This section has many great quotes from Deists or in regards to Deistic thought.
"The question before the human race is, whether the God of nature shall govern the world by his own laws, or whether priests and kings shall rule it by fictitious miracles."
"The United States of America governments have exhibited, perhaps, the first example of governments erected on the simple principles of nature. It will never be pretended that any persons employed in that service had interviews with the gods, or were in any degree under the influence of Heaven, more than those at work upon ships or houses, or laboring in merchandise or agriculture; it will forever be acknowledged that these governments were contrived merely by the use of reason and the senses."
“When philosophic reason is clear and certain by intuition or necessary induction, no subsequent revelation supported by prophecies or miracles can supersede it.”
“Let the human mind loose. It must be loose. It will be loose. Superstition and dogmatism cannot confine it.”
"This revelation has made it certain that two and one makes three, and that one is not three nor can three be one. We can never be so certain of any prophecy, or of any miracle, or the design of any miracle, as we are from the revelation of nature, i.e., Nature's God, that two and two are equal to four. Miracles or prophecies might frighten us out of our wits; might scare us to death; might induce us to lie, to say that we believe that two and two make five. But we should not believe it. We should know the contrary."
“There is something which always moves the things that are in motion, and the first mover is itself unmoved.”
"One actuality always precedes another in time right back to the actuality of the eternal prime mover."
"The infinite has no beginning, ... but seems to be the beginning of other things, and to surround all things and guide all ... And this is the divine, for it is immortal and indestructible."
William Ellery Channing
"The great end in religious instruction, is not to stamp our minds upon the young, but to stir up their own; not to make them see with our eyes, but to look inquiringly and steadily with their own; not to give them a definite amount of knowledge, but to inspire a fervent love of truth; not to form an outward regularity, but to touch inward springs; not to bind them by ineradicable prejudices to our particular sect or peculiar notions, but to prepare them for impartial, conscientious judging of whatever subjects may be offered to their decision; not to burden memory, but to quicken and strengthen the power of thought."
"The proposition, that there is one God, seems to us exceedingly plain. We understand by it, that there is one being, one mind, one person, one intelligent agent, and one only, to whom underived and infinite perfection and dominion belong."
"The laws [of physics] ... seem to be the product of exceedingly ingenious design... The universe must have a purpose."
“There is for me powerful evidence that there is something behind it all…. It seems as though somebody has fined tuned nature’s numbers to make th universe….The impression of design is overwhelming”
"Through conscious beings the universe has generated self-awareness. This can be no trivial detail, no minor byproduct of mindless, purposeless forces. We are truly meant to be here."
"Science without religion is lame; religion without science is blind."
"Whatever there is of God and goodness in the universe, it must work itself out and express itself through us. We cannot stand aside and let God do it."
“What I see in Nature is a magnificent structure that we can comprehend only very imperfectly, and that must fill a thinking person with a feeling of humility.”
"I cannot imagine a God who rewards and punishes the objects of his creation, whose purposes are modelled after our own - a God, in short, who is but a reflection of human frailty. It is enough for me to contemplate the mystery of conscious life perpetuating itself through all eternity, to reflect upon the marvelous structure of the universe which we can dimly perceive and to try humbly to comprehend even an infinitesimal part of the intelligence manifested in Nature."
"The scientists' religious feeling takes the form of a rapturous amazement at the harmony of natural law, which reveals an intelligence of such superiority that, compared with it, all the systematic thinking and acting of human beings is an utterly insignificant reflection."
"If a man empties his purse into his head, no man can take it away from him. An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest."
"God helps them that help themselves."
"The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason."
"Original sin was as ridiculous as imputed righteousness."
"I cannot conceive otherwise than that He, the Infinite Father, expects or requires no worship or praise from us, but that He is even infinitely above it."
"That there is one God, who made all things. That he governs the world by his providence. That he ought to be worshipped by adoration, prayer, and thanksgiving. But that the most acceptable service to God is doing good to man. That the soul is immortal. And that God will certainly reward virtue and punish vice, either here or hereafter."
"Some books against Deism fell into my hands; they were said to be the substance of sermons preached at Boyle's lectures. It happened that they wrought an effect on me quite contrary to what was intended by them; for the arguments of the deists, which were quoted to be refuted, appeared to me much stronger than the refutations; in short, I soon became a thorough deist."
