<metaphysics, philosophy of religion> the idea that God created the universe but then left it alone to operate on its own principles - principles that human reason and science can discover. Thus, according to deism, God is not involved in the day-to-day workings of the universe, and there are no miracles. Deism was a creation of the rational, scientific spirit of the Enlightenment, and continues to be held to this day by many people, especially those of a scientific bent. (For other views about the relationship between God and the universe, see theism and pantheism.) (References from naturalism and theism.)
[The Ism Book]
<philosophy, religion, metaphysics> belief in god based entirely on reason, without any reference to faith, revelation, or institutional religion. During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, advances in the natural sciences often fostered confidence that the regularity of nature reflects the benevolence of a divine providence. This confidence, together with a widespread distrust of the church, made deism a popular view in England and on the continent. Thus, in distinct ways, Toland, Lord Herbert, Paine, Rousseau, and Voltaire were all deists. Recommended Reading: John Toland's Christianity Not Mysterious: Text, Associated Works and Critical Essays, ed. by Alan Harrison, Richard Kearney, and Philip McGuinness (Dufour, 1997); Thomas Paine, Age of Reason (Lyle Stuart, 1989); William Stephens, An Account of the Growth of Deism in England (AMS, 1995); and The Radical Rhetoric of the English Deists: The Discourse of Skepticism, 1680-1750, ed. by James A. Herrick and Thomas W. Benson (South Carolina, 1997).
[A Dictionary of Philosophical Terms and Names]
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