Deism: About the God who left
Quotations and history
The half-life of some Deist web sites appears to be on the order of one year.
Most of the links shown below are no longer valid. Still, the quotations are
interesting to read:
||"Belief in a cruel god makes a cruel person. " Thomas Paine.
||"My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable
superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our
frail and feeble minds. That deeply emotional conviction of the presence of a superior
reasoning power, which is revealed in the incomprehensible universe, forms my idea of God. " Albert Einstein.
||"I cannot imagine a God who rewards and punishes the objects of his creation,
whose purposes are modeled after our own - a God, in short, who is but a reflection of
human frailty. It is enough for me to contemplate the mystery of conscious life
perpetuating itself through all eternity, to reflect upon the marvelous
structure of the universe which we can dimly perceive and to try humbly to
comprehend even an infinitesimal part of the intelligence manifested in
Nature." Albert Einstein
"Members of the United Deist Community hold the belief that God is
discovered through Reason -- but the task of discovery is never over. We
each pursue a lifelong intellectual odyssey; harvesting from the tree of
knowledge all the wisdom that we can. Members are encouraged to
participate in fellowship with other members, continuing the search for
Truth together. Our open minds and open hearts are changing the world with
love and deeds, as no other religion can." Excerpt from the
United Deist Community web site.
"We believe that God designed and created the world, and governs it
through natural laws that can be discovered through reasoning,
observation, and experience. We feel that God does not reveal himself to
us through inspired or revealed texts or by supernatural means, but
through creation itself." Excerpt from the
Peace Dale Christian Deist
Fellowship's web site.
"I freely believe in God as being discovered through nature and
reason, rejecting revealed religion and its authority over humanity. I
believe that all humans are equal. Further, as God has not shown favor for
one people over another and has given us all that we need, that we should
follow God's example and give to others as we can." Excerpt from the
United Deist Church's web site.
"God gave us reason, not religion," Slogan of the
World Union of Deists.
"Frankly, I was unaware of what Deism was all about until a few
years back when I stumbled across a description of it and was stunned to
learn that its tenets, so to speak, mirrored what my thoughts on
religion have been over the years! "MadJoy" on the Deism forum at
History of Deism:
The term "Deism" originally referred to a belief in one deity, as contrasted
with the belief in no God (Atheism) and belief in many Gods
(Polytheism). During the later 17th century, the meaning of "Deism" began
to change. It referred to forms of
radical Christianity - belief systems that rejected miracles, revelation, and the inerrancy of the Bible. Currently, Deism is generally no longer associated
with Christianity or any other established religion. Then, as now, Deism is not a
religious movement in the conventional sense of the world. There is no Deistic network of
places of worship, a priesthood, or hierarchy of authority.
Deism was greatly influential among politicians, scientists and philosophers during the
later 17th century and 18 century, in England, France Germany and the United States.
Early Deism was a logical outgrowth of the great advances in astronomy, physics, and
chemistry that had been made by Bacon, Copernicus, Galileo, etc. It was a small leap from
rational study of nature to the application of the same techniques in religion.
Early Deists believed that the Bible contained important truths, but they rejected the
concept that it was divinely inspired or inerrant. They were
leaders in the study of the Bible as a historical (rather than an inspired, revealed)
Lord Herbert of Cherbury (d. 1648) was one of the earliest proponents of Deism
in England. In his book "De Veritate," (1624), he described the "Five
Articles" of English Deists:
- Belief in the existence of a single supreme God
- Humanity's duty to revere God
- Linkage of worship with practical morality
- God will forgive us if we repent and abandon our sins
- Good works will be rewarded (and punishment for evil) both in life and after death
Other European Deists were Anthony Collins (1676-1729), Matthew Tindal (1657-1733).
Rousseau (1712-1778) and F.M.A. de Voltaire (1694-1778) were its leaders in France.
Many of the leaders of the French and American revolutions followed this belief system.
Among the U.S. founding fathers,
John Quincy Adams, Ethan Allen, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, James
Madison Thomas Paine, and George Washington were all Deists. Deists played a major role in creating the
principle of separation of church and state, and the religious freedom clauses of the
Amendment of the Constitution.
The following information source was used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlink is not necessarily still active today.
"American Religious Identification Survey," The Graduate Center of the City University of New York, 2001, at:
http://www.gc.cuny.edu/ This is a PDF file.
Copyright 1999 to 2015 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2015-JUN-21
Author: B.A. Robinson