Does American Deism Negate a Christian Heritage?


Posted by John R. Houk

© March 29, 2015

 

Comment dialogue between myself and Matthew Jeffero on the Facebook Group REPUBLICANS – CONSERVATIVES -TEA PARTY PATRIOTS- RIGHT WING AMERICANS to the SlantRight 2.0 post “Judeo-Christian Values are in U.S. Constitution”.

 

My central contention is even if the majority of the Founding Fathers were more Deist than Christian, American Deists swung toward Christian principles and Christian Morality as central to Constitutional governing. The Founding Fathers that were Deists were Critical of Christianity, yet they criticized as unbelievable the supernatural acts recorded in the Bible and NOT the standard of Moral living life in the Bible. Deist Christians felt the Catholic and Protestant Clergy had a history of hypocritical manipulation of the Christian laity which led to internecine wars between Christians when Christian principles would have solved or assuage conflict.

 

James Madison known as the Founder of the Constitution  

Sustain Govt by 10 Commandments - J. Madison 

As a Deist Madison was critical of Christianity being a part of the Federal government his quote in the picture demonstrates Christian Morality should be promoted.

 

 

The original post on SlantRight 2.0 was a Google+ dialogue between myself and Sifu about the God of Christianity being an influence on America’s Founding Fathers. Matthew’s stickling point is that the Founding Fathers were preeminently Deists hence it would be hogwash to believe America has Christian roots.

 

Matthew gets a little scruffy with me about his concept of Deism as opposed to my thoughts which claim American Deists (in the majority) were quite different than the European Deism influenced by the French Revolution. I contend that even if the majority of the Founding Fathers were Deists their mindset was still one that Christian morality and ethics is the foundation for good governance. Thus I answered Matthew’s snarky question, “Do I need to post a link of the definition of the word? Geez man, read a book,” with a lot of quotes from those who examine Christian/American Deism vs. French/European Deism.

 

Thomas Jefferson on the Moral Principles of Jesus

Jefferson- Moral Principles of Jesus

 

As a Deist Jefferson was critical of Christianity being a part of the Federal government his quote in the picture demonstrates Christian Morality should be promoted.

 

JRH 3/29/15

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Matthew Jeffero If you looked at most of the founding fathers they were deist. Pesty (I suspect Matthew means “pesky”) facts, kind of gets in the way. March 21 at 11:11am

 

John Houk Actually Matthew Most of the Founding Fathers were Christian Deists. Meaning they believed that Christian Morality makes for good government. This is unlike French influenced European Deists that tended more toward libertine atheism and an unnatural hatred for the Christian paradigm in any fashion. Those are the pesky facts. March 21 at 12:10pm

 

Benjamin Franklin on the Moral System of Jesus Christ

Franklin- Moral System of Jesus & Christianity best ever 

Reputed as a Deist Benjamin Franklin still believed the Moral system and the Faith of Christianity was the best the World had ever seen; thus it is the morality of Christianity that makes good people.

 

Matthew Jeffero Do you know deism is. Do I need to post a link of the definition of the word? Geez man, read a book. March 21 at 2:39pm

 

John Houk Okay Matthew here is something to read:

 

 

Two Paths for Deism:

 

 

What few people know is there are two deisms, the atheistic and religiously hostile deism of the French Revolution, and the more amicable deism of America and England. They posit two differing worldviews on issues of liberty and tolerance. English Deism and Freemasonry became the foundation of the American Revolution while the Enlightenment French Humanism became the basis of the bloody French Revolution and later Marxism and its offshoots.

 

 

What is called radical deism today is better called deistic Humanism. This is a philosophy, not a religion. We find at its head Voltaire, Rousseau, Diderot, the mass murderer Maximilian Robespierre, and the radical Jacobins. The Humanist French Revolution sought to destroy all traditional European institutions including Christianity, seeking to replace this with “enlightened” philosophy and reason as a basis for society. Oh yes, being led by ‘enlightened’ despots.

