The Founding Fathers were Mostly Deists?

I thought this was worthy of an entry…

declaration_of_independence_by_john_trumbull.jpg

I always get a reaction when I hear Christians say things like: “The founding fathers were mostly deists, children of Enlightenment philosophy, and liberals”

A gentleman posted this statement on a blog and I responded:

I mean this respectfully – this is pure historical revisionism…

Here is the truth:

“Among the Delegates (we have the records) to the Constitutional Convention were 28 Episcopalians, 8 Presbyterians, 7 Congregationalists, 2 Lutherans, 2 Dutch Reformed, 2 Methodists, 2 Roman Catholics, 1 unknown, and only 3 deists–Williamson, Wilson, and Franklin (this was during a time when church membership entailed a sworn public confession of biblical faith) Of the 55 Founding Fathers Episcopalians, the Presbyterians, the Congregationalists, and the Dutch Reformed (which make up 45 of the 55) were Calvinists”

http://www.inplainsite.org/html/founding_fathers.html

Of course there were deists at the time, of course there were enlightenment influences – nevertheless most were confessing Christians and Calvinists at that. Even today many of us (including Calvinists) are influenced by the presuppositions of our culture – does that make us less Christian?

How about the men who had a huge influence on our nation, Calvinists like Cotton Mather, Johnathan Edwards, George Whitfield, and Patrick Henry? Have you ever read the Mayflower Compact?

What do you do with men like the influential Calvinist John Witherspoon? “His students included, in addition to a president (Madison – author of the constitution) and vice-president of the United States, nine cabinet officers, twenty-one senators, thirty-nine congressmen, three justices of the Supreme Court, and twelve state governors and many lesser founders. Five of the nine Princeton graduates among the fifty-five members of the Constitutional Convention of 1787 were students of Witherspoon”

http://www.pragmatism.org/american/witherspoon_grads.html

Please don’t accuse me (like other Christians do) of wrapping my Christianity in an “American Flag” No, I am just a thankful to those who have gone before. It was Christianity that gave us the liberty we have today – and for that I am thankful…

Christians of all people should know better, please brother, stop repeating the big liberal lie. (“The founding fathers were mostly deists”)

Lar

“Will Your wonders be made known in the darkness? And Your righteousness in the land of forgetfulness?” Psalm 88:12

Actually, The truth is – The Founding Fathers were “Mostly” Calvinists…

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40 Responses

  1. If this isn’t proof that Christians should keep their children out of the state sponsored schools, I don’t know what is. We have people actually believing this liberal garbage, this historical revisionism, that are now going to seminary to be pastors. Thank God in His wisdom that liberal ideas usually accompany families that only want one or two kids. And the pop culture Christians that don’t care much about the full Gospel believe the same way. So in a generation or two, if we homeschooling Christians and Classical Christian Academy adherents, etc. keep having big families, we can be back on top! 🙂

    Blessing brother,

    kazoo

  2. Kaz,

    “Back on top”

    Amen to that! – That’s if the liberal and gay totalitarians don’t kill us and take our children first…

    May God grant His grace and peace to the faithful Christian remnant (of all stripes) left in this nation.

    Nevertheless His kingdom will prevail!

    Lar

    • I can’t believe we have people believing this conservative garbage: “That’s if the liberal and gay totalitarians don’t kill us and take our children first…”

      Go ahead and home school your children. Teach them creationism and biblical history. Im fine with that – just gives my kids an easier time getting a real education and the real jobs out in the real world.

  3. “We have people actually believing this liberal garbage, this historical revisionism, that are now going to seminary to be pastors”

    Kaz – I know, I’ve seen it first hand (I work at an evangelical seminary)

    Many future pastors believe this liberal historical revisionism, which is why I reacted to it like I did on your blog.

    Lar

  4. Kaz,

    And I am a student at said seminary, and this trend has only intensified over the years there.

    Dave

  5. Dave,

    If you don’t mind my asking, which seminary? I’m in San Diego, and the friend on my blog who espouses this deism stuff goes to Westminster, Escondido.

    kaz

  6. Kaz,

    http://www.tiu.edu/divinity/

    BTW, Dave’s blog is “Leviticus and Stuff” I have a link to it…

    Lar

  7. Great post, thanks.

    The word “patriot” comes from the Latin “patri” meaning father. Thus, there is a sense in which patriotism is obedient to the fifth command.

  8. Ron,

    Neat, I didn’t know that…

    Thank you

    Lar

  9. well done, man

  10. (I wanted to include some of my comments from another blog because they are relevant to my post)

    I was responding to the same gentleman (his comments are in quotes)

    He said:

    “But from what I have learned about the founding fathers, I suspect that if we could talk to them, they’d sound nothing like Calvinists, and everything like the liberals of the social gospel”

    Wow! What a huge assumption. These men were flawed of course – however many were still real Christians see:

    http://www.inplainsite.org/html/quotes1.html

    ____

    He said:

    ” I learned that they were Deists, and from my seminary professors”

    Why don’t you apply the same scrutiny (like you do to the founding fathers) to your contemporary seminary professors? How have they been influenced? What are their presuppositions? Don’t you think they have been influenced by historical revisionism?

    What do you think the difference was between our founders and men like Rousseau, Voltaire, and Robespierre – nothing? What do you think made the French revolution (ending in the reign of terror) and the American one (ending in civility) so different? – I’ll give you a clue: the American one was grounded in the Scottish and English Reformation ie: Calvinism – the French hated the beastly Christianity and wanted to rid themselves of it.

