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Free Thought vs. Dogma…

If people wish to believe in mythological and supernatural events, in a personal God or a pantheon of gods, in an existence of their personal selves beyond natural death, and in a codified history that dogmatizes all life, reason and a hereafter, by all means, have at it.

My problem arises when they choose to cross that self-created supernatural line into the domain of natural science and experiential knowledge…then they’re back on my turf.

I will not begrudge their right to believe as they wish, but I will also defend against their lies and false witness to the natural order.

In full disclosure: Over the years, I’ve made a formal quest of Comparative Religious Studies, and I’ve lived and experienced Roman and Orthodox Catholicism, Southern Baptism, Reform Judaism and Buddhism, as well as international travels that included a certain depth of Islam.

In the final analysis, I consider myself to be a secular humanist and a democratic socialist. Ironic. We find ourselves facing our primary battles today in trying to preserve what previous generations already sacrificed so much for….

One of my special peeves and to which I’ll address this commentary is the consistent attempt at hijacking our history by fundamentalist Christians along with those who employ such faith for their personal profit and power.

In particular, many such “Christians,” along with those they serve in the corporate-conservative media and ruling elite, have successfully propagandized too many of the public that this is a “Christian” nation that was created and founded by Christians. This is basically false…

In the sense that Christianity is the chief religious partner and majoritarian heritage to the state and its ideological foundation, Capitalism, the nation can be said to be culturally Christian. However, the assertion that America was created by the Founding Fathers as and is per se a Christian nation is false.

A significant number of the Founding Fathers in colonial America were Deists, not Christians. These included Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Tom Paine, Ethan Allen, Philip Freneau, Elihu Palmer and others.

One of the central inspirations for Deism was Baruch Spinoza, a 17th century Jewish scholar. He had been issued a writ of cherim (excommunication) by the Jewish community of Amsterdam for the “abominable heresy” of denying the immortality of the soul and rejecting the notion of a providential God as worshipped by Judaism and its modern spin-offs, Christianity and Islam.

Deists only nominally believed in a cosmic God as the creator of a natural universe. They did not believe in a God having personal relationships with humans, a God micromanaging the universe and persons, nor in the Incarnation by the historical Jesus Christ.

Deists rejected spiritualism, miracles and dogmatic creeds. A central “sacrament” of Deism was in the free inquiry of a love for God’s natural creation, a passion to discover its objective workings, a devotion to study and learning, and a respect for the opinions of others.

In fact, Jefferson even created a “natural” Bible by taking the Christian one and excising all such supernatural events. It’s known as The Jefferson Bible.

Deists fought tooth and nail in support the freedom of all religious association along with the separation of religion and state as fundamental to a democratic republic.

Extremist Christians seek a theistic Christian republic in America such as the Jewish theism of Israel and the Islamic theism of Iran.

Along with Deism, the humanist ideals of the Enlightenment and the influence of the articles of the Iroquois Confederation all helped create the US Constitution with its Bill of Rights.

Fundamentalist Christians and those who oppose democracy in support of a plutocracy of high capital finance, seek to turn back that clock some 250+ years.

Deism, not being a dogma or proselytizing, ritualistic religion, did not survive as such into the modern period. However, Deism can be discerned as a direct historical link as a foundation for modern free thought; the agnosticism and atheism of modern secular humanism.

Today, progressives and free-thinkers find ourselves defending the very cornerstone of our democratic republic and the principles of inclusive democracy founded by these Founding Fathers.

The old enemies preaching exceptionalism, private profit, privilege and their dogmatic partners are again goose-stepping to their private drummer.

What greater insult can they employ than to hijack the American Revolution itself, thus perverting the very ideals to universal freedom?

Dr. Publico

Category: Religion
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One Response
  1. Mortaryan says:

    Good mythmaking!

    Today’s “Free-Thinkers” are not free or thinkers, they are no less (self) encultured than any other, and no less fundamentalist than their Theistic fundamentalists counterparts.

    The flip side of a coin, is still one side of that single coin.

    AND “Democratic Socialism” has nothing to do, and is the antithesis of Democratic Republicanism.

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