Sunday, March 22, 2015

Faith in Civic Morality Matters rev.




          Terry Robinson’s article, “Trusting [g]od in journey called life,”[1] incorporates a totalitarian American propaganda flagrantly kept alive by the media, however they would explain the practice, which seems like: Each personal god equates to the being, if any, that controls the unfolding of the universe--what-is/reality. In other words, contributors to the media tacitly profess to know what no one knows: a god exists and its yours--or however the writer would explain the writing. They know a label that should be immorally used to impose the supernatural into civic morality.
 
          By tradition, the majority takes the reality of personal gods for granted--as universal power or however the believer would explain it. It seems undeniable that 1) no individual’s inspiration or motivation or belief represents or speaks for whatever controls what-is and 2) the tacit assertion of supernatural power is arrogance against civic morality. I am writing to discourage this traditional practice by both writers for the media and journalists. Totalitarianism[2] is ruinous to human goodwill and domestic liberty or personal liberty and domestic goodwill (PL&DG), no matter how beneficial the totalitarian cloak may seem to believers, whether writers or readers.

          Robinson reports about a “cancer survivor, retired teacher, avid bowler, active Sunday school member, motivational speaker, reading volunteer in public schools and author” who attributes personal views of success to faith in a personal god. In this report, it seems to me “faith” means the object of a person’s trust and commitment for living. There is nothing wrong with personal opinions in privacy, excepting any slights to persons who delivered help, but the harm comes when Robinson endorses a personal god as the universally controlling power by dropping “personal” and capitalizing “g.” Any controlling power reigns equally over both cancer survivors and cancer victims, and I doubt the noun “god" applies to the control at all. I doubt cancer survivors controlled through prayer their god’s favor in competition with cancer victims who are motivated and inspired by other means and received the same quality cancer care. Similarly, I doubt gods control consequences of war or even football games.
          There are many personal gods, and perhaps no control of what-is beyond either physics or chaos. The personal gods don’t compete, but some believers do. The tradition of crediting a personal god for good consequences in life is a wholly self-serving enterprise, perhaps only psychological comfort that may be enjoyed in privacy. But in this case, there are commercial benefits: book sales, civic speeches, a church, churches, religion, newspapers, and power derived from false influence or imposition. When anything beyond a personal god is claimed, the civic perpetrator, whether the beneficiary or someone writing about the beneficiary, risks the idea in Exodus 20:7, NIV, “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.,” whatever that means rather than how someone interprets it.
          Once this religious brutality is noticed, it is shocking that people, especially writers for the media and journalists, willfully expose self contradiction. What is held to be a universal message in Exodus 20:7 is civically ignored, and the perpetrators of this immorality seem either unaware or defiant of the obvious arrogance. And the public neither objects nor tries to escape the false influence on civic morality and PL&DG. By tradition some believers cite their personal god and elevate with the capital “g,” but no one really believes they may face whatever judgment that is plainly stated in their “scripture,” in Exodus 20:7 (whatever its source or meaning).

          The strategy of exalting personal opinion as divine thought--to gain civic power over both believers and non-believers--is not new to this country. Using the Discovery doctrine[3], imposition of Christianity started systematically with the Virginia Charter of 1606: “. . . propagating of Christian religion to such people as yet live in darkness and miserable ignorance of the true knowledge and worship of [g]od.”[4] Natives were abused and slaves were imported from African slave-traders on this principle. The founders who debated behind closed doors in Philadelphia tried to introduce civic, godless[5] governance in the US Constitution of 1787. However, James Madison’s 1785 opinion[6] eventually prevailed: “Before any man can be considered as a member of Civil Society, he must be considered as a subject of the Governour of the Universe.” Please repeat Madison’s thought and consider agreement: Is belief in a god your personal prerequisite to citizenship? I adamantly oppose Madison’s tyranny. Do you agree with Madison? I'm not asking you: I am suggesting you ask yourself.

          Madison studied Machiavelli and is perhaps without excuse respecting advice dated 1513: People who believe in a god can be permanently fooled when government representatives partner with the clergy.[7] Congress, first seated in 1789, appointed chaplains[8] for legislative, divine benefits and the Supreme Court expanded theism's dominance in legislatures since then; recently with Greece v Galloway[9] and its "legislative prayer," which is not even the people's business. Having been born in Knoxville, Tennessee, I brook neither Madison’s opinion nor the opinion of anyone who agrees with Madison’s repressive invention: “the Governor of the Universe.” Madison also seems to rebuke Exodus 20:7. My faith is firmly in the objective truth of which much is undiscovered and some is understood. My insistence on civic governance without influence under the supernatural is steadfast. Other civic persons’ personal faiths are none of my business, but I work tirelessly for civic morality and civil order without governance under a god or other supernaturalism.[10]

