DEISM AND THE FOUNDING FATHERS

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What is Deism?

One thing that is common these days is to assert that the Founding Fathers were Deists.  Since I doubt that the term deism is especially well understood, let us start with a definition.

Deism\De”ism\ (d[=e]“[i^]z’m), n. [L. deus god: cf. F.
d['e]isme. See Deity.]
The doctrine or creed of a deist; the belief or system of
those who acknowledge the existence of one God, but deny
revelation.

Note: Deism is the belief in natural religion only, or those
truths, in doctrine and practice, which man is to
discover by the light of reason, independent of any
revelation from God. Hence, deism implies infidelity,
or a disbelief in the divine origin of the Scriptures. (from here)

As a religious philosophy, the key word is “reason”.  Because they do not believe it reasonable to accept relevation such as the Bible, Deists claim to derive their beliefs about God from God’s creation.   Curiously, however, with little actual proof some Deists readily accept the notion that the Founding Fathers were Deists.

Who were the Deists?

During the time of the Founding Fathers, Americans were not especially tolerant of non-Christians.  The idea of religious freedom was still being invented and only slowly being accepted.  Thomas Paine, one of the few known Deists amongst the Founding Fathers attests well to this fact as he begins The Age of Reason.

IT has been my intention, for several years past, to publish my thoughts upon religion. I am well aware of the difficulties that attend the subject, and from that consideration, had reserved it to a more advanced period of life. I intended it to be the last offering I should make to my fellow-citizens of all nations, and that at a time when the purity of the motive that induced me to it, could not admit of a question, even by those who might disapprove the work.

The circumstance that has now taken place in France of the total abolition of the whole national order of priesthood, and of everything appertaining to compulsive systems of religion, and compulsive articles of faith, has not only precipitated my intention, but rendered a work of this kind exceedingly necessary, lest in the general wreck of superstition, of false systems of government, and false theology, we lose sight of morality, of humanity, and of the theology that is true.

As several of my colleagues and others of my fellow-citizens of France have given me the example of making their voluntary and individual profession of faith, I also will make mine; and I do this with all that sincerity and frankness with which the mind of man communicates with itself. (from here)

Paine began his last great work in France as that nation sank into the Reign of Terror.  In his own way, Paine feared for the loss of the theology that is true.  So he started to write. Yet he had been right to wait.  Although The Age of Reason sold well, its publication helped to destroy his reputation.  Not content to explain his own beliefs, Paine directly attacked, particularly in Part 2 of The Age of Reason, the authenticity of the Bible.

The religious sensitivities of early Americans were such that the Founding Fathers avoided the mention of God in the Constitution.  They spoke about reverence for Almighty God and encouraged religious toleration, but many avoided discussing their personal beliefs.  So which of the Founders were Deists?  Most often the Founding Fathers included amongst Paine’s allies are spoken of as Deists.  These allies included George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson.

  • Was Washington a Deist?  Washington was closed-mouth about his personal religious beliefs.   He attended church services, but in the later part of his life he was not a communicant.  He promoted religious toleration, and he promoted the belief in God.  Washington established the tradition of chaplains serving in the United States military (see here).  In addition, Washington inaugurated the first Thanksgiving (see here).  Nonetheless, as he never made his personal beliefs about Christianity publicly known, Washington could have been a Deist.
  • Was Franklin a deist?   In his autobiography, Franklin makes it clear that he was a Deist.  Nonetheless, it is also apparent that Franklin had great respect for the teachings of Jesus.  Franklin had this to say a month before he died in a letter to Ezra Stiles.

    As to Jesus of Nazareth, my Opinion of whom you particularly desire, I think the System of Morals and his Religion, as he left them to us, the best the world ever saw or is likely to see; but I apprehend it has received various corrupt changes, and I have, with most of the present Dissenters in England, some Doubts as to his divinity; tho’ it is a question I do not dogmatize upon, having never studied it, and I think it needless to busy myself with it now, when I expect soon an Opportunity of knowing the Truth with less Trouble.

  • Was Jefferson a Deist?  In a letter to Ezra Stiles, Jefferson wrote “I am of a sect by myself, as far as I know” (see here).  Jefferson clearly questioned the divinity of Jesus.  At the same time, like Franklin, Jefferson had respect for the teachings of Jesus.  Jefferson studied the Bible intensely, trying to separate what he considered the myth from Jesus’ teachings.  Based upon what he extracted from the New Testament, he wrote two works:  “The Philosophy of Jesus” (1804) and The Life and Morals of Jesus (1819-20?).  Unsatisfied with the first work, Jefferson wrote the second (see here).  The second is also known as The Jefferson Bible.

If these men were Deists, then they were Christian Deists.  Even if they had trouble accepting the divinity of Jesus, they did have faith in His religious teachings.  What Jefferson discovered about himself, is perhaps true of everyone.  We are each our own religious sect.   Consider that as Paine, Washington, Franklin, and Jefferson approached the end of their years, each handled this crisis in his own way.  Paine sought to explain and convince others of the principles his own religious beliefs.  Washington gracefully accepted his role as a political leader; he set for others an example of resolute honor, Christian forbearance, and calm demeanor.  Franklin approached his end with humble faith.  And Jefferson scoured the Bible for something in which he could believe.

Other Founding Fathers

I have a book I bought in a bookstore at a national park some years back, The Signers of the Constitution by Robert G. Ferris and James H. Charleston.  In the fall of 1787, fifty-five delegates attended the Constitutional Convention.  Thirty-nine of those men completed the work and signed the document.  The book provides a brief biographical sketch of each of these men.  When I was first confronted with the notion that the Founding Fathers were Deists, I decided to look at the book once again.

Although Ferris and Charleston did not write their book to expound upon the religious beliefs of the Founding Fathers, their work does provide clues.  One signer at least was a religious minister.  On at least two other occassions, the church affiliation of a signer was sufficiently strong that the authors remarked on  this fact.  However, what is most revealing in the book is where most of these men are buried.  In an era when there was a great deal of empty land, and the families of most upstanding citizens had acreage of their own, at least twenty-eight of the signers were buried in the cemetery next to a Christian church.

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I am just an average citizen interested in promoting informed participation in the political process.
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100 Responses to DEISM AND THE FOUNDING FATHERS

  1. kgotthardt says:

    Interesting!!

    However, so long as they are for religious tolerance and freedom, I’m good with whatever our founders claimed to be.

    I like Jefferson’s response the best. He’s his own sect. He’d make a good Unitarian Universalist.

    • Billy says:

      Jefferson was a Unitarian. His statement that he was of his own sect simply meant that he was free to make his own decision as to what to believe.

  2. Concerned about Amnesty says:

    You must not know your history. Jefferson actually WAS a Unitarian, but this was way before the Unitarian Universalists came along. I highly doubt that he would agree with the logic of current day Unitarian Universalists and some of the practices that are allowed to be held in the UU “church”, such as pagan rituals and rites.

  3. Concerned about Amnesty says:

    I need to correct myself – Jefferson wasn’t a Unitarian, but wished he could be but there were no Unitarian churches in VA at the time – http://www.adherents.com/people/pj/Thomas_Jefferson.html

    • Lewis Loflin says:

      He wished hew as a Unitarian??? His beliefs were in fact Unitarian and not deism as defined by these modern Christian bashers and closet secular humanists.

  4. kgotthardt says:

    Religious tolerance is religious tolerance. If you want religious tolerance, you can’t weed out the religions you don’t like. I’m not saying Jefferson would have joined in. I’m saying, though, that his advocating religious tolerance and doctrinal independence is very much UU. Sorry if you disagree.

  5. Dan Sutton says:

    The presumption that because the Founding Fathers “did have faith in His religious teachings” (referring to Jesus) makes them Christian Deists is a fallacious one. Does not Christianity require the belief that Jesus is a personal savior? One can believe in many “teachings” without subscribing to the religion behind it. There are many beautiful and fully acceptable teachings in the Buddhist faith, but they do not make one a Buddhist. Buddha himself told any followers to find that which fulfills them and not to accept, blindly, the Buddhist faith. Now there is religious strength. Give me a Buddhist, or a Deist, over a Christian any day.

  6. Citizen Tom says:

    Dan – Thank you for visiting.

    I find your comment puzzling. While expressing an objection to Christianity, it seems that you agreed with the content of my post.

    Christians do not object to seekers. Otherwise, since most of the world’s population is not Christian, most could never discover Christianity.

    Even if most people were Christians, I still hope people would do their best to understand what God wants. I think we should continually seek to learn about God. To respectfully study God and his Creation is a type of worship.

    I think Christianity is the best place to start learning about God. The doctrine is sound and teaches humility, that we have much to learn.

  7. Lewis Loflin says:

    Good work Citizen Tom.

    I’ve looked into this years and have come to this conclusion:

    Paine was the most radical, but clearly a Deist.

    Jefferson, Franklin, Adams, likely Washington would be better classified Unitarians. (No relation to the Unitarian Universalists of today, who are mainly Humanist or Pagan.)

    What we forget is the cultural norms of society of that time. All were within the fringes of Protestantism which was in transition at that time.

    Excluding Jefferson, all the others above were Freemasons, whose deistic religious views accepted all believers in God. I belief in God was required. Half the signers of the Constitution were Freemasons. So in the sense of the deistic views of Freemasonry, our nation was founded on that Deism.

