Monday, March 14, 2011

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Early Teachings Of Our Nation

What were the thought processes on which the foundations of our nation were set? As I have written in the past, the vast majority of our founding fathers were themselves Christian. The prevailing thought processes of the times were centered on and around the Bible. People back then knew the Bible. When references were made to The Almighty, Providence, Supreme Author of all good, Providential Goodness, God all Powerful wise and good, Devine being, Devine Providence, Creator, Author of Existence, Supreme Being, or just plain God, everyone knew it was the God of the Bible that was being referred to. A biblical example of this is when Jesus spoke, he used what the Jews refer to as ‘hinting’. All of the Jews, in those days, knew the Scriptures because they all studied them from early childhood (this was known as ‘studying at the knee’ of the Rabbi). Jesus would give an offhand reference to a scriptural passage, and everyone would know the verse or passage to which He was referring. In the same way the colonists would know what people meant in the above references because 98% of the population was Christian, and had studied the Bible. The basis of thought process in those days was a lot different than today as we have removed Christian teaching from our schools. The Bible was the centerpiece of education in colonial times. The main thrust of education then was to teach to teach the Bible to their children. The expressed purpose of the founding of institutions of higher learning, such as Harvard, Yale and others, was to prepare men for the pulpit. If we don‘t understand the mindset of those times, we cannot understand the reasoning behind the foundations of our nation.

I will use Thomas Jefferson for purposes of example, as he seems to be the founder most thought to be a deist. He did not often express his religious beliefs in public, or family for that matter, and it has taken some amount of research to discover what is available on the subject. The “Jefferson Bible”, as it has come to be described, was an effort by Jefferson to write a manual of moral behavior for the American Indians. He attempted to remove, as much as possible, the religious aspects of the Bible in order to provide a morality guide. His reasoning behind not expressing his personal religious views was that he didn’t think it his place to set himself up as a religious authority, and thus influence others by his stature. He believed that you must study the Scriptures (the Bible) for your self and form you own personal view. He said, “Question with boldness, the very existence of God.” This is in contrast to the current view of some centered on ‘collective salvation’. In his study he most cherished the words he believed to be of Christ in the Gospels. It is my considered opinion, and I will use his own words to establish this, that he had to be a ‘Born Again’ Christian since he trusted so much in the words of Christ and that is what Jesus said you had to be in order to enter the kingdom of heaven.

In their attempts to revise history, the current crop of religious detractors seem most of all to, among others, try to convince us that Thomas Jefferson was at best a deist and most probably an atheist. Most of their basis in theory seems to come from the writings of Jefferson’s political enemies, while he was running for the presidency of the United States. They use the accusations of his supposed immorality, malfeasance in office, dishonesty and lack of religion. Jefferson never responded to these accusations as he thought it beneath his dignity to do so. His response at one point was that those who knew him knew they were not true. He said; “I leave them, therefore, to the reproof of their own consciences. If these do not condemn them, there will yet come a day when the false witness will meet a judge who has not slept over his slanders”. It has also been found that in reference to his supposed longtime affair with his slave, Sally Hemings (‘Dusky Sally’) from which several children were sired; it was not he who sired them but his nephew. Those who knew Jefferson would attest to his honesty and morality.

Let us see what he and his grandson said, in their own words –

1. “It is a document of proof that I an a real Christian, that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus – very different from the Platonists, who call me infidel and themselves Christians and preachers of the Gospel, while they draw all their charactistic dogmas from what it’s author never said nor saw.” Letter to Charles Thompson – 1816

2. “I hold the precepts of Jesus, as delivered by Himself. To be the most pure, benevolent, and sublime which ever have been preached to man.” To Jarred Sparks – 1820

3. “If the freedom of religion guaranteed to us by law in theory can ever rise in practice under the overbearing inquisition of public opinion, truth will prevail over fanaticism, and the genuine doctrines of Jesus, so long perverted by His pseudo-priests, will again be restored to their original purity.” To Jarred Sparks – 1820

4. “In his contemplative moments his mind turned to religion, which he studied thoroughly, he had seen much of the abuses and perversions of Christianity, he abhorred those abuses and their authors, he denounced them without reserve.” By his grandson, Thomas Jefferson Randolph

5. When approached by a man who expressed his disbelief of the Bible Jefferson said, “Then sir, you have studied it to little purpose”. Written by his grandson, Thomas Jefferson Randolph to a Jefferson biographer.

6. “He was a regular in his attendance [at] church, taking his prayer book with him. He drew the plan of the Episcopal Church in Charlottesville, was one of the largest contributors to its minister. I paid, after his death, his subscription of $200 to the erection of the Presbyterian Church in the same village.” By his grandson, Thomas Jefferson Randolph

7. Jefferson said, “I am a Christian in the only sense in which He wished anyone to be: sincerely attached to His doctrines in preference to all others.”

Jefferson, while he was president, used government buildings for church services and even used military bands for the music (So much for the separation of Church and state). While president he was known for regular church attendance even riding by horseback in the driving rain to get there.

As I have written in the past, those who cannot further their agenda with facts will attempt to distort the facts and invent untruths that will suit their purpose. Nothing has changed much throughout history. The original source is always superior to someone else’s interpretation, opinion of, or revision of it. That is why I always say that you should research for yourself rather than take the word of someone else, especially for those things that will affect your life.

Rick Rahn

Recommended reading –

The Bible

The Real George Washington

The Real Thomas Jefferson

Faiths of the Founding Fathers

The Book That Made America

The Jefferson Bible

Fighting for America’s Soul

The Faiths of Our Fathers

George Washington’s Sacred Fire


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