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The Definition of Deism

James A. Watkins is an entrepreneur, musician, and a writer with four non-fiction books and hundreds of magazine articles read by millions.

Deism

Deism was primarily a movement among the upper classes of Britain in the 18th century that sought to demystify religion. It spread in different forms to France and America. In America, Deism existed within a Christian framework as in Britain. But in France, Deism took on a decidedly anti-Christian attitude. Thus, the American and French Revolutions are more opposites than they are similar historical events.

Deists acknowledge that God is the Creator of the universe. The French school of Deists believed that after God made the world He then left it to its own devices; God is not active in the world but a mere spectator. The American Deists believed that history unfolds according to the plan of God the Creator, what they called Divine Providence.

Deism beliefs postulate that all religions contain moral truths, which are useful only if stripped of anything supernatural or "superstitious." Voltaire defined Deism: "Pure adoration of a supreme being, free of all superstition."

DEISM

DEISM

The Historical Jesus Project

Western Peoples emphasized history as never before in the 18th century. A tremendous interest developed in the study, research, writing, and debating of history. Since, through the Incarnation, God, who is beyond time, voluntarily stepped into time, Deists decided to study Jesus as a historical figure, using the same evidentiary criteria used to study any other historical personage.

Deist scholars set out to dissect the Jesus of the Bible. They could agree that he was a messenger from God, who preached about the love of God and set a holy example of how to live. However, Deist thinkers began to express doubts about Christ as the way to salvation, particularly to disagree with Christian orthodoxy that Christ is the Redeemer of Mankind.

The main objection was against Atonement for the sins of people. Those of Deism beliefs could not come to grips with a God who would punish the innocent (Jesus) and absolve the guilty (us). Particularly troubling was the idea that God required human sacrifice (the crucifixion). Deists repudiated the Christian system of Salvation.

HERMANN REIMARUS

HERMANN REIMARUS

Hermann Reimarus

The German Deist Hermann Reimarus (1694-1768) wrote a critique of the Bible—the forerunner of the Historical Jesus Project in the 20th century—in which he argued that Jesus was nothing more than a failed freedom fighter and preacher. According to Reimarus, the followers of Christ had no desire to return to fishing so they stole his body and created a Resurrection myth. Thus the Christian Faith was simply a fraud from the beginning.

Reimarus sought to denude Christ of any supernaturalness. In particular, Reimarus wanted to separate the moral teachings of Jesus—which he accepted—from what was taught about Jesus after his death.

Thus, the triumphal entry into Jerusalem became not preparation for death and resurrection but an aborted attempt to establish a theocracy in Israel, an earthly Kingdom of God. Reimarus insisted that the things Jesus said in Gethsemane about the cup passing from him, and on the cross about being forsaken by God, should be understood as Jesus feeling heartbroken that his mission had failed.

Reimarus revised the story of Jesus from one of triumph to one of tragedy and pathos. Though the dream of Jesus had come to naught, Reimarus still felt Jesus had left us with a religion that is "reasonable, simple, exalted, holy, and practical." Thus Jesus, though neither divine nor capable of supernatural miracles, remains "the teacher of the entire human race."

Reimarus especially hated the God of the Old Testament, whom he described as a petty tyrant whose revealed "law," with ridiculous commandments such as the Sabbath, contained very little of the essence of true religion, and whom had never promised a savior as Christianity claimed.

Reimarus felt God would never choose the Hebrews as his chosen people. "I find it difficult to comprehend that out of so many wiser and more tractable nations God would choose a stubborn and perverted people as his possession and his beloved."

DEISM

DEISM

What Deists Believe

Deism beliefs centered on the idea that God has never revealed Himself to humankind, except through His Divine Presence in Nature. Deism denies any possibility of miracles. Therefore, a Deist believes the miracles performed by Jesus Christ in the Holy Bible were simply made up by the bald-faced liars who wrote what Deists believe to be a collection of fraudulent fictions.

