Don’t Know Much About History…
Having engaged in numerous conversations with myriad Christians, I’ve come to the conclusion that the vast majority of them “don’t know much about history.” And so, with this post, I will set them straight on two major issues: the history of the
Let’s not waste any time. The definitive proof that the
But what about the Pledge of Allegiance, and its reference to God? What about our money, which reads, “In God We Trust”? Clearly, we must be a theistic nation, right? Perhaps we are now, but it was a recent change. Certainly, it doesn’t reflect the vision of the Founding Fathers.
The first version of the Pledge of Allegiance appeared in 1892 in Youth’s Companion, a children’s magazine. It read, “I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” Now, personally, I always hated saying the Pledge of Allegiance, even before I was an atheist. But, that version doesn’t bother me nearly as much as the current incarnation. The words “under God” didn’t appear until 1954, after a campaign by the Roman Catholic Knights of Columbus. In an effort to draw a clear distinction between the atheist
What about the whole money thing? “In God We Trust” has no relationship whatsoever with the Founding Fathers or their intentions. According to the Wikipedia, “The motto In God We Trust was placed on
This is really the same as the Pledge of Allegiance, only several decades earlier. It bears no relationship to the deistic character of our Founding Fathers. Rather, it only speaks to the religiosity of American citizens, both in the mid-1800s and mid-1900s. This country might have a religious history, but it certainly wasn’t founded upon Christianity. Indeed, the Founding Fathers went out of their way to say it wasn’t.
Now, let’s talk about the revisionist history that religion (specifically Christianity) has always been a force for good in the world. If you want a good overview of religion-inspired horrors, read this. That should convince any skeptics that religion is indeed a pernicious, frightening influence. But for those wanting more, I’ll be happy to oblige.
David Mills covers this topic extensively in his book. Here are a few salient passages:
“For 1500 years, the Christian Church systematically operated torture chambers throughout
“The Church angrily denounced the introduction of medicines, antibiotics, anesthesia, surgery, blood transfusions, birth control, transplants, in vitro fertilization and most forms of pain killers. Supposedly, these scientific tools interfered with nature and were therefore against God’s will.”
“But pre-renaissance man lived during a period when superstition overshadowed rational thought, and when those who proposed scientific explanations were often tortured to death by religious authorities. Galileo narrowly escaped a death sentence imposed by the Catholic Church for his telescopic observation that Jupiter's moons orbited Jupiter instead of Earth, birthplace of Jesus and presumed orbital hub of the universe.”
As I said, I think many of our Christian friends have bought into revisionist history. I’ll bet some of these facts seem downright foreign to them. And that’s unfortunate, because democracy depends upon its citizens being educated and engaged. Recently, on The Atheist Jew’s blog, I saw a picture of a woman holding up a sign that said, “I don’t accept fundamental tenets of science, AND I VOTE.” Chances are, she also rejects the fundamental tenets of history, especially those that don’t suit her theological preferences. And she votes.
Any wonder we have George W. Bush as our leader? With the way history has a tendency to be rewritten by these folks, I’m sure Bush is confident he’ll go down as a tremendous leader, rather than what he is—the worst president in at least 100 years.
But, then again, that doesn’t matter to him. He don’t know much about history.