Wednesday, July 15, 2009
The Irrational Man: Have not you heard of that irrational man who in the bright morning took up his pen and wrote about the existence of God? Call him a theist! Call him irrationally pious! Call him what you will! But God knows that only irrational men understand the true basis for Christian worship. Some might say prayer is merely a form of lip-service to God. Some might say God is dead. Some might say religion is for those who do not possess thoughts of their own. Well, according to that primordial Frenchman, Pascal, 'the heart has its reasons, of which, reason knows nothing.' The idea of God resides deep within our collective unconscious. Besides, is not there an absolute dependence upon something higher than ourselves? How do you explain the very nature of your inner-most Being? Reason gets you far, and the "will to power" (Der Wille zu Macht) gets you even farther. Yet it is the soul that ultimately pushes you above and through to the next life. Comprehending the soul means understanding resurrection. Death is not the end. There will be times of doubt and pain. And when the hand of death is approaching, be not afraid, for eternal bliss lies just beyond its touch.
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Thomas Jefferson's Utopian Experiment: In what was perhaps the greatest sentence ever written, Thomas Jefferson composed the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom in 1779. When it later passed the Virginia General Assembly in 1786, after support from James Madison and a large constituency of Baptists, it marked the first law of religious freedom in all of Western civilization. In the statue, Jefferson put forth a simple, but effective argument for religious freedom in republican societies. Given that "Almighty God hath created the mind free," then it was only natural to make religious worship a free and open practice. He realized that the worst kind of tyranny occurred when religion and government worked hand-in-hand to create a theocracy. State-imposed religion curtailed man's free will. Now it is important to remember that Jefferson drafted this statute during the Revolutionary War. There was no guarantee that the American confederation would survive the British onslaught. Even so, after securing an alliance with France in 1778 and winning a mere three out of nine major battles, the Continental Army persevered on its way to eventual victory over Britain. Aside from the military campaign, Jefferson's statue represented an alternative course in the ideology of republicanism. It allowed for the creation of a wall that separated religion and government. Thus, Jefferson's statute was simultaneously a gateway to secularization and symbol of common sense.