    That has no relation to the anti-religion so-called Deism of France, which led directly to Humanism, socialism, Nazism, and Fascism. It was ushered in by the Reign of Terror.

    Keep up the good work.

  8. Jay says:

    Religious pluralism in the United States includes allowing a diversity of philosophical beliefs, including Humanism, which does not explicitly side with any political thought. Humanism only entrusts the development of political thought to human reason and compassion. The Founding Fathers believed social contracts can be decided upon in lawmaking bodies based on rational argument and compassion and that was the only pure testing ground, not a shared belief in the same religion. They thought that God had given human beings the ability to think rationally in order to be able to govern themselves without the need for magical thinking or forced agreement to the same religious dogma. The Founding Fathers specifically opposed a religious test for political offices because they believed rational thinking was the basis for lawmaking discussions, not religious bigotry or something akin to the Catholic Church’s repression of scientific thought and political freedoms we take for granted today.

    Humanism is the philosophical basis for Deism in the lawmaking realm because without an acknowledgment that human rational thought is the common ground all religious inspired representatives use to convince each other of the usefulness of the laws, you might as well take a member of each religion and ask them to agree upon which God they believe in and who the true prophets were – they wouldn’t agree. But only human rationality allows calculated compromise in a pluralistic society.

  9. Citizen Tom says:

    Jay – What Humanism is is a bit difficult to define. Over the last several centuries, the meaning of the term has drifted. However, you have defined how you want to use the term. So that is fair enough.

    Were the Founding Fathers Humanists? Is the Constitution a Humanist document with a Deist religious foundation? I think the answer to both questions is no. Are rationality and compassion solely the province of Humanism?

    Undoubtedly, the Founders did intend to write a rational and reasonable Constitution. Unlike Humanists, however, the Founding Fathers did not rate human rationality, reasoning, compassion or morality too highly. I suppose that is why only one of these words appears in the Constitution. The word reason appears once in the Constitution. Even so, “reason” is not there to laud human reason.

    The words rational, reason, and moral do appear in the Federalist Papers. Generality, these words appear in reference to the system of checks and balances and the compromises written into the Constitution. Consider this passage.

    But in the sciences of morals and politics, men are found far less tractable. To a certain degree, it is right and useful that this should be the case. Caution and investigation are a necessary armor against error and imposition. But this intractableness may be carried too far, and may degenerate into obstinacy, perverseness, or disingenuity. Though it cannot be pretended that the principles of moral and political knowledge have, in general, the same degree of certainty with those of the mathematics, yet they have much better claims in this respect than, to judge from the conduct of men in particular situations, we should be disposed to allow them. The obscurity is much oftener in the passions and prejudices of the reasoner than in the subject. Men, upon too many occasions, do not give their own understandings fair play; but, yielding to some untoward bias, they entangle themselves in words and confound themselves in subtleties. — Hamilton, FEDERALIST No. 31, Tuesday, January 1, 1788 (from here).

    Christians concede that God will not write our laws for us. So it is that the Founders wrote their own laws. And they did their best to create a system they could not corrupt. The Founders wrote Law for humble men, men who recognize their failings and their susceptibility to so many temptations. Nonetheless, in spite of their accomplishment we still risk wholly corrupting the Constitution. Moreover, not all the compromises in the document were moral.

  10. MHum says:

    Trying to offer an interpretation of words written by a proclaimed Deist (Paine) is not the wisest way to make your point. One need only read the document to see its intent. Reading into ones own words neither gives clarity or credence to your assertions. As to the fact that over half of the signers of the Constitution were buried in Christian Church grave yards gives little to your assertion that they were truly “christian.” There are a good many “non-believers” buried on “sacred ground” as a wish to either be buried by loved ones, or any number of reasons.
    Again….read their words….don’t offer what you THINK they meant based on your NEED for them to mean a certain thing.

  11. Citizen Tom says:

    MHum – Whatever we read, we interpret. There is no getting around that. If we want to understand another person’s thoughts, we can only interpret what they said or wrote. So, except for your apparent disagreement with my interpretation, I do not know what to make of your first several statements.

    Do you have anything specific to say, other your disagreement with the fact that it takes additional effort to bury someone in a church graveyard? For some reason it was a common custom 200 years ago to bury the dead in a church graveyard. Odd, don’t you think, particularly when there was plenty of land and so few regulations?

    Perhaps we have a misunderstanding. Let’s review my thesis.

    If these men were Deists, then they were Christian Deists. Even if they had trouble accepting the divinity of Jesus, they did have faith in His religious teachings.

    Because the vast majority of us share a Christian heritage, we Americans share Christian values. Even Americans who have never bothered to read the Bible know much about its content and agree with the moral precepts enshrined in the Good Book. 200 hundred years ago that was even more true than it is today.

    I suspect the problem today is mostly one of inadequate education. So in my small way, I use my blog to educate. Since I admit I too have much to learn, I am willing to listen as well as pontificate. However, if you want a serious discussion, I would appreciate it if you could be a bit more specific.

  12. RR Edwards says:

    In order to come up with the most basic definition of what it means to be a Christian, C.S. Lewis consulted with the leaders of the primary world churches. Trimmed down to what they all agreed upon, the consensus was that one must believe in the divinity of Christ in order to be a Christian.

    That is, it is insufficient to agree with something Jesus taught to be called a Christian. Which makes basic sense, because every Muslim also agrees with all of the teachings of Christ as well, but you don’t call them Christians do you? Of course not and that is because they do not believe in the divinity of Christ, they simply think he is a profit as is Mohamed.

    Calling Jefferson and Franklin Christian Diests is like calling Bin Ladin a Christian Muslim. Both make exactly the same amount of sense – none.

    I think what has you confused is that neither Franklin nor Jefferson thought that the teachings of Jesus were so bad that they needed to be diminished in public.

  13. Citizen Tom says:

    RR – Have you ever read the Koran? Muslims do not agree with all the teachings of Jesus.

    What most Americans do not appreciate is the extent to which Christianity has shaped the values of our culture. Have you ever considered why the following originated first in Christian societies: freedom of religion; prohibitions against slavery; equal rights for women; equal justice before the law regardless of race, sex, or creed;….?

    What makes Christianity so profoundly different? Almost every other religion is legalistic. The path to salvation involves doing something a certain way, that is, following a set of rules. Christians, however, believe there is nothing we can do to be saved. There are no rules, and no work we can do would be sufficient. Instead, we can only accept the gift of salvation. How do we do that? We obey the two commands Jesus gave us: we love God and we love our neighbor.

    Who is your neighbor? Your neighbor is anyone with whom you have some form of contact.

    Jesus’ two commands profoundly altered the citizens of Western civilization, even those who claim not to believe. Even those who do not believe measure their values against Christian values. They just claim another source for those values, somehow believing they can be logically derived — somehow believing that without faith in God’s love they can actually love their neighbor as they love themselves.

  14. Lewis Loflin says:

    Greeting again Citizen Tom. Here is my view after a revamping of my Deism section on my website. This will make some very unhappy.

    Which deism? The stripped-down near atheism of Voltaire and France, or the classical Deism of England and America? The American/English deists believed in the God of the Bible, but that God and Jesus alike had been distorted by the Church.

    The French deistic-atheists such as Voltaire simply substituted Aristotle’s “Prime Mover” Not the same thing. Here is the god that set the world in motion and never interacted (went away) ever again. That is the deism most Christian bashing deists support. That seems to be the common definition in dictionaries, etc. today so be it.

    Simply some god that once the universe was made had no further interaction with it. The rest atheism or sometimes another preferred form of atheism called pantheism where creation become somehow god. They also invented some nonsense called pandeism. Not, it’s just atheism lite.

    That was not the beliefs of Jefferson, Franklin, etc.

    Most of the so-called “deists” today share only one goal and that is to tear down Christianity and Christian culture, period. Jefferson never sought such a thing. Here are the facts from the writing of Jefferson himself.

    I will quote Jefferson’s own words from the Jefferson Cyclopedia (pup. 1900) in a letter to John Adams in 1823 a year before their deaths:

    I hold (without appeal to revelation) that when we take a view of the universe, in all its parts, general or particular, it is impossible for the human mind not to perceive and feel a conviction of design, consummate skill, and indefinite power in every atom of its composition…

    …it is impossible I say, for the human mind not to believe that there is in all this design, cause and effect up to an ultimate cause, a fabricator of all things from matter and motion, their preserver and regulator while permitted to exist in their present forms, and their regeneration into new and other forms. We see, too evident proofs of the necessity of a superintending power to maintain the universe in its course and order…

    For the full text see http://www.sullivan-county.com/deism/jefferson_deisty.htm

    “superintending power” means they were not deists.

    This was written in 1823 to John Adams a year before their deaths on July 4, 1824. This is Nature’s God Jefferson wrote about in the Declaration of Independence. Indeed he is correct and rejected by name Spinoza (pantheist not a Deist), Diderot (French deistic atheist) and D’Holbach (atheist) often claimed as “deists” by so many “deism” websites. Jefferson and Adams obviously believe in an active, but non-controlling God, not what passes for the dictionary definition of Deism today.

    Here he not only supported intelligent design, but an ongoing and continuous process. The origin of the term “Nature’s God” wasn’t invented by Jefferson but from Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Law. Blackstone’s was the the main textbook for Law Schools in America until 1920 and Jefferson was a lawyer.

