More Progressive Slanders Against My Friend, TJ

Why is it that, when caught by the strong and unyielding stance of our founding fathers, that Progressives like to fall back on what is slander against Jefferson, itself created by Progressive scholars?  I am speaking about the accusation that Jefferson was a Deist when the evidence against that claim is written on the Jefferson monument?  Here are the words Jefferson penned, and is should be noted that they were written in regard to the issue of slavery:

And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep for ever.

–Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia, Query 18, 1781

How does this prove that Jefferson was not a Deist?  The answer is simple, and it is found in the Webster’s Dictionary (Webster being a contemporary of Jefferson’s and founding father of this nation and the American education system):

Definition of DEISM

: a movement or system of thought advocating natural religion, emphasizing morality, and in the 18th century denying the interference of the Creator with the laws of the universe

 So, if Jefferson were a Deist, why would he fear for this nation in regard to God’s justice and patience when, by definition, he would have to reject the notion that the Creator is involved in the affairs of man?  (Incidentally, Franklin’s own words absolve him of the accusation of Deism, as well – and for the same reason).  So let us dismiss these silly progressive slanders against a great man’s faith.  Not only do they not serve the purpose for which they are intended, they are too easily disproven.

 But this leaves us on the issue of what Jefferson actually believed regarding God and his personal religion.  Well, in his book, “The Jefferson Lies,” David Barton does an excellent job of handling this issue.  From page 165-6:

 “Across his long life Jefferson went through several phases regarding his own personal beliefs about specific doctrines of Christianity.  There are times when he took a firm position on a particular Christian doctrine then perhaps twenty years later changed his view.  For this reason, quotes can be selected to make Jefferson appear to be either a mainstream Christian or pagan heretic, depending on the period of Jefferson’s life from which the statements are taken….”

“While there definitely were periods when Jefferson did challenge some specific doctrines, there never was a time when he questioned the overall value of Christianity to individuals or to a nation.  And there never was a time when he was anti-Jesus or when he rejected Christianity.  It is only in the nuances of some particular doctrines of Christianity that Jefferson’s personal faith becomes difficult to pin down or to draw a fixed and definite conclusion.”

However, in case this is not sufficient, there is always Jefferson, himself (please note the dates):

[My views on Christianity] are the result of a life of inquiry & reflection, and very different from that anti-Christian system imputed to me by those who know nothing of my opinions. To the corruptions of Christianity I am indeed opposed; but not to the genuine precepts of Jesus himself. I am a Christian, in the only sense he wished any one to be; sincerely attached to his doctrines, in preference to all others; ascribing to himself every human excellence; & believing he never claimed any other.

–letter to Dr. Benjamin Rush, Apr. 21, 1803

I am a real Christian, that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus—very different from the Platonists, who call me infidel and themselves Christians and preachers of the gospel, while they draw all their characteristic dogmas from what its Author never said nor saw. They have compounded from the heathen mysteries a system beyond the comprehension of man, of which the great Reformer of the vicious ethics and deism of the Jews, were He to return on earth, would not recognize one feature.

—To Charles Thomson. Bergh 14:385. (1816.)

Had the doctrines of Jesus been preached always as pure as they came from his lips, the whole civilized world would now have been Christian.

—To Dr. Benjamin Waterhouse. (1822)

In the end, only God and Jefferson will ever truly know what Jefferson believed.  All we can really say with certainty is that the historic record does not support the assertion that Jefferson was an atheist nor a Deist, and any attempt to make such a claim amounts to nothing more than a slanderous attack – most often by one who has lost an argument and now seeks to divert attention away from the fact that he has nothing left with which to defend his position.

34 thoughts on “More Progressive Slanders Against My Friend, TJ

  1. I loaned my book out, can you add in the letter from Jefferson to his nephew where Jefferson urged his nephew to question everything…. but that the questioning would bring him back to Jesus… ?

    • Texas,

      He doesn’t so much say that Peter will come back to the Bible as he says to rely on reason:

      Letter to Peter Carr

      As an aside, I wonder — man of reason that he was — how would Jefferson’s positions have changed had he known about the recent discoveries of quantum physics in which we know know there are additional dimensions in our universe? If Christ is who He claimed to be, and He had control over these different dimensions, then all of those things Jefferson and so many others see as “supernatural” would suddenly become just another part of our universe (i.e. natural, just beyond man’s current ability to see, understand and manipulate). Would this have changed his objection to Christ’s claims and to those who testified to what Jefferson rejected as super natural occurrences?

      Also, had Jefferson been aware that the darkening of the sky and shaking of the earth throughout the entire Mediterranean basin was recorded by at least three different astronomers/historians across more than 1600 miles, all of which placing the events at the precise day and time the Bible claims Christ was crucified, would he have rejected them as falsifications, as well? Or would he have accepted the word of other scientists of the time as they reported something that cannot be explained by a simple earth quake and eclipse? And, if so, would that have altered Jefferson’s position on Christ’s claims of divinity and the undisputed testimony of several hundred eye witnesses to Christ’s “miracles?”

