"The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not sufficient warrant." ~ John Stuart Mill
Why Deism and Corrupt Government Don"t Mix
It's been my experience when talking to people about religion, that the overwhelming majority of them have never heard of Deism. Hopefully, with the recent conversion of world-famous philosopher and atheist, Antony Flew, to Deism, this will begin to change. The lack of knowledge of Deism is highly unusual given the strong role Deism has played in the history of Europe and America. But, as FDR is reported to have said shortly after the 'sneak' attack on Pearl Harbor, 'Things don't just happen!' Deism, which was first advanced in 17th Century Europe, is simply the belief in God as the Designer or Creator of the Universe. There is no dogma or ritual involved. This belief was held by such important historic people as Voltaire, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Ben Franklin, and Thomas Paine, among many others. Deistic ideas were even penned into the US Declaration of Independence. Contrary to what Christian proponents such as Ollie North and Pat Robertson claim, all references to God in the Declaration of Independence are Deistic. Not only do they NOT mention the Bible, Jesus, Moses, etc., the core idea of the Declaration is strongly anti-Christian. That idea is that the right to govern comes from the 'Consent of the Governed,' not as the Christians were teaching at the time and can be found in the Bible, which is divine right. Romans 13: 1-6 lays out the Christian myth that governments and governmental leaders are chosen by God. It openly states, 'For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.' It goes on to instruct Christians to pay their taxes and to show fear to governmental authorities. In spite of this and other Biblical calls to pay taxes, the revealed religions enjoy many tax exemptions. And now, they're even receiving government money/tax dollars for 'faith-based' missions and school vouchers. This Christian Biblical view is in direct contrast to the Deistic Declaration of Independence. The founders did not lay claim to divine authority when they broke with the divine right-based British monarchy. Instead, they claimed the only right government has to govern is from those people it is governing. This is very unChristian! And not only did the founders make that radical statement, they said it is not only the right of the people to 'throw off' a malevolent government, it is our duty to overthrow it! One reason, I suspect, for Deism not being a household word, despite its historic significance, is actually found in the Declaration of Independence. That is the phrase, '. . . it is their Right, it is their Duty, to throw off such a Government . . .' What government wants people to take such a revolutionary statement to heart? If a politician had to choose between that statement and the Biblical quote offered above, which one do you think they'd pick? Deism's rejection of accepting things on faith doesn't play well for revealed religions or for the governments they're tied to. Government requires non-thinking subjects. Revealed religions need non-thinking believers. Sunday schools train young people to suppress their God-given reason. This must be done for the good of the revealed religion, otherwise there would be a mass exodus due to the unreasonable stories and ideas the religion is teaching. Governments use this trait instilled by revealed religions to keep itself fat and happy. The required stomping of reason for the benefit of 'revelations' makes possible such crazy scenes as hundreds of US sailors and Marines singing along with FDR and Churchill, the Christian hymn "Onward Christian Soldiers," while being allied with the atheist Soviet Union! Non-thinking sheeple are a great asset to both revealed religions and corrupt governments--it'd be hard to have a war without them! In spite of being ignored by the government that was born of Deists and Deistic ideas, and in spite of being damned by revealed religions, Deism is growing! City University of New York did a survey that shows Deism has grown by 717% between 1990 and 2001! This is largely due to the web and word of mouth. With Mr. Flew's conversion from atheism to Deism, we're seeing an increase of interest in Deism at www.deism.com. Perhaps, eventually, a film producer such as Ron Howard or Oliver Stone will see fit to make a movie about Deism and its important role in history, and its potential for progress now and in the future. A film about Thomas Paine would be an outstanding success! Reliance on reason and critical thought are intrinsic elements of Deism. Think of what a potentially great world this would be if people were taught to value these qualities over superstition and fear. The politicians would really have their work cut out for them!