John R. Houk
© February 4, 2012
I received a comment from a defender of atheism identifying himself as Michael yesterday. There are atheists that have no belief in God and that is fine, we live in America. Then there are atheists that may be described as Militant Atheists that go the next level of an atheist belief system. That next level involves insulting believers in God topping off the insult with some kind of self-aggrandized intellectual superiority complex that all believers in God are stupid and uneducated. Such intellectual supremacism is fraudulent because a truly intellectual person – whether religious or atheistic – would comprehend denigrating someone is a sign of arrogance. An arrogant person is a contemptuous person; i.e. when the arrogance is a defining essence of one’s character. Everyone will have moments of arrogance; however wisdom usually tempers arrogance with time. That is not the case when arrogance is a constant of one’s personality toward individuals because one is more intellectual than another or worse only perceives they are more intellectual than another based on a belief system.
Admittedly there is a tone of arrogance in those devoted to a religion because the devotion means the competing religion is an error; hence when one tells another they must join one’s religion because it is the true religion the essence of arrogance is involved. Nonetheless, when one begins to denigrate another’s intelligence or intellect on a personal level for refusing the perceived truth then the character scale begins to tip a character flaw toward ingrained arrogance.
Honestly I have been guilty of that tipping scale especially when I have been angered by another’s intransigent haughty arrogance. Is temporary arrogance a character flaw? It is my opinion it is not a character flaw unless the temporary transforms into the permanent.
Who judges when temporary arrogance becomes a permanent character flaw? On an individual basis this may be difficult. The judgment call should be by the council of friends and peers. The only problem with friends and peers is the potential for a group affinity of intellectual or religious superiority that desires to break down or harm another for one’s perceived inferiority.
Group Superiority Complexes can only be tempered by the group’s ideology; i.e. whether or not the ideology or the theology has ingrained permanent arrogance that demands the belief that the “other” is an inferiority that must be suppressed or eliminated.
Let’s look at some examples.
Islamic Supremacism demands that the unbeliever (kafir) must convert to Islam or risk living a life of inferiority or face death for insults or outright refusal to accept any form of submission to Islam. This rashness is embedded in Islamic holy writings.
Christian Superiority emanates from two sources. One source can be as brutal as Islamic Supremacism. The other source comes from Biblical Scriptures especially the New Testament as revealed to humans by the Holy Spirit.
The brutal source demands the spreading of Christianity by conquest and force much in the same path as Islam. Hence, Christian history is full of military campaigns of either internecine wars to attempt one single dogmatic opinion or wars of conquest with the primary purpose of exploiting conquered lands and the indigenous people. The subset of conquest by Christian armies was the implementation of forced conversions (although not on the scale of Islam in which millions of non-Muslims died for rejecting the Quran). The best examples of exploitive conquest and conversions are the Spanish conquest of the Americas (Portugal in present day Brazil). The best example internecine Christian wars can be seen between Arians and Catholics and latter between Protestant and Catholics. Subsets of these Christian wars were the persecution of Jews and Muslims especially in present day Spain (the Reconquista and the Inquisition).
The Biblical source for Christian Supremacism focuses on the New Testament. First of all the New Testament proclaims Jesus’ Redemption of humanity has paid the price of the penalties of the Law. Hence the curse of the Law that enabled physical penalties for homosexuality, adultery and other Old Testament capital crimes are paid for by the death, burial and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Jesus was all about sharing this Good News of Deliverance from the curse of the Law without force. If a Christian is mistreated for sharing the Gospel, the Christian is to shake the dust off of his/her feet move and on. Hopefully the sharing is a spiritual seed for someone to plant a seed that takes root through the hard ground (human spirit) to grow vines leading the life of Christ as a new creation.
Christian Supremacism in the latter is about doing no harm and hence points to an absence of the character flaw of iniquitous arrogance.
As you can tell it is the arrogance of Michael more than the disagreement with my thoughts on atheism that irked me. I believe the concept of atheism is evil because it is ungodly. An atheist will quite normally tell me that Christianity is evil perhaps because of the thought that humanity is held back by antiquated thoughts that are myths rather than reality.
The problem of arrogance occurs when Michael implies I am stupid and uneducated because of my beliefs or I respond in kind because I am insulted (do not render evil for evil).
