I have sworn upon the alter of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.
Thomas Jefferson in a letter to Dr. Benjamin Rush, Sept. 23, 1800
The following twenty “quotes” were a response to a comment that I posted on the “Occupy Raleigh” bulletin board. My comment included a section from “The 5000 Year Leap” as well as the assertion that our country was founded upon Judeo-Christian principles. The following twenty quotes were posted as a rebuttal of this assertion.
Our Revolutionary War was called the Presbyterian War in England. We fought for freedom as a natural law given to all men by God. This response clearly shows that our nation is in a fight of Good vs. Evil. And yes, I want to make sure that there is no misunderstanding: the occupation and the administration are on the side of Evil. The transfer of dependence from God to a government is Evil as its success comes at the cost of our faith.
Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.
The plain text below is the reply to my original comment and the bold text is my response to his
“quotes from some of the founders”:
What are you basing this statement on?
A few quotes from some of the founders…..
1. “Christianity is the most perverted system that ever shone on man”- Thomas Jefferson
The real quote is:
“…those who live by mystery & charlatanerie, fearing you would render them useless by simplifying the Christian philosophy, the most sublime & benevolent, but most perverted system that ever shone on man, endeavored to crush your well earnt, & well deserved fame.” – Thomas Jefferson to Joseph Priestley, Washington, March 21, 1801
I agree with Mr. Jefferson’s quote and you are the proof: you are perverting Christianity to fit your own understanding.
2. “The hocus-pocus phantasm of a God like another Cerberus, with one body and three heads, had its birth and growth in the blood of thousands and thousands of martyrs.” -Thomas Jefferson
3. “It is too late in the day for men of sincerity to pretend they believe in the Platonic mysticisms that three are one, and one is three; and yet the one is not three, and the three are not one- Thomas Jefferson
The complete quote from a letter to John Adams is:
It is too late in the day for men of sincerity to pretend they believe in the Platonic mysticisms that three are one, and one is three; and yet that the one is not three, and the three are not one . . . But this constitutes the craft, the power and the profit of the priests. Sweep away their gossamer fabrics of factitious religion, and they would catch no more flies. We should all then, like the Quakers, live without an order of priests, moralize for ourselves, follow the oracle of conscience, and say nothing about what no man can understand, nor therefore believe.
Thomas Jefferson believed in the Unitarian view of God instead of the Holy Trinity.
4. “And the day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter. But we may hope that the dawn of reason and freedom of thought in these United States will do away with all this artificial scaffolding, and restore to us the primitive and genuine doctrines of this the most venerated reformer of human errors.”- Thomas Jefferson
The entire quote is:
1823 April 11. (Jefferson to John Adams). “The truth is that the greatest enemies to the doctrines of Jesus are those calling themselves the expositors of them, who have perverted them for the structure of a system of fancy absolutely incomprehensible, and without any foundation in his genuine words. And the day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter. But we may hope that the dawn of reason and freedom of thought in these United States will do away all this artificial scaffolding, and restore to us the primitive and genuine doctrines of this the most venerated reformer of human errors.”
Again, you make Mr. Jefferson’s point.
5. “There is not one redeeming feature in our superstition of Christianity. It has made one half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites.”- Thomas Jefferson
We have not found this quotation in any of Jefferson’s known writings. The second part of the listed variations, however (“Millions of innocent men…”), is legitimate and comes from Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia, Query XVII. Here is the quotation with the material that actually precedes it in Notes:
“Difference of opinion is advantageous in religion. The several sects perform the office of a Censor morum over each other. Is uniformity attainable? Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned: yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and error all over the earth.”
6. “Lighthouses are more useful than churches.”- Ben Franklin
The quote is correct but I miss your point. Mr. Franklin did not say “Lighthouses are more useful than God”.
If churches were doing their work correctly, we would have moral and virtuous citizens. The corollary then follows that we would have moral and virtuous politicians. This was the basis for the original concept of the separation of church and state.
7. “The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason.”- Ben Franklin
This is the very definition of faith. If you need proof in order to have faith, it is no longer faith.
8. “I looked around for God’s judgments, but saw no signs of them.”- Ben Franklin
The entire passage puts this in proper context:
The following extract from a letter to Jared Ingersoll, written in 1762, shows how he regarded the Christian Sabbath: “When I traveled in Flanders I thought of your excessively strict observation of Sunday, and that a man could hardly travel on that day among you upon his lawful occasions without hazard of punishment, while where I was everyone traveled, if he pleased, or diverted himself in any other way; and in the afternoon both high and low went to the play or the opera, where there was plenty of singing, fiddling, and dancing. I looked around for God’s judgments, but saw no sign of them. The cities were well built and full of inhabitants, the markets filled with plenty, the people well favored and well clothed, the fields well tilled, the cattle fat and strong, the fences, houses, and windows all in repair, and no ‘old tenor’ anywhere in the country; which would make one almost suspect that the deity was not so angry at that offense as a New England justice.”
