Thomas Jefferson not Deist or Christian but Creationist
It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself.
In today's culture wars Thomas Jefferson is used as proof for this or that political view. Few Christians even today would call Jefferson one of their own, while radical secularists present him as proof of their cause of removing Christianity or any notion of God from public discourse.
Jefferson was man of science and reason, equally he was a man of God. He was bitterly angry at the priesthood over being considered a heretic. He rejected Christianity in particular the Apostle Paul and his claims of revelation, but was very pro-Jesus. He believed God could be understood through reason without unprovable claims of divine revelation. He called himself a "sect of one."
To the horror of the modern belligerent atheists Thomas Jefferson believed that God was indeed involved in the world and actively renews life and guides humanity. He was also a creationist.
Any thinking person should be skeptical of claims of supernatural revelation just as they should of claims of UFO abductions. Many people that scoff at the Bible are just as quick to believe in extraterrestrials regardless of the fact there is no proof for any form of life outside earth.
Many scientists assume life could exist in deep oceans on Jupiter's moon Europa or even in the methane lakes of Saturn's Titan, even though every probe including those sent to Mars have come up empty. There is no proof of life beyond earth. They have faith that life can spring up almost anywhere with the right chemicals, temperature, and liquid water all by itself.
Scientists even lack verifiable proof or even a working mechanism for how life began on earth, but many are quick to push the idea of say "earth like planets" insinuating there "could" be life on other planets. Nobody questions that, after all scientists are seen by many as new form of Holy Man preaching the truth for all of us to believe.
Yet the "young earth" was nothing "earth like" as we know it. The atmosphere was toxic, unbreathable and at a pressure 70 psi (today about 14 psi); the oceans vast pools of dissolved minerals-metals and often toxic, while massive tides tore across continents from a moon that filled the sky.
In the science fiction series Firefly we have a story where mankind has moved off earth to space using what is called terra-forming to make dead worlds like the early earth habitable. The process of terra-forming is possible if we could find an affordable and practical way to get into space, the rest is simply an engineering problem we can solve.
As a fan of space travel and a proud evolutionist, I'm even more so an ardent skeptic. Skeptic doesn't mean just non-believer in religion, it means show me the proof. How does one come to this or that conclusion? A true skeptic is not a mindless religion basher as we have today, but one that asks questions and seeks answers. Even demands answers!
On issues such as the debate on man-made global warming the New York Times has complained about much of the public's lack of faith in science. Without arguing what is often more about social agendas than anything, the danger of science becoming a "faith" or enmeshed in politics means it's no longer about science.
Science has nothing to with faith in science or faith in scientists!
What a scientist or group of scientists believes is irrelevant, it's what they can prove is the only thing relevant. What they believe without verifiable scientific proof is opinion, something we have no obligation to accept.
That also doesn't mean deciding what is true behind closed doors by popular vote hoping the announcement will be rewarded with a flood of public money in the form of grants or increased political power. Or treating skeptics as heretics or mentally deficient. Or withholding information or censuring alternate viewpoints. Scientists are people and should be considered as fallible as any of us.
The promotion of atheism with Secular Humanism as a political dogma (often intertwined with leftist causes) is based simply on the belief there is nothing beyond the material world as we see it via science. Its underpinning is material atheism. All of the universe is simply random chance, life is random chance, nothing but the here and now is relevant and certainly there should be no form of reverence for anything like the silly notion of God, in particular a God that may dictate morality.
Many of the radical atheists and the closet secular humanists wearing of mask of deism insist that Thomas Jefferson was a deist. Why is this? Deism is seen as eleven of the twelve step program to atheism, thus secular humanism, thus Leftism. Some vague often abstract notion of "god" made the Universe then "went away" and thus everything is back to the materialistic randomness that underlies a number of assorted leftwing political causes with "collective" salvation through the all knowing omnipresent state. With God out of the way we can create a new god more to one's liking.
Yet Thomas Jefferson, statesman, scientist, one of the greatest rational thinkers in American history, didn't believe in any of that. He looked upon the natural world and saw no evidence of randomness. The geological and fossil records while still under debate are a rerun of the series Firefly - the earth was terra-formed by something. It was literally "made for life" not some random accident.
Jefferson rejected blind revelation as do I, but also rejected the atheistic nonsense of randomness. To quote Steven Waldman, founder, CEO, and editor in chief of Beliefnet.com,
Though the most Deistic of the Founding Fathers, even Jefferson was not a full-fledged Deist if we accept that philosophy as having had two fundamental tenets: a rejection of biblical revelation and a conviction that God, having created the laws of the universe, had receded from day-to-day control and intervention. Jefferson clearly did agree with the first part of Deism. But he did not agree with the second.
