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Revision as of 14:17, 10 December 2008
Deism is a philosophical state that derives the existence and nature of God from reason — as opposed to theism which relies on direct supernatural revelation and scriptural dogma. Deism rose during the 1700s in Europe and the United States, and today exists in the forms of Classical Deism and Modern Deism.
The central tenets of deist thought include:
- Rejection of miracles, prophecies, and supernatural events.
- Rejection of holy scriptures and religions based on scriptures.
- Rejection of most major religious faiths, such as Islam, Christianity, and Judaism.
- God exists and created the universe.
- God has an absolute standard for morality.
- Humans have some form of a "spirit" or "soul".
While deists agree that some form of God exists, the nature of God to individuals will vary greatly. This has caused deism to be much more obscure in the religious world, as deists are only unified by a belief in a God (much like atheists, on the other side of the coin, are only unified by their lack of belief).
Because there is no scriptural standard or dogma, deism is usually not classified as a religion but rather as a philosophical state or stance. Generally speaking, deists today identify with an omnipotent God who created the universe but now has no personal interaction with the actual world. Other variations include pandeism, a belief that everything is a part of God but humans are unable to comprehend God in its entirety due to the infinite nature of God.