Sunday, September 2, 2007

Secularists distortions never end...again

Bloggers, marvel at this quote:

A reader skeptical of this theory asked whether Adams believed the Bible was errant or man’s reason was penultimate before the 1800s when he resumed his correspondence with Jefferson. The answer is yes. I’ve written about it here. In 1785, Adams wrote:

What suspicions of interpolation, and indeed fabrication, might not be confuted if we had the originals! In an age or in ages when fraud, forgery, and perjury were considered as lawful means of propagating truth by philosophers, legislators, and theologians, what may not be suspected?
– John Adams, marginal note in John Disney’s Memoirs (1785) of Arthur Sykes. Haraszti, Prophets of Progress, 296. Taken from James H. Hutson, The Founders on Religion, p. 26.>>

Can you believe this? What is the context? What is fabricated that Adams is talking about? A marginal note in John Disney's Memoirs of Arthur Sykes? If this was put in a book, the author couldn't get this published. Where does Adams mention the Bible, or Scriptures, so we know what the context is? Who are the philosophers, legislators, and theologians Adams is supposedly referring to? We don't know because the blogger doesn't tell us. Where are the quotes John Adams rejected miracles prior to 1800? Where are the quotes affirming man's flawed conscience is superior to the Bible? Common sense dictates man's reason has to be flawed, or he would be God. Since man's reason is flawed, reason needs a higher authority.

Any structure of government or human society that places man's reason at the top of the "authority ladder" is a government of man, because it is man's reason, and no higher authority, that makes the laws. Absolute, higher law, must come from a super-human being, a being without flaw, and that being would be GOD. His law is revealed in the Scripture, and this law is completely reasonable (but this does not mean that God's law must be subject to man's reason, because man does not know better than God does).
http://thefoundationforum.blogspot.com/

Where are the quotes before 1800 refuting this quotes by John Adams:

The great and almighty Author of nature, who at first established those rules which regulate the World, can as easily Suspend those Laws whenever his providence sees sufficient reason for such suspension. This can be no objection, then, to the miracles of J [Jesus] C [Christ]. Altho' some very thoughtfull, and contemplative men among the heathen, attained a strong persuasion of the great Principles of Religion, yet the far greater number having little time for speculation, gradually sunk in to the grossest Opinions and the grossest Practices.
John Adams diary March 2, 1756
http://www.masshist.org/digitaladams/aea/cfm/doc.cfm?id=D1&numrecs=6&archive=all&hi=on&mode=&query=%20MARCH%202%2C%201756&queryid=&rec=2&start=1&tag=text#firstmatch

Any secularist, where are the quotes from James Madison prior to 1808 rejecting his belief in the miracles of Christianity? Madison became a syncretist after the nation was formed and established:

"To say that it is, is a contradiction to the Christian Religion itself, for every page of it disavows a dependence on the powers of this world: it is a contradiction to fact; for it is known that this Religion both existed and flourished, not only without the support of human laws, but in spite of every opposition from them, and not only during the period of miraculous aid, but long after it had been left to its own evidence and the ordinary care of Providence.
James Madison-Memorial and Remonstrance 1785

This miraculous aid is the aid God provided to the early church, as recorded in the Book of Acts. Paul and Peter raising people from the dead, Peter and John healing a lame man, Peter striking dead Ananias and Sapphira with his words, sudden earthquakes, and many other supernatural events like prison locks automatically opening to free the Apostle Paul.

Where are the quotes from Thomas Jefferson affirming syncretism before he left office? I'll give you a hint blogger, 1809 is after Jefferson left office.

If quotes are found affirming Jefferson a syncretist, at least they would be posted, but to say Madison and Adams were rationalists while forming the nation has not been established.

80 comments:

Jonathan said...

I haven't posted them yet, but as President, Jefferson referred to the God when speaking to the Natives as "The Great Spirit" more than Washington and Madison did.

Re the Adams quotation, if you get James H. Hutson's book (do you have it? he is the chief historian of the manuscript division at the Library of Congress, and someone notably known as friendly towards religious conservatism) the quotations are categorized by subject alphabetically. And this one is categorized under the subject matter Bible: Accuracy of text.

I trust his understanding of context.

