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Founding fathers and religion

Schweddy

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I wonder if the founding fathers could even conceive the idea of atheists in our society.
 

littlebitbratte

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vauge said:
I wonder if the founding fathers could even conceive the idea of atheists in our society.

Yep. They could.

"Question with boldness even the existence of God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear."

"It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no gods."

Both of those are quotes from personal writings of Thomas Jefferson.

Take Care,
Julie A
 

Schweddy

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Excellent - thank you. :)
 

Contrarian

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Not only did they concieve of the idea... some quite possibly were atheists themselves. Many passages were written by Jefferson, Adams and Payne. Ben Franklin also a weak believer was absolute in his resolve to keep the church out of affairs of state. However as the consummate diplomat, he was known for donating to all the churches and the first synagogue in Philadelphia. I think the founding fathers were in many ways more open minded than many Americans are today. In later years, one of our greatest Presidents made a statement that would have had him kicked out of office today...

“The Bible is not my book and Christianity is not my religion. I could never give assent to the long and complicated statements of Christian dogma.” – Abraham Lincoln
 

mixedmedia

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"One of the embarrassing problems for the early nineteenth-century champions of the Christian faith was that not one of the first six Presidents of the United States was an orthodox Christian."--The Encyclopedia Brittanica, 1968, p. 420

"Say nothing of my religion. It is known to God and myself alone. Its evidence before the world is to be sought in my life: if it has been honest and dutiful to society the religion which has regulated it cannot be a bad one." - Thomas Jefferson

"The divinity of Jesus is made a convenient cover for absurdity. Nowhere in the Gospels do we find a precept for Creeds, Confessions, Oaths, Doctrines, and whole carloads of other foolish trumpery that we find in Christianity." --John Adams

"Religion I found to be without any tendency to inspire, promote, or confirm morality, serves principally to divide us and make us unfriendly to one another."--Benjamin Franklin

"Shake off all the fears of servile prejudices, under which weak minds are serviley crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call on her tribunal for every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God, because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blind faith." -- Thomas Jefferson

"...no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship ministry or shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief, but all men shall be free to profess and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise.. affect their civil capacities."--Thomas Jefferson, Statute for Religious Freedom, 1779

"...our civil rights have no dependance on our religious opinions, any more than our opinions in physics or geometry"--Thomas Jefferson, Statute for Religious Freedom, 1779

"I am for freedom of religion and against all maneuvers to bring about a legal ascendancy of one sect over another."--Thomas Jefferson to Elbridge Gerry, 1799

"(When) the (Virginia) bill for establishing religious freedom, the principles of which had, to a certain degree, been enacted before, I had drawn in all the latitude of reason & right. It still met with opposition; but, with some mutilations in the preamble, it was finally passed; and a singular proposition proved that it's protections of opinion was meant to be universal. Where the preamble declares, that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed by inserting "Jesus Christ," so that it would read "A departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion;" the insertion was rejected by the great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantel of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mohametan, the Hindoo and Infidel of every denomination."--Thomas Jefferson, from his autobiography, 1821

"I have recently been examining all the known superstitions of the world, and do not find in our particular superstition [Christianity] one redeeming feature. They are all alike, founded on fables and mythology."--Thomas Jefferson, letter to William Short

"The clergy converted the simple teachings of Jesus into an engine for enslaving mankind and adulterated by artificial constructions into a contrivance to filch wealth and power to themselves...these clergy, in fact, constitute the real Anti-Christ." -- Thomas Jefferson

"Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and tortuous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness with which more than half the Bible is filled, it would be more consistent that we call it the word of a demon than the word of God. It is a history of wickedness that has served to corrupt and brutalize [hu]mankind." -- Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason

"And I have no doubt that every new example will succeed, as every past one has done, in showing that religion and Government will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together."--James Madison in a letter to Edward Livingston in 1822

"I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish Church, by the Roman Church, by the Greek Church, by the Turkish Church, by the Protestant Church, not by any Church that I know of. My own mind is my own Church."--Thomas Paine, from The Age of Reason
 

Contrarian

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Thank you for the gift of these quotes. I collect them as a means of understanding what was truly on the minds of these great men, and what their intentions were, free of the spin of the new religious right. You have captured the essence. :applaud

It is unfortunate that our current President is not as enlightened as those who preceeded him by over 200 years.
 

jcueckert13

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the founding fathers may not have been religous people but they did base the laws of the country on the values taught by christianity. and as i recall george bush did show how open minded he is by selibrating ramadon(sp?) in the white house.
 

Contrarian

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I would like to counter your assumption that our foundations of law were based upon christian faith.... but I'll let the founding fathers do it for me..