Deism rejects the notion that the Bible is the inspired Word of God. Therefore, Deists do not believe that anyone in the age of reason should accept the tenets of the Christian Faith. Instead, diligent studies should be undertaken as to the historical veracity of the Bible, and thus to its truth claims. Of course, the call for critical scholarship came loudest from those who wished Christian Orthodoxy to be changed to approve of what they wished to do.

Deism beliefs did revere the Great Architect of the Universe for His Handiwork. They posited that this reverence is a worldwide phenomenon. Deists sought worldwide unity by the eventual vanquishing of what they termed man-made religions, which to them history had shown produced only conflict, persecution, massacres, and religious wars.

Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson

The Supreme Being of Deism

Deism promoted a belief in a 'Supreme Being' whatever you may make of Him. 'Mystery,' defined as that which is incomprehensible in creation and providence, was announced to be a fancy name for ignorance.

Prayer was ridiculed as "speaking to the air" since God would never change the course of events for human beings; probably didn't even listen; and certainly would never talk to people. Attacks on 'superstition' were primarily aimed at Roman Catholicism, and secondarily at Eastern Orthodoxy.

Even critics of Christ agreed that he was a supreme moral force, utterly innocent, and the embodiment of human excellence. But they objected to the concept of an angry, righteous, embittered God who had to be appeased by the blood of Jesus. Deists claimed it dishonored God by making him appear to be an injured party demanding satisfaction.

One of the more famous Deists, Matthew Tindal, wrote: "God, as he can never be injured, so he can never want reparation and can gain no addition by satisfaction."

In America, Deists such as Thomas Jefferson believed in a benevolent Creator but one who did not interfere with the affairs of men. Jefferson rejected the supernatural; the Creation story of the Holy Bible; and the divinity and miracles of Jesus. He thought Jesus a great moral teacher. Thomas Jefferson zoomed in on the Apostle Paul as the "first corrupter of the doctrines of Jesus."

David Hume was a Scottish philosopher dedicated to disproving the Christian Faith, particularly miracles and any other manifestation of the supernatural. The Deist Edward Gibbon wrote The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, in which he blamed Christianity for the fall of Rome and everything bad that has happened since.

VOLTAIRE

VOLTAIRE

Voltaire

Voltaire ridiculed Catholicism for venerating relics, among other things. He drilled home his belief that Catholics practiced "hating your neighbor for his opinions."

Voltaire cast doubt in the minds of his readers as to the Genesis account of creation. He believed that there is a God but that Deism would, or should, become the religion of modern men. Voltaire railed against Catholic rituals, prayers, and fears. The Catholic Church, he said, was an imposter designed to benefit popes, bishops, priests, and monks—not the citizen.

Voltaire was not an Atheist. He defended God when, reflecting on the night sky, he wrote: "One would have to blind not to be dazzled by this sight; one would have to be stupid not to recognize its author; one would have to be mad not to worship him."

Voltaire also said: "I believe in God, not the god of the mystics and the theologians but the god of nature, the great geometrician, the architect of the universe, the prime mover, unalterable, transcendental, everlasting." And he added on another occasion: "To believe in absolutely no God would be a frightful moral mistake, a mistake incompatible with good government."

Diderot expanded this view with his statement that mankind would be saved when "the last king has been strangled with the entrails of the last priest." Diderot saw the French Enlightenment as a religion to replace the Christian Faith---a Secular Humanism, if you will.

THE FRENCH WORSHIP THE GODDESS OF REASON

THE FRENCH WORSHIP THE GODDESS OF REASON

THE FRENCH ANSWER TO CHRISTIANS

THE FRENCH ANSWER TO CHRISTIANS

The French Revolution

In France, Deism definitely operated outside the Christian Faith and usually against it. France is where Deism uniquely morphed into full blown Agnosticism and even outright Atheism.

Whereas the Enlightenment developed alongside and in partnership with the Christian Faith in England, Scotland and America; in France the Catholic Church was far more rigid and brooked no compromise with new ideas.

