ama

Black Eye

Message to Deists

Spirit


You are the guardians of the original principles of our union. Your predecessors include Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, James Madison, Tom Paine, Ethan Allen, among many others. All of these men understood that God’s existence and nature, as well as an objective system of moral law, is evident to reason. They understood that these truths can be known through reflection on nature.

The first principles of our republic have been removed from public life by those who deny that there are any truths about God or morality that are evident to reason. In place of this essential body of theological and moral knowledge, there now stands an agnostic ideology. All mention of God is treated as if it were the private expression of supernatural belief. All mention of the objective order of morality is seen as the private expression of religious opinion. Natural theology and the natural law morality are excluded from our public schools.

This is not how our nation was supposed to be. We will not survive as a nation unless we are free to publicly profess, and free to teach in our public schools, that God is the author of our rights. Our rights come from God, not from government.

The word “religion” signifies both that which is known by reason and that which is accepted on faith. God’s existence belongs in the first category. The Christian doctrine of the Trinity belongs in the second. The immortality of the soul is evident to reason. The resurrection of the body is not. Reason decides what is evident to reason and what is not. Whatever religious truths are agreeable to reason belong within the public life of our nation. They constitute the founding truths of this republic and of any other republic worthy of the name.

The judiciary has accepted the arguments of those who deny that there is any rational knowledge within religion. The courts confuse the rational principles of our founding with the doctrines and rituals of our nation’s various private faith traditions. The courts no longer allow the people to affirm the objective system of moral aw that God has made evident to reason in nature. They deny the existence of natural theology and natural law morality.

Your your voice has fallen silent. Deists and Christians need to unite in a vigorous defense of the rational basis of theology and morality. Instead, you spend your time in the trivial effort to disprove supernatural faith. Thomas Jefferson did not accept the Christian faith, but he had the good political sense to keep this opinion private. He worked with Christians to defend those religious truths that are agreeable to reason. He understood the centrality of these truths to the public life of a free people.

The history of the democratic republic is united to the philosophy of natural religion. First among the great political truths of that tradition is that God—and not government—is the author of our rights. This first principle of our republic is known independently of Christianity or any other faith. This truth is essential to the preservation of our liberties, yet it is treated by our judiciary as if it were a supernatural belief. As a consequence, many now believe that government is the author of our rights; some hold that our rights come from the judiciary!

Without an objective moral order that can be known by reason, and so serve as a common point of unity among all rational minds, there is no means of resolving political disputes. All that is left is the use of power. If there is no standard of agreement that is available to all rational minds, then the exercise of politics is no longer controlled by any objective truth. The claim that all moral judgments and theological claim are subjective is the root of our country’s present decline. As Deists, you know that this is false.

Instead of attacking religious faith, you should unite with those who agree that reason plays a critical role in the discovery of religious truth. The first and primary purpose of natural religion is to preserve the first principles of the American Republic. Deists and Christians should unite in the common effort to restore rational religion to our public life. Without it, our nation will continue to fall into moral, social, and political chaos. We cannot renew our strength with the guidance of Providence.

The great work of Deism is the defense of the truths of natural religion, that body of religious truth that can be known by any rational creature who reflects thoughtfully on the beauty, order, and design of nature. Our country depends on the revival of this ancient tradition. The more we delay, the more our nation falls under the control of powers hostile to the right of self-government.