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To: spirited irish
I know that most conservatives believe that Christianity was the foundation of this country and that most liberals argue it wasn't. In my opinion both are wrong. Our founding fathers were very well read and knowledgeable men. They base our country on greco-roman, english common law, judeo-christian, and enlightenment principles. Here are some quotes from the founders themselves;

John Adams-

The question before the human race is, whether the God of nature shall govern the world by his own laws, or whether priests and kings shall rule it by fictitious miracles?
— John Adams, letter to Thomas Jefferson, June 20, 1815 (emphasis mine)

The United States of America have exhibited, perhaps, the first example of governments erected on the simple principles of nature; and if men are now sufficiently enlightened to disabuse themselves of artifice, imposture, hypocrisy, and superstition, they will consider this event as an era in their history. Although the detail of the formation of the American governments is at present little known or regarded either in Europe or in America, it may hereafter become an object of curiosity. It will never be pretended that any persons employed in that service had interviews with the gods, or were in any degree under the influence of Heaven, more than those at work upon ships or houses, or laboring in merchandise or agriculture; it will forever be acknowledged that these governments were contrived merely by the use of reason and the senses.
— John Adams, “A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America” (1787-88), (emphasis mine)

Ben Franklin-

“When a religion is good, I conceive it will support itself; and when it does not support itself, and God does not care to support it, so that its professors are obliged to call for the help of the civil power, ‘tis a sign, I apprehend, of its being a bad one.”
Ben Franklin, _Poor Richard's Almanac_, 1754 (Works, Volume XIII)]

“My parents had early given me religious impressions, and brought me through my childhood piously in the dissenting [puritan]way. But I was scarce fifteen, when, after doubting by turns of several points, as I found them disputed in the different books I read, I began to doubt of Revelation itself. Some books against Deism fell into my hands; they were said to be the substance of sermons preached at Boyle's lectures. [Robert Boyle (1627-1691) was a British physicist who endowed the Boyle Lectures for defense of Christianity.]It happened that they wrought an effect on me quite contrary to what was intended by them; for the arguments of the deists, which were quoted to be refuted, appeared to me much stronger than the refutations; in short, I soon became a thorough deist”
[Benjamin Franklin, “Autobiography,”p.66]

James Madison-

Among the features peculiar to the political system of the United States, is the perfect equality of rights which it secures to every religious sect ... Equal laws, protecting equal rights, are found, as they ought to be presumed, the best guarantee of loyalty and love of country; as well as best calculated to cherish that mutual respect and good will among citizens of every religious denomination which are necessary to social harmony, and most favorable to the advancement of truth.
— James Madison, letter to Dr. De La Motta, August 1820 (Madison, 1865, III, pages 178-179),

[T]he bill exceeds the rightful authority to which governments are limited by the essential distinction between civil and religious functions, and violates in particular the article of the Constitution of the United States which declares that “Congress shall make no law respecting a religious establishment....” This particular church, therefore, would so far be a religious establishment by law, a legal force and sanction being given to certain articles in its constitution and administration.
— James Madison, veto message, February 21, 1811. Madison vetoed a bill to incorporate the Episcopal Church in Alexandria, Virginia, and the District of Columbia.

Is the appointment of Chaplains to the two Houses of Congress consistent with the Constitution, and with the pure principle of religious freedom? In strictness the answer on both points must be in the negative. The Constitution of the U S forbids everything like an establishment of a national religion. The law appointing Chaplains establishes a religious worship for the national representatives, to be performed by Ministers of religion, elected by a majority of them, and these are to be paid out of the national taxes. Does this not involve the principle of a national establishment...?
— James Madison, “Essay on Monopolies” unpublished until 1946

Thomas Jefferson –

The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.
— Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia, 1781-82

Among the most inestimable of our blessings is that ... of liberty to worship our Creator in the way we think most agreeable to His will; a liberty deemed in other countries incompatible with good government and yet proved by our experience to be its best support.
— Thomas Jefferson, Reply to Baptist Address, 1807

The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.
— Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia, 1781-82

I am really mortified to be told that, in the United States of America, a fact like this [that a bookseller is prosecuted for selling books advocatig what was then presumed by the statusuo to be pseudoscience] can become a subject of inquiry, and of criminal inquiry too, as an offence against religion; that a question about the sale of a book can be carried before the civil magistrate. Is this then our freedom of religion? and are we to have a censor whose imprimatur shall say what books may be sold, and what we may buy? And who is thus to dogmatize religious opinions for our citizens? Whose foot is to be the measure to which ours are all to be cut or stretched? Is a priest to be our inquisitor, or shall a layman, simple as ourselves, set up his reason as the rule for what we are to read, and what we must believe? It is an insult to our citizens to question whether they are rational beings or not, and blasphemy against religion to suppose it cannot stand the test of truth and reason.
If M de Becourt’s book be false in its facts, disprove them; if false in its reasoning, refute it. But, for God's sake, let us freely hear both sides, if we choose....
— Thomas Jefferson, letter to N G Dufief, Philadelphia bookseller (1814), after being prosecuted for selling de Becourt’s book, Sur la Création du Monde, un Systême d’Organisation Primitive, which Jefferson himself had purchased

Because religious belief, or non-belief, is such an important part of every person's life, freedom of religion affects every individual. Religious institutions that use government power in support of themselves and force their views on persons of other faiths, or of no faith, undermine all our civil rights. Moreover, state support of an established religion tends to make the clergy unresponsive to their own people, and leads to corruption within religion itself. Erecting the “wall of separation between church and state,” therefore, is absolutely essential in a free society.
We have solved, by fair experiment, the great and interesting question whether freedom of religion is compatible with order in government and obedience to the laws. And we have experienced the quiet as well as the comfort which results from leaving every one to profess freely and openly those principles of religion which are the inductions of his own reason and the serious convictions of his own inquiries.
— Thomas Jefferson, to the Virginia Baptists (1808) ME 16:320

If the founding fathers truly wanted a Christian nation they could have easily put that into the constitution, but they did not. For example during the ratification for the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom Thomas Jefferson reported that a motion was made to include Jesus in it. This was motion was only supported by three people so it was not carried. This happened two years prior to the writing of the constitution. This statute was well known to the representatives at the constitutional convention.