The French Enlightenment thus became the first intellectual movement in Europe that developed outside the parameters of the Christian Faith since the 4th century. French philosophers proclaimed that the Christian Faith was the producer of evil.

The French Revolution at first merely abolished tithing and confiscated all church lands—20 percent of the land in France. Priests and bishops would now be elected by popular vote and all ties to Rome were cut.

Then things got more radical as the French Revolution proceeded. Christianity was banned altogether and replaced by an official government religion of Atheism, with Reason as the new god. To make it official, a new calendar was produced with ten-day weeks, devoid of religious holidays, with new holidays dedicated to various vegetables, flowers, and fruits. All opposed could make ready to have their heads chopped off with the guillotine.

Most churches were forcibly closed. Signs were placed in cemeteries that read "Death is Extinction." France then declared war on the rest of Western Europe and promptly invaded Belgium and Holland. Surely, this was a great triumph for Reason.

The madness, the utter depravity, the bloody murders of the French Philosophers killed Deism; its children live on in different guises.

WILLIAM LAW, DEFENDER OF THE FAITH

WILLIAM LAW, DEFENDER OF THE FAITH

The Christian Response to Deism

Christians of the day saw Deism as an attack on their faith from within. William Law responded for the faithful that the arguments by Deists are "childish."

Law added: "All these objections proceed upon this supposition, that atonement, or satisfaction, when attributed to Jesus Christ, signify neither more nor less, nor operate in any other manner, than when they used as terms in human laws, or in civil life."

Theologians countered Deism by stating that if the universe was only "to be judged by our ordinary notions and faculties, it is useless to try to persuade anyone to accept the principle mysteries of the faith; a truth revealed by God, above the power of natural reason to find out or comprehend."

Scripture definitely presented Christ as the Redeemer and Savior. William Law conceded that before the Resurrection and Pentecost the disciples of Jesus had not understood "the doctrines concerning Christ's death, the nature, necessity, and the merits of his sacrifice and atonement for the sins of the world." Deists were claiming that Jesus neither taught these doctrines nor intended them to be taught.

But to Godly men such as Jean-Frederic Osterwald, the sacrifice of Christ on Golgotha was "offered to God to expiate our sins, to deliver us from death, and enable us to acquire a right to eternal life." This was not because God demanded this sacrifice but because sinful humankind had necessitated it.

Rebuttals to Deism were put forth forcefully by English philosopher and theologian Joseph Butler. He thought Deists abandoned the Christian Faith because it might interrupt their pleasure-seeking. Deists might be high-minded, Butler thought, but their rejection of divine revelation gave lesser spirits an excuse to mock the morals of the Bible and drift into the occult. He also pointed out the fruits of disbelief among British aristocrats, which undoubtedly included addictions, diseases, gambling, and bankruptcy.

JOSEPH BUTLER, DEFENDER OF THE FAITH

JOSEPH BUTLER, DEFENDER OF THE FAITH

JEAN-FREDERIC OSTERWALD, DEFENDER OF THE FAITH

JEAN-FREDERIC OSTERWALD, DEFENDER OF THE FAITH

Deism Was the Fashion Among Intellectuals

Deism became fashionable among the intellectuals of Europe, and lesser so in America where a few of Founding Fathers jumped on the bandwagon. To be a Deist was for a brief time to obtain entrance into a select club of the 'enlightened.'

Deism became the historical stepping stone to agnosticism and atheism. Deism is the father of Unitarianism, and of the modern New Age religions that are pantheist or worship the Mother Earth.

The ideas of Deism challenged the very foundational truths of the Christian Faith. Perhaps it was an extension of the Reformation, which challenged the authority of the Catholic Church. The Deists took it further, and their lack of reverence was thought by Jean-Frederic Osterwald to have led to "irreligion and unbelief, these detestable sentiments which attack religion itself and lead to atheism."

Soon the Christian Faith would face what it had not seen before, something beyond subtle subversion: open mockery.

