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DEISM - Faith of Our Founding Fathers

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Bianca
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« on: June 30, 2007, 03:06:21 pm »







                             THE DEIST ROOTS OF THE UNITED  STATES  OF   AMERICA





by Robert L. Johnson

 

What is it that filled the souls of many of America's founders with such passionate altruism that they were willing to risk everything they had, including their families, careers, and very lives, for an ideal? Was it their strong convictions in the teachings of Christianity and the Bible? Or was it something else?


                             


People like Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and Benjamin Franklin were avid readers of the great philosophers of the European Enlightenment. They treasured the ideas found in the works of such thinkers as Descartes, Voltaire, Bacon and Locke.

One of the cornerstone ideas of the Enlightenment was to give every idea and assumption the test of reason. When they applied reason to religion they found it necessary to strip it of revelation and they ended up with Deism. Deism is belief in God based on reason and nature. The differing alleged revelations of the various revealed religions are conspicuously absent from Deism. It is a natural religion as opposed to a revealed religion such as Christianity, Judaism, or Islam.

Deism first started to evolve when Edward Herbert of England wrote a book called Of Truth in 1624. His book took the position that belief in God can be based on reason, not just revelation.

In 1696 the Irish philosopher John Toland wrote Christianity Not Mysterious. This book claimed that both God and God's revelations were accessible to human reason and that the so called Christian mysteries are nothing but the manipulations of the clergy.

These two works broke the taboo of questioning Christian dogma, which was very courageous at the time, for this was the time of the Inquisition. People who questioned Biblical dogma could meet the same fate as Giordano Bruno who was convicted of being a heretic because he stated that the earth is not the center of the universe. For exercising his God-given reason Bruno paid the heavy price the superstition of revealed religion demanded - he was burned alive. In addition, these books took the additional positive step of injecting the use of reason in religious matters. Latter Deists were to completely reject any idea of revelation and base their ideas of God simply on the application of their reason on the creation. The order of nature to them was evidence of design. The design they detected in nature lead them to believe there is a Designer of nature, which is God.

In Peter Byrne's book NATURAL RELIGION AND THE NATURE OF RELIGION - THE LEGACY OF DEISM, it's stated the paramount difference between Deism/natural religion and revealed religion is, ". . . a distinction between a supposed set of divine truths specially communicated by God in history and a real system of truths available to all by the use of the unaided reason." This cornerstone of Deism was welcomed by people like Jefferson and Washington because it brought ideas of God current with modern science and knowledge.

The Enlightenment philosophers saw no need for the revelations, rituals, and dogmas of Christianity and the other revealed religions. And neither did key figures in American history.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2007, 03:49:50 pm by Bianca2001 » Report Spam   Logged

Your mind understands what you have been taught; your heart what is true.


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