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Deism

In: English and Literature

Submitted By kmoore53
Words 3903
Pages 16
Kristine Moore
Dr. Mills
American Literature I
26 April 2015
The One that Launched A Thousand Religions
“خالق واحد صحيح”
(For purposes of understanding I refer to the creators in each religion as a he. This research is not intended to argue the gender of a higher being.) Native Americans, Christians, Deists, Muslims, and many other cultures have similarities in the ways they view the dawn of man. Creation stories have dated back anywhere from thousands of years to millions, yet it cannot be decided which version tells the true beginning. Religions and tales of the supreme beings who created Earth and life, come down in manuscripts and drawings that depict each individual purpose of life. With the advancement of technology, war, and government, the reason for man’s existence has changed and therefor his purpose needs to be redefined. خالق واحد صحيح in Arabic means “the one true creator” who holds and gives all power and life. The God, Allah, or Sky-Holder’s power is taken away in order for man to make what he has created right and so begins the beginning of a thousand religions.
When man first thought about how to expand his power he did so while looking at his kingdom. From ancient Greeks, Egyptians, and even men like Christopher Columbus, power has stemmed from the ownership of land masses and the conquering of unexplored terrain. The world is in the state it is now because it shows who has gained the most power, yet man has neglected to protect the one thing that gave him that power, land. According to Ralph Waldo Emerson, man has a “fragmented view of the world” (Emerson 237). When man can see that the plants, animals, water sources, and every natural element in his world are meant to sustain life then and only then will he be able to understand where he came from. To truly be able to figure out meaning and the justification for the universe and everything in it, man must understand that the creator is not a personal one. The grand book with pages of names and occupations that will one day become the story of someone’s life, does not exist. Man was not made as a science experiment to an all-powerful Einstein figure in the sky and he certainly was not made to speak for such a being. So what are the justifications for preachers, the pope, or even the texts that hold the ins and outs of each religious sect? To completely understand the creation of man the reader must look at many beliefs from across the globe.
Just like the Christian book of Genesis the original six nations that are compounded and named Iroquois, have a view about the beginning of life and the universe itself. Every version of the creation of man, as told by these Native Americas, states that there was a world that was divided in half. The portion that man would inhabit was covered in water and the other was inhabited by a “Great Spirit” (Klinck and Talman 1). Just like any story from thousands of years ago, there are a few discrepancies, one being how the mother of good and evil got to the lower world. Some translations say when she laid “on a mattress…the very place began to sink towards the dark world” while others say she was “pushed out of the upper world or accidentally fell” (Baym 23). Either version leads to the birth of the rulers of the world of “eternal doom” and the one who creates goodness, man, and the objects to supply him with good life. What the story tells us is that before there was light, darkness, water, and air to breath, there was a greater being. This greater being had the ability to control all things including the will of man and his purpose, but what the Iroquois creation story does not explain is why.
In Deism, or the belief in a higher more powerful being, there is one true creator. This creator did not create man with the purpose of figuring out his worth, just as a mother does not conceive a child to know its worth. As the saying goes, man should not squander his time by focusing on the future. The future cannot be told from a crystal ball or mystical telepathy powers, and that is what most religions have seemed to overlook. By creating a story about the beginning of man, the Iroquois have tried to describe a moral tale of right and wrong, good and bad. Most Indians, like those explained in accounts from Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca and Bartoleme de las Casas, were led by passion for life. They gave their food to the weary, even when there was little, they gave sacrifice to the powers that be all because that is what was believed to be the will of the Gods or God.
There is definitely no right or wrong to how a person worships or recognizes the existence of a greater power, but the way the interpretation is received, can be right or wrong. The sins of man have come down in generations leaving the young to learn how to interact in the world. What one father believes about how a particular group of people are is generally recognized by his child as the right way of doing things. The same can be applied for religion. When stories of creation were passed down through generations of the Iroquois, there was no other way of knowing the accounts of the beginning other than by storytelling. Sitting around a campfire and telling tales of a maiden coming from the sky and landing on the back of a turtle to give birth to the good and bad of the world that they would create, might sound unreasonable if it did not symbolize an entire nation’s purpose for its actions. Where life once was a gift from a God there is now a drive for justification. Man worships how he believes others want to view him. If a chief is going to stand in front of his tribe and say they are going to war, to justify it he says that it is prophesized by the Gods to do so. What man does not know is that there is no plan. Deists state that there is no rational underlying meaning to life other than to live and there is certainly not a prewritten plan to each individual.
