What Are You Looking At by Freckled Derelict

By Freckled Derelict

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It demarcates an area of moral and social rationality from which all other moral and social systems are to be judged. Its concept of universality undercuts local customs and institutions, of which it is explicitly critical. It is also an aspect of the development of a historical method and consciousness. Though the deists did not invent the historical-critical method for studying the Bible or the origins of Christianity, they widely publicized and developed it (Byrne, 1989:94). However, it seems important to realize that deism was not really only about 'religion'.

In the thinking of many of the founding fathers of comparative religion, this private consciousness is essentially religious and is fundamentally different from other forms of consciousness. It forms the primary datum of religion, compared to which ritual, liturgy, and other institutionalized forms of collective identity are secondary and derivative (see Fitzgerald, 1999). Thus the church is only religious insofar as it derives its raison d'etre from such private individual experiences. Anything else is merely social, secular, non-religious.

G. Frazer, and Durkheim. I would further suggest here—though I cannot argue it in detail—that both the theological and the humanistic tendencies, in individualist and holistic forms, were to varying degrees implicit in Deism and German romantic philosophy, respectively.

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