“The government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded upon the Christian religion” – John Adams – The Treaty of Tripoli

“Christianity neither is, nor ever was part of the Common Law”- Thomas Jefferson - his discourse on the evolution of the Constitution and the effect of British Common Law.

Lastly, President Bush could not have "celebrated Ramadan" at the White House, because using public property (the White House) to "celebrate" any religious service is forbidden. If he acknowledged the holiday.. "I wish our Muslim friends a blessed Ramadan", that would be a very nice public relations :spin: to defuse an already inflamed middle east. Did you see any prayer rugs with the devout prostrate on the White House lawn?? I must have missed it!

Mr. Bush is the closest thing this country has had to a theocratic president... I should know, I've been around since Truman! Take a look at today's (Wed 1-12-05) Washington Times and look on the front page. It is the Preacher in Chief speaking about how God is guiding his hand in running the country. It is the kind of thing that only pushes us further toward a "holy war" - the Muslin world (1.3 BILLION of them) vs the Christian (according to Bush and the Texas delegation to the GOP convention) USA. Our President seems to forget that this is a SECULAR country, of many races, religions and beliefs, and we should be fighting terrorism as AMERICANS not as a "Christian" country. It is polarizing.

and by the way... since you also like quotes from Freud, here is one>>

Religion is comparable to a childhood neurosis – Sigmond Freud
 

mixedmedia

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Au Contrarian....nice to meet you. :D
 

heyjoeo

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I love you Contrarian. Hehe. Man, you destroyed him. Heh, selibrating...hehehehehe. I think that word sums up the entire Republican base. ;-)
 

KBeta

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The general consensus of the founding fathers was not that the government needed to be protected from religion OR that religion needed to be protected from the government. It was agreed that danger lurked in a merger of the church and state which would concentrate too much power, spawn corruption, and be bad news for the people and the country.

I’m rummaging through my copy of the Federalist Papers… bear with me…
 

argexpat

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Contrarian said:
Our President seems to forget that this is a SECULAR country, of many races, religions and beliefs, and we should be fighting terrorism as AMERICANS not as a "Christian" country. It is polarizing.
:agree :agree :agree
 

cavehunter

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Through reading Benjamin Franklin's biography and autobiography that he was a very religious man who did beleive in God but he was part of no particular sect or church.
 

JustBob

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vauge said:
I wonder if the founding fathers could even conceive the idea of atheists in our society.

Had the founding fathers known the radical left led by groups like the ACLU would be attacking religious freedom as they are, the constitution would have been carefully worded to prevent it.
 

edb19

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vauge said:
I wonder if the founding fathers could even conceive the idea of atheists in our society.
While many of the founding fathers were theists/deists - all recognized the Judeo/Christian ethic. There was an expectation/assumption that those who served the nation had a belief in a Supreme Being, that you could not do the former without the latter. Their emphasis on religious freedom was first and foremost to avoid a national religion (i.e. the Church of England). Religion was one area that was a state's rights issue.

"Certainly, no power to prescribe any religious exercise or to assume authority in religious discipline has been delegated to the General Government. It must then rest with the states, as far as it can be in any human authority." -- Thomas Jefferson

“I verily believe Christianity necessary to the support of civil society. One of the beautiful boasts of our municipal jurisprudence is that Christianity is a part of the Common Law. . . There never has been a period in which the Common Law did not recognize Christianity as lying its foundations."

"We are not to attribute this prohibition of a national religious establishment [in the First Amendment] to an indifference to religion in general, and especially to Christianity (which none could hold in more reverence than the framers of the Constitution)" -- Joseph Story

"Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports . . . And let us indulge with caution the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion . . . Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail to the exclusion of religious principle."

"The propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a
nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right,
which Heaven itself has ordained."

"It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and Bible."

"It is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favors." -- George Washington

“The general principles upon which the Fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity…I will avow that I believed and now believe that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and the attributes of God.”

"[R]eligion and virtue are the only foundations, not of
republicanism and of all free government, but of social felicity
under all government and in all the combinations of human
society."

"We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." -- John Adams

"It is the duty of every man to render to the Creator such homage,
and such only, as he believes to be acceptable to him. This duty
is precedent both in order of time and degree of obligation, to
the claims of Civil Society. Before any man can be considered
as a member of Civil Society, he must be considered as a subject
of the Governor of the Universe. And to the same Divine Author of every good and perfect gift [James 1:17] we are indebted for all those privileges and advantages, religious as well as civil, which are so richly enjoyed in this favored land."