Our Founding Truth said...

That's fine, but you didn't refer to that in the quote, as well as which text is being referred to.

How is anyone supposed to know what he's talking about? Post the entire thing, so it will help whoever understand what Adams is referring to. Without posting the context, we can't just guess that he's saying reason is superior to all scripture?

Thanks

Our Founding Truth said...

I don't have the book, I would love to see it, but if it doesn't explicitly have Adams saying reason is superior to revelation, it won't work. Without the subject explicitly mentioned, you can't assume what is meant.

On another subject, if the "Great Spirit" was Jefferson and Madison's god, why did they try to convert them to Christianity?

Jonathan said...

"why did they try to convert them to Christianity?"

They didn't. Madison, as far as I know, allowed tariff relief for the importation of plates used to print Bibles. And Jefferson, in a treaty, allowed a group, at the Indians request, to hold their land in trust. The group's name had something to do with converting heathens to Christianity, which is the source of the confusion on your side that Jefferson believed heathen Indians should convert to Christianity.

Otherwise, Jefferson and Madison never suggested that the Indians' religion is false, Christianity is true and the Indians likewise ought to convert.

Our Founding Truth said...

And Jefferson, in a treaty, allowed a group, at the Indians request, to hold their land in trust. The group's name had something to do with converting heathens to Christianity, which is the source of the confusion on your side that Jefferson believed heathen Indians should convert to Christianity.>>

Jon, this isn't what I was referring to. Jefferson knew what the treaty was, it doesn't matter who asked for it, he knew who the organization was, it is still govt. supporting religion.

The same with Madison:
Madison, as far as I know, allowed tariff relief for the importation of plates used to print Bibles.>>

That is aiding religion.

Jefferson believed heathen Indians should convert to Christianity.>>

He did.

Jefferson urged local governments to make land available specifically for Christian purposes;
Letter of Thomas Jefferson to Bishop Carroll on September 3, 1801 (in the Library of Congress, #19966).

It wasn't one treaty, it was three:
“A Treaty Between the United States and the Kaskaskia Tribe of Indians,” December 23, 1803; Vol. VII, p. 88, Article IV, “Treaty with the Wyandots, etc.,” 1805; Vol. VII, p. 102, Article II, “Treaty with the Cherokees,” 1806.

President Jefferson chose to attend church each Sunday at the Capitol and even provided the service with paid government musicians to assist in its worship.
See the records recently reprinted by James Hutson, Chief of the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress. Religion and the Founding of the American Republic (Washington, D. C.: Library of Congress, 1998), p. 84, 89

Jefferson also began similar Christian services in his own Executive Branch, both at the Treasury Building and at the War Office.
Id. at 89; see also John Quincy Adams, Memoirs of John Quincy Adams, Charles Francis Adams, editor (Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott & Co., 1874), Vol. I, p. 265, October 23, 1803.

Jefferson praised the use of a local courthouse as a meeting place for Christian services;
Thomas Jefferson, The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Albert Bergh, editor (Washington, D. C: Thomas Jefferson Memorial Association, 1904), Vol. XV, p. 404, to Dr. Thomas Cooper on November 2, 1822.

Jefferson assured a Christian religious school that it would receive “the patronage of the government”;
Letter of Thomas Jefferson to the Nuns of the Order of St. Ursula at New Orleans on May 15, 1804, original in possession of the New Orleans Parish.

Do you see the contradiction? If the Indians worshipped the same god, there is no need to spread Christianity. This only makes sense if one is superior. Jefferson knew the tenets of Christianity were to be teached to the Indians, not just the morality, and so it was.

Back to the make or break scenario you have put yourself in. Madison's memorial already proves he believed in miracles while forming the govt, but you need to find quotes from Adams rejecting everything he previously said that I have posted.

In order for Adams to be a rationalist, he must completely deny the supernatural in mankind, and explicitly affirm man's reason superior to the Bible. Without this information his previous statements stand, making you retract what you said about him.

By the way, I was thinking about Jefferson last night. If he denied the supernatural, what about the Resurrection of Jesus? If he did not deny that, then he contradicted himself. A dead person rising from the dead is a violation of reason. If he did deny it, what did he say about His body? Where did It go? Did someone steal it?

