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Religious Tolerance logo

Deism: a world religion


A religion whose followers
believe in a God who created the
universe, established its rules of
behavior, set it going, left, and
hasn't been seen since.

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Two quotations:

Thomas Paine:

"In Deism, our reason and our beliefs are happily married."

Albert Einstein: Directed to Rabbi Herbert Goldstein in 1929:

"I believe in Spinoza's God, who reveals Himself in the lawful harmony of the world, not in a God who concerns Himself with the fate and the doings of mankind."

Other famous Deists were John Locke, Thomas Jefferston, and Voltare

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The word "Deism" is derived from the Latin word for God: "Deus."

It is pronounced [dēizm] or [dāizm].

Deism is a natural religion. Deists believe in the existence of God, on purely rational grounds, without any reliance on revealed religion, religious authority, or holy text. Because of this, Deism is quite different from religions like Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The latter are largely based on revelations that Jews, Christians and Muslims believe mostly came from God to prophet(s) who later taught it to humans.

We like to call natural religions by the title "bottom-up" faiths because they were created by humans about God; we refer to revealed religions as "top-down" because their followers believe that they were created by God and delivered to humans.

One faith that is opposite of Deism is Atheism, which is the lack of a belief in the existence of a god or gods. Another seen in the beliefs of most Theists who conceive of God as a deity who is all-present, all-powerful, all-loving, all-knowing and has a personal interest, involvement, and love for every human on Earth.


bullet Do not accept the belief of most religions that God revealed himself to humanity through the writings of the Hebrew Scriptures (a.k.a. Old Testament), and/or the Christian Scriptures (a.k.a. New Testament), and/or the Qur'an, and/or other religious text.
bulletDisagree with strong Atheists who assert that there is no evidence of the existence of God.

Many Deists reason that everything that exists has had a creator -- including a wristwatch, an automobile, a television set, and the Internet. Thus it is logical that the universe itself must have been created by God:


Thomas Paine (1737 -1809) concluded a speech shortly after the French Revolution with:

"God is the power of first cause, nature is the law, and matter is the subject acted upon."


In his book "The Age of Reason," Thomas Paine wrote that:

"... everything we behold carries in itself the internal evidence that it did not make itself."

This includes trees, plants, humans and other animals. This conclusion carries us:

"... to the belief of a first cause eternally existing ... this first cause, man calls God."


Antony Flew (1923-2010), a son of a Methodist minister was once a leading Atheist. Later in life, he accepted the existence of God on the basis of design in the universe. In 2004, he became a Deist while still rejecting the gods promoted by the various revealed religions. He wrote:

"How can a universe of mindless matter produce beings with intrinsic ends, self replication capabilities and coded chemistry?"

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Topics covered in this section:

bulletDeist quotations and history

bulletNumbers of followers in the U.S.

bulletDeist beliefs, practices and symbols

bulletDeists' beliefs on the origins of life and species; Richard Dawkins' beliefs

bullet An essay by Contributing Editor Susan Humphrey titled: "Deism, God, the Big Bang, Matter, & Motion"

bullet Deist books and links to web sites

bulletThe Deus Project and the United Deist Community

Reference used:

  1. Thomas Paine, "The Age of Reason," Page 29, at:

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Copyright 1999 to 2018 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2018-MAR-07
Author: B.A. Robinson

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