Comments

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on June 02, 2019:

T ~ Thank you for coming over to read my article on Deism. And you are welcome. I love your comments.

You made a keen insight with this: "the similarity to the way unbelievers rationalize their rejection of Christianity today, that stands out to me in your article is how, like Hermann Reimarus, they take what they like from the Bible and form in their mind what God should or shouldn’t be instead of taking scripture at it’s word."

Amen.

The Logician from now on on May 31, 2019:

Thanks James for referencing this excellent article of yours! Although I understood the basic difference between deism and Christianity I never investigated it’s origins or perpetrators. The one thing, the similarity to the way unbelievers rationalize their rejection of Christianity today, that stands out to me in your article is how, like Hermann Reimarus, they take what they like from the Bible and form in their mind what God should or shouldn’t be instead of taking scripture at it’s word, studying it to see how it makes sense from God’s perspective and not just their own.

If they truly were seeking the truth they’d realize that the gap between humanity and God is so great, infinite Creator of the universe compared to finite mere mortals, that there is no way for a man or woman to approach or comprehend God without faith that He is, and is who He says He is, lest our fallen mortal mind create our own false god to please our sinful nature.

Of course, you know the Bible explains the thoughts I just shared in spades and so much more truth. None of it is from my mind nor is it my opinion but it is scriptural truth and it is on that truth that all Christian’s eternal hope and contentment rests.

What distresses me is how wicked the human heart and mind of the unsaved can actually be as it contrives what will become its own demise. What can be any more sick than that?

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on March 11, 2019:

wba108@yahoo.com ~ I must apologize for not responding sooner but I did not know you had commented on this Hub. I am glad you did and I totally agree with your analysis. Methinks you are onto something important there.

For instance, Aldous Huxley explained why he chose not to believe in God as revealed in the Holy Bible:

“I had motives for not wanting the world to have meaning; and consequently assumed that it had none, and was able without any difficulty to find satisfying reasons for this assumption. The philosopher who finds no meaning in the world is not concerned exclusively with a problem in pure metaphysics. He is also concerned to prove that there is no valid reason why he personally should not do as he wants to do. For myself, as no doubt for most of my friends, the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation from a certain system of morality. We objected to the morality because it interfered with our sexual freedom. The supporters of this system claimed that it embodied the meaning - the Christian meaning, they insisted - of the world. There was one admirably simple method of confuting these people and justifying ourselves in our erotic revolt: we would deny that the world had any meaning whatever.”

wba108@yahoo.com from upstate, NY on February 28, 2013:

"Butler thought, but their rejection of divine revelation gave lesser spirits an excuse to mock the morals of the Bible and drift into the occult. He also pointed out the fruits of disbelief among British aristocrats, which undoubtedly included addictions, diseases, gambling, and bankruptcy."

I think this is at the bottom of alot of the anger directed towards Christianity, that it interfere's with the life they want to live, so they build a believe system compatible with what they want. I see deism as appealing to the pride of the intellectuals of the day, much as liberalism does today. No matter how smart you think you are, "pride cometh before the fall"!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on February 11, 2013:

andromida— I find your remarks quite interesting. I appreciate this visitation from you and your comments. It is always a pleasure to hear from you.

James :)

syras mamun on February 06, 2013:

It seems that deism is just another belief system, nothing else. No belief system has the right to attack the belief of others.A belief system is not a system unless it respects and values the other systems.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 18, 2011:

ruffridyer— Thank you for your wise remarks. I appreciate this visitation and your comments. Always good to hear from you. :)

ruffridyer from Dayton, ohio on August 18, 2011:

I find it interesting that the french desire for reason included beheading anyone with an opposing view. That's seems reasonable!

