The Religious Views of the Founding Fathers
br There are many in this country today who claim the Founding Fathers were Christians who were attempting to create a Christian nation , and to this end build Christian principles into the Constitution . The evangelical right uses this argument to push for a Christian-centered government in the United States today , with Christian-centered policies They argue that the separation of church and state in the Constitution was not meant to be as absolute as later court decisions have ruled it to be . While the Founding Fathers did undoubtedly have Christian beliefs , however , their [banner_entry_middle]
beliefs were not what the standard evangelical Christian of today believes . Most evangelicals today would be quite shocked if they understood the true religious beliefs of our Founding Fathers . Further , the Founding Fathers believed in a government built on civil principals , not religious ones , and structured the Constitution accordingly
In to understand how and why the Constitution was structured as it was , it is first necessary to understand the religious beliefs of the Founding Fathers . Thomas Jefferson is a prime example of a Founding Father who believed in God and Jesus of Nazareth , and who considered himself a Christian , but whose beliefs were a far cry from the fundamentalism of today . Jefferson was what is now referred to as a deist . A deist believes in God , but believes that God does not interfere directly in human affairs . To that end , Jefferson believed in the historical person that was Jesus of Nazareth , believed him to be a good , moral man , and believed in his teachings . In that regard Jefferson considered himself a Christian , and admitted as much However , Jefferson believed that the Christianity practiced in his time was corrupted , changed from its original form and Jesus ‘s original intent . Jefferson , at one point , went through the four Gospels of the New Testament with a razor , cutting out the parts he wished to keep , and pasting these sections into a blank book . What resulted was an abridged form of the Gospels that completely eliminated the story of the virgin birth , any references to Jesus ‘s divinity , the miracle stories , and the resurrection (Smith 2003 . This collection was published in 1820 under the title , The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth
What can be inferred from this exercise on Jefferson ‘s part is that he believed Jesus to have been a man with sound moral teachings , and that those teachings were worthy of being followed . As to anything else dealing with the spiritual or supernatural , Jefferson was skeptical Jefferson was not tied to any one church , and in fact contributed financially in equal amounts to every denomination in his town . If he leaned more toward one denomination than another , it was to the Unitarian church , which was and is still known for its broad interpretation of Christianity that leaves room to include just about anyone ‘s beliefs regarding it . In fact , Jefferson was so enthusiastic about Unitarianism that he once declared that he thought every man in the United States… [banner_entry_footer]
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