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Religious views of the founding fathers.

I have recently picked up the Modern Library Classics edition of Gibbon's The Decline and fall of the Roman Empire, which I have not read for some years.

It was abridged and has a critical foreward by Hans-Friedrich Mueller, an American Classical scholar who has taught in Germany, at the University of Florida and is now at Union College in Schenectady, NY.

http://idol.union.edu/~muellerh/

This is the first paragraph of the Critical Foreward, discussing Gibbon's and his contemporaries of the Enlightenment's views on religion with special mention of the Founding Fathers.

"Edward Gibbon repeatedly calls "fanatics all those whose deeply held religious convictions form the basis of their actions. Buth then Edward Gibbon lived during the Enlightenment, the Age of Reason, a time when confidence in the capacity of human beings to think freely (and to gvern themselves with justice) abounded. We may note that his History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire began appearing in 1776, just as most of Britain's North American colonies had declared their independence. He concluded the sixth and final volume in 1787, the year a constitution charted a republican destiny as free from religious interference as possible for a newly established United States of America. The volume appeared in 1788. The following year, the United states would acquire a Bill of Rights (and the French their revolution). After a millinnium and a half of monarchy and Christianity, republican government was coming again into fashion. And the founding fathers of the United States, like Edward Gibbon, were not devout, evangelical Christians. For this reason alone, many Americans today, should they read this book, will find Edward Gibbon offensive. (I write in Anno Domini 2002.) Gibbon excoriates devouts of all persuasions: adherents of Islam, Christianity (in all its many heretical varieties), Judaism, and polytheisms, both Greco-Roman and non-Classical. There is much in Gibbon to offend, and this abridgement makes no attempt to curb the caustic wit of a freer and more eloquent age."

It is my fond hope that this will limit the suggestions that the current re-introduction of religion into government is in keeping with the beliefs and intent of the extraordinarily wise men who created your country with a view to eliminating religious influence and power in the secular, that is to say, governmental sphere.

Rob Boyter

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I've yet to see

In reply to: Religious views of the founding fathers.

Evidence of any massive incursion of religion into the government sphere. Mostly just a lot of crying about it. Where is it? The Ten Commandments on a courthouse wall?

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I second ...

In reply to: Religious views of the founding fathers.

... Ed's observation. Or maybe, Ed, he's talking about the failed Kerry Tour of Black Churches 2004 -- and I didn't even get a t-shirt Devil

Evie Happy

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''devouts of all persuasions''

In reply to: Religious views of the founding fathers.

Sounds like an accurate view of the Gibbon I know- and he would have hated modern JWs. Happy

You can find the 1901 7-vol edition for not too much money, because it's not the latest. J.B. Bury, the editior, was old school, so it's one of the best. Vol 2 is the history of what's sometimes called the ''early church.''

In it, Gibbon called 1 John 5:7,8 in the KJV a ''pious fraud'' and summarized I. Newton's findings on it from a century earlier. That set off an exchange of letters in the Times that went on for a couple of years. Gibbon/Newton view prevailed and was adopted by all subsequent bible editors, even those who want desperately to believe it belongs.
Regards, Doug in New Mexico

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J B Bury was the author of the text for my first University

In reply to: ''devouts of all persuasions''

course in Greek history. Old school as you say but an extraordinarily learned man. A History of Greece has since been updated by Russel Meiggs. I'm not so sure that Gibbon would have hated JWs, at least not any more than he did every other religious persuasion.

Thanks for the tip. I may indulge though you'll forgive me if I don't announce it here as it may occasion even further name calling and abuse. I sit quietly in awe of the vitriol some can come up with. A substitute for thought I guess.

Thanks Doug, a pleasure as usual.

Rob

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One should note that historical RECORDS...

In reply to: Religious views of the founding fathers.

maintained by the Federal Government tend to cast considerable doubt on your claim.

http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/religion/

Of course if that is too difficult a brief read of the Declaration of Independance all by itself tends to cast doubts on all but the authors' motives (and yes, authors' rather than author's is correct usage in this instance).

