While driving down to Charlottesville Virginia recently, a horrible thought occurred to me while driving to Monticello. Thomas Jefferson wouldn’t stand a chance on a Presidential ballot today!
Why not? Jefferson was a Deist.
A brief definition of Deism, as listed upon the World Union of Deists website:
Deism is the recognition of a universal creative force greater than that demonstrated by mankind, supported by personal
observation of laws and designs in nature and the universe, perpetuated and validated by the innate ability of human reason coupled with the rejection of claims made by individuals and organized religions of having received special divine revelation.
Jefferson was a Deist (which meant that he absolutely believed that God exists and that his respect concerning God’s attributes were more substantive than the deities of the Abrahamic religions).
Deists are treated as atheists by many of the Abrahamic religious in American society (because a Deist doesn’t affirm belief in the Abrahamic creeds). To a follower of an Abrahamic religion (Christianity, Islam, Judaism) anyone that differs from their
belief is considered an atheist – also usually means that they think that the other person will be sent to Hell!
It is an unpleasant and downright ugly realization when a rational person knows that followers of the Abrahamic faiths have placed you in society’s most hated class (atheists); that the religious person’s contempt for “atheism” usually or
eventually will lead to acting upon that contempt (retribution) when their lack of moral restraint gives way.
That Abrahamic contempt is like cancer, it eats away upon the individual that holds such views. This contempt destroys the spirituality that the religion is supposed to instill – it destroys the soul of man.
The vindictive nature of today’s Christianity wouldn’t permit past Deist US Presidents such as Jefferson, Washington, Madison or Lincoln into office today. Think about this.
America would be a colony without its Founding Deists
America, I am convinced, would still likely be an English or French colony were it not for these men. Where would we be without great Deists Thomas Paine or Benjamin Franklin? Our world wouldn’t be the same without such great Deists such as Spinoza or
Einstein; one could easily argue that Deists would rank as the brightest minds with their ideas and positive contributions to society for the past four centuries. Yet America, if one could conceivably have an electoral “do over,” if it had the chance, would choose “somebody else” rather than Jefferson.
Jefferson was a pivotal personality of human history, nobody in history has had more religious freedom impact than Jefferson. Let’s give credit where credit is due… not merely to America but
to a Deist freethinker, Thomas Jefferson! Christians greatly benefited from Jefferson’s religious freedom ideas and have vicariously joined the bandwagon taking undue credit for religious freedom ideas that rightfully belongs to a Deist! Yet today, modern America wouldn’t allow or permit the greatness which America went on to
achieve with their current mindset. Sad!
Curiosity of the Colonial mindset of the time provoked a question as to why Jefferson could be elected then…but why not now? America was much more religious then than now.
How did the local people of Charlottesville and greater Virginia react to a very public man of letters, ideas…no less politician that held Deistic views? Did Jefferson attend church as a Deist? If so, which church? Was Jefferson two-faced and primarily
visited Christian churches solely for political reasons? The answers to these questions ought to be of great interest to every secular being living today!
Not only did Jefferson’s ideas on religious liberty prove pivotal in the world; his architectural mind figured out a strategy of how secular society and religion should operate together for the benefit of all.
Secular society should be asking questions, looking towards Jefferson for segments of his blueprint.
This writer went to Monticello with these and other questions. For brevity and to focus upon an even greater purpose, I won’t answer the many questions posed in previous paragraphs...but I don’t want to leave you hanging either!
In my view, America hasn’t justly recognized the brilliance of a Yale professor and Unabomber victim, David Gelernter. Gelernter “gets it” and explains the thought processes better than anyone on how to
blend the political, religious and secular in America. After reading, you can see why Jefferson, despite his religious differences was able to overcome and get elected:
“They argue that Jefferson was not a religious man, which is true. But it’s easy to underestimate Jefferson’s respect for Biblical wisdom, which seems to have deepened as he got older.
Jefferson was no orthodox Christian. Arguably he was no Christian at all, although he called himself one. He proclaimed himself a profound admirer of Jesus, whom he described as a human (not divine) philosopher. He rejected Paul
and Pauline Christianity. His religious beliefs were the “result of a life of inquiry and reflection,” he wrote to his friend Benjamin Rush,
“and are very different from the anti-Christian system attributed to me by those who know nothing of my opinions. To the corruptions of Christianity I am indeed opposed, but not the genuine precepts of Jesus himself. I am a
Christian, but I am a Christian only in the sense in which I believe Jesus wished anyone to be, sincerely attached to his doctrine of preference to all others, ascribing to him all human excellence, and believing that he never claimed any other.”
Jefferson’s public statements suggest also that biblical imagery moved and inspired him. George Washington had spoken of God in his inaugural addresses, setting a precedent. But Jefferson’s language goes beyond the pro forma.
His words sound biblical.”
Americanism: The Fourth Great Western Religion
Chapter 4: Evolution and the American Creed pages 99-100
Brian Worley Ex-Minister.org April 3, 2017 All Rights Reserved