In a general sense, the concept of deism is equivalent to theism , that is, a doctrine that affirms that God exists, therefore opposed to atheism. In fact, both deism and theism share the idea of God as the principle of creation. However, there is a difference between the two concepts: according to theism the existence of God is based on both faith and reason, while for deism the existence of God is a strictly rational matter.
Deism as a philosophical approach
If we take into account the monotheistic religions, the existence of God is based on a revelation of God to men, from which a religious tradition begins, Judaism, Christianity or Islam. According to the approach of deism, the idea of God is created from human reason itself and beyond revelation, faith and sacred texts. This means that deism starts from the concept of God as the original principle of the universe . In other words, the God of deists is a rational God.
Deism as a philosophical current began in France, in the 18th century, also known as the Century of Enlightenment . For deists, the concepts of sin, redemption or miracle play no role in understanding the idea of God. The God of Deists is somehow the God of all religions.
As an intellectual posture, deism can be defined as a secular religion
It is a religion because it brings a global vision of reality and, at the same time, part of a creator God. But this religion has a secular component, since the idea of God is not part of any religious tradition.
From a philosophical point of view, deism is an attempt to combine human reason with the existence of a creator God. Deism is connected to religious traditions such as Buddhism or Hinduism, as in both there is an order of the universe similar to the conception of the deists. Thus, for a Buddhist, the existence of evil is related to the lack of spiritual harmony in each individual . It is worth remembering that for a Christian evil is a consequence of original sin.
Several ways to understand deism
Philosophers of this current do not present a single view. Thus, for some, there is a God who rules the world and punishes humans when they act guided by evil.
For others, however, God is simply a principle that explains reality as a whole, but they reject the idea that God intervenes in human affairs. Anyway, according to the deist view, the origin of life is explained from a natural law activated by a creator.