Some good info here.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on June 24, 2011:

MinnesotaNorseman— You're welcome!! I didn't mention Thomas Paine in this article. He is to be in a future article I have planned. It was good of you to mention him in your comments here. I have read "Age of Reason" though it was quite some time ago. I have made myself a note to read it again based on your enthusiasm. Thank you very much for reading my article. I appreciate your thoughtful remarks.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on June 24, 2011:

platinumOwl4— You are most welcome. I am glad you enjoyed this article. Yes, that quote is familiar alright. I am well pleased to meet another avid reader. Thank you for your outstanding comments.

MinnesotaNorseman on June 23, 2011:

Thanks for the Hub !!! I thought I would have seen a mention of Thomas Paine here, but if there is one in your hub, I missed it. "Age of Reason" by Paine is one of my favorite books, and compares deism to the old and new testaments, and a bit with Islam. Worth checking out if you're interested in beginning a study of an American history and examination of deism. };>{>

platinumOwl4 on June 23, 2011:

James A Watkins,

Thanks for providing this excellent hub. I was especially impressed with Hermann Reimarus. I am impressed with him as I am with Plutarch and Jean Jacques Rousseau the Swiss-born French philosopher.

The one who wrote, " Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of property. Does this sound slightly familiar? My thought exactly, when I read it. Headed to the library.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on May 04, 2011:

Mitch Alan— My, you have run the gambit! It is good that you have come to the Lord. I appreciate your compliments. Thank you for taking the time to read my work.

Mitch Alan from South Jersey on April 30, 2011:

Well researched and worded...I have travelled the the full gambit...born Jewish, grew up an agnostic and came to faith in Christ as an adult(through a processes of attempting to disprove His word)...

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on April 19, 2011:

Jason R. Manning— A pleasure to see you again, my friend. I catch a few winks between Hubs. :D

Thank you for coming by to check out my work. I have enjoyed your Hubs.

Jason R. Manning from Sacramento, California on April 17, 2011:

And when exactly do you sleep?

Hi James, long time no read. Hope all is well, take care, see you around another time.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on April 01, 2011:

mysterylady 89— Yes, I would say the Enlightenment and Deism were intimately related, as you noted with keen powers of observation.

Thank you for taking the time to read my Hub. I appreciate your remarks.

mysterylady 89 from Florida on March 31, 2011:

This is a clear, well developed article. I think it is interesting that Deism and the Enlightenment occurred in the same historical period.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on March 29, 2011:

sueroy333-- You are quite welcome. Thank you for the accolades. I am grateful for your attendance and your kind comments. I'm glad you liked my article. :)

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on March 29, 2011:

Hello, hello,-- Hello! You are welcome. Talking to God directly is great. There is nothing wrong with having ties with a local community of believers too.

I appreciate the visit and your comments. Thank you for your ongoing attention to my work. :-)

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on March 29, 2011:

White Horse-- There are millions of doctors and nurses, to be sure. But I believe we do have a healing Jesus as well. Obviously, one first has to believe and have faith to be healed by Jesus, or perhaps more correctly by the Father. I have seen faith healings with my own eyes.

I believe Jesus fed those multitudes. There were particular circumstances involved at that moment. He never intended to put farmers and grocers out of business.

I very much appreciate your comments. Thank you for coming by to read my Hub.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on March 28, 2011:

Cogerson— Thank you for the accolades. I receive them with gratitude. I appreciate the visit and your comments. :-)

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on March 28, 2011:

Rhonda Waits— You are welcome, Rhonda. Thanks for letting me know you enjoyed it. I always appreciate a rated up and awesome! Blessings to you.

James

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on March 28, 2011:

wba108@yahoo.com— Thank you for the compliment! I appreciate the visit and your comments.

I think the Deists acknowledged that their beliefs were man-made. Their point was that all beliefs are man-made.

The information you provided about Thomas Jefferson is illuminating. If he called himself a Christian, I'll take his word for it. That would not be for me to judge but between him and his Maker.

I have perused the Wallbuilders site before and it is excellent. I had not seen the quotes you gave though. Thanks for posting them here, and providing the link.