    _____

    He said:

    “our country is founded on Enlightenment principles”

    That is only partially true…

    Here is the truth:

    “Political Science professors at the University of Houston (Lutz and Hyneman – 1984) wondered if there was something unique about the government of the U.S. They gathered 15,000 quotes from the Founders and located where all of them came from. They then boiled that down to 3,154 quotes that had significant impact on the founding of America. It took them 10 years to finish the project, but they found that the three men most quoted by the Founding fathers were Blackstone, Montesquieu, and John Locke. They also found that the Bible was quoted: 4 times more often than Montesquieu, 12 times more often than Blackstone, and 16 times more often than Locke.”

    Additionally, 34% of all quotes were from the Bible, and another 60% of the quotes were from men who were used the Bible to arrive at their conclusions.”

    Lar

  11. This is a very interesting read! In John Trumbulls painting, my friend says the guy seated to the left at table with his hand on a book was a black man. He helped design the layout of Washington DC- on the back of the Two dollar bill he definitley looks black- but on the painting he has been
    “whitened” Looks to me like he has been “blacked out” I am from Detroit and we love conspiracies!
    P.S. you need a better photo with better lighting you would look like Socrates to me

  12. Whole thing is a farce. Franklin apparently joined the Episcopal church a few years before his death. Which would have required a profession of faith. And he is buried in the cemetery of that church. I came across this fact about 6-8 years ago, while reading biographical materials on the founding Fathers. Also, however, Franklin might we have been a member of a conspiracy. After all one biographer located the materials in the British Archives in which he writes to King George III regarding the Treaty of Paris negotiations in process as a spy for the British! One wonders about Franklin. I have read where he was the cause of some poor man’s death and where he might have actually participated in murders in England. There are many strange and unexplained facts in history. Having been trained in Black Hstory (now known as African American History), I learned to do research out side the box. Now I do it in all things. You can surely learn a lot when you refuse to stay with the blinders of those who don’t want you to see the jerk behind the curtain as in the Wizard of Oz. Just consider the Federal Reserve System and that many nations have Federal Reserve Banks, and they are related. One poltician said, nothing happens in public political events by accident. Nw I didn’t say that. A famous politician did over 60 years ago. The same could be said about many of the things that happen in denominations and religious situations. Intellectual history isalso a great preparation for perceiving the depths of Holy Scripture. After all, if the Bible is inspired by an Omniscient God it ought to reflect the wisdom commensurate with such a fact, and, in my opinion, it does. And that means, at the very least, that we might have severe difficulties in grasping and understanding God’s simple but profound approach to communicating His truth to us.

  13. Franklin wasn’t a Christian, but he wasn’t a Deist either

    About the first of March Franklin’s pain ceased, and he wrote his famous letter to Ezra Stiles, president of Yale. “You desire to know something of my religion. It is the first time I have been questioned upon it. But I cannot take your curiosity amiss, and shall endeavour in a few words to gratify it. Here is my creed. I believe in one God, Creator of the universe. That He governs it by His providence. That He ought to be worshipped. That the most acceptable service we render Him is doing good to His other children. That the soul of man is immortal, and will be treated with justice in another life respecting its conduct in this. These I take to be the fundamental principles of all sound religion, and I regard them as you do in whatever sect I meet with them.

    “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; though 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. I see no harm, however, in its being believed, if that belief has the good consequence, as probably it has, of making his doctrines more respected and better observed; especially as I do not perceive that the Supreme [Being] takes it amiss, by distinguishing the unbelievers in His government of the world with any peculiar marks of His displeasure.
    Benjamin Franklin The Viking Press, October 1938. p789 This is the classic Franklin biography

  14. Larry

    This is a great book. Jefferson wasn’t a Deist either, Dr Jones’s book Thomas Jefferson: Man & Myth is here. If you have any copies of the The Journal of Christian Reconstruction laying around get ahold of vol III no. 1 Summer, 1976 Symposium on Christianity and the American Revolution. The enitre volume is great . Dr Jones wrote the 1st article in it “The Christian Roots of the war for Independence. Also, Demar hopes to publish the same author’s dissertation, Christianity in the Constitution.

  15. Sorry, I meant to include M E Bradford’s A worthy Company also

  16. Thanks Jerry for the suggestions & thanks for stopping by.

  17. Greetings Larry,

    I found your blog through Ironink and saw this interesting post of yours. Have you ever read “The Faiths of Our Founding Fathers,” by David Holmes? I would be interested to read your comments on it if you are so inclined. He makes the case that men like Washington and John Adams were most likely deists despite their membership and regular attendance at church. He draws the conclusion from their use of language (preferring terms enjoined by deists rather than more strictly Christian terms) and by evidence that Washington and Adams declined to participate in Communion. He may make other arguments as well, but I can’t recall them off the top of my head. He does identify some orthodox Christians as well (Samuel Adams, Elias Boudinot, and John Jay).

    ~Joshua

  18. Hi Joshua thanks for stopping by.

    No I haven’t read it.

