Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Founding Fathers by David Barton

Other Founders were involved in numerous similar organizations. The evidence is clear that not only can none of them be called an atheist; only the smallest handful would fit today’s definition of a deist. Nevertheless, despite this irrefutable evidence, the charge persists to the contrary as, for example, evidenced in an article in American Heritage by Gordon Wood. Wood amazingly asserted:

The Founding Fathers were at most deists and were a very thin veneer on their society. In a national article, Steven Morris similarly claimed:

The early presidents and patriots were generally deists or Unitarians, believing in some form of impersonal Providence but rejecting the divinity of Jesus and the relevance of the Bible. Wood, Morris, and all who make such broad charges are totally incorrect, deliberately ignoring all historical facts to the contrary. They also randomly, recklessly, and even unethically impute the term “deist” to Founders who would vehemently deny it if they were alive today. For example, some contemporary works incorrectly assert that Jefferson called himself a deist. Yet historical records are clear that not only did Jefferson not call himself a deist, he called himself a Christian:

I am a real Christian, that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus. Although Jefferson did call himself a Christian, he would probably fail the standard by any orthodox definition, for he viewed Jesus only as a great teacher and not as Divine.

Nonetheless, the fact remains that Jefferson did not call himself a deist; he called himself a Christian. Even though a very few of the Founders did consider themselves deists for example, Franklin did call himself a “deist”, the definition of a deist in that day is totally different from today’s definition, evidenced by the fact that Franklin totally rejected the “clockmaker” concept and believed that prayer was worthwhile and that God did intervene in our daily affairs. The evidence is clear that atheism was rejected by the Founding Fathers and even the deism of that day was strongly frowned upon by most of them.

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