    To reiterate Nature and Nature’s God had nothing to do with Deism as claimed by many “deism” websites. Blackstone was a Christian.

    As for revelation Jefferson never denied it but didn’t rely on it nor did he trust it unless backed by reason.

    Let’s quote Ben Franklin:

    Here is my creed. I believe in One God, the Creator of the Universe. That he governs it by his Providence. That he ought to be worshipped. That the most acceptable Service we can render Him is doing good to his other children. That the soul of man is immortal and will be treated with justice in another life respecting its conduct in this. These I take to be the fundamental principles of all sound religion.

    Having an immortal soul and God’s Judgment for evil is not a deist’ belief as is thrown around today. Why would a god the “went away” judge anyone?

    Now for some logical definitions.

    Christians are those that believe in the divinity of Christ. That includes Catholics, Protestants, and Eastern Orthodox who also believe Jesus and God are one with the Holy Spirit.

    But it also holds true for Mormons, JWs, etc. (various forms of Arianism) that believe Jesus devine, but not God Himself.

    Unitarians are those of a Christian culture, but deny Jesus is divine and olny hold God the Father as God alone. (Same as Jews Muslims) Unitarians deny the Trinity and also most Paulist beliefs in general including Original Sin that he invented. Jefferson, Franklin, etc were clearly Unitarians that believe in an active, loving God, but not controlling. This doesn’t include most Unitarian-Universalists that are mainly Humanist or pagan tree worshipers.

    What is really going on is these Voltairian deistic-atheists want to undermine the nation’s Christian cultural roots and impose various Humanist’ philosophies. To Paul Kurtz of the Humanist Society and the author of several “Humanist Manifestos”:

    ‘Marx was one of the greatest humanists of the 19th century…’

    For backing documentation see http://www.sullivan-county.com/deism.htm

    It was those “deists” that led the mass murder and terror of the French Revolution and laid the foundation of Marxism and Nazism. That is historical fact.

  15. RR Edwards says:

    Citizen Tom – you said:
    Have you ever considered why the following originated first in Christian societies: freedom of religion; prohibitions against slavery; equal rights for women; equal justice before the law regardless of race, sex, or creed;….?
    ———-
    I haven’t considered any further than it is obviously not true. There were other great civilizations who had these same values. Simply ignoring them does not make them go away. Also you credit these values to Christians, when it is actually Christians who fight against these values. I give you credit for recognizing their value, but you are simply trying to steal Franklin and Jefferson and claim they are Christians, because you want to claim their work for yourself. I cry foul.

    Also, Christianity promotes slavery and as a result rape. Both are the word and will of god. Maybe you haven’t read the bible? That is ok, you could just read the 10 commandments. You will find it there. so it is an abomination for you to act like being against slavery is a christian value. I cry foul again.

    As for the Koran, it is not a copy of the new testament – it is an extension of it. Just like New testament is an extension to the old testament. The Koran relies on the new testament and the new testament relies on the old testament. Saying Muslims don’t believe everything Christians believe is nonsensical – it is impossible to get Christians to agree on what they believe in the first place. Muslims believe the Same thing Jefferson and Franklin did – the teachings credited to Christ are good teachings – even though non of them believe he was the son of god.

  16. RR Edwards says:

    Lewis Loflin :
    It was those “deists” that led the mass murder and terror of the French Revolution and laid the foundation of Marxism and Nazism. That is historical fact.

    Um no – Nazi were/are Christians – that is historical fact. The Nazi Manifesto is very clear on the subject. point 24 of the Nazi creed: “The party as such represents the point of view of a positive Christianity without binding itself to any one particular confession.” But indeed, Christians have gone through a lot of trouble to hide this fact.

  17. Lewis Loflin says:

    To RR:

    <<Um no – Nazi were/are Christians – that is historical fact. The Nazi Manifesto is very clear on the subject. point 24 of the Nazi creed: “The party as such represents the point of view of a positive Christianity

    Wrong. They were in a Christian country just as the Soviet Union was. Were the Communists Christians too? No they were secular.

    Second the Nazis rewrote the entire version of Christianity they promoted stripping out all "Jew" elements and making Jesus into an Aryan.

    You simply hate Christians so admit it. As for Hitler see:

    See http://www.sullivan-county.com/wcva/fn.htm

    Remember National Socialism is still socialism.

    A good reference on this subject is The Aryan Jesus by Suzannah Heschel who is Jewish.

    Don't give me Wikipedia.

    View some of it at Google:

    http://books.google.com/books?id=fiCJeNJIhoAC&dq=nazi+view+of+jesus&printsec=frontcover&source=in&hl=en&ei=IaPmSueDAdXR8Qbfn5SJBw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=11&ved=0CDwQ6AEwCg#v=onepage&q=nazi%20view%20of%20jesus&f=false

    • RR Edwards says:

      Lewis Loflin :
      To RR:
      You simply hate Christians so admit it. As for Hitler see:

      I’m not sure why facts frighten you so much, but no, I don’t hate the sinner, I hate the sin. It would be accurate to say that Christianity is the most evil and vile human creation, but I don’t hate Christians as individuals.

      If you want to deny the very fact I have shown you here – the Nazi party constitution itself was written specifically to include Christians and to exclude everyone else, then that is on you hating fact not me hating Christians. It is ONLY about you being in a state of denial which is a sad side effect of being a Christian – the truth is elusive to people under the spell of Christian lies.

      But of course, why use this one fact – the very Nazi 25 point plan. You could also ask yourself how Hitler and the Nazi party signed a peace treaty with the Holy See, if it was non secular. The Holy See has never signed a treaty with the United states.

      You could also ask yourself what they meant by 3rd Reich . . . the germans had a very long history, how could they only be on the 3rd Reich. Oh, it turns out they were only counting Christian Kingdoms seated in Germany, so to them (the Nazis) the Holy Roman Empire was the 1st Reich. Hardly nonsecular as you claim.

      As for Hitler or any other individual you dont wish was Christian, apparently you don’t know the first thing about Christianity. You can’t Judge a Christian by his actions on earth, that is gods job to decide who is Cristian on their individual judgment day. Hitler professed to be Christian, we can’t have known his heart, we can only take him at his word.

    • RR Edwards says:

      LMAO – wait, I was just looking at your web site. You’re a “man of science”. Why would you take my word -or any ones word- So look up the 25 points yourself. I can understand that it is a shock to find out that everyone has been trying to hide the fact that the Nazis were Christian – it sure shocked me when I uncovered it. But do the research and ask yourself, why they would declare themselves Christian if they were not?

      Also, why would the Pope give Hitler a seal of approval if the Pope was not convinced Hitler was a Christian? That simply doesn’t make sense. Are you saying you are a better judge of who is a Christian and who is not a Christian than the Pope is?

      Seriously think about this. God put his son on the earth. His son picked his disciples. His disciples established the church. The Church picked the Pope. The Pope picked Hitler. It is a very clear trail – who got it wrong? God? Jesus? Jesus’s hand-picked men? The organization they established? The resulting leader could not even pick out a christian? Hogwash.

      .

  18. Old Fashion Liberal says:

    RR Edwards – It seems that you would propagate a half truth/half lie. Why? That is question you need to answer for your own sake.

    What defines a Christian is written in the Bible. The Bible is the holy scripture that all Christians share in common. There is nothing in the Bible that supports the sort of things the Nazis did or wanted to believe.

    For example, the Nazis preached racism, particularly against the Jews. Jesus was in fact born a Jew. To hate all the Jews would be hate Jesus as well. Moreover, Jesus’ first disciples, including the twelve apostles, were Jews. So to hate the Jews would be to hate the first Christians. Finally, consider who wrote the Bible. There is only one author, Luke, who was not a Jew. So to hate the Jews would require that we hate all but one of the authors of the Bible. Thus, a Nazi who calls himself a Christian is of necessity entirely ignorant of Bible, and perhaps willfully so.

    When we talk, we can use words to communicate or deceive. The deceitful can call themselves whatever they wish. I could call myself a Martian and demand that you believe it. Would you? If you believe the sick yarn you are spreading, what wouldn’t you believe?

    Evil men can call themselves good, and they can call what is good bad and what is bad good. Nonetheless, we do not have to believe evil men. To call call what is good bad and what is bad good does not change what is true. It merely provides a cloak that covers the deceit in lies we want to believe. Therefore, to believe evil lies, the believer must become a deceiver as well as one of the deceived.

    • Joe says:

      So if some schmoe calls himself the son of god you belive him, too? coco-heads.

      • Old Fashion Liberal says:

        Joe – You belittle what you don’t understand and fear to believe. Can you expound a coherent philosophy based upon the love of God and your fellow human beings? Can you perform miracles? Can you resurrect yourself after being crucified? Hundreds believe Jesus Christ did exactly that, and many of these would die before they would renounce Jesus.

        Does Christianity harm you Joe? How? Would you like to explain? If not, then what gives you the right to make fun of “coco-heads?”

        What can you do Joe? Make fun of other people’s beliefs? And this “skill” in ridicule gives you what? The right to be proud?

