An American Creed

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creed   [kreed]
–noun
1. any system, doctrine, or formula of religious belief, as of a denomination.
2. any system or codification of belief or of opinion.
3. an authoritative, formulated statement of the chief articles of Christian belief, as the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed, or the Athanasian Creed.
4. the creed. Apostles’ Creed.

TL Davis notes a Christian perspective on the American foundational documents and the coming struggles.

I differ, slightly and respectfully, from TL, in that I know that an avowed atheist can and does in fact understand those documents better than I.

I am permanently in the debt of Billy Beck, whose acerbic public musings on principles, America, freedom, and reality have blasted many of the scales from my eyes.

It was Billy Beck who taught me the lessons in this piece.

It was Billy Beck who taught me that “the essential political conflict of our time is between collectivism and individualism.”

It was Billy Beck who showed me how to work at some of the Big Questions in posts like this.

It was Billy Beck who labelled these times for me as “the Endarkenment”.

That man — that atheist — taught this erring, doubting, all-too-human baptized Christian what America really means.

It is for these reasons that I believe that if there is an American Creed, it must be the Declaration and not the poor, battered USC/BoR.

Its principles are universal, and while Christian folks are not in any way excluded by it, one need not believe in any particular sect or even a Deity to acknowledge that:

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… all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security…
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These are glorious times, and we are both cursed and blessed to have an opportunity to fight for a renewal of these ideals, both here and abroad.

Saddle up….

Our time is almost at hand.

28 responses to “An American Creed

  1. >Its principles are universal, and while Christian folks are not in any way excluded by it, one need not believe in any particular sect or even a Deity to acknowledge thatBut one must believe in something greater than the self; a transcendent truth. If nothing is higher than Man, then your truth is just as valid as mine, though the two directly contradict. The result is that all things are relative and truth ceases to exist. We've seen what happens when man ceases to worship God and begins worshiping himself. Even if we accept that atheists can understand the founding documents, Davis's point has not been answered. If men are not endowed by their Creator because no Creator exists, then what exactly is he endowed by?Washington stressed that the virtue of the people was vital for the maintenance of liberty. The fact that Billy Beck is both virtuous and an atheist does not speak to the virtue of atheism. Atheism (like anarchism) is defined by what it lacks rather than what it contains; the good and decent man and the murderer are both true atheists so long as they deny the existence of God. Since atheism cannot be a virtue, virtuous atheists are that way in spite of their atheism, and not because of it. Christianity is one of the foundation stones of Western civilization. One cannot be for the survival of the West unless one is at least nominally pro-Christian. I would not want to live in a purely secular country.

  2. >CA – I agree with you that the Declaration is a creed; the Constitution cannot, by virtue of its construction be a creed.Rather, the Constitution is our national iteration of "Robert's Rules" in relation to proper behavior of government and should be treated as such: invoilable except by proper procedure.My .02

  3. >CA -Here's a post I wrote in 2004, titled Hanging Out with the Wrong Crowd? or The Same as Me, which touches on this subject, not Billy Beck specifically, though his writings did influence me in the way you allude to in your post, and also influenced the post linked.

  4. >Never thought Beck was anything but honest, and for the most part, right. One thing you'll never be able to accuse him of though, is being a diplomat. If the Const/BOR is so awful, amend as neccessary. Which has been done, rightly and wrongly. 620,000 dead Americans paid for the slavery mistake. Three times that many were wounded. But you will not get perfection, nor willing cooperation by condemning it outright. It made us freer than any other country, as well as unbelievably prosperous.Flawed,yes, and in need of help. What's the answer? Anyone got a new constitution? Good luck drawing a crowd to discuss that, after you spend all you political capital talking down to them. I'm all for the freedom gig, but me and a whole of others aren't going to show up for it, just to be told we're a bunch of morons. The leftards already got a lock on that.

  5. >Good post, but may I suggest that you should include the opening words "We hold these truths to be self evident…."This clause embodies (IMHO) two important concepts in 7 (okay, maybe 8)words (that TJ could sure write): First, that there are "truths"–not relativistic concepts, but absolute truths; and second, that people can understand them–they are "self evident"–which is the basis for letting individuals make decisions, not having decisions made by kings or priests or "czars". Just a couple of thoughts to add to your well written post.

