Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Sciences and Religions

pp 597-599

Deism

Related Terms

Argument from design; Enlightenment; Natural religion; Rationalism

Description

On the website of the World Union of Deists we find the following definition of deism: “Deism is the recognition of a universal creative force greater than that demonstrated by mankind, supported by personal observation of laws and designs in nature and the universe, perpetuated and validated by the innate ability of human reason coupled with the rejection of claims made by individuals and organised religions of having received special divine revelation.” According to this, deism is characterized by four elements: (1) recognition of a universal creative force greater than mankind; (2) centrality of the observation of laws and designs in nature as a basis for belief; (3) fundamental trust in the ability of human reason to know God; and (4) rejection of all claims of special divine revelation. One might ask if all four elements were also essential for classic deism, that is, ...

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