America vs Religion + Awesome Founding Father Quotes

Important articles, websites, quotes, information etc. that can come in handy when discussing or debating religious or science-related topics

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America vs Religion + Awesome Founding Father Quotes

Postby BlkbrryTheGreat » 2003-02-07 01:44am

As the quotes on this page illustrate, the claim that America was founded on Christianity is a myth. Many of the Founding Fathers and Revolutionary War leaders were Deists, and upheld a firm separation of church and state.

Webster’s New World Dictionary — Third College Edition

Deism: (1) The belief in the existence of a God on purely rational grounds without reliance on revelation or authority; especially in the 17th and 18th centuries. (2) The doctrine that God created the world and its natural laws, but takes no further part in its functioning.


“Point for point, the Founding Fathers’ argument for liberty was the exact counterpart of the Puritans’ argument for dictatorship — but in reverse, moving from the opposite starting point to the opposite conclusion. Man, the Founding Fathers said in essence (with a large assist from Locke and others), is the rational being; no authority, human or otherwise, can demand blind obedience from such a being — not in the realm of thought or, therefore, in the realm of action, either. By his very nature, they said, man must be left free to exercise his reason and then to act accordingly, i.e., by the guidance of his best rational judgment. Because this world is of vital importance, they added, the motive of man’s action should be the pursuit of happiness. Because the individual, not a supernatural power, is the creator of wealth, a man should have the right to private property, the right to keep and use or trade his own product. And because man is basically good, they held, there is no need to leash him; there is nothing to fear in setting free a rational animal.
“This, in substance, was the American argument for man’s inalienable rights. It was the argument that reason demands freedom.”
—Leonard Peikoff, “Religion vs. America,” The Voice of Reason


United States Constitution

The First Amendment
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion...”

Article VI, Section 3
“...no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”


John Adams (the second President of the United States)

Adams signed the Treaty of Tripoli (June 7, 1797). Article 11 states:
“The government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion.”

From a letter to Charles Cushing (October 19, 1756):
“Twenty times in the course of my late reading, have I been upon the point of breaking out, ‘this would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it.’”

From a letter to Thomas Jefferson:
“I almost shudder at the thought of alluding to the most fatal example of the abuses of grief which the history of mankind has preserved — the Cross. Consider what calamities that engine of grief has produced!”

Additional quotes from John Adams:
“Where do we find a precept in the Bible for Creeds, Confessions, Doctrines and Oaths, and whole carloads of trumpery that we find religion encumbered with in these days?”

“The Doctrine of the divinity of Jesus is made a convenient cover for absurdity.”

“...Thirteen governments [of the original states] thus founded on the natural authority of the people alone, without a pretence of miracle or mystery, and which are destined to spread over the northern part of that whole quarter of the globe, are a great point gained in favor of the rights of mankind.”


Thomas Jefferson (the third President of the United States)

Jefferson’s interpretation of the first amendment in a letter to the Danbury Baptist Association (January 1, 1802):
“Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between church and State.”

From Jefferson’s biography:
“...an amendment was proposed by inserting the words, ‘Jesus Christ...the holy author of our religion,’ which was rejected ‘By a great majority in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and the Mohammedan, the Hindoo and the Infidel of every denomination.’”

Jefferson’s “The Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom”:
“Our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions, more than on our opinions in physics and geometry....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.”

From Thomas Jefferson’s Bible:
“The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the Supreme Being as his father, in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter.”

Jefferson’s Notes on Virginia:
“Reason and persuasion are the only practicable instruments. To make way for these free inquiry must be indulged; how can we wish others to indulge it while we refuse ourselves? But every state, says an inquisitor, has established some religion. No two, say I, have established the same. Is this a proof of the infallibility of establishments?”

Additional quotes from Thomas Jefferson:
“It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself.”

“They [the clergy] believe that any portion of power confided to me, will be exerted in opposition of their schemes. And they believe rightly: for I have sworn upon the alter of god eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.”

“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 of the world fools and the other half hypocrites; to support roguery and error all over the earth.”

“In every country and in every age the priest has been hostile to liberty; he is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own.”

“Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear....Do not be frightened from this inquiry by any fear of its consequences. If it end in a belief that there is no God, you will find incitements to virtue on the comfort and pleasantness you feel in its exercise and in the love of others which it will procure for you.”

“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.”

“...that our civil rights have no dependence on religious opinions, any more than our opinions in physics and geometry.”


James Madison (the fourth President of the United States)

Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments:
“Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise....During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have been its fruits? More or less, in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in laity; in both, superstition, bigotry, and persecution.”

Additional quote from James Madison:
“Religion and government will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together.”


Benjamin Franklin

From Franklin’s autobiography, p. 66:
“My parents had given me betimes religious impressions, and I received from my infancy a pious education in the principles of Calvinism. But scarcely was I arrived at fifteen years of age, when, after having doubted in turn of different tenets, according as I found them combated in the different books that I read, I began to doubt of Revelation itself.”

From Franklin’s autobiography, p. 66:
“...Some books against Deism fell into my hands....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 quote to be refuted, appeared to me much stronger than the refutations, in short, I soon became a thorough Deist.”


Thomas Paine

From The Age of Reason, pp. 8–9:
“I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by the Roman church, by the Greek church, by the Turkish church, by the Protestant church, nor by any church that I know of....Each of those churches accuse the other of unbelief; and of my own part, I disbelieve them all.”

From The Age of Reason:
“All natural institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian, or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.”

From The Age of Reason:
“The most detestable wickedness, the most horrid cruelties, and the greatest miseries that have afflicted the human race have had their origin in this thing called revelation, or revealed religion.”

From The Age of Reason:
“What is it the Bible teaches us? — rapine, cruelty, and murder.”

From The Age of Reason:
“Loving of enemies is another dogma of feigned morality, and has beside no meaning....Those who preach the doctrine of loving their enemies are in general the greatest prosecutors, and they act consistently by so doing; for the doctrine is hypocritical, and it is natural that hypocrisy should act the reverse of what it preaches.”

From The Age of Reason:
“The Bible was established altogether by the sword, and that in the worst use of it — not to terrify but to extirpate.”

Additional quote from Thomas Paine:
“It is the duty of every true Deist to vindicate the moral justice of God against the evils of the Bible.”


Ethan Allen

From Religion of the American Enlightenment:
“Denominated a Deist, the reality of which I have never disputed, being conscious that I am no Christian.”

Taken from
http://religion.aynrand.org/quotes.html

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Postby Frank Hipper » 2003-02-07 01:53am

I vote that this gets stickified.
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Postby Enforcer Talen » 2003-02-07 01:59am

now this is amusing. I second that motion.
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Postby GrandMasterTerwynn » 2003-02-07 02:46am

Frank Hipper wrote:I vote that this gets stickified.


I agree. It would be useful to point people to these quotes.

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Postby Xenophobe3691 » 2003-02-07 06:55am

Stickified, please, for instant access and retreival. Thank you!
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Postby ArthurDent » 2003-02-07 09:35am

He's actually just barely scraped the surface of possible quotes to use in that regard.
"To those who cite the First Amendment as reason for excluding God from more and more of our institutions every day, I say: The First Amendment of the Constitution was not written to protect the people of this country from religious values; it was written to protect religious values from government tyranny." --Ronald Reagan

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Postby Stormbringer » 2003-02-07 09:59am

Vorlon1701 wrote:Stickified, please, for instant access and retreival. Thank you!


Absolutely. And interesting discussion to say the least.
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Postby jaeger115 » 2003-02-09 02:36pm

*Claps twice and punches the air* Go Founding Fathers!
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Postby Mr Bean » 2003-02-09 02:54pm

Glad to see this stickyfied, most of these are excellent quotes

"A cult is a religion with no political power." -Tom Wolfe
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Postby ArmorPierce » 2003-02-13 09:07pm

Yes, this will be useful against idiots, does anyone else have any more?
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Postby kojikun » 2003-02-15 11:07pm

Ayn is my goddess. Well, no but yea :p
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Postby Neko001 » 2003-02-17 01:43am

As religious as I am, I agree, the Catholic church is an abomination, calling themselves and their institute Christians. They worship him wrongly.