Jonathan said...

James,

I don't have time to address everything that is wrong in your post. So I'll try to be brief. There were no three treaties, only one. And the Catholic group that held the lands for the Indians did not do so for the purpose of converting them as those Indians already converted.

Founders like Jefferson were likely to accomodate the desires of Indians or other groups to convert to Christianity (to the extent they could so do without violating the Constitution or natural right). Nowhere did they hint Indians ought to convert (and that government ought to assist)because the Indians' religions was false Christianity was true. That as President, Jefferson and Madison systematically referred to God as "The Great Spirit" when speaking to unconverted Indians completely belies that interpretation.

Keep in mind it was a ROMAN CATHOLIC group who held the lands for the "heathen" Indians. Jefferson wasn't a Catholic and had almost as many problems with that creed as he did with Calvinism.

As noted, the theistic rationalists thought Christianity, if it had any edge over the other world religions, was Jesus' (the man's) superior moral teachings. Some of the theistic rationalists were Arians who believed Jesus was a divine but created and subordinate being, as well.

So they may well have approved of converting Indians to Christianity to improve their morals or for the Indians to better assimilate, while still believing the Great Spirit was the same God they worshipped and a valid way to Heaven.

Likewise on rationalism; the theistic rationalists split on miracles. They were more likely to read miracles through the lens of rationalism; that is, the rational miracles in the Bible were true, the irrational ones false. God was more likely to intervene and perform miracles by manipulating probabilities consistent with the laws of nature and science (i.e., GW gets shot at and all the bullets miraculously miss him) than breaking those laws (i.e., parting the Red Sea, walking on water).

Franklin even found a way to argue turning water into wine at Cana was such a "rational" miracle.

Some of the theistic rationalists believed Jesus was resurrected (after all their mentor Joseph Priestly did). Though their interpretation of such was God resurrecting the perfect man as an example of what He may one day do for all men.

But on the Indians and the treaties you need to pay close attention and read Chris Rodda's post which ought to clear up your misconceptions.

Our Founding Truth said...

There were no three treaties, only one.>>

That isn't what it says whatever the specifics.

“A Treaty Between the United States and the Kaskaskia Tribe of Indians,” December 23, 1803; Vol. VII, p. 88, Article IV, “Treaty with the Wyandots, etc.,” 1805; Vol. VII, p. 102, Article II, “Treaty with the Cherokees,” 1806.

And the Catholic group that held the lands for the Indians did not do so for the purpose of converting them as those Indians already converted.>>

This isn't entirely true as I have previously noted. There were many who weren't catholic, so that is prostlytizing.

"the greater part of the said tribe have been baptized and received into the Catholic Church."

The key word is greater part.

the Indians is that the Kaskaskia were already Catholic, and had been for some time.>>

So this is misleading.

the United States will give annually, for seven years, one hundred dollars toward the support of a priest of that religion>>

No matter who asked for it is a violation as you know.

the United States will further give the sum of three hundred dollars, to assist the said tribe in the erection of a church.>>

Another violation.

The support of a priest and help building a church were provisions that the Kaskaskia asked for, not things the government recommended or pushed on them.>>

This is irrelevant as the definition of separation is used, but where is the Kaskaskia asking for it?

So they may well have approved of converting Indians to Christianity to improve their morals or for the Indians to better assimilate, while still believing the Great Spirit was the same God they worshipped and a valid way to Heaven.>>

It sounds so ridiculous, no wonder Jefferson got so much heat from the church. I would love to hear his weak rant on how someone stole Jesus' body. Jefferson was a mess of inconsistencies.

Likewise on rationalism; the theistic rationalists split on miracles. They were more likely to read miracles through the lens of rationalism; that is, the rational miracles in the Bible were true, the irrational ones false. God was more likely to intervene and perform miracles by manipulating probabilities consistent with the laws of nature and science (i.e., GW gets shot at and all the bullets miraculously miss him) than breaking those laws (i.e., parting the Red Sea, walking on water).>>

Jon, this is sooo weak, I'm embarrassed you believe it. It doesn't even deserve a rebuttal, So I can just pick which ones don't fit so well. Who made this irrational junk up? You just eliminated Madison as he affirmed miracles by the early church.

