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HiramAbiff Donating Member (46 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-28-04 09:52 PM
Original message
This isn't the First Culture War in U.S. History
Edited on Sat Feb-28-04 09:59 PM by HiramAbiff
And I doubt it will be the last.

The founding fathers had no problem with Jesus. They had a problem with those (starting with Paul of Tsarsus) who apotheosized him. The people who wrote the Declaration of Independence and The Constitution did not believe in the divinity of Christ. It fact they saw in this belief a great evil.

They, like us, fought against the Falwells of the day. And the Falwells fought back. Thomas Jefferson was called the Anti Christ.




Christianity...(has become) the most perverted system that ever shone on man. ...Rogueries, absurdities and untruths were perpetrated upon the teachings of Jesus by a large band of dupes and importers led by Paul, the first great corrupter of the teaching of Jesus.

- Thomas Jefferson

The clergy converted the simple teachings of Jesus into an engine for enslaving mankind and adulterated by artificial constructions into a contrivance to filch wealth and power to themselves...these clergy, in fact, constitute the real Anti-Christ.

- Thomas Jefferson

The doctrine of the divinity of Jesus is made a convenient cover for absurdity.

- John Adams

During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What has been its fruits? More or less, in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution.

-James Madison

What influence in fact have Christian ecclesiastical establishments had on civil society? In many instances they have been upholding the thrones of political tyranny. In no instance have they been seen as the guardians of the liberties of the people. Rulers who wished to subvert the public liberty have found in the clergy convenient auxiliaries. A just government, instituted to secure and perpetuate liberty, does not need the clergy.

-James Madison

Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and tortuous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness with which more than half 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

It is between fifty and sixty years since I read it (the Apocalypse), and I then considered it merely the ravings of a maniac, no more worthy nor capable of explanation than the incoherences of our own nightly dreams.

-Thomas Jefferson, letter to General Alexander Smyth, Jan. 17, 1825

In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own.

-Thomas Jefferson, letter to Horatio G. Spafford, March 17, 1814



The truth is, that the greatest enemies of the doctrine of Jesus are those, calling themselves the expositors of them, who have perverted them to 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 may we hope that the dawn of reason and freedom of thought in these United States will do away with this artificial scaffolding, and restore to us the primitive and genuine doctrines of this most venerated reformer of human errors.

-Thomas Jefferson, Letter to John Adams, April 11, 1823

I concur with you strictly in your opinion of the comparative merits of atheism and demonism, and really see nothing but the latter in the being worshipped by many who think themselves Christians.

-Thomas Jefferson, letter to Richard Price, Jan. 8, 1789

They believe that any portion of power confided to me, will be exerted in opposition to their schemes. And they believe rightly; for I have sworn upon the altar of god, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man. But this is all they have to fear from me: and enough, too, in their opinion.

-Thomas Jefferson to Dr. Benjamin Rush, Sept. 23, 1800

History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance of which their civil as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes.

-Thomas Jefferson to Alexander von Humboldt, Dec. 6, 1813.

Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law.

-Thomas Jefferson, letter to Dr. Thomas Cooper, February 10, 1814
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salinen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-28-04 10:00 PM
Response to Original message
1. Thomas Jefferson was also
one hellavan Architect.
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LARED Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-28-04 10:10 PM
Response to Original message
2. The quote you used from John Adams
can be to state he did believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ.

The divinity of Jesus is made a convenient cover for absurdity. Nowhere in the Gospels do we find a precept for Creeds, Confessions, Oaths, Doctrines, and whole carloads of other foolish trumpery that we find in Christianity.

I read it as him stating he does believe in it, but views that many Christian traditions are propped up by associating His divinity to Creeds, Confessions, Oaths, Doctrines, and whole carloads of other foolish trumpery

My 2 cents




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HiramAbiff Donating Member (46 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-28-04 10:18 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. You may be right on Adams
Edited on Sat Feb-28-04 10:27 PM by HiramAbiff
But I don't think so.