      • Hmmmm, maybe I’m remembering the author’s interpretation, or a different letter…
        Here is what I was remembering:
        “…If you find reason to believe there is a God, a consciousness that you are acting under his eye, & that he approves you, will be a vast additional incitement; if that there be a future state, the hope of a happy existence in that increases the appetite to deserve it; if that Jesus was also a God, you will be comforted by a belief of his aid and love. In fine, I repeat, you must lay aside all prejudice on both sides, and neither believe nor reject anything, because any other persons, or description of persons, have rejected or believed it. Your own reason is the only oracle given you by heaven, and you are answerable, not for the rightness, but uprightness of the decision. I forgot to observe, when speaking of the New Testament, that you should read all the histories of Christ, as well of those whom a council of ecclesiastics have decided for us, to be Pseudo-evangelists, as those they named Evangelists. Because these Pseudo-evangelists pretended to inspiration, as much as the others, and you are to judge their pretensions by your own reason, and not by the reason of those ecclesiastics…” Thomas Jefferson, letter to Peter Carr

  2. Wow, Utah has become a progressive in my absence and Joe considered calling it quits? Cool. (Though of course I don’t believe the latter.)

    I always thought Utah was the smartest of those who post here, even if the election made him lose his mind for a bit. Carry on boys; I’ve been doing a bit of catching up, and must say that you’ve been more interesting than usual.

  3. So, Joe…anyone who disagrees with you is now a “progressive”, even someone who has written side by side with you and supported your efforts for nearly three years, someone who handed this forum over to you for months to use as your own and has personally defended you to others, yet you feel free to libel me.

    And just a FYI: when it is written, it isn’t slander, it is libel. Slander is defamation delivered by the spoken word.

    Point out that we have laws that were duly passed – I’m a progressive.
    Point out that Jefferson had views in addition to those you cite – I’m a progressive.
    Point out that we must have rule of law in a functioning Republic – not only am I a progressive but a Pharisee to boot.
    Point out that we should use caution about what Edward Snowden says – yep, just another Obama loving progressive.

    Just stick to the facts:

    Is there a Jefferson Bible or is there not?

    Does it have the supernatural passages excised and verses reordered by Jefferson’s own hand?

    Is is on display at the Smithsonian?

    I’ll answer that – it is and it can be seen online here: http://americanhistory.si.edu/jeffersonbible/.

    There is no “progressive” slander to call Jefferson a Deist because that is what he was most closely associated with. Deism is nothing but the belief that reason and observation of the natural world are sufficient to determine the existence of God. The slander is when true “progressives” assert that he was an atheist based on his letter to the Danbury Baptists. Being a Deist doesn’t make him evil or a non-Christian any more than it makes me a “progressive” but it is a different take than mainstream Christianity and it is clear that Jefferson spoke often of God and was a regular church attendee.

    There is no Founder that I respect more than Jefferson. I haven’t posted what I have to denigrate him or demean his contribution to this county in any way. Jefferson’s ability to think the way he did was a gift from God and an amazing thing to read and study – but it does him a great disservice to exclude any of his brilliance because you don’t like it. He thought what he thought and he wrote what he wrote, the letters are in his own hand and he wrote with a clarity that requires no “interpretation”. Such was his gift.

    I just have to ask – what is it with you and Beck?

    Beck has been broadcasting about the coming apocalypse for the past couple of weeks and your personality has turned about the same time. You HAVE changed, you have become dark and self-righteous and both messianic and megalomaniacal in your writing – you are so sure that you are right that you simply refuse to abide any other point of view or disagreement because, to use your technique of emphasis, we all are WRONG! and we are not only WRONG!, you are sure of it. The end times are coming and you are the only one who can see them…

    Perhaps you are right but if so, my soul is at peace with God.

    I don’t know what is going on with you but I really hope you get it sorted before you have a stroke.

  4. “I will post, but I will no longer seek direct confrontation with anyone anymore. Since I consider my continued participation to be the equivalent of operating behind enemy lines…”

    “So, Joe…anyone who disagrees with you is now a ‘progressive’, even someone who has written side by side with you and supported your efforts for nearly three years, someone who handed this forum over to you for months to use as your own and has personally defended you to others, yet you feel free to libel me.”

    A minor legal point–you can’t libel (or slander) the dead. And be careful, Utah: Joe has previously boasted here about the distance at which he can put a bullet in someone’s head, a perhaps-troubling thought if he really is a self-righteous messianic megalomaniac.

    Augger must be so distraught, though, silently drinking alone while the grownups fight. Of course you could both quit and turn the RNL over to Kells and Dusty.

    • “Augger must be so distraught”

      Augger is not distraught. You flatter yourself too much James, to presume clairvoyance. Though I am curious, how much food do you sneak in at night while the Mrs’ sleeps, fatty?

      Augger is never alone, so don’t fret over my situation. 🙂

      p.s. – get on a diet, and walk. Your risk factors are showing.

