Date: August 1965
Creator: Mattson, Vernon E.
Description: As was true of most intellectual trends in colonial America, deism originated in England and spread to the colonies. To understand deism as it developed in eighteenth century America, one must examine the roots and mature status of deism in England. Deism did not emerge as an entirely new system of thought in seventeenth century England. The disputes, schisms and wars of the Reformation laid a negative foundation for its appearance. The counter-accusations of the clergy of different sects provided ammunition for its anticlerical campaign. The Reformation itself, by its rejection of the ritualism and authority of the Roman Catholic Church, its teaching that in matters of religion each individual should use his own reason, and its putting greater stress on the ethical element in religion, was a movement in the same direction as deism. It did not, however, advance as far. To replace the authority of the Catholic Church, the Protestants substituted the Bible.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries