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.
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:
… 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…
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.
Our time is almost at hand.