God was more likely to intervene and perform miracles by manipulating probabilities consistent with the laws of nature and science>>

Miracles by manipulating probabilities? Unbelievable. What kind of drugs was this guy on to make up such garbage. Even the framers would have sent this guy to an asylum. Did he actually say this, or you?

Some of the theistic rationalists believed Jesus was resurrected (after all their mentor Joseph Priestly did). Though their interpretation of such was God resurrecting the perfect man as an example of what He may one day do for all men.>>

Irrelevant. Priestley would have said it is still a violation of a rationalists view of the Laws of Nature.

i.e., GW gets shot at and all the bullets miraculously miss him)>>

Classic, a violation of God interferring with the movement of a bullets (physics) Thank God, I'm not involved in this deceit.

Jonathan said...

James,

I have a hard time understanding your critiques. If you are arguing you disagree with what the key Founders believed, fine. But what I've reported, I assure you is what they believed on miracles. A rational God, to them, would more likely intervene consistent with the laws of nature and science by manipulating probabilities, as opposed to breaking those laws like parting the Red Sea; I don't see what's do hard to understand about that.

Hercules Mulligan said...

OFT answered well, I think; but if I may throw in my 2 cents:

As to theistic rationalism in general, may I repeat the point I made in one of my recent posts? If reason is higher than the Bible, than man's law must be higher than God's law (contained in the Scriptures), because man's law is based upon reason, and God's law upon divine revelation. The Founders, although they may not have ALL seen the Bible as superior to any human philosophy, nevertheless did not apply the "theistic rationalist" theology to their basic American political philosophy. I trust that I do not need to list the quotes of the Founders who said that God's law was indeed superior to human law.

As to a few points in Jon's comment:

(1) "Some of the theistic rationalists believed Jesus was resurrected (after all their mentor Joseph Priestly did). Though their interpretation of such was God resurrecting the perfect man as an example of what He may one day do for all men."

Joseph Priestly was THEIR mentor??? Is "THEIR" theistic rationalists, or is it the Founders? If Adams and Jefferson are the only Founders worth talking about, yes, Priestly was THEIR mentor (although they did not agree with Priestly on everything).
As to the rationalistic belief in the resurrection:
Ah, in case you haven't noticed, Jonathan, God resurrecting people from the dead is a direct violation of nature. God, in raising people from the dead is doing more than simply finagling with some natural laws; He is SUPERSEDING them, and that must be contrary to reason, that is if you are a theistic rationalist and believe only in miracles that are unexplainable by the laws of nature. BTW, the Red Sea parting and walking on water are not "irrational miracles." None of them are. If you believe that there is a God who created the world, and the natural laws around which it revolves, than it is perfectly rational to believe that God is superior to those laws, and may supersede them. But when it comes down to it, people just accept the parts of the Bible that they want to; and they reject those parts that they want to. Such decisions have very little to do with "reason," because "God has shown it to them" (Romans 1:19).

(2) "Likewise on rationalism; the theistic rationalists split on miracles. They were more likely to read miracles through the lens of rationalism; that is, the rational miracles in the Bible were true, the irrational ones false. God was more likely to intervene and perform miracles by manipulating probabilities consistent with the laws of nature and science (i.e., GW gets shot at and all the bullets miraculously miss him) than breaking those laws (i.e., parting the Red Sea, walking on water)."

No; the bullet didn't miss George. It WENT THROUGH HIS JACKET, BUT HE WAS UNTOUCHED.

"I now exist and appear in the land of the living by the miraculous care of Providence, that protected me beyond all human expectation; I had 4 Bullets through my Coat, and two Horses shot under me, and yet escaped unhurt." -- To John Augustine Washington, July 18, 1755

Hmmm. George sounds like a theistic rationalist alright, even though he never said that the Bible was inferior to the "Man's-Reason Screening Test."

