Friday, December 12, 2008

FFQF: Benjamin Rush on Moral Authority

This blog post has moved! It's now on my own website, here:

FFQF: Benjamin Rush on Moral Authority


akaGaGa said...

Very interesting post, Herky. You've built your case well. In addition to agreeing with your overall premise (of course) a couple things jumped out at me:

"5. The rites of religion; in the plural. How curious that the least used sense of the term has become the most-used definition today!"

This is a good point, but I don't find the change in definition curious at all. I think it accurately reflects what religion has largely become in today's America: empty rites. Many think that as long as they go through these meaningless rituals every Sunday, then they are in good standing with our Lord. It's a bit like protecting your mother's back by not stopping on any cracks - a little superstition, a couple good wishes, and ta da! You're a happy Christian. When they're standing at the throne of justice, many will wish they had taken the Lord's words a little more seriously.

"Such is my veneration for every religion that reveals the attributes of the Deity, or a future state of rewards and punishments, that I had rather see the opinions of Confucius or Mahomed [sic] inculcated upon our youth than see them grow up wholly devoid of a system of religious principles."

I don't know that I agree with the good Dr. Rush on this point. From what I have observed over the last ten or fifteen years, it seems to me that most of those who hold false religious beliefs, do so fervently, and are not open to the Truth when they hear it. While they may be better citizens of America than the ungodly, they are undoubtedly destined for an eternity in hell.

On the other hand, the completely godless may do horrible things in this life, but they don't generally hold a firm belief in anything. Thus they are generally more open to the gospel when they hear it, because they have no other belief system to defend.

It's a bit like the difference between the pharisee and the tax collector. The pharisee already thinks he's righteous. The tax collector knows better.

So if we're looking for good citizens in America, then Dr. Rush's statement is accurate. If we're looking for more citizens of heaven, then I don't think this position stands up.

Hercules Mulligan said...

Hi Jean. Glad you could stop by and leave your thoughts!

To be honest, I was being rather sarcastic when I said that the reversal was "curious"; or, maybe you could tell. :) You are right; religion for us today has become a bunch of empty rites, because we have tried to replace the Holy Spirit, and in doing so, have even violated the authority of Scripture.

And yes, I anticipated the statement about Rush's opinion. And I don't think I can agree with it either. I understand where he was coming from -- at least these people from other religions believe in a God, and aren't totally under the law of the jungle. However, as you say, they become devoted to their false religions as to a god, and they are more fanatical. This is certainly true of one of the religions Rush mentioned, that of Islam. Of course, there are others.

I believe it was Hamilton who said that "religious enthusiasm" (again, another example of term change over the centuries) was one of the most dangerous kinds of enthusiasm in the world; because those possessed with it are usually the least reasonable and tractable. They may be wrong, but they have a more difficult time seeing it.

I suppose there is a fine line between who is generally more open to hearing and believing the Gospel, but it is true that error in religion, believing you are right, is far more dangerous than knowing you are wrong. That's why Jesus condemned those who were self-righteous in their form of false religion.

A side-note on Rush: I have to dig a little deeper, but I've heard that in later life he became a universalist. I don't know how true that is, or to what extent. But it is an interesting thought in light of this discussion.

I decided to use this quote here, because it pointed out the superiority of Christian practice to free civil government. I emphasized that in this post, because so many Americans have been conditioned to be prejudiced against Christianity, and refuse to see that the Gospel is superior to all other "religions." There is a truth, and sometimes, practical examples paint that the best for people.

Well, thanks for sharing your wise thoughts, and for taking the time to read today's lengthy post.

Your humble Herky.

ElderChild said...

"Pure And Undefiled Religion"

"Pure religion and undefiled before GOD The Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself uncontaminated by the world." (James 1:27)

Simply, all other religion is impure and defiled!

Faith will not create a system of religion.......

Hope is there would be those who take heed unto The Call of The Only True GOD to "Come Out of her, MY people"!

For they will "Come Out" of this wicked world(babylon) and it's systems of religion, into "the glorious Liberty of The Children of The Only True GOD".

They will no longer be of those who are destroying the earth(land, air, water, vegetation, creatures)" and perverting that which is Spirit(Light, Truth, Life, Love, Peace, Hope, Faith, Mercy, Grace, Miracles, etc.).

Peace, in spite of the dis-ease(religion) that is of this world, for "the WHOLE world is under the control of the evil one" (1John5:19) indeed and Truth.......

Truth is never ending.......

Hercules Mulligan said...

Hello ElderChild. Welcome to my blog, and thanks for your comment. Your quotations of Scripture indeed enlighten us as to what GOD thinks about other "religions." They are not equal, and in God's eyes, they have no value; on the contrary, they are a stench in His nostrils, because they are rebellion against His revelation.

But before any lasting effort can be made to spread the light of God's truth into the hearts of those blinded by other religions, we must allow our minds to be transformed by His Word, which will mean a denial of worldly ways of thinking.

Thank you again. God bless you.

Our Founding Truth said...

Hey Herc,

Every time I need to find a quote by the framers, I can go to your blog and find it. Thanks for all your info on Hamilton. What do you think of framers making public comments that are fallacies?

Did they do that such as: Gouverneur Morris, or were they men of their words? Why would they say logical fallacies? I think they were men of their words.


Hercules Mulligan said...

Hi OFT. Long time no see. It's good to hear from you again.

I'm glad that my blogs are helping you with your research. It's a great encouragement. :)

If I understand your question correctly, you are asking if the Founders would say things that are illogical. You add that you don't think they would, because they were men of their word.

I agree that they were men of their words; overall, they were honest and definitely very smart.

However, they were also fallible human beings; so although they may have been honest, they also may have said things that were not logical. The most honest and most learned men (which our Founders were) are no doubt prone to error, and perhaps even to bias.

Now, I do not often find statements among the Founders to be illogical. In fact, their words are highly logical, and our generation would do well to heed them. It is, however, a possibility that they could have said something illogical, without being aware of it.

Just my thoughts on that question. :)

Thanks for your visit, and for keeping in touch.

Best wishes,

Our Founding Truth said...

Hey Herc,

Thanks for the feedback, that makes sense. You know how attorneys are, and how they use logical fallacies, they use them to get what they want done, such as Madison's Memorial to get his bill through, because he used a logical fallacy (he actually didn't believe Christianity was the truth)

Heck, if this is the case, then how do we know if someone is lying? Everything is bogus.

But, their words aren't in a courtroom, and they aren't trying to win a debate. I think its a way for secularists to deny the Christian nation theme and the framers' faith.