During the years surrounding 1620, thousands if not millions of Europeans were seeking religious freedom. The hope for most by traveling to new lands, was to get away from situations like those in 1533 when the Catholic Church was split to allow for Henry VIII to make his own rules. “When Henry VIII broke with Rome and created the Church of England” he did so because his wife, Catherine of Aragon, could not give him a son and wanted he a divorce (Lenihan 3). The Church of England was very similar to the teachings and translations of the Roman Catholic Church; however, the entire association was built on greed and power. Just as the Church of England had its dishonorable beginnings, the Christian faith has fallen into a permanent spiral of misconceptions and translations.
The Christian’s story of man’s creation is very simple: In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters…. Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over all creatures. God created man in his own image in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them (Genesis 1: 1-27, NIV).
In the Christian religion there seems to be a lot of oversight, starting with man’s image. The true creator that created man and everything is in a sense a “‘clockmaker’, who created the clock, wound it up, and let it go” (Packer 1). Just as there is no divine plan there was no image recreated. The creator is a spirit who created the shape of humans to fit the environment just as individual animals were made to fit their environment: lizards for hot temperatures, worms for the moist ground, and man for all aspects. Nature is a profound word that has been redefined by man to fit his pleasures. The beauty of a mountain is not supposed to be for an artist’s painting neither is a pond full of tadpoles and frogs meant for a young child to play in. Man’s form, his legs, eyes, feet, is meant to be able to obtain all the substances he needs in a world created for his survival. There is no purpose and there is no definable meaning to the creator’s creation.
Another aspect of Christianity that Deists believe disproves their stories is mysticism. For example, Jesus, the miracle working son of God, brought a man back from the dead, walked on water, and made food for thousands from only five loaves of bread. “Jesus rose from the dead early on the first day of the week (Mark 16:9, NLT). Thousands of followers walked with and celebrated the return of a person whom some believed to be a sorcerer or witch. Just like graphic novels that celebrate men with super strength, the Christian text celebrates a biblical superhero. Not only is the idea of a person with unlimited abilities believed in but so are the remaining stories surrounding the time: Mose and the voice of God coming from a burning bush, Moses parting the Red Sea, the ten plagues of Egypt, and Balaam and his talking donkey are just some examples. While traveling on his donkey, Balaam has to whip the animal more than once to try and get it to move after seeing an angel in the road; “then the Lord opened the donkey’s mouth, and she said to Balaam, ‘What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times’” (Numbers 22:28 NIV). Animals talking, even in that time, would have been considered unnatural and would have been dealt with accordingly. So, why do Christians consistently believe in the mystical powers from stories of thousands of years ago?
Faith in the Christian sect is a “strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof” (Stevenson and Waite 512). There is a King James Version of the bible, a New International Version, and forty-eight more English translations alone of the Christian doctrine. Each one is supposedly easier to understand and interpret than the one before but when taught or read thoroughly they speak worlds apart. Just by visiting West Side Baptist Church a person could receive a completely different sermon and or message than someone at a First Baptist Church. This difference is due to the history of the founders of the different churches. Just like King Henry had personal reasons to want to divide a long standing belief system, so did Roger Williams, founder of the First Baptist Church. Serge King explains that “the most fundamental human need is to be accepted, and the most fundamental fear is to be rejected” (King 255). When we look deeper we see there is truth to King’s statement in terms of war. World War II and the Iraqi war were fought to defend the attackers’ rights to believe they had religious superiority. The Christian Bible has changed so many times making it easier to explain why history repeats itself. Any generation that came after the supposed time of Jesus would not and could not know for absolute fact that there was a purpose to believe in miracles and faith because of mysticism. In today’s society the same reason stands to disprove the truthfulness of man’s creation as detailed in the Bible. Different leaders have made gaining power based on religious superiority, or how many people believe in the “right” ideas, and by changing the foundation there is no way to know for sure that there is any such thing as a biblical time period. When there are so many grey areas of a supposed truth then the number of people following the “right” ideas cannot be used as reliable testifiers of faith. There can only be one true belief and that is that there is a creator. There is no specified label, no specified plan, and no specified claim to speak for such a being when the wants of man constantly change.