“I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.”
"The Laws of Nature are changeless, unchangeable, and there are no miracles in the sense of infringement or interruption of Nature's laws."
"God is that indefinable something which we all feel but which we do not know."
Edward Harrison (No picture available)
"Here is the cosmological proof of the existence of God – the design argument of Paley – updated and refurbished. The fine tuning of the universe provides prima facie evidence of deistic design. Take your choice: blind chance that requires multitudes of universes or design that requires only one.... Many scientists, when they admit their views, incline toward the teleological or design argument."
"Then we shall… be able to take part in the discussion of the question of why it is that we and the universe exist. If we find the answer to that, it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason - for then we would know the mind of God."
"The government which governs best, governs least."
"Reason and free inquiry are the only effectual agents against error."
"Liberty is the great parent of science and of virtue; and a nation will be great in both in proportion as it is free."
"The clergy, by getting themselves established by law and ingrafted into the machine of government, have been a very formidable engine against the civil and religious rights of man."
"All persons shall have full and free liberty of religious opinion; nor shall any be compelled to frequent or maintain any religious institution."
"Shake off all the fears of servile prejudices, under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call on her tribunal for every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear."
"Religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions. I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise therof,' thus building a wall of separation between Church and State."
“I should then take a view of the deism and ethics of the Jews, and show in what a degraded state they were, and the necessity they presented of a reformation. I should proceed to a view of the life, character, & doctrines of Jesus, who sensible of incorrectness of their ideas of the Deity, and of morality, endeavored to bring them to the principles of a pure deism, and juster notions of the attributes of God, to reform their moral doctrines to the standard of reason, justice & philanthropy, and to inculcate the belief of a future state.”
“If the moral precepts, innate in man, and made a part of his physical constitution, as necessary for a social being, if the sublime doctrines of philanthropism and deism taught us by Jesus of Nazareth, in which all agree, constitute true religion, then, without it, this would be, as you again say, 'something not fit to be named even, indeed, a hell.”
“The state of Nature has a law of Nature to govern it, which obliges every one, and reason, which is that law, teaches all mankind who will but consult it, that being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty or possessions."
"New opinions are always suspected, and usually opposed, without any other reason but because they are not common."
"We hold it for a fundamental and undeniable truth that religion, or the duty which we owe our Creator, and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence. The religion, then, of every man must be left to the conviction and conscience of every man: and that it is the right of every man to exercise it as these may dictate."
"The civil government ... functions with complete success ... by the total separation of the Church from the State."
Elihu Palmer (no picture available)
"Deism declares, that the practice of a pure, natural, and uncorrupted virtue, is the essential duty, and constitutes the highest dignity of man; that the powers of man are competent to all the great purposes of human existence; that science, virtue, and happiness are the great objects which ought to awake the mental energies, and draw forth the moral affections of the human race."
"Reason, which is the glory of our nature, is destined eventually, in the progress of future ages, to overturn the empire of superstition ... then the empire of reason, of science, and of virtue, will extend over the whole earth."
"Science is the true theology."
"God is the power of first cause, nature is the law, and matter is the subject acted upon."
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
"The most formidable weapon against errors of every kind is reason. I have never used any other and I trust I never shall."
"The creation is the Bible of the Deist. He there reads, in the handwriting of the Creator himself, the certainty of His existence and the immutability of His power, and all other Bibles and Testaments are to him forgeries."
"The Creation speaketh a universal language, independently of human speech or human language, multiplied and various as they may be. It is an ever-existing original, which every man can read. It cannot be forged; it cannot be counterfeited; it cannot be lost; it cannot be altered; it cannot be suppressed. It does not depend upon the will of man whether it shall be published or not; it publishes itself from one end of the earth to the other. It preaches to all nations and to all worlds; and this word of God reveals to man all that is necessary for man to know of God."
"Please remember that I have always supported the Right of every person to have their own opinion, even if that opinion is different than mine. Anyone who denies another person of this right, makes himself a slave to his own opinion, because he prevents himself from being able to change it."
