The Faiths of the Founding Fathers by David L. HolmesIt is not uncommon to hear Christians argue that America was founded as a Christian nation. But how true is this claim?
In this compact book, David L. Holmes offers a clear, concise and illuminating look at the spiritual beliefs of our founding fathers. He begins with an informative account of the religious culture of the late colonial era, surveying the religious groups in each colony. In particular, he sheds light on the various forms of Deism that flourished in America, highlighting the profound influence this intellectual movement had on the founding generation. Holmes then examines the individual beliefs of a variety of men and women who loom large in our national history. He finds that some, like Martha Washington, Samuel Adams, John Jay, Patrick Henry, and Thomas Jeffersons daughters, held orthodox Christian views. But many of the most influential figures, including Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, John and Abigail Adams, Jefferson, James and Dolley Madison, and James Monroe, were believers of a different stripe. Respectful of Christianity, they admired the ethics of Jesus, and believed that religion could play a beneficial role in society. But they tended to deny the divinity of Christ, and a few seem to have been agnostic about the very existence of God. Although the founding fathers were religious men, Holmes shows that it was a faith quite unlike the Christianity of todays evangelicals. Holmes concludes by examining the role of religion in the lives of the presidents since World War II and by reflecting on the evangelical resurgence that helped fuel the reelection of George W. Bush.
An intriguing look at a neglected aspect of our history, the book will appeal to American history buffs as well as to anyone concerned about the role of religion in American culture.
Nation of Deism - Bruce Lipton & The Founding Fathers of America
How Christian Were the Founders?
The Christian right is trying to rewrite the history of the United States as part of its campaign to force its view of religion on others who ask merely to be left alone. According to this Orwellian revision, the Founding Fathers were devout Christians who envisioned a Christian nation. Not true. 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. Each of those churches accuse the other of unbelief; and for my own part, I disbelieve them all.
Deism was popular at the time — the belief in God as the creator of all things, but not as a miracle worker or one that answers to prayer. Sure, there are the books written and speeches given. But often personal letters and eyewitnesses are a more accurate gauge of belief. These are the men that fought for religious freedom and the separation of church and state. In fact, God, Jesus Christ, and Christianity are not stated once in all of the Constitution, and it is clearly done so on purpose.
As we witness yet again the brutal and bloody consequences of religious intolerance in the form of ISIS, we have a majority of Republicans pining for a Christian America. Proponents of converting the United States into a theocracy do not see the terrible parallel between religious excess in the Middle East and here at home, but they would not because blindness to reason is the inevitable consequence of religious zealotry. Conservatives who so proudly tout their fealty to the Constitution want to trash our founding document by violating the First Amendment in hopes of establishing Christianity as the nation's religion. This is precisely what the Constitution prohibits:. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. How terribly ironic that the louder Christians protest against the excesses of Islam, the more they agitate for Christian excess. We really need to stop this ridiculous argument about being a Christian nation.
Will Christianity be seriously jeopardized if its followers learn that only one of the 56 founding fathers was a member of the clergy? Will their faith be dashed if they discover that James Madison objected to chaplains opening the proceedings of Congress with prayer? The genius of the founding fathers is they understood that Christianity could not only stand on its own but would thrive without being written into the laws and founding documents of the country. Deism is a philosophical belief in human reason as a reliable means of solving social and political problems. Deists believe in a supreme being who created the universe to operate solely by natural laws—and after creation, is absent from the world.
The main thesis of the book, found on page , is that the U. Founding Fathers fell into three religious categories:. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. March The Faiths of the Founding Fathers. Oxford University Press. Retrieved