- Deism is the doctrine that, while a divine being exists, it is neither personal nor interested in the world it has created. Deism thus involves the denial of revelation, providence, miracles and (frequently) divine conservation. It arose in seventeenth-century Britain, where deists argued that a perfect God would create a world without need of miraculous intervention, and would make salvific knowledge generally available (through reason) rather than concentrated in particular special revelation. By the 1740s deism was undergoing sustained attack from both Christians and sceptics. In The Analogy of Religion (1736) Joseph Butler defended special biblical revelation in analogy with the general revelation in creation, while David Hume's Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion (1779) attacked the arguments of natural theology on which deism depended. Devastating though these arguments were, the final downfall of deism may be due as much to its own inability to inspire religious devotion or to forestall the slide into practical, and then dogmatic, atheismIn recent years deism has been revived among notable scientists such as Carl Sagan and E. O. Wilson.Further reading: Byrne 1989; Gay 1968; Sturch 1990; Toland 1999
Christian Philosophy . Daniel J. Hill and Randal D. Rauser. 2015.