The difference is, we are all the same

From the rightfully honored pen of Thomas Paine, religious diversity is a natural and wonderful reality, and sounds like this (from Rights of Man, 1791):

“If we suppose a large family of children, who, on any particular day, or particular circumstance, made it a custom to present to their parent some token of their affection and gratitiude, each of them would make a different offering, and most probably in a different manner.  Some would pay their congratulations in themes of verse or prose, by some little devices, as their genius dictated, or according to what they thought would please; and, perhaps, the least of all, not able to do any of those things, would ramble into the garden, or the field, and gather what it thought the prettiest flower it could find, though, perhaps, it might be but a simple weed.  The parent would be more gratified by such variety, than if the whole of them had acted on a concerted plan, and each had made exactly the same offering.  This would have the cold appearance of contrivance, or the harsh one of control.  But of all unwelcome things, nothing could more afflict the parent than to know, that the whole of them had afterwards gotten together by the ears, boys and girls, fighting, scratching, reviling, and abusing each other about which was the best or the worst present.

Why may we not suppose, that the great Father of all is pleased with variety of devotion; and that the greatest offence we can act, is that by which we seek to torment and render each other miserable.  For my own part, I am fully satisfied that what I am doing now, with an endeavour to conciliate mankind, to render their condition happy, to unite nations that have hitherto been enemies, and to extirpate the horrid practice of war, and break the chains of slavery and oppression, is acceptable in his sight, and being the best service I can perform, I act it cheerfully.

I do not believe that any two men, on what are called doctrinal points, think alike who think at all.  It is only those who have not thought that appear to agree.”

Word.  Paine was–so far as I can presently tell–at least two centuries ahead of his time, if not three or four.  His objections remain untended; his solutions remain untried; his warnings remain unheeded.  Even in America, where the political winds sing his song, the politicians still refuse to dance to it.

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2 Responses

  1. The great irony: a collectivist approach breeds contempt, division, and social adversity, while individual liberty “brings us together” (to quote Dr. Paul). Hitler, Stalin, and Mao are typical examples of the worst that rises to the top via the collectivist mindset. They viewed certain religions and philosophies as groups; assigned sterotypes to them; and accordingly forced this group-think upon their populations, enforcing their genocidal collectivist policies via psychological aggression (media) and brute force. (They then died not a moment too soon and went to the hell of hells.) Good topic, Rider. Nice excerpt.

  2. Agreed, nice excerpt- but the politicians are dancing to their own beat just fine. It is the rest of us who are ready to change the channel and have a tea party to bring attention to collectivist policies under O.

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