Wednesday, August 6, 2014

In America, Abraham’s Progeny May Collaborate 2/10/17

            As a boy, I did not realize it, but my commitment was to the-objective-truth of which much is undiscovered and some is understood: Some of the-objective-truth is known. For examples, in physics we don’t know if there is extraterrestrial life, but we do know that the earth is like a globe. In ethics, we don’t know why religion cannot conquer hate, but we do know why civic persons don’t lie. However, for five decades, I tried to persuade myself to be a Southern-Baptist Christian.
Some special experiences informed me that I had always been a person of faith in the-objective-truth and convinced me to embrace that faith. The most delightful happening was the discovery that my wife’s religion is precious to me for her, even though I do not want her religion for me. The happening was the discovery that for 2-1/2 decades, I had hoped she would convert to my Christianity instead of hers. I was lucky she was still here! I reformed from psychologically abusing her to sharing the joy of independence in private pursuits.
            I now view my neighbors in the same way: their religion is precious to me (but none of my business unless they want to talk). I want my civic conduct to reflect what I write and also won’t compromise my faith in the-objective-truth. I do not want anyone to adopt my faith, because I could be mistaken: Perhaps I should keep trying to persuade myself to "know" what I don't know. More importantly, I don't want anyone to change their religious faith, because they could be right. We can all see, hear, feel, smell, taste, believe, reason, and imagine; but we cannot construct the-objective-truth.

            However, what we have in common is United States citizenship or residence. Thus, we are civic neighbors rather than religious heretics or infidels.
            Christianity says, “Accept Jesus as your Savior, and you'll be saved.” I admit to myself, that's great for you, but I could not turn my back on the-objective-truth, even if I wanted to. I am no heretic to something I do not believe and think we are neighbors regardless of your religion.
            Judaism says, “Jehovah brought us out of Egypt. We are His chosen people.” I say, good for you, but I will not turn my back on the-objective-truth. I am no heretic and think we are neighbors.
            Islam says, “Sooner or later, everyone will submit to Allah.” I say, good for them, but I will not turn my back on the-objective-truth. I am no heretic and think we are neighbors.

            The atheist says, "I know there is no God." I say, that's a leap of faith I cannot take:  I will not turn my back on the-objective-truth. I am no heretic and think we are neighbors.
            America says, nature’s god granted us independence from the King of England's god. We are nature's god's favored nation.” What about France's influence at Yorktown--both overwhelming military power and excellent strategy? I am no heretic and think we are neighbors.
            What about a civic people that was specified in 1787? The literal preamble to the United States Constitution defines a civic people dedicated to civic morality using two levels of governance with nine civic goals, regardless of religious opinion. As a people according to the preamble, the progeny of Abraham, indeed every person whose personal happiness is defined by their beliefs could collaborate for civic morality. No heretics--only neighbors.
            In his way, Abraham Lincoln perhaps expressed this hope in 1861, when he said to the Seceding States, “Why should there not be a patient confidence in the ultimate justice of [a civic] people? Is there any better or equal hope in the world?” Lincoln used the article “the,” quoting the preamble. But, unfortunately, he promoted the Declaration of Independence, trumping governance under a civic people with governance under theism, like Congress did in the Bill of Rights, ratified on December 15, 1791. In so doing, Lincoln, a member of the people, segregated himself from a civic people. Respecting civic morality, Lincoln was a dissident.
            A civic people, as specified by the preamble to the United States, has the opportunity to set the example the world needs perhaps to end wars, and that privilege has fallen to our generation. It is my hope that in three years time, 2/3 of the people in every special-interest group in America will collaborate to fulfill the civic morality sought by the preamble, most persons cooperatively pursuing the happiness they perceive during every decade of some eighty years of living. It would be like driving expediently, safely, in civic morality to your next activity yet accommodating others in the same opportunity for them. Under a civic people, real-no-harm religions would thrive, side by side.
            Maybe the rest of the world will receive the gift some may have always expected from America: a civic people continuously achieving the combination real-no-harm private-liberty-with-civic-morality.

Copyright©2014 by Phillip R. Beaver. All rights reserved. Permission is hereby granted for the publication of all or portions of this paper as long as this complete copyright notice is included.Revised February 10, 2017