Enlightened Spirituality & Skepticism
Jane: “Hello and Welcome to London’s most acclaimed night show- The Frisky Fox. My name is Jane O’Riley – and I am overjoyed to welcome you into the studio tonight. We will be discussing the new frames of thought being pushed within our ever-enlightened society. First, we will talk with our handsome and intelligent group of new thinkers – who like to call themselves scientists and philosophers… Voltaire and Mr. Isaac Newton. Welcome gentlemen.
Voltaire and Newton: “So good to be here with you Jane.”
Jane: “Oh no, you both are too kind. Next, I want to welcome our feebler minded Londoner – Tomas Bunyan, who will be speaking on behalf of our ever-rising Baptist population. Welcome Sir.
Thomas: Pleased to be here Ma’am
Jane: I would also like to welcome Elijah Fox and his lovely wife Mary to the studio. They will be representing London’s Society of Friends.
Elijah & Mary: “Good to be here.”
Jane: Last but certainly never least, our Puritan comrade- Jacob Bates is joining us.
Bates: “May the Lord spare your souls.”
Jane: “Yes, well… Welcome all, we are overjoyed and very filled with anticipation for the coming discussion of progressive thought as well as London’s traditional views. And we will be back to the studio right after with friendly word from John Locke University.
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Johnny: My life was changed when I was forced to come to this wonderful school. I was caught up in the ways of this world, and was headed towards damnation. At John Locke, we are whipped…literally… and are forced to accept the practices of the Lord. It was the best decision my parents made for me! Thanks mom and dad!
Announcer 1: There you go London; you heard it straight from the horses’ mouth. Come check out this god-fearing institution and your boy’s lives will never be the same!
Jane: Sirs and ma’am would be so kind as to introduce yourselves to the general audience. Sir Isaac Newton, we will start with you.
Newton: Yes, ma’am. Honored to be here with you tonight. I am practicing physicist, a natural philosopher, a mathematician, an astronomer, and an alchemist (Isaac Newton).
Jane: Wow, well that is quite a mouthful! May I tell you that I am one of your most devout fans. Sir Newton, it has come to my attention that you have been working hard on your scientific discoveries… would you care to elaborate?
Newton: I have been examining something I like to call Universal gravitation, as well as the three laws of motion (Isaac Newton).
Newton: Thank you. I have also been looking at the principles of conservation, the reflection of telescopes, and developing a mathematic technique which I think I will name Calculus (Isaac Newton).
Jane: I have heard talk of your GREAT vision. What exactly is this?
Newton: “If I have seen further it is by standing on ye shoulders of Giants” (Isaac Newton Quotes).
Jane: I assume you are speaking about Descartes and Galileo?
Newton: Indeed, I am. I worry that people will exploit Galileo’s discovery that the Earth is not the center of the universe, as well as my laws of motion and gravity, which states that the universe is a mere machine, kind of like a clock, instead of a work of God (Isaac Newton). “This beautiful system could only proceed from the dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being” (Isaac Newton Quotes).
Jane: But, You, yourself have said that you reject the Church’s doctrine of the trinity…
Newton: Indeed, I have…but you should notice that I have written more texts on religion than on science. Most people see me as a mere scientist, but I do consider myself as a man of God (Isaac Newton). “God is the master creator whose face could not be denied in the face of the grandeur of all creation” (Isaac Newton Quotes).
Jane: I do not understand how you can have so much duality in your beliefs… Do you not think your discoveries on gravity could demystify what we know of religion?
Newton: “Gravity explains the motions of the planets, but it cannot explain who set the planets in motion. God governs all things and knows all that is and can be done” (Isaac Newton Quotes).
Jane: Voltaire, you have been quite in this discussion. Would you care to shed some light on the issues at hand? Sir Newton and I are in much discourse about religion and science. What do you think?
Voltaire: “What is faith? Is it to believe that which is evident? No. it is perfectly evident to my mind that there exists a necessary, eternal, supreme, and intelligent being. This is no matter of faith, but of reason”(Voltaire Quotes, The).
Jane: This is your definition of God?
Voltaire: “God is a comedian playing to an audience too afraid to laugh” (Voltaire Quotes, Brainy).
Newton: (agitated) “He is the God of order and not of confusion!” (Isaac Newton Quotes). I am sure of this!
Voltaire: (arrogant) “All men are born with a nose and ten fingers, but no one was born with a knowledge of God. If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him” (Voltaire Quotes, Brainy).