  6. >Nice words as always but unless we can do the basics-like come to the aid of fellow patriots-it won't matter.http://freedomguide.blogspot.com/2010/11/116-j4p-update-theyre-going-to-make-him.html11/6 J4P UPDATE: THEY'RE GOING TO MAKE HIM PLEAD TO CHI MO CHARGES BY HOLDING BABY GIRL HOSTAGE!The Dyer situation is getting to the stage of no hope. The beast has taken Dyer's Girlfriend's child hostage in an attempt to coerce a guilty plea out of July4Patriot. Anyone "found" guilty of child molestation… even after being railroaded, complying with a corrupt evil judge and then having that judge take your kid away… even after subjecting that poor kid to being abused and raped in the CPS system… even after all that, out on the net-a child molestation conviction is a child molestation conviction. It is the mark of Cain in America and Sgt. Dyer will be done for. Everything he spoke up for, our cause, will be discredited and drug through the media mud. They will make an example out of him and tar baby us all-Patriots, Militia, Three Percenters, NRA Gun Owners, Tea Party(yes you too).The Oath Keepers will be done for as well-letting the man whose YouTube videos sparked that movement go to prison without so much as a dollar's support. That's to be expected from the Rhodes Org. I suppose. And if you've been paying attention they will send Sgt. Dyer to the same prison where he testified against several of his co-workers for their abuses. Hell they tried starving him when they had him incarcerated on those bogus weapons charges!If there isn't more support-evidence,testimonials, protests, or something a bit more (legally) substantial, July4Patriot-Sgt. Charles Dyer-is done for.You can at least put in to the damn chip-in…JULY4PATRIOT RECAP: http://freedomguide.blogspot.com/2010/10/july4patriot-recap.html

  7. >Nice words but unless we start doing the basics-like watch out for our own-it won't matter…11/6 J4P UPDATE: THEY'RE GOING TO MAKE HIM PLEAD TO CHI MO CHARGES BY HOLDING BABY GIRL HOSTAGE!The Dyer situation is getting to the stage of no hope. The beast has taken Dyer's Girlfriend's child hostage in an attempt to coerce a guilty plea out of July4Patriot. Anyone "found" guilty of child molestation… even after being railroaded, complying with a corrupt evil judge and then having that judge take your kid away… even after subjecting that poor kid to being abused and raped in the CPS system… even after all that, out on the net-a child molestation conviction is a child molestation conviction. It is the mark of Cain in America and Sgt. Dyer will be done for. Everything he spoke up for, our cause, will be discredited and drug through the media mud. They will make an example out of him and tar baby us all-Patriots, Militia, Three Percenters, NRA Gun Owners, Tea Party(yes you too).The Oath Keepers will be done for as well-letting the man whose YouTube videos sparked that movement go to prison without so much as a dollar's support. That's to be expected from the Rhodes Org. I suppose. And if you've been paying attention they will send Sgt. Dyer to the same prison where he testified against several of his co-workers for their abuses. Hell they tried starving him when they had him incarcerated on those bogus weapons charges!If there isn't more support-evidence,testimonials, protests, or something a bit more (legally) substantial, July4Patriot-Sgt. Charles Dyer-is done for.You can at least put in to the damn chip-in…JULY4PATRIOT RECAP: http://freedomguide.blogspot.com/2010/10/july4patriot-recap.htmlhttp://freedomguide.blogspot.com

  8. >11/6 J4P UPDATE: THEY'RE GOING TO MAKE HIM PLEAD TO CHI MO CHARGES BY HOLDING BABY GIRL HOSTAGE!The Dyer situation is getting to the stage of no hope. The beast has taken Dyer's Girlfriend's child hostage in an attempt to coerce a guilty plea out of July4Patriot. Anyone "found" guilty of child molestation… even after being railroaded, complying with a corrupt evil judge and then having that judge take your kid away… even after subjecting that poor kid to being abused and raped in the CPS system… even after all that, out on the net-a child molestation conviction is a child molestation conviction. It is the mark of Cain in America and Sgt. Dyer will be done for. Everything he spoke up for, our cause, will be discredited and drug through the media mud. They will make an example out of him and tar baby us all-Patriots, Militia, Three Percenters, NRA Gun Owners, Tea Party(yes you too).The Oath Keepers will be done for as well-letting the man whose YouTube videos sparked that movement go to prison without so much as a dollar's support. That's to be expected from the Rhodes Org. I suppose. And if you've been paying attention they will send Sgt. Dyer to the same prison where he testified against several of his co-workers for their abuses. Hell they tried starving him when they had him incarcerated on those bogus weapons charges!If there isn't more support-evidence,testimonials, protests, or something a bit more (legally) substantial, July4Patriot-Sgt. Charles Dyer-is done for.You can at least put in to the damn chip-in…JULY4PATRIOT RECAP: http://freedomguide.blogspot.com/2010/10/july4patriot-recap.html

  9. >Ah yes… very well said. Lets be careful not to place Billy Beck on that high place for it would also serve as a target.He is in our place "the patriot"and do look fwd. to his keen insight…lets not blow that. Carry on Sir.

