Deism ( or ), derived from the Latin word " deus" meaning " god", is a theological/philosophical position that combines the rejection of revelation and authority as a source of religious knowledge with the conclusion that reason and observation of the natural world are sufficient to determine the existence of a single creator of the universe.
Deism gained prominence among intellectuals during the Age of Enlightenment—especially in Britain, France, Germany and the United States—who, raised as Christians, believed in one God but became disenchanted with organized religion and notions such as the Trinity, Biblical inerrancy and the supernatural interpretation of events such as miracles. Included in those influenced by its ideas were leaders of the American and French Revolutions.
Today, deism is considered to exist in two principal forms: classical and modern where the classical view takes what is called a "cold" approach by asserting the non-intervention of deity in the natural behavior of the created universe, while the modern deist formulation can be either "warm" (citing an involved deity) or cold, non-interventionist creator. These lead to many subdivisions of modern deism which tends, therefore, to serve as an overall category of belief. Despite this classification of Deism today, classical Deists themselves rarely wrote or accepted that the Creator is a non-interventionist during the flowering of Deism in the 16th and 17th centuries; using straw man arguments, their theological critics attempted to force them into this position.
Deism is the theosophical doctrine in which it is understood that God can be found only through the exercise of reason, and does not intervene in the Universe.
Deism may also refer to:
- Ceremonial deism, a doctrine created by the Supreme Court of the United States that permits the government to use general symbolic religious references
- Moralistic therapeutic deism, a term coined by Christian social scientists to describe theological beliefs of American teenagers circa 2005
- Pandeism, a pantheistic model of Deism
- Panendeism, a panentheistic model of Deism, or a pandeistic model of Panentheism
- Polydeism, a polytheistic model of Deism
- Christian deism, a branch that incorporates some Christian philosophy into deism, but still denies revelation and scripture
- Ietsism, Dutch phrase often translated as 'Agnostic Deism'
The Collaborative International Dictionary
Deism \De"ism\ (d[=e]"[i^]z'm), n. [L. deus god: cf. F. d['e]isme. See Deity.] The doctrine or creed of a deist; the belief or system of those who acknowledge the existence of one God, but deny revelation.
Note: Deism is the belief in natural religion only, or those truths, in doctrine and practice, which man is to discover by the light of reason, independent of any revelation from God. Hence, deism implies infidelity, or a disbelief in the divine origin of the Scriptures.
n. 1 The religious philosophy and movement that became prominent in England, France, and the United States in the 17th and 18th centuries that rejects supernatural events (prophecy, miracles) and divine revelation prominent in organized religion, along with holy books and revealed religions that assert the existence of such things. 2 (alternative spelling of deism English)
Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary
n. the form of theological rationalism that believes in God on the basis of reason without reference to revelation [syn: free thought]
Usage examples of "deism".
There is probably no argument by which the case for theism, or for deism, or for pantheism in either its pancosmic or acosmic form, can be convincingly proved.
Europe and America, however, deism eventually foundered and it did so because it fell between two stools.
One adhered to the cold Supernaturalism of the eighteenth century, the other to a system of philosophical Deism.
Now, shall we return to deism, or would you rather proceed to the mythopoesis attitude?
I should proceed to a view of the life, character, & doctrines of Jesus, who sensible of incorrectness of their ideas of the Deity, and of morality, endeavored to bring them to the principles of a pure deism, and juster notions of the attributes of God, to reform their moral doctrines to the standard of reason, justice & philanthropy, and to inculcate the belief of a future state.