Benjamin Franklin Was a Deist

Detailed information about Benjamin Franklin is given on this website. Today we are going to talk about Benjamin Franklin’s Was a Deist and you can also read about Benjamin Franklin’s Short Biography





Benjamin Franklin


Benjamin Franklin Was a Deist
Benjamin Franklin Was a Deist







Born on January 17, 1706, in Boston, Benjamin Franklin was the youngest of seventeen children. His father, Josiah Franklin, had aspirations for his son to become a minister, but due to their humble lifestyle, this dream was not possible.



Instead, Franklin attended schools of writing and arithmetic before taking an apprenticeship with his brother’s printing press in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This apprenticeship introduced him to literature, which he educated himself and paved the way to becoming the owner of his own printing press.




Franklin was inspired by Cotton Mather’s Essays to Do Good (1710), which had an influence on some of the principal events of his life, evident in his Silence Dogood essays where he critiqued the established church’s role in people’s lives.





However, leaving Boston meant leaving behind the Puritan lifestyle he grew up in. Franklin never fully let go of the community’s doctrine, using the social values of Puritan theology to incorporate self-improvement techniques and reflect on his moral earnestness. Despite this, he rejected institutional control, leading to the integration of deistic principles into his beliefs.





Franklin’s dislike for Christianity surfaced when he began to doubt Revelation itself at the age of fifteen. English deism appeared in the seventeenth century in the writings of Lord Edward Herbert of Cherbury, a prominent English statesman and thinker. He laid the foundation for his journey toward deism.










English deism emerged in the seventeenth century through the writings of Lord Edward Herbert of Cherbury, a prominent English statesman and thinker.



De Veritate, written by English Desists in 1624, outlined five articles that emphasized divine worship, the importance of virtue and piety, the obligation to worship a supreme Deity, the need for repentance and abandoning sin, and the goodness and justice of God in both the living world and afterlife.




Cherbury argued that these principles were the pure, uncorrupted basis upon which all religions derived. Deism, however, did not spread and was not developed further by other religions until years later. Deism is often associated with belief in a noninterventionist Creator, reliance on reason in the natural world, and skepticism about miracles, scriptures, and the divinity of Christ.




This philosophical belief supported the idea that God does not intervene in human lives and that reason should be used to make sense of the world. Deism also dismissed services provided by clerics such as mass, religious texts, and the holy trinity. Thomas Paine, a political activist and philosopher, criticized Christianity for its focus on God and its ability to be observed by all.




He praised deist beliefs, such as a belief in a non-intervening God, the divine gift of reason, avoidance of books feigning revelation or man-made religious inventions, and disbelief in the reverence of miracles. Paine praised deism concepts while damning those established by Christianity.





Maybe he isn’t a deist?




Franklin’s religious beliefs were influenced by his Puritan roots and he often rejected the stances on deism he concluded in his Dissertation. He used reason and did not distinguish between virtue and vice.




One of his publications, Poor Richard’s Almanack, emphasized the importance of promoting positive morality among the public. This publication, which provided lists of aphorisms, and statistical and astronomical data, was used by Franklin to spread his message to the lower classes in colonial America.




Franklin’s religion set him apart from Deism and even Christianity by arguing that there was a group of lesser gods who may or may not be mortal that helped control the universe. This polytheistic view placed him outside the realms of both the Puritans and Deism.




Franklin later denounced his conclusions on reason in his Dissertation, labeling reason as susceptible to error. In terms of Deism, Franklin was extremely careful in what he published privately and publicly. Although generally thought to be a deist, his writings reflect the contrary in some instances, while in others he argues in favor of deism’s principles




His own religion




The Enlightenment influenced the American colonial elite and intellectuals, leading to the emergence of deism, a new religion offering a simpler explanation for God’s existence and the universe.




Benjamin Franklin believed in a creator who created natural works like water, plants, and stars. He rejected the Bible, established the church, and miracles found in religion.




Franklin incorporated both polytheism and Puritan beliefs into his religion, aligning with deist principles. Although he did fit these descriptions, his true religion was his own, as he held beliefs that aligned with deist principles.




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