Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Founding Fathers and Christianity...

I was in a conversation some time ago with a nurse who is a "devout" Christian....still not sure what that really means...but I digress. Her assertion was that Obama was muslim...which besides being quite erroneous...was a little comical. When I stated, that first of all, he's really not.....but, even if he was.....SO WHAT????? She got quite defensive, and said that this country has always been a christian nation, and should never be led by someone from another religion....I started to laugh. I asked her if she thought that Washington, Adams, Jefferson, et al were christian.....She argued that "OF course they were"......I stated that no, they really weren't....they believed in god, for sure...but they weren't Christian in the sense of how it is defined currently..... She argued that "her pastor said"......This is where things started to bother me. People are all too quick to simply take someone else's word as fact, without bothering to research things themselves. Please keep in mind that this is NOT meant as a slur against Christianity, and that this is NOT implied in my post, but that simply, the founding fathers were more Unitarian, than Christian in their beliefs. Here it is, in their words.

“The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason.” Benjamin Franklin Poor Richard's Almanack, 1758

"As to Jesus of Nazareth, my Opinion of whom you particularly desire, I think the System of Morals and his Religion, as he left them to us, the best the world ever saw or is likely to see; but I apprehend it has received various corrupt changes, and I have, with most of the present Dissenters in England, some Doubts as to his divinity; tho' it is a question I do not dogmatize upon, having never studied it, and I think it needless to busy myself with it now, when I expect soon an Opportunity of knowing the Truth with less Trouble...Benjamin Franklin.

“Lighthouses are more helpful than churches.”

“He (the Rev. Mr. Whitefield) used, indeed, sometimes to pray for my conversion, but never had the satisfaction of believing that his prayers were heard.”

“I have found Christian dogma unintelligible. Early in life, I absenteed myself from Christian assemblies.”

“Some volumes against Deism fell into my hands. They were said to be the substance of sermons preached at Boyle’s Lecture. It happened that they produced on me an effect precisely the reverse of what was intended by the writers; for the arguments of the Deists, which were cited in order to be refuted, appealed to me much more forcibly than the refutation itself. In a word, I soon became a thorough Deist.” Benjamin Franklin, from his autobiography

“Religious controversies are always productive of more acrimony and irreconcilable hatreds than those which spring from any other cause. I had hoped that liberal and enlightened thought would have reconciled the Christians so that their [not our?] religious fights would not endanger the peace of Society.” George Washington Letter to Sir Edward Newenham, June 22, 1792

The divinity of Jesus is made a convenient cover for absurdity.” John Adams

“The government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.” John Adams, Treaty of Tripoly, article 11

“But how has it happened that millions of fables, tales, legends, have been blended with both Jewish and Christian revelation that have made them the most bloody religion that ever existed.” John Adams, letters to family and other leaders 1735-1826

“Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burned, tortured, fined, and imprisoned, yet we have not advanced one inch toward uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half of the world fools and the other half hypocrites.” Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia

“The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the Supreme Being as His father, in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter.” Thomas Jefferson, Letter to John Adams, April 11, 1823

“In no instance have . . . the churches been guardians of the liberties of the people.”
“Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise.” James Madison, April 1, 1774's quite clear that while they were religious, and believed in God, they were not enamored of christianity, and I think they would be quite alarmed at the status of our society today.....and also saddened.

1 comment:

terri c said...

Hear, hear. And I am a Christian although I say it in a whisper because I don't want to be confused with one of them "Devout Christians" you describe. I kind of always thought the teachings had to do more with how *I* treat other people rather than with what *they* believe or do...