Friday, 25 September 2009

Link: Return of Jefferson’s Deism in the US

Primary version if this post, with visual content, at Barry Stocker's Weblog.

Steven Waldman, ‘Deism: Alive and Well in America’, Wall Street Journal

Waldman refers to the Deism influential among the Founding Fathers of the United States, particularly Thomas Jefferson. That is a position according to which religious scriptures are regarded as unreliable, but God is accepted, along with aspects of religious teaching falling short of complete acceptance of the standard dogmas of religious tradition. Waldman could also have mentioned that Abraham Lincoln had Deist inclinations, though was also inclined to think of God as a providential force in history in late life. Deism in its strictest sense may exclude all intervention by God in the universe he created, but as Waldman points out, a kind of impure Deism was what Jefferson and others of that generation followed. The main contemporary point is that as the more conservative forms of religious belief are declining in the US, Deism is on the increase along with complete non-belief.

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