Here is George speaking for himself:

"The foundation of our Empire was not laid in the gloomy age of Ignorance and Superstition, but at an Epocha when the rights of mankind were better understood and more clearly defined, than at any former period, the researches of the human mind, after social happiness, have been carried to a great extent, the Treasures of knowledge, acquired by the labours of Philosophers, Sages and Legislatures, through a long succession of years, are laid open for our use, and their collected wisdom may be happily applied in the Establishment of our forms of Government; the free cultivation of Letters, the unbounded extension of Commerce, the progressive refinement of Manners, the growing liberality of sentiment, and ABOVE ALL, the pure and benign light of Revelation, have had ameliorating influence on mankind and increased the blessings of Society." (my emphasis) Circular to the States

One note on the Circular itself. The draft is not in Washington's handwriting, that is true. HOWEVER, the man who wrote this was (1) one of the men who knew Washington the closest during the time that it was written -- Washington's personal military staff. These men spent day by day at Washington's side, and they knew what he was like. There is very little probablity that Washington would not have looked over this Circular before it was passed around, because (2) the Circular was much like Washington's later "Farewell Address" (which was not originally written by him, so we may as well not attribute the statements he made there to be soley his). It would have been very important that the sentiments expressed in the Circular were originally his, even though he did not actually write them with his own hand (he often had his aide-de-camps to those things, as he had very little time to do them himself).

Our Founding Truth said...

But what I've reported, I assure you is what they believed on miracles.>>

What you purport is not what James Madison believed. He affirmed the miracles in the early church.

A rational God, to them, would more likely intervene consistent with the laws of nature and science by manipulating probabilities, as opposed to breaking those laws like parting the Red Sea; I don't see what's do hard to understand about that.>>

Turning water into wine is "breaking laws" the laws of chemistry. That miracle was not done with a potion, but with a word. A violation of chemistry, or physics is a violation of the laws of nature. To pick which miracle is breaking a law and which isn't, when all miracles break a law. It doesn't fly, and I would guess there are far more experts than I to laugh this premise out of existence.

But this is all off the subject. There is no evidence John Adams rejected miracles, reversing his previous beliefs in 1756, prior to 1800.

Only Jefferson, and Franklin believed this folly. I believe Washington was a mason, but this is too ridiculous for even him.

Jonathan said...

Two quick points:

You can criticize the internal logic and coherence behind the theistic rationalists' arguments, such things as their beliefs on miracles all you want. My job is not to defend what they believed as though their theology were true; my own personal religious beliefs are not theirs. Rather I'm merely describing what they believed. You guys argue like Mormons, reading founding era history in a hagiographic manner, divinely inspired, that everything about their philosophy must comport with yours.

I'm going to blog about the Circular later. A few quick points. I accept that such represents GW's philosophy. If you step back and look at the thing in overall context, however, it perfectly captures the Enlightenment zeitgeist of the age. It reads like the furthest thing from one of Jonathan Edward's sermons. It eschews "Ignorance and Superstition" (codewords for religious fanaticism); it lauds the "rights of mankind," "the researches of the human mind," "social happiness," "growing liberality of sentiment," ....

If you actually familiarize yourself with how language and ideas evolved over the eras up until that one, you'll see that almost all of these things are Enlightenment speak.

Even when GW gets to revelation he has to qualify it with the words the "pure and benign light."

The theistic rationalists didn't seek to eliminate the Christian religion as the hard deists or the radical wing of the Enlightenment did, but rather wanted to see "religion" transform into something kinder and gentler, more sober and rational. As such they believed the "benign" and "enlightened," i.e., the "rational" parts of the Bible were true. George Washington's sentiments in the Circular are completely consistent with theistic rationalism as is his Farewell Address.

GW infrequently refers to the Bible in a formal sense (though all of the Founders, even strict Deists like Paine, were biblically literate and made biblical allusions). But when Washington does, like with the Circular, he invariably does so in an Enlightenment context where he qualifies the Bible's and God's attributes with Enlightenment adjectives like "benign," "benevolent," "enlightened," "natural", "reason," etc.

You never get a clear sense, and you do not with Washington's Circular, unless you read your own desires into it, that Washington believed the Bible was infallible.

The theistic rationalists, as more moderate than the strict Deists and radical wing of the Enlightenment, were, I suppose to your perspective, more dangerous than Paine, Voltaire et al. The orthodox knew those were infidels, made them easier to identify and separate themselves from their ideas.