Newton: (aggravated) “God is truth! Truth is to be found in simplicity, not in the multiplicity and confusion of things” (Isaac Newton Quotes).
Voltaire: (smug) “I am very fond of truth, but not at all of martyrdom” (Voltaire Quotes, The).
Newton: (smug) “Oh, Diamond! Diamond! thou little knowest what mischief thou hast done!” (Isaac Newton Quotes).
Voltaire: Sir Newton, “A witty saying proves nothing” (Voltaire Quotes, Brainy).
Jane: “Better a witty fool than a foolish wit” (William). Are you an atheist?
Voltaire: PSHAW! No! I am a deist.
Jane: Is there a difference?
Voltaire: “The universe is based only on reason” (Voltaire Quotes, The), Sir Newton has proven it.
Newton: A pox on you!
Voltaire: “The Bible is an outdated legal and moral reference…a metaphor, but still teaches good lessons…and a work of MAN, not a divine gift” (Voltaire).
Jane: Ladies and Gentlemen of London, Sir Newton has taken his leave from the studio. I am terribly sorry. Voltaire, would you care to tell me more about this deism you speak of?
Voltaire: God exists!!! The world is accessible to facilitate human reason and laws that govern behavior. He does not interfere with human life and the laws of the universe. He is the watchmaker and the watch keeper. God wants us to behave morally (Voltaire).
Jane: But you reject the Bible. In the Bible, God has set down the morals and the rules that he wants us to live by.
Voltaire: The Bible denies us pleasure. Pleasure is morality and morality is pleasure. Is not a virtuous man a moral man? If so, a moral man may experience pleasure. “God will reward moral behavior and punish immoral behavior” (Voltaire).
Jane: Intriguing thoughts Voltaire- we are now going to hear a word from our sponsors. Thank you for joining us here in the studio.
Announcer 2: If you have any question as to whether you are a deist or not, join us on a three week retreat. Lectures will be given by our very own Matthew Tindal – specifically examining his book Christianity as old as the Creation .
Tindal: “God designed all Mankind should at all time know, what he wills them to know, believe, profess, and practice; and has given them no other means for this, but the use of reason” (Deism).
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Jane: We are back in the studio with our traditionalists. Thank you all for joining us. Lets get started. Thomas Bunyan, would you be so kind as to relay who you are to our dear Londoners listening tonight?
Thomas Bunyan: Ah yes ma’am I who you speak of. I am honored to represent my common man, the Baptists. I am the grandson of John Bunyan, the devout follower of Jesus, who preached unashamedly to the souls of our great country. You may be familiar with the fact that he was imprisonment for preaching because he lacked a preaching license. Grandfather wrote about the wonderful workings of the Grace of God in his book, which has become quite famous – The Pilgrims Progress.
Jane: Thank you Thomas. Now on to Elijah and his beautiful wife Mary. I am happy to have you here with us.
Elijah Fox & his wife Mary: Yes, don’t go anywhere without my wife, she’s like the oil that keeps me ticking. We do everything together.”
Jane: Elijah is the great grandson of George Fox, the man credited to starting the Religious Society of Friends or the “Quaker” movement, as you in the audience are probably more familiar with.
Elijah: “Pleased to be here ma’am.”
Mary: “Aye, that we are!”
Jane: Lastly, Mr. Bates, would you please make your introduction to the audience??
Mr. Bates: Why yes, Ms. O’Reily. I am Thomas Bates a humble servant of the Lord, and by His sovereignty I am here with you tonight. As Jane stated, I am a Puritan and ascribe to worship and doctrine that has been purified from worldly thought. The Lord Almighty and the Bible is our chief- not the church of England. I am happy to represent our ever growing Puritan population, by the grace of God.
Jane: Thank you all for the introductions to our listening audience. Folks! I am delighted to bring you these diverse thinkers tonight, representing our ever-changing society. Tonight, I am going to begin by asking a couple questions – to this panel. Please feel free to comment and discuss these topics between one another. To begin: What are your views on the gender roles within your groups of thinkers and within your religious communities?
Elijah: “Well, I have always believed that the Lord created all people to be equals. This means that women, men, slaves, and masters are all on the same plane in the Lord’s eyes. That is how our community of Quakers sees the issue. My wife is here today with me because I believe that what she says is weighted just as much as my own opinion. What would you say Mary?”
Mary: That is right, we Quakers ascribe to 4 founding principles, and those are: the promotion of peace, Equality among people, Integrity, and simplicity. Women are seen as equals to all men. The Lord did not create us to be silent!!