  10. >One can hardly believe it. And to think most people find history boring!

  11. >The portion of the Declaration of Independence you quote is as as near to an honorable civic religion as has been formulated in the entirety of human history. Nothing else is remotely comparable. It is no accident that people have bled and died to preserve that creed.

  12. >A couple of comments:1) Does not a human have certain inalienable by virtue of existence?2) It's not about Billy Beck. It's about the ideas and the clarity.

  13. >Beck makes many fine points. I just thank Jesus Christ that The Cause was not full of Billy Becks.http://newswithviews.com/Anghis/roger118.htm16 parts (so far).

  14. >Witchwood:Substitute the words "by Natural Law" and it works quite nicely. I think you'd be very surprised to know how many "un-believers" are in fact Patriots. And if the Darkness comes as we all are afraid it will, you'd better stop dismissing them out-of-hand 'cause we're gonna need all hands on deck.Most humans have shown that they aren't capable of leading a moral decent life without the threat of eternal punishment. If you think about it, it’s the ultimate in personal responsibility. No eternal reward for living a decent moral life…the punishments for not doing so are usually immediate.There are different types of Atheists, just as there are different types of Christians, even if most on both sides have a very narrow interpretation and usually don't allow for any variation. RichardIII

  15. >I think it was Churchill who said "If a man is not a liberal at 20, he has no heart. If he is not a conservative at 40, he has no brain." A person may be many things in the course of a lifetime. Christian because his parents were; agnostic, when he is shocked by the roughness of the world; atheist, due to tragic and unexplainable personal loss; pagan, to try to understand and synchronize with mysterious natural forces; Buddhist, in an attempt to adjust to the temporary nature of all things and let go of trying to control the uncontrollable; possibly back to a kind of first-century Christianity in accord with the teachings of the man Yeshua ben Joseph of Nazareth, literal Son of God or not. As for me, better a moral, spiritual — one can be spiritual and not be religious — and justice-seeking atheist than someone who uses religion as a shield and a hammer against others. Consider the alternative: http://www.christianpost.com/article/20101106/muslim-group-sues-okla-over-sharia-ban/ "CAIR, the largest Muslim civil rights organization." Talk about an oxymoron.

  16. >"If nothing is higher than Man, then your truth is just as valid as mine, though the two directly contradict. The result is that all things are relative and truth ceases to exist."Truth is whatever words describe and predict the behavior of the physical universe around us most accurately. Truth can be increased by observing the universe more closely. The physical universe preexisted homo sapiens sapiens as a species. That doesn't mean the universe is "greater" than man, or "transcendent", or "greater than man's self". It simply means the universe is older. Man does not know the answers to any of the "who made the universe" type questions.Rights are not endowed upon man by a creator. Rights are simply human-invented legal principles that describe behavior patterns crucial enough to your family's survival to fight and die for. Rights must be compatible with the instinctual firmware evolution has placed into homo sapiens. Rights that work for men would not work for ants, and visa-versa. On the whole, liberty is the best terms humans could negotiate with each other, if every human had full understanding of the implications."Washington stressed that the virtue of the people was vital for the maintenance of liberty. The fact that Billy Beck is both virtuous and an atheist does not speak to the virtue of atheism."This whole pack of arguments is circular. You assume there is a good God, thus anyone who is good must have their good come from God, thus since some people are good God must exist."We hold these truths to be self evident""We" who? What list of names defines this word "we"? You do collectivism from the very first word; after that, liberty is toast and the rest of the document is superfluous."1) Does not a human have certain inalienable [rights] by virtue of existence?"No. It might be useful for liberty-lovers to kill anyone who doesn't behave in a rights-respecting way, but that's totally different than saying rights are a consequence of having a soul, which doesn't exist either. There is no magic about rights. If you want liberty, improve your self-defense tools until all six billion humans have stalemated all of then others in mutually assured destruction. Then you will have peace.

  17. >As an unbeliver that often hangs out with Patriots I've already resolved to hold back a case or two of ammo — JIC you turn do on me.

