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Friday, November 27, 2009

The Rapture of the Atheists

It's the title of a recent article by Bruce Chapman. He addresses some of the typically incorrect claims of atheists such as the following regarding an ad campaign on buses.


"We also are to be treated to bus messages from Thomas Jefferson that "Religions are all alike--founded on fables and mythologies." And from Benjamin Franklin: "The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason."...As for Jefferson and Franklin, the bus card quotations are out of context and give the false impression that the two men in question--ranking near the top of the pantheon of American founders--were atheists. They weren't. They were not conventional Christians, but they were Diests who believed in God. At the Constitutional Convention it was Franklin who proposed "a three-day adjournment to cool tempers," supplemented by the hiring of a chaplain, who would "introduce the business of each day by an address to the Creator of the universe, and the Governor of all nations, beseeching Him to preside in our council, enlighten our minds with a portion of heavenly wisdom, influence our hearts with a love of truth and justice, and crown our labors with complete and abundant success!’' And it was Franklin who stated, “'If Men are so wicked as we now see them with Religion what would they be if without it?'” Then there is Thomas Jefferson. In his first inaugural address he said that Americans were "(E)nlightened by a benign religion, professed, indeed, and practiced in various forms, yet all of them inculcating honesty, truth, temperance, gratitude, and the love of man; acknowledging and adoring an overruling Providence, which by all its dispensations proves that it delights in the happiness of man here and his greater happiness hereafter—with all these blessings, what more is necessary to make us a happy and a prosperous people?” Also, this: '''And may that Infinite Power which rules the destinies of the universe lead our councils to what is best, and give them a favorable issue for your peace and prosperity." Some atheist."

And the sad part is that's he's absolutely right. I encounter atheists on almost a regular basis that hold up the above (first mentioned) statements from these two men as some sort of half-assed "evidence" that they were atheists, conveniently leaving out the latter quotations.

10 comments:

Tracy said...

It's always an issue; that quotes need to be in a manner consistent with the context.

feeno said...

JD, hope your Thanksgiving went well.

If you read the first 12 words in Ez.4:1 from the King James it says this "Thou also son of man, take thee a tile, and lay it". Unfortunately there are still words that follow. Everything in its context.

Too bad for us tile guys.

Late, feeno

JD Curtis said...

Thank you for your comments. Feen, if ever I need tile work, I'm calling you.

GCT said...

Where did he claim that atheists are saying Jefferson and Franklin were atheists themselves? Who are the atheists who are claiming this?

JD Curtis said...

I think the impression that the writer of the article was trying to convey is that such statements are taken out of context by atheists. I personally have encountered this mindset in the past from atheists in diiscussion forums where the leap is made from Deism to atheism based on these and other statements.

GCT said...

Or you simply hear what you want to hear so that you can complain about atheists.

JD Curtis said...

No, founding fathers that were atheists. They would then add that these founding fathers were *ahem* fearful to reveal their TRUE thoughts on the existance of God for fear of repercussions and statements such as the above was sort of speaking in code. I kid you not. You can't make this stuff up.

GCT said...

Much like the red scare of McCarthyism, the charge of being an atheist could carry dire social, professional, and personal costs to the presumed atheist. Just look at what happened to Thomas Paine. So, if they were atheists, it would be wise to stay in the closet, so to speak. Still, we don't know if they were or not and we only have their professions of deism to go by. Much more common are the Xians that claim that this country was founded by Xians for Xians to be a Xian nation and deny the deism that was clearly espoused by TJ and other founders.

JD Curtis said...

Jefferson and Franklin were not convention Christians in any sense of the words. Freedom of religion was the key thing here, as Franklin said..."“'If Men are so wicked as we now see them with Religion what would they be if without it?'”

GCT said...

Not conventional? They weren't Xians at all. And, do you really want to stake your idea of morality on the sense that we need to have a sky daddy watching over us in order to be moral entities? What does that say about you and others that you think we only do what is right if we think we are being watched?