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 Deism Through The Years

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Aaron
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Registration date : 2007-01-24

PostSubject: Deism Through The Years   Mon Jun 25, 2007 3:53 pm

I thought that it would be interesting to look at the history of deist tenets side by side through the years...

Lord Herbert of Cherbury, circa 1645

1. A belief in the existence of the Deity…
2. The obligation to reverence such a power…
3. The identification of worship with practical morality…
4. The obligation to repent of sin and to abandon it…
5. Divine recompense in this world and the next…


Matthew Tindal, circa 1730

1. That God, at all times, has given mankind sufficient means of knowing whatever he requires of them...
2. That the Religion of Nature consists in observing those things which our reason demonstrates to be our duty; and that those things are plain; and likewise what they are.
3. That the perfection and happiness of all rational beings consists in living up to the dictates of their nature.
4. That not only the matter of all God's laws, but the penalties annexed to them, are for the good of mankind (even those who suffer for the breach of them).
5. That God requires nothing for his own sake. No, not the worship we are to render him, nor the faith we are to have in him.
6. That the Religion of Nature is an absolutely perfect religion; and that external revelation can neither add to, nor take away from it's perfection; and that "true religion", whether internally, or externally revealed, must be the same.
7. That Natural and Revealed religions having the same end, their precepts must be the same.
8. That not adhering to those notions Reason dictates (concerning the nature of God), has been the occasion of all superstition, and those innumerable mischiefs that mankind (on account of religion) have done to themselves or to one another.
9. Human happiness being the ultimate design and end of all tradition, as well as Original Revelation, they must both prescribe the same means; since those means, which at one time promote human happiness, equally promote it at all times.
10. God does not act arbitrarily, or interpose unnecessarily; but leaves those things that can only be considered as means to human discretion; to determine as it thinks most conducing to those things which are in their own nature obligatory.
11. That supposing things merely positive, to be made to ingredients of religion, is inconsistent with the good of mankind, as well as the honor of God.
12. That they who magnify Revelation, weaken the force of the Religion of Reason and Nature, strike at all religion; and that there can't be two independent rules for the government of human actions.
13. The bulk of mankind, by their Reason, must be able to distinguish between Religion and Superstition; otherwise they can never extricate themselves from that superstition they chance to be educated in.


Elihu Palmer, circa 1801

1. The universe proclaims the existence of one supreme Deity, worthy of the adoration of intelligent beings.
2. Man is possessed of moral and intellectual faculties sufficient for improvement of nature, and the acquisition of happiness.
3. The religion of nature is the only universal religion; that it grows out of the moral relations of intelligent beings, and it stands connected with the progressive improvement and common welfare of the human race.
4. It is essential to the true interest of man, that he love truth and practice virtue.
5. Vice is every where ruinous and destructive to the happiness of the individual and of society.
6. A benevolent disposition, and beneficent actions, are fundamental duties of rational beings.
7. A religion mingled with persecution and malice cannot be of divine origin.
8. Education and science are essential to the happiness of man.
9. Civil and religious liberty is essential to his interests.
10. There can be no human authority to which man ought to be amenable for his religious opinions.
11. Science and truth, virtue and happiness, are the great objects to which the activity and energy of human faculties ought to be directed.


Joe Hardwick, circa 2004

1. Belief in God based on Reason, Experience and Nature (nature of the universe) rather than on the basis of holy texts and divine revelation. Essentially, through the use of Reason, God’s existence is revealed by the observation of the order and complexity found within nature and our personal experiences.
2. Belief that the nature of God is abstract and generally incomprehensible which puts it beyond definition for humanity at this time. Furthermore, human language is limited and inadequate to define God; however, man can use Reason to theorize and speculate on what this possible nature is.
3. Belief that mans relationship with God is transpersonal. However, this does not create a feeling of a distant and cold deity but of one in which God has a profound and unfathomable relationship with all of creation (nature) rather than just one aspect of it.
4. Belief that humanity has the ability to use Reason to develop ethical/moral principles and through the application of Reason these principles can be used to implement moral behavior, which in turn creates a Utilitarian-Humanist morality. Essentially, humans can be guided by their conscience in matters of morality.
5. Belief that humans have the individual capability of experiencing God, which is defined as spirituality. These spiritual experiences are multi-faceted and can include awe, epiphany, fellowship and even the transcendental. Essentially, each human is capable of having a profound experience of God and nature.
6. Belief that God should be honored in a way that the individual believes is best and most appropriate for them. Individuals must determine for themselves how best to honor God and only they can develop how to accomplish this. For many, it is a multi-faceted and an individualized process.
7. Belief in the principle of Natural Law that states that all men and women are created equal to each other with inherent freedom and liberty so that no human has more worth than another. Essentially, each human is equal in terms of the freedoms that they have and in the eyes of the law.
8. Belief that mankind’s purpose is to use our God-given reason to understand what it means to be alive in every sense of the word (to live life to the fullest) and to act in such a way as to secure human happiness and contentment for all involved.
9. Belief that Reason and Respect are God-given traits to mankind and that we are to utilize them in all aspects of our daily lives thus creating a pragmatic approach to life. This includes respecting other alternative views and opinions of God (other religions) as long as they do not produce harm and/or infringe upon others.

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