Susan Mills from Indiana on March 28, 2011:

The history of religion never fails to intrigue. This is just that...intriguing, as well as... yes, I have to say it... enlightening!

Awesome and useful as well as, as always, well written and easy to follow.

Thanks!!

Hello, hello, from London, UK on March 28, 2011:

Hallo, James, and thank you for an interesting read. Although interesting but I don't belief in any religion. To my mind they are nothing but for themselves (money). I do belief there is a God and do hope there is because mankind being the last step I would give up. So, I talk to him directly.

White Horse on March 27, 2011:

One would have to blind not to be dazzled by this sight; one would have to be stupid not to recognize its author

Did you ever wonder how many doctors and nurses there are in this world?

If we had a healing Jesus he might put them all out of business...and all the workers at all the hospitals and medical centers and the insurance companies would all be out of a job. And then he could pull fish and bread from a sack and put all the farmers and grocers out of a job.

I think Jesus was a window, a messenger from God.

Just like this hub is out for the taking...another window, another messenger.

Want the word of God? Jesus is just a sacrificial lamb. I don't know what kind of hammers they had back in the day but the ones they have now sure can hurt if I miss the nail.

Worship God

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on March 27, 2011:

Marcella Glenn- Thank you!!! Thank you very much!! :-)

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on March 27, 2011:

fred allen- It is great to see you again, brother. I always look forward to your gracious comments. I hope all is well with you.

You made an important point in that persecution does seem to strengthen the Church. Those persecuted for His Name seem much stronger in their Faith than we who have it soft and easy.

Thank you for visiting. I enjoyed reading your excellent remarks. God Bless You!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on March 27, 2011:

Gypsy Willow- You are welcome. Thank you for coming by to visit and leaving your compliments. Yes, we are a strange lot. The truth is stranger than fiction. :)

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on March 27, 2011:

RealHousewife- You are welcome. I am glad to have been of service. Thank you for your kind comments. :D

UltimateMovieRankings from Virginia on March 26, 2011:

As always you have provided lots of information, on subjects that I was not really aware of, in a interesting and easily understandable format.....great job as always.

Rhonda Musch from The Emerald Coast on March 26, 2011:

James thanks for the enlightening hub. I really enjoyed it.

Rated up awesome.

Sweet wishes Rhonda

wba108@yahoo.com from upstate, NY on March 26, 2011:

Another top notch article, on a meaningful subject!

Its interesting that the deists saw Christianity as man-made, what do they call their beliefs if not man-made?

According to David Barton of Wallbuilders.com,Jefferson was a Christian and not a Deist. Here's a quote from wallbuilders:

"The reader, as do many others, claimed that Jefferson omitted all miraculous events of Jesus from his “Bible.” Rarely do those who make this claim let Jefferson speak for himself. Jefferson's own words explain that his intent for that book was not for it to be a “Bible,” but rather for it to be a primer for the Indians on the teachings of Christ (which is why Jefferson titled that work, “The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth”). What Jefferson did was to take the “red letter” portions of the New Testament and publish these teachings in order to introduce the Indians to Christian morality. And as President of the United States, Jefferson signed a treaty with the Kaskaskia tribe wherein he provided—at the government's expense—Christian missionaries to the Indians. In fact, Jefferson himself declared, “I am a real Christian, that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus.” While many might question this claim, the fact remains that Jefferson called himself a Christian, not a deist."

I guess its debatable about Jefferson, but he didn't seem to fit the classic definition of a deist.

Here's a link to the wallbuilders article, if you want to see it:

http://www.wallbuilders.com/LIBissuesArticles.asp?...

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on March 26, 2011:

b. Malin— You are welcome. I appreciate your kind and witty remarks. Thank you very much for coming by to visit. :-)

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on March 26, 2011:

tlpoague— You are quite welcome. I am glad you stuck with it. Thank you for reading my Hub. I appreciate your comments as well.

