In God We Trust

If you asked 20 different people what the phrase “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” means, you would probably get 20 different answers, all of them wrong.  This site is devoted to addressing that crisis of understanding. We cannot continue as the greatest nation on earth if we have forgotten the principles that made this country great. 

To that end, I have set up what I would describe as the online version of the American Deist Church.  In this web site I discuss the principles of the founding ideas that made America great.  

So where is the real world church and what is it about?

If you live in the United States it is all around you.

When America’s Founders wrote the Declaration of Independence they based it on a religious philosophy.  Not the traditional kind you find in the big churches, but a new kind that today we recognize as classic Liberalism

In the philosophy of classic Liberalism which underlies the Declaration God is the Supreme Judge of right and wrong in this universe and is the provider of all things. God is the creator, owner and master of Nature.  Humanity is subject to God through Nature and Conscience. Our highest social law is Natural Law which is moderated by Revealed Law.

The classic Liberalism underlying the Declaration of Independence defines a form of Deism, a Deism that is not only tolerant of traditional religion, but holds traditional religion as necessary and important.  American Deism says that God is the source of all nature, and that God is necessary for just and effective government.  It acknowledges no human being as divine or as God’s oracle, but leaves it to the individual to think and choose according to their own conscience.  To act morally without making a decision based on conscience is meaningless.  

In American Deism, no just religion forces itself onto others. True justice comes from God Who rewards or punishes us for following or not following conscience.

The Declaration states that government is subject to God as expressed through the consent of a godly people.  God is necessary if we are to have freedom from power hungry statists with their artificial laws that inevitably lead to the theft and destruction of the people’s freedom.  Naturalism frees the people from the abuses of religion, and religion frees the people from the abuses of government.  Only God’s justice embodied in Natural Law can keep people free.  As a society we cannot think our way to freedom and happiness because our best laid plans will always be abused and create one form of tyranny or another. 

In my personal philosophy our greatest personal law is to love others, to love God, and to love wisely.  (From this I get the name Amorian, as in “amore.”)  Without love and God life would be a meaningless accident of nature.  Without wisdom we would only experience happiness by wandering into it by accident. 

Deism in the United States Today

According to the best research that I can find, about 20-25% of the US population can properly be called Deist in their personal beliefs.  Polls about religious affiliation put the number of Deists under 1%.  When church affiliation is ignored and people are polled about what they believe about God and how people relate to God, the number of Deists jumps to about 20-25%. 

History

A lot of our western beliefs have some roots in Christianity, but for most of us our true spiritual origins are found in theWestern  Enlightenment, not the Christian Bible.  Our source of morality is more closely related to John Locke, than St. Peter.  Our way of relating to the universe has its roots in Deism, which is a naturalistic understanding of the world that acknowledges God as the Creator of the natural universe, and doesn’t accept divine revelation as authoritative. Natural truths have meaning in the natural world, and religious truths have meaning in the supernatural world.

Classic American Deists, guys like Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln, generally believed that God controls the universe and guides human affairs to some degree, but doesn’t communicate with people directly through prophets or magic spirits, and God most certainly wasn’t born in the flesh as Jesus. These guys were basically freethinkers who believed in God. They believed that when natural truth and religious truth are in conflict, the natural truth is always right and the religious truth is questionable. They believed that natural truth comes directly from God, while religious truth comes from elsewhere. They believed that rational thought leads one to see natural truth, so rational thought and adherence to natural morality is what brings one closer to God.

Thomas Paine Thomas Jefferson Benjamin Franklin Abraham Lincoln

Four Classic Deists.  Paine, Jefferson, Franklin, Lincoln

We see American Deism present today in the United States government in the form of prayers said before government events, and sayings like “In God we trust” printed on money. We accept a certain idea of God in government, but we don’t let the words of prophets or supernatural spirits define or control our government.  America’s defining documents and our common practices define us as a Deist nation, not a Christian nation, even though some Christians would have us believe otherwise.  We are not one nation under Christ.

In American Deism, God is the mysterious source of nature and natural events.  This concept provides a common ground for all people, whether Atheist, Catholic, Buddhist, Taoist, or anything else.  Within this idea we are all free to conceive of God as we see fit.  To an Atheist, the Deist God can be completely natural.  To the Catholic, God can be the supernatural being of the Bible.  To the Taoist, the mysterious Source of the Tao.

Human beings are religious by nature.  American Deism is the religious common ground that creates social unity despite our differences in beliefs.  American Deism is the social glue that allows people of all faiths to stand under a common banner as “one nation, under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all.”

American Deism unites us as a nation and at the same time it prevents religious monopoly.  Without it we would probably either live under a religious monarchy, or we would live under atheism and the religious among us would be alienated from our government.  

Personal beliefs about God and the supernatural are just that, personal.  Everyone believes something a little different about God.  We believe that God is like this, or God is like that, or God doesn’t exist at all.  Its the old story about the blind men and the elephant.  We are the blind men and God is a really big the elephant.

Spirituality, Relationships and Family Values

Within this context of American Deism, I want to discuss healthy relationships and family values.  A Google search on “family values” will mostly bring up Christian oriented information.  How did Christianity come to have such a monopoly on family values?  A lot of people, myself included, don’t believe that all Christian values are completely healthy.  This web site is about discussing the difference between healthy values and unhealthy values and how they affect social and family relationships in the context of American Deism.

What is spirituality?  A spirit is an unseen force that affects the natural world.  It is the thing that happens in our relationships with others.  Conversations are spirited.  Teams have spirit.  So do horses.  We have a spirit of friendship, a spirit of community, a spirit of grateful living.  Freedom is a spirit.  Spirituality isn’t an exercise that is practiced; it is the way we relate to others and to Life.

Faith is love.  And love is faith.  People who love God are said to have faith.  When a spouse abandons love and cheats they are said to be unfaithful.  Love and faith are two sides of the same coin.  When we speak of love, we are usually referring to the emotional side of love.  When we speak of faith, we are usually referring to acts of love or to the strength of the bonds of love.

Our greatest happiness is found in expressing love for others in healthy ways.  

From this focus on love comes the name Amorian, which means “a thing having to do with love.” 

Thinking big now, my dream is to find, or even to build, a physical church with a formal organization.  I don’t see any such church around today.  There are some organizations that come close to what I believe, but none really seem to do it for me.  

I’ll write more on my dream church in my blog.

If you want to contact me, you may do so.

– Scott