Provoked With Their ‘No-God’

Bob Drury

The rhetoric of the American Revolution was mild compared to that of the French Revolution. In Great Britain the monarchy had long since been replaced by the republican form of government by those exercising political power enabled by the power of the new economy. The American colonies merely seceded from the union of Great Britain. The American Declaration stood for the local exercise of economic and human rights of which man was endowed by his creator. In contrast, the French revolutionaries were seizing political power directly from the old order, more than a century after the English Revolution. Their rhetoric was liberty, equality and fraternity, i.e. human rights without God.

Some two hundred years later in the American experience through secularization, the rhetoric has caught up with the revolutionary ideology in which liberty is not constrained by the scope of reason. The individual is at liberty to affirm no god and even to pray to a god of his own invention. On September 24, 2014, President Obama addressed the UN indicating God is irrelevant to human rights. The French revolutionaries of the 18th century had got it right. According to the President, pray to whatever god you please, but recognize that the source of human rights is the individual:

They remind me no matter . . . what God you pray to, . . . there is something fundamental that we all share. Eleanor Roosevelt, a champion of the UN and America’s role in it, once asked, ‘Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places,’ she said, ‘close to home – so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person; the neighborhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm or office where he works.’

In this speech the word God is capitalized, but from the context, it should not be, because it refers to the irrelevance of the gods. The word is used one other time, earlier in the speech:

No God condones this terror. No grievance justifies these actions. There can be no reasoning – no negotiation – with this brand of evil. The only language understood by killers like this is the language of force. So the United States of America will work with a broad coalition to dismantle this network of death.

If he had said, ‘God does not condone this terror,’ the President would have been acknowledging at least some common understanding of God, shared by most men including radical Muslims. It would also indicate that in the use of the word God he was referring to an existing being and discussing objective truth. But, the context is that no one’s gods should condone terror. Why? Because the gods are irrelevant to, surely not the source of, human liberty which right, to do whatever one wills, trumps all rationale. But, don’t be violent, be tolerant.

How different is the meaning of God in the statement, “Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul.” That declaration can be made only if we recognize the existence of God apart from the gods of our own creation. In addressing the question, ‘Does acting unreasonably always and intrinsically contradict the nature of God?’, in his address at the University of Regensburg, Benedict XVI went on to say:

Logos means both reason and word – a reason which is creative and capable of self-communication, precisely as reason. John thus spoke the final word on the biblical concept of God, and in this word all the often toilsome and tortuous threads of biblical faith find their culmination and synthesis. In the beginning was the logos, and the logos is God, says the Evangelist.

That there is no god, but only the gods of our creation to whom we pray is not the isolated view of the President or a faction within America. It is the common fabric of American life, in the economy and in politics and in the communications media, whether of news or entertainment. The Revolution has triumphed. Liberty over reason because there is no rationale in nature to which the human will must conform. There is no rationale in nature. There is no Logos. There is no God. There are only the gods we create to please us.

In Deuteronomy 32:21, it is said the people provoked God with their ‘no-god’. He threatens to provoke them with a ‘no-people’ or as we might say a ‘nobody-people’. Pray such does not apply to us in our time.

Because there is in nature no reason, which imposes any constraint on the will of man, he can do whatever he wishes. It is this false exaltation of the will over the intellect, first in God, then in man, which Benedict XVI identified as the dehellenization of western thought. However, he traced this back not to the 17th and 18th century revolutions, but the tendency in the early 14th century toward volunteerism, which emphasized the will of God at the expense of God identified as the Logos.

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10 thoughts on “Provoked With Their ‘No-God’”

  1. It is said that 7% to 10% of Muslims are fundamentalists. That doesn’t sound like much, but 10% of a billion is a 100 million. 100 million people can cause much damage.

  2. Here’s something my dad gave me that fits right in with this topic.

    Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.
    Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength
    of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.
    And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be
    at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy. Max Ehrmann, “Desiderata”.[1]

  3. If he had said, ‘God does not condone this terror,’ the President would have been acknowledging at least some common understanding of God, shared by most men including radical Muslims.

