Thomas Jefferson: Views on Religion

In an age where Protestants were burning effigies of the Pope and Catholics were very recently burning Protestants, it's amazing that Thomas Jefferson held the views he did.

We live in a time where even the Clintons must go to church regularly to show themselves as good citizens and it's not a real controversial idea that government funds go to 'faith based' (Christian) initiatives. It goes without saying that in Jefferson's day- the religious fervor of the masses burned even hotter.

Everything tended to be pro religion, just in different ways ie. would you be for the religious orthodoxy (Catholic or Anglican depending on where you're from) or be against the orthodoxy (Puritan or Methodist Evangelical). But the basis of the argument was who represented religious Truth, not if religion was Truth.

So the fact that Jefferson in the evenings while a sitting president and later in retirement went through the Gospels of the Bible and cut out all the 'superstition' (miracles) sort of blows my mind. Among the things he removed were the Virgin birth, water in to wine, walking on water etc. His bible ends with the rock being rolled in front of the tomb and never moving again.

In his view, the death of Jesus was a powerful scene, just one more in the tradition of Socrates drinking hemlock because he didn't want to ignore the laws of Athens after he had been accused of corrupting the youth.

Jefferson wasn't an Atheist either though like his French Revolutionary contemporaries that razed churches and built 'temples of reason'. His faith was in the general goodness of mankind and he didn't need a crutch to find purpose in life.

What do you think it says about the times we live in that the single biggest slur against Barack Obama was that he wasn't a Christian?

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