  18. >I think you'd be very surprised to know how many "un-believers" are in fact Patriots.Not at all. But how many of these non-believing patriots have worked out the notion of inalienable rights to its logical conclusion is another matter. And if the Darkness comes as we all are afraid it will, you'd better stop dismissing them out-of-hand 'cause we're gonna need all hands on deck.I'd advise you to read my post more carefully. Nowhere did I dismiss anyone out of hand. In fact, I said that Billy Beck, an avowed atheist, was virtuous. If you think about it, it’s the ultimate in personal responsibility. No eternal reward for living a decent moral life…the punishments for not doing so are usually immediate.So you wrongly accuse me of dismissing atheists, and in the next sentence tell me that atheists are superior. There are different types of Atheists, just as there are different types of Christians, even if most on both sides have a very narrow interpretation and usually don't allow for any variation.Apples and oranges. Atheism is not a belief system, as I explained. All that is required of an atheist is that he not believe in a deity. Christians are required to believe in Jesus Christ."We" who? What list of names defines this word "we"? You do collectivism from the very first word; after that, liberty is toast and the rest of the document is superfluous.Collectivism rears it's ugly head again, this time in the DoI of all places. Hoo boy, I think you libertarians are in trouble.

  19. >Folks: May I humbly propose a sequence for the upcoming Big Events?A) War Against The TyrantsB) War Against The CreditorsC) War Against IslamD) War Amongst Ourselves Over Religious IssuesThing is — it's a single elimination tournament. You have to both survive and win events A, B, & C before commencing War D.I am reminded of Einstein, who once noted:“I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.”Same goes for War D.

  20. >"Apples and oranges. Atheism is not a belief system, as I explained. All that is required of an atheist is that he not believe in a deity. Christians are required to believe in Jesus Christ."Actually, Atheism would also have to be classified as a religion, in that you have people who believe there is no God. This is also "faith", but in a negative connotation, because they cannot know that God does not exist. I am a Christian, I am also an archaeologist. Nothing that I have learned in my studies or research , when properly evaluated, has been contradicted my Faith. I have also known atheist, and most of these have been far more dogmatic and unyielding in their beliefs than any Christian I have met.

  21. >Are there honest atheists? Yes.If you want to get deeper into the subject, I recommend:http://voxday.blogspot.com/search?q=atheismhttp://voxday.blogspot.com/search?q=Dawkins(Links may have some redundancy).

  22. >Guys this is no more productive than debating the 5.56 vs the 7.62 or AK vs AR. We can have these discussions once we are all old and sitting in the revolutionary vetrans home. Lets move on.Grenadier1

  23. >"Folks: May I humbly propose a sequence for the upcoming Big Events?"There is only one fight, liberty vs. authoritarians, and it plays out on all those fronts at once. It doesn't matter much if the authoritarians call themselves the King or the Church, or if there is both King and Church and they wrestle for control of the peasantry. Are Islam and Conservative Christianity religions or political movements? I don't see how the answer should change my response. The Spanish Inquisition and the US armed forces at Abu Ghraib killed dissenters the same ways."Actually, Atheism would also have to be classified as a religion, in that you have people who believe there is no God. This is also "faith", but in a negative connotation, because they cannot know that God does not exist."I also believe that flying unicorns who poop skittles don't exist. Is this also a faith?"Collectivism rears it's ugly head again, this time in the DoI of all places. Hoo boy, I think you libertarians are in trouble."The Christian Gary North has a nice piece about this: http://www.lewrockwell.com/north/north445.html

  24. >Witchwood:Before you pontificate further, I suggest you go read TL Davis' blog post and the comments on this subject in it's entirety.

  25. >""Actually, Atheism would also have to be classified as a religion, in that you have people who believe there is no God. This is also "faith", but in a negative connotation, because they cannot know that God does not exist."I also believe that flying unicorns who poop skittles don't exist. Is this also a faith?"No, that is merely a poor analogy

  26. >"Apples and oranges. Atheism is not a belief system, as I explained. All that is required of an atheist is that he not believe in a deity."To not believe is not a passive stance, it is active in that you have to believe in your non-belief. You are taking an active stance because you are trying to promote your view as the only correct opinion to be had. You have, in effect, become a missionary. To sum up.You believe there is no God, that is, of itself, a theological view. You know that your view is the one, true faith. Therefore you have your dogma.I assume you believe in evolution. This would be your cosmological myth of creation, your “genesis”.A view on God, a statement of belief and a creation story, sounds like a religion to me.

  27. >I only saw this post last night, and really haven't known what to say to it….except for one thing that I know: all glory is fleeting.This is, to me, the most salient remark in this discussion: "It's not about Billy Beck. It's about the ideas and the clarity."A long, long time — a lifetime — ago, I understood that I was in a fight for individual minds. I swore that I would count the effort worthwhile if I could just reach one of them with the truth. I think I've done a bit better than that, but not without help. I've always known that I could lead a person to concepts, but I could not make him think. That much is out of my hands.I appreciate your assistance on your end of the deal.Onward, men.

  28. I believe no man or group of men has the right to initiate violence against me. I have the right to self defense. I see arguing about religion or non-religion is for people that like to argue and is a futile exercise. This I believe.