While man’s drive to create the truth is unclear, so is the Islamic creation story. Islam theories about the origin of the words found in the Qur’an came from the prophet Muhamad. He received them from the angel Gabriel and he from Allah, the Islamic God. Each of the one hundred and fourteen chapters is said to be directly from Allah himself and “it is a guidance for the righteous” (Qur’an 2:3). In many parts of chapter two readers are introduced to a partially involved God who has placed a veil over the eyes of all non-believers from before and after the written translation of his prophecy. Allah blinds this group of people and leaves them in dark but does not sanction their action: “Allah will punish their mockery and will let them continue in their transgression, wandering blindly. These are they who have taken error in exchange for guidance; but their traffic has brought them no gain, nor are they rightly guided” (Chapter 2: 16-17). Man is left to live in the world with the followers of Allah but do not get the grace of his enlightenment. Where the issue with this idea lies is in chapter one verse one, “In the name of Allah, the Gracious, the merciful” (Qur’an 1:1). If a merciful God creates man, warns him of sin, and gives him the ability to know and name all the beasts and plants then, like a teacher, he would make sure that all had the ability to receive his grace. A true merciful creator would not be enduring for most; he would be enduring for all and as long as they believe. This version of a forgiving God, a merciful God, and a loving God is what all cultures define as perfection yet the only perfect thing in nature is described by Desists as man. Two eyes, two thumbs, and the power of will combine together to make man the most superior being on Earth. Superior to all animals and the dangers of the world. However, the creator did not make a perfect world. Man still faces obstacles with emotion and with danger and although he has the ability to overcome all of it, there is still the challenge. The creator shows his devotion to his creation with the body of man, but he has no reason or purpose to make and guide his path.
Other aspects of the Islamic creation story that do not work well to fit the Deistic approach is the way that the creators are recognized. Each religion, including Christianity and the ideas in the Iroquois belief system, have ideas that best relate to how their creator should be recognized. To be a Christian it is said you must pray and go to church regularly. To truly respect the “Great Spirit,” Iroquois Indians would thank him for anything from the animals they would kill for food to the good weather to hunt them. Islam gives extensive praise to Allah through prayer, respective greetings to neighbors, and giving thanks for gifts from the Earth such as sustenance’s. These differences in the way man worships the creator adds to the unclear path that religious sects make for believers. Deists believe that “the purest form of worship in the chief religious obligation to lead a moral life (Hindonson and Caner 168). The story of Adam and Eve shows this idea above all other tales. Christians and Muslims have the same original man and woman, Adam and Eve. The Qur’an states that Allah created a soul and placed it inside the clay form of Adam and with that soul came its partner soul, or mate, who was Eve. When the two were placed in what Christians would call the Garden of Eden, in the Qur’an they were told not to “approach” the forbidden tree. The garden is considered to be a space between Earth and where Allah and his angels inhabit. Not only did they approach the tree, but both Adam and Eve ate the fruit of the tree and were cast out of the garden which subjected the rest of humanity to live on Earth. The moment the tree was even thought about, according to Islam creation stories, was the moment man began to fall. Allah and the true creator are separated in this respect because of the tolerance of man’s actions. If Adam and Eve had listened to everything that Allah told Gabriel that would make a true follower of Islam, then we would not have sin. However, man only has a perfect body in the sense of living in a dangerous world, the creator did not make him with a perfect sense of right and wrong.
