Sunday, January 24, 2016

Waligore: "The Christian Deist Writings of Benjamin Franklin"

For those of you who can access the JSTOR article, the link is here. Dr. Joseph Waligore has done Yeoman's work updating the scholarly record regarding the multiple possible understandings of the term "Deism."

The form of Deism that arguably prevailed in England, as opposed to the continent, was Christian-Deism. Many of the ideas that drove the American Founding derived from Great Britain. America rebelled against her mother country using ideas that first appeared there. So it shouldn't surprise that the "Deism" of the American Founding, like that of England, would turn out to be more "Christian" than one might have thought.

Many things are great about this article. But my favorite is the American Creation blog gets a footnote. It's footnote 28. From page 7:
All of the Christian deists claimed to be Christian and the vast majority of them claimed they were the only ones advocating the Christianity Jesus taught. A better name for them might be “Jesus-centered deists” because they identified Christianity with Jesus’ moral teachings.28 Calling them “Jesus-centered deists” rather than “Christian deists” has the advantage of sidelining the contentious question about whether they actually were Christians. None of the Christian deists, however, described themselves as “Jesus-centered.” Instead, they all described themselves as “Christian.” Moreover, using the name “Jesus-centered deist” could be taken to imply that they should not be considered “Christian.” It is more historically accurate to refer to them as they referred to themselves, so I will stick with calling them “Christian deists.”

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