    Modern historians like to use the term “deists” with all its modern definitions. In my opinion we would be better to call these founders non-trinitarians who ascribed to christian ethics and morality. How else do you explain quotes (from the so called deists) like:

    John Adams:
    “ The general principles upon which the Fathers achieved independence were the general principals 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 attributes of God.”and “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

    George Washington:
    “To the distinguished character of patriot, it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of Christian” he also spoke of Christ as “the divine Author of our blessed religion”

    Benjamin Franklin:
    “ God governs in the affairs of man. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid? We have been assured in the Sacred Writings that except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it. I firmly believe this. I also believe that, without His concurring aid, we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel”

    Thomas Jefferson:
    “Of all the systems of morality, ancient or modern which have come under my observation, none appears to me so pure as that of Jesus.”

    Some orthodox Christians? No most of the founders were orthodox Christians as I mentioned above.

    Lar

  19. Joshua, Here is a video on Washington’s faith:

  20. Thanks for the comments and link Larry!

    Woe to those who neglect the original sources and fail to question how others are defining them.

  21. Larry,

    I like my Ironink friend Joshua followed your link also

    The following, on Franklin, is from The Christian Life & Character of the Civil Institutions of the United States by B F Morris, pp 131-134. It is the book that DeMar sells. Read what Franklin says as he works out God’s providences in his mind. This is no desitic statement at all.

    A LECTURE ON THE PROVIDENCE OF GOD IN THE GOVERNMENT OF THE WORLD.
    BY BENJAMIN FRANKLIN.

    I propose at this time to discourse on the providence of God in the government of the world. It might be judged an affront should I go about to prove this first principle, the existence of a Deity, and that he is the creator of the universe, for that all mankind, in all ages, have agreed in. I shall, therefore, proceed to observe that he must be a being of infinite wisdom, as appears in his admirable order and disposition of things,—whether we consider the heavenly bodies, the stars and planets, and their wonderful regular motions ; or this earth, compounded of such an excellent mixture of all elements; or the admirable structure of animate bodies, of such infinite variety, and yet every one adapted to its nature and way of life it is to be placed in, whether on earth, in the air, or in the water, and so exactly that the highest and most exquisite human reason cannot find a fault and say that this would have been better so, or in such a manner ; which whoever considers attentively and thoroughly will be astonished and swallowed up in admiration.

    That the Deity is a being of great goodness, appears in his giving life to so many creatures, each of which acknowledges it a benefit by their unwillingness to leave it ; in his providing plentiful sustenance for them all, and making those things most useful most common and easy to be had ; such as water, necessary for almost every creature to drink ; air, without which few could subsist; the inexpressible benefits of light and sunshine to almost all animals in general ; and to men the most useful vegetables, such as corn, the most useful of metals, as iron, &c., the most useful of animals, as horses, oxen, and sheep, he has made the easiest to raise or procure in quantity or numbers ; each of which par-ticulars, if considered seriously and carefully, would fill us with the high¬est love and affection.

    That he is a being of infinite power, appears in his being able to form and compound such vast masses of matter as this earth, the sun, and innumerable stars and planets, and give them such prodigious motion ; and yet so to govern them in their greatest velocity as that they shall not fly out of their appointed bounds, nor dash one against another for their mutual destruction. But ’tis easy to conceive of his power when we are convinced of his infinite knowledge and wisdom ; for if weak and foolish creatures as we are, by knowing the nature of a few things, can produce such wonderful effects, such as, for instance, by knowing the nature only of nitre and sea-salt mixed we can make a water which will dissolve the hardest iron, and by adding one ingredient more can make another water which will dissolve gold and make the most solid bodies fluid ; and by knowing the nature of saltpetre, sul¬phur, and charcoal, those mean ingredients mixed, we can shake the air in the most terrible manner, destroy ships, houses, and men at a dis¬tance, and in an instant overthrow cities, and rend rocks into a thou¬sand pieces, and level the highest mountains ; what power must He possess who not only knows the nature of every thing in the universe, but can make things of new natures with the greatest ease at his pleasure ?

    Agreeing, then, that the world was at first made by a being of infinite wisdom, goodness, and power, which being we call God, the state of things existing at this time must be in one of these four following man-ners, viz. ;

    1. Either he unchangeably decreed and appointed every thing that comes to pass, and left nothing to the course of nature, nor allowed any creature free agency.

    2. Without decreeing any thing, he left all to general nature and the events of free agency in his creatures, which he never alters or inter¬rupts ; or,

    3. He decreed some things unchangeably, and left others to general nature and the events of free agency, which also he never alters or interrupts ; or,

    4. He sometimes interferes by his particular providence, and sets aside the effects which would otherwise have been produced by any of the above causes.

    I shall endeavor to show the first three suppositions to be inconsistent with the common light of reason, and that the fourth is most agreeable to it, and therefore most probably true.

    In the first place : If you say he has in the beginning uncnangeably decreed all things, and left nothing to nature or free agency, three strange conclusions will necessarily follow. I. That he is now no more a God. It is true, indeed, before he made such unchangeable decrees, he was a being of power almighty ; but now, having determined every thing, he has divested himself of all further power ; he has done, and has no more to do ; he has tied up his hands, and has no greater power than an idol of wood or stone ; nor can there be any more reason for praying to him or worshipping of him than of such an idol, for the worshippers can never be better for such a worship. Then, 2. He has decreed some things contrary to the very notion of a wise and good being; such as that some of his creatures or children shall do all manner of injury to others, and bring every kind of evil upon them without cause ; and that some of them shall even blaspheme their Creator in the most horrible manner ; and, which is still more highly absurd, that he has decreed that the greatest part of mankind shall in all ages put up their earnest prayers to him both in private and publicly in great assemblies, when all the while he had so determined their fate that he could not possibly grant them any benefits on that account, nor could such prayers be in any way available. Why then should he ordain them to make such prayers? It cannot be imagined that they are of any service to him. Surely it is not more difficult to believe that the world was made by a God of wood or stone than that the God who made the world should be such a God as this.

