ Founding Fathers Religion page at www.adherents.com.
  34. ^ As to whether George Washington was a Deist or not, see this Washington Post book review of two books on the subject. For Jefferson's Deism, see this article; and for Franklin, see Kerry S. Walters, Benjamin Franklin and His Gods (University of Illinois Press, 1999) and also this except from Benjamin Franklin: An American Life by Walter Isaacson.
  35. ^ Albuquerque Journal, Saturday, November 11, 1995, B-10.
  36. ^ Moritz Lazarus and Heymann Steinthal, Zeitschrift für Völkerpsychologie und Sprachwissenschaft (1859), p. 262.
  37. ^ Charles Hartshorne, Man's Vision of God and the Logic of Theism (1964) p. 348 ISBN 0-208-00498-X.

[34] for extended quote, see Franklin's autobiography in Benjamin Franklin: Autobiography, Poor Richard, and Later Writings, page 619 (The Library of America, copyright 1997 by Library Classics of the United States) with older sources in the public domain Basil Willey (1897-?) was a professor of English literature at Cambridge University and a prolific author of well-written and scholarly works on English literature and intellectual history. ... Charles Hartshorne (June 5, 1897 – October 9, 2000) was a prominent philosopher who concentrated primarily on the philosophy of religion and metaphysics. ...


Bibliography

Today, the most accessible statement of Deism is Thomas Paine's book The Age of Reason (1795). It is short, readable, and witty. It is still in print and is also downloadable in electronic format from various Web sites. Thomas Paine (Thetford, England, 29 January 1737 – 8 June 1809, New York City, USA) was a pamphleteer, revolutionary, radical, and intellectual. ... For the 18th Century intellectual and scientific movement, see The Age of Enlightenment. ... For the 18th Century intellectual and scientific movement, see The Age of Enlightenment. ...


The best recent study of English Deism is:

  • The Radical Rhetoric of the English Deists: The Discourse of Skepticism, 1680-1750 by James A. Herrick (University of South Carolina Press, 1997)

Important discussions of Deism can be found in:

  • English Deism: Its Roots and Its Fruits by John Orr (1934)
  • European Thought in the Eighteenth Century by Paul Hazard (1946, English translation 1954)
  • A History of English Thought in the Eighteenth Century by Sir Leslie Stephen, 2 volumes (1876, 3rd ed. 1902)
  • A History of Freethought: Ancient and modern, to the period of the French revolution by John Mackinnon Robertson (1915)

Other studies of Deism include: Paul Hazard (1878–1944), is a French scholar and historian of ideas. ... Sir Leslie Stephen (November 28, 1832 – February 22, 1904) was an English author and critic, the father of two famous daughters, Virginia Woolf and Vanessa Bell. ... John Mackinnon Robertson (14 November 1856 - 5 January 1933) was a prolific journalist, advocate of rationalism and secularism, and Liberal MP for Tyneside from 1906 to 1918. ...

  • Early Deism in France: From the so-called 'deistes' of Lyon (1564) to Voltaire's 'Lettres philosophiques' (1734) by C. J. Betts (Martinus Nijhoff, 1984)
  • The Seventeenth Century Background: Studies on the Thought of the Age in Relation to Poetry and Religion by Basil Willey (1934)
  • The Eighteenth Century Background: Studies on the Idea of Nature in the Thought of the Period by Basil Willey (1940)
  • Simon Tyssot de Patot and the Seventeenth-Century Background of Critical Deism by David Rice McKee (Johns Hopkins Press, 1941)
  • The Historical Argument for the Resurrection of Jesus During the Deist Controversy by William Lane Craig (Edwin Mellen, 1985)

Anthologies of Deist writings include: Basil Willey (1897-?) was a professor of English literature at Cambridge University and a prolific author of well-written and scholarly works on English literature and intellectual history. ... Basil Willey (1897-?) was a professor of English literature at Cambridge University and a prolific author of well-written and scholarly works on English literature and intellectual history. ...

  • Deism: An Anthology by Peter Gay (Van Nostrand, 1968)
  • Deism and Natural Religion: A Source Book by E. Graham Waring (Frederick Ungar, 1967)

Peter Gay (June 20, 1923-), a Jewish American historian of the social history of ideas, born in Berlin as Peter Joachim Fröhlich . ...

External links

Look up Deism in
Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
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Deism

Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... Wiktionary (a portmanteau of wiki and dictionary) is a multilingual, Web-based project to create a free content dictionary, available in over 150 languages. ... Image File history File links This is a lossless scalable vector image. ... Wikiquote is a sister project of Wikipedia, using the same MediaWiki software. ...

Informational Links

Early History of Deism

  • An Account of the Growth of Deism in England by William Stephens, London: Printed for the Author, MDCXCVI, at the DCL.

Works by Thomas Paine

Deism Advocacy on the Web


  Results from FactBites:
 
Deism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (2704 words)
Deism is a religious movement that originated in 17th and 18th century Europe and North America and continues in a mostly similar form today.
Deism is a religious philosophy and methodology that asserts the existence of one God or supreme being.
Deism is generally considered to have died out as an influential school of thought by around 1800.
Deism - LoveToKnow 1911 (4660 words)
Deism was one of the results, and is an important link in the chain of thought from the Reformation to our own day.
The negative side of deism came to the front, and, communicated with fatal facility, seems ultimately to have constituted the deism that was commonly professed at the clubs of the wits and the tea-tables of polite society.
It was assumed by deists in debating against the orthodox, that the flood of error in the hostile camp was due to the benevolent cunning or deliberate self-seeking of unscrupulous men, supported by the ignorant with the obstinacy of prejudice.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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