Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Theistic Rationalism

From an article By Dr. Gary S. Smith
December 06, 2006

"I conclude therefore that Washington’s faith is better explained by the label “theistic rationalism” than by deism, Unitarianism, or Christianity. This theoretical construct combines elements of natural religion, Christianity, and rationalism, with rationalism predominating. It holds that God is unitary and active in the world and asserts that revelation complements reason. Since he directs human affairs, prayer is effectual. Because deists deny God’s active involvement in the world, the value of prayer, and the Bible as God’s revelation, the concept of theistic rationalism better describes Washington’s views than does the term deist, Unitarian, or Christian.

Scholars and ordinary Americans will undoubtedly continue to debate the precise nature of Washington’s faith, and its eclectic character does not help resolve the debate over America’s Christian origins. Clearly, however, his faith became deeper as a result of his trying and sometimes traumatic experiences as commander-in-chief and as the nation’s first president, and it significantly affected his understanding of life and his duties in both roles."

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