"Whilst we assert for ourselves a freedom to embrace, to profess and observe the Religion which we believe to be of divine origin, we cannot deny equal freedom to those whose minds have not yet yielded to the evidence which has convinced us. If this freedom be abused, it is an offense against God, not against man:To God, therefore, not to man, must an account of it be rendered." -- James Madison

"The liberty, prosperity, and the happiness of our country will always be the object of my most fervent prayers to the Supreme Author of All Good." -- James Monroe

"The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were.... the general principles of Christianity." -- John Quincy Adams

"Religion is the only solid Base of morals and that Morals are
the only possible Support of free governments." --Gouverneur Morris

"That wise Men have in all Ages thought Government necessary
for the Good of Mankind; and, that wise Governments have always
thought Religion necessary for the well ordering and well-being
of Society, and accordingly have been ever careful to encourage
and protect the Ministers of it, paying them the highest publick
Honours, that their Doctrines might thereby meet with the greater
Respect among the common People." --Benjamin Franklin​
 

Montalban

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vauge said:
I wonder if the founding fathers could even conceive the idea of atheists in our society.
Yes, they could. The great Scottish philosopher Hume was a well-known atheist. He was also a 'liberal' who supported slavery; the idea being that no one had the right to interfere with another's property (including slavery).
 

Quertol

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Montalban said:
Yes, they could. The great Scottish philosopher Hume was a well-known atheist. He was also a 'liberal' who supported slavery; the idea being that no one had the right to interfere with another's property (including slavery).

That may be so, but how many atheists were in America in the late 1700's?
 

argexpat

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jcueckert13 said:
the founding fathers may not have been religous people but they did base the laws of the country on the values taught by christianity.
Can you be more specific about these supposed Christian values? And what is your proof of this? Reason, not "Christian values," is the true underpinning of our system.

jcueckert13 said:
and as i recall george bush did show how open minded he is by selibrating ramadon(sp?) in the white house.
He also showed how ignorant he is by calling the supposed "War on Terrorism" a "crusade."
 

cavehunter

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littlebitbratte said:
Yep. They could.

"Question with boldness even the existence of God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear."

"It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no gods."

Both of those are quotes from personal writings of Thomas Jefferson.

Take Care,
Julie A
I like the quote from Albert Einstein in your signature. It means God has the greatest resistance.
 

Montalban

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Quertol said:
That may be so, but how many atheists were in America in the late 1700's?
I don't know, how many?

Are you saying that the founding fathers were unaware of Hume?

Or are you saying that they specifically targeted atheists?
 

Arthur Fonzarelli

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In 1774, while in the Virginia Assembly, Jefferson introduced a resolution calling for a Day of Fasting and Prayer.

In 1779, as Governor of Virginia, Jefferson decreed a day of “Public and solemn thanksgiving and prayer to Almighty God.”

As President, Jefferson signed bills that appropriated financial support for chaplains in Congress and the armed services.

On March 4, 1805, President Jefferson offered “A National Prayer for Peace,” which petitioned: “Almighty God, Who has given us this good land for our heritage…Endow with Thy spirit of wisdom those to whom in Thy Name we entrust the authority of government…and that through obedience to Thy law…suffer not our trust in Thee to fail; all of which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.”

...I am a real Christian, that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus...
---Thomas Jefferson to Charles Thomson, January 9, 1816

"God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the Gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever."
-- Thomas Jefferson.
(As quoted in "Liberty and Self-Government," Freedom's Holy Light, by Dr. Peter A. Lillback)

"Men must be governed by God or they will be ruled by tyrants."
--William Penn.

"I have pledged upon the altar of God Almighty eternal hostility to tyranny over the minds of men."
-- Thomas Jefferson.

"Statesmen, my dear Sir, may plan and speculate for liberty, but it is Religion and Morality alone, which can establish the Principles upon which Freedom can securely stand. The only foundation of a free Constitution is pure Virtue, and if this cannot be inspired into our People in a greater Measure, than they have it now, they may change their Rulers and the forms of Government, but they will not obtain a lasting liberty."
-- John Adams, second president of the United States.
(Source: "Trifling with Eternal Justice - Inviting Impeachment and Obscurity," by Jan LaRue)

"Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God."
-- Benjamin Franklin.

"Freedom is not a gift bestowed upon us by other men, but a right that belongs to us by the laws of God and nature."
-- Benjamin Franklin.
(Source: "Franklin's Yardstick of Liberty," by Gary M. Galles)

"We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future of all our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind for self-government, upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments."
-- James Madison.
(Source: "What Is Self-Government?" by Joseph Farah)

"It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ! For this very reason peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity and freedom of worship here."
-- Patrick Henry.

