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'''Deism''' is the religious combination of the intuition of the [[transcendence]] of God and the belief that God created the universe and then abandoned itcannot, assuming no control over lifeor, exerting no influence on natural phenomenaat least, and giving no supernatural revelationdoes not, interact with, nor otherwise involve Himself in, the Creation.<ref>American Heritage DictionaryDeism is contrasted with [[pantheism]], 4th edition</ref>in that pantheism is the combination of belief in an omnipresent Creator God and the belief that God's [[omnipresence]] implies that God ''is'' the Creation.
In its typical modern mildest form, deism Deism is anti-nearly equivalent to a belief that no one can truly know whether there is a God or not ([[Christianagnosticism]]). In its strongest form, as it denies the divinity Deism is a systematic religion of [[Jesus Christ]]rejecting all claims to a personal, or otherwise involved, rejects the bible (and all other texts) as God's scripture, and denies his signs and miracles to men. It lacks any coherent morality, and an excuse to claim to be religious while engaging in immoral liberal activity. Thus it that God is a favorite supposed incapable, by His transcendence, of [[liberals]] who do not want to be branded any kind of interaction with atheismthe Creation.
In its typical modern form, deism is anti-[[Christian]], as it denies the divinity of [[Jesus Christ]], rejects the Bible (and all other texts) as God's scripture, and denies his signs and miracles to men. It lacks any coherent morality, and is an excuse to claim to be religious while engaging in immoral activity. Thus it is a favorite of [[liberals]] who do not want to be branded with atheism. Deism is also only a short step away from [[atheism]], and deistic beliefs often create a slippery slope to atheism{{fact}}. This is a common tactic of atheist evangelists: first convince a Christian that God has left the world alone, and then deny the necessity of God. They Atheism and Deism are , for the most part, morally and cosmologically equivalent, given God's presumed inactionof any moral and cosmological revelation, an exception being that Atheism more easily permits worship of man by man while Deism holds that God is greater than man.
== Origins ==
In ancient times, [[Aristotle]] was a deist as is evident from his arguments for a ''prime mover'' in his writing, ''Metaphysics''. Even though the word ''deism'' was not yet coined, he still believed what deists believe: that God exists and is knowable through natural reason.<ref></ref> The founder of the offshoot of that found a place in [[England]] during the [[Reformation]] and reached the colonies was [[Lord Herbert of Cherbury]]. <ref></ref> He came up with 5 essentials of Deism which are "(1) a belief in the existence of the Deity, (2) the obligation to reverence such a power, (3) the identification of worship with practical morality, (4) the obligation to repent of sin and to abandon it, and, (5) divine recompense in this world and the next".<ref></ref>. This was a rather odd variant mixing in many Christian virtues without Jesus, and rather foreign to traditional Deism.
Dictionaries' definitions of '''deism''' include:
Matthew Tindal is generally credited with the modern incarnation of Deism and that practiced by the Founding Fathers who were Deists. "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."
Deism would enjoy a brief rise in the Western world through the 1800s, but by the early 20th century, it was on the decline. The Unitarian movement would absorb most of it's its teachings and eventually produce the Unitarian Universalists. Deism today is a mixed bag without dogma or teachings beyond the idea that one should employ Reason to understand the universe. As a result, Deists who believe in Divine Intervention, Intelligent Design, and many other ideas that would have been alien to the earlier Deists are now around.
