Preface to 21st Century Tract

Author’s 500 word Preface to “21st century Tract”

I regard Thomas Paine as an apostle of Enlightenment thinking. Thomas Paine [1737-1809] was an Englishman who became an American citizen. One Oxford university editor of Paine’s text the “Rights of Man” called him the first international revolutionary.

In his “Rights of Man” [1791] Thomas Paine condemns the traditional political and social order as redundant and immoral, the Church included. In “The Age of Reason” [1794/5] he condemns the Christian religion explicitly.

Thomas Paine was a remarkably principled and courageous man. His condemnation of the Orthodox politics and religion of his day was an act of exceptional courage for which he was duly persecuted. His adherence to pure principle also led him to be persecuted by the more practical and ‘political’ of his fellow Enlightened campaigners.

Thomas Paine had a tremendous impact in his own day. His name resounds today as one of the truly great pioneers of the modern, Materialist, and atheistic Western world in which so many of us live.

I am no Thomas Paine, but I do want to challenge the prevalent philosophy of the existing Established Order of my day, i.e. the prevalent Materialism of the Enlightenment thinking promoted by Thomas Paine and his kind.

In the “21st century Tract”, I intend to demonstrate that Materialism is deceptive and so dangerous; and that the Christian religion is valid theoretically, practically, and psychologically.

Thomas Paine had his reasons for condemning the shortcomings of the Christian religion of his day along with the entire Establishment Order of monarchy, nobility, and Church.

Today, Christians have reason to condemn the world which has resulted from Enlightenment thinking two centuries later. And not just to condemn, but like Paine, to advocate a moral alternative.

Paine himself ostensibly acknowledged a Creator of this world. His reasoning reflects the progessive fashion for Deism at that time. Deism says that God created the world, rather like a clock maker. Having set the world in motion, God stands back and has nothing more to do with his creation.

That was a very attractive concept for people who wanted to deny God but would not do so explicitly given the prevailing climate of their day. While attractive, Deism proves to be false when examined, as is the case for Thomas Paine’s entire philosophy.

As explained in this website, God by definition is “I AM”. God is ever present, everywhere; ever knowing of all things; and ever powerful.

Deism is therefore a deception. Its conception of God does not meet the criteria for the definition of God. By taking away aspects of the truth in its notion of God, it provides a false framework of thinking – or paradigm – by which to view our existence.

Thomas Paine reasoned similarly when he reviewed the world in the two famous texts cited above. Paine dispenses with inconvenient realities and paints a picture of a Society perfected by virtue of ‘Reason’ and ‘Rights’. But ‘Reason’ and ‘Rights’ fail to answer the range of realities in this existence.