God is an essence that we know nothing of. Until this awful blasphemy is got rid of, there never will be any liberal science in the world.
-- John Adams, "this awful blashpemy" that he refers to is the myth of the Incarnation of Christ, from Ira D. Cardiff, What Great Men Think of Religion, quoted from James A. Haught, ed., 2000 Years of Disbelief

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....

--- John Adams, "A Dissertation on the Canon and the Feudal Law," printed in the Boston Gazette, August 1765

John Adams' biographer and the editor of his Works, his grandson Charles Francis Adams, wrote that he rejected, "with the independent spirit which in early life had driven him from the ministry, the prominent doctrines of Calvinism, the trinity, the atonement and election. . . ." And church-state scholar Greg Hamilton states that John Adams once castigated the idea of Christ's divinity as an "awful blasphemy."

In his book 2000 Years of Disbelief, James Haught describes John Adams as "another non-Christian president of the United States," and as a "Deist who rejected the divinity of Christ." Haught also notes that Adams told a friend that he respected lawyers but saw in the clergy the "pretended sanctity of some absolute dunces."



3 is 1 is 3 has never made sense to rationalists.
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DemBones DemBones Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-29-04 02:01 AM
Response to Reply #3
9. Quite right that rationalists see no sense in

3=1=3, but the concept of the Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the Triune God, "One in Three Persons, Blessed Trinity," is a mystical one, a mystery of faith. It can't be analyzed rationally with the left brain, only glimpsed and mused about with the right brain.

Not an argument, you understand, just an observation. ;-)

You can analyze poetry, its rhyme, word choices, symbols, with the left brain but only grasp its beauty and power with the right brain. When we say we feel something in our heart, isn't it really in our right brain?

Perhaps (new hypothesis ahead) people who are completely unable to believe in God or the human soul are very strongly left-brain-dominant, while those who have complete faith in God, never a doubt at all, are ruled by a very strongly dominant right brain?

Most of us use both sides of our brain reasonably equally, perhaps, and thus may have some belief and desire for belief but also many questions and doubts. I know that describes me and goes along with the fact that I'm good at analytical reasoning but also appreciative of, and tuned into interpreting, myth and symbol.

Jefferson, I think, had a strong left brain but his right brain was no weakling, either. I think he was therefore conflicted about religion, thinking it was a force for good and a source of good but also impatient with the irrational parts, not able to accept that not everything must be rational, mathematically solvable. The Jefferson Bible seems to say that: "Here, I solved it! " Adams likely had no right brain, from what I know of him. Madison, I'll leave for others to decide, knowing less about him.
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HiramAbiff Donating Member (46 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-29-04 02:52 AM
Response to Reply #9
12. We worship metaphors
Edited on Sun Feb-29-04 03:47 AM by HiramAbiff
We live by reason.

The problem occurs when you take the metaphor for Truth and reason for Reality.

I like Ken Wilber's elucidation of the difference between the body and the mind. Christ and the Rationalists. The Pagans and the Christians. Female and Male. Nature and God. Reason and Faith.

It has less to do with contrast and more to do with absorbtion and trancendence.

Jefferson was a balanced individual - if there ever was one. His architectural works have survived the ravages of time. He spoke seven languages. He was a master of the English language and familiar with religious symbols. Who, but an artist and a worshiper of God, could have written the following:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes
destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness"

Let him who read this take note. No man is above the Law. As we destroy those between us and God, so we deny Machivelli (and so we deny you Mr. Rove).

I still don't understand what in the hell the Holy Ghost is supposed to be. Maybe a mathematical necessity - nothing more. (as above, so below)
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Art_from_Ark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-29-04 03:15 AM
Response to Reply #9
14. I believe the Trinity can be analyzed
Edited on Sun Feb-29-04 03:16 AM by Art_from_Ark
The "Father" is the focus of the original religion, Judaism; the "Son" is the focus of Judaism's "offspring," Christianity. And the "Holy Ghost" is the focus of the third religion that traces its roots to Jerusalem, Islam. Three entities worshipped as the same god in three different religions.
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HiramAbiff Donating Member (46 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-29-04 03:28 AM
Response to Reply #14
15. I have never heard that analysis before
Edited on Sun Feb-29-04 03:29 AM by HiramAbiff
I think your hypothesis maybe wrong. Especially considering the mythological structure of the Trinity was created at least 600 years before Mohammed.