"It is only in the CREATION that all the ideas and concepts of the word of God can come together. The Creation speaks a universal language that does not depend on any human speech or language. It is an eternal 'original copy' that all men can read. It cannot be faked or counterfeited. It cannot be lost or changed. It cannot be kept secret. It does not depend on man deciding whether to publish it or not. It publishes itself from one end of the earth to the other. It preaches to all the nations, and all the worlds. This natural word of God reveals to us all that man needs to know of God."
“The strongest weapon against all kinds of errors is Reason. I have never used any other, and hope I never will.”
"Only by using reason can man discover God. Take away his reason, and man could not understand anything.”
"Reason can be used to determine that God exists, but it falls far short in discovering all of God's qualities."
"It is evident that an Almighty Power exists, even though it is impossible for us to imagine the nature and manner of its existence."
"Wild and blasphemous ideas of God are formed because man has wandered away from the unchangeable laws of science, and the right use of reason; and because something called revealed religion was invented."
“God exists, and there it lies.”
"Every person, of whatever religious denomination he may be, is a DEIST in the first article of his Creed. Deism, from the Latin word Deus, God, is the belief of a God, andthis belief is the first article of every man's creed. It is on this article, universally consented to by all mankind, that the Deist builds his church, and here he rests. Whenever we step aside from this article, by mixing it with articles of human invention, we wander into a labyrinth of uncertainty and fable, and become exposed to every kind of imposition by pretenders to revelation."
"The Deist needs none of those tricks and shows called miracles to confirm his faith, for what can be a greater miracle than the creation itself, and his own existence?"
"There is a happiness in Deism, when rightly understood, that is not to be found inany other system of religion. All other systems have something in them that either shock our reason, or are repugnant to it, and man, if he thinks at all, must stifle his reason in order to force himself to believe them."
"In Deism our reason and our belief become happily united. The wonderful structure of the universe, and everything we behold in the system of the creation, prove to us, far better than books can do, the existence of a God, and at the same time proclaim His attributes."
“I was raised predominantly a Methodist, but I have traveled so much, mixed with so many people in all parts of the world, I dont know just what I am. I know I have never been a non-believer. But I can honestly tell you that I dont think that any one religion is the religion.”
“There is no argument in the world that carries the hatred that a religious belief does. The more learned a man is the less consideration he has for another man's belief.”
"Never say there is nothing beautiful in the world anymore. There is always something to make you wonder in the shape of a tree, the trembling of a leaf."
"The deeper we look into nature the more we recognize that it is full of life, and the more profoundly we know that all life is a secret, and we are all united to all this life."
"By Natural Religion, I understand the Belief of the Existence of a God, and the Sense and Practice of those Duties which result from the Knowledge we, by our Reason, have of him and his Perfections; and of ourselves, and our own Imperfections; and of the relation we stand in to him and our Fellow-Creatures; so that the Religion of Nature takes in every thing that is founded on the Reason and Nature of things."
"And if God designed all, Mankind should at all times know, what he wills them to know, believe, profess, and practice; and has given them no other Means for this, but the Use of Reason; Reason, human Reason must then be that Means: For as God has made us rational Creatures, and Reason tells us, that 'tis his Will, that we act up to the Dignity of our Natures; so 'tis Reason must tell when we do so."
"Every man, conducting himself as a good citizen, and being accountable to God alone for his religious opinions, ought to be protected in worshipping the Deity according to the dictates of his own conscience."
“We have abundant reason to rejoice that in this Land the light of truth and reason has triumphed over the power of bigotry and superstition ... In this enlightened Age and in this Land of equal liberty it is our boast, that a man's religious tenets will not forfeit the protection of the Laws, nor deprive him of the right of attaining and holding the highest Offices that are known in the United States.”
“I now make it my earnest prayer, that God would have you, and the state over which you preside, in his holy protection; that he would incline the hearts of the citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to government, to entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another, for their fellow-citizens of the United States at large, and particularly for their brethren who have served in the field; and finally, that he would most graciously be pleased to dispose us all to justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility and pacific temper of mind which were the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed religion, and without an humble imitation of whose examples in these things, we can never hope to be a happy nation.”
Copyright © 2004 J Hardwick