Sunday, September 12, 2004

The Problem with the Creeds

I was reading in The People Called Quakers by D. Elton Trueblood that "[t]he Quakers have never had a creed as something to be repeated or as a standard of admission to membership. This deliberate omission is not to be understood as an indication of the judgment that convictions are unimportant. The deepest difficulty with a fixed creed is that it inevitably becomes formal, and, consequently, can be repeated without conviction. Even with the best of intentions, the formula is artificial and external...."

To read more, click on the Xs

I agree with this -- in my church, we use two creeds. I don't have a problem with them, tend to agree with them, but haven't spent much time examining them or questioning them. However, I've spoken with several people who don't agree with them and must choose whether to say them or remain silent. For some who don't agree ith the creeds, its a troubling choice, for others its not. Regardless, it makes me wonder what happens to the personality that feels coerced to repeat something with which it does not agree. I cannot help but wonder if it will ultimately become an obstacle to faith. It would for me, I think.

This leads me to my past musing on the issue of 'under God' in the pledge of allegiance. You'll recall that the 9th circuit took it out (or upheld its removal, sorry I don't remember the court history. Should've briefed the case -- law school humor). Anyway, I remember various articles and editorials both for and against the removal of the words and the reasons for it. One argument that really struck me was the argument that 'under God' should be left in the pledge because it is 'ceremonial deism' and/or that the words don't really have any meaning anyway, so agnostics/atheists should not be offended. Though I want 'under God' to remain in the pledge because I love God, if the reasoning for leaving it in is because it doesn't mean anything then I say take it out!

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