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Art_from_Ark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-29-04 03:38 AM
Response to Reply #15
16. Of course, did Mohammed actually start Islam
Edited on Sun Feb-29-04 03:40 AM by Art_from_Ark
or was he, like Paul, the first major missionary of his religion who popularized it while adding his own comments?
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HiramAbiff Donating Member (46 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-29-04 03:41 AM
Response to Reply #16
17. I am no expert
Edited on Sun Feb-29-04 03:44 AM by HiramAbiff
you could be right.

No "prophet" exists in a vacuum. And I am sure that Mohammed was no greater a man than Joseph Smith. Once one speaks the symbolic language, only artistic talent is required.
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RainDog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-01-04 07:17 AM
Response to Reply #9
28. thinkers in concrete
the only problem with your idea is that those who claim so self-righteously these days that they are spokesmen (and occasionally women) for god are famous for their lack of understanding of metaphor.

Literalism is concrete thinking. To claim the Grand Canyon was created by Noah's flood because the Bible doesn't allow for history to exist beyond a four or five thousand year old world is NOT right brain thinking..

it is simple stupidity, because their minds to anything which threatens their way of viewing god.

that's not left or right brain thinking...that mindlessness.

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slinkerwink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-28-04 10:21 PM
Response to Original message
4. someone should post this in Freepland---their heads will explode
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kayell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-29-04 11:02 AM
Response to Reply #4
20. They would just deny that those words were ever written
Even if faced with definative proof, by tommorow, they would have completely blotted it from their minds.
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pacifictiger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-28-04 10:31 PM
Response to Original message
5. Jefferson
was so troubled by the nebulous superstitious elements in the new testament that he spent a great deal of time compiling into chronological order the life and teachings of Jesus during his lifetime only. It is available today in a republished book called "The Jefferson Bible." I understand that Ben Franklin, whose hand was in all the founding documents, thought that too much religion was worse than not enough and whose wife was by common law rather than church marriage. Perhaps that is why his participation in the foundation of this country is not revered more than it is. It makes me laugh when I hear the holy rollers talk about the god fearing founders.
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unblock Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-28-04 10:36 PM
Response to Original message
6. indeed, our founders did not create a christian nation
in fact, they FLED christian nations to found this country.

from the time of the pilgrims and the puritans, this country was built based on the idea that people should practice religion without the government having anything to say about it.
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HiramAbiff Donating Member (46 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-28-04 10:40 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. Unfortunately, we are dealing with the hangover from the Puritans today.
Witch burning, lynching, gay bashing, Falwell, Robertson, apocolyptic fantasies, fire and brimstone.

By their works you shall know them...
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H2O Man Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-28-04 11:58 PM
Response to Reply #6
8. While I agree with the idea
of religion being separate from government, your post is not entirely accurate. The "founding fathers" did not flee from any other country. They were all born here. And the pilgrams did not come here for "religious freedom." Not even close! They came to escape the king's brand, but were extremely harsh in their dealings with anyone -even one of their own- who violated their beliefs. And their "local" government had absolutely no separation of church and state. Pretty similar behavior from the puritans. These two groups are actually better historic examples of why there needs to be a separation.
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DemBones DemBones Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-29-04 02:40 AM
Response to Original message
10. Many thanks for assembling these excellent quotes, HiramAbiff, and

welcome to DU! :hi:

Your points about culture war in the days of Jefferson, Adams, and Madison are valuable and valid, as are H20man's points about Pilgrims vs. Puritans and the lies about them upholding the ideal of religious freedom, when it was actually religious freedom for themselves only that they wanted.

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FDRrocks Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-29-04 02:45 AM
Response to Original message
11. What make this culture war notable...
Is that the media is in favor of the wrong side, due to its conservative business owners. The media in our country is, effectively, mind control.

Basically, what makes this different, is that the assholes might win. Maybe I'm calling it prematurely, as many union civilians did in the early days of the civil war, but I get the feeling that I am right.
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HiramAbiff Donating Member (46 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-29-04 03:05 AM
Response to Reply #11
13. They cannot control our minds
if we deny them.

