Hey friends, before you call us "non factual, lacking in integrity, ridiculous, overstating, deceptive, one-sided, absurd, etc......." wouldn't it be more fair to carefully read the article you are excoriating? We never asserted that all the founders were Christians. Some were diests, some were Christians and some were atheists. They did not want an established national religion. They were opposed to both government suppression and government establishment of religion in order to allow for free religious expression.
Your article was interesting, but I believe not factual. There are very few of our Founding Fathers that believed in Christ,only God (Diests). Religion and the Bible do not equal Jesus Christ necessarily. Listen to Jefferson in this quote: Benjamin Franklin, delegate to the Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention, said: "As to Jesus of Nazareth, my Opinion of whom you particularly desire, I think the System of Morals and his Religion...has received various corrupting 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 think it needless to busy myself with it now, when I expect soon an opportunity of knowing the Truth with less trouble." He died a month later, and historians consider him, like so many great Americans of his time, to be a Deist, not a Christ
ian. John Adams, the country's second president, was drawn to the study of law but faced pressure from his father to become a clergyman. He wrote that he found among the lawyers 'noble and gallant achievments" but among the clergy, the "pretended sanctity of some absolute dunces". Late in life he wrote: "Twenty times in the course of my late reading, have I been upon the point of breaking out, "This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it!" It was during Adam's administration that the Senate ratified the Treaty of Peace and Friendship, which states in Article XI that "the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion." - B. S.
Your lack of integrity is astounding! A "Deist" is not one who participates in "clandestine gatherings in Philadelphia's Independence Hall", nor is it one who "swear(s) allegiance to some obscure deist creed," and it certainly is not one who takes a "pledge to set America on the course of eradicating Biblical belief from all corners of the land." To try to dismiss the truth that the founding fathers were Deist by mis-stating who a Deist is is false propaganda of the worst sort. A Diest is as the name implys, one who believes in the Deity with a capital. Deists believe in God. A Deist may not be an evangelical. He/she may not believe Jesus is God. But a Deist does acknowlege and believe in God. I am sick of people calling themselves Christian spreading lies, deception, and propaganda in the name of Christ. - J. H. Y.
While your quotations of various early American leaders and their faith perspective is accurate, you fail to consider the the overaching whole of their and other early American leaders' work. The wholeness to their work was a desire to create a climate in early America that all persons of all the varieties of faith that America had and would someday contain could live together with respect. Yes, they did not retreat nor water down their own faith perspectives, and neither should we; but they did reserve a certain level of civility and decorum in order to live with one another that we have lost as a people. So, I rate your article fair at best because it fails, exceedly so, for looking at a few trees and missing the importance of the forest. I say this because I share with you an awesome responsibility in regards to leadership in this present and future generations. The climate, the respect (and lack thereof ) is directly related to what we, tog
ether, may say and do. Quoting the Aposlte Paul -- all things might be lawful for you and I to do, but all things are not beneficial. It is time for you and I to step the quality and caring of our leadership. I hold us both responsible for that and will accept nothing less. - H. G.
With one or two exceptions all of the quotes you listed could have been made by Deists, so I don't think they supported your point! . - D. W.
I find your opening paragraph ridiculous at its face. It does not advance the business of intellectual discourse and presents a view of Deists that targets our basest emotions about this subject. We should, rather, try to get at the truth, rather than “conjure up images” of things that clearly never happened. The truth is that some of the Founding Fathers were Deists. Thomas Jefferson was the most notable, and he had re-written a version of the New Testament that simply erases any reference to spiritual miracles performed in Jesus’ name. He was not, as you have written, fostering “clandestine gatherings in Philadelphia's Independence Hall where one by one (the Founding Fathers would) swear allegiance to some obscure deist creed and pledge to set America on the course of eradicating Biblical belief from all corners of the land.” Deism doesn’t conjure up that image to me; that it conjures up that image to you s
ays more about your fears and suspicions than it does about your pursuit of the truth. What you have written is simply baiting, and you know it. That language smacks of the worst of the McCarthy Era and should have been relegated to the trash heap decades ago. On the positive side of your article, not all of the Founding Fathers were Deists. Many were, as you note Christians, and felt a strong need to include morality in the government. The point is that the founding of our country was a complex process filled with personalities of many different beliefs. It was not all Christian nor was it all Deist. To present our Constitution as solely the triumph of one view or another does a great disservice to the document that they created. Particularly to the notion that this country was designed, from the beginning, to be a land where all views are to be respected. That’s the larger context in which this all exists. Let’s try to keep to the facts. They stand on their own
without the need for us to “conjure up” images about them. And we certainly don’t need you to “conjure up” images for us. - D. M.