I suggest this becomes a Sticky.
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Postby Asst. Asst. Lt. Cmdr. Smi » 2003-02-17 07:25pm

Neko001 wrote:As religious as I am, I agree, the Catholic church is an abomination, calling themselves and their institute Christians. They worship him wrongly.

I suggest this becomes a Sticky.


It's already stickied.

Anyway, they're pretty good quotes, a kick in the balls to any fundie who claims America was intended to be a theocracy, and actually quite true.
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Postby Steve » 2003-02-27 12:43am

Nah, the Fundies just claim that the quotes are fake and drag out a dozen quotes done in public where the Fathers proclaim their Christianity, like Adams' quote that the Constitution can only be enforced by a Christian and moral people, or something.

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Postby THE AMBASSADOR » 2003-02-28 04:34pm

Once again, I've been proved wrong. All my life I was raised and taught in Sunday School and such that the founding fathers were Christians and they meant for America to be a Christian country.

But in the last few weeks I've been involved in some debates and arguements (mostly on SB.com and other discussion forums) where I tried to defend these views along with the idea of the nonexistance of the seperation of church and state and morality and such. I was terrible ripped apart but I refused to concede and while I was slowly realizing my errors I refused to accept the truth that I was wrong.

In recent days however I have been opening my eyes more and more due in part to my time on SD.net and some other instances, such as goiong to the library and reading, digging out old textbooks, and actually studying things aside from my Bible. Not mention a Bible as Literature class I'm in that has been challenging my notion that it is the unedited and direct word of God. I've seen that it has indeed been transcribed, translated and canonized entirely been humans.

You may not know how hard it is to accept that you've been wrong and lied to all your life. It's hard for me and will take some time, but I think eventually I may make it. Please bare with me.

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Postby Durandal » 2003-02-28 05:08pm

I think we can remove his title, now. The fact that he's putting his own effort into things and not just accepting what we say at face value qualifies him as a free thinker.

And, Ambassador, you'd be surprised at how many atheists started out as Christian (like me) and either came to the conclusion that Christianity was bullshit on their own or through exposure to genuine logic and reasoning.

Yes, it's hard to accept that you've been lied to for your entire life, and it's even worse to think that you've been lied to by the people you love and trust. But it's part of a giant cycle. They were lied to by others who were lied to by others who were lied to ... ad infinitum. So, you can stop the cycle with your generation.
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Postby Mr Bean » 2003-02-28 05:32pm

We are not so quick to release titles, If nothing else he will hold it a little longer as a reminder

Remeber he would not be the first one to say he's sorry and be back and as bad as ever a week from now

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Postby Uther » 2003-03-11 11:38pm

Washington's Farewell Address:

"Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked: Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle. "

Jefferson didn't like organized religion (he seems to despise priests), but he did probably have a kind of personal faith:

We must reduce our volume to the simple evangelists [and] select, even from them, the very words only of Jesus, paring off the amphibologisms into which they have been led by forgetting often, or not understanding, what had fallen from him.…There will be found remaining the most sublime and benevolent code of morals which has ever been offered to man. I have performed this operation for my own use by cutting verse by verse out of the printed book, and arranging the matter which is evidently his, and which is as easily distinguishable as diamonds in a dunghill. The result is an octavo of forty-six pages of pure and unsophisticated doctrines such as were professed and acted on by the unlettered Apostles, the Apostolic Fathers, and the Christians of the first century. Their Platonizing successors, indeed, in after times, in order to legitimate the corruptions which they had incorporated into the doctrines of Jesus, found it necessary to disavow the primitive Christians, who had taken their principles from the mouth of Jesus himself, of his Apostles, and the Fathers contemporary with them. They excommunicated their followers as heretics. —To John Adams. Bergh 13:389. (1813.)

[Christ's] system of morality was the most benevolent and sublime probably that has been ever taught, and consequently more perfect than those of any of the ancient philosophers.…[He was] the most innocent, the most benevolent, the most eloquent and sublime character that ever has been exhibited to man. —To Dr. Joseph Priestley. Bergh 10:375. (1803.)