    • R.R. Edwards says:

      Christianity hurts everyone – so that gives Joe the right to bash it. Any moral, decent, educated person should actively bash Christianity. How does it hurt? Well first I would ask you to learn about the KKK or the Nazis or the crusades etc, but no let us talk more relevantly about how Christians want to use the public school system to infect innocent children with their immoral ideas. Unless of course you think it is moral to lie – I mean obviously you do.

  19. RR Edwards says:

    Old Fashion Liberal :
    RR Edwards – It seems that you would propagate a half truth/half lie. Why? That is question you need to answer for your own sake.
    ….
    What defines a Christian is written in the Bible. The Bible is the holy scripture that all Christians share in common. There is nothing in the Bible that supports the sort of things the Nazis did or wanted to believe.

    Breaking news, it is not sufficient for you to declare something a lie for it to actually be a lie. But you are right, it is in the bible, Jesus says something like – whoever believith onto me will get right into heaven on the short bus. Thats it, that is the entire requirement, that is what makes a person a Christian. Everything else is 100% irrelevant. Of course, this is only true if you believe what Jesus says. Do you believe Jesus? You can kill and mame and rape and pillage and Jesus says you are still no worse than any other human. Are you calling jesus a liar? Seriously, why do I have to be the one to teach you your own morality?

    Sorry, your wish to remove Hitler from among your brethren is fallacious. The Nazis were self proclaimed Christians, just as the KKK are. The only valid argument you can have is if you have some evidence that the 25 points are fake or fraudulent. If you can show that someone else made up these points, or if the Nazis published these 25 points as a joke and then had a real but secret constitution promoting atheism or decrying Christianity, then you would have a valid argument.

    However, you do not have the authority to simply claim because you did not like what they did, they could not be Christians. To claim that authority, you must take it from your own savior who reserves that right for god himself and not you.

    • Old Fashion Liberal says:

      RR Edwards – By themselves, my words are of little effect. So I agree it is not sufficient for me to declare something a lie for it to actually be a lie. Similarly, your words are also of little effect.

      Fortunately, the truth does not rest in obscurity. We have but to look. Just as we know a tree by the fruit it bears, we also know the followers of various religious beliefs. How are the disciples of Jesus known?

      John 13:34-35 (New International Version)

      “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.

      Those who do not believe separate themselves from Jesus. I don’t have to do anything. That is a task those who insist upon hating others do all by themselves.

      It seems to me you worry too much about the wrong problem. Our task does not involve separating ourselves from evil men. As a Christian, I see my task as loving God and my neighbors. If I accept God’s love, He will bring me closer to Him, and that is what matters.

      • RR Edwards says:

        Wait is that a retraction from what you said earlier? It seems like it is. Can you try to be clear or do you obfuscate whenever it turns out you were wrong?

        LOL – really, you don’t have to answer that. My point was to educate you and you seem to agree I was right. The real question will be if you allow yourself to process and accept the truth or if you will delude yourself into forgetting it all together.

  20. RR Edwards says:

    Old Fashion Liberal :
    It seems to me you worry too much about the wrong problem. Our task does not involve separating ourselves from evil men. As a Christian, I see my task as loving God and my neighbors. If I accept God’s love, He will bring me closer to Him, and that is what matters.

    Ah ok, but you see you and I have different tasks. To me, Christianity is an obvious lie. Lies are bad. But the question is, is this lie (Christianity) bad enough to warrant attention, as in a need to be eradicated. Such things as the Nazi party, the KKK, and the 700 club lead me to conclude that the lie of Christianity does more damage than it does good and therefore any decent human would fight to eradicate it.

    So yeah, we are coming at this from different angles.

  21. Citizen Tom says:

    Lewis Loflin – I find your website interesting, and I thank you for visiting mine.

    Old Fashion Liberal – Your words are well spoken.

    RR Edwards – It seems you are a modest fellow. You are not going to eradicate all lies, just the ones you deem important. Well, you will not be the first to try.

    One man’s lies are another man’s religion. What freedom of religion involves is letting each man make his own choice. Since people will inevitably make choices we seriously dislike, freedom of religion has never been popular. Well, that is not entirely true. We each think we ought to be able to choose for our self. What irritates is that everyone else is not required to make the same choice.

    Why such irritation? Each of us suffers an illusion. We can see only our own point-of-view. This false perception gives each of us the feeling that we are the center of the universe, that the moon, the planets, the sun and the stars revolve around us. Thus, human arrogance can be quite appalling.

    What is the cure for such arrogance? I believe it comes with the realization that there is a Creator and that we are wholly dependent upon Him. If He does not care for us, then we are as insignificant as a speck of dust.

    Genesis 3:19 (Today’s New International Version)
    By the sweat of your brow
    you will eat your food
    until you return to the ground,
    since from it you were taken;
    for dust you are
    and to dust you will return.”

    Anyway, I wish you well, and I will pray for you. Perhaps in your search for devices to eradicate Christianity you will experience a revelation similar to Saul’s.

    • RR Edwards says:

      Until the organization of Christianity stops trying to indoctrinate innocent children and trample on others rights, we -the organization, its supporters, and I- will be at odds.

      I am all for the idea of freedom of religion. If religious people could just stop trying to impose their lies on everyone else, or stop using it for killing, I would not have any problem with it at all.

      There is ultimate truth that can cut through all perspective, e.g. 2+2=4. You should not try to hide behind lies by crying that everyone else is doing it to.

  22. Lewis Loflin says:

    RR: Quote: Until the organization of Christianity stops trying to indoctrinate innocent children and trample on others rights,

    And the other side doesn’t??? Teaching Humanism, environmental religion, Islam, etc. in public schools doesn’t seem to bother or your ilk. As is always a discussion about Deism always results in attacks on Christians and Jews which isn’t worth my time.

    • RR Edwards says:

      My attacks are only against dishonesty. As it happens Christianity is in the line of fire which YOU started by the mistake YOU made by calling the Nazis deists when in fact they are Christian.

      I am guessing you did finally verify the 25 points of the Nazi party yourself, you now see the Nazis are/were undeniably Christian and this is your excuse to bow out without admitting your earlier mistake. Its ok – now that you know, you can let it sink in. I am guessing you are in stage 4, the next stage is acceptance.

  23. Old Fashion Liberal says:

    Lewis Loflin – Beyond a simple refutation, RR Edwards protestations do not deserve much consideration.

    Have you ever wondered why an ugly woman would wear a revealing bikini? She would do so for the same reason that a pretty woman would wear one. She wants to be the center of attention. In both cases we have exhibitionism. In the case of an ugly woman, however, we take less carnal pleasure so the wrongness is manifestly obvious.

    Similarly, I fear Edwards wants to be the center of attention. What he proclaims is glaring nonsense. Yet, with vicious name calling, he makes himself difficult to ignore. At our expense, he seeks his own amusement.

    The words that best describe Edwards are “Internet Troll.” http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-an-internet-troll.htm

    So long Edwards insists upon making discussion center about him, he can add nothing to conversion except the illustration of bad example. Pity.

    • RR Edwards says:

      Really – how old is the audience you are accustom to addressing? Do you commonly admonish someone for personal attacks whilst you yourself are in the midst of one? That is old fashion hypocrisy.

      If the facts I present are so simple to refute them, then do it.

      My claims are nonsense? So you are saying the way to heaven is not through jesus. You are also saying jesus is wrong when he says all men are sinners and not a single one deserves to go to heaven – except by accepting him as their savior. OK – so then you are not a Christian, buy definition, because that is what makes a person a Christian, that very specific belief.

      As a non-christian, why do you care that the Nazis were Christians and espoused this very fundamental belief? Why do you care that the 1st Reich was the Holy Roman Empire – established by Pope Leo VIII, the 2nd Reich was the the German Empire under the Christian King Wilhelm II – political alley to Pope Leo XIII, and the 3rd Reich was officially Sanctioned by Pope Pius XII? Why do these facts bother you so much that you pretend they aren’t well documented? Are you also going to claim that Pope Benedict XVI was never a Nazi?

      Also, you are projecting. This conversation, at least my part in it, has nothing to do with me. It has only to do with honesty. Truth. Nothing more, nothing less. Apparently that frightens you.

  24. Lewis Loflin says:

    RR wrote: YOU made by calling the Nazis deists

    Wrong again. Where did I say the Nazis were Deists? I sad the deists of the French Revolution that murdered thousands, which they did, laid the ground work for Nazism. Communism, etc. They were part of the French/Germain secular Enlightenment. No the Mazis were not Deists nor were they Christians.

    <<25 points of the Nazi party yourself

    I don't care points they claim. The Christianity they referred to had been rewritten into something it was not. Jews for Jesus claims to be Jewish when they are not Jews. They are Christians because they follow Christian theolgy, not Jewish theology.

    Why in heck would a Jewish historian such as Heschel whose relatives died in gas chambers write a book on how the Nazis altered Christianity? She would be the first to trash Christianity. Reason doesn't work with you. Your are just another secular fundamentalist.

    Same problem with many liberal Christian churches that are really deist instead of Christian because they consider Jesus human, not divine. (That is if the even still believe in God which some don't.)

    You are simply fixated on Christian bashing, your welcome to your opinion.

  25. Lewis Loflin says:

    As a final note to RR I am a classical deist and proud of it. I’ve never been a Christian nor have I been raised one. So I don’t have your hatred of them for whatever is in your past that makes you this way.