    In the second place, if you say he has decreed nothing, but left all things to general nature and the events of free agency, which he never alters or interrupts, then these conclusions will follow : he must either utterly hide himself from the works of his own hands, and take no notice at all of their proceedings natural or moral, or he must be, as undoubtedly he is, a spectator of every thing, for there can be no reason or ground to suppose the first. I say there can be no reason to imagine he would make so glorious a universe merely to abandon it. In this case imagine the Deity looking on and beholding the ways of his creatures. Some heroes in virtue he sees incessantly endeavoring the good of others ; they labor through vast difficulties, they suffer incredible hardships and miseries to accomplish this end, in hopes to please a good God, and attain his favors, which they earnestly pray for. What answer can he make, then, within Himself but this? Take the reward chance may give you: I do not intermeddle in these affairs. He sees others doing all manner of evil, and bringing by their actions misery and de-struction among mankind : what can he say here, but this ?—.1:f chance rewards, I shall not punish you. I am not to be concerned. He sees the just, the innocent, and the beneficent in the hands of the wicked and violent oppressor, and when the good are on the brink of destruction they pray to him, Thou, 0 God, art mighty and powerful to save: help us, we beseech thee! He answers, I cannot help you; it is none of my business, nor do I at all regard those things. How is it possible to believe a wise and infinitely good being can be delighted in this circumstance, and be utterly unconcerned what becomes of the beings and things he has created ? for thus, we must believe him idle and inactive, and that his glorious attributes of power, wisdom, and goodness are no more to be made use of.

    In the third place. If you say he has decreed some things and left others to the events of nature and free agency, which he never alters nor interrupts, you un-God him, if I may be allowed the expression : he has nothing to do ; he can cause us neither good nor harm ; he is no more to be regarded than a lifeless image, than Dagon or Baal, or Bel and the Dragon, and, as in both the other suppositions foregoing, that being which from its power is most able to act, from its wisdom knows best how to act, and from its goodness would always certainly act best, is in this opinion supposed to become the most inactive of all beings, and remain everlastingly idle, an absurdity which, when considered, or but barely seen, cannot be swallowed without doing the greatest violence to common reason and all the faculties of the understanding.

    We are then necessarily driven to the fourth supposition, that the Deity sometimes interferes by his particular providence, and sets aside the events which would otherwise have been produced by the course of nature or by free agency of men ; and this is perfectly agreeable with what we ean know of his attributes and perfections. But, as some may doubt whether it is possible there should be such a thing as free agency in creatures, I shall just offer one short argument on that account, and proceed to show how the duty of religion necessarily follows a belief of a Providence. You acknowledge that God is infinitely powerful, wise, and good, and also a free agent, and you will not deny that he has com¬municated to us a part of his wisdom, power, and goodness,—that is, he has made us in some degree wise, potent, and good. And is it then impossible for him to communicate any part of his freedom, and make us also in some degree free ? Is even his infinite power sufficient for this ? I should be glad to hear what reason any man can give for thinking in that manner. It is sufficient for me to show that it is not impossible, and no man, I think, can show it is improbable. Much more might he offered to demonstrate clearly that men are free agents and accountable for their actions.

    Lastly. If God does not sometimes interfere by his providence, it is either because he cannot or because he will not_ Which of these positions will you choose ? There is a righteous nation grievously op¬pressed by a cruel tyrant: they earnestly entreat God to deliver them. If you say he cannot, you deny his infinite power, which you at first acknowledged. If you say he will not, you must directly deny his infinite goodness. You are of necessity obliged to allow that it is highly rea¬sonable to believe a Providence, because it is highly absurd to believe otherwise.

    Now, if it is unreasonable to suppose it out of the power of the Deity to help and favor us particularly, or that we are out of his hearing and notice, or that good actions do not procure more of his favor than ill ones, then I conclude that believing a Providence, we have the founda¬tion of all true religion ; for we should love and revere that Deity for his goodness, and thank him for his benefits ; we should adore him for his wisdom, fear him for his power, and pray to him for his favor and protection. And this religion will be a powerful regulator of our actions, give us peace and tranquillity in our own minds, and render us bene-volent, useful, and beneficial to others.

    The 1st quote I posted here, the quote below this on Franklin, was Franklin from his death bed. He wanted it to be a private statement because he admitted to not being a Christian but he also told the truth about his worldview just as he did in the lecture above. I should have included this with it but here is the remainder of franklin’s statement to Ezra Stiles from his deathbed.

    I shall only add, respecting myself, that, having experienced the goodness of that Being in conducting me prosperously through a long life, I have no doubt of its continuance in the next, without the smallest conceit of meriting it. . . . I confide that you will not expose me to criticism and censure by publishing any part of this communication to you. I have ever let others enjoy their religious sentiments, without reflecting on them for those that appeared to me unsupportable and even absurd. All sects here, and we have a great variety, have experienced my good will in assisting them with subscriptions for building their new places of worship; and, as I never opposed any of their doctrines, I hope to go out of the world in peace with thera all.” (63) In these tolerant words a great pagan sceptic showed his graceful consideration for the rituals of his time, as Socrates on his deathbed had remembered that he owed a sacrificial cock to Esculapius.

