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Until the 18th century, the term “deism” (from Lat. deus, a god, God) was interchangeable with “theism.” It was used for the first time by the Swiss theologian P. Viret (Geneva, 1564), who spoke with abhorrence of people who called themselves deists to emphasize that, in contrast to atheists, they believed in God, even though they accepted nothing of Christ and his teaching. Some writers (e.g., C. Blount and M. Tindal) explicitly confessed deism, but many deists avoided the term because of its negative connotation for their orthodox opponents.

Later, deism increasingly became a ph…

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Veldhuis, Ruurd, “Deism”, in: Encyclopedia of Christianity Online. Consulted online on 26 September 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2211-2685_eco_D88>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004169678, 20080512

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