The old saying “there is nothing common about common sense” has never rung so true as it does today. We live in a course and relativist age where the noble drive for fairness and balance has been misdirected toward conflating opinions with facts, and where common sense lies buried beneath a rubble of truthiness. That being the case, it might be a good idea to return to the writer of Common Sense, Thomas Paine, for a little refresher on reasonable thinking.
Wrongly accused of atheism by the orthodox Christians of his time (and, later on, a strident Teddy Roosevelt), Thomas Paine is among the many American figures who form the bedrock upon which currenthas its house. With regards to an afterlife, Paine held the reasonable position that we can hope for happiness after this life but shouldn’t presume to guess what lies in store for us:
I consider myself in the hands of my Creator and that He will dispose of me after this life consistent with His justice and goodness. I leave all these matters to Him, as my Creator and friend and I hold it presumptuous to make an article of faith as to what the Creator will do with us hereafter.
It was by leaving the afterlife to God, and the dead to bury their dead1, that Thomas Paine was able to follow Christ, carrying the kingdom of God within himself, to fulfill the living hour of his time.
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- To another man Jesus said: “Follow me.” “Let me first go and bury my father,” said the man. But Jesus said: “Leave the dead to bury their dead; but go yourself and carry far and wide the gospel of the kingdom of God.” – Luke 9:59-60 [↩]