    As far as Christian fundies go, I have taken them on in public as risk to myselg in the Bible belt. Most of them are not what you claim they are.

    I just sick of Deism being poisoned and undermined by people that claim “tolerance” and show none of it. You are just another Humanist that claims some vague/abstract notion of God to either feel better or simply see Deism as an issue to attack Christians.

    Why don’t you have a conversation on Deism outside of just trashing other beliefs. You have nothing outside of that to say. So go back to deism.com and tell Bob Lewis said hello.

    • RR Edwards says:

      I do not see how deism touches Christianity except out of ignorance. Deism has its own faults and they should be considered on their own. Christianity has its own faults and they should be considered on their own. I don’t see the connection, so I deny your accusation that it is even possible to use Deism against Christianity.

      I am 100% tolerant of anything you can substantiate.

      I am 100% intolerant of anything you claim to be true but can not substantiate. If you want me to tolerate your “facts” you only have to have some decent evidence. Yeah, I don’t think you are getting this whole science thing. How long have you been at it?

      What is a humanist? a person who says there is no way there could be a god? If so, then I am not one. I am only after the truth. If you can not prove something is true, don’t cry like a baby when I assume it is a lie or a mistake.

      I have no interest in deism.com come or whoever Bob Lewis is. Is that the balloon boy’s father? If deism.com comes up with something interesting with some significant evidence, I am sure I will hear about it.

  26. RR Edwards says:

    Lewis Loflin :
    RR wrote: YOU made by calling the Nazis deists
    Wrong again. Where did I say the Nazis were Deists? I sad the deists of the French Revolution that murdered thousands, which they did, laid the ground work for Nazism. Communism, etc. They were part of the French/Germain secular Enlightenment. No the Mazis were not Deists nor were they Christians.
    <<25 points of the Nazi party yourself
    I don’t care points they claim. The Christianity they referred to had been rewritten into something it was not. Jews for Jesus claims to be Jewish when they are not Jews. They are Christians because they follow Christian theolgy, not Jewish theology.
    You are simply fixated on Christian bashing, your welcome to your opinion.

    Lewis – ok, sorry, my bad. I misunderstood your intent. Even reading it now, it seems to me you were calling the Nazis Deists. However, you are not a sufficient authority above the pope about who is or isn’t a Christian. How can you claim the Pope himself wouldn’t know a Christian organization? Don’t you think it is a bit of a stretch for you to say I am just bashing Christians because I claim the Pope is competent about the religion he leads?

    Also, you earlier accused me of bashing the Jewish people. Apparently anyone who teaches you something is just out to bash people. That is, by your comments here, it is very clear that you now accept that the constitution of the Nazi party clearly said it was a Christian organization.

    But you are expecting me to not believe the pope and not believe the people themselves and not believe all of the documentary evidence and rather just believe you because if I don’t then I hate all Christians. Sound argument you have there. You threw that science stuff out the window fast as hell didn’t you?

    I have nothing against the Jewish people who, if the ones I know are any indication, are largely secular now anyway. I mean if you throw away the lies like the creation of the earth and the exidious, the jewish religious tradition has little really meaning anyway.

    I am a secular fundamentalist? No, not at all. I am only about the truth plain and simple. I am all for deism where it doesn’t conflict with reason and logic. In fact, it might be the best thing going. In my mind it is very similar to atheism, which is just another set of lies with some agenda behind it. But I am not convinced of deism either as there is simply no evidence for it. Guide me to some decent evidence and I will consider it. As a man of science, how could you expect anything less?

    Also, I see nothing inconsistent with a jewish person being too stupid or ignorant to recognize the truth of the Holocaust, yet still have jewish “faith”. I agree it seems more irrational than anything, but it in no way supports your case.

  27. RR Edwards says:

    On a side note. Does anyone else find it strange that we have a pigeon hole for every conclusion? However, there is no pigeon hole for a person who is looking only for the truth as shown by the preponderance of the current rigorous evidence, regardless of the resulting implications.

    Each pigeon hole is for a predetermined conclusion and there simply is no box to say “under consideration”. I mean seriously, look at you guys. You are all over the map trying to put me into one of these factually close minded positions.

    I guess that is why I can’t relate to people getting bent out of shape when their conclusions are obviously flawed. When someone finds a flaw in my reasoning, it is like a gift. It gets me closer to my objective.

    So please, help me out, show me where I am wrong, I honestly accept and appreciate such things. However, just be prepared when you come at me with some simple minded shit like santa and his reindeer. I have little sympathy for anything so egregiously wrong.

  28. Lewis Loflin says:

    Again what Deism is to quote Ben Franklin,

    Here is my creed. I believe in One God, the Creator of the Universe. That he governs it by his Providence. That he ought to be worshipped. That the most acceptable Service we can render Him is doing good to his other children. That the soul of man is immortal and will be treated with justice in another life respecting its conduct in this. These I take to be the fundamental principles of all sound religion.

    To quote Jefferson on God a year before his death to John Adams:

    To quote the Jefferson Cyclopedia (#2147)

    I hold (without appeal to revelation) that when we take a view of the universe, in all its parts, general or particular, it is impossible for the human mind not to perceive and feel a conviction of design, consummate skill, and indefinite power in every atom of its composition…

    …it is impossible I say, for the human mind not to believe that there is in all this design, cause and effect up to an ultimate cause, a fabricator of all things from matter and motion, their preserver and regulator while permitted to exist in their present forms, and their regeneration into new and other forms. We see, too evident proofs of the necessity of a superintending power to maintain the universe in its course and order…

    What did John Adams say about Jews and thus the Bible in general:

    In an 1808 letter criticizing the depiction of Jews by the French Enlightenment philosopher Voltaire, Adams expressed his respect for ancient Jewry. Adams wrote of Voltaire, “How is it possible [that he] should represent the Hebrews in such a contemptible light? They are the most glorious nation that ever inhabited this Earth. The Romans and their Empire were but a Bauble in comparison of the Jews. They have given religion to three quarters of the Globe and have influenced the affairs of Mankind more, and more happily, than any other Nation ancient or modern.”

    Sounds like a Bible hater to me. Full article: http://www.sullivan-county.com/id2/adams_jews.htm

    Also see The deception of Deism and Pantheism

    http://www.sullivan-county.com/identity/deism2.html

    • RR Edwards says:

      Well I apparently overstated when I supposed deism might be the best thing going. eh.

      While Franklin, Adams, and Jefferson are great thinkers; these quotes from them are just nonsense. Franklin is speculating wildly, Jefferson is categorically wrong, and Adams has allowed his passion to skew things beyond reason.

  29. Lewis Loflin says:

    RR <<Well I apparently overstated when I supposed deism might be the best thing going.

    Like everything else you simply didn't have a clue. You are not a Deist nor are those websites that claim Deism that believe as you do. Theythat claim the Founders were Deists as you thought it was defined.

    The quotes are not nonsense, you simply reject them.

    Let me be clear: you are just an atheist. Atheists can be respectable people. Sometimes. Why don't you just say it? You are an atheist. You are also an intolerant religious bigot.

    You are useless troll. I'll trounce you all day long. I have 1500 pages of mainly historical material on my website and so far you have not been able to dispute anything other than name calling.

    Thanks you have made my day. : )

    • RR Edwards says:

      I’ll give you this much, you try very very hard to stick you head in the sand. Maybe you are unfamiliar with the word “might” which in this context should show that I wasn’t claiming any professional knowledge on the subject of deism. You know, it is ok to admit fault and to say you don’t know something. A person doesn’t have to pretend they know everything – even though that is the path you have taken.

      As to me not having a clue, you now know the Nazi party constitution shows clearly it was a Christian organization, which is something you – with all of your knowledge on the subject – didn’t know. And Also I educated you on the history of the 1-3rd Riechs, which you didn’t know. I also educated you on the history of the Nazi party with the popes, which you didn’t know. So it seems I do have a clue after all.

      I never said I was a deist. I have no idea what websites you are talking about.

      On scientific fact, the quotes are nonsense. There is no evidence for an immortal soul that the gets reborn into different people in the next generations. Because the quote you used from Franklin referred to this process, it is a nonsense quote. You do not have the authority by your word alone to render it sensible.

      If you have some evidence that there is reincarnation and an immortal soul then please, point the way. I would like to review it. Until then it is you who are being arrogant and clueless in assuming anyone would believe such a claim simply because you said it and you have Ben Franklin backing you up.

      The Jefferson quote you presented says it is impossible for anyone to imagine that there is no god. Well this is patently stupid. first of all, no matter how expert Jefferson is at law, he is not a doctor. He certainly cannot testify in an expert capacity to the limits of other peoples minds.

      Also, we know very well that people can do this exact thing, even if you or I can’t/don’t. Because this is a fact, people can imagine there is no god, it is a lie to say people can not do it.

      Adams quote -among other things- simply assumes everyone who was forced into a western religion, at gun point, is happy about it. Seriously? You are saying the Native Americans were happy to be massacred as long as they also got to be converted to western religion? Absurd.

      So here I have given very reasonable arguments against your quotes which render them as I mentioned before, speculation, lies, and exaggeration and all you can do is say – well these great men that said them, so they HAVE to be true. Bullshit. As great as the men you are quoting are, they are still just men.

