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Were the Founders Religious? Were the Founders Religious? Were the Founders Religious?
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Dipublikasikan tanggal 12 Sep 2016

What did the Founding Fathers believe about religion? Were they Christians, or just deists? Did they believe in secularism, or did they want Americans to be religious? Joshua Charles, New York Times bestselling author and researcher at the Museum of the Bible, explains.
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What were the religious beliefs of the Founding Fathers of the United States?

There’s been a lot of controversy surrounding this subject. But there shouldn’t be.

Because of their prominence, I will discuss George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin—our nation’s first three Presidents, and the man referred to as “the First American”—all of whom, even if some did not individually adhere to orthodox Christianity, were steeped in the Judeo-Christian tradition.

Here’s what we can say for certain about their religious beliefs.

1) All of the Founders believed in a transcendent God, that is, a Creator who exists outside of nature.
2) All the Founders believed in a God who imposes moral obligations on human beings.
3) All the Founders believed in a God who punishes bad behavior and rewards good behavior in an afterlife.

The notion that any of the Founders believed in an impersonal deity who merely created the universe and then left it to itself is false. All of them believed in a God who, as Franklin said at the Constitutional Convention, “governs in the affairs of men.”

Let’s start with George Washington.

Washington’s writings, both public and private, are full of references to the Bible. This is certainly true during his eight years as the first President of the United States. Here is Washington at his first Inaugural: “The propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right, which Heaven itself has ordained.” In all likelihood, Washington was an orthodox Christian.

Like Washington, Benjamin Franklin also referenced Bible verses, stories, and metaphors throughout his life. His calls for prayer at the Constitutional Convention were typical of his attitude. Franklin, who had his own unorthodox views, summed up his faith this way: “That the soul of man is immortal, and will be treated with justice in another life respecting its conduct in this.”

While the religious views of Washington and Franklin are clear, those of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson are more complicated. Adams referred to himself as a Christian throughout his life, but did not believe in traditional Christian doctrines such as the trinity or the divinity of Jesus. Nonetheless, before, during and after his tenure as President, Adams repeatedly asserted his admiration for the Christian faith: “Those general Principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the Existence and Attributes of God,” he wrote.

Likewise, Adams spoke of his great respect for the Bible. “[T]he Bible is the best book in the world. It contains more of my… philosophy than all the libraries I have seen…” Those who suggest that Adams was against religion like to quote from a letter he wrote to Thomas Jefferson in which he said, “This would be the best of all possible worlds if there was no religion in it.”

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Dipublikasikan : 12 September 2016
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