          The objective truth makes itself so plain that no one has valid reason to ignore it. Humankind’s gradual acceptance of the objective truth establishes physics-based ethics. The longer what is plain is ignored the more difficult the recovery from privation. Take for example slavery: physics-based ethics makes it clear that no person should rob anyone of the benefits of their contributions or work. However, resistance to physics-based ethics apparently entered a new phase, with initial success of black Christianity, starting in the 1960s: by 1969 black church was influenced by black liberation theology (BLT). Few inhabitants know that Thomas Paine wrote against Christian support of slavery in 1775:
          To Americans: That some desperate wretches should be willing to steal and enslave men by
          violence and murder for gain, is rather lamentable than strange. But that many civilized, nay,
          Christianized people should approve, and be concerned in the savage practice, is surprising;
          and still persist, though it has been so often proved contrary to the light of nature, to every
          principle of Justice and Humanity, and even good policy.[11]
Was there an African writing against African slavery and slave trade in 1775? The long trek from slavery imposed by Africans on Africans and escalated by the European slave trade should have ended for this country with the Civil Rights Act of 1964.[12] Why didn’t it? I thought it did, until 2015.

          On February 19, 2015, at Southern University, I heard Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright, Jr. say that we have black theology,[13] black church, black bible, and black national anthem (that quartet implies black god), because white Christianity divided the people. In my opinion, Wright desecrated the death of every soldier who died for this country, starting with the revolutionary American and French causalities, but especially the Civil War casualties. No one should use personal gods and beliefs to divide a people. I attribute Wright’s attitude to divisive actions after the founding of the Congressional Black Caucus[14] in January 1969. Since February, I learned that the Black American National Anthem is a cultural consequence of decades earlier preservation of personal pride against Jim Crow years, and I celebrate such no-harm personal liberty and will continue to contribute to domestic goodwill. But I heard Wright encourage young Baton Rogueans to risk their opportunities for PL&DG for an unjust cause: black liberation theology.
          Wright, a veteran, turns his back on both the preamble to the constitution for the USA and physics-based ethics. The preamble is intended for every inhabitant who wants to use it, and physics-based ethics, slowly, certainly is adopted by humankind. Writers for the media and journalists add to the woe by not addressing Wright’s skillful, false persuasion.[15] The media must, with integrity, challenge Wright about influencing young people to think that neither the preamble nor physics-based ethics is intended for them--therefore they must depend on the supernatural. Wright seems a nice person, merely caught in the web of his culture’s arrogance against Exodus 20:7, but the press is without excuse. Also, I do not mean to harp on Wright: his case is only evidence of the media failure to a civic people including those writers for the media and journalists and elected and appointed officials and the clergy who would choose to be of a civic people.
          Attributing cancer survival to the supernatural, appallingly neglects the people who provided cancer services. Civically extolling personal prayers to a personal god, innocent as the promotion may be, neglects gratitude for the medical attention received from cancer doctors and the attendant contributions by chemotherapy researchers and many more medical service providers. It would take someone with very broad knowledge to list the millions of people-living and dead--involved in curing one case of cancer.  Reform from focus on the supernatural to focus on physics-based ethics by media writers and journalists would encourage cancer-survivors’ attention to civic gratitude.

          Writers for the media and journalists who further the tradition of imposing belief in gods onto the civic debate, are perpetrating an offense against PL&DG. They are promoting domestic alienation. I call for reform that the average person may not immediately support. Some may claim I can’t write, but my ideas are merely innovative--novel. However, the objective truth can be plain to everyone who wants to understand, no matter how entrenched indoctrination and conformity--sometimes obfuscated as propriety--may be.[16] And clear, concise identification of offense against civic morality is sufficient to remove excuses against reform. The message exists herein, and the era of using gods to impose with impunity the supernatural on civic morality is over. It is time for civic collaboration of by and for a civic people.
  
Copyright©2015 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 September 4, 2015


[1] Terry Robinson, The Advocate, March 20, 2015, online at theadvocate.com/features/11875180-123/faith-matters-trusting-god-on .
[2] Mimicking a statement attributed to Socrates, there is a stubbornness I admit to: I assert I am better served by not believing. I claim both 1) I do not know what I do not know, and 2) it is alright for me to wait indefinitely for discovery of the objective truth.
[5] Library of Congress, online at www.loc.gov/exhibits/religion/rel06.html .
[6] Memorial and Remonstrance, online at founders.archives.gov/documents/Madison/01-08-02-0163 .
[7] Nicolo Machiavelli, The Prince, Chapter XI, 1513. Machiavelli claims only a rash person would try to explain this phenomenon.
[9] Greece v Galloway, online at www.law.cornell.edu/supremecourt/text/12-696 . Inhabitant should study this document. It says that a person’s objections to prayer have no standing: legislative prayer is for legislators only.
[10] Michael Polanyi, in Personal Knowledge, 1958, Page 405, seems to assert that my faith in the objective truth is supernaturalism on par with Christianity. I disagree: My mantra is that I do not know a god to worship and it is alright to wait for discovery.
[11] Thomas Paine, 1775, online at www.constitution.org/tp/afri.htm .
[12] Civil rights, online at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civil_Rights_Act .
[13] Southern University bulletin, online at www.subr.edu/index.cfm/newsroom/detail/739 .
[14] Congressional Black Caucus, online at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Congressional_Black_Caucus .
[16] Borrowing from Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Divinity School Address,” 1838: The truth “will speak out of stone walls.”