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The issue is less that some of the founding fathers

In reply to: One should note that historical RECORDS...

believed, and more that they recognized the danger posed by excessively passionate and restrictive views of religion. Jefferson called himself a Deist, somebody who believed in God but adhered to no particularly defined faith.

The Enlightenment came about as people re-emerged from the religiously inspired wars and internal strife of the previous 2 to 3 centuries. It was characterized by tolerance for the beliefs of others rather than the intent to make certain aspects of faith mandatory for participation either in society or in government. What appears to be happening now is a rather provocative heightening of religious rhetoric not as it pertains to belief but as it relates to the job one is trying to obtain. How many Congressmen and Senators would be willing to admit to having no particular faith? What would be their likelihood of being elected when faced by a strident, bible-thumping opponent who would be likely to command the votes of all the "Christians" in the district regardless of the relative merits of the candidates? The Religious Right have managed to make faith an issue where it should not even be a consideration, and there appears to be no lessening in their desire to push this situation into every aspect of government, making faith an issue for confirmation of Supreme Court Justices for example, or for confirmation of nominees for other offices.

Rob

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What a crock

In reply to: The issue is less that some of the founding fathers

Really, find another tune. This is such baloney.

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(NT) (NT) Baloney!

In reply to: The issue is less that some of the founding fathers

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Even if there are incidents of

In reply to: The issue is less that some of the founding fathers

a rather provocative heightening of religious rhetoric not as it pertains to belief but as it relates to the job one is trying to obtain. How many Congressmen and Senators would be willing to admit to having no particular faith? What would be their likelihood of being elected when faced by a strident, bible-thumping opponent who would be likely to command the votes of all the "Christians" in the district regardless of the relative merits of the candidates?


I have to wonder if it is backlash against those in those positions you mentioned, elected REPRESENTATIVES, that have repeatedly attacked the religious beliefs of those now campaigning for representation of their opinions and lifes?

BTW, are you saying that someone's statement of their faith and philosophy of life is not of importance in determining relative merits of candidates? or are you implying that no strident, bible-thumping opponent could possibly be as good a representative for the people electing him as someone espousing less empahsis on his beliefs?

JMO

Roger

click here to email semods4@yahoo.com
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I think that the repetetive statement of certain religious

In reply to: Even if there are incidents of

beliefs is a substitute for critical thought and a doubtful indication of character. I would cite Byrd, Gingrich, Delay, Rostenkowski and a dozen others as examples.

Rob

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So in one case it's substituting for thinking

In reply to: I think that the repetetive statement of certain religious

and if the belief system is a repetitive philosophy of liberal extremes, as a few prominent people have demonstrated, I guess it's standing true to your core beliefs?

Sorry, it's the same thing from both sides. If I believe it and refuse to change my mind, I'm staying true to my values. If my opponents won't change their mind, they're refusing to use reason, good sense, and demostrate no character.

JMO

Roger

click here to email semods4@yahoo.com

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Whereever you're getting your information, it's a bad source

In reply to: The issue is less that some of the founding fathers

I live here. There are no rightwing, religious groups carrying on witch hunts for those who do not share their faith. Just like your view of history, your view of contemporary American life is very askew.

I seem to recall that there were worship services in Congress, and that Jefferson was known to attend such services. Some of the American leaders were deists, but many more were not. What they knew all too well was what happened when the state became involved in a church. They were protecting the church from the state. They were not protecting the state from religious influence, nor were they trying to banish the religiously inclined from the public square. That is an invention of modern day liberalism.

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Shhhh....

In reply to: Whereever you're getting your information, it's a bad source

... don't tell Rob but ...

... He concluded the sixth and final volume in 1787, the year a constitution charted a republican destiny as free from religious interference as possible for a newly established United States of America. ... After a millinnium and a half of monarchy and Christianity, republican government was coming again into fashion....

Hmmmm... nothing about a liberal democracy there ;)]:)

Evie Happy

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A good many Christians, then ...

