Atheists Deny Objective History of America’s Founding Ideology

Stories such as these get tiresome: they are tiresome because they are so easily disproven.  All you have to do is look to the entire body of historical evidence instead of intentionally cherry-picking (a fallacy) and presenting quotes out of context (another fallacy).

‘Celebrate Our Godless Constitution’: Guess Who’s Behind This July 4 Ad Decrying the ‘Myth’ That the U.S. Was Founded on Christianity

The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), an atheist activist non-profit, is behind a new full-page newspaper ad that decries the notion that America was founded on Christianity and the Bible. A portion of the contentious text reads, “Celebrate Our Godless Constitution,” and it features the faces and quotes from some of the nation’s most prominent Founding Fathers.

James Madison said he found the model of our three branches of government in the Bible:

Isaiah 33:22

22 For the Lord is our judge,
the Lord is our lawgiver,
the Lord is our king;
it is he who will save us.

Madison also said:

“We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We’ve staked the future of all our political institutions upon our capacity…to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.”

[1778 James Madison to the General Assembly of the State of Virginia]

“It is impossible for the man of pious reflection not to perceive in it [the Constitution] a finger of that Almighty hand which has been so frequently and signally extended to our relief in the critical stages of the revolution.”

–James Madison

Benjamin Franklin made a famous appeal for prayer at a crucial point in the 2nd Constitutional Convention: an appeal that the delegates credited for preventing the failure of the convention.  After the convention, Franklin was asked from where the founders had derived the principles of our constitution and he answered that they were the ancient principles, those of the Bible.

“Freedom is not a gift bestowed upon us by other men, but a right that belongs to us by the laws of God and nature.3

–Benjamin Franklin

 Any honest reader of Jefferson will find more than enough evidence to determine that Jefferson would have said there is a link between reverence for our Creator and the sustenance of a free and self-governing society:

“God who gave us life gave us liberty. 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 a gift from 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, and that His justice cannot sleep forever.”

–Thomas Jefferson, [Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia (Philadelphia: Matthew Carey, 1794), Query XVIII, p. 237.]

“The God who gave us life gave us liberty at the same time; the hand of force may destroy, but cannot disjoin them.”

 –Thomas Jefferson

Then there are the words of John Adams.  Often called the Atlas of the American Revolution, a full and honest reading of his words would never support the assertion that our founding was secular – quite the contrary:

“The Revolution was effected before the War commenced. The Revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people; a change in their religious sentiments of their duties and obligations … This radical change in the principles, opinions, sentiments, and affections of the people, was the real American Revolution.”

–John Adams

“The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity. I will avow that I then believed, and now believe, that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God.

–John Adams

(Thomas Jefferson, The Writings of Thomas Jefferson (Washington D. C.: The Thomas Jefferson Memorial Association, 1904), Vol. XIII, p. 292-294. In a letter from John Adams to Thomas Jefferson on June 28, 1813.)

 “There are three points of doctrine the belief of which forms the foundation of all morality. The first is the existence of God; the second is the immortality of the human soul; and the third is a future state of rewards and punishments. Suppose it possible for a man to disbelieve either of these three articles of faith and that man will have no conscience, he will have no other law than that of the tiger or the shark. The laws of man may bind him in chains or may put him to death, but they never can make him wise, virtuous, or happy.”

— John Quincy Adams

(Source: John Quincy Adams, Letters of John Quincy Adams to His Son on the Bible and Its Teachings (Auburn: James M. Alden, 1850), pp. 22-23.)

At the signing of the Declaration, Samuel Adams is said to have proclaimed:

“We have this day restored the Sovereign to Whom all men ought to be obedient. He reigns in heaven and from the rising to the setting of the sun, let His kingdom come.”

On July 4th, 1821, John Quincy Adams said:

“The highest glory of the American Revolution was this; it connected in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity.

I could and have hammered this board with many more examples of the founders asserting that this nation was founded upon the Judea/Christian ethic.  But, if that last quote from a man who was there from beginning to end is not enough, then nothing will ever convince those who refuse to see.  Like Jefferson said, we cannot reason with those who renounce objective reality.

In truth, all of Western Civilization is founded upon those principles.  And, in truth, the decay of Western society is the direct result of the willful abandonment of those principles.  After all, there are only two recorded examples of a constitutional representative republic where the people actually knew true liberty: the first was established by Moses, the second by our founders – on the model Moses left.

10 thoughts on “Atheists Deny Objective History of America’s Founding Ideology

  1. Excellent post !

    “Like Jefferson said, we cannot reason with those who renounce objective reality.”

    I keep telling myself this…

    We cannot reason with those who reject g-d either. How can one communicate with one who chooses not to see, or be open to seeing.

    This morning I heard a conversation where women were discussing how others chose their path to be “happy”, to marry “money”, know “the right people”, etc. and this made them “happy”.

    ===head shaking===

    One cannot choose whose soul “to share or see” … Or who sees your “soul”….

  2. Reason with them? No, but we must confront them and their ilk with the truths of history. And we must do it in the most public forums possible and even interrupt them on national TV when the opportunity presents itself. Why? because we don’t give a damn whether they listen to us, but it means everything to educate, inform, and persuade the viewing public who doesn’t have access to cable, satellite, the internet, or has been deceived by the mainstream propaganda machine laughingly called news. Remember Alinski’s rules. You must demonize your opponent and level charge after charge against your opponent to keep them off balance and countinusly defending the indefensible. And you MUST ALWAYS do it with the truth and demand they prove YOU WRONG.