Because the theistic rationalists were more secretive about what they believed and preached their notions consistent with and sometimes under the auspices of "Christianity," it enabled the orthodox in the population to sign onto their Enlightenment project, which they never would have done with the more radical Enlightenment project of Paine, Voltaire, et al.

Our Founding Truth said...

You can criticize the internal logic and coherence behind the theistic rationalists' arguments, such things as their beliefs on miracles all you want.>>

At least you are now acknowledging what's really going on with this theology. If all this rationalism made sense, I'd acknowledge it, but I can't, because it doesn't make sense, so what am I supposed to do? I have to speak out, because it can't be true! To pick which miracle is breaking a law and which isn't, when all miracles break a law isn't rational.

Rather I'm merely describing what they believed.>>

Here it is Jon, it isn't what they believed, it's foolishness. It's what a few modern day rationalists made up and are pushing this on the framers, and I won't allow it! Because of how foolish this is, Jefferson and Franklin are the only ones who believed this foolishness.

You guys argue like Mormons, reading founding era history in a hagiographic manner, divinely inspired, that everything about their philosophy must comport with yours.>>

I understand the evil of mormonism, and the manner the framers wrote, that has nothing to do with my issues here. The issue for me, is what Adams, Hamilton, and Madison believed while forming the nation, and I'm on FIRM ground with my view based on their writings. So Adams and Madison became rationalists after the nation was established, that is their lose, so be it.

If you actually familiarize yourself with how language and ideas evolved over the eras up until that one, you'll see that almost all of these things are Enlightenment speak.>>

This lacks basis as well, Rich Knapton, on your blog has refuted this nicely. All of these concepts come from the early church, Aquinas, Magna Charta, etc. We could debate on GW's beliefs all day, but the orthodox framers used philosophical language, just as GW did, which explains the language, culture, and classical application they grew up with. Did not Witherspoon, and Hancock use philosophical language?

It eschews "Ignorance and Superstition" (codewords for religious fanaticism); it lauds the "rights of mankind," "the researches of the human mind," "social happiness," "growing liberality of sentiment," ....>>

They did not believe the supernatural was fanaticism. John Hancock believed all those (Christian) concepts, they are all way before the enlightenment. There is no inconsistency with revelation and reason to the framers.

Even when GW gets to revelation he has to qualify it with the words the "pure and benign light.">>

I agree, but this is a Christian
concept. In my opinion, the enlightenment came about because of the evil of romanism, and I will stick by that claim. It is a backlash against them over anything else.

George Washington's sentiments in the Circular are completely consistent with theistic rationalism as is his Farewell Address.>>

Jon, it's just how they spoke for the most part. GW is a case by itself, because there's so much mystery to him.

As such they believed the "benign" and "enlightened," i.e., the "rational" parts of the Bible were true.>>

Since the real Christians used the same language, as well as being Christian terms in nature, this view should be shelved.

But when Washington does, like with the Circular, he invariably does so in an Enlightenment context where he qualifies the Bible's and God's attributes with Enlightenment adjectives like "benign," "benevolent," "enlightened," "natural", "reason," etc.>>

They are Christian adjectives because the early Christians, as well as framers used them, especially Aquinas, five hundred years before.

Because the theistic rationalists were more secretive about what they believed and preached their notions consistent with and sometimes under the auspices of "Christianity," it enabled the orthodox in the population to sign onto their Enlightenment project, which they never would have done with the more radical Enlightenment project of Paine, Voltaire, et al.>>

It's only the language, the departure from orthodoxy only affected a couple of framers, it's the philosophical language that is confusing to everyone.

Hercules Mulligan said...

In response to Jon's comments on George:

How in the world was George qualifying revelation when he said "pure and benign light"? Oh, so Washington was saying that some "revelation" was NOT so "benign" and "pure" then? WHERE ARE SUCH STATEMENTS AMONG WASHINGTON'S WRITINGS??? THOSE statements would prove Washington a rationalist; not attempts to squeeze meaning into Washington's writings. People will just use whatever they can to excuse the lie, I guess.

