All terms

What is Deism?

The belief that God created the universe but does not intervene in its affairs.

Deism: When God Steps Back to Let the Universe Run Its Course

Deism is a philosophical and religious concept that emphasizes the existence of God as the creator of the universe, who then stepped back and allowed it to run its course according to natural laws without divine intervention. This belief system emerged during the Enlightenment period in the 17th and 18th centuries, as intellectuals challenged traditional religious dogma and sought a new understanding of the natural world based on reason and empirical evidence.

Deists believe in a God who is not revealed through religious texts or dogma, but through the evidence of creation itself. They reject supernatural miracles and divine intervention in human affairs, viewing them as irrational and unnecessary. Instead, they embrace a rational and scientific approach to understanding the world. This rejection of traditional religious beliefs and values challenged the authority of the Church and paved the way for new ideas about individual liberty, democracy, and human rights.

Deism in Literature: When God is a Watchmaker

Deism has had an enduring influence on literature throughout the ages, inspiring writers to create characters who embody the ideals of rationalism and natural religion.

Voltaire's Candide

Voltaire's satirical novel Candide explores the absurdity of life in a world based on the principles of deism, where humanity suffers at the whim of a watchmaker god who appears to be indifferent to human suffering.

Through his protagonist Candide, Voltaire critiques the idea that the world was created for a specific purpose, and instead argues for the importance of living in the present moment and finding meaning in the inherent absurdity of existence.

Thomas Paine's The Age of Reason

Thomas Paine's treatise The Age of Reason critiques traditional Christianity and argues in favor of deism, promoting the idea of a natural religion based on reason and observation.

He argues that the Bible is flawed because it contains myths and supernatural stories, and that the true source of religious understanding is the study of nature and reason.