      You can try to put me into any pigeon hole you wish, but you are just lying to yourself. You do not know my mind, even though I have very clearly and plainly told you exactly what it is. Pitiful.

      I am an intolerant religious bigot? All I asked you for was for this evidence that has you so freaking convinced. So uh why do you hide it? In fact I begged you for some evidence. sigh. If you feel I am not open minded to your evidence, it must be because the evidence you have presented so far, to support your arguments, has not even been relevant.

      Have some confidence in yourself. I am sure there is SOMETHING substantial that you can use to back up your claims. Your evidence can’t all be so frail that you have to keep it hidden from the light of day.

      Now that you have gotten a little bit of a history lesson you can update your pages about the Nazis and the Pope(s).

      LMAO – wait – I have not been able to dispute anything? Like what? I showed very clearly that the Nazis were Christians based both on their own testimony and law and that of the person specifically anointed to know these things agreed they are Christian and you responded by telling me to shove the evidence up my ass or something similar. You didn’t refute the evidence, you just cried and tried to change the subject. That is not a trouncing – that is just you throwing a fit.

      So please, follow your own advice, and do something that should be easy, disputed my assessment of these foolish quotes you posted. If you are going to get nasty with me about not disputing anything, the least you could do is try to dispute something yourself.

  30. Lewis Loflin says:

    RR: I’m note reading your crap.

    This was a discussion on deism and you drag your worthless troll present in here to trash it.

    So I won’t read your bantering about how much you hate Christians or that the American Founders are stupid.

    This is a deism discussion.

    • RR Edwards says:

      Right, because unless I agree with you, then I am a troll that hates Christians and that thinks brilliant men are stupid.

      Actually, there is a good point there. All men are in fact stupid, brilliant men just happen to be noticeably less stupid. They still say and do some stupid things – like doctors who smoke and Jewish people who apparently deny the holocaust, but in the end it is simply because they are only people and not gods, as Lewis thinks they are.

  31. Wow. I don’t know how I missed THIS interesting tete -a- tete, but glad I caught up with Tom.

    Here’s my general opinion, which is quite general in spite of my interest in the historic references: every religion has hypocrites and evil people among its ranks. Therefore, I really try to separate the religion from the person who espouses that religion. It is all very well and good to aspire to Christianity and then hate, persecute and murder others in the name of Christianity. The same goes for any other religion because if we look at history, every religion has had its share of crazies who latch on to that religion and twist it to suit their own needs.

    In this country, we just happen to notice it more if the “twisted ones” are Christian because we have so many Christians. In addition, the resurgence of Fundamentalists (of all kinds) tend to make them more noticeable. If you are looking for truly moral people, you should probably look at the quieter types. They aren’t out “doing religion” for show. They are trying to live it. Truly good people hardly ever get noticed the way they should.

    • RR Edwards says:

      HA! Brilliant. I basically agree.

    • RR Edwards says:

      ok, so the problem is, religions have no defense against evil people when they eventually wrest control of the religion. That is why Hitler and the Nazi branch of Christianity are such good examples.

      The weakness of every religion is that it is a collection of lies and prejudices. When an evil person penetrates the organization, they are able to learn these prejudices and lead their masses like dogs on a leash. It is very dangerous.

      Additionally then, the “better” people are generally more passive which means the “evil” people will generally bubble to the top.

      For example, there really is no question that Hitler was evil, so by extension people assume all Nazi’s were evil. It use to be shocking to others if I ever proposed that a Nazi could be a decent person. On the contrary, however, nearly all Nazi’s had to be “good” to a significant degree, or the party would have self destructed long before it came to power (like the KKK and the Neo Nazi movements).

      Some people will still deny that a Nazi could ever be good, which is an obvious prejudice, but now seeing that the current pope use to be a Nazi, people are starting to admit that a decent human could also be a Nazi. Instead, they will just say the pope was a Nazi because he was forced to be one – which doesn’t actually help their argument.

      • “The weakness of every religion is that it is a collection of lies and prejudices.”

        Actually, I believe every religion holds pieces of “the truth.” Since religions are essentially translated by humans, there is no way every religion (or ANY religion) can be infallible.

        There is no doubt in my mind that Nazis were good at being Nazis, else they would have failed, as you point out. I am not sure how a Nazi can be a good person–but then again, “good person” is a relative term. Sure, a Nazi might be “good” compared to Hitler, but a mouse is also larger than a flea which doesn’t make either creature large.

        We all start out “good.” What happens to us along the way—or what we allow ourselves to become—is a different story.

        The Pope was a Nazi? That’s a new one on me. Cite sources?

    • Old Fashion Liberal says:

      Katherine Gotthardt :
      Wow. I don’t know how I missed THIS interesting tete -a- tete, but glad I caught up with Tom.
      Here’s my general opinion, which is quite general in spite of my interest in the historic references: every religion has hypocrites and evil people among its ranks. Therefore, I really try to separate the religion from the person who espouses that religion. It is all very well and good to aspire to Christianity and then hate, persecute and murder others in the name of Christianity. The same goes for any other religion because if we look at history, every religion has had its share of crazies who latch on to that religion and twist it to suit their own needs.

      Some of your statements lend themselves too easily to distortion. Let’s try a restatement.

      Every religion does not have hypocrites and evil people amongst its ranks. What every popular religion has is hypocrites and evil people trying to pirate its brand name. If hypocrites and evil people call themselves Christians and behave like Nazis, then what basis do they have for calling themselves Christian? Since they obviously do not have a sincere interest in Christian doctrine, none.

      What defense does Christianity have against such pirates? The Bible. When people read and study the Bible, they understand what it means to make a sincere effort to be a Christian.

      Look at this sort thing from a different perspective. Is a person who thinks Adolf Hitler was a sick, maniacal tyrant and respects the Jews an authentic Nazi?

  32. RR Edwards says:

    Certainly, every successful religion has to have even a sliver of “truth”, like don’t kill people without cause. Certainly no religion can be infallible either. the problem is they can not admit to being fallible, which is why they are required by their own design to perpetuate lies.

    Oskar Schindler was a Nazi, a Christian, and a complete hero as much as any human ever was. He “saved” at least 1,000 Jewish people from the grips of his colleagues over the course of about 2 years. He did this at the direct risk of his own life, the life of his wife, and the life of his daughter.

    Henry Ford, founder of the the Ford Motor Company and a vocal Christian, also owned the “Dearborn Independent”. Henry was awarded medals by the Nazis, he is mentioned by name in Hitlers book “Mein Kampf”, and Henry’s weekly publication was distributed widely by the Nazi party as required reading. Hitler proudly displayed a portrait of Henry in all of his offices. While not a Nazi himself, the Nazi party promoted Henry as a person to admire and emulate. Henry Ford is unquestionably the model citizen the Nazis wished everyone to be. Would you call Henry Ford obviously evil? After reading his publication, sure, but generally, eh.

    There is not a good case that everyone starts out good, though that is a pleasant way to think. It turns out some people are naturally more empathetic than others at birth. However, capacity for empathy is a strong correlative for “perceived moral” behavior. You could probably say MOST people start out good, but some people are just natural born killing machines.

    I would also agree that what happens to us has a significant, but complex effect on what we become. For example, there is also a strong correlation to how much intimate attention a baby gets to its ability to empathize with other later in life.

    As for the Pope what kind of source do you prefer? Keep in mind it is reported as matter-of-fact. Not even the Pope himself disputes that he was in the Nazi party.
    CNN – http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/meast/05/13/pope.hitler.youth/index.html
    London Times – http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article6256650.ece

    • “All this was widely discussed when he was elected to the papacy four years ago, and when the dust settled, most observers considered it resolved because of the clear evidence that the pope had been anti-Nazi from the start. If anything, the fact that the pope had been compelled to register in the Hitler Youth gave him credibility in addressing the horrors of National Socialism, since he had seen them from within.”

      RR, there is a huge difference between saying ‘the Pope was a Nazi’ and what is stated in the article. The Vatican could have handled the situation better, but it is clear the Pope was forced into the Nazi youth. That doesn’t make him a Nazi. Probably there were others who were forced into the party as well. What they did once they were there is another story. There is such as a thing as saying, “No I will not bash a Jewish baby over the head” as opposed to saying, “He made me do it.”

      • RR Edwards says:

        You are correct, but you missed the entire point. You can not say all Nazis were evil and then say well he was only a Nazi because they sent him a uniform.

        The actual point was that a Nazi could also be a good person. Are you now saying the pope is evil? He was clearly a Nazi.

    • Here, we are discussing nature versus nurture. I agree that neglected babies often don’t have much of a choice in how they approach life if they are permanently damaged. However, I would put cases like those under mental illness, which is hard to control. And….that neglected baby didn’t start out as evil. The baby was a victim of evil or mental illness depending on how much the parent or abuser was able to actually control his/her OWN mind and actions.

      I do not believe that some people are “natural born killing machines.” I think they might be born with some kind of defect, but nurturing (which could include medication) can prevent a tendency to kill. It’s not easy, however, and we as human beings have a long way to go in finding solutions for biologically based illness like this.

      I’ve done extensive blogging on the nature of good and evil and mental illness on my own blog, so I won’t repeat it here mostly because it will get us more off topic. Suffice to say, evil people BECOME evil. They aren’t born that way. And truly mentally ill people cannot control their behavior, thoughts and actions. Hitler could. He might have been nuts but he was in control of himself for sure. He was evil.

