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belief in the existence of God based solely on natural reason, without reference to revelation



a religious and philosophical view widespread during the Enlightenment. According to this view, god, having created the world, takes no more part in it and does not intervene in the natural course of events. Thus, deism is opposed not only to theism, with its fundamental notion of divine providence and the continuous relationship between man and god, but to pantheism, which mingles god in nature, and to atheism as well, which in general denies the very existence of god. Deism appeared with the idea of natural religion, or the religion of reason, which was in opposition to revealed religion. Natural religion, according to the teachings of the deists, is common to all men and represents the norm for all positive religions, including Christianity.

Deism developed first in Great Britain. The father of English deism is considered to be a 17th-century English philosopher, Lord Herbert of Cherbury, who developed the concept of a religion of reason (Treatise on Truth, 1624). Thinkers of diverse schools—both idealists and materialists—adhered to this philosophy, deism being for the latter, in Marx’ words, “no more than a convenient and easy way of getting rid of religion” (K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 2, p. 144). Deism reached the highest point in its development in the first half of the 18th century. British deists included J. Toland, who saw nothing in Christianity but moral teaching; A. Collins; M. Tindal; A. Shaftesbury; and H. Bolingbroke. In America, T. Jefferson, B. Franklin, E. Allen, and T. Paine were prominent deists. J. Locke’s position was near that of the deists. The view expressed by D. Hume in his Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion (1779) that religion springs from fear and hope made the assumption of an inactive creator-god unnecessary. Voltaire propagated the ideas of deism in France, whereas J.-J. Rousseau came close to the deist philosophy. The French materialists of the 18th century criticized deism. In Germany deism spread on the soil of philosophical rationalism (G. W. von Leibniz and G. E. Lessing). The ideas of deism were interpreted in an original way in I. Kant’s work Religion Within the Bounds of Pure Reason (1793; Russian translation, 1908). In the late 18th and early 19th century deism spread among progressive Russian thinkers (I. P. Pnin, I. D. Ertov, A. S. Lubkin, and some of the Decembrists). On the whole deism played a positive role in the development of free thought in the 17th and 18th centuries; later, it lost its progressive significance.

In contemporary bourgeois philosophy deism does not have independent significance, but it is adhered to by many scientists, who see in the regularity and orderliness of the world proof of the existence of a creator.


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References in periodicals archive ?
But a hard look at the situation reveals that the ceremonial deism argument simply makes no sense.
Stewart is not the first to call attention to the existence of deism in the founding period.
While I remain uncertain about these questions, I would suggest that such practices as the designation of "In God We Trust" as our national motto, or the references to God contained in the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag can best be understood, in Dean Rostow's apt phrase, as a form of "ceremonial deism," protected from Establishment Clause scrutiny chiefly because they have lost through rote repetition any significant religious content.
Mere deism cannot support God's intervention in the history of men.
But in typical culture war behavior, neither The Nation nor deism, org included the rest of the quote, in which Adams explained that the negative sentiment soon passed and was replaced by his realization, "Without religion this world would be something not fit to be mentioned in polite society, I mean hell.
It is this latter relation among assumptions--that God is not merely an add-on--that we believe prompts the compatibilist to restrict theistic and naturalistic worldviews to separate times and places in deism and dualism.
The American founding presents itself to Chaput and others as a religious event only because it occurred in the brief heyday of Deism.
Courts have generally stated in holdings and dicta that ceremonial deism is constitutional because these phrases have lost their religious meaning through the passage of time or rote repetition.
Deism was the religion of the philosophers of the Enlightenment and of Cadalso.
After a contextual discussion of eighteenth-century deism (Chapter 3) that interrupts the main argument, the fourth chapter defends the theistic interpretation of Hume by discussing both the Dialogues and the Natural History.
IN HIS book, The God Delusion, which bases preference for atheism over deism on the basis of probability, Richard Dawkins illustrates a spectrum of probabilities concerning the existence of "God ".
In Orthodox eyes, Hicksites, who questioned the inspiration of some parts of the Bible and even the Virgin Birth, showed signs of infidelity, deism, and Unitarianism.