Michael concludes his really thought out objections to Christianity (although I highly disagree with statements as facts, for it is the mere revisionism applied by Leftists and atheists) this way:
… The only thing about Christians that drives me nuts is the general lack of education and logic they use when applying it to anything including their own beliefs. I am not worried about the bible, or the schizophrenic whisperings of a “god” telling me what to do. I am sane and free of any delusion of where I will go when I die. If anything I feel sad for you and other Christians. It must be really sad to be under the thrall of such a petty deity, and a book filled with so many contradictions and falsehoods. If you should at any time need counseling or a helpful answer to any question that might lead you out of the Dark Ages, feel free to email me.
I have to admit Michael’s mistaken warping of facts and his beliefs on Church and State irked me. It was when the very end of Michael’s disagreement with me that tipped over being irked to anger for the apparent insult toward me as being a part of the Christian faith. I am guessing I could list more intellectuals with an affinity for religion in global history than Michael can. That alone is a slap in the face of atheism. And I do realize he might come up with a larger list of atheistic intellectuals for one modern year than I, but I bet would be close.
At this point I will simply contradict Michael’s assertions in the same manner of his disagreement with me.
Michael says: Atheism is not a belief system, religion, world-view, or even philosophy. It is merely the opposite of theism. That being said there are ANTI-theists, Pearlists, and agnostics who have a world view you could attack. Either way, to say an atheist believes that humanity is supreme is a fallacy. Evolution proves quite the opposite. Humans, if anything, are just another primate who has developed skills and language.
Response: Atheism is a belief system that acts like a religion and has a philosophy to defend anti-god beliefs. Check this out: I know what an atheist is and I know what a theist is. So it would seem that an “ANTI-theist” would be the same as an atheist. After doing a little Googling the separation between atheism and anti-theism is a very slim divide. The best description of the slim divide that I found is an About.com answer.
On Rational Atheism
When defined broadly as simply the absence of belief in gods, atheism covers territory that isn’t quite compatible with anti-theism. People who are indifferent to the existence of alleged gods are atheists because they don’t believe in the existence of any gods, but at the same time this indifference prevents them from being anti-theists as well. To a degree, this describes many if not most atheists because there are plenty of alleged gods they simply don’t care about and, therefore, also don’t care enough to attack belief in such gods. Atheistic indifference towards not only theism but also religion is relatively common and would probably be standard if religious theists weren’t so active in proselytizing and expecting privileges for themselves, their beliefs, and their institutions.
Rational atheism may be based on many things: lack of evidence from theists, arguments which prove that god-concepts are self contradictory, the existence of evil in the world, etc. Rational atheism cannot, however, be based solely on the idea that theism is harmful because even something that’s harmful may be true. Not everything that’s true about the universe is good for us, though.
On Rational Anti-Theism
Anti-theism requires more than either merely disbelieving in gods or even denying the existence of gods. Anti-theism requires a couple of specific and additional beliefs: first, that theism is harmful to the believer, harmful to society, harmful to politics, harmful, to culture, etc.; second, that theism can and should be countered in order to reduce the harm it causes. If a person believes these things, then they will likely be an anti-theist who works against theism by arguing that it be abandoned, promoting alternatives, or perhaps even supporting measures to suppress it.
… Rational anti-theism may be based on a belief in one of many possible harms which theism could do; it cannot, however, be based solely on the idea that theism is false. Not all false beliefs are necessarily harmful and even those that are aren’t necessarily worth fighting.
The above atheism/anti-theism fine line is sculpted from: “Atheism & Anti-Theism: What’s the Difference? What is Anti-Theism?” by Austin Cline.
So basically an atheist could care less about religion and an anti-theist militantly works against religion. This kind of sounds like the apologists trying to establish the fine line between Moderate Islam and Radical Islam in which both believe the exact same thing, but the radicals act on their beliefs, right?
In Michael’s original comment of Pearlists, I did not understand the word so I thought it might be “Pear Lists.” After Googling the original I discovered the thought being conveyed is like Pearl-ist. Sorry about that Michael.
Here is the Urban Dictionary definition for Pearlist:
1. A person who believes in Physical Evidence And Reasoned Logic, (P.E.A.R.L) the essence of the scientific method.
2. One who uses the scientific method.
A person who believes in the use of
As opposed to a FLAWSist.
Sir, Do you believe in god?
Good grief no, I am a pearlist.
So a Pearlist is a specific kind of atheist.
An agnostic is an easy one. That is a person who is uncertain of the existence of God rather than an outright denier of God’s existence.
