The Twin Dangers of Atheism and Deism
449. All those who seek God apart from Christ, and who go no further than nature, either find no light to satisfy them or come to devise a means of knowing and serving God without a mediator, thus falling into either atheism or deism, two things almost equally abhorrent to Christianity… They imagine that it simply consists in worshipping [sic] God considered to be great and mighty and eternal, which is properly speaking deism, almost as remote from the Christian religion as atheism, its complete opposite… But let them comclude what they like against deism, their conclusions will not apply to Christianity, which properly consists in the mystery of the Redeemer, who, uniting in himself the two natures, human and divine, saved men from the corruption of sin in order to reconcile them with God in his divine person. It teaches men then these two truths alike: that there is a God, of whom men are capable, and that there is a corruption in nature which makes them unworthy. It is of equal importance to men to know each of these points: and it is equally dangerous for man to know God without knowing his own wretchedness without knowing the Redeemer who can cure him. Knowing only one of these points leads either to the arrogance of the philosophers, who have known God but not their own wretchedness, or to the despair of the atheists, who know their own wretchedness without knowing their Redeemer.
Atheism = Knowledge of wretchedness – knowledge of Redeemer = despair and nihilism
Deism = Knowledge of Redeemer – knowledge of sin = self-confidence and works-righteousness
Christianity = Knowledge of sin + knowledge of Redeemer = freedom and truth
Avoid the twin dangers of scylla and charybdis.