Archive for the ‘Deism’ Category

A Christian Bless on Our U.S. …Maybe?

August 23, 2007

I know a couple of my past entries have, in some way or another, involved Christianity, but I get on kind of a “roll” with topics and just end up with a lot to say about them.

If you’d like to know what the point of this entry is without reading the entire thing, here it is: The United States is NOT a Christian nation. It never has been. Anyone who tells you otherwise a.) is full of bologna or b.) honestly has no clue.

I first stumbled upon the significance of this fact during my freshman second semester at Marquette. I had possibly the most wonderful Western Civilization teacher I could have ever asked for, and while studying the Enlightenment period in England, we discussed all the ways in which England’s government influenced America’s own setup- even our Bill of Rights is based off one that Parliament created years earlier. All of America’s earliest and greatest leaders modeled themselves off of the great Enlightenment thinkers from France and England.

A key point of the Enlightenment Period was the search for logic and rationality. Intellectuals of this period sought reason in all things… including religion. It was at this time that deism flourished.

In short, deism is a belief in a creator, usually referred to as God. This was a replica of Aristotle’s “unmoved mover” who sets the world in motion. However, once the Creator winds the watch (the analogy that is commonly used) he steps back and observes as it all unfolds. This god does not intervene in human affairs. Ever.

Following along the same lines, deists do not believe that Jesus was the Messiah. They believe that he did indeed exist but that he was in no way divine. Why is this? Because it was not reasonable. It did not make sense that the Creator would interfere with the world. Thomas Jefferson even created an edited version of the Bible in which he censored ALL of Christ’s miracles (miracles are things that defy the laws of nature, and why would the Creator violate the natural laws which He himself established?).

Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson, all of them were deists. They were not men of Christianity, and in fact, they believed that Christianity was a religion that should be taught to children and to the uneducated.

The truth is, even today, many people who identify themselves as “Christian” are not TRULY Christian. The one single thing that makes Christianity different from any other religion is the belief that only through the acceptance that Jesus Christ is the Messiah, can an individual be saved. I personally cannot agree with this. Can an African living in one of the poorest countries in the world not be saved, simply because he/she has never HEARD of Jesus? That seems to counter the whole notion of the infinitely loving God we hear so much about in the New Testament. Simply because we were lucky enough to be born in a Western nation where Christianity is talked about frequently we are also lucky enough to be saved.

I don’t think so.

[Also, as a side note… for those of you who argue that the phrase “under God” should not be removed from the Pledge of Allegiance because it has “always been there” and would “change the originality of the Pledge”, please review your facts. The phrase “under God” was not added to the Pledge until 1954 by the Knights of Columbus, while the ORIGINAL Pledge was written in 1892 by Francis Bellamy. Here’s a good quick read on that history by Dr. John W. Baer.]

I’m really not trying to bash on anybody or tell you that your faith is wrong (because I don’t believe in doing that), but I think it’s important that we be well-informed before we go on yelling and causing a ruckus about this or that. This is a government absolutely based on the notion of separation of Church and State.

However, I feel that both sides of this argument can take things wayyyy too far. Yes, it’s wrong to have the Ten Commandments posted on a courthouse wall, but at the same time, I don’t think it’s wrong to offer a moment of silence in public schools. A Christian may take this time to ask Jesus for guidance for the day; a Muslim may ask Allah to bring him or her strength during a time of need; a Buddhist may take a moment to peacefully meditate; while an atheist can just take a second to relax and unwind. As long as no mention of God, Mohammad, Krishna, etc. is mentioned, then who cares?

Certainly not me. You are not infringing on my right to worship as I please, nor are you forcing me to believe what you believe. I’m not being harmed; I’m not being bothered. End of story.

But perhaps that is a discussion for another day. I feel I’ve begun to ramble, so I’ll end here with this that is something that I’ve been trying to live by for the past couple months:

“Judge not lest ye be judged.”
-Jesus (Matthew 7:1)