      As for Henry Ford…since he didn’t espouse the Nazi regime, he couldn’t help it that Hitler endorsed him. Ford didn’t do anything Hitler-esque to my knowledge, so he’s okay in my book. If Hitler endorsed ME, however, you can bet I would be screaming and demanding to be un-endorsed. I’m not sure what Ford’s response was. Do you know?

      • RR Edwards says:

        As for being born good – you are simply throwing around absolutes too loosely. I basically agree, but you take your arguments farther than they can be substantiated.

        The point of Henry Ford is simply to show that despite your assertion that Nazis were all evil and could not be good except by margin, they did espouse and promote a very typical US Christian value system. How Ford felt about it was irrelevant.

        How did you forget about Schindler? You did call him evil after all.

  33. RR Edwards says:

    Old Fashion Liberal :
    Some of your statements lend themselves too easily to distortion. Let’s try a restatement.
    Every religion does not have hypocrites and evil people amongst its ranks. What every popular religion has is hypocrites and evil people trying to pirate its brand name. If hypocrites and evil people call themselves Christians and behave like Nazis, then what basis do they have for calling themselves Christian? Since they obviously do not have a sincere interest in Christian doctrine, none.
    What defense does Christianity have against such pirates? The Bible. When people read and study the Bible, they understand what it means to make a sincere effort to be a Christian.
    Look at this sort thing from a different perspective. Is a person who thinks Adolf Hitler was a sick, maniacal tyrant and respects the Jews an authentic Nazi?

    You are 100% incorrect about everything you have said here or Jesus was wrong.

    You directly contradict Jesus’s teaching that everyone is evil – no one deserves to go into heaven. You directly contradict Jesus’s teaching that everyone can be forgiven. You ignore that people do no have perfect knowledge and make mistakes.

    For example, when the USA invaded Iraq -a decision I supported in principle at the time- Bush declared all Baathists as evil and ordered the de-Baathification of the country. The result was the death and murder of thousands of innocents. Not all Baathists were evil, but the USA declared them evil at the point of a gun. Some were just school teachers, for example.

    Many argue that this action made Bush a Nazi. I don’t agree, but it is exactly the kind of thing the Nazis did. The thing is how can they -or you- claim to have perfect judgment to know that what Bush did rendered his standing as a Christian null and void?

    Obviously his policy was just a dumbass mistake, the kind people make every day. I would not agree, however, that Bush is more evil than the next guy, but I do understand why the entire rest of the world thinks he is a Nazi. The unintended consequences of Bushes direct actions was just as evil as anything the Nazis did.

    By your argument, Bush has not made a sincere effort to be a Christian, because if he was then how could the entire world think he is a Nazi? To me, he is making a sincere effort, he just happens to be a dumbass.

    If you notice, what you have done is claim the powers of god for yourself. To make the claims to knowledge you have made, you yourself must be god. I argue that you are not god. Because you are trying to usurp the powers of god and you deny the teachings of Christ, by your own argument, you can not be a Christian – no matter what you claim in your “heart”.

    No two people think exactly alike. It is well documented that many Nazis thought Hitler was sick and had respect for the Jewish people. They found common ground with their party on other grounds – like going to the same church and hating gays.

  34. RR Edwards :
    You are correct, but you missed the entire point. You can not say all Nazis were evil and then say well he was only a Nazi because they sent him a uniform.
    The actual point was that a Nazi could also be a good person. Are you now saying the pope is evil? He was clearly a Nazi.

    Okay, how about “A Nazi that espouses and acts on the beliefs are evil”? Is that better? Being forced into Nazi-hood doesn’t make you a “real” Nazi.

    • RR Edwards says:

      Honestly, the Nazi “constitution” doesn’t have anything in it more evil than our own. Their primary beliefs were, Germany should be run by Germans and everyone should be a Christian. In fact, our constitution is blatantly more evil when, for example, it declares black people 3/5ths of a person. The big difference is that the Nazis didn’t have any checks or balances so they went overboard “drunk” off of their own success.

      We you take things out of context and look back on things you can call almost anything evil. After all, who, but an evil person would own slaves (founding fathers) and what, except an evil organization would agree that owning slaves is evil (Christianity), and what except an evil country would explicitly permit the ownership of people (USA)?

  35. Pingback: INFESTED WITH AN INTERNET TROLL? « Citizen Tom

  36. Slavery was certainly evil. We have many evils in the US. I don’t think anyone is denying that, RR.

    • RR Edwards says:

      I am just making an argument that to dismiss all Nazis as evil is a bit hasty, because of the following reasons:
      1-It ignores the difficulties of imperfect knowledge and individual situations
      2-A general contemporary read of the Nazi objectives is less offensive than our own constitution – yet it is difficult to find a government more benevolent than ours.
      3-As “nice” as we are, we still have done and continue to do things just as evil as the Nazis (e.g. trail of tears, gitmo)
      4-There are actual cases of heroic Nazis like Schindler.

      Don’t get me wrong, I use the Nazi as an example of pure evil all of the time, because it works very well as an example. The shame is that this tactic ever works. It is useful though for most people though because they don’t put enough thought into their arguments and would not care about the deeper implications. For others, who call me out on it, it gives us a place to agree and then to get into deeper aspects of the issue.

    • RR Edwards says:

      Oh I forgot some.
      5-The Pope officially sanctioned the Nazi government, something no pope has ever done with our government AND there is no widely known argument that the pope was evil or incompetent.

      6-Henry Ford was held aloft as the model of behavior for the perfect Nazi member, yet there is no wide argument that he was evil, beyond being an anti-Semite.

      I would also argue that it is shameful to be an anti-Semite, but no one is perfect. Israel, for example, has given the PLO just as strong an argument against themselves as they ever had against the Nazis.

  37. RR Edwards says:

    Katherine Gotthardt :
    Slavery was certainly evil. We have many evils in the US. I don’t think anyone is denying that, RR.

    Oh, on a side note, don’t tell the hebrew god or jesus that slavery was evil, they are all for slavery. It would be a little silly for you or I to be more moral than god himself.

  38. RR, so are you just against religion in general?

    • RR Edwards says:

      I would say I am for truth and honesty. If you can show me a religion that is not founded on lies, then I would be all for it.

  39. First, prove to me they are lies, RR. What is your standard of “truth”?

  40. “A general contemporary read of the Nazi objectives is less offensive than our own constitution”

    How so?

    • R. R. Edwards says:

      As I mentioned, if you read the Nazi parties 25 points, it basically says be a Christian and let Germans live in Germany. It is not particularly “evil” sounding nor does it promote an obviously “evil” agenda.

      The US constitution, however, leaves people specifically in bondage and counts them as 2/3rd a person or was it 3/5ths? Either way – that is very offensive / “evil”.

      Do you see?

      I think what you should do is read both documents.

  41. RR, come now. Look at these:

    4. Only those who are our fellow countrymen can become citizens. Only those who have German blood, regardless of creed, can be our countrymen. Hence no Jew can be a countryman.

    7. We demand that the State shall above all undertake to ensure that every citizen shall have the possibility of living decently and earning a livelihood. If it should not be possible to feed the whole population, then aliens (non-citizens) must be expelled from the Reich.

    8. Any further immigration of non-Germans must be prevented. We demand that all non-Germans who have entered Germany since August 2, 1914, shall be compelled to leave the Reich immediately.

    23. We demand that there be a legal campaign against those who propagate deliberate political lies and disseminate them through the press. In order to make possible the creation of a German press, we demand:

    (a) All editors and their assistants on newspapers published in the German language shall be German citizens.

    (b) Non-German newspapers shall only be published with the express permission of the State. They must not be published in the German language.

    (c) All financial interests in or in any way affecting German newspapers shall be forbidden to non-Germans by law, and we demand that the punishment for transgressing this law be the immediate suppression of the newspaper and the expulsion of the non-Germans from the Reich.

    Newspapers transgressing against the common welfare shall be suppressed. We demand legal action against those tendencies in art and literature that have a disruptive influence upon the life of our folk, and that any organizations that offend against the foregoing demands shall be dissolved.

    24. We demand freedom for all religious faiths in the state, insofar as they do not endanger its existence or offend the moral and ethical sense of the Germanic race.

    Now…forced emigration, disallowing people to become citizens, squelching of the free press, religion ONLY if it “doesn’t offend”, everything must be written in German…those are okay? This is not “an evil agenda”? Read between the lines. Their 25 points give leeway to abuse sanctioned by a single group that expects to be obeyed without question.

    Sorry, but some of this rings a local bell to me. Think PWC’s original version of the Immigration Resolution.

    The Constitution was changed so that slaves were freed. This was a positive thing. Nazi Germany was replaced with a more fair and just system. Prince William County changed the Resolution. All of these things happened under duress created by good people who refused to accept the subjugation and persecution of others.

    If we do not change for the better, we die. That should be the lesson of Nazi Germany.

    • R.R. Edwards says:

      I noticed how you skipped the part that said that Nazi’s were Christians. As for your “read between the lines” I basically agree, however, it does not explicitly state that black men are merely 1/4 of a man – for example. So yes The Nazi points can be used to do evil – it has holes that allow evil to be done. But the original US Constitution didn’t require a loose translation – it simple had the evil built directly into it (slavery).

