Thursday, April 5, 2007

It sounds better than the "Thomas Jefferson Spouted the Four Spiritual Law" idea

Pagan Jim has an interesting thesis.

Although the common meaning of Paganism seems to imply atheism, a Pagan can worship any other god not common to the god of the Torah, the Bible or the Koran. This also includes those who worshiped gods before the advent of the Judeo-Christian religions....

So if we wish to find the origins of a government based on Paganism, we must establish two things: 1. The lawful documents, symbols and mottoes of the founding government do not contain any mention of Christian, Moslem, or Jewish religions. 2. The documents, symbols and mottoes of the founding government describe Pagan deities and concepts.

Since the government in question involves the founding documents and symbols of the United States of America, we must satisfy the above two criteria with evidence for Paganism and a lack of evidence for Christianity, Judaism, or Islam.

This becomes evermore interesting in light of the recent religious-right movement in their attempt to convince citizens that the American government derived from Christian principles.

So what does Pagan Jim say about the document authored by noted "Christian" Thomas Jefferson?

Although strictly not a lawful document, the Declaration of Independence, a pre-government document, revealed the first attempt by the American colonists to establish their own independence from Great Britain. The Declaration also mentions god where the religious-right of modern times have tried to use as evidence for their Christian god. But does the god of the Declaration speak about a Biblical god? No, not at all. Clearly the god mentioned describes a Pagan concept....

Thomas Jefferson thought of himself as a scientist more than he did a politician. Consider that the "Laws of Nature" describe a materialist viewpoint, many times referred to as Newton's laws in the years following Newton's discovery of the laws of gravity, light, and calculus mathematics. (Thomas Jefferson greatly admired Isaac Newton and anyone who visits Monticello will see the influence he had on Jefferson.) Clearly Jefferson intended "Nature's God," not to refer to the personal god of superstitious Christianity, but of a physical god of nature, the laws of physics-- Nature's God. In 1809 Jefferson wrote, "Nature intended me for the tranquil pursuits of science, by rendering them my supreme delight." Clearly Jefferson thought of Nature as God.

But even if you do not feel persuaded that Nature's God means the Laws of Nature and you insist that it refers to a supernatural god, then you still cannot use it to support a Judeo-Christian god. Why? Because to call the God of the Bible as Nature's God would not only contradict the Bible but would constitute heresy in the minds of 18th century Christian leaders of both the Protestant and Catholic faith. Nature's God describes a Pagan concept because nature describes the world. The Biblical concept of nature describes the earth (the world), the planets, plant, man and animal as nature, but certainly not as a part of God. According to Christianity God and Jesus come from above. The God of Christianity does not come from this world....

The Declaration echoes John Locke's idea [1] that in the "state of nature," all human beings lived free and equal (Locke would remain a hero of Jefferson throughout his life). [Mapp] The idea that "all men are created equal" goes against Biblical doctrine. The Bible supports inequality from a top down hierarchy: God-man-woman-beast (Catholic dogma adds the church and their priests between God and man). Moreover the word "Creator" describes a Deistic term in the 1700s.

Jefferson, in his many papers and correspondences throughout his life expressed a Deistic view of religion. Deists did not believe in miracles, revealed religion, the authority of the clergy, or the divinity of Jesus. Jefferson regarded ethics, not faith, as the essence of religion. Of course Deists believed in a creator, but thought that the original Creator no longer lived or did not play any part in the world or influenced the lives of people. That goes to the very reason why the American founding fathers knew that they (We the people) had to form the laws of the land, laws based on human reasoning.

Nowhere else in the Declaration (or any other founding document) do we find mention of gods or creators. The entire bases of connecting god with the U.S. government rests entirely on only three words, "Nature's God" and "Creator." Nothing more. And even these three words come from a deist describing a Pagan concept!

But Pagan Jim stretches it a bit when he gets to the Constitution.

Frustrating to both Pagans and Christians, nowhere in the Constitution does it mention a god. Or does it?

Fear not my fellow Pagans. Indeed it does! Within Amendment XX, you will find the word "January" which comes from the Latin Janus which refers to our God Janus, the Roman god of doors and gateways. Sunday (mentioned in Article 1, Sec.7) comes from the word Sunne which refers to the Saxon Sun god. March (see Amendment XII), comes from the Latin, Martius, and refers to our Pagan God Mars.

And no, I don't think Christians should rename the days of the week or the months of the year. We'd end up using Arabic numerals anyway, which some misguided person will claim are Muslim.


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