After reading Michael’s short list of who I should aim my pro-Christian toward, it seems to me that Michael falls into all the categories except agnostic.
Michael stipulates that “…to say an atheist believes that humanity is supreme is a fallacy.” Hmm … If one does not believe in the existence of God he must believe in something. To deny the belief in something is to say an atheist is brain dead. Michael thinks of himself as an informed rational educated intellectual; ergo Michael is not brain dead and I have to assume at least some atheists are as intellectual as Michael. In denying the existence in God an atheist must believe in some form of humanist ideology that elevates itself above religious faith. The conclusion then is that atheists believe humanity in its physical essence is supreme because only humanity has the sentience to measure and draw conclusions from that which is observable. Atheistic Humanistic Supremacism is a concept that is not a fallacy but an unfortunate reality.
Michael says: Science is not a deity so it cannot be worshipped. Science is merely the method by which we can prove things not unlike mathematics. It has a self-examining/reviewing factor to it and its success rate is very high. I am not saying I am a god, as this would be a delusion. Just as belief in an outer presence who controls and watches everything from beyond is a delusion.
Response: Well duh … science is not a deity. Nonetheless, it is on such a high pedestal in which objectivity is nearly deified (rather admitted or not) that science is a religion to godless atheists. Yes it would be a delusion to say you are a god, it would be delusional; however when one sets themselves as the arbiter of truth one makes oneself a god (wittingly or unwittingly). The denial of this self-aggrandizement is a delusion.
Michael says: I would consider myself a center left voter. In this you are right. I am educated. I help my community. I donate to charity. I don’t look down on other people for being gay or of another race. I don’t think women are worth less than a man, and I think they have the right to say what happens to their own bodies.
Response: I will pray for God’s mercy for being a center-left voter. Just teasing. I am certain there are many poor religious souls that vote on the left side of the political spectrum.
Michael you donate to charity. What kind of charities do you donate to? Perhaps Planned Parenthood (Margaret Sanger)? Or the SPLC? Or perhaps some LGBT organization (Good Preaching) that is a 501(3)c organization? I don’t know what your fancy is. I won’t look down on you for supporting baby murderers, Biblical Christian haters or morally ungodly people that have deluded themselves they have been born a homosexual or are confused about their sexuality even the equipment package born with pretty much deciphers the mystery. Perhaps you do not donate to any of these organizations above; nonetheless it is a fair educated guess that an atheist donates to like minded organizations. For an atheist that is fine. For a Biblical Christian it is reprehensible.
Michael says: I just don’t believe in an arcane Middle Eastern desert tribal god from the Bronze Age. I DO want however to keep the religious aspects out of schools. There is no place for this silly superstition in an advanced society. That being said if someone chooses to put on the shackles of faith on their own time and in their own space then they should feel free. It is their right.
Response: Ah, arcane. My God is only mysterious and obscure to hardened hearts that refuse to listen to the Good News to discover Deliverance from this dark age via the Redemptive act of Jesus Christ the Son of God (here’s a mystery: Father, Son and Holy Spirit – three persons are One God and Jesus is fully human and fully God and a Believer is a new creation in Christ Jesus while God is in the Believer). This is only arcane if one’s reason fails to comprehend there is more to existence than the material seen cosmos.
As an atheist you believe God Almighty is a mythical non-entity worshipped occasionally by a bunch of Hebrews that ousted polytheistic Canaanites. As a Christian God Almighty is the entirety of existence that began to reveal Himself through a bloodline that flowed through the Hebrews and then specifically through the Hebrew tribe of Judah and narrower through the bloodline of King David the son of Jesse of which the human part of the incarnated God Jesus came to Redeem humanity from Adam’s folly.
There are no shackles in Christ Jesus. There is life abundantly in Christ Jesus.
Michael says: It is also the right of the rest of the country NOT to be forced to deal with such things on a governmental and educational level.
Response: I completely agree! Religion should never be forced via government or education; however it is the right of individuals to exercise their faith in government and in education on a voluntary basis.
Michael says: As far as the founding fathers are concerned, you are completely mistaken. They did not in fact want Christianity to be the basis of our country. This is a myth propagated by the right and religious. Educated people know that the founding fathers believed that religion [was] not the way to go as the basis of a free and democratic society.
