French Deism: deistic Humanism, Pantheism

English Deism entered France, where, however, only its materialistic and revolutionary phases were seized upon, to the exclusion of that religiosity which had never been lost in England. French Deism stood outside of theology...Their moral theories...lost all connection with the position of Deism, which became for them a mere armory of weapons for the destruction of all religion with its consequences, intolerance and moral corruption.

The English writers who came to exercise the greatest influence were Hobbes, Locke, Shaftesbury, Pope, Bolingbroke, and Hume. Of the true Deists only Collins, the most critical and the least theological, became prominent." Ref. IEP

French Deism was anti-religious and shaded into atheism, pantheism, and skepticism and in reality was better called deistic Humanism.
See French Deism, religious English Deism, and Deism Mainpage.

The "Enlightenment" was mainly a French affair. To quote, "A rational and scientific approach to religious, social, political, and economic issues promoted a secular view of the world and a general sense of progress and perfectibility. Some "philosophes" at first proposed that their theories be implemented by "enlightened despots" or rulers who would impose reform by authoritarian means."

And: "The main figures of the enlightenment are fairly well known: Descartes, Pascal, Bayle, Montesquieu, Voltaire, Diderot, and Rousseau. There were others whom we could call antagonists to the dominant note, people like Rousseau, Zinzendorf, Wesley, Vico, and Hume." It also set the stage for secular disasters such as socialism, fascism, Nazism.

French Deism



An interesting e-book on Rousseau entitled Rousseau and the Real Culture War by David Heleniak can be downloaded for free at To quote, "In his examination of Jean-Jacques Rousseau's Second Discourse, David Heleniak contends that libertarians are the heirs of the Greco-Roman pagans and the "modern pagans" of the Enlightenment, conservatives are the end product of the Christian doctrine of original sin, and the American Left is the consequence of the doctrine as transformed by Rousseau." I've read this and highly recommend it.