==Deism and the Founding Fathers==
While almost all of the Founding Fathers were devout Christians{{fact}}, some it is believed were deists, at least according to some definitions of the term. ==Paine==
A famous deist in early American history was the Englishman [[Thomas Paine]], who espoused deism and popularized the term in his book [[The Age of Reason]]. It is believed this had an influence on deism in the colonies. [[Benjamin Franklin]] wrote in his autobiography about an earlier period in his life,
<blockquote>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.</blockquote>
Franklin later repudiated many of his earlier views and he believed in a God that "ought to be worshiped," and at the [[Constitutional Convention]] less than three years from his death [[Benjamin Franklin]] advocated public prayer. He praised [[Christianity]], but his letter to Ezra Stiles a month before his death was noncommittal as to the divinity of Jesus: <blockquote>"As to [[Jesus]] of [[Nazareth]], my opinion of whom you particularly desire, I think the system of Morals and His Religion as he left them to us, is the best the world ever saw, or is likely to see.. I have, with most of the present Dissenters in England, some doubt as to his Divinity; tho' it is a question I need not dogmatize upon, having never studied it, and think it needless to busy myself with it now, when I expect Soon an opportunity of knowing the Truth with less trouble. I see no harm in its being believed, if that belief has good consequences, as probably it has, of making his Doctrines more respected and better observed."</blockquote>
Another [[Founding Father]] described ==George Washington==The leading Founder of the United States, George Washington, has been claimed as a deist was [[Thomas Jefferson]]. Jefferson personally struggled with during the divinity of Christ and produced an edited version of past forty years, despite written evidence to the Gospelscontrary, later known both in Washington's writings as well as the writings of his contemporaries. An Episcopalian, Washington rented church pews in various cities and acted as usher; the pew Washington rented at St. Paul's Chapel in New York City is still preserved.<ref></ref> The tenents of his church during the 18th and 19th centuries were such that outward displays of [[Jefferson Biblepiety]]and religiosity were avoided, which contained only <ref>Novak, pg 12</ref> in keeping with the moral and ethical teachings Christian practice of Jesus Matthew 6:5: ''"And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and omitted third-person accounts in the corners of his life, particularly the accounts streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward."'' (King James Version). Anglican manners seek a "middle ground", which for all intents and purposes was a path that would find the miraclesleast devisiveness, to avoid or give offense, to keep the peace, and yet to keep space open for shared ideas.<ref>Novak, pg. 12</ref> The rules for a "gentleman" stated that a "devout" man kept his devotion restrained in public; Washington himself was described by witnesses and biographers as such a man, one who kept his religion and beliefs private.
Ten years from But when Washington did speak of religion and his death Jefferson stated thatfaith, he strongly indicated which faith he was talking about. In May, 1789, he sent a letter to the General Assembly of Presbyterian Churches: <blockquote>:''"[The Jefferson Bible] show that While I am a real Christian, reiterate the professions of my dependence upon Heaven as the source of all public and private blessings; I will observe that the general prevalence of piety; philanthropy, honesty, industry, and economy seems, in the ordinary course of human affairs, particularly necessary for advancing and conforming the happiness of our country. While all men within our territories and protected in worshipping the Deity according to the dictates of their consciences; it is rationally to saybe expected from them in return, a disciple that they will be emulous of evincing the doctrines sanctity of Jesus, very different from their professions by the Platonistsinnocence of their lives and the beneficence of their actions; for no man, who call me infidelis profligate in his morals, and themselves Christians and preachers or a bad member of the gospelcivil community, while they draw all their characteristic dogmas from what its Author never said nor sawcan possibly be a true Christian, or a credit to his own religious society."''<ref>Jefferson, Letter to Charles Thomson, January 9, 1815<http:/ref>/</blockquoteref>
The closer Jefferson approached his deathOn May 12, 1779, while in the more Christian midst of the [[American Revolution]], Washington [[George Washington's Speech to the Delaware Chiefs|gave a speech]] to the Delaware Chiefs in which he appearedgave the following advice::''"Brothers: I am glad you have brought three of the Children of your principal Chiefs to be educated with us. He read I am sure Congress will open the Bible daily Arms of love to them, and will look upon them as their own Children, and will have them educated accordingly. This is a great mark of your confidence and of your desire to preserve the friendship between the Two Nations to the end grew near. His grandson described Jefferson as follows:<ref>Thomas Jefferson Randolphof time, undated letter and to biographer Henry Sbecome One people with your Brethren of the United States. Randall, reprinted in Masfield et alMy ears hear with pleasure the other matters you mention.Congress will be glad to hear them too. You do well to wish to learn our arts and ways of life, ''The Real Thomas Jefferson''and above all, pthe religion of Jesus Christ. 321These will make you a greater and happier people than you are.</ref>Congress will do every thing they can to assist you in this wise intention; and to tie the knot of friendship and union so fast, that nothing shall ever be able to loose it."''
