Anonymous asked in Society & CultureReligion & Spirituality · 1 decade ago

If the Founding Fathers intended the United States to be a Christian nation...?

Then how do these quotes by the Founding Fathers fit into their supposedly devout Christian faith?

"The purpose of separation of church and state is to keep forever from these shores the ceaseless strife that has soaked the soil of Europe with blood for centuries." - James Madison

"In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own."-Thomas Jefferson, letter to Horatio G. Spafford, March 17, 1814

"The Bible is such a book of lies and contradictions there is no knowing which part to believe."-Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason, 1794

"Lighthouses are more helpful than churches."-Ben Franklin, Poor Richard's Almanack, 1758

"The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason." - Ben Franklin, Poor Richard's Almanack, 1758.

"What have been the fruits of Christianity ? Superstition, bigotry and persecution." - James Madison, 4th president of the U.S.

"The Bible is not my Book and Christianity is not my religion. I could never give assent to the long complicated statements of Christian dogma." - Abraham Lincoln.

"This would be the best of all possible worlds if there were no religion in it." - John Adams, 2nd president of the U.S.

"Is uniformity attainable? Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half the world fools and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and error

all over the earth." - Thomas Jefferson (Notes on Virginia, 1782; from George Seldes, ed., The Great Quotations, Secaucus, New Jersey: Citadel Press, 1983, p. 363.)

"During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the Clergy, ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution." - James Madison (Memorial and Remonstrance against Religious Assessments, 1785.)

"The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the Supreme Being as his father, in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter."

- President George Washington

7 Answers

  • 1 decade ago

    "..dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal." Sound familiar? Good. And within that basic phrase is just one more thng that makes America great...and all men (& women) may worship as he sees fit. What you have listed above are good arguments, but one-sided arguments, nevertheless. Did you read them before you posted them?

    They are wonderful arguments to keep religion away from the workings of government. These men, our forefathers knew that they were facing a unique opportunity to create a truly free society, with the mores of the times, of course.

    What you don't seem to see is the arguments are against a State Mandated Religion (Iran, Iraq, Libya, etc).

    "This would be the best of all possible worlds if there were no religion in it." - John Adams, 2nd president of the U.S. They gave us the next best thing: Freedom to worship Whomever. (Scientology? A church? wow!)

    "The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the Supreme Being as his father, in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter."

    - President George Washington.

    Yes, there were Gods before the Christian God, and the Hebrew, and the Hindi, and the Muslim, and the Um-Bopa, and most likely there will be other God's someday down the road of time.

    Only in one place will this be allowed as a freedom: America!

    I am Wiccan and I vote, and my religion is finally recognized by the U.S. Government as legitimate worship of a deity. Therefore, as such, I can proudly claim to be a member of the fastest growing religion in the world.

    Good try, though...

    Blessed Be!


  • 1 decade ago

    Where did you get the idea that the founding fathers expected anyone to be any certain religion. The whole reason of separation of church and state is so the government cannot dictate what religion anyone needs to follow. So people are free to practice whatever religion they want to, or none.

    It might be a better world if everyone thought someone was looking over their shoulder at everything they were doing. But that is not the job of any government because that would not be freedom.

  • 1 decade ago

    Benjamin Franklin, considered a deist by many, said, "He who shall introduce into the public affairs the principles of a primitive Christianity, will change the face of the world." And Thomas Jefferson, also considered a deist, said, "The reason that Christianity is the best friend of government is because Christianity is the only religion that changes the heart." Jefferson is even quoted as having said, "I am a Christian, that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus Christ."

    George Washington, the father of our nation said, "It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible." Can you imagine the stress on this man the winter of 1777-78 at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania? He knew overwhelming British forces awaited him in the spring. The entire future of the fledgling nation was on his shoulders. If he were defeated, the new nation would no longer exist. He and the signers of the Declaration of Independence would probably be hanged, and his soldiers were dying at the rate of twelve per day. Many didn't have blankets or shoes.

    Isaac Potts, who was Washington's temporary landlord at Valley Forge the winter of 1777-78, gave a famous account of Washington's resolution. As Potts was traveling the dark forest, he heard some distance from him a voice that became more intense as he approached its origin.

    Washington was praying for the new nation,

    for guidance, and for the men under his


    As Potts approached, he saw the Commander-in-Chief of the armies of the United Colonies on his knees in prayer to the Creator and Ruler of the Universe. Washington was praying for the new nation, for guidance, and for the men under his command. Potts, a Quaker, returned to his home and his wife where he declared, "I have seen this day what I shall never forget. Till now I have thought that a Christian and a soldier were incompatible; but if George Washington be not a man of God, I am mistaken, and still more shall I be disappointed if God does not through him perform some great thing for his country."