Response: Actually Michael you have been completely propagandized by Leftist revisionism. In case you failed to read the Founding Father quotes on Religion and Christianity here is a review:
“I now make it my earnest prayer the God would have you and the State over which you preside, in His holy protection, that he would incline the hearts of the citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to government; to entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another, for their fellow citizens of the United States at large, and particularly for their brethren who have served in the field; and, finally, that he would be most graciously pleased to dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility, and pacific temper of mind, which were the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed religion, and without an humble imitation of whose example in these things we can never hope to be a happy nation.” June 8, 1783 in a letter to the governors of the states on disbanding the army.
“God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the Gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever.” 1781, Query XVIII of his Notes on that State of Virginia.
“My views…are the result of a life of inquiry and reflection, and very different from the anti-christian system imputed to me by those who know nothing of my opinions. To the corruptions of Christianity I am, indeed, opposed; but not to the genuine precepts of Jesus himself. I am a Christian in the only sense in which he wished any one to be; sincerely attached to his doctrines in preference to all others…” April 21, 1803 in a letter to Dr. Benjamin.
“The doctrines of Jesus are simple, and tend to all the happiness of man.”
“Of all the systems of morality, ancient or modern which have come under my observation, none appears to me so pure as that of Jesus….I am a real Christian, that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus.”
James Madison (Known as the Father of the Constitution)
“Religion is the basis and Foundation of Government.” June 20, 1785
“It is not the talking but the walking and working person that is the true Christian.” In a manuscript on the Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles, Madison makes this statement.
“We have all been encouraged to feel in the guardianship and guidance of that Almighty Being, whose power regulates the destiny of nations.” March 4, 1809 Inaugural Address
“We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We’ve staked the future of all our political institutions upon our capacity…to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.” [1778 to the General Assembly of the State of Virginia]
There are more quotes – Check it out!
The sources are cited! You can follow the link and can read some more quotes. Educated people can read the original sources and comprehend just how much the Founding Fathers (even as Deists) valued Christian principles, Christian values and Christian morality.
Michael says: Even looking at European history this makes sense. Why would any group wanting to be free of a king and/or rule of a church want to restart a society with another at the help? That’s the stuff of pure fantasy.
Response: Michael you are demonstrating your religious blinders. Many Christians came to America for Religious Freedom to escape an established Church and the rule of law that forced taxes to support the established Church and to disqualify any non-State Churches from worshipping freely and openly. By the time of the Founding Fathers America had several Christian Denominations and some of these were indeed State Churches representative of each Colony that after victory would be a State within the federation of the USA. The First Amendment guarantees that all the Christian Denomination have Religious Freedom without fear of the Federal government establishing a State Church. As far as faith is concerned the Founding Fathers were concerned a Denomination would exercise more authority over a handful of Denominations and do with this with the sanction of the Federal government. The thinking was to keep government out of Christianity yet with Christianity being an influence on government. The writings and speeches of the Founding Fathers makes this quite clear! To believe otherwise is Leftist/atheist fantasy.
Michael says: The fact is most of the founding fathers were either, agnostic, atheist, members of the Hellfire Club, Free Masons, or any number of other non-Christian church believing groups. One rewrote the bible excluding all supernatural events. One mentioned we needed more lighthouses than churches because they at least served a purpose.
Response: Actually that which you call a fact is a presumption. A minority of the Founding Fathers might fit the Hellfire Club (Benjamin Franklin), agnostic or atheist description. AND it is evident the majority of Founding Fathers that were within the Freemasons believed in Christian Principles, Christian Values and Christian Values. Leftists, Church-State Separatists and atheists love it that a scholar Chris Rodda has refuted the scholarship of David Barton that promotes the history that America has Christian foundations. I find it typical of a Church-State Separatist to forget that the majority of the first colonists to the Americas came as Christians to establish some form of Christian utopia separate from the persecution of State Churches from Europe. Rodda goes right into the controversy of the level of Christianity practiced by the Founding Fathers which led thirteen American colonies to become the United States of America.
Certainly Barton skews his scholarship toward a pro-Christian point of view on the Founding Fathers. Criticizing of this and not realizing that scholars like Chris Rodda are also skewing scholarship to the Leftist point of view is a bit hypocritical. Let’s look at one Rodda’s confident writings skewering Barton on the issue of the Treaty of Peace and Friendship (Tripoli) signed in 1797 by President John Adams.
