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Which branch(es) of Christianity takes the stance that there is a God who creates all things but once the creation is here on this earth, does not intervene?

I heard an argument between coworkers that the Christian founding fathers of the United States had similar beliefs but not sure as there is a lot of debate there.

Also heard this position in the scientific community and am wondering if there are Christian denominations that hold this view and how popular it really is ?

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@JonEricson: well written article, thanks. –  Greg McNulty Dec 12 '12 at 22:44
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up vote 8 down vote accepted

The idea of a God that set things in motion but does not, and has not intervened since is a concept central to Deism.

The view has a long history, and has had a few supporters, but is not by any means the predominant view within Christianity. Deists also reject the notion of divine revelation, including Scripture. It's not necessarily a Christian concept, but there are people who might self-define as Deists and also as Christians. They would, however, be more likely to have more in common with "Christian Atheists" than with mainstream Christians. Rather than seeing Christ as the Son of God, or as God Incarnate, they'd see him as a good moral teacher.

There are a few sites on Christian Deism in the 'net including this one,

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As for the Founding Fathers being Deists, I'm not so sure that's not revisionist history. There's a good refutation based on rather sound, careful logic here: christiancapitalism.net/were-the-founding-fathers-deists But I'm not enough of an expert in U.S. history to know how sound this idea is. I tend to buck against the idea of appealing to authority (except Scriptural authority) in determining Truth, and can therefore hold to unpopular/unorthodox views. The article could be wayyyy off-base on the Founding Fathers, but it look sound to me. –  David Stratton Dec 12 '12 at 5:34
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broken link in the article above. Here's another: patheos.com/Resources/Additional-Resources/… –  David Stratton Dec 12 '12 at 12:53
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I strongly disagree that the George Washington and Franklin were not Diests, they were in fact Diests. –  user1054 Dec 13 '12 at 21:28
    
@DavidStratton: the link to Christian Diests is really interesting, looks legit. –  Greg McNulty Dec 15 '12 at 1:20
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The term you are looking for is 'Deism'. It says there is a God, but doesn't say that he does much. Indeed, Thomas Jefferson in particular, and several of the Foubding Fathers were in fact Deists, leading Benjamin Franklin to the aphorism, "God helps them who help themselves".

1 Peter, by the way, mentions that in the last days, there will come scoffers saying that since the Creation, God has essentially fallen asleep. Much of the Bible seems to indicate that God is a present and active force, leading many to call Deism non-Christian.

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A strong case can be made that Lincoln was a deist for most, if not all, of his life. –  Jon Ericson Dec 12 '12 at 1:30
    
@AffableGeek: It appears Deism is not really Christian. Are there any self-proclaimed Christian denominations with similar beliefs? –  Greg McNulty Dec 12 '12 at 22:46
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As stated, most Christians would not call it Christian. Many Deists, however, such as the examples noted above, thought of themselves as Christians. It isn't so much a denomational label as a movement, much like 'Evangelical'. –  Affable Geek Dec 12 '12 at 23:14
    
@AffableGeek: I see...never thought of these as a "movement" but that sounds right....I'm learning.... –  Greg McNulty Dec 13 '12 at 19:56
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