"I am responsible . . . to the American people, to the Christian world, to history, and on my final account to God."
"My concern is not whether God is on our side; my great concern is to be on God's side."
"If we do right God will be with us, and if God is with us we cannot fail."
-- All are quotations of Abraham Lincoln.
(As quoted in Bite-Size Lincoln, compiled by John P. Holms and Karin Baji)

"Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."
-- John Adams
(As quoted in "Liberty and Self-Government," Freedom's Holy Light, by Dr. Peter A. Lillback)

"[T]he same revolutionary beliefs for which our forefathers fought are still at issue around the globe -- the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state but from the hand of God."
-- President John F. Kennedy.
(As quoted in "From the Director," by John Lenczowski)

It is when a people forget God that tyrants forge their chains.
-- Patrick Henry

"[T]he foundations of our National policy . . . [should] be laid in the pure and immutable principles of private morality."
-- George Washington.
(http://www.liberty1.org/seven.htm)

"The moral principles and precepts contained in the Scriptures ought to form the basis of all our civil constitutions and laws. All the miseries and evils which men suffer from vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery, and war, proceed from their despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible."
-- Noah Webster, 1832

"If we and our posterity shall be true to the Christian religion, if we and they shall live always in the fear of God and shall respect His Commandments . . . we may have the highest hopes of the future fortunes of our country . . . But if we and our posterity neglect religious instruction and authority, violate the rules of eternal justice, trifle with the injunctions of morality, and recklessly destroy the political constitution which holds us together, no man can tell how sudden a catastrophe may overwhelm us that shall bury all our glory in profound obscurity."
-- Daniel Webster
(As quoted in "Just What Does America Stand For?" by T. R. Mader)

"It can not be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians, not on religions but on the gospel of Jesus Christ!"
-- Patrick Henry
(As quoted in Abundant Wildlife)

"The highest glory of the American Revolution was this: it connected, in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity."
-- John Adams

"Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty ... of a Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers."
-- Supreme Court Justice (and first Chief Justice) John Jay

"Why then ... should not the Bible regain the place it once held as a school book?"
-- Fisher Ames,The Founding Father who authored the First Amendment
(http://www.lifeandliberty.com/columns/The Myth of Separation.htm)
 

cavehunter

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galenrox said:
Excuse me, but how in the hell is the ACLU attacking religious freedoms? Freedoms meaning what you personally are free to do. They attack people being forced to practice any act of a faith they do not adhere to, such as atheists being forced to participate in prayer in public school. A kid can pray in school as much as s/he wants, and I can promise you the ACLU has no problem with that, it's when a kid is forced to participate in prayer when the kid is a non-believer that the ACLU steps in and solves the problems.

So please, tell me, how in the hell is the ACLU attacking your religious freedom, cause I'm a card carrying member of the ACLU, and the main thing we've been fighting for for the last several years is religious freedom. That means all religions, I'm not sure if you understood that.
The ACLU promotes atheism. At school we have to treat everything as !though there is no God. You may say that atheism is neutral ground among many religions. It is not! It has its own beliefs. Its beliefs are: there is no God, no good or evil so do whatever, and the Big Bang started it all.

The ACLU promotes atheism.
 

shuamort

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cavehunter said:
The ACLU promotes atheism. At school we have to treat everything as !though there is no God. You may say that atheism is neutral ground among many religions. It is not! It has its own beliefs. Its beliefs are: there is no God, no good or evil so do whatever, and the Big Bang started it all.

The ACLU promotes atheism.
No, the ACLU promotes the seperation of church and state and makes sure the government promotes no religions. If you can show me where the ACLU is saying that there is no god, you could make your point valid.
 

cavehunter

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shuamort said:
No, the ACLU promotes the seperation of church and state and makes sure the government promotes no religions. If you can show me where the ACLU is saying that there is no god, you could make your point valid.
What makes me say that is that atheism is the anti-religion. I don't see them separating that from the government. Atheism is not neutral ground like I said before. Look at what the ACLU has tried to changed. The words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance were almost taken out because of this group.

The ACLU has constantly attacked my religion for buying land in central Salt Lake City. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is merely trying to keep the city looking nice and not falling into gang areas. So when they buy land from the city, the ACLU says it is promoting the LDS church. How is that forcing someone to adhere to that religion?

The ACLU thinks that since our government can't have a certain religion it can't have any. You still wouldn't be promoting any religion and making it the government's if you allowed all senators, representatives, and other government officials to live their religion when at work. The ACLU doesn't want that. They interpret that the state shall not promote or demote any religion into separation of church and state. Once people have that on their minds they forget the promote and demote parts. So the ACLU moves in and demotes religion because it forms the separation. They then promote atheism. All things are done in atheism. All government officials must act as though they are atheist. Don't you see what is happening?

The only reason people proclaim atheism is to deny the existence of God so they feel no guilt for their sins. They wish to destroy religion so they don't even have to hear about it.
 
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