    The truth is Franklin was no deist. A deistic worldview is one with no truth, irrational, kind of like atheism because deism posits that there is no revelation from God thru the Scriptures, just natural law (Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary). This is just not true about most of these men. Franklin wasn’t saved but his worldview was a product of the Reformation. That God rules. Now, lest I contradict myself, I think franklin was trying to work out the difference between hyper-Calvinism and Calvinism in the lecture above but he believed that God intervenes in the affairs of men. He also believed that God does judge.

    There are many interesting quotes from Jefferson

  22. sorry, I didn’t mean atheists hold natural law as a tenet, but just that athieists have to hold, when pushed to their logical end, that there is no truth or an ethical standard. Which is why an atheist should have no problems with the likes of Hitler.

  23. I am a senior in high school who is very active when it comes to politics and this subject has had a huge impact on my home life as well as in my personal life with friends. Larry i particularly like your comment about the gay facitsts im a catholic and being in public schools im around them everyday.

  24. Karson, Thanks for dropping by!

    If you really want to get a better handle on both the history and the ideology (theology) of this subject I recommend two fantastic books by RJ Rushdoony:

    http://www.amazon.com/Nature-American-System-Rousas-Rushdoony/dp/1879998270

    http://www.amazon.com/This-Independent-Republic-Rousas-Rushdoony/dp/1879998246

    Hope this helps!

    Lar

    Since you are a HS student and costs might be a factor, there are many older used versions of both books available for even better costs; use DealOz to search by title and author: http://www.dealoz.com/

  25. Oh well, guess we just have to shrug off these rude people and deal with it. I try to not let it get to me.

  26. Although it is true that most of the founding fathers were Christians in their own personal lives, almost all of them were Secularists when it came to government. That is a fact that I think most Chrisitians today ignore. Your personal salvation is YOUR responsibility, not the responsibility of your Mayor, Governer, Congressmen, Senators, President or Supreme Court Justices. When Christians try to force their religious ideals and beliefs on the rest of this country, they are spitting in the face of our first pilgrims and founding fathers. Freedom OF Religion requires Freedom FROM Religion. As the religious majority in this country, it is your responsibility to make sure the minority isn’t oppressed by the tyranny of the majority.

    Please keep your religion for church on Sunday. Leave it at home when you vote on the first Tuesday of November each year. I know it can be very hard to do sometimes, but patriotism isn’t always easy.

  27. Separation?

    You show forth your ignorance – first of all the Constitution does not say anything about separation of church and state:

    It says:

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    You need to understand that the first amendment is the an ideological child and descendant of of the Reformation especially John Calvin . Our first amendment presupposed the puritan view (which had a long history in America before 1789) of the God ordained “spheres” of government.

    See: http://www.theopedia.com/John_Calvin#Calvin.27s_influence

    and

    https://larrytemple.wordpress.com/2008/01/04/jurisdictional-responsibilities-of-church-vs-the-state/

    You also fail to realize that religion and politics are completely inseparable, both are rooted in ethics – all ethics are derived from some presupposed value system which is informed by ones religion or similar pseudo religious philosophy. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secular_humanism#Legal_mentions_in_the_United_States

    So are all laws – laws are ethical in nature. Laws say this is right in society and this is wrong. Therefore it is impossible for anyone, yourself, christian or anyone else for that matter to

    “Leave it at home when you vote on the first Tuesday of November each year”

    You say:

    “it is your responsibility to make sure the minority isn’t oppressed by the tyranny of the majority.”

    I say yes I agree – that is why I continue to vote Christian (at least for those I believe are good ones) because the only way to insure Liberty for all is to advance Christianity. If you study history the political liberties we have today are directly because of Christianity.

    John Adams our second president said:

    “We have no government armed with the power capable of contending with human passions, unbridled by morality and true religion. Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.'”

    • I agree that all laws are ethical in nature, but I disagree that all ethics and morality come from religion. Example: nowhere in the Bible does it explicitly say that it is a sin to have sexual relations with a child. The only prerequisite is that you’re supposed to married first. Yet in our society, any level headed person would tell you that is a very bad thing to do. But by The Bible’s example you might say it is ethical:

      “Behold, these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against the LORD in the matter of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the LORD. Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.” (Numbers 31:16-18)

      There are many examples of Biblical law that are seen as immoral in our current times, such as stoning disobedient children to death, taking slaves (as long as they are not the same nationality as you), etc. And don’t give me the old “The Old Testament is no longer applicable” line. Jesus himself said that the law will last until the end of days:

      “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest part or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law, until all things have taken place.” (Matthew 5:17 NAB)

      “It is easier for Heaven and Earth to pass away than for the smallest part of the letter of the law to become invalid.” (Luke 16:17 NAB)

      These quotes are New Testament quotes saying the Old Testament laws are to be honored until the end of days. Better repent for all the bacon you eat, footballs you’ve touched, eyeglasses you wear, and cotton-poly blend clothing you have ever worn.

      Moving on now… Actually, I am glad you quoted the first amendment. I interpret that to be exactly what I mean. In my words:
      I have no right to say you can’t worship how you want, and you have no right to say I must worship any specific figure or set of religious laws.

