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(1,831 words)

Author(s): Voigt-Goy, Christopher
1. 18th-century origin The term  freethinker first appeared around 1700 in the nascent civil philosophy of religion (Religion, philosophy of) in England. In 1697 the Irish scholar William Molyneux wrote in a letter to John Locke that the pamphleteer John Toland, famous for his book  Christianity Not Mysterious (1695), was a “candid freethinker” [2. 150]. Anthony Collins, an acquaintance of Locke and a friend of Toland, popularized the term in 1713 with his  A Discourse of Free-Thinking, Occasioned by the Rise and the Growth of a Sect calld Free-Thinkers (published anonymous…
Date: 2019-10-14

Rational religion

(3,999 words)

Author(s): Voigt-Goy, Christopher | Grözinger, Karl Erich
1. General remarks The terms  rational religion and  natural religion refer to the notion of a knowledge of God and consequent worship of God given to every human being solely by virtue of his or her intellectual capacity (Reason). Its substance is identified with a general commandment of obedience to God’s will realized concretely in an obligation to lead a moral life (Ethics). The roots of this idea go back to antiquity via the natural law of the Middle Ages (Natural theology); in Christianity, it has…
Date: 2021-03-15


(828 words)

Author(s): Voigt-Goy, Christopher
The term theocracy (Greek “rule of God”) was coined by Flavius Josephus around 96 BCE to describe the political governance in ancient Judaism from Moses to Samuel, in deliberate contrast to the Greco-Roman distinction between aristocracy, monarchy, and democracy (Forms of government, theory of). God directly governs the fate of his chosen people, while the priesthood sees to it that his laws are obeyed; the introduction of secular kingship thus means apostasy from God ( Contra Apionem 2.165; 2.185-189). The term  theocracy was known in classical antiquity, but it did not…
Date: 2022-11-07