I was disappointed by your article on the founding fathers. As comforting as it might be to believe that all of these were Christians, many were in fact deists who denied central doctrines of historic Christianity such as the Trinity and God's involvement in the affairs of this world. (I am an evangelical pastor and former seminary professor.) I have read enough of their writings myself over the years to know that this is true. Jefferson, for example, denied miracles in the New Testament and produced his own edited version that reduced its teaching to ethical principles (not unlike early 20th century liberalism). I do not doubt that many of their writings are quoted out of context, but your quotations likewise give a misimpression. There is little in the quotations you cited to indicate that the authors held anything more than a respect for some sort of "religion." Of course, other founding fathers were evangelical Christians. But it does your
cause no good to overstate your case. - J. M.
All the quotes menioned in the article speak in very broad terms of the Bible, morality and religion. There is no mention of the Christian religion or Jesus Christ. Deists contrary to the weird definition you gave was the belief in a God and that dependence on God was key. Louisa May alcott, and many of the Founding Fathers were indeed Deists, members of what is now known as the Unitarian Universalist Church. They did not believe in a Trinity but in one God. Maybe you should do more history and philosophy study before ranting. - C. B.
As a whole the early founders very much acknowledged religion as part of the moral fiber of the country. It is absolutely clear that Thomas Jefferson was a deist. He did not believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ. George Washington was basically neutral on the matter of faith. Ben Franklin had a disdain for it. While most of the early signees were religous men, we do an injustice to portray people like Jefferson, Washington, Franklin as Christians in the modern sense. That, they were not and there is much historical data to substaniate it. I think your article does an injustice to this perspective. - T. B.
Who in the world wrote that article? The author was just as deceptive as the side he was arguing against. The fact of the matter is, John Adams was a Christian, and most of our founding fathers were Christians, but George Washington and Benjamin Franklin were definitely not. Making a one sided argument about our founding fathers is like saying that all republicans are Christians. Our Founding Fathers were individuals, and hence, they each had different beliefs. On the one side, I understand making a point against the secularists who misquote Adams, but we should be careful not to misquote Washington and Franklin. The knowledgeable historian will just shake his head. - J. K.
This article is absurd. The writer claims that the founding fathers were not deists and then goes on to quote them all expounding deist beliefs. Remember deists believed deeply in moraliry and civic religion that undergirded and aided the pursuit of democracy. They were not atheists. At the same time, they were not strong expounders of the God revealed in the Christian scriptures and tradition. - M. M.
I am a pastor, and I share most of the views that are upheld in "To the Source." However, I was not impressed with this one on the founding fathers for this reason. The claim is made that they were not actually deists, but Christians. When I read this, I was expecting to see quotations in which these men expressed their faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Yet, not one of those quotations that was used mentions anything of Jesus, His death and resurrection, faith in Jesus, or anything else that makes one a Christian. Instead, I read a lot about "morals," and "religion," being the basis and foundation of our society. Talk about morals and religion does not mark one as a Christian. My question is this: did the founding fathers who were quoted actually confess faith in God the FAther, Son, and Holy Spirit? If not, then they were not Christians. Did they believe that Jesus Christ was true God, begotten of His FAther from eternity, and also true M
an, born of the Virgin Mary? Did they believe in the regenerative powers of holy Baptism (with water and the Word)? Did they confess Christ's bodily presence in the Lord's Supper? Did they trust in God's mercy in Christ Jesus for the forgiveness of their sins? Or did they just believe in a "God." Faith in "God" means nothing unless one confesses Jesus Christ as the incarnate Son of God, who died on the cross and rose again from the dead for our sins. Didn't Thomas Jefferson tear out all of the supernatural parts of the four Gospels? - P. L. B.