Tuesday, March 22, 2011
The Beliefs of our Founding Fathers
In our Sunday School this week, our pastor briefly mentioned our founding fathers and the fact that many people believe them to have been Christians (born- again) and they were not. It got me thinking that many people may not realize exactly what a number of our Founding Fathers were and what they believed. Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and possibly several others, were, in fact, deists.
From the American Heritage Dictionary, deism is "the belief, based solely on reason, in a God who created the universe and then abandoned it, assuming no control over life, exerting no influence on natural phenomena, and giving no supernatural revelation."
I have heard it said that if these men were not Christians, at least they were "really close" to being Christians, believing much of the what we believe and believing much of the Bible. This could certainly be argued -- they believed in the morals of the Bible, how we should behave and treat others, but without Christ it is an empty morality and how long will it last? We need only look at Ben Franklin's personal life as he grew older for an example. I believe that there can be as much danger in being really close to the truth (and finding security there) as being far, far away... in both cases you are just as lost. Think with me of a person wanting to go to a play in a large auditorium. They pull into the parking lot, park their car, walk over to the side of the building and stand there. They watch everyone else go into the building but they are still outside- got a great view of the parking lot and the outside of the building but are they experiencing what is going on INSIDE the auditorium? No. They are SO close but it does them no good.
There is, however, no proof that our first president was a deist. Neither is there any proof that he was a Christian. It is said George Washington never mentioned Christ in any of his correspondence. I have read some of his writings and hadn't realize this. I will have to read them over again, but briefly reading over his Thanksgiving Proclamation this morning, I notice that he does indeed mention God but not Christ.
We should indeed remember the men who began our country with great respect and teach our children of them. But if we want direction for this life, we need not turn to a history book or biography. Instead we must turn to God's Word and study it. If we want an example of how we should live our lives, we should not look to lives of these men, instead we must turn to Christ...