      • “get on a diet, and walk”

        I play basketball twice a week, golf once a week, and have been doing some serious yard and garden work. I suspect I could run circles around you, little man.

        You may want to cut back on the booze and tobacco. Your risk factors are showing.

        • Hey Professor Fat-ass. I recently traveled out to Lompoc to visit an uncle who enjoys cycling as much as do. Here’s the telemetry from that ride. If you think you can surpass that, I will get off your butt about your crummy looking appearance, big man.

          • “If you think you can surpass that, I will get off your butt about your crummy looking appearance…”

            Cool. I think I can surpass that. So now you can STFU, right? 🙂

            Nah, I know you’re incapable of that, just as you’re incapable of disagreeing with someone without inserting an inane personal insult.

            • Send in your telemetry, and let’s see. 🙂

              Yep, I learned really good about personal insults from the master, boss.

              Monkey see, monkey do … right? Right.

              • Now I wouldn’t have called you a monkey, but if the banana fits…

                I see no need to measure my telemetry, even if I knew how, and even less need to travel to Lompoc to prove a point. You might want to re-read your own comment, which began “If you think…”

                • I don’t give a shit where you ride. LOL Ride anywhere. The distances, and elevations are right there on the screen for you … everything a smart man like you would need to know … unless of course, it’s above your head.

                  Just do the ride as close as you can, and post up … that is of course … if you have the means.

                  Hell, I’d even accept your use of supplemental oxygen if that makes you feel better about it. 🙂

                  • To repeat, in hopes you might get it this time: I see no need to measure my telemetry, even if I knew how, and you might want to re-read your own comment, which began “If you think…”

                    • As I said, I saw your silly spin, and even captured one of yours.

                      You know the meaning. Man up and ride, or sit down with the wussies.

                      Judging by your photo, sitting with the wussies should be comfortable for you.

                    • Coming from you, Auggie, that means so much. I’ll let you go back to obsessing about me now. 😉

                      Enjoy tonight’s solitary drinking.

    • You know, James, if you’re trying to make a dig at Dusty and I, it is foolish, as we both possess humor, imagination, and a healthy dose of common sense; something to which I think escapes you on more than one occasion.

  5. “if you’re trying to make a dig at Dusty and I”

    No. The two of you just tend to post a lot different material than that from Joe & Utah. And though Dusty may overdo it with the regurgitated chain email stuff, unlike Augger neither of you is so pitiful as to have to rely on third-grade level fat jokes as your primary form of “argument.” A sad little proctologist, that one.

    • I may be wrong because I don’t possess the profound depth of St James’ ” intellectual prowess”.

      But Physical Phatness is a metaphor for a Fat attitude ……. equally obvious to everyone with but a glance.

      • “I may be wrong …”

        Yep, as usual. Not even close to what Auggie has been talking about.

          • I think not, Donnie. But I guess we’ll have to let Auggie tell us what he means with his fat jokes and his professed concerns about my diet, if you (or he) really think anyone cares.

            • “professed concerns about my diet, if you (or he) really think anyone cares.”

              Actually, you are spot on this one McFat-ass. I don’t care about your health concerns, unless of course you move my direction and become job security for me.

              Otherwise, I do not love you, I do not hate you. I just simply remain indifferent as to you other than the occasional humor you bring about … fish in a barrel fodder.

              🙂

              • “I just simply remain indifferent as to you”

                Yeah, I can tell by the number of times you mentioned my name in posts entirely unrelated to me as I was catching up on my RNL reading yesterday. I don’t know whether to be flattered or disturbed by your apparent fascination with me.

                • I get bored when you or the other fat-ass aren’t around …

                  Yep, that’s about the sum of your value to me. Fodder.

                  • “I get bored when you or the other fat-ass aren’t around …”

                    That I understand. Most of the writing here is so deadly dull that I had to pretty much gave up the RNL. I never expected you to admit it, though.

                    The latest pissing contest between Utah and Joe has been entertaining, though, don’t you think?

                    • Thats not an epiphany. Had you kept up, I have long stated that some of these posts were too lengthy. I even spelled out a modular design where these posts could be further reading, and then referenced in posts that were much shorter, and more likely to capture a reader.

                      You are getting slow in your old age. 🙂

                    • If you think watching two men contesting how well they can urinate is entertaining, then you really do need help.

                      (see, I can spin bullshit too)

                • And an additional side bar:

                  The smiley face represents the highest peak on that ride. Just below (above on your map) was the spot I saw some wild turkeys and marked it. Ah, I wish I had brought the camera with me that day. Those turkeys were beautiful.

      • “But Physical Phatness is a metaphor for a Fat attitude ……. equally obvious to everyone with but a glance.”

        That too, but Professor Fat-ass has his usual intellectual apnea spells, and missed this important point I made about him:

        “Just another pop in by the egomaniac McPherson who is grossly enamored with the sound on his own voice.”

        You however, did not. 🙂

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