Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Kenny Pearce on Deism

I have not heard of this scholar before. But he comes to similar conclusions on the definition and understanding of "deism" as Joseph Waligore.

He properly gets the "nuances." 

The relation of deism to Christianity is far more complicated. In the first place, nearly all of the English deists claimed that deism was true Christianity. I've been focusing mostly on the English deists because I know more about them than the French ones, but French deists seem to be more likely to portray deism as an alternative to Christianity. I suspect, however, that this difference may turn out to be merely verbal: by 'Christianity' the English deists mean the authentic teaching of the historical Jesus, while the French deists mean Roman Catholicism. Many French deists also claim that the historical Jesus held views similar to theirs, and the English deists are of course just as anti-Catholic as anyone. The fact that English deists generally see themselves as the real Christians causes a lot of confusion to people who wonder whether particular historical figures (e.g., American founders) were deists or Christians.
In the second place, it can be seen from the above that there is good reason to classify deism as a form of radical Protestantism.

1 comment:

Tom Van Dyke said...

The question is whether the Bible is divine revelation or just some Old Testament fairy tales combined with the New Testament wisdom of Jesus.

By the time you get to the unitarians and "free thinkers" of the 19th century, Divine Writ holds no force.

Theodore Parker.

"Or I speak to my ‘very Christian’ friends, and I am further convinced, ‘okay well I’m not a Christian in the sense that they’re a Christian’. It’s a worthwhile question to consider, I think, – what is it to be Christian? Theodore Parker said in his sermon that the Bible was purely the work of human beings; it was not directly inspired by God."


Um, you're not a Christian. Neither was Theodore Parker. Anyone who rejected the Bible in small part or even large is not. Forget the miracles of the Bible. As unitarian John Adams wrote, they were only to prove the divine origin of Jesus's message. But he believed in them at some level, and in Jesus's message at some level of divine authority.

The deist "God" is not the God of the Founding. He spoke to man, and interfered in human history.