 

 

This radical deism did much to undermine revealed religions such as Christianity. The result has not been ‘enlightenment’ of the masses, but the rise irrationality and secular extremism. …

 

 

We can call it what we will be deistic Humanism, French deism, etc. it’s not a religion, but a secular philosophy. Voltaire had replaced the original understanding of God with Aristotle’s Prime Mover, which science has discredited today.

 

The French Revolution was based on reason alone and led to only bloodshed and tyranny. Reason without an underpinning of God or a higher power leads only to ruin. …

 

 

The Five Articles of Classical Deism

 

In England, Deism was critically concerned with the origins of religion, but positive in moral and religious affirmation. Early English Deists believed that the Bible contained important truths, but they rejected the concept that it was divinely inspired or inerrant. They were leaders in the study of the Bible as a historical (rather than an inspired, revealed) document. Lord Herbert of Cherbury (d. 1648) was one of the earliest proponents of Deism in England. In his book “De Veritate,” (1624), he described the “Five Articles” of English Deists:

 

[1] belief in the existence of a single supreme God

 
[2] humanity’s duty is to revere God

 
[3] linkage of worship with practical morality

 
[4] God will forgive us if we repent and abandon our sins

 
[5] good works will be rewarded (and punishment for evil) both in life and after death.

 

… (Dissecting Deism Past and Present; By Lewis Loflin; Sullivan.County.com)

 

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Christian deism

 

Christian deism, in the philosophy of religion, is a standpoint that branches from Christianity. It refers to a deist who believes in the moral teachings—but not divinity—of Jesus. Corbett and Corbett (1999) cite John Adams and Thomas Jefferson as exemplars.[1]

 

It adopts the ethics and non-mystical teachings of Jesus, while denying that Jesus was a deity. Scholars of the founding fathers of the United States “have tended to place the founders’ religion into one of three categories—non-Christian deism, Christian deism, and orthodox Christianity.”[8] John Locke and John Tillotson, especially, inspired Christian deism, through their respective writings.[9] Possibly the most famed person to hold this position was Thomas Jefferson, who praised “nature’s God” in the “Declaration of Independence” (1776) and edited the “Jefferson Bible“—a Bible with all reference to revelations and other miraculous interventions from a deity cut out.

 

 

Christian deists see no paradox in adopting the values and ideals espoused by Jesus without believing he was God. Without providing examples or citations, one author maintains, “A number of influential 17th- and 18th-century thinkers claimed for themselves the title of ‘Christian deist’ because they accepted both the Christian religion based on revelation and a deistic religion based on natural reason. This deistic religion was consistent with Christianity but independent of any revealed authority. Christian deists often accepted revelation because it could be made to accord with natural or rational religion.”[11]

 

… (Christian deism; Wikipedia; This page was last modified on 4 December 2014, at 12:03)

 

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“Christian Deism is a natural religion that maintains a firm belief in God the Creator; and strives to follow the natural commandments of God, as taught by one of the greatest teachers of natural religion, Jesus of Nazareth.” (WHAT IS CHRISTIAN DEISM? Christian Deism; © Copyright 2015 – Christian Deism)

 

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Also Read:

 

Christian Deism; Enlightenment Deism.

 

Religion and Government, Are We a Christian Nation? By BILL BAILEY; TheFederalistPaper.org)

 

March 28, 2015 5:31pm

 

John Adams: Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people.

Adams on Constitution - Made for Christian Moral People

 

John Adams as the second President of the United States of America was definitely closer to traditional Christianity than many of the other Founders.

 

George Washington: “It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible.”

G. Washington- Rightly Govern ONLY with God & Bible

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The Founding Father photos with quotes followed by my micro-comment were not a part of the original comment left on the Facebook comment posts left on the group REPUBLICANS – CONSERVATIVES -TEA PARTY PATRIOTS- RIGHT WING AMERICANS. Minor editing work with good old fashioned spellcheck. No slight is meant to Matthew. Comments are typically something written on the fly and misspellings, grammatical errors and so on happen to all of us making comments.

 

Author: oneway2day

I am a Neoconservative Christian Right blogger. I also spend a significant amount of time of exposing theopolitical Islam.

2 thoughts on “Does American Deism Negate a Christian Heritage?”

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