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The Good Theist
by Ed LeBlanc
Being a theist or even being religious is falling on hard times in recent years. Some in the higher circles of culture, academia and the media often cast suspicion on those who claim an importance of God in their lives and, especially dangerous, the claim of importance of God to society as a whole. This suspicion was heightened after the Sept 11th attacks by Islamic extremists and their follow-up activities, all done as a consequence of their belief in God. Attacks done in the name of a monotheistic religion gave those in the secular world pause to reflect and, for some, an excuse to expose theism for what it really is: an archaic but also dangerous belief system that must be stopped from gaining importance in modern society.
To such secularists, theism poses a clear and present danger to rational civilization and the future existence of humanity itself. In their view, religion is safest when it is securely locked in the closet, peering its ugly head only during Christmas or perhaps during times of tragedy. However, even in these circumstances, the elites are now beginning to nail religion even more firmly into the closet. At the memorial service for the victims of Swiss Air Flight 111 off of Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia and for the victims of September 11th at a memorial service on Parliament Hill, the Canadian prime minister at the time refused to allow leaders of the religious communities to speak or even offer a prayer, though they were invited to attend. To many secularist and atheists, theism is best served as a strictly private dish in a dark and obscure corner of society.
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But are theists really such bad people? Is their faith or belief in the existence of God a dangerous potion that turns rational Dr. Jekyals into monstrous Mr Hyde’s? By theism I am not referring to a simple belief in the existence of God but also a belief that God reveals Himself to humanity, is active in human history and can be communicated with. Thus I make a distinction between theism and deism.
To an atheist, deism is harmless enough: belief in a God that has nothing to do with humans and lets them live their lives without divine interference. Theism is another matter where God reveals things that can make some secularists shudder, such as telling people to fly airplanes into skyscrapers.
Is Theism Really That Bad?
In my previous essay, I argued that it is perfectly reasonable for atheists to be good people without having to believe in God. In this essay I wish to extend that same courtesy to theists who do believe in God…
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