Thanks for the additional insight. Looks like I was a bit out-of-date -- I was
stretching back to my bonehead philosophy class in university. But there must be
some kind of term for a belief in an *im*personal higher power. Any philosophers
on the list?

"John W. Redelfs" wrote:

> This isn't quite right, Marc.  I used to be a Deist, and among Deists no
> such distinctions are made between a personal and impersonal God.  A Deist
> was one who believed only what all religions (of the day) held in common,
> ie. 1) a supreme being, 2) a system of punishments and rewards after death,
> etc.  Here is a passage from the current online Britannica* that will set
> you straight:
> It is my understanding that most of our Founders were Deists.  Knowing as
> they did that the religions then extant were the irrational philosophies of
> men, they tried to strip away all the incrustations of sectarianism and
> return to the most fundamental basics common to all.  No wonder they joined
> the Church when they got a chance.  No wonder I did.

And this part I would agree with without hesitation. In Jefferson's numerous
letters on the matter, including his famous (or infamous, depending on your pov)
letter regarding the "curtain between church and state", it seems like he was
acting as much out of disgust with existing religions as anything, but he did
write some things which indicated he did not believe Jesus Christ was anything
other than a very enlightened teacher. Unfortunately, it's like quoting dead
prophets: without their presence to defend or explain themselves, we can but try
to interpret them, and we know what that leads to.

*totally off-topic, but this reminds me. I've been tempted to pay for a
subscription to Britannica online (I remember you mentioning it was one of the few
sites you felt were worth paying for). Well it turns out that if we order our 2002
tax software, QuickTax, from Intuit this month, we get a free Britannica online
CD-ROM set/subscription. I emailed that form back pretty quickly!

Oh, and ObLocalBoosterism: Intuit's Canadian operations are HQ'd here in Edmonton
for various reasons, but the people in Santa Clara wanted them to expand, to take
over the marketing and development of QuickTax/Quicken for the Pacific Rim and
parts of South America, as well as establish a tech support call centre to cover
all of North America, but they wanted them to move from Edmonton to a more
geographically "sensible" location. The local leadership didn't want to move so
came to us (when I was a trade officer for our provincial ministry of Innovation &
Science) for help. I helped, together with my Edmonton city counterpart, put
together a package showing that Edmonton was the most cost-effective place for
them to locate *all* their operations, including the Santa Clara one. Well, of
course, they didn't go quite that far, but I took a lot of pride when they opened
their new building in SE Edmonton a few years ago which quintupled their previous
space. So if you ever call tech support for Intuit, tell the guy or gal on the
other end of the line, "How 'boot them Oilers, eh?!"

And Mark and I know a story about his old boss, Glenn, but I can never tell it
publicly ;-) [seriously, part of the law here, which is consistent with how civil
servants work in commonwealth countries is that according to Section 19 of the
Alberta Public Service Act, anything that's said to me by a private company in
confidence is to be held in confidence just as if I had signed a NDA with them. I
know lots of stuff about Microsoft, too -- mostly good, incidentally -- but could
never talk about it publicly. The only reason I can talk about Intuit is because
the local president, who is also now the VP International for all of Intuit,
publicly thanked the two of us for our help when they had the ribbon-cutting, so
I'm simply repeating what's already on the public record]

Boy, that was a rambling, post, eh? When your wife treats you to good pizza it
puts a feller in a good mood.

Marc A. Schindler
Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada -- Gateway to the Boreal Parkland

“Knowledge may give weight, but accomplishments give lustre, and many more people
see than weigh.” – Lord Chesterfield

Note: This communication represents the informal personal views of the author
solely; its contents do not necessarily reflect those of the author’s employer,
nor those of any organization with which the author may be associated.

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