      Thomas Jefferson had this to say about the first amendment:

      “Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,”

      Thomas Jefferson and George Washington both believed the USA was to be religiously neutral. In 1797, the United States Senate ratified a treaty with Tripoli that stated in Article 11:

      “As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; …”
      (I could not have asked for a better quote)

      This treaty was drafted by George Washington’s administration with Thomas Jefferson’s help. They claim it becomes, with the Constitution, “the supreme Law of the Land” — as Article VI-2 of the US Constitution says it must. So – it is USA law that America is NOT founded, in any sense, on the Christian religion. Also, Article VI says:

      “No religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”

      So when you say that you vote Christian, I think that is disingenuous to the values that our country was SUPPOSED to be built upon.

      In 2008, a census was created that showed how Americans identify themselves as far as religion. The results are:

      Christian: 76%
      Non-Religious (Atheist/Agnostic): 15%
      Don’t Know, Refuse to Reply: 5.2%
      Non-Christian Religious (Judaism, Islam, etc.): 3.9%

      That being said, the religious demographics of Congress do NOT reflect the American population. There are NO known Atheist or Agnostic members of Congress. That means 15% of our country is not being represented at all in our legislature. THAT is the tyranny of the majority that I refer to. Unfortunately, America seems to ignore the fact that religion is not supposed to be a requirement for our Representatives.

      Now let me tell you why I am so adamant about this subject. I grew up in a Christian household with strong Christian and family values. To this day, most of my family is Christian and we are very close as a family – both immediate and extended. I am Agnostic now. Why am I no longer Christian? Since Kindergarten (5 years old) I have had several crushes, and fallen desperately in love with many boys I have known. I have never had feelings for any girl that go beyond friendship. I know that I not only did not make a choice to be gay, but that I COULD NOT have made a choice to be gay at such a young age – seeing as how it took until 9th grade for me to even realize that my feelings of love are what society calls “gay”.

      Why does this tie into separation of church and state? Because I want to have the same benefits with my future family as any heterosexual family enjoys. This means tax benefits, hospital visitation rights of my spouse, our future kids having two legally recognized parents that can visit them in the hospital and make decisions for them (legal, educational, etc.). I do not have these rights at the moment and I think that is largely a product of what I call the “Party of Tyrannical Christians” (PTC) in this country that want us to be a Theocracy.

      Separation of church and state is so important in this debate because the most common reason for people to oppose same-sex marriage is The Bible (Specifically, Lev 18:22). All scientific, empirical research done on the subject shows that LGBT people have not made a conscious decision to have the feelings they have. Some studies show that the cause of homosexuality may be genetic, others environmental factors – most studies say a mix of both is the most likely cause. There is no scientific evidence to support the claim that homosexuality deteriorates the fabric of societies. There is no scientific evidence that homosexuals are more prone to child molestation. Yet these are all examples used to deny us our basic right to choose our own spouse based on love, affection and commitment – exactly what you need to have a healthy family. This issue is just one example of religion being written into our government’s laws.

      Lastly, if God were to make a country on this Earth do you really think it would be a democracy? Democracy was a philosophy first drawn up by the Greeks (heathens in God’s eyes). Every “Kingdom of Heaven”, so to speak, in The Bible was either a Monarchy or a Theocracy. So did God learn something from the ancestors of Christ’s killers? Or are you mistaken when you say this country was founded by God to be under Christian rule? I think the latter.

  28. Separation, Thank you for your respectful response.

    Okay you have written a lot here that needs to be addressed, you have raised worldview issues in the area of theology, philosophy, ethics and history. Over the next couple days, I will deal with each and every one of your points one by one, listing point by point each issue. I ask you to respond in like manner to each point, so if I raise POINT 1 I asked you to respond to point 1, to point 2 etc, etc, – this way we can deal with each issue one by one.

    You say:

    I agree that all laws are ethical in nature, but I disagree that all ethics and morality come from religion. Example: nowhere in the Bible does it explicitly say that it is a sin to have sexual relations with a child. The only prerequisite is that you’re supposed to married first. Yet in our society, any level headed person would tell you that is a very bad thing to do. But by The Bible’s example you might say it is ethical:

    okay 3 points:

    POINT 1:

    So we are agreed that all laws are ethical in nature…

    You realize what this means; that there is no such thing as ethical or moral neutrality on any issue. Again, if all laws are ethical there is no NEUTRALITY, neutrality is impossible because somebody’s ethics or morality gets encoded into law. Keep this in mind because I‘m going to continue to hammer it – no ethical or moral neutrality when it comes to law. (prove me wrong)

    Differences in presupposed ethical value systems will manifest different law systems. For instance the basic assumptions or presuppositions of a Christian majority will manifest in certain kinds of laws (which is why there were sodomy laws in this country until very recently), if there is a Muslim majority, or a Buddhist majority, or secular humanist majority ,or even a homosexual majority, each one respectively both in individuals and majorities will manifest differing ideas on what laws should be. A good contemporary example would be how homosexuals are pushing for the enactment of certain hate crime legislation that would punish the speech of certain individuals, for example see here.

    This is important, I want to keep you consistent throughout this discussion, I will continue to come back to it time and again to keep you consistent in your thinking; there is no such thing as NEUTRALITY when it comes to law.