Thomas: Just a bunch of crazy pacifists!
Jacob: That is a very interesting point Mary. I beg to differ, but the Bible specifically addresses the issue of Men and Women’s roles. Women are to take care of the home and children exclusively. They are to support their husbands and obey them in all things. Since they are sinful and decedents of Eve as seen in Genesis 3- their voice within society and specifically the Church should be much lower than that of a man’s. We men have to weigh their insights up to the Lord’s Word and Truth. The Bible backs up this claim exclusively. Do you dare go against the Word of God?!
Mary: I do not go against the Word of God, because that same word states gives honor and authority to women. Ester, Ruth, Mary Magdalene are just a several examples of women who were strong.
Jane: This brings up a very interesting point. What are your views lady and gentlemen about the sovereignty of the Bible?
Elijah: I do not dismiss the fact that the Bible was passed down from God to humans. But I believe that the Word of God is Christ, not the Bible.
Jacob: That is blasphemy!!
Elijah: Christ’s voice is stronger than any other authority.
Mary: We Quakers put precedence on listening and obeying the Spirit when He speaks. Our worship, our lives, our actions are dictated by “this Inner Light.” The inner Light creates personal insight. We do not have to have the Bible interpreted by a pastor or religious authority. Instead, God’s spirit resides within us and talks to each of us individually.
Elijah: My grandfather stated, “Christ has come to teach His people Himself” (George).
Jane: Thomas, do you agree?
Thomas: There is no doubt that the Bible is the Word of God, saying otherwise is blasphemy. I do agree with the Fox’s that one can interpret that Bible for himself – it does not have to be through a religious authority, like those crazy Catholics believe.
Jacob: May God spare their souls from the pits of hell!
Thomas: We Baptists encourage personal reflection and study of the Bible daily.
Jacob: We puritans also require fervent study of God’s word, on a personal basis as well as within the community. The Bible is central and is the supreme authority over humanity. This shows us that God is in utter control. The plight of Christians is to ascribe holistically to the Word of God, which is the Bible. We will never be able to do this fully because we are finite specks of dirt- in the Lord’s eyes. We will never measure up to his holiness.
Jane: Ok, moving on… let us talk now about the issue of authority. Do you believe in hierarchy of the church? Where does the power of the Church lie? Thomas, we will start with you.
Thomas: We Baptists like to avoid hierarchy within the church. There are no bishops or popes found within our church walls!! But, we do have a pastor and deacons. In terms of a central governing authority – we don’t have one!
Jane: What do you think of government’s role in relation to the church?
Thomas: I do not that outside authority should be telling my church what to do. The government should not have a say in what we do within our walls. Church and state should be separate!!
Jacob: I completely agree with you Thomas. The only Head of the Church is Christ. Government should not have a say in our affairs. I would ask you- where is the authority in your church – in the form of human accountability?? It seems very weak in my opinion. Puritans pride themselves in their strong central government. This group of godly men brings the Light of God into our lives through discipline. May the Lord be praised!!
Elijah: The Quakers have long since had dealing with the government. Our Lord said that we will be persecuted for His name! We rejoice in this. Our dear brothers and sisters have been put to death for their Quaker values.
Mary: We do not condone a hierarchy within our community. All men are created equal. In the eyes of the Lord, the monarch and my daughter are seen as equals. People are people. The government can give us regulations – but we follow the voice of Christ.
Jane: Thank you Mary. Folks, this has been a very invigorating discussion. Thank you for you insights! Unfortunately, we are about out of time. Stay tuned for tomorrow night’s continuation of this discussion.
Closing Music: “Celtic Tune 30.1”
“Celtic Tune 10.1.” Free Play Music. 26 Sep 2007. Freeplaymusic.com 2007 <http://freeplaymusic.com/>.
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“Far From Home 30.1.” Free Play Music. 26 Sep 2007. Freeplaymusic.com 2007 <http://freeplaymusic.com/>.
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“William Shakespeare Quotes.” Michael Moncur. The Quotations Page. 16 Sep 2007. QuotationsPage.com. 2007 <http://www.quotationspage.com/quotes/William_Shakespeare/>.
“Until the End of Time 30.1.” Free Play Music. 26 Sep 2007. Freeplaymusic.com 2007 <http://freeplaymusic.com/>.
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“Voltaire Quotes.” Michael Moncur. The Quotations Page. 16 Sep 2007. QuotationsPage.com. 2007 <http://www.quotationspage.com/quotes/Voltaire>.