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Deism is the practice of using religious terms – especially those referring to a monotheistic God – to refer to that which is currently unknown, i.e. outside the realm of science, without making any significant presumptions about the nature of that unknown.

Deistic belief is often summarized as being the idea that a supernatural being created the universe, but then left the universe to run entirely according to natural laws with no further intervention.

It is debatable whether deism is a form of religion, since it accepts no scripture or dogma, and makes only a very few assertions:

  • God exists, created and governs the universe.
  • God gave humans the ability to reason.
  • God wants human beings to behave morally.
  • Human beings have souls that survive death (i.e. there is an afterlife).

If "God" is taken as shorthand for "the laws of physics" (as in Einsteinian religion), then the first two points are certainly true. The third point is debatable but possibly acceptable with a large dose of poetic license. The fourth point is much more questionable, and rests heavily on exactly what the nature of "soul" is presumed to be. The only universal tenet among deists, however, seems to be the first one.