ND   JMC : History of Medieval Philosophy / by Maurice De Wulf


447. Causes of the Success of Theism. -- The religious wars of the Reformation inspired many writers with projects for the reunion of all the churches. This in turn fostered the conviction that all religions possess a common fund of essential truths about the Deity, that they are really identical in content, notwithstanding the divergences between their dogmas.{1} Luther was averse to this idea of a theistic residue in the various Christian religions, but Zwinglians and other sects of the Reformed Church were rather favourable to it.

Then, too, theism was in keeping with the independent spirit of the Renaissance, seeing that it is only a form of naturalism applied to religion. As a system of Natural Right had been constructed from an inspection of human nature, so too the light of reason was laid under contribution for the construction of a Religion. Hence the vast multitudes who subscribed to theism, not only of Protestants, but of all classes engaged in the Renaissance movement. The influence of theism was felt in the moral, the social, and even the artistic life, of the sixteenth century. To it we may directly trace the theories on the separation of Church and State and on the neutrality and tolerance of the latter in matters of religion.

{1} DILTHEY, Auffassung and Analyse des Menschen im 15 und 16 Jahrh. (Arch, f. Gescb. d. Philos., 1894 and 1895); Das naturliches System der Geisteswissenschaften im 37 Jahrh. (ibid., 1895 and 1896).

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