Monday, April 20, 2009

Question The Existence Of God

From Thomas Jefferson: “Atheist and Leveler From Virginia” by Nick Gier:

As we celebrate Thomas Jefferson's 266th birthday this week, we need to be reminded about what a controversial figure he was. In the election of 1800 he was called "that atheist and leveler from Virginia."

Alexander Hamilton was so committed to preventing "an atheist in religion and a fanatic in politics from getting possession of the helm of state" that he urged New York governor John Jay to block Jefferson's election.

During the 1800 election campaign, rumors were spread that, if elected president, Jefferson would confiscate all the Bibles in the land and replace them with his own version, one in which all references to miracles and the Resurrection were deleted.

Jefferson was convinced that Jesus was a deist just as he was, and that the early Church had added unnecessary supernatural events to his life and teachings.

In a 1801 letter to Moses Robinson Jefferson wrote that "the Christian religion, when divested of the rags in which they have enveloped it, and brought to the original purity and simplicity of its benevolent instructor, is a religion of all others most friendly to liberty, science, and the freest expansion of the human mind."

Jefferson believed the propagation of religious dogma was the cause of much evil in the world, and he was convinced that reason alone could guide the moral life. In a 1787 letter Jefferson had this piece of advice for his nephew Peter Carr: "Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of God."
Read the rest here.

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