And he is correct and deistic doesn't mean deist. Other extracts from The Pious Infidel March 19, 2008 First Things he asks,
How could this ultra-rationalist-a believer in science and reason-so fully embrace a supernatural God watching over our lives? This is another case in which today's activists and scholars, by applying the standards and definitions of our time, misunderstand the ideas of a Founding Father. Remember: In this era before Charles Darwin: most of the Enlightenment leaders were not arguing against the existence of God. On the contrary, they argued that the laws of science actually proved the existence of God, if one knew how to look at it the right way...
Jefferson did believe in religious truth; he just had an overriding conviction that it was reason, acting in the marketplace of ideas, that would lead people to find it. "It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself." Jefferson himself was not an agnostic on this point. He applied reason and critical scientific thought to the world and concluded that God does exist and is active in the world.
Jefferson simply looked at things as they existed free of the culture war insanity and political correctness we suffer with today. This incredible letter from Jefferson to John Adams on April 11, 1823, was in no possible way deism:
I hold (without appeal to revelation) that when we take a view of the Universe, in its parts general or particular, it is impossible for the human mind not to perceive and feel a conviction of design, consummate skill, and indefinite power in every atom of its composition. The movements of the heavenly bodies, so exactly held in their course by the balance of centrifugal and centripedal forces, the structure of our earth itself, with its distribution of lands, waters and atmosphere, animal and vegetable bodies,
examined in all their minutest particles, insects mere atoms of life, yet as perfectly organized as man or mammoth, the mineral substances, their generation and uses, it is impossible, I say, for the human mind not to believe that there is, in all this, design, cause and effect, up to an ultimate cause, a fabricator of all things from matter and motion, their preserver and regulator while permitted to exist in their present forms, and their regenerator into new and other forms.
We see, too, evident proofs of the necessity of a superintending power to maintain the Universe in its course and order. Stars, well known, have disappeared, new ones have come into view, comets, in their incalculable courses, may run foul of suns and planets and require renovation under other laws; certain races of animals are become extinct; and, were there no restoring power, all existences might extinguish successively, one by one, until all should be reduced to a shapeless chaos.
So irresistible are these evidences of an intelligent and powerful Agent that, of the infinite numbers of men who have exited thro' all the time, they have believed, in the proportion of a million at least to Unit, in the hypothesis of an eternal pre-existence of a creator, rather than in that of a self-existent Universe.
In this respect he was deeply concerned with freedom of conscience for all and the issue of religious freedom. To again quote Mr. Waldman,
How does this all relate to the history of religious freedom in America? What it shows is that the classical view of how Jefferson came to support the separation of church and state and fight for religious freedom-that his views grew out of his study of Locke and other thinkers-misses on part of the picture.
The author of the Declaration of Independence was on a personal spiritual journey that took him outside the mainstream. He resented being considered a heretic, because he believed that his approach to God and Jesus was more faithful to both of them.
He believed that oppression of "the mind" not only led to persecution but also constrained the process of rational exploration that would lead to religious truth. This was no mere abstraction for him. He knew that had he been forced to believe the official line, he would have been deprived of an unobstructed journey to God. Jefferson wanted religious freedom in part because he wanted to be, religiously, free.
Also see his book Founding Faith: Providence, Politics, and Religious Freedom in America (Random House).
Today the same scientists that scoffed at some "invisible" being and anything that can't be seen and measured are now telling use about Dark Matter and Dark Energy that also can't be seen, measured or tested. That as much as 90 percent of the Universe is invisible but we should believe (or have faith) in what they say.
Yet they face the problem of the Big Bang sounds an awful lot like Genesis and the geological record proves life as we know it came from a process as Genesis largely implies. Their claims of much of the Universe being invisible and beyond mere physical sense comes right out of ancient Gnosticism, Platonism, and related speculative religions.
A true skeptic should always seek facts, ask questions, and demand proof. Look at what they other side avoids or won't answer. Use one's God-given reason and avoid dogmatic thinking and be wary of political agendas. Certainly don't treat science as some sort of religion and their very human advocates as somehow holy and infallible. Most of all don't be intimidated into silence.
Jefferson proved that the concept of God is not hostile to science or reason. In today's politicized science dissent on any issue is treated as religious heresy punishable by censorship and funding cuts or worse. Evolution works just the way it was designed. To once again quote Jefferson,
It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself.
- Islam Versus Deism
- Left vs Right, Montesquieu, Corporatism
- Eastern Roman Empire and Islam
- Philosophies of Islam, Greece, and the West by Turgut Ozal
- Example of Islam and science.
- Maimonides Versus Aristotle and the Jews of Spain, Thirteen Rules
- Handbook on the History of Modern Science
- Pelagius and why he was right
- Islam Versus Judaism and Christianity
- Islam to Deism: Why I became a Deist
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