:He was regular in his attendance *"[at[George Washington|Washington] church] cannot be called a Deist — at least, taking not in a sense that excludes his prayer book with himbeing Christian. He drew Although he did most often address God in the plan proper names a Deist might use — such as "Author of all the Episcopal church in Charlottesville, good that was one , that is, or that will be" and "Disposer of all human events" — the largest contributors actions that Washington expected God to its erectionperform, as expressed both in his official public prayers (whether as general or as president) and contributed regularly to the support of its minister. I paid, after in his deathprivate prayers as recorded, his subscription are the sorts of $200 to actions only the erection God of the Presbyterian church Bible performs: interposing his actions in the same village. A gentleman of some distinction calling human events, forgiving sins, enlightening minds, bringing good harvests, intervening on him behalf of one party in a struggle between good and expressing his disbelief evil (in this case, between liberty and the truths deprivation of the Bibleliberty), his reply was, 'Then, sir, you have studied it to little purposeetc.'"<ref></ref>
==Modern Deism==
Modernly, as noted above, Deism has both declined and fractured, with some of its original ideas being adopted as part of "[[new age]]" movements. Variations of Deism that have developed or been proposed include [[Pandeism]] (enunciated in the 1850s, and merging Deism with [[Pantheism]], the idea that God is equal to the Universe); [[Polydeism]] (merging Deism with [[polytheism]], proposing that multiple Gods created then abandoned the Universe); and [[Panendeism]] (merging Deism with the 1830s idea of [[Panentheism]], that the Universe was part of God, but was also transcended by God). None of these offshoots has garnered a significant following relative to organized religions, although it should be noted that many strains of [[Hinduism]] are in fact Pandeism.
ModernlyThough many claim deism is Christian, today's deism as noted aboveit stands is squarely anti-Christian; it denies the involvement of God in human affairs, Deism has both declined and fracturedremoves Him from a personal relationship with individuals, replaces it with some of its original ideas being adopted as part of a man-made philosophy considered "[[new age]]superior" movements, and leaves unanswered the question of sin. Variations In the Book of Deism that have developed or been proposed include [[Pandeism]] (enunciated Revelation, Jesus clearly gives an answer to such a "half-in the 1850s, and merging Deism with [[Pantheism]], half-out" philosophy::''And unto the idea that God is equal to angel of the Universe)church of the Laodiceans write; [[Polydeism]] (merging Deism with [[polytheism]]These things saith the Amen, proposing that multiple Gods created then abandoned the Universe); faithful and [[Panendeism]] (merging Deism with true witness, the 1830s idea beginning of [[Panentheism]], that the Universe was part creation of God;'':''I know thy works, but was also transcended by God). None of these offshoots has garnered a significant following relative to organized religionsthat thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.''==70 Years of Miracles Account==There is a book by Richard H. Harvey:''So then because thou art lukewarm, entitled "70 Years and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of Miraclesmy mouth." In it Harvey relates his experience in a Chemistry class at Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania in the 1920's.' According to Harvey:''Because thou sayest, his professor Dr. Lee was a deist who for many years had spent time I am rich, and increased with each freshman class lecturing against prayer. After a couple goods, and have need of sessions discussing the power of natural laws nothing; and the lack of evidence knowest not that any god interferes with those lawsthou art wretched, Lee would announce that he would drop a flask to the floor and challenged anyone miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:'':''I counsel thee to pray that buy of me gold tried in the flask would remain whole. Harvey then related fire, that one yearthou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, a student finally found the courage to stand up and volunteer to pray. Lee dropped that the flask shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and it rolled off his shoe to the floor without damageanoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. The class cheered and Lee no longer delivered his annual lectures against prayer'' (Revelation, Ch. [http3:// fair use]14-18, KJV)
*Washington, George. ''Writings'Sources:'; Library of America, New York (1997)*Novak, Michael, and Novak, Jana. ''Washington's God: Religion, Liberty, and the Father of Our Country;''<references/>Basic Books, New York (2006)
==See Alsoalso==
*[[Greek Philosophy]]
*[ An Account of the Growth of Deism in England] by William Stephens.
*[ ''America's God: From Jonathan Edwards to Abraham Lincoln''], Mark A. Noll, 3rd Ed.,Oxford University Press, 2002, ISBN 0195151119, 9780195151114
[[Category:Types of Theism]]
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