Article XI of the treaty provides language that at first sight justifies Leftists’ and atheists’ view of absolute secularism in America’s founding:
As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion, … (Bold Emphasis SlantRight)
This is the part that is quoted by the Leftist view of history. Now let’s look at the entire article:
As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion,-as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen,-and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries. (Bold Emphasis SlantRight)
The Constitution of the United States of America in the First Amendment forbids Congress to establish a State Church; ergo America is a Secular Nation with a Christian cultural heritage. The treaty was signed with a State that had an established religion in Islam; however note the wording implies the secular USA has no beef with any Muslim (Musselmen) or Mehomitan (Muslim) nation. Article XI merely states that this treaty is not between religious faiths but rather between a non-established Church secular State of the USA and those of the Muslim faith or nations embracing the Muslim faith.
Rodda comes after Barton because he erroneously cited President Washington as the signer of the treaty. So what? It still doesn’t change the fact that the treaty is between the USA where there is no established Christian religion (i.e. Denomination) and a nation (specifically Morocco) or nations wholly devoted to Islam. Adam’s is not repudiating Christianity!
Rodda does not address the obvious of the context of Article XI, rather she diverts attention to scholarly misquotes and to an obscure document found by David Barton. The only Rodda proves is that his scholarly acumen in citing who said what was slipshod, she does not prove the actual quotes in context are wrong. It is amazing that someone said the things quoted by Barton but not to who Barton attributed the quote. Rodda ignores the fact the data is still there. It only means Rodda has a better grasp of what pleases academia than Barton. Rodda shows that Barton would not have gotten his PhD in history because of sloppy mechanics not because of sloppy conclusions.
Michael says: Thomas Paine, the man Tea Partiers tout because of the pamphlet “Common Sense”, also wrote one of the most important books on religion in the last few centuries. This book was called “The Age of Reason”. I urge you to read this.
Response: Thomas Paine was an awesome Pamphleteer and nothing else. He only lived in America one year before his pen inspired Americans to support the Revolution and to break away from Britain. He was a radical even among American Deists. Check this out from The History Guide:
Paine settled in Philadelphia where he soon began a new career as a journalist. He contributed articles to the Pennsylvania Magazine on a wide range of topics. Thus on January 10, 1776, he published a short pamphlet, Common Sense, which immediately established his reputation as a revolutionary propagandist. Although he had only been in America less than a year, Paine committed himself to the cause of American independence. He attacked monarchical government and the alleged virtues of the British constitution, opposing any reconciliation with Great Britain. He also urged an immediate declaration of independence and the establishment of a republican constitution.
Paine was convinced that the American Revolution was a crusade for a superior political system and that America was ultimately unconquerable. He did as much as any writer could to encourage resistance and to inspire faith in the Continental Army. I essays published in the Pennsylvania Journal under the heading “Crisis,” Paine attacked the faint-hearted, campaigned for a more efficient federal and state tax system to meet the costs of war, and encouraged the belief that Britain would eventually recognize American independence.
Often tactless, Paine provoked considerable controversy. He was invariable hard-pressed for money and had to depend upon the generosity of his American friends and the occasional reward from the French envoy in America. When the War came to an end, his financial position was so precarious that he had to campaign to obtain recompense from the government. Congress eventually rewarded him $3000. Pennsylvania granted him ?00 in cash, while New York proved more generous and gave him a confiscated Loyalist farm at New Rochelle.
After American independence had been won, Paine played no part in the establishment of the new republic. Instead, he busied himself trying to invent a smokeless candle and devising an iron bridge.
… Burke’s resistance to the French Revolution inspired Paine to write his most influential work, the Rights of Man (Part I in 1791, Part II in 1792). In Part I, Paine urged political rights for all men because of their natural equality in the sight of God. All forms of hereditary government, including the British constitution, were condemned because they were based on farce or force. Only a democratic republic could be trusted to protect the equal political rights of all men. Part II was even more radical for Paine argued for a whole program of social legislation to deal with the shocking condition of the poor. His popularity sounded the alarm and he was forced to leave Britain in September 1792. He was condemned in his absence and declared an outlaw.
Paine immediately immersed himself in French affairs for the next ten years although he still hoped to see a revolution in Britain. In his Letter Addressed to the Addressers of the Late Proclamation (London, 1792), he rejected the policy of appealing to parliament for reform and instead urged British radicals to call a national convention to establish a republican form of government.