As to "Ignorance and Superstition," Washington might have been referring to "religious fanaticism" (I guess that would include me and OFT, in Jon's opinion) -- ah, that is, if Washington was what Jon says he was. However, "Ignorance and Superstition" also is a reference to the acceptance of paganism that is dominant in the Catholic denomination (not that member of a Catholic church is consciously worshiping a devil); it can refer to the "Ignorance and Superstition" of the ancient Greeks (who believed in Zeus and all those other guys; who believed that people sprung into existence from mud, etc.).

It's true that the Founders imitated ideas from the Enlightenment; but what isn't true is that most of the Enlightenment thinkers that the Founders took from were "theistic rationalists" or non-believers of Christianity in general (take, for instance, John Locke, Hugo Grotius, and William Blackstone). The Founders also were "selectively influenced" by the Enlightenment, and much of the time, the source that influenced their "selection" was the Bible (I'll present quotes on this on my blog in the future).

And finally, let me say that I agree with OFT that lauding "rights of mankind," "the researches of the human mind," "social happiness," "growing liberality of sentiment," etc. is not unchristian, and not unbiblical.

Jonathan said...

Here it is Jon, it isn't what they believed, it's foolishness. It's what a few modern day rationalists made up and are pushing this on the framers, and I won't allow it! Because of how foolish this is, Jefferson and Franklin are the only ones who believed this foolishness.

You may think it's foolishness. It's apparent to anyone who reads your writings that you simply have a hard time accepting that the key Founders believed what you consider "foolishness" on theological matters.

In terms of you "not allowing it," I'll let blog readers make their minds up on whose arguments are more convincing.

So far I don't see you convincing anyone except maybe HM; but he came into this debate with the same set of erroneous premises to which you hold fast.

On Adams, he sure sounded not only like a rationalists when founding the nation but one who argued that the US was founded on rationalism:

A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America [1787-1788], John Adams wrote:

"The United States of America have exhibited, perhaps, the first example of governments erected on the simple principles of nature; and if men are now sufficiently enlightened to disabuse themselves of artifice, imposture, hypocrisy, and superstition, they will consider this event as an era in their history. Although the detail of the formation of the American governments is at present little known or regarded either in Europe or in America, it may hereafter become an object of curiosity. It will never be pretended that any persons employed in that service had interviews with the gods, or were in any degree under the influence of Heaven, more than those at work upon ships or houses, or laboring in merchandise or agriculture; it will forever be acknowledged that these governments were contrived merely by the use of reason and the senses.

". . . Thirteen governments [of the original states] thus founded on the natural authority of the people alone, without a pretence of miracle or mystery, and which are destined to spread over the northern part of that whole quarter of the globe, are a great point gained in favor of the rights of mankind."

It was also Adams' administration which passed the Treaty of Tripoli claiming the US was in any sense founded on the Christian religion.

So you have Adams explicitly claiming the US was founded on reason, and not on the Christian religion. I don't see how you get any clearer than that.

He was also a self proclaimed unitarian since 1750. Unitarianism and rationalism go hand in hand; a major reason why unitarians reject the Trinity was because they deemed it so irrational.

The Christian Nation camp is simply wrong. You two ought to cut your losses before you dig any deeper.

Our Founding Truth said...

You may think it's foolishness. It's apparent to anyone who reads your writings that you simply have a hard time accepting that the key Founders believed what you consider "foolishness" on theological matters.>>

Yes, I would bet my house that most every rational american believes EVERY miracle is breaking the law of nature! I asked my wife last night, by common sense(not that she is a born again Christian) if turning water into wine by a word, and parting the Red Sea were any different? She said "how could they be, they are both the same" No doubt that is foolishness. It bothers my life or my pocket book if Jefferson and Franklin believed such.

So far I don't see you convincing anyone except maybe HM; but he came into this debate with the same set of erroneous premises to which you hold fast.>>

Adams' writings in 1756, and Madison's in 1785 is not erroneous.

the American governments is at present little known or regarded either in Europe or in America,>>

Here is the context, romanism, anglicanism, and corrupt Christianity.

It will never be pretended that any persons employed in that service had interviews with the gods, or were in any degree under the influence of Heaven, more than those at work upon ships or houses, or laboring in merchandise or agriculture; it will forever be acknowledged that these governments were contrived merely by the use of reason and the senses.>>

Consistent with me and Herc, the framers were not inspired, or possessed but used their reason to form the nation.

