Serving God

"We cannot serve God in the manner we serve those who cannot do without such service; and, therefore, the only idea we can have of serving God, is that of contributing to the happiness of the living creation that God has made. This cannot be done by retiring ourselves from the society of the world, and spending a recluse life in selfish devotion." [emphasis mine]

-Tom Paine, "The Age of Reason" [link at left]

I have been re-reading TAOR which I do at least once a year it seems, and I often find a passage in it that I may not have hit on before. Above is one such passage; it calls on us to practice what we Unitarians called practical religion-love to God and love to humanity. If you love God, and want to serve God, go out and do something ethically useful. Paine's idea reaches a little further, however, than our normal view of practical religion because he extends the duty of humanity to all of creation. Given the issues we face today with the environment etc., it seems particularly germane. Ironically it was written more than 200 years ago...how long 'til we start following this advice?

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