9. “In the affairs of the world, men are saved not by faith, but by the lack of it.”- Ben Franklin
Does this clarify his meaning?
“In the affairs of God, men are saved by faith in Jesus Christ, not by the lack of it.”
Or would you prefer this from Matthew 4:
8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9“All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”
10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’
10. “This would be the best of all possible worlds if there were no religion in
it”- John Adams
The actual quote is:
Twenty times in the course of my late reading have I been on the point of breaking out, “This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it!!!” But in this exclamation I would have been as fanatical as Bryant or Cleverly. Without religion this world would be something not fit to be mentioned in polite company, I mean hell.
— John Adams, quoted from Charles Francis Adams, ed, Works of John Adams (1856), vol. X, p. 254
11. “The New Testament, they tell us, is founded upon the prophecies of the Old; if so, it must follow the fate of its foundation.’- Thomas Paine
Here is the text from the Age of Reason:
Age of Reason, Part II, Section 14
THE NEW TESTAMENT.
The New Testament, they tell us, is founded upon the prophecies of the Old; if so, it must follow the fate of its foundation.
As it is nothing extraordinary that a woman should be with child before she was married, and that the son she might bring forth should be executed, even unjustly, I see no reason for not believing that such a woman as Mary, and such a man as Joseph, and Jesus existed; their mere existence is a matter of indifference about which there is no ground either to believe or to disbelieve, and which comes under the common head of, It may be so; and what then? The probability, however, is that there were such persons, or at least such as resembled them in part of the circumstances, because almost all romantic stories have been suggested by some actual circumstance; as the adventures of Robinson Crusoe, not a word of which is true, were suggested by the case of Alexander Selkirk.
I fail to see your point. Although Thomas Paine was a cogent author, I would agree with George Washington’s decision to let him rot in a French jail.
12. “Of all the tyrannies that affect mankind, tyranny in religion is the worst.”- Thomas Paine
I agree with this sentiment. Wars fought under the guise of religion are the worst. The next four quotes are also from Thomas Paine. I suggest you read more about his character and actions further before you base arguments on Mr. Paine.
13. “I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish Church, by the Roman Church, by the Greek Church, by the Turkish Church, by the Protestant Church, nor by any Church that I know of. My own mind is my own Church. Each of those churches accuse the other of unbelief; and for my own part, I disbelieve them all.”- Thomas Paine
14. “Take away from Genesis the belief that Moses was the author, on which only the strange belief that it is the word of God has stood, and there remains nothing of Genesis but an anonymous book of stories, fables, and traditionary or invented absurdities, or of downright lies.”- Thomas Paine
15. “All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.”- Thomas Paine
16. “It is the fable of Jesus Christ, as told in the New Testament, and the wild and visionary doctrine raised thereon, against which I contend. The story, taking it as it is told, is blasphemously obscene.”- Thomas Paine
17. “Religious controversies are always productive of more acrimony and irreconcilable hatreds than those which spring from any other cause. Of all the animosities which have existed among mankind, those which are caused by the difference of sentiments in religion appear to be the most inveterate and distressing, and ought most to be depreciated. I was in hopes that the enlightened and liberal policy, which has marked the present age, would at least have reconciled Christians of every denomination so far that we should never again see the religious disputes carried to such a pitch as to endanger the peace of society.”- George Washington
I agree with this statement but this is a fault of man, not God.
18. “The Bible is not my book, nor Christianity my profession.”- Abraham Lincoln
Mr. Lincoln was not a founding father. This statement only confirms my low opinion of him.
19. “It may not be easy, in every possible case, to trace the line of separation between the rights of religion and the Civil authority with such distinctness as to avoid collisions and doubts on unessential points. The tendency to unsurpastion on one side or the other, or to a corrupting coalition or alliance between them, will be best guarded agst. by an entire abstinence of the Gov’t from interfence in any way whatsoever, beyond the necessity of preserving public order, and protecting each sect agst. trespasses on its legal rights by others.”- James Madison
Isn’t this freedom of religion under the first amendment?
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.
20. “Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise.”- James Madison
The actual quote is:
You are happy in dwelling in a land where those inestimable privileges are fully enjoyed; and the public has long felt the good effects of this religious as well as civil liberty. Foreigners have been encouraged to settle among you. Industry and virtue have been promoted by mutual emulation and mutual inspection; commerce and the arts have flourished; and I cannot help attributing those continual exertions of genius which appear among you to the inspiration of liberty, and that love of fame and knowledge which always accompany it. Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind, and unfits it for every noble enterprise, every expanded prospect. How far this is the case with Virginia will more clearly appear when the ensuing trial is made.