I think it's a tad disengenuous to claim Jefferson, for example, was anti-Christian. He hated priests, and he hated how Christianity has been perverted over the years, but he loved the ideas inherant in the teachings of Jesus. Remember, he wrote his own Bible that excised the supernatural stuff and left in the good bits. And why can't religion be allowed to change? Just because some things in the Bible aren't relevant or even moral doesn't mean the entire work should be discounted. A sensible religion will keep the good stuff and marginalize the bad. As time goes on, I don't doubt that many of the more progressive religions in this country and elsewhere will improve.

I can keep going, but I'm sure some other religious wacko will continue to refute the idea that the Founding Fathers were rabid atheists. I know that's incredibly sloppy "debating" but I have an essay to write. :D

PS
It's funny how this topic seems to be based on an Ayn Rand site; there are a TON of humanist/agnostic/atheist sites with roughly the same quotes, but the Ayn Rand site I found seemed to be exactly the same as the topic starter's. Talk about strange bedfellows!

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Postby Durandal » 2003-03-14 11:45am

Washington wrote:Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked: Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.


This seems more or less contradictory with some of his other statements. This could be just his personal opinion; he didn't express any emnity toward atheists.

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Postby Wicked Pilot » 2003-03-16 03:08pm

Geprge Bernard Shaw wrote:The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one.

Issac Asimov wrote:Creationists make it sound like a 'theory' is something you dreamt up after being drunk all night

Thomas Edison wrote:So far as religion of the day is concerned, it is a damned fake... Religion is all bunk

Samuel Clemens \"Mark Twain\" wrote:'In God We Trust.' I don't believe it would sound any better if it were true

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Postby Wicked Pilot » 2003-03-16 03:20pm

unknown wrote:God made me an atheist. Who are you to question his wisdom


unknown wrote:Only the fool says in his heart: There is no god -- The wise says it to the world


Frank Zappa wrote:Remember there is a big difference between kneeling down and bending over


E.T. Babinski wrote:My spell-checker lacks the word 'creationism' in its dictionary, so each time that word is encountered, an alternative pops up at the bottom of my screen, 'cretinism'


Robert Ingersoll wrote:Our ignorance is God; what we know is science.

With soap baptism is a good thing.


Donald Morgan wrote:Jesus' last words on the cross, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" hardly seem like the words of a man who planned it that way. It doesn't take Sherlock Holmes to figure there is something wrong here


Delos B McKown wrote:The invisible and the non-existent look very much alike
The most basic assumption about the world is that it does not contradict itself.

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Postby Enforcer Talen » 2003-04-07 05:25am

lmao@donald morgan. Im going to memorize that.

I asked my sister, why should we have in god we trust and all that? shes like, cuz the founding fathers were christian. so I gave the quotes, and she replies:


From: "Megan Hallbrook" <enforcer_megan@hotmail.com> | This is spam | Add to Address Book
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Date: Sat, 22 Mar 2003 11:42:44 -0500

i suppose I do. On this front. *retreats in shame*

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Postby Drooling Iguana » 2003-05-13 11:05am

That's the nice thing about my country. The only thing anyone remembers about John A. MacDonald is that he was an alcoholic. Having a somewhat boring history makes it far easier to concentrate on the here and now, and to try to justify our ideas rationally instead of just claiming that they were shared by some long dead historical figure.

Or at least, that's the delusion I prefer to cling to.

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Postby Ancalagon » 2003-05-13 12:06pm

As it was pointed out in this thread http://bbs.stardestroyer.net/viewtopic.php?t=19537 Only four of those mentioned are actually founding fathers, and two of the quotes are wrong. Even if all six were founding fathers and the quotes weren't bullshit though, are 6 selective quotes out of thousands of pages of writing from 119 people a good basis from which to assume the religious nature of the entire group?

*disclaimer* Since it seems everyone on this board loves to assume things that aren't written, i am in no way claiming that America was founding as an Xian nation... only that the overwhelming majority of the founders were Xian. Big difference.
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Postby Frank Hipper » 2003-05-14 02:53pm

Where are you getting your definition of Founding Father from, Ancalagon?
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