Deism

 

Deism is a philosophy of religion, not an organized religion.  It claims that reason and observation of the natural world can determine that the universe is a creation and has a creator.  Deism does not believe in a supreme being who can intervene in human affairs or ‘suspend’ the natural laws of the universe.

Newton’s scientific study of reality disclosed a machine - the Newtonian world machine. Gravity was viewed as a motor that kept the machine of matter – from stones to stars - in motion.  Since the world machine worked by itself, science perceived the observer and even God outside it.  This point of view undermined the Church’s position in society. Unless God is inside the universe, steadily controlling its operation and using it as the theater of man's moral pilgrimage, there is no Providence (“God's activity in the world”).  Revelation becomes an illusion, the law of the Prophets and the grace of the Gospels appear as man-made things. 

A natural religion called Deism developed – a system of thought based on human morality and reason rather than divine revelation.  Deism posits a God, not of love, wrath, or justice, but of supreme artisanship; a streamlined God who was the first practitioner of automation.  In the end Deism amounted to a clumsy compromise position.  It embraced science without abandoning God.

Deists reject supernatural events such as prophecy and miracles.  That a god (or "Supreme Architect") does not alter the universe by intervening in the affairs of human life. This idea is also known as the Clockwork universe theory, in which a god designs and builds the universe, but steps aside to let it run on its own. Deists believe in the existence of a god without any reliance on revealed religion, religious authority or holy books. Two main forms of deism currently exist: classical deism and modern deism.