April 28, 2009
Christianity and the founding fathers.
There's something I've heard quite often, since high school actually, from teachers (one in particular), friends, family, co-workers, politicians, and all of them have one thing in common: they're religious. But what is it that they keep repeating, with absolutely no basis in fact, quite the opposite actually?
"This country was founded on Christian values." There are many variations to the exact words they use, but the meaning is the same. Even those that claim, "This country was founded on the freedom of religion," who would actually call their children morons if they became Wiccan (though they would be) or tell them they're disappointed when they find that their children are atheist. What they really mean to say is that you're free to be Christian.
But how did we come to believe that the founding fathers ever cared enough about Christianity to leave England and start their own colonies? Well, I'm not sure, but one thing I'm sure about is that I can prove to you that you're full of shit. Here goes.
The men responsible for building the foundation of the United States had little use for Christianity, and many were strongly opposed to it. Hell, the Declaration of Independence should be proof enough, considering the power of governments up to that point had been based on divine right, dictated by God. Thomas Jefferson slapped God in the face with that one. Or how about the fact that the words "Jesus Christ, Christianity, Bible, and God" are never once mentioned anywhere in the Constitution?
Everyone's familiar with Jefferson's "All men are created equal. They are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights." That's seems odd coming from a man who also once said, "I do not find in orthodox Christianity one redeeming feature." Jefferson was condemning the practice of slavery in the colonies when he actually wrote, "All men are created equal and independent. From that equal creation they derive rights inherent and inalienable," before Congress changed it to increase its religious overtones.
Best of all, consider this: if indeed the members of the First Continental Congress were all Bible-believing, God-fearing men, would there ever have been a revolution at all?
"For rebellion as is the sin of witchcraft." 1 Samuel, 15:23
Though not a founding father, he is widely received as the second greatest American president, Abraham Lincoln may have well been the most against Christianity. Lincoln's first law partner, John T. Stuart, said of him: "He was an avowed and open infidel, and sometimes bordered on atheism. He went further against Christian beliefs and doctrines and principles than any man I have ever heard." Lincoln himself once said, "The Bible is not my book, nor Christianity my profession."
So, the next time you feel like changing history, try telling the truth instead. This country was founded on freedom, not religion. This isn't an attack on the religious, just the ignorant, and their content to be. I'll leave you with quotes on religion and Christianity from some of the "Christian" founding fathers:
"Lighthouses are more helpful than churches." -Benjamin Franklin
"In the affairs of the world, men are saved, not by faith, but by the lack of it." -Benjamin Franklin
"The purpose of separation of church and state is to keep forever from these shores the ceaseless strife that has soaked the soil of Europe in blood for centuries." -James Madison, 1803 letter objecting use of gov. land for churches
"Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise." -James Madison, letter to Wm. Bradford, April 1, 1774
"As I understand the Christian religion, it was, and is, a revelation. But how has it happened that millions of fables, tales, legends, have been blended with both Jewish and Christian revelation that have made them the most bloody religion that ever existed?" -John Adams, letter to F.A. Van der Kamp, Dec. 27, 1816
"This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it." -John Adams
"Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and torturous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness, with which more than half of 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 mankind." -Thomas Paine
"The study of theology, as it stands in the Christian churches, is the study of nothing; it is founded on nothing; it rests on no principles; it proceeds by no authority; it has no data; it can demonstrate nothing; and it admits of no conclusion." -Thomas Paine