Birthdays on May 18
Joseph Butler was born at Wantage, Berkshire, England. He was ordained Bishop of Bristol in 1738 and of Durham in 1750, positions usually presented only to the aristocracy. Butler's Analogy of Religion, which he had been writing for many years, appeared in 1736 when the deist controversy in England was at its height. (Deism is the belief that although God exists, He is an impersonal God, uninterested and uninvolved in the world, quite in contrast to what the Bible plainly teaches.) Using empirical argument (argument from experience), Butler wrote that the God of nature is also the God of revelation. The order in nature parallels the order of revelation, and the difficulties in Christianity bear close analogy with those we encounter in nature. Butler's Analogy did more to discredit deism than any other writing of that day.