    When Washington was inaugurated the first President of the United States in New York in 1789, a public prayer meeting was conducted to commit the new nation to the "blessings of the Creator." Later the same year, on October 3, 1789, President Washington issued a Thanksgiving Proclamation. The document begins,

    Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor ... Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be -...

    James Madison, the fourth president and the Father of the Constitution said,

    The future and success of America is not in this Constitution but in the laws of God upon which this Constitution is founded.

    John Jay was the first Chief Justice of he Supreme Court. He said, "Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers. And it is the duty as well as the privilege and interest of a Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers."

    Fifty-three of the fifty-six signers of the Declaration of Independence were reportedly Christians. I have already referred to statements made by some. These are the statements of three less well-known signers. There are many more.

    John Dickinson said, "To my Creator, I resign myself, humbly confiding in His goodness and in His mercy through Jesus Christ for the events of eternity."

    Gabriel Duvall, later a delegate to the Constitutional Convention and an appointee to the Supreme Court said, "I resign my soul into the hands of the Almighty who gave it in humble hopes of his mercy through our Savior Jesus Christ."

    And lastly, John Witherspoon, pastor and President of New Jersey College (Princeton University today) said, "I shall entreat ... you in the most earnest manner to believe in Jesus Christ, for there is no salvation in any other" [Acts 4:12] ... [I] f you are not clothed with the spotless robe of His righteousness, you must forever perish."

    Political Science professors at the University of Houston, curious about who influenced the founders, gathered 15,000 quotes made by them. The effort took over ten years. They reduced the number to those that had a significant impact on the founding fathers and the result was 3,154 quotes. They determined that the Bible was quoted far more than any other source. Thirty-four percent of all quotes were from the Bible, and another 60% of the quotes were from men who were using the Bible to make their point. God's word was important to the nation's founders.

    Political Science professors at the

    University of Houston...determined

    that the Bible was quoted far more

    than any other source.

    It was not just the foundi

  • 1 decade ago

    Can't really get this straight in your head - huh?

    America was founded on the conviction that religion would not be the leadership of government like in most of Europe.

    Hence, the separation of church and state. However, every founding participant was a believer in the Christian ideal of morality as a foundation for basic government. Where does that morality come from? From the Bible and this is why every single one of them expounded Scripture as a foundation for good government.

    Scripture would not run the government - men of high moral charchter would and they got that character from God.

    America would not be based on a specific religion - hence - "freedom of religion". It is the bedrock of the Constitution.

    Your quotes are all out of context. Read each person's biography and you'll see what they really stood for.

    "On Two Wings" Michael Novak

    "The 5000 Year Leap"'s on bookshelves now.

  • How do you think about the answers? You can sign in to vote the answer.
  • neil s
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    The "founding fathers" were generally slave owners and misogynists. What they may or may not have wanted is irrelevant, and any quote from them supporting or rejecting religious or any other belief is and argument from authority fallacy. The US is a secular nation, and it's progress is hindered by every theistic idea that finds a voice in government.

  • 1 decade ago

    I never claimed it was a Christian nation.

    However, it's most definitely a theistic one.

    "I cannot conceive otherwise than that He, the Infinite Father, expects or requires no worship or praise from us, but that He is even infinitely above it." --- Benjamin Franklin, from "Articles of Belief and Acts of Religion", Nov. 20, 1728

    When we see a watch, we have as positive evidence of the existence of a watchmaker, as if we saw him; and in like manner the creation is evidence to our reason and our senses of the existence of a Creator."---Thomas Paine, "Of The Religion Of Deism Compared With The Christian Religion"

    The name of Jesus Christ is not mentioned even once in the vast collection of Washington's published letters. He refers to Providence in numerous letters, but he used the term as a synonym for Destiny or Fate. Bishop White, who knew him well for many years, wrote after Washington's death that he had never heard him express an opinion on any religious subject. He added that although Washington was "serious and attentive" in church, he never saw him kneel in prayer.

    Nevertheless, he believed in the stabilizing power of religion. In his Farewell Address, which unquestionably represents his most mature opinions, the name of God does not appear, but he had a good word for religions, to wit: "Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports."

    It's true almost all of them hated organized religion, especially Christianity, but they all believed in God.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    (crickets chirping)

Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.