Man speaks ninety percent of time with body language. People make faces, bite thumbs, and grimace at the sight of someone who does not fit what society would call normal or beautiful. When a child walks into a circle of adults who are discussing their beliefs most of the time they will be pushed away for not being able to comprehend the nature of religion. In Arabic, the language used in the Qur’an, this is called kibir; in English this means arrogance. How are children expected to learn what they do not know if no one is willing to teach? As time passes it is becoming more and more acceptable to offend others and by not teaching we offend in the biggest way. Most people living in the southern portion of the United States would say that they live in the Bible belt. A place that is known for many Christian churches and people. When surrounded with so many possible teachers it may seem like it would be ok to assume that everyone learns at a young age about right and wrong, good and bad, yet it is not that way. When children start to branch out in their beliefs they become chastised for their decisions if it is not the right decision in the eyes of their parents. This happens not only in the southern United States but everywhere that there is discrimination for being different. We become so use to the “norm” that society defines for us that we fall short when recognizing the truth. Some say you are only a true believer in any God if you go to church on Sunday or pray before every meal, Deists would say these people are wrong. If you take away the “norm” that has been created by the texts written many years ago for different religions then you take off the veil created by Allah and mysticism of the Iroquois and Christian creation stories. The moment a person starts to explore the prayer involved in a different area they are immediately condemned for loving a false God. To make a moral decision man must be open to the views of all but also understand where they came from.
War is like the will to survive for man. He can rationalize reasons to make the purpose seem worthy but he cannot give reason for murder. In the same sense, there is no way to guarantee that what man has today, in scripture and historical texts, is truth. If prayer, faith, and praise is how trillions of people have measured the existence of a creator who is directly involved in his life then they need only look around them to determine their false pretenses. Emerson states that nature is the proof of an uninvolved God:
The rays that come from those heavenly worlds, will separate between him and vulgar things. One might think the atmosphere was made transparent with this design, to give man … the perpetual presence of the sublime…. If the stars should appear one night in a thousand years, how would men believe and adore… the remembrance of the city of God which had been shown! But every night come out these preachers of beauty, and light the universe with their admonishing smile (Emerson 215).
Almost all aspects of nature has been found as a beautiful complex subject to study but is not meant to be. The creator intended for the fruit to be fruit, not a painting. He intended for the mountains to supply man with a different animal to hunt not to gaze upon for sunsets. Emerson goes on to say “almost all individual forms are agreeable to the eye, as is proved by our endless imitations of some of them” (Emerson 219). Man identifies the beauty in nature as perfection while not knowing that he is the perfect creation. He misinterprets appreciation for all things that are given to him for faith in a being he cannot comprehend. When religion is put under a microscope there is almost too many years to fight the generations of believers. If one wants to understand his purpose he must realize why there is not one. Man was given all he needed to survive in the world by one true greater being. Whether there be other versions, by written manuscripts or verbal descent, of the creation of man it does not matter. Stories are simply the act of trying to make truth or purpose and in a world with an uninvolved creator, man does not have a guided purpose.

Works Cited
Braym, Nina. The Norton Anthology of American Literature. 8th ed. Vol. A. Ed. Pg. 23. 2012. Print. 20 April 2015.
Emerson, Ralph Waldo. Nature. The Norton Anthology of American Literature, Nina Baym, et. al. 8th ed. Vol. B. New York: W. W. Norton, 2012. 214-243. Print. 20 April. 2015.
Hindson, Ed and Caner, Egun. “The Popular Encyclopedia of Aplogetics: Surveying the- Evidence for the Truth of Christianity.” Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 2008. eBook. 20 April 2015.
King, Serge Kahili. “Happy Me, Happy You: The Huna Way to Healthy Relationships.” 2014. eBook. 20 April 2015.
Klinck, Carl F. and Talman, James J. “Iroqouis Creation Myth, 1816.” The Journal of Major John Norton (1970): 88–91. MLA International Bibliography. Web. 20 April 2015.
Lenihan, Thomas. “‘The English Church shall be free’: Roots of the Reformation from William I to Henry VIII” Master’s Thesis (2011): 1-128. MLA International Bibliography. Web. 20 April 2015.
Packer, J.I. “What is Deism? What do Deists Believe?” Got Questions Ministries. Web. 20 April 2015.
Stevenson, Angus and Waite, Maurice. Concise Oxford English Dictionary. Ed. 12th. 2011. Print. 20 April 2015.
The Iroquois Creation Story. The Norton Anthology of American Literature, Bayms, Nina, et. al. 8th ed. Vol. A. New York: W. W. Norton, 2012. 23-25. Print. 20 April 2015.
The Holy Bible. New International Version. China: The Zondervan Corporation, 2001. Print. 20 April 2015.
The Holy Qur’an. The Oriental and Religious Publishing Corporation Ltd. Rabwah, Pakistan. N.d. Print. 20 April 2015.

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