    Now given this fact, and you might not realize it, you want to shove your morality (or ethics) down the throat of others, myself included (which is what your discussion on my blog is all about). You want to call us as you put it, the “Party of Tyrannical Christians (PTC)” – I would turn it around and call the “homosexual activist crowd” the party of fascist homosexuals (PFH) who want to en-codify their morality into law, and to dictate Christians on issues of conscience. As an honest Christian I will admit that’s what I’m trying to do, I do it sincerely because I believe that is what is best for a good and just society… your problem is that your just blind to the fact that you and your (PFH) are doing the EXACT SAME THING whether you want to admit it or not!

    POINT 2

    If ethics and morality don’t come from religion or pseudo-religion as I have defined it, like in secular humanism, then what pray tell does it come from?

    Do ethics and morality come from the “majority’s view”?

    What if the 51% majority say it’s moral and ethical to eliminate inferior non-Aryan races like they did in Nazi Germany would that make it ethically right just because the majority says so?

    So again where can ethics and morality come from? I have an answer, Thomas Jefferson had an answer when he wrote those famous first 2 paragraphs in the Declaration of Independence, do you? Please explain.

    POINT 3

    As for sexual relations with a child. Now I’m not sure if you’re using old tired arguments that the homosexual crowd likes to make or if you are actually that juvenile in your thinking (I say that respectfully as I can). Let’s do a little logic;

    God says:

    -no male to male sex
    -no female to female sex
    -no human to animal sex
    -no sex outside of marriage

    Do you think that those Biblical laws didn’t apply to children as well as adults?

    Keep in mind when God gave His laws to His people the Jews, those laws (unless the distinction was made by God himself in His law) applied to both children and adults. Both Jewish written and oral tradition testify of this simple truth.

    Now lets do a little bit of deductive reasoning, I will help you:

    -no (adult) male to (child) male sex
    -no (adult) female to (child) female sex
    -no human (child) to animal sex
    -no (adult to child) sex outside of marriage

    (Young people could marry with the consent of their parents which would be very rare and probably didn’t exist for children under the age of 12 – Marriage would be the only legitimate sex, period)

    Now that logic was easy wasn’t it?

    Maybe I’m assuming but I would be careful not to repeat other people’s arguments just because they sound like good arguments (I’ve heard this silly child-sex argument before) think through the arguments logically yourself first so you‘re not self deceived.

    So I guess that Christians, Jews, and the Bible are pretty “levelheaded” (your words) after all because the Bible teaches that child sex is not only un-ethical, it is a heinous sin (sanctioning the death penalty) against a holy and righteous God.

    By the way, what do you think influenced the West (where did it get its moral presuppositions) that adult-child sex (and fornication, adultery, and homosexuality for that matter) are wrong? I can give you a hint if you’d like…

    You realize in some cultures (non-christian) in the ancient world, in certain tribal communities, and in contemporary sub-cultures, practices like pederasty (adult-child sex) and polyamory were and are morally normal and are protected (and thus encouraged) by law.

    more to come…

  29. […] Comments larrytemple on The Founding Fathers were Most…Seperation of Church… on The Founding Fathers were Most…larrytemple on The Founding […]

  30. Hi Larry,
    I am going to be very busy with work the next few days, so I don’t when I am going to be able to get back to you. But I will definately continue this discussion as time allows.

    I also just wanted to say thank you for discussing this topic with me. This topic has been on my mind a lot lately, and it is hard to find somebody that is knowledgable and willing to debate. I have found that I learn much more about issues if I can find somebody on the opposing side that can really explain their point of view and why they feel that way. It is also very important to find somebody that can point out where I wrong when I am. This helps me refine my position, and also allows me to explore the opposing point of view more in my own mind when my point of view is lacking in certain areas. I don’t expect either of us to submit completely to the other’s view, but hopefully we can both end up somewhere closer to the middle. So again, thank you for your time and your mind. I will continue the discussion when I can.

    -Jake

    • Jake,

      Thank you for your willingness to be open and have an honest dialogue!

      This is a bit refreshing because there are those who practice a kind of “hit-and-run” nastiness on blogs who aren’t really interested in discussing topics openly and honestly (in the search for understanding and truth), but rather just name call and not defend their reasoning’s.

      That said, I honestly don’t mind a good sharp polemical discussion that might include name-calling, I just desire the person to actually be intellectual about it.

      I too am pretty busy these days (especially if the weather gets bitterly cold or snowy) so I guess we can take this in stride. One thing you can do if you have more time “to read than to write” (that’s if you’re like me) is to read over a couple times what I’m saying slowly and carefully really thinking through the issues, That will give you some real time to chew on what I’m saying before you formulate a response, that way it won’t be reactive. I will do the same.

      Keep in mind what you’ll notice about me is often rather than picking at the conclusions people make about such and such topic, I really like getting down to the very ideas, assumptions, and presuppositions that a person’s conclusions are built on – really getting down to the roots of the tree (the ideas) as I like to call it, rather than trying to pick off the fruit of the tree (the conclusions) so I encourage you to take your time.

      I too like to “explore the opposing point of view” for similar reasons. I agree that polemics often sharpen our minds rather than dull them. We though probably won’t necessarily find a “middle ground” but we might through dialogue gain a deeper respect and understanding for those we so bitterly disagree with.

      Grace and peace and Merry Christmas to you and yours,

      Lar

  31. I will address your points, even though in the end they are meaningless, and I will tell you why at the end.

    Point 1:
    Neutrality in Law: Any civil rights or anti-discrimination law is an attempt to put neutrality into law. It makes it a law that when hiring an employee, firing an employee, renting a house, giving a loan, etc, you must be neutral to the person’s creed, race, gender, sexual orientation, etc. There – I proved you wrong.