    First, let’s be charitable and grant that ‘The People of The Book’ (Jews, Christians, and Muslims) can be taken together as a block of people that share “at least some common understanding of God”. This would account for less than 55% of the world (though, technically ‘most men’). One possible reason the President may have chosen the phrasing he did is that, for example, when one looks at the terrorist group which has conducted the most suicide bombings, one discovers they are neither Jewish, Christian, or Muslim: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberation_Tigers_of_Tamil_Eelam

    Second, I think we should acknowledge that, in practice, there are plenty of Christians and Muslims that do not believe they are praying to the same God, regardless of whether they might acknowledge some shared religious history.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infidel

    It would also indicate that in the use of the word God he was referring to an existing being and discussing objective truth. But, the context is that no one’s gods should condone terror. Why? Because the gods are irrelevant to, surely not the source of, human liberty which right, to do whatever one wills, trumps all rationale. But, don’t be violent, be tolerant.

    I think here (and earlier in your piece) you are being disingenuous. That ‘gods are irrelevant’ is not the logical conclusion of the phrase ‘No God condones this terror’. Nor is it the conclusion of ‘no matter…what God you pray to’. Nor is it the conclusion of Mrs. Roosevelt’s speech.

    How different is the meaning of God in the statement, “Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul.”

    Well, for one thing it’s not something which will resonate with the entire world…which, of course, was his intended audience.

    That there is no god, but only the gods of our creation to whom we pray is not the isolated view of the President or a faction within America.

    Oh, good, we’re claiming to know the hearts of others now.

  4. If he had said, ‘God does not condone this terror,’ the President would have been acknowledging at least some common understanding of God, shared by most men including radical Muslims.

    Yes. He said it the right way. No god condones terror. You are correct. It should not be capitalized. What Muslims need to be told is not that their god is the true God but the terrorists are not doing his will. They need to be told that there are no gods and whatever god anyone worships, they should not elevate that god over the gods of other religions. That is the single most dangerous problem facing the world today: the idea that there is only one true God and all other gods are false and that everyone should worship Yaweh or Allah or some other specific god and follow one true religion. That will be the downfall of this world. And the problem will be the idea that we should all bow to and obey Allah.

  5. Bob Drury, While I agree with your initial assertion (that the American Revolution was less radical than the French Revolution), I wouldn’t call the US Rev. mild. If you read NT Wright’s (Anglican clergyman) “How God became King” book, it’s clear that our USA founders were quite radical/revolutionary in their philosophical thought (influenced by Enlightenment ideology, which was indeed radical). You want proof? Get a one Dollar bill out. As described by NT Wright (British), there will the official USA seal (the pyramid with the all seeing eye, probably Masonic symbol) with the official USA motto “Novus Ordo Seclorum” (Latin: new world order) along with the year 1776 in Roman numerals. The phrase (Novus Ordo Seclorum) had been a prophesy of a promised new era by the great Latin poet Virgil which early Christian writers (as far back as St. Augustine’s times) had applied to being a pre-Christian, pagan prophecy of Christ’s (the Messiah’s) coming. These early Christian’s applied Virgil’s prophecy (which was actually meant for a Roman Emperor) to Christ. Christ’s birth was so significant that His birth brought a New World Order, so significant that human history would be divided into B.C. (Before Christ) & A.D. (anno Domini). But apparently our American Founders (who were mostly Masonic radicals) thought the 1776 American Revolution (“the shot fired around the world”) to be even more significant in the course of human history than the Birth of our Saviour Christ. Most people use one dollar bills but never stop to look behind the meaning of the symbols & our history. Trust me, our American founders were very diverse & complex but they were (for the most part) also as Revolutionary (& anti-Catholic, in the broadest sense of the word) in their philosophies as the later French.

    1. If our USA Founders had it their way, they would divide Human History as BAR (Before American Revolution) & AA (Anno Americanus) or some similar format, instead of BC & AD. I admire our American history & founding as a Catholic US citizen to be sure, but as Catholics, we must also beware of not idolizing our country’s founding history (like many American Protestants seem to willing to do, who even insist of America being divinely ordained by God Himself to be the model of all nations- which we know is not true).

    2. I can see the ruin of this country in the events of the past couple of weeks. If a fire in a terminal can cripple our transportation, what can religious fanatics do to our whole economy? Violent extremists will cost so much money to control (they’ll never be wiped out) that the whole world economy is going to be affected. We can’t eliminate Islam altogether and that is what would be needed to save the world from its fundamentalist ambitions. They want the whole world to bow to their imaginary god.

    3. This by far the most informative comment I have ever read on this site. I didn’t know all this. Interesting.

  6. Pingback: Old-Fashioned Sins that Still Sends You to Hell - BigPulpit.com

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