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To: Al Gator
I usually believe what a person says about himself.

Do you believe what Thomas Jefferson said about himself when he said, "I am a real Christian, that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus."

Many atheists, deists and Christians alike think they know Jefferson better than he knew himself.

24 posted on 11/08/2004 12:37:10 PM PST by Tailgunner Joe (Born and raised in Jesusland!)
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To: Tailgunner Joe

You may be absolutely correct about Jefferson. I am not a big student of Jefferson.

Please re-read my post. I was speaking of Thomas Paine only. And Paine basically ripped the bible, christianity, islam, et al.
35 posted on 11/08/2004 5:20:56 PM PST by Al Gator
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To: Tailgunner Joe; Credo_ut_intelligam
I have no doubt that he meant exactly what he said. I have grave doubts that people such as yourself truly understand what he said. Yes, I know, you think you understand the words, but you apparently don't grasp the context and content.

"I have examined all the known superstitions of the word, and I do not find in our particular superstition of Christianity one redeeming feature. They are all alike founded on fables and mythology. Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined and imprisoned. What has been the effect of this coercion? To make one half the world fools and the other half hypocrites; to support roguery and error all over the earth."
--Thomas Jefferson, letter to William Short

"The truth is that the greatest enemies to the doctrines of Jesus are those calling themselves the expositors of them, who have perverted them for the structure of a system of fancy absolutely incomprehensible, and without any foundation in his genuine words."
--Thomas Jefferson

Many other of the Founders and leaders of our country have evidenced similar sentiments, yet still felt that they were "Christians" because they held to the underlying beliefs of "correct morality" and "loving benevolence", and eschewed the orthodoxy and piousness of the "clergy" and their proponents.

"I concur with you strictly in your opinion of the comparative merits of atheism and demonism, and really see nothing but the latter in the being worshipped by many who think themselves Christians."
--Thomas Jefferson, letter to Richard Price, 1789

Jefferson himself did not disparage the teachings of Jesus, just those who had perverted them.

"Christianity...(has become) the most perverted system that ever shone on man. ...Rogueries, absurdities and untruths were perpetrated upon the teachings of Jesus by a large band of dupes and importers led by Paul, the first great corrupter of the teaching of Jesus."
--Thomas Jefferson, letter to William Short, 1820

As said, others of the time seemed to share Jefferson's opinion of Christianity:

"The divinity of Jesus is made a convenient cover for absurdity. Nowhere in the Gospels do we find a precept for Creeds, Confessions, Oaths, Doctrines, and whole carloads of other foolish trumpery that we find in Christianity."
--John Adams

"The study of theology, as it stands in the Christian churches, is the study of nothing; it is founded on nothing; it rests on no principles; it proceeds by no authority; it has no data; it can demonstrate nothing; and it admits of no conclusion."
--Thomas Paine

Apparently ol' Tom had some of your ilk in mind when he said:

"The Bible is a book that has been read more and examined less than any book that ever existed."

Evidently Ben Franklin shared some of the distaste for the orthodoxy - not the scriptures- when he wrote to his father in 1738: "I think vital religion has always suffered when orthodoxy is more regarded than virtue. The scriptures assure me that at the last day we shall not be examined on what we thought but what we did."

And then again when he observed: "Lighthouses are more helpful than churches."

Mr Lincoln got into the same train of thought when he wrote: "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." Again, I think he was talking more about the orthodoxy and structure of the church at that time rather than the underlying principles of Jesus.

"My husband is not a Christian but is a religious man, I think."
--Mary Todd Lincoln

But again, I am reminded of the old saying about teaching pigs to dance. As old Ben so aptly put it:

"Indeed, when religious people quarrel about religion, or hungry people quarrel about victuals, it looks as if they had not much of either among them."

36 posted on 11/08/2004 5:26:51 PM PST by hadit2here ("The way to see by Faith is to shut the eye of Reason." --Benjamin Franklin)
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