    Point 2:
    You say:

    “Do ethics and morality come from the “majority’s view”?

    What if the 51% majority say it’s moral and ethical to eliminate inferior non-Aryan races like they did in Nazi Germany would that make it ethically right just because the majority says so?”

    I say thank you for proving my point. Just because the majority of this country is Christian DOES NOT make them correct. The fact that the majority of this country disapproves of same-sex marriage DOES NOT make them correct. That is why I personally believe that gay marriage should be a Supreme Court issue, not a majority vote issue. Civil Rights were a Supreme Court issue because there was so much wide spread racism in the general populous. Gay marriage is analogous to this.

    Point 3:
    You say:

    “Now lets do a little bit of deductive reasoning, I will help you:

    -no (adult) male to (child) male sex
    -no (adult) female to (child) female sex
    -no human (child) to animal sex
    -no (adult to child) sex outside of marriage”

    Yup, okay. So it is still fine in God’s eyes to have sex with a child, no matter the age, as long as you are married to them. History shows that people of that time had no problem in wedding their 10 year old virgin daughters to rich old men. Christians today would never do such a thing, but the Bible condones it and that is the point.

    Also, where in the Bible does it say no female to female sex? I think I missed that one…

    So – Why is all of this worthless in the end? Because of this:

    “As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; …”

    In the end, your personal opinion on the subject is null in a court of law because prior case history has already determined that the Government of the USA is NOT Christian. It is USA LAW, Larry, that the USA is not Christian. Do you need me to say that again so it sinks in? USA is not, in ANY sense, founded on the Christian religion. Done. End of Discussion.

    You’re Christian-Ideal government is illegal in the current USA. If you want to clear this up any further, just take it to court – they will tell you the same thing, as they are required to by law.

  32. Point 1 – So your saying personal or religious “liberty” (if you understand what the I mean by the word liberty) doesn’t matter?

    Point 2 – I don’t give a rat what contemporary activist courts have determined, they often have contradicted past and previous court rulings, their activist decisions don’t always make something morally right. Remember Nuremberg http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judges%27_Trial?

    Point 3 – You honestly do not know the scriptures very well:

    First of all “tolerance” isn’t always a virtue (Jesus’s words): http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation%202:18-29&version=NIV

    Tolerance to wickedness (as it is biblically defined) is considered wickedness itself!

    As for female to female sex:
    http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans%201:23-27&version=NKJV

    You say

    “History shows that people of that time had no problem in wedding their 10 year old virgin daughters to rich old men.”

    This is just rhetorical nonsense, maybe it would be tolerated in Islam or by someone who was very wicked and greedy (which the Bible over and over again thunderously condemns).

    Are you really trying to tell me that in such a family culture as ancient Israel was and contemporary orthodox Judaism is today, that an orthodox pious Jew would do such wickedness and that the elders or Sanhedrin would have consented? Condemnation for this kind of “sexual immorality by the greedy” was presupposed given the nature of their law system and would have been seen for exact what it was (given that they had such strict laws governing sexual conduct, laws that sanctioned the death penalty). Maybe you don’t know an orthodox Rabbi but I suspect he would say the same.

  33. OK – Point 4:

    You say:

    So when you say that you vote Christian, I think that is disingenuous to the values that our country was SUPPOSED to be built upon.

    and

    You’re Christian-Ideal government is illegal in the current USA.

    That would be most surprising to many of our founders as well as to many others throughout our storied history:

    https://larrytemple.wordpress.com/2008/08/23/patrick-henry-on-christian-america/
    please make sure to read all of this one: http://www.wallbuilders.com/LIBissuesArticles.asp?id=23909
    Here are a few more:
    http://www.earlyamerica.com/earlyamerica/firsts/thanksgiving/thankstext.html
    http://www.earlyamerica.com/earlyamerica/milestones/paris/text.html
    http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/benfranklin.htm
    http://undergod.procon.org/viewresource.asp?resourceID=000069

    A Christian America goes back a lot longer as well:

    http://www.pilgrimhall.org/compact.htm

    By the way, why do you think US Presidents took (and still do) their “Oath of office” on a Christian Bible? (I’ll give you a hint: we traditionally are and have been a Christian nation/people) “Secular” nations don’t take their “oaths” on a Christian Bible.

    I hope you don’t believe this is all just right-wing propaganda, right-wing bias, and that there is no such thing as an honest “conservative” historian who tries his best to be objective with the facts of history (hopefully you don’t believe that only the left has the corner on “true objectivity”).

    The reason there is a mix of quotes from our founders (ones we each quote) Is that “enlightenment libertarians” and the then “conservative libertarian Christians” like Presbyterians, Anglicans, Lutherans, Baptists and others worked together and fought for independence and joined together in forming our current form of Government (here is an outstanding piece of research on the subject) which is somewhat the point of this original post titled “The Founding Fathers were Mostly Deists?”.

    In my humble opinion your arguments would actually be better grounded if you just said that we are a “post- Christian” nation (like all most all of Europe) – on that I would be more inclined agree with you… that it (my Christian-Ideal government) is virtually almost illegal and almost been eradicated.

  34. Larry

    Thanks for the forfreedomssake link

  35. YOU ROCK!!!

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