In reply to: The issue is less that some of the founding fathers

... are actually Diests by your definition:

somebody who believed in God but adhered to no particularly defined faith.

Tell me Rob, if you didn't learn from REPORTS exactly WHAT religion GWB adheres to, could you tell? Unlike his rival in the last election and his predecessor in office -- who toted over-sized Bible and wife to church on Sundays after scandal -- you would be hard pressed to find him mentioning such specifics, let alone somehow imposing them.

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I see that like another...

In reply to: The issue is less that some of the founding fathers

you were apparently ''too busy'' to bother actually reading any of the large amount of historical documentation linked to.

That is obvious or you wouldn't still be parroting the worn out and debunked drivel.

Again you are invited to read the previously posted link PLUS I will again provide this one so you can read the words of the founders as they were in the process of founding.
lcweb2.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?ammem/hlaw:@field(DOCID+@lit(hj001T000)):

If that link doesn't work because copy and paste is a time consuming chore try this one
http://lcweb2.loc.gov/ammem/amlaw/lwhjlink.html

Also this might help you get free of the revisionist "history" you are enamored with -
http://www.constitution.org/elliot.htm

and of course
http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/bdsds/bdsdhome.html
and http://federalistpatriot.us/histdocs/ (especially the Federalist Papers as well as the Anti-Federalist Papers for balance)

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Counter evidence abounds

In reply to: One should note that historical RECORDS...

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Ah, yes. Another rewrite of history

In reply to: Religious views of the founding fathers.

I would love to see what the rewriters not yet born will have to say about what happened and why during the time we are living today because we obviously have no idea what the heck is going on.]:)

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Rob gets this stuff from modern university textbooks. He

In reply to: Ah, yes. Another rewrite of history

doesn't seem to see the problem, or give credence to those who actually lived and wrote during the time in question.

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I also think there are those

who believe that if they repeat a lie often and vigorously enough it will eventually be accepted as truth.;)

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(NT) (NT) Herman Goebbels.

In reply to: I also think there are those

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(NT) (NT) Josef, not Herman, Herman was Goering.

In reply to: (NT) Herman Goebbels.

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(NT) (NT) Right; thanks.

In reply to: (NT) Josef, not Herman, Herman was Goering.

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Here you go KP, from one of my unreliable sources.

In reply to: Rob gets this stuff from modern university textbooks. He

Standing the Founding Fathers on Their Heads

by Richard V. Pierard

Dr. Pierard is professor of history at Indiana State University in Terre Haute. This article appeared in the Christian Century, April 20, 1983, pp. 368-372. Copyright by The Christian Century Foundation; used by permission. Current articles and subscription information can be found at www.christiancentury.org. This material was prepared for Religion Online by Ted and Winnie Brock.
http://www.religion-online.org/showarticle.asp?title=1682
"Speaking as an evangelical myself, I agree that such a theocratic construction is inconsistent with Christianity. The kingdom of heaven is in the hearts of people, and its citizens are found throughout the world. It cannot be restricted to a particular locale or people, regardless of formal religious establishments or the enshrinement of pious references to the deity in historic statements, public documents, and speeches by politicians. In a generalized sense America is a nation under God, as all countries are. But it violates our historic tradition as well as the tenets of Christianity to say that we were or are now a Christian nation. That is standing the founding fathers on their heads with a vengeance, and this I categorically reject."

I trust you have the grace or the integrity to apologize.

Rob

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''kingdom of heaven is in the hearts of people.'' Well ...

In reply to: Here you go KP, from one of my unreliable sources.

Do you have any idea why he might have said that? Not your responsibility, of course- you're one of them furshlugginer atheists. Happy But do you know the origin of this common belief?
Regards, Doug in New Mexico

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Apologize for what?

In reply to: Here you go KP, from one of my unreliable sources.

I don't know who Dr. Pierard is, but I don't know what the question of a Christian nation has to do with the current discussion.

Is America currently a Christian nation? No. Was it ever a Christian nation? Probably if by that we mean that a substantial majority of its citizens adhered to the Christian faith. Was it a theocracy? No.