28 posted on 02/17/2011 9:52:00 AM PST by armordog99
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To: armordog99; spirited irish
Religionand the Founding of the American Republic LOC

Proposed Seal for the United States On July 4, 1776, Congress appointed Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams "to bring in a device for a seal for the United States of America." Franklin's proposal adapted the biblical story of the parting of the Red Sea (left). Jefferson first recommended the "Children of Israel in the Wilderness, led by a Cloud by Day, and a Pillar of Fire by night. . . ." He then embraced Franklin's proposal and rewrote it (right). Jefferson's revision of Franklin's proposal was presented by the committee to Congress on August 20. Although not accepted these drafts reveal the religious temper of the Revolutionary period. Franklin and Jefferson were among the most theologically liberal of the Founders, yet they used biblical imagery for this important task.

Aitken's Bible Endorsed by Congress
The war with Britain cut off the supply of Bibles to the United States with the result that on Sept. 11, 1777, Congress instructed its Committee of Commerce to import 20,000 Bibles from "Scotland, Holland or elsewhere." On January 21, 1781, Philadelphia printer Robert Aitken (1734-1802) petitioned Congress to officially sanction a publication of the Old and New Testament which he was preparing at his own expense. Congress "highly approve the pious and laudable undertaking of Mr. Aitken, as subservient to the interest of religion . . . in this country, and . . . they recommend this edition of the bible to the inhabitants of the United States." This resolution was a result of Aitken's successful accomplishment of his project.

Aitken's Bible
Aitken published Congress's recommendation of September 1782 and related documents (Item 115) as an imprimatur on the two pages following his title page. Aitken's Bible, published under Congressional patronage, was the first English language Bible published on the North American continent.

Christianizing the Delawares
In this resolution, Congress makes public lands available to a group for religious purposes. Responding to a plea from Bishop John Ettwein (1721-1802), Congress voted that 10,000 acres on the Muskingum River in the present state of Ohio "be set apart and the property thereof be vested in the Moravian Brethren . . . or a society of the said Brethren for civilizing the Indians and promoting Christianity." The Delaware Indians were the intended beneficiaries of this Congressional resolution.

29 posted on 02/17/2011 11:31:53 AM PST by DJ MacWoW (America! The wolves are at your door! How will you answer the knock?)
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To: armordog99

They base our country on greco-roman, english common law, judeo-christian, and enlightenment principles. Here are some quotes from the founders themselves

Spirited: All of that is well and good, however, the quotes in and of themselves provide only a rather shallow level of meaning.

We need to dig deeper.

Every society throughout the world and over the course of history has been founded on the answers to the Ultimate Questions:

1. origins....where did everything come from?

2. what is man?

3. why does evil exist and who or what is responsible?

As CS Lewis observed, paganism (naturalism) was the greatest thing (origins account) known to man until Christianity (origins account) came along and turned the world right-side up and liberated man from nature.

As Kimball makes clear, naturalism paganism) is monism (materialism-pantheism) Monism teaches that all that exists is one self-generated, self-sufficient, nonliving substance and that all things are merely diverse emergent aspects of the one substance.

Materialist monism (ie., the Atomists, Karl Marx, Richard Dawkins, Carl Sagan) teaches that the one substance is matter and the energy running through it. There is no metaphysical and/or spiritual dimension. Because man is embedded within the one substance, and the substance is merely matter, man’s spiritual mind and soul cannot be allowed to exist and are therefore explained away. Subsumed into matter, man has no free will and his thoughts are defined as epiphenomenon (illusions) produced by the firing of synapses and the chance interaction of chemicals. In this view, man is nothing but an animal or a fleshy robot at the mercy of unseen natural forces.

Pantheist-monism teaches that all that exists is one substance, and it is nonliving, impersonal spirit, for example, Brahman, Christ Consciousness, or The Force of Starwars fame. In this view, man is subsumed into the one-spirit. Man has no free will and no mind or soul of his own because he is a diverse part of the one-spirit. The material world is an epiphenomenon (illusion) produced by spirit.

Rather than one substance, the Bible posits two realms: the cosmos (natural world) and the transcendent Heaven. This teaching is called Biblical Dualism.

The Biblical view of man liberates him from the one-substance. Man is an individual (and not a part of nature) who is both material (of this world) and spiritual (mind/soul). His mind, the citadel of his soul, transcends the material world, thus allowing his mind to stand outside of nature and objectively observe it. He has free will.

The point of all of this is that there are only two views of man: Materialist/Pantheist Monism and Biblical dualism.

Our unalienable rights, the Declaration and Constitution are written expressions of and expansions on the Biblical view of man.

To reject Biblical dualism is to fall back into materialist/pantheist monism.

30 posted on 02/17/2011 11:54:56 AM PST by spirited irish
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