In August 1792, Paine was made a French citizen and a month later was elected to the National Convention. Since he did not speak French, and had to have his speeches read for him, Paine did not make much of an impact on the Convention. His association with the moderate republicans (Girondins) made him suspect in the Jacobin camp. In January 1793, he alienated many extremists by opposing the execution of Louis XVI. When military defeat fanned Jacobinism into hysteria, he fell victim to the Terror. From December 28, 1793, until November 4, 1794, he was incarcerated in Luxembourg prison until the intercession of the new American minister, James Monroe, secured his release.
During his imprisonment, Paine embarked on his third influential work, The Age of Reason (London and Boston, 1794-95). A deist manifesto to the core, Paine acknowledged his debt to Newton and declared that nature was the only form of divine revelation, for God had clearly established a uniform, immutable and eternal order throughout creation. Paine rejected Christianity, denied that the Bible was the revealed word of God, condemned many of the Old Testament stories as immoral and claimed that the Gospels were marred by discrepancies. There was nothing really that new in Paine’s argument, but the bitterness of his attack on the Christian churches and his attempt to preach deism to the masses made him more enemies than before.
After wearing out his welcome in Paris, Paine finally returned to America in October 1802 and was well-received by Thomas Jefferson. Increasingly neglected and ostracized, Paine’s last years were marked by poverty, poor health and alcoholism. When he died in New York on June 8, 1809, he was virtually an outcast. Since he could not be buried in consecrated ground, he was laid to rest n a corner of his small farm in New Rochelle.
Paine never established a political society or organization and was not responsible for a single reforming measure. His achievements were all with his pen so it is difficult to accurately assess his influence. Although he spent more than ten years in France, he had very little influence on the course of the French Revolution. He did not really understand the Revolution and therefore had little impact on its intellectual foundations. Indeed, to the Jacobins on the far left, Paine appeared as too moderate and faint-hearted.
Paine’s political influence was greatest in England. In intellectual terms, his Rights of Man was his greatest political work and was certainly the best-selling radical political tract in late 18th century England. Before Paine, British radicals sought a reform of Parliament which would grant to all men the vote for members of the House of Commons. In his Rights of Man, Paine abandoned this approach and, rejecting the lessons of history, maintained that each age had the right to establish a political system which satisfied its needs. He rested his case on the moral basis of the natural equality of men in the sight of God. Since government is a necessary evil that men accepted as a means of protecting their natural rights (cf. John Locke), the only legitimate government was that established by a contract between all members of society and one in which all men preserved all their natural rights, except the individual right to use force. Paine argued rationally that all men had an equal claim to political rights and that government must rest on the ultimate sovereignty of the people.
Thomas Paine was not so universally liked by the Founding Fathers. Paine was a hero propagandist for the Revolutionary War but his radicalism so intense that he was lucky he had a nation to go to die. There are several links on this The History Guide page of Thomas Paine’s works. If you read The Age of Reason that Michael suggests to read you will discover that Paine had no affinity for organized Christianity; however even Paine’s Deism points to Christianity for principles, values and morals of a nation.
Michael Says: The motto you refer to was made in the 50’s when white Christians were the majority. I don’t believe this motto is very constitutional. It should be struck down and the secularist motto the founders originally created should be reinstated.
Response: I admit “One Nation Under God” is a 1950s act of Congress. I find it interesting that Michael uses the race card as the reason for the passage of the motto. This is fascinated because Black Americans in the 1950s attending religious services were overwhelmingly Christian. I sincerely doubt Black Christians would have condemned the National Motto even during the last days of American segregation. Reverend Martin Luther King was in the nascent days of his ministry. I am convinced King would have supported the National Motto.
At any rate One Nation Under God is not so much the National motto as it is a phrase inserted into the Pledge of Allegiance in the 1950s. The Pledge history is fascinating and evolving. The Pledge was written by a Socialist (aka Leftist) Christian Minister by the name of Francis Bellamy in 1892. The original Pledge looked like this:
“I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
In 1923 The Pledge was amended to this:
“I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
In 1954 WWII hero President Eisenhower was confronted with godless Soviet Communism at the beginnings of the Cold War. Over the objection of Bellamy’s daughter the phrase “Under God” was added to one nation. Leftist activist Judges had not began whittling away the true meaning of the First Amendment yet and Americans as a whole perceived themselves as citizens of a nation of Christians in the 1950s. Radical Left Wing politics of Socialism, Marxism and Communism were and should still be perceived as belief systems that erode American culture rather than enhancing American culture.
