(442) Tue 9 Aug 94 23:26
By: David Rice
To: Eddie Taylor
Re: Wind-up Award
@PID: ProBoard 2.01 rJ
@TID: FastEcho 1.41/g 10280
>FR> The study of theology, as it stands in the Christian churches,
>FR> is the study of nothing; it is founded on nothing;
ET> You have to remember[sic] that although Paine was a [brilliant]
ET> statesman, he was indeed an atheist.
You have to remember that Thomas Paine was -NOT- an atheist. He
believed in God as Creator of the universe, Earth, and all life
As several of my colleagues and others of my fellow- citizens of
France have given me the example of making their voluntary and
individual profession of faith, I also will make mine; and I do
this with all that sincerity and frankness with which the mind
of man communicates with itself.
I believe in one God, and no more; and I hope for happiness
beyond this life.
I believe in the equality of man; and I believe that religious
duties consist in doing justice, loving mercy, and endeavoring
to make our fellow-creatures happy.
But, lest it should be supposed that I believe in many other
things in addition to these, I shall, in the progress of this
work, declare the things I do not believe, and my reasons for
not believing them.
I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by
the Roman church, by the Greek church, by the Turkish church, by
the Protestant church, nor by any church that I know of. My own
mind is my own church.
All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian
or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up
to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.
I do not mean by this declaration to condemn those who believe
otherwise; they have the same right to their belief as I have to
mine. But it is necessary to the happiness of man, that he be
mentally faithful to himself. Infidelity does not consist in
believing, or in disbelieving; it consists in professing to
believe what he does not believe.
It is impossible to calculate the moral mischief, if I may so
express it, that mental lying has produced in society. When a
man has so far corrupted and prostituted the chastity of his
mind, as to subscribe his professional belief to things he does
not believe, he has prepared himself for the commission of every
other crime. He takes up the trade of a priest for the sake of
gain, and in order to qualify himself for that trade, he begins
with a perjury. Can we conceive any thing more destructive to
morality than this?
Too bad Thomas Paine wasn't an atheist: even the best of humanity
can make a mistake.
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