Thirteen governments [of the original states] thus founded on the natural authority of the people alone, without a pretence of miracle or mystery,>>

Key word is MIRACLE OR MYSTERY. The experiment is not supernatural, God did not form this nation by inspired men. Mystery? He's speaking of romanism, literal changing of Jesus' body into a wafer, etc. That is what he despised. He hated the deceit, hypocrisy, and wickedness of catholicism, as do I. Totally consistent.

"Numberless have been the systems of iniquity The most refined, sublime, extensive, and astonishing constitution of policy that ever was conceived by the mind of man was framed by the ROMISH CLERGY for the aggrandizement of their own Order They even persuaded mankind to believe, faithfully and undoubtingly, that God Almighty had entrusted them with the keys of heaven, whose gates they might open and close at pleasure ... with authority to license all sorts of sins and Crimes ... or withholding the rain of heaven and the beams of the sun; with the management of earthquakes, pestilence, and famine; nay, with the MYSTERIOUS, awful, incomprehensible power of creating out of bread and wine the flesh and blood of God himself.
All these opinions they were enabled to spread and rivet among the people by reducing their minds to a state of sordid ignorance and staring timidity, and by infusing into them a religious horror of letters and knowledge. Thus was HUMAN NATURE chained fast for ages in a cruel, shameful, and deplorable servitude....Of all the nonsense and delusion which had ever passed through the mind of man, none had ever been more extravagant than the notions of absolutions, indelible characters, uninterrupted successions, and the rest of those fantastical ideas, derived from the canon law, which had thrown such a glare of mystery, sanctity, reverence, and right reverend eminence and holiness around the idea of a priest as no mortal could deserve ... the ridiculous fancies of sanctified effluvia from episcopal fingers."
John Adams, "A Dissertation on the Canon and the Feudal Law," printed in the Boston Gazette, August 1765

It was also Adams' administration which passed the Treaty of Tripoli claiming the US was in any sense founded on the Christian religion.>>

Jon, you're going backwards, reaching for whatever you can. Adams was referring to the FEDERAL govt. Religion is left to the states. The Federal govt. should have nothing to do with religion except not interfering with it.

He was also a self proclaimed unitarian since 1750. Unitarianism and rationalism go hand in hand;>>

This is reaching beyond your previous. Ask Joseph Priestley, unitarianism and rationalism is the same as oil and water. Unitarianism believed in the miraculous, as Adams did prior to 1800.

"All of these things being considered, it appears to me that no facts in the whole compass of history, are so well authenticated as those of the miracles, the death, and the resurrection of Christ, and also what is related of the Apostles in the book of Acts.
Joseph Priestley, Letters to a Philosophical Unbeliever, Part Two (Birmingham, 1787)


The Christian Nation camp is simply wrong. You two ought to cut your losses before you dig any deeper.>>

Notice I neglect zero of your words, because they are simple to refute.

Jonathan said...

Notice I neglect zero of your words, because they are simple to refute.

Keep dreaming. In the mean time check out my post on Roger Sherman on G. Morris.

Hercules Mulligan said...

Oh, forgot to address this earlier:

OFT and I do not observe American history in a hagiographic light.

I never started out with the unshakable ASSUMPTION that the Founders were Christians. I have studied their writings on this subject for a while. In this process, my views on the religion of men like Jefferson and Madison has changed not so much in favor of their Christianity (although I Madison did believe in the divinity of Christ when he was younger).

The reason I reject the claims that Founders like Washington or Hamilton were theistic rationalists is not because I reject the obvious; it is because there is not affirmative evidence in favor of such a view. All I am getting from you, Jon, is their writings and statements being construed according to YOUR assumption that the Founders couldn't have been Christians (or at least, not the "Key" ones, but your definition of key founders is a bit exclusive -- for instance, Madison was not the chief architect of the Constitution , for he himself refuted that theory).

If you can show me the statements made by Washington and Hamilton that are strictly theistic rationalist (i.e., state that reason is above revelation), than I will retract; but as for me, I can find no such statement in their writings.

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