Marcella Glenn from PA on March 26, 2011:

Very interesting hub.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on March 26, 2011:

hybridway— I would very much appreciate it if you shared my article with others. Thank you for complimenting my work.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on March 26, 2011:

always exploring— You're welcome. I am glad you enjoy this sort of subject. Deism has made quite a comeback in the last 20 years, though by other names. Thank you for your kind comments.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on March 26, 2011:

AliciaC— You are quite welcome. I am well pleased to have been of some service. Thank you for visiting and commenting. :-)

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on March 26, 2011:

spiderpam! How great to see you again. Thank you for the compliment. I hope all is well with you.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on March 26, 2011:

Jen Buczynski— Did I spell that right? JK!

You are most welcome. I've spent time in Buffalo. My step-daughter went to Canisius. Welcome to the Hub Pages Community!

I agree with your comments. Thank you for reading my work.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on March 26, 2011:

PegCole17— That is a great quote. There is no doubt that Voltaire had a first-rate mind. Thanks for coming!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on March 26, 2011:

lilyfly— Ah, Lily. You brought a broad smile to me face with your witty words. Perhaps I'll do a bathtub column next week. Until then, this will have to suffice. :D

James

fred allen from Myrtle Beach SC on March 26, 2011:

It amazes me to think that after 2000 years of movements and outright attempts to exterminate Christianity, the church is still more than thriving. In fact persecutions have only served throughout history to strengthen the church and make more real the cause of Christ to a watching world.

I've always been impressed with your writing and this is no exception. I would stand with you in battle against the very gates of hell!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on March 26, 2011:

Tamarajo— You wrote: "It seems as if what a deist really worships is their own intellectual understanding"

I would say that is a piercing insight, my lady.

You also wrote: "man's intelligence is foolishness to God"

Well, you know I agree with that timeless truth.

I am glad you came. Thank you for your excellent comments.

Gypsy Willow from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand on March 25, 2011:

Another amazing hub , well written and exquisitely researched. Thank you for this info on Deism. i feel quite learned having read it. We humans are a strange lot!

Kelly Umphenour from St. Louis, MO on March 25, 2011:

Thank you! Really you can't imagine how smart I felt after reading this:-)! I mean Voltaire with coffee is exquisite! I loved it:-)

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on March 25, 2011:

creativeone59— You are welcome, my dear. Thank you for taking the time to read my Hub. God Bless You Sister.

James

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on March 25, 2011:

RealHousewife— Thank you!! Thank you very much! :D

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on March 25, 2011:

Hxprof— You are welcome, my friend. I am glad you enjoyed this piece. Thank you for saying so. As always, I appreciate the visit and your comments.

Yes, Butler was right on. And I agree with you that all efforts at evangelism are fruitless without the Power of the Holy Spirit.

Regardless of all that, it is good to hear from you again, Brother. Thank you for coming to see me.

b. Malin on March 25, 2011:

I so enjoyed your latest History Lesson...soon I shall go to the Head of the class with all my new found knowledge...Interesting subject. Thanks for sharing.

Tammy on March 25, 2011:

After being interupted a number of times, re-reading just as many, I finally have a few minutes to spare to proclaim... Wow, I had a different picture of what deit and deism was. This was enlightening and very informative. Thanks!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on March 25, 2011:

CMHypno— I most certainly agree with your excellent insights. Thank you ever much for coming by to visit. I appreciate your thoughtful remarks.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on March 25, 2011:

sheila b.— You are most welcome. I am pleased to have been of service.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on March 25, 2011:

Judy— Thank you!! Thank you very much! :D

hybridway on March 24, 2011:

Great hub.

I never heard of Deism and Deists as religion. Very

Informative. Like to share with others.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on March 24, 2011:

Ingenira— Thank you for your kind compliments. As always, I appreciate the visit and your comments. :)

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on March 24, 2011:

James, You always write hubs that are interesting and educational. I enjoy reading the history of the early religious beliefs. Thank you.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on March 24, 2011:

Thanks for an interesting hub. I’ve read a little about Deism before and wanted to learn more. Your hub provided me with a lot of useful information.

spiderpam from USA on March 24, 2011:

Hi James,

This hub is great!

