Saturday, August 18, 2007

Proper Names for God, and more on Mormons & the Founding:

I agree with my co-blogger Jason that Allah arguably is a proper name for the scriptural God. This is for two reasons: 1) “Allah” is simply the Arabic translation for the word "God." And 2) The Muslims' Allah claims to be the God of Abraham. That doesn't necessarily mean that Christians and Muslims worship the same God. Though the strongest argument they don't is that the Christians' God is Triune in nature, the Muslim's isn't. But neither is the Jews'. It's therefore possible reasonably to argue that Jews, Christians and Muslims either all worship the same God -- the God of Abraham -- or all worship different gods. Some may attempt to do so, but it is not possible to convincingly argue that Jews and Christians worship the same God, Muslims a different one; they rise and fall together.

On a related note, I’ve pointed out the irony that many proponents of the Christian America thesis insist that Allah is not the God of the Bible and also insist America’s Founders invoked the Biblical God, not Allah. Washington, Jefferson and Madison repeatedly called God “The Great Spirit” when speaking to unconverted Native Americans. To the Christian Nation perspective, that should be viewed as even worse than calling God Allah because Allah at least claims to be the God of Abraham but “The Great Spirit” makes no such claim.

However, to tie this to my last post on Mormonism and the American Founding, because Mormons believe that Indians are the lost tribes of Israel, they do believe that the Native Americans' "The Great Spirit" is the God of the Bible. Indeed, the only way to reconcile referring to "The Great Spirit" as God with Christianity is to incorporate the teaching that Native Americans are, in reality, a lost Israeli tribe. And just as I've discovered Ben Franklin flirted with the proto-Mormon belief that some larger God created the cosmos, and each solar system had its own lesser, more “knowable” God, the lost tribes of Israel thesis likewise traces to a Founding Father -- Elias Boudinat. Boudinat, unlike Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, and Franklin, was, or appeared to be a genuine orthodox Trinitarian Christian. And I've seen no evidence whatsoever that those five key Founders believed Indians were the lost tribe of Israel. However, Boudinat did. He even wrote a book on the matter. And Boudinat argued that Indians' God was the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

This is further evidence that Mormon theology, odd as it may seem to some, is closer to what the Founding Fathers believed than is orthodox Trinitarian Christianity. But again, that's only because, in my opinion, Joseph Smith looked to the Founding Fathers and some of their eccentric theological beliefs for inspiration when creating the Mormon religion.


Hercules Mulligan said...

If you don't even believe the Bible, then why are you naming God?

Jonathan said...

Just trying to put everything into perspective.