11A143 Ron's Faith by Jim Davies, 11/7/2011    

At the bottom of Ron Paul's "Issues" list on his campaign web site comes this topic, and it's very humbly and courteously phrased. He does not wish to take any advantage of his religion, merely to state it so that those who wish to know, will know. All can respect that. He says “I have accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Savior, and I endeavor every day to follow Him in all I do and in every position I advocate.” I've been there myself, and understand what comes with it.

In the coming free society everyone will of course be wholly free to believe whatever he or she wishes. There will be no constraint, except the universal one that since everyone owns himself, nobody may try to control anyone's life but his own. Accordingly preaching and persuasion about a religious belief is fine, but coercion is certainly not. All that said, that free society will consist of people making agreements with each other and honoring them, and therefore at the start of any trade there will be a measure of mutual assessment; how far is this person trustworthy? Is he rational, can he do what he promises? - etc.

A person who makes a statement of faith like Ron Paul's will be evaluated accordingly. Such a religious belief will count in some ways much in his favor; he will be honest and consciencious. In other ways it will indicate an extraordinary degree of gullibility, and if that is an important factor in the contract being negotiated, it may be a dissuader. Similarly here; we are contemplating how far it will be a good thing for Ron Paul to become, for a time, the "leader of the free world."

Now, compared to some of his rivals, Ron Paul's faith is fine. I doubt whether any of the others are as deeply sincere about theirs as Ron is about his, for example; they may just parade the right phrases when it's time to call upon God to bless America. Then there's Mitt Romney, a self-confessed Mormon. Presumably, he comes with the following baggage, in the words of B R Merrick:

"Mormon belief begins with the fable that between 1820 and 1830 AD, the Angel Moroni told Joseph Smith there was only one God and that Smith was His messenger. Moroni didn't really need to stir from his heavenly repose, for that dude could have found out the first bit from at least two other local sources at the time, and the second bit might be thought suspiciously convenient for someone bidding to [gain influence.] Any conflict with those earlier alleged revelations was put down to textual corruption, while the new one--the Book of Mormon--was infallible to the letter, as freshly dictated by power given from on high (was that the origin of shorthand? It does look a bit like Egyptian script)... The verbal infallibility however is quite handy, since all discrepancies between it and the Old and New Testaments can be disposed of quickly: Those others are wrong, period."

I understand that Mr Smith received his revelations on tablets of pure gold, which however were most unfortunately whisked away to regions unknown before anyone else could clap eyes upon them. Just fancy that!

I do not feel comfortable with the idea of a man seriously believing such ridiculous myths having his finger on the nuclear button.

However, unfortunately the orthodox, New Testament Christianity embraced by Ron Paul also comes with a load of amazing baggage. Here's some of what Dr Paul seriously believes, and all of it can be found in the Nicene Creed:

  • The universe has a personal creator, and a "beginning"; this, on the infallible authority of that creator as recorded by an unknown writer over 3,000 years ago who did not even have a telescope. The circularity of that assertion is perfect, and hurls rational inquiry clean out of the window.
  • That creator is omniscient, omnibenevolent and omnipotent. He therefore created evil - in the animal world as well as the human one. Such attempts to define or describe Him run directly into the stone wall of such insoluble, fatal contradictions. Yet Ron Paul swallows the lot.
  • That creator took human form for a while, and was crucified yet resurrected, so furnishing the crowning proof that what he taught was true. The proof has, however, a gaping hole.
  • That manifestation of the creator (Jesus, Son of God) will one day return, and gather believers up to heaven in what's called the "Rapture." Everyone else will be left entirely in the lurch. At around the same time (the forecasts are a tad confusing) there will be a massive war to end all wars at a Mid-East location called "Armageddon."
  • Meanwhile, believers can commune with Him in prayer and worship, and receive His guidance for their lives.

Such amazing beliefs are very comforting; for example they prompt some believers to sport the b-sticker "God is my Co-Pilot." Somehow they don't bring me as much comfort as they apparently bring the driver - I try to give them a wide berth. Same with aircraft; when I board a plane I like to think that the pilots are sober and rational and experienced, able to deal with any emergency without recourse to hocus pocus. I also assume they highly value their own lives.

The converse is well enough known. For example there is Egyptair Flight 990, on October 31st 1999. First Officer Gameel al-Batouty repeatedly said (and was recorded by the CVR) "I rely on God" while cutting the engines, skewing the elevators and diving into the Atlantic despite the Captain's best efforts to prevent him. All on board were killed. Evidently, al-Batouty had a profoundly sincere belief that the Creator of the Universe had told him to do all this; and it's the same God as is trusted (though by a different access path) by Ron Paul.

Less than two years later nineteen other sincere followers of the same God, equally convinced they were hearing His voice, crashed aircraft into the WTC, the Pentagon, and a Pennsylvania field. Say what you will about their savage, murderous intent; but their religious sincerity was beyond question. They sacrificed their own lives, and that's the ultimate test.

Ultimately a sincere Christian believer will do what he believes God is telling him to do, rather than following anyone else's advice. That is the case whether he is or is not mistaken about the message, and whether God really exists or is a figment of anthropomorphic imagination - that is, a myth. Ron Paul is such a believer, and in the White House will have enormous power. I leave to your judgment whether that combination of circumstances is, or is not, desirable.

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