deism

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deism

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

Deism

 

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.

REFERENCES

Marx, K., and F. Engels. Izbr. proizv., vol. 2. Moscow, 1952. Pages 97–99.
[Orbinskii, R. V.] “Angliiskie deisty 17 i 18 stoletii.” Zapiski Novorossiiskogo un-ta, 1868, year 2, vol. 3, issue 1.
Rogovin, S. M. Deizm i David Ium: Analiz “Dialogov o estestvennoi religii.” Moscow, 1908.
Voronitsyn, I. P. Istoriia ateizma, 3rd ed. [Riazan, 1930.]
Lechler, G. V. Geschichte des englischen Deismus. Stuttgart, 1841.
Sayous, E. Les Déistes anglais et le christianisme … (1696–1738). Paris, 1882.
Torrey, N. L. Voltaire and the English Deists. New Haven-Oxford, 1930.
Orr, J. English Deism: Its Roots and Fruits. Grand Rapids, Mich., 1934.
Schlegel, D. B. Shaftesbury and the French Deists. Chapel Hill, 1956.
References in periodicals archive ?
The question then is, What is the common basis for dialogue between Christianity and deistic Enlightenment?
There was no significant association between belief in a deistic God and any of the five psychiatric symptoms.
For example, instead of using words like "Lord," "Redeemer," Savior," and "Father" in his communications he used Deistic language such as "the Supreme Being," "the Grand Architect," "the Great Ruler of Events," and "the Author of All Good.
Our nation's third president, Jefferson held deistic views about religion.
Epicurean philosophy, developed in the third century BCE and taught in schools around the Mediterranean, emphasized a deistic worldview, one in which the divine had no impact on the events of the terrestrial world.
One problem for any deistic hypothesis is why does evil exist?
Even Tolstoy's 'religiosity' turns out not to be a big difference between him and other anarchists, because Tolstoy's approach to religion is very rationalistic and deistic, and he certainly did not see God as some kind of supernatural tyrant.
Even the first French Republic came officially to affirm the existence of a deistic God.
After the envelopes are opened, the deistic die is cast.
The tragedy of the play is that the turn from what Walpole sees as a false Catholicism might not lead to the rational, almost deistic Protestantism he espouses in, say, his "An Epistle From Florence to Thomas Ashton, Esq.