'''Deism''' is the combination of
belief in a transcendent Creator God and the belief that God cannot, or at least, does not, interact with, nor otherwise involve Himself in, the Creation. In its mildest form, Deism is nearly equivalent to a belief that no one can truly know whether there is a God or not ([[ agnosticism]] ). In its strongest form, Deism is a systematic religion of rejecting all claims to a personal, or otherwise involved, God, in that God is supposed incapable, by His transcendence, of any kind of interaction with the Creation.
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 liberal 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. 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 are morally and cosmologically equivalent, given God's presumed inaction of any moral and cosmological revelation.
== Origins ==
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>http://www.theologicalstudies.org/what_is_deism.html</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>http://www.iep.utm.edu/d/deismeng.htm</ref>. This was a rather odd variant mixing in many Christian virtues without Jesus, and rather foreign to traditional Deism.
==Deism and the Founding Fathers==
While almost all of the Founding Fathers were devout Christians, some it is believed were deists, at least according to some definitions of the term.
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 as a deist was [[Thomas Jefferson]]. Jefferson personally struggled with the divinity of Christ and produced an edited version of the Gospels, later known as the [[Jefferson Bible]], which contained only the moral and ethical teachings of Jesus and omitted third-person accounts of his life, particularly the accounts of the miracles.
Ten years from his death Jefferson stated that: <blockquote>"[ The Jefferson Bible] show that I am a real Christian, that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus, very different from the Platonists, who call me infidel, and themselves Christians and preachers of the gospel, while they draw all their characteristic dogmas from what its Author never said nor saw. "<ref>Jefferson, Letter to Charles Thomson, January 9, 1815</ref></blockquote>
The closer Jefferson approached his death, the more Christian he appeared. He read the Bible daily as the end grew near. His grandson described Jefferson as follows:<ref>Thomas Jefferson Randolph, undated letter to biographer Henry S. Randall, reprinted in Masfield et al., ''The Real Thomas Jefferson'', p. 321.</ref> :He was regular in his attendance [at] church, taking his prayer book with him. He drew the plan of the Episcopal church in Charlottesville, was one of the largest contributors to its erection, and contributed regularly to the support of its minister. I paid, after his death, his subscription of $200 to the erection of the Presbyterian church in the same village. A gentleman of some distinction calling on him and expressing his disbelief in the truths of the Bible, his reply was, 'Then, sir, you have studied it to little purpose.'" ==Washington== * "[[George Washington|Washington]] cannot be called a Deist — at least, not in a sense that excludes his being Christian. Although he did most often address God in the proper names a Deist might use — such as "Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be" and "Disposer of all human events" — the actions that Washington expected God to perform, as expressed both in his official public prayers (whether as general or as president) and in his private prayers as recorded, are the sorts of actions only the God of the Bible performs: interposing his actions in human events, forgiving sins, enlightening minds, bringing good harvests, intervening on behalf of one party in a struggle between good and evil (in this case, between liberty and the deprivation of liberty), etc." [http:// www.nationalreview.com/novak/ novak200603140955.asp ]
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.
==70 Years of Miracles Account== There is a book by Richard H. Harvey, entitled " 70 Years of Miracles. " In it Harvey relates his experience in a Chemistry class at Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania in the 1920's. According to Harvey, his professor Dr. Lee was a deist who for many years had spent time with each freshman class lecturing against prayer. After a couple of sessions discussing the power of natural laws and the lack of evidence that any god interferes with those laws, Lee would announce that he would drop a flask to the floor and challenged anyone to pray that the flask would remain whole. Harvey then related that one year, a student finally found the courage to stand up and volunteer to pray. Lee dropped the flask and it rolled off his shoe to the floor without damage. The class cheered and Lee no longer delivered his annual lectures against prayer. [http://atheism. about.com/library/FAQs/ath/blathm_urb_chalk.htm fair use]