    • Old Vet,

      Agree with everything, but I also hear the wisdom in those voices telling us we have to do this without being hateful. VERY difficult to do, I know, but then, it is Christ’s command (and I readily admit it is one of the hardest for me to obey).

      • Any time you even begin to consider reasoning with an “atheist”, just think of Meflamy. That impulse will pass in short order, I promise.

  3. There is an old saying that “He who throws the first punch has lost the arguement.” Meaning that if you even resort to a statement in rage, you will be dismissed. However, this does not mean that you cannot show passion for your position or cause when presenting your points. And a certain amount of rudeness is acceptable, but it is a delicate balance.

  4. One does not have to probe or even search to confirm that Liberal/Progressives believe there is no objective reality, that everything is subjective and everyone’s perception of events is equally valid. Hence, Lib/Progs are not even fun to argue with. The clear and well documented fact is that America’s founders drew heavily on shared values based on the Christian Bible and Protestant Reformed and Nonconformist theology. While several of our founders’ personal beliefs were probably closer to Deism than traditional Christianity, they tapped into the shared Christian beliefs of most colonists, particularly on issues like the need for checks and balances in government due to the sinful nature of human beings. Great and thorough initial post, Joe. Atheists were not present at America’s founding and any attempt to say otherwise is based on ideology rather than historical fact.

    • Charles,
      I don’t believe America’s founders were Deists. I believe they created a foundation for government that respected, or was based upon, or reined in by, deism.

      The founders cultivated their own personal relationships with G-d and understood the only way each individual person would be allowed to seek g-d in their own individual way was to prevent government from mandating a certain kind or sect of Judeo-Christian ethics. So they “spoke” of religion in a deist way in order to allow the freedom of every individual to cultivate their own personal relationship with “the Creator”.

      Freedom of choice to worship individually as each individual is “called”, not government mandated atheism, or government mandated deism. Limiting government action, not limiting individuals or outlawing religion.

      Speaking of “the Creator” in non-specific or generic ways was purposeful in the realm of public governance creation. Our founders understood they were “ignorant” and were intentionally “limiting government” in order to maximize individual freedom; liberty. (Our founders were much more enlightened than we “moderns” and our leaders today.)

      I’m not sure this conveys point… Our founders were constantly aware and always striving for “perfection”.

      Take time and read Patrick Henry’s synopsis of the shortcomings of the then newly proposed Constitution and how greed would abuse power.

      • Texas: I appreciate your comments and you are quite correct that there was a wide range of personal religious beliefs within the group we collectively identify as the “Founders.” As would be expected, the New Englanders included John Adams, who at the time of the Declaration remained a Calvinist, but who would later in life lean toward the Unitarianism that swept through Harvard College and Boston. Other New Englanders fell out in a similar manner. New Yorkers were probably the most irreligious (no surprise there) and New York may have had the largest percentage of pro-British Loyalists. My Quaker ancestors were split on independence, with some siding with the Penns (my crew) who stood to lose a lot of property if their royal grants of land were abrogated, while the other side of my Grandmother’s family, the Rhoads clan favored the break with England. Pennsylvania was relatively tolerant of different religions by colonial standards, while the American colonial version of the Church of England, Anglicanism or Episcopalianism, dominated the religious scene in the Southern colonies. Maryland was the lone colony where Roman Catholicism was dominant. Several colonies did have “official” state religions, at least early on.

        So the “Deists” were not the dominant religious perspective at the Continental Congress that drafted the Declaration, but some of the key leaders were at least closet Deists. While Franklin, Jefferson and Washington all attended Protestant services ( I have sat in Washington’s pew in St. Paul’s Chapel in New York and Franklin’s in Christ Church in Philadelphia), their personal beliefs had wandered toward Deism by the time of the Revolution. Others of our Founders may have as well, but the important facts are that none of the Founders were professed Atheists and all placed high value on religious belief as a means of strengthening public morality. Also, the principles and ideas that shaped the Constitution and the Declaration were drawn from the theological approach derived from the Protestant conception of authority, which had transferred authority from the Popes of the Middle Ages to the English King during Henry VIII’s reign to the elders sitting in Presbytery in various Reformed denominations (the Puritans, Presbyterians and Congregational churches all followed this definition). Further, most of the Founders believed in the inherent and ineradicable evil of human nature, which caused them to insist on a national government of three branches, with each serving as a check and balance on the others.

        Finally, it was the fear of the establishment of any church as a national church that caused the founders to include what has come to be known as the “Establishment Clause” in the 1st Amendment of the Bill of Rights. Contrary to the claims made by Atheists and their frequently ill-informed supporters in our Judiciary, the phrase “separation of Church and State” appears nowhere in our founding documents and was not even envisioned by our Founders. The Establishment Clause prohibits the establishment of a single church or denomination as the “Church of America,” in a manner like the Anglican Church was the official “Church of England” and Lutheranism was recognized as the State Church in parts of Germany and Scandinavia. Freedom of religious faith, not freedom from religious faith, was what the Founders envisioned. By the way, Atheists comprise 3 – 4% of Americans today, the same percentage as was true in the 1940’s. And they are still generally very annoying to discuss anything involving faith with. Some things truly never change.

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