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(4,554 words)

Author(s): Byrne, Peter | Hornig, Gottfried | Pailin, David Arthur | Walters, Kerry S.
[German Version] I. Philosophy of Religion – II. Dogmatics – III. Europe – IV. North America I. Philosophy of Religion Deism has a current and a historical sense in theology and philosophy of religion. Its current sense, dating from the end of the 18th century, denotes belief in a first cause who made the world but no longer exercises any providential control over it. In its historical sense it refers…

Collins, Anthony

(154 words)

Author(s): Pailin, David Arthur
[German Version] (Jun 21, 1676, Heston, Middlesex – Dec 13, 1729, London) was highly regarded by J. Locke as a prominent English Free thinker. His works evoked considerable hostility and in some cases numerous replies since they challenged the ratio¶ nal status of orthodox belief. An Essay concerning the Use of Reason (1707) rejects the distinction between matters above reason and those that are contrary to reason. A Discourse of Freethinking (1713) asserts that free enquiry is the right path to discern the truth and attacks clerical claims to authority. A Philosophical Inqui…

Cambridge Platonists

(395 words)

Author(s): Pailin, David Arthur
[German Version] The Cambridge Platonists were a group of independent philosophical theologians influenced by the ideas of Platonism and Neoplatonism, who sought to develop a theology that would eschew both Puritan Calvinism and Laudian (W. Laud) Anglo-Catholicism. Reason was for them “the spirit in man,” which serves as “the cradle of the Lord.” They were unanimous in their conviction that ¶ God acts in harmony with the eternal reason of things, in their rejection of all notions of an absolute, sovereign divine will, and finally in their trust in …