There was a substantial revival or 'reawakening' around 1800. That is certainly one period in which the label would apply.

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Your abusive and ill informed rants at me among others.

In reply to: Apologize for what?

"Rob gets this stuff from modern university textbooks. He doesn't seem to see the problem, or give credence to those who actually lived and wrote during the time in question." Total Rubbish. Please note all the 18th and 19th Century contemporary sources cited.

"but they're reading the original documents. Rob has been reading modern university textbooks. They tell him far more about the original documents than the original documents would." Snide as well as wrong. My point is that your familiarity with historical scholarship appears to have ended with high school. Academic historians in the last 40 or more years have worked far more with original texts than you seem to understand, indeed it was the writers before 1950 who had a tendency to rehash other historical accounts rather than primary sources.

"Yes, it's obvious that American history was invented
sometime after 1950 although I'ld (sic) put the date in the 1960s. Prior to that, historians were a bunch of ***** and charlatans repeating popular myths. Right? " Snide and wrong again and not what I have said or thought, but to repeat myself, views change and newer generally accepted scholarship which is properly grounded in primary sources is to be preferred in most instances. I haven't seen you provide any academic sources of any kind in this discussion. You still seem to be smarting from my belittling your 19th Century source on the War of 1812, and by my suggesting you check with both a contemporary evaluation of that conflict or a university professor. You persistently mis-state what you think are my views and then ridicule them, that's what you should apologize for.

"American academics are still trying to rationalize their behaviour in the 60s and 70s. They must trash the US in order to do that. It's not the result of a 'maturing' process. It's the result of guilt. That's why they see only the Indian side, for example, rather than a balanced view that is able to consider both sides of the issue." Pure, unadulterated Rush Limbaugh Trite-Wing Horse ****, nor would I be suggesting you check with academic sources if I thought that were true. As an academic I am very conservative about who and what I trust, I deplore people like Ward Churchill who are a tiny minority in the academic world but make far too much noise and attract far too much public attention. I will be looking into the Ellis situation as indicated by Edward O'Daniel; I was unaware of the issues raised with regard to him, but his is a popular and easily accessible (and currently in print) source. As I stated in my reply to Ed it looked okay to me on a cursory reading, and is supported by all those citations I have offered.

When backed into a corner Kidpeat you become abusive and that, and your attributions to me of views I do not hold and have never held and have never suggested I held, is what you should apologize for.

Rob

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I have simply summarized your comments to me during our

In reply to: Your abusive and ill informed rants at me among others.

several debates. In fact, you repeated many of the same assertions (i.e. last 50 years) in this thread, even in this post. I don't consider truthful reporting a reason to apologize. I also don't feel 'backed into a corner'.

I might consider going back and linking to the original posts, but I've already done that at least once without positive results.

You seem far more skilled at casting insults than at an understanding of the subject matter.

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You have never summarized my views with any accuracy,

In reply to: I have simply summarized your comments to me during our

and you have not responded to my post. You have tended to attribute to me things I have neither said nor thought and then have demolished them. It is the most dihonest form of argument. Try quoting points one at a time using my own words and then disagree with them and support your disagreement as I have used yours in the previous posts.

Rob

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It would be impossible ...

In reply to: You have never summarized my views with any accuracy,

... to actually accurately summarize your views as they change to suit you when you are called on the inaccuracy of your statements or gross misinterpretation of the written word.

At best ...

Liberal Democracy ...

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Will this help?

In reply to: You have never summarized my views with any accuracy,

http://reviews.cnet.com/5208-6130-0.html?forumID=50&threadID=103519&messageID=1191598

(you have to look at the link because I repeat none of it here)

You have tended to attribute to me things I have neither said nor thought and then have demolished them. It is the most dihonest form of argument. Try quoting points one at a time using my own words and then disagree with them and support your disagreement as I have used yours in the previous posts.

The most dishonest form of argument is denying that you said what you said when it is clear that you said it.

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