Thursday, September 29, 2011

Natural Rights Theory, Intelligent Design, Newton, & Revolution

From Carl Becker's The Declaration of Independence: A Study in the History of Political Ideas (1922):
An important, but less noticed, channel through which the fundamental ideas of that philosophy — God, Nature, Reason — were made familiar to the average man, was the church. Both in England and America preachers and theologians laid firm hold of the Newtonian conception of the universe as an effective weapon against infidelity. Dr. Richard Bentley studied Newton in order to preach a 'Confusion of Atheism,' deriving a proof of Divine Providence from the physical construction of the universe as demonstrated by that 'divine theorist,' Sir Isaac Newton.2 What a powerful support to Revelation (and to Revolution) was that famous argument from design! The sermons of the century are filled with it — proving the existence and the goodness of God from the intelligence which the delicately adjusted mechanism of Nature everywhere exhibited.

1 comment:

Windy Wilson said...

Interesting excerpt. To the faithful, God made reason as well as faith, and both are needed by humans and seen as good by God. While there are many instances in the Bible in which it is said that one needs faith, nowhere does it say that one does not need reason. It is only the Leftist atheists today who claim that the religious are opposed to the use of reason.
G.K. Chesterton's character, Father Brown, in either the short story "The Blue Cross", or "The Flying Stars" (I forget which; my book is in storage, and Amazon is no help), discovers the master thief Flammonde who was hiding disguised as a priest, by engaging him in seeming innocuous theological discussion. "I knew you were not really a priest when you condemned reason."