The deification of Nature, including man and his science, established itself in the religious ideas of the Enlightenment. The concepts of the Enlightenment - science as the road to truth; an orderly, rational nature that included man; the moral and intellectual dignity of man; usefulness and reasonableness as the standards to which every belief and institution had to submit - forced men to reexamine their religious ideas and promoted the development of the religion of reason or deism. [excerpt]
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Bloom, Robert L. et al. "2. Deism and Materialism. Pt. X: The Eighteenth Century Enlightenment." Ideas and Institutions of Western Man (Gettysburg College, 1958), 11-28.