Any techniques they can use, we can use as well (on ourselves).

If a man is not a master of his own mind, he is a slave.



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jokerman93 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-01-04 06:01 AM
Response to Reply #13
25. If a man is not a master of his own mind, he is a slave.
If a man is not a master of his own mind, he is a slave --
that's the real divine equation isn't it?

I like this. Can I quote you in my blog?

Mick
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youngred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-29-04 04:34 AM
Response to Original message
18. Small Problem
Jefferson hated the constitution and was never at the constitutional convention. Madison and Adams were, but for all Jefferson's gret warning's about religion he was not a founder.
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HiramAbiff Donating Member (46 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-29-04 10:53 AM
Response to Reply #18
19. I beg to differ
Jefferson was in Paris at the time the Constitution was written. That is the only reason he was not a part of the writing. His objection to the Constitution was over the lack of a "Bill of Rights" which was later written by James Madison and ammended to the Constitution at the vehement behest of Jefferson.

All of which has nothing do with the beliefs of the founders concerning the divinity of Christ nor the Culture Wars fought at the time.
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Character Assassin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-29-04 11:29 AM
Response to Reply #18
21. Wow. I mean, wow. Jefferson wasn't a founding father?
Sure. Uh-huh.
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TahitiNut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-01-04 12:05 AM
Response to Reply #18
22. "What is meant by the term 'founding father'?"
Edited on Mon Mar-01-04 12:08 AM by TahitiNut
From http://www.constitutionfacts.com/fbody.shtml ...
Thomas Jefferson and John Adams are considered to be two of our founding fathers even though they were not at the Constitutional Convention. They were serving the country in diplomatic positions at the time. Jefferson kept abreast of the proceedings in Philadelphia while ambassador to France by carrying on correspondence with James Madison, and John Adams, as ambassador to Great Britain, wrote "Defense of the Constitutions of the Government of the United States of America."



(I just thought I'd show how to respond politely. I've appreciated it myself when I've made mistakes.) :shrug:
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never cry wolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-01-04 12:34 AM
Response to Original message
23. Very nice post, HiramAbiff !!
Duly bookmarked.

Thanks and welcome to DU!

:hi:
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Karenina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-01-04 04:58 AM
Response to Reply #23
24. For the Founding Fathers
:kick:
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cprise Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-01-04 06:10 AM
Response to Original message
26. Another thread from that culture war -
The Unitarian Controversy:

In 1815 Calvinist Jedidiah Morse reprinted in his magazine, The Panoplist, a chapter from a British Unitarian work, Thomas Belsham's Life of Theophilus Lindsey, 1812. The chapter was titled "American Unitarianism." Morse prefaced his reprint with his own introductory comments suggesting that American liberal ministers dishonestly disguised their real theology and were, in fact, full-fledged Unitarians. More than any other individual, the Rev. Jedidiah Morse prevailed upon his orthodox brethren in the ministry clearly to separate themselves from the liberal ministers, though all served churches of the Standing Order. Morse also organized new associations of church leaders to which the liberals were not invited. Liberal ministers were invited less and less often into the pulpits of Calvinist churches, then not at all. Although the Standing Order yet stood as a system of similarly governed independent congregations, the fellowship of the New England Way was rent in two...

http://www.uua.org/uuhs/duub/articles/unitariancontroversy.html

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quaker bill Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-01-04 07:08 AM
Response to Original message
27. The Meeting was held in Philadephia for a reason.
Edited on Mon Mar-01-04 07:09 AM by quaker bill
Philadephia was the center Quakerism in the colonies. The Quakers had established a tradition of religious tolerance so that people of many faiths were welcome in Pennsylvania.

This contrasts with MA. MA was a puritan run colony where the Governor was a minister in the faith. The people there had established a Church State that repressed and even executed members of religious of minorities, including Quakers.

To my mind the non-establishment clause was always intended to model in the US Constitution the broadly tolerant government Quakers had established in Pennsylvania.
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