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lillycoyote's avatar

Many, at least a reasonable number of the "founders," the "framers of the Constitution," were Deists. Do you think that they would have been atheists if they had formed their religious views in a post-Darwinian world?

Asked by lillycoyote (24810points) March 24th, 2010

If yes, why, if no why? It is certainly impossible to assume what they might or might have thought, but we can always speculate. Is it as simple as saying: Yes, they would have thought differently had they had the science available to them at the time? Is there something in their writings that might make you think they still would have been deists, even post-Darwin? Or not?

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12 Answers

Cruiser's avatar

Most “if not all” of our founders were brave devote individuals who believed that God is the source of natural law but does not intervene directly in the affairs of the world. I doubt Darwin would have had much of an affect on their views.

bobloblaw's avatar

As children of the Renaissance? I would think that the Founding Fathers would have fit evolution into their complex belief systems. Darwin, if anything, would have explained, scientifically, what they already believed: the creator’s not around anymore (if one was ever around to begin with). Everything we see is the result of creation playing itself out.

faye's avatar

I had never heard the term deist. I think I am a deist. Thanks, guys.

anartist's avatar

Many of the first settlers, like the Puritans, came to escape religious persecution. If that were a motive today for emigrating to a colony, there would be a high number of deists. One would have to consider the religious climate of the countries from which they came.

JLeslie's avatar

@anartist I remember hearing Christians are still leaving some of the countries in the Arab world because of lack of religious freedom and/or opression.

jaytkay's avatar

I don’t think Darwin would alter their views. Evolution conflicts with bible literalism, and Deists are not bible literalists.

Qingu's avatar

There’s very little functional difference between atheism and deism to begin with.

Atheist: There aren’t any gods.

Deist: There is a god, but he is completely and utterly removed from the universe and human history.

I’m sure some of them were simply atheists but unwilling to admit it. Aristotle’s unmoved mover argument (which is all Deism is) wasn’t exactly without valid criticism at the time, thanks to David Hume.

jonami's avatar

i am not religious, but i think people should serve others and be as selfless as humanly possible. like jesus. Love is totally free will, so God has to give us the choice in how we act. There fore, if we are selfish (which face it, even unselfish people are) we are blocking our lives from being connected to God.

To me, religion puts a very intellectual spin on something that should come from the heart.

jonami's avatar

sorry that the answer has nothing to do with your question…...i suppose that’s the conflict within almost every human…..the logical versus what you inherently “know” within your heart to be right.

thriftymaid's avatar

No. The same reason I haven’t.

shpadoinkle_sue's avatar

In the constitution is freedom to pray to who you want to, when you want to. I don’t think they would have been affected as much.

Nially_Bob's avatar

I have only a hunch to reinforce my statements on this matter but I feel they would have actually been more religious. The US ‘founding fathers’ were renowned thinkers, philosophers and scholars; as such I feel they would be more inclined to objectively evaluate and question the conventional views of a post-Darwinian world. From what i’ve studied of great thinkers who have acted similarly, it’s all too often they have either began to believe in some form of deity (as with Max Planck) or begin a stern resistance against the notion (as with Richard Dawkins). And as there are more concepts of God than the singular concept of there being no God I would deduce that the former is more probable.

As I mentioned initially this is based only on a hunch but it’s a hunch which is proving difficult to shake.

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