If British Empiricism combined skepticism towards religious dogma with a largely friendly attitude towards faith, the atmosphere dramatically changed once the movement crossed the channel and developed in 18th century France . Deism was first introduced in England by Lord Herbert of Cherbury and was meant to define the rational features of religion in order to overcome factionalism. French deists like Voltaire , on the other hand, developed views that relegated religion to an intellectual exercise with an added social function (there had to be a logical First Cause to the world, and such a belief was also needed to maintain social stability). Later thinkers like Denis Diderot and Helvetius made the step to full-fledged atheism , rejecting even the rationale supported by the deists. Natural theology had become a way of rejecting theology based on revelation, rather than supporting it. Eventually, it too was abandoned.
Any powerful spirit can pretend to be good. Even a being of complete evil, like Satan in the Christian Bible, is said to be able to appear 'as an angel of light' ( 2 Cor. 11:14 ). And in Islam , the Satanic verses were sneaked into the Qur'an by the devil , without Muhammad noticing that they were from the most evil being rather than angel Gabriel. That a being of complete evil can hide its true nature and appear as good is a genuine warning from world religions; how much easier must it be for lesser demons and naughty spirits to hide their lesser quantities of evil (. 1 John 4:1 ). Some groups of early Christians thought that the entire Old Testament was written by an interloper; an evil god , that ought to be overthrown. Such dualistic battles are common in gnostic and mystery religions. We poor Human beings have little chance of determining who are the good, and who are the bad, in the world of gods, angels, demons and spirits.
The population of Hanover was only about 10,000, and its provinciality eventually grated on Leibniz. Nevertheless, to be a major courtier to the House of Brunswick was quite an honor, especially in light of the meteoric rise in the prestige of that House during Leibniz's association with it. In 1692, the Duke of Brunswick became a hereditary Elector of the Holy Roman Empire . The British Act of Settlement 1701 designated the Electress Sophia and her descent as the royal family of England, once both King William III and his sister-in-law and successor, Queen Anne , were dead. Leibniz played a role in the initiatives and negotiations leading up to that Act, but not always an effective one. For example, something he published anonymously in England, thinking to promote the Brunswick cause, was formally censured by the British Parliament .