Jen Buczynski from Buffalo, NY on March 24, 2011:

I see that history truly does repeat itself. We have nothing to fear-- Christianity will live on despite any and all persecution and open mockery! Praise God. Thank you so much for sharing this.

Peg Cole from North Dallas, Texas on March 24, 2011:

I like the quote from Voltaire on the night sky, "One would have to blind not to be dazzled by this sight; one would have to be stupid not to recognize its author; one would have to be mad not to worship him."

Lillian K. Staats from Wasilla, Alaska on March 24, 2011:

Wonderful James, you take on the big issues, not "what color to paint your bathtub".. lily

Tamarajo on March 24, 2011:

I honestly had never heard of this movement or philosophy before.

It seems as if what a deist really worships is their own intellectual understanding of things which limits a universe of possibilities. How very sad to be blinded by ones own supposed intelligence. "man's intelligence is foolishness to God"

I did like the Christian response section. It confirmed the thoughts I already had while reading your article.

I did not know that Jefferson was a Deist

Interesting article as always.

Benny Faye Ashton Douglass from Gold Canyon, Arizona on March 24, 2011:

Thank you James, for a very profound and informative hub on Deism and Deists. Thank you for sharing. Godspeed. creativeone59

Kelly Umphenour from St. Louis, MO on March 24, 2011:

A history lesson with my coffee - loved it:-). Lots of research in there - yes, enlightening!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on March 24, 2011:

Kaie Arwen— I am glad to hear there is one person I've never disappointed. Lord knows, I've disappointed everybody else from time to time. :D

Thank you very much, my dear, for your ongoing support and encouragement. Soon I'll be off to finish my first book, which will require a hiatus from HubPages.

I appreciate your thoughtful comments. And you are most welcome.

Hxprof on March 24, 2011:

Enjoyed this survey of Deism. The claim that scripture was perverted/rewritten has been around longer than Deism, but no surprise that Deists found that argument useful.

I particularly liked what you said here, "Rebuttals to Deism were put forth forcefully by English philosopher and theologian Joseph Butler. He thought Deists abandoned the Christian Faith because it might interrupt their pleasure-seeking." Solid insight from Butler.

I consider the efforts by Christians to convince others that they 'should' believe to be fruitless-that's the job of the Holy Spirit. The commission given to Christians is to, "Make disciples of all nations". A person must first be saved (by the conviction of the Holy Spirit) before he/she can be made a disciple.

Sorry, I digress. Thanks for the concise piece on Deism.

CMHypno from Other Side of the Sun on March 24, 2011:

Interesting hub on deism James. It is always fascinating to see how religious ideas shape history, and I think that to be a good historian, a good understanding of the religious beliefs and philosophies of that time is imperative

sheila b. on March 24, 2011:

As always, I've learned a lot from this article. Thanks.

Judy on March 24, 2011:

Nice coverage of the subject!

Ingenira on March 24, 2011:

Very well written, James. An enlightening article to read. Nice work !

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on March 23, 2011:

Moonchild60— Thank you for being my first visitor. I am well pleased to have provided some enlightenment. I appreciate the visit and your comments. And you are welcome. :-)

Kaie Arwen on March 23, 2011:

Hey you- why is it that you never disappoint me? As always you have so much well written information in one short space that I never have to open a book............ well, I do read............. but books I'd like to read have to wait for the summer.............. during the school year; it's all school!

Thanks for this.............. you've rearranged my thought patterns on some of the differences I've never quite understood.

"The madness, the utter depravity, the bloody murders of the French Philosophers killed Deism. Though its children live on in different guises." AMEN............ thanks teacher! ;-) K

Moonchild60 on March 23, 2011:

Well James, you know I do not believe in Religion, so the only comment I am going to make regarding this enlightening Hub is, oh there it is, I said it, enlightening. Thank you.

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