Deism: Beliefs and Origins

Deism is the belief in the existence of one Supreme Being without subscribing to any articles of faith. Deists believe in God but reject the notion of God revealing Himself to man through revelations and scriptures. This is another way of saying that much as Deism subscribes to the existence of God, they reject the notion of religious structures and texts.

Deism is a term borrowed from the Latin word Deus which means god. During the 16th to the 18th century scientific revolution, an intellectual movement referred to as “The Enlightenment” emerged whose objective was to champion human reason and scientific thinking. The Enlightenment openly opposed religious teachings more-so Christianity; they took a skeptical stand on long-held religious views and teachings by stating instead that these teachings defied logic reason as well as scientific principles.

The intellectuals argued that much of religious teachings’, if not all, is merely superstition. In Christianity for instance, they wondered how Moses could have parted the red sea; how Jesus could have raised someone from the dead. They emphasized that this went against scientific reason thus not practically possible.

What is interesting about Deism is that it embraces the idea that God exists but remains opposed to anything considered supernatural. It is Deism belief that God created the world and left it and its inhabitants to be governed by natural laws. This is why adherents are more pragmatic when it comes to spirituality; their approach to spirituality is empirical based only on the tangible which can be seen or touched physically, not some divine realm or astral world which exists somewhere in the galaxies. For this reason, it is also called the nature religion because it is more inclined to belief in nature in its physical form as symbol of spirituality.

Lord Edward Herbert Cherbury is considered the father of English Deism. His writings together with others like John Locke have been of considerable influence to the Deism movement.

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