He derived the ideas, in fragmentary fashion, from Bolingbroke, who was an amateur Deist
and optimist of the shallow eighteenth century type, and so far was Pope from understanding what he was doing that he was greatly disturbed when it was pointed out to him that the theology of the poem was Deistic rather than Christian [Footnote: The name Deist
was applied rather generally in the eighteenth century to all persons who did not belong to some recognized Christian denomination.
That said, few if any of the Founders were actual "deists
"--only Benjamin Franklin described himself as a deist
--but were rational theists who sought to incorporate reason into their own belief systems.
The god of the Enlightenment deists
was scarcely a religious figure, either, but he was the ultimate warrant of coherence in the universe and of morality in mankind, hence he had to be one.
John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and George Washington were not strictly Christians but more like Deists
or theistic rationalists.
Another chapter considers the Deists
and the Protestants, who were small in number but espoused a form of "Catholicism," in a much broader sense.
After all, some of the Founders were Deists
and devotees of the Enlightenment, which, in its extreme form in France, tried to replace God with Reason, points out Jane M.
The goal, which I share with many atheists, and also many deists
and thoughtful members of many of the newer liberal churches, is to clear the ideosphere of the harmful religion viruses that plague modern humankind.
However, I excuse Doty because he has established that God is actively interested in the material world, which defies materialists, deists
, and the understandings of all Eastern religions and pantheists.
This collection of essays explores the contributions of English Deists
, particularly John Toland, to historical exegesis of the Bible.
, who found evidence of God in nature, moved profoundly away from the concept of a revealed God that can be fully known only through the church and its doctrines concerning the person of Jesus.
But in the manner of Deists
, Washington was indifferent to two significant rites of the church: he avoided the sacrament of the Holy Communion and was never confirmed.
At any rate, he does not rise above the religion of the Deists
, of whom there are considerable numbers everywhere (so deplorable is the morality of our age), and especially in France.