Willimon on Religious Pluralism as a Means to the New State

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The modern world has convinced itself that differences in religion are terribly dangerous, the source of great conflict and peril. This is one of the mechanisms whereby the modern state deflects attention from itself as the main source of death and mayhem. The modern world has a tendency toward enforced unity and suppression of difference because the state tolerates no serious competitors to its sovereignty (96)

There is a reason that many of our Founders, like Jefferson, Franklin, and Washington, were Deists—only a vague, undemanding God could be allowed to be free in a democratic nation where the people were alleged to be God. (104)

Some latent thoughts on this… especially given what we have seen:

If all religions are all equal, and by this, I do not mean equally protected under the law, but sociologically see as such, and they don’t really mean anything, then loyalty to them is pointless. Thus, give loyalty to the State and not only that, the State assumes something of a religious nature, and as the great Jim Linville once pointed out to me… You don’t want State having religious dogma

It was a part of their deism, and something that they had to believe in. I think you could also make a point as to why they were so inclusive. A lot of religious minorities, protected by law, leads to pluralism, and again, the New State. In several ways, if you think about it…

It is no longer God to whom they look too for help, but the State and in the modern democratic State, we are all gods

Joel L. Watts
Joel L. Watts holds a Masters of Arts from United Theological Seminary with a focus in literary and rhetorical criticism of the New Testament. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

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