Author Topic: Deists of the 'Age of Reason'  (Read 132 times)


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Deists of the 'Age of Reason'
« on: August 01, 2009, 09:42:53 PM »
Since prominent deists came before the discovery of evolution and before an accepted theory that the universe has its origin in the big bang, might many of the then deists be atheists, with their same mindset, if they lived in the modern world?


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Re: Deists of the 'Age of Reason'
« Reply #1 on: August 01, 2009, 09:57:19 PM »
That's an interesting idea. It's called counterfactual history. For that reason, in my opinion, it shouldn't be taken too seriously. It is entertaining to extrapolate though. I think many historical figures, deist or theist, might have been atheists if they had lived in present times. Newton is my favorite for this.
Quote from: "Newton"
All these things being considered, it seems probable to me, that God in he beginning formed. Matter in solid, massy, hard, impenetrable, moveable particles, of such sizes and figures, and with such other properties, and in such proportion to space, as most conduced to the end for which he formed them; and that these primitive particles, being solids, are incomparably harder than any porous bodies compounded of them; even so very hard, as never to wear or break in pieces; no ordinary power being able to divide what God himself made one in the first creation. While the particles continue entire, they may compose bodies of one and the same nature and texture in all ages: But should they wear away, or break in pieces, the nature of things depending on them would be changed. Water and earth, composed of old worn particles and fragments of particles would not be of the same nature and texture now, with water and earth composed of entire particles in the beginning. And therefore, that nature may be lasting, the changes of corporeal things are to be placed only in the various separations and new associations and motions of these permanent particles; compound bodies being apt to break, not in the midst of solid particles, but where those particles are laid together, and only touch in a few points.

- Opticks (1704)
Would he have written that today?
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Re: Deists of the 'Age of Reason'
« Reply #2 on: August 01, 2009, 10:59:01 PM »
I have often thought about this. I've even presented the possibilty before during debates, though rarely since there no proof. I honestly believe with as inteligent as may deists, namely the American founding fathers (they're the ones I the most of) It seems like almost the default position for most intelectuals of their time. As Atheists are for most in our time. I personally honestly do believe that most of the Deists from that time would be Atheist with a coherent alternate explination for life, like say evolution.
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