AHC: Deist majority/plurality in America by 1900

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Songoku95, Jan 11, 2019.

  1. Songoku95 GO VOLS GO BIG ORANGE Gone Fishin'

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  2. Koprulu Mustafa Pasha Sadrazam of the Roman Empire

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    A Dictatorship with a personality cult and less to no Immigration from Europe. But even then I think this is nearly asb-ish.
     
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  3. SeaCambrian Well-Known Member

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    By deism do you mean an philosophical Enlightenment-style deism? Or would "uninvolved theism", "spiritual but not religious", and New Age beliefs count?
     
  4. Philip One L only

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    Deism (at least the Deism of the Founding Fathers) is a product of the Enlightenment. It does not fair well outside that mindset.
     
  5. FillyofDelphi Well-Known Member

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    This,basically. Yes, the founding fathers were mostly diest. They were also mostly high in social rank/class, wealth, education,exposure to global cosmopolitan ideas, ect.: something you can't have the vast majority of a pre-1900 society be by any stretch of the imagination. Christianity is deeply baked into the moral and cultural framework of virtually every class and ethnic group in American society, would roots streching back for a millennia in the Anglo-Saxon Tradition.
     
  6. Jiraiyathegallant Well-Known Member

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    I’m skeptical of the claims that the Founding Fathers were mostly Deists.

    Are there any hard numbers looking at the Founding Fathers that determine that, or is it only looking at a handful of prominent ones with mostly ambiguous views?

    Like, at the 1787 Constitutional Convention almost all 55 delegates were affiliated with a Christian Church.

    I’m not disputing that it was disproportionately popular among the elite, but an actual majority?
     
  7. euromellows Pro-Praetor Donor

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    Perhaps if the various Christian churches attempt to politically intervene in the American war of independence in a ham-fisted way? For example, fearing a precedent being set by European empires falling to 'natives', the churches preach that independence is fundamentally immoral and try to persuade Americans to stay with Britain.

    While I think it is more likely the Americans will simply establish their own churches, if the arguments are consistently grounded in theology and the bible, you might have enough minds shifted who conclude 'religion' is the problem. Americans might still call themselves Christian and believe in the basic articles of faith, but they no longer congregate or build churches. 'God, without religion' becomes the catch cry - or in other words, their distrust of big government has a twin distrust of big religion. Slowly, over several generations, you have a majority of Americans simply not care enough about religion to be called Christian. They don't necessarily describe themselves as Deist, but in effect their mindset reflects that school of thought.
     
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  8. piratedude Pirate Lord of the Great Lakes

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    Didn't that already exist with the pretty widespread anti-catholic sentiment? There are already a lot of relatively small denominations in America, though the Episcopalians/Anglicans are pretty widespread. A lot of the founders who get called deists were at least nominally Episcopalian, though they preffered a low chuch rather than a high church that reminded them too much of the british monarchy.

    Perhaps a PoD where the Episcopal church falls apart in the face of that low church, republican sentiment, you could get a "deist" church or two. Though in all honesty i don't know if you could make it wide spread
     
  9. Philip One L only

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    I think New England Unitarianism lends itself more to Deism
     
  10. Max Sinister Retired Myriad Club Member Banned

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    I always wondered why Deism didn't get more popular in the US. If even the example of the Founding Fathers isn't enough...
     
  11. Philip One L only

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    The transition from the Enlightenment to Romanticism (in as much as those terms are useful) combined with the Second Great Awakening to limit its appeal.
     
  12. piratedude Pirate Lord of the Great Lakes

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    Im sure it does, but Episcopalians are big and mainstream in the former colonies, and they need to be out of the way for something to grow in its place
     
  13. CountPeter Apparently the anti-christ.

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    Playing devil's advocate, it should be noted that affiliation isnt the same as belief.

    It isnt uncommon, particularly in older generations, to lable yourself as belonging to a church even when you dont. My grandfather was a methodist preacher, but has been an Atheist who still calls himself a methodist for 50 years. My father likewise has never been a Christian, but regularly attended, got married in and christened his children in a church.

    Community and tradition go a long way towards habit.
     
  14. euromellows Pro-Praetor Donor

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    I'm not an expert but I think this is right. Prior to the US constitution, many states had legislation barring Catholics from public office unless they took an oath not to support the Pope. Even after the constitution there were many instances of anti-catholic bigotry, though discrimination in the law seems to have reduced markedly. Article here is a good read: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/americas-true-history-of-religious-tolerance-61312684/
     
  15. Max Sinister Retired Myriad Club Member Banned

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    This Awakening thing seems overrated to me.