Definition of deism in English:



  • Belief in the existence of a supreme being, specifically of a creator who does not intervene in the universe. The term is used chiefly of an intellectual movement of the 17th and 18th centuries that accepted the existence of a creator on the basis of reason but rejected belief in a supernatural deity who interacts with humankind.

    Compare with theism
    • ‘He did not, however, stray too far from deism; he placed little faith in the use of prayers for specific personal requests or miracles.’
    • ‘The solicitor general fell into the trap of defending the phrase as a revered historical curiosity, an expression of ceremonial deism, and something good for reinforcing patriotic sentiment.’
    • ‘Hobbes's idea of a natural religion can fairly be described as deist, and his blend of deism and civil religion was to prove prophetic of much Enlightenment thinking.’
    • ‘I would argue that an interventionist view of God is much closer to deism than my view.’
    • ‘As I stated previously, in 18th century deism there were two keys to distinguishing between deism and theism in its various forms.’
    • ‘As a thinker he advanced from theological liberalism to deism, then pantheism and possibly to atheism.’
    • ‘In addition, what we now know of quantum mechanics renders deism inadequate theology because the universe doesn't unfold in a rigorously deterministic manner.’
    • ‘Far from being based in a biblical vision, the case for intelligent design seems to lead at best to a kind of deism.’
    • ‘Originating late in 1796, this movement of intellectual, republican deism prospered in towns where dechristianization had been popular.’
    • ‘Put into practice, her ceremonial deism will cease to be either ceremonial or deistic.’
    • ‘Not only was Newton not a deist; he believed deism heretical and harmful.’
    • ‘They see economics as a product of Enlightenment rationalism, along with deism, atheism, the chaos of the French Revolution and other un-Christian aspects of the modern age.’
    • ‘And since he asserts that atheism equals nihilism, and deism equals atheism lite, then I must really be a nihilist.’
    • ‘As a prelude to this Genesis-geology controversy, the eighteenth century also witnessed the spread of two competing but largely similar worldviews: deism and atheism.’
    • ‘He drifted gradually from deism into pantheism.’
    • ‘I've long held a similar belief, namely that modern science would lead to a re-emergence of an old religious idea, a blend of naturalism and deism.’
    • ‘As a result, no religious acknowledgment could claim to be an instance of ceremonial deism if it explicitly favored one particular religious belief system over another.’
    • ‘In terms of religion, Napoleon bordered between deism and atheism.’
    • ‘Constancio's rejection of Paine's deism illustrates that liberals were selective in their borrowings from the ‘canonical’ Enlightenment.’
    • ‘He reacts against the heresy of deism, the belief that God wound up the universe in the beginning but lets it run without intervention.’


Late 17th century: from Latin deus god + -ism.