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PostBelief in the Devil (Massoud Malek, USA, 10/14/13 3:34 pm)
Deists believes that the universe had a creator who does not concern himself with the daily lives of humans, and does not directly communicate with humans, either by revelation or by sacred books. The men responsible for building the foundation of the United States were men of the Enlightenment, not men of Christianity. They were Deists who did not believe the Bible was true. They were Freethinkers who relied on their reason, not their faith. Some historians speculate that if Charles Darwin had lived a century earlier, the Founding Fathers would have had a basis for accepting naturalistic origins of life, and they would have been atheists. They base their argument on the fact that Thomas Jefferson did not believe in heaven and hell, the virgin birth, divine revelation, the Trinity, or other basic tenets of Christianity. Indeed his political rivals accused him of being a French infidel and atheist.
Before the Declaration of Independence, it was claimed that kings ruled nations by the authority of God. Although the Declaration of Independence mentioned "Nature's God" and the "Creator," the Constitution made no reference to a divine being or Christianity.
The Supreme Court has the final authority to interpret constitutional questions and federal law. But no decision by the Court may contradict the Constitution in order to please a certain group. For example, Jesus Christ has no right to impose his teaching on the way we love each other or we choose our living partners. In this land, a divine being may not guide a judge in his decision making.
On the eve of a new Supreme Court session on September 26, in an interview with the New York Magazine, the Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, a Catholic who believes that everyone on this planet goes either to heaven or hell, told the nation:
"Devil is not only a real person, but a smart person. In the Gospels, the Devil is doing all sorts of things. He's making pigs run off cliffs, he's possessing people. And that doesn't happen very much anymore. He's smart, he is getting people not to believe in him or in God. He's much more successful that way."
He was asked if the Devil is persuading people to not believe in God. Couldn't there be other reasons to not believe? He said:
"Well, there certainly can be other reasons. But it certainly favors the Devil's desires. I mean, c'mon, that's the explanation for why there's not demonic possession all over the place. That always puzzled me. What happened to the Devil, you know? He used to be all over the place. He used to be all over the New Testament. He got wilier. . . Most of mankind has believed in the Devil, for all of history. Many more intelligent people than you or me have believed in the Devil."
Dualistic theology is the idea that the world is divided into two parts, good and evil, and that humans are affected by a constant struggle between the two for domination. This theology is common to many religions, such as Zoroastrianism and Roman Catholicism. The creators of the Constitution specifically told us in the First Amendment that God has no right to get involved in our daily lives. Should Scalia, whose mind is saturated by tales like "Devil made pigs run off cliffs" or "Devil made people not to believe in him or in God," be allowed to shape our lives from his bench? Should anyone who forced us to believe in the inconceivable tale of "the transformation of a corporation into a person" be allowed to brainwash us with his strange tales again and again? Should we allow the Supreme Court to transform this republic into a kingdom of God? Finally, should we adopt Saudi Arabia's Constitution, by replacing the Sharia law with the law of the New Testament?
John Adams declared that if it could ever be demonstrated conclusively that no future state existed, his advice to every man, woman, and child was to "take opium." Could the Devil be opium? Because it takes you first to heaven and then sends you to the burning fire of hell.
JE comments: Justice Scalia reinvigorates Flip Wilson's classic "the Devil made me do it." As the most senior Associate Justice, Scalia has framed conservative judicial thought for a quarter-century. It's curious that we haven't discussed him much on WAIS.
Massoud Malek writes that he made it home safely from WAIS '13. It was great to see him and catch up. Thank you for making the trip from the West Coast, Massoud!
Deism, Belief in the Devil and Justice Scalia
(Robert Whealey, USA
10/16/13 2:13 PM)
Massoud Malek (14 October) has made a fairly accurate statement on the deist position. But he overstates the case in one sentence. The deists had doubts about the nature of God. Yes, no supernatural powers, but they did not toss out the whole Bible. The morality of Jesus and the apostle Paul can be interpreted with reason and in light of science.
Antonin Scalia is an old-fashioned Papist, and most Catholics have become more tolerant since Pope John XXIII. Scalia's views of God and the Devil are Obiter dicta, not established law.
JE comments: Obiter dicta are things a judge says in passing, but not part of an official opinion or decision.
One of my personal triumphs of WAIS '13 was the chance to meet WAIS icon Robert Whealey in person. It was also a pleasure to have the brilliant and outspoken Lois Whealey join us at the festivities. My only question is: why isn't Lois in WAIS as well?
Many thanks to Team Whealey for making the drive from Athens, Ohio. I look forward to the next time our paths cross.