International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

An Enlightened Piety: A Rereading of English Deist Thinkers
Cho, L. H.

The mainstream discourse has maintained that the 17th century Age of Enlightenment was a secular movement against Christian dominance, an antithesis of fervent religiosity. However, on examining the origins of the Enlightenment, its close relationship with Christianity becomes evident. Considered as a form of religion most associated with the Enlightenment, Deism is conceptualized as directly opposed to Christian theism. Based on reason and rationality this position is considered to question the core aspects of Christianity. In an attempt to understand the development of Enlightenment Deism and to explore how closely related it was to Christian sensibilities, this paper explores the English Enlightenment. Specifically, by utilizing three main primary sources—Locke’s The Reasonableness of Christianity as Delivered in the Scriptures, Toland’s Christianity not Mysterious, and Collins’s A Discourse of Free-Thinking—this paper argues that Deism developed within the boundaries of Christian thought, rather than attacking the foundational ideologies of Christianity.

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