Then there is the history of the actual National Motto: In God we Trust.
America declared its independence from Britain in 1776. After the victory of the Revolutionary War the Founding Fathers realized that the liberated Thirteen Colonies needed a bit more cohesion to survive independence from future threats to American Liberty. Hence the Constitutional Convention ratified a constitution in 1787 for the Thirteen former Colonies to say yea or nay. New Hampshire became the ninth State (6-21-1788) to ratify the Constitution thus establishing a Federal Union in which the four last States would eventually join. By 1790 the last hold-out Rhode Island joined the Union.
The time is important because the motto In God we Trust is derived from the National Anthem written at the end of the War of 1812 in the year 1814 a mere 26 years after the Constitution. Francis Scott Key was the author of the National Anthem and the part of the lyrics that became the National Motto are these:
“…And this be our motto: In God is our trust. And the Star Spangled Banner in triumph shall wave, O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.” (Bold emphasis SlantRight)
The Star Spangled Banner became the National Anthem in 1931 by an act of Congress:
“The Star-Spangled Banner” was officially made the national anthem by Congress in 1931, although it already had been adopted as such by the army and the navy.
Even though Congress did not officially institutionalize the National Anthem and the National Motto until the 20th century, both had an unofficial use by taxpayer supported government entities from the early days of the Republic.
In a letter dated 11-20-1861 by Secretary of Treasury Salmon P. Chase to Director of the Mint James Pollock to incorporate a godly motto on American coinage:
“Dear Sir: No nation can be strong except in the strength of God, or safe except in His defense. The trust of our people in God should be declared on our national coins. You will cause a device to be prepared without unnecessary delay with a motto expressing in the fewest and tersest words possible this national recognition. It was found that the Act of Congress dated January 18, 1837, prescribed the mottoes and devices that should be placed upon the coins of the United States.” (Bold emphasis SlantRight)
The point is the Federal government within all Branches of Executive, Legislative and even the Judiciary did not challenge the constitutionality of Christian terminology on Federal coins and currency in the earliest days of the American Republic.
Michael writes about what he calls the original National Motto: E Pluribus Unum – Out of many, one. This is one side of the Great Seal of the United States. I am a bit surprised that Michael did not mention the flip side of the Great Seal: Novus Ordo Seclorum – New Order of the Ages. Conspiracy Theorists like New World Order better.
John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson were assigned the task of developing a design for the Great Seal. Check out the process that ended up being one of the mottos of the Great Seal:
In July 1776, almost immediately after signing the Declaration of Independence, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson were tasked with designing a seal and motto for the new nation. In August John Adams wrote to his wife, Abigail, that he had proposed the “Choice of Hercules” as the image for the seal. Adams believed that individuals should choose to lead moral personal lives and to devote themselves to civic duty, and he preferred a secular allegory for that moral lesson.
The other two committee members proposed images that drew on Old Testament teachings, but neither shared the beliefs of those today who assert the role of God in our national government. Benjamin Franklin, a deist who did not believe in the divinity of Christ, proposed “Moses lifting up his Wand, and dividing the Red Sea, and Pharaoh, in his Chariot overwhelmed with the Waters.” This motto he believed, captured the principle that “Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God.”
Thomas Jefferson, … envisioned “The Children of Israel in the Wilderness, led by a Cloud by day, and a Pillar of Fire by night, and on the other Side Hengist and Horsa, the Saxon Chiefs, from whom We claim the Honour of being descended and whose Political Principles and Form of Government We have assumed.” …
The three men worked in consultation with an artist, Eugène Pierre Du Simitière, who rejected all of the ideas of the three committee members. His own first attempt was also rejected by Congress. It would take years and several more committees before Congress would approve the final design, still in use today, of an American bald eagle clutching thirteen arrows in one talon and an olive branch in the other.
Only the motto “E Pluribus Unum” (“from many, one”) survived from the committee on which Adams, Jefferson, and Franklin had served. All had agreed on that motto from the beginning. (“In God We Trust” or “E Pluribus Unum”? The Founding Fathers Preferred the Latter Motto,” By Thomas A. Foster; HNN 11-8-11)
Note that the Deist concept of Christianity appears to be the emphasis; nonetheless it is Christian symbolism involved in the thought process leading to E Pluribus Unum.
The last part of Michael’s comment is something already addressed in this response which Michael starts utilizing pejorative language toward the intelligence of Christian.