  42. Lewis Loflin says:

    Why are you good people trying to reason with this worthless troll? This was supposed to be a discussion of Deism instead you waste your time trying to reason with this religious bigot and probable Marxist-atheist defending the Pope, Constitution, and everything else he so blindly hates. One can’t reason with a blind nutcake.

    I can fill the history of the Constitution, but the troll has no interest in that. They couldn’t end slavery in 1787 because it would tear the country apart and a compromise was needed. Most at the Constitutional Convention opposed slavery and put the subject off till a later.

    The loss of about one million whites in the Civil War was the cost of ending slavery among other issues. It was the blood of Christian whites that ended slavery, not modern Marxist revolutionaries.

    So continue to waste time arguing with this atheist’ troll.

    • Lewis, you are probably right. As I said, I seem to get sucked in by people like this. And it’s SO easy for me to get off track. However, I do find re-reading the Nazi 25 points reiterates my own beliefs about local and national history. So for that, a dialog with a troll has not been wasted, IMO. (Wouldn’t that be a great title for a book? “Dialog with a Troll”

      Lewis, while I understand your sadness over losing “whites,” I prefer to think of them as human beings and Americans. THAT is the tragedy. And please don’t forget all the black soldiers who served and were killed. Whether anyone was Christian or not is irrelevant. Killing is a tragedy, and so is war. That we resorted to killing one another here in our own nation is almost incomprehensible to me.

      • Citizen Tom says:

        Katherine Gotthardt – “Dialog with a Troll?” At some point, RR may want a serious dialog. I do not know. Nonetheless, it did not hurt to dig up the Nazi 25 points. Thank you.

        Consider again what Lewis meant by this statement.

        The loss of about one million whites in the Civil War was the cost of ending slavery among other issues. It was the blood of Christian whites that ended slavery, not modern Marxist revolutionaries.

        The Civil War was a war between White Christians fought over the enslavement of Blacks. Although Blacks were notable participants in the conflagration, it took another hundred years for Blacks to be in position to have a real say in the matter of civil rights.

        Why did some Whites consider slavery wrong? They found the enslavement of one man by another incompatible with their Christian beliefs. If God is love, and He has commanded us to love each other, then how can one man rightfully enslave another?

        How did Southern Whites defend slavery? Because Christianity is about the next life, not this one, they could not point to the Bible to defend it. Had they tried, they would have had to explain what was wrong with enslaving Whites. Then they would have found themselves hastily trying to explain self-contradictions.

        So what Southern Whites had to do was convince themselves that Blacks are so inferior they need slave-masters. To makes Blacks appear inferior, they had to prevent the education of Blacks. Effectively, Southern Whites had to keep both themselves and Blacks they had enslaved deluded with their own prejudices.

    • R.R. Edwards says:

      Indeed, there were many Christians who died to end slavery – I have clearly said that Christians can be good people despite your ignorant claim of bigotry. Here is the important thing you missed though – the Northern Christians were educated enough and moral enough to realize their God and bible were wrong. When the north fought against slavery, they fought against the morality of the bible, which condones and justifies slavery. Everyone who fought and died to defend the south was a Christian and they were doing the work of the bible.

  43. R.R. Edwards says:

    humm I can’t seem to reply to Tom’s comment directly – how odd. Anyway Tom you are dead wrong. Slavery is specifically defended by the bible and the south specifically used the bible to defend the practice of slavery. I might suggest you read “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” which was a scandalous book at the time of its writing as it showed clearly how the bible was used specifically to promote slavery.

    Even better, please read the bible itself. I am having to guess you have never in your life read the bible if you think it can not be used to justify the practice of slavery. For example, if you would even please learn the 10 commandments – the forth commandment condemns “god”, the bible, and all religions that spring from it as immoral and evil:

    Deuteronomy 5:14
    ———-
    But the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work—you, or your son or your daughter, or your male or female slave, or your ox or your donkey, or any of your livestock, or the resident alien in your towns, so that your male and female slave may rest as well as you.
    ———-

    Point of fact – you cannot allow your slaves to have a day off, without first having slaves. If god had any sense or moral, he could have condemned slavery in his commandments, but he didn’t. Instead he said – yes please have slaves, but if you don’t let them have sunday off, you will burn in hell. Brilliant god you have there. BTW, there is also a passage which Peter says that slaves are required to submit to rape – so don’t even try to pass this off as old testament or not “slavery” as we think of it.

    • Citizen Tom says:

      R.R. Edwards – The word slave is used in the Bible. Throughout history, men have owned slaves. Because our forefathers retained a free will, the birth of Abraham did not free men from physical slavery. Because our forefathers retained a free will, not even the birth of Jesus freed men from physical slavery — right away. So I do not deny the word slave is used in the Bible, and I do not deny that at one time people saw nothing wrong with slavery. At one time, people knew no better way.

      When we read the Bible we must do so with empathy. We must try to understand the sinners who went before us and learn anew what they learned.

      Do you really want to continue with this discussion? Then please support your claims by citing specific passages in the Bible. Explain how you arrived at your interpretation. With the help Internet we can seek the aid of far more learned Bible commentators than myself. While it made not possible to convince you of the absurdity of your claims, some may find the exercise more informative.

      • R.R. Edwards says:

        Tom you are a good guy and I hate to see you so misled by something so evil. The thing is, you can’t give credence to the idea that the bible is the word of god or represents god in any way and then excuse the stupid things in the bible by the sins of man. Either the bible is the word/will of god or it isn’t. If it isn’t, then it is absurd to give it any more credence to it than any other fiction e.g. Dr. Suess. If it is the word/will of god, then he/it is an immoral evil creature that has managed to beguile the faint of heart or weak of mind. His love of slavery is just a single example of his depravity.

  44. Citizen Tom says:

    R.R. Edwards – The Bible is an accurate historical record. The philosophy contained within it has affected our civilization for hundreds of years. Those reasons alone are enough cause to read it.

    All I ask you to do is cite those Bible passage which you say support your claims. If you have not read the Bible, then you are ignorantly repeating nonsense and wasting time. You have work to do. So you know what you are talking about, go read the Bible.

    • R.R. Edwards says:

      Lordy. Please refer to my earlier citation Deuteronomy 5:14. If the “10″ commandments are the moral standard from god – how does the culture of men enter into it? God changed his mind over the years? God realized that men were right and slavery is wrong? Ridiculous.

      As for the historical accuracy of the bible – hogwash. The 6 days creation is a lie. The flood is a lie. Anything that suggests there were ever Hebrews or Jewish people in Egypt is a lie. The birth of Jesus is a lie. ect. Now please find something that is not a lie. You have work to do.

      • Citizen Tom says:

        R.R. Edwards – God did not change His mind; he changed our minds.

        Let’s look at Deuteronomy 5:12-15 (Today’s New International Version)again.

        12 “Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, as the LORD your God has commanded you. 13 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 14 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your ox, your donkey or any of your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns, so that your male and female servants may rest, as you do. 15 Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the LORD your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the LORD your God has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day.

        With verse 15 God makes a specific point. Except for the grace of God, those ancient Jews would be no better off than their “servants.” Note the distinction in this more accurate translation. Servants were not treated much better than slaves, but they were treated differently.

        In fact, the servants the Jews owned looked much like them. In ancient times, some people submitted to slavery to avoid starving. Most people were in fact slaves. Since they knew no better, that is how they organized.

        By comparison with their neighbors, the Bible required those ancient Jews to treat their slaves humanely. However, you want to compare them to today, after 2000 years of Christian history. That is apples and oranges.

        The point of much of Deuteronomy and the Old Testament was to establish a legal and moral code. By living by the Law, the Jews sought to reach a higher standard of behavior that would make them more acceptable to God.

  45. R.R. Edwards says:

    Tom – you are wrong. In the original greek, the word is doulos which means specifically chattel slaves with no free will and no self determination. Period. This is not even a point of contention by actual biblical scholars. The term “servant” was later supplanted by King James when he commissioned the less accurate version you are quoting when he realized how evil the word of god really was.

  46. Citizen Tom says:

    R.R. Edwards – Did you read what I wrote? I never contended that the ancient Jews saw much difference between a servant and a slave. That was a brutal time. Yet there was a difference, and that is why the translation uses both words. As best it can, it translation speaks to us in our language.

    In our era, the difference between a servant and a slave is clear. Nonetheless, we still do not want to be servants. Jesus promised we do not have to be.

    John 15:9-17 (Today’s New International Version)
    9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because servants do not know their master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other.

    • R.R. Edwards says:

      Yes Tom I read what you wrote and you have no case what-so-ever, except a desire to think there was some imaginary difference. Even the bible is clear and un-apologetic. These slaves where bought and sold, their children where born into servitude, they could be beaten to death for the smallest infraction, and the slaves had no rights for individual thought (beyond getting sunday off) – which means they also had to submit to sexual assault. Not only is this what the bible specifically says (all of these things are in the bible), it follows the definition of the word slave, and it also follows the historical record. It has no coloration with a “servant” – no matter how much you desire it to.

      In fact, it is a self serving insult to them (the slaves) for you to try to paint this disgusting behavior as “servitude” simply so that you can white wash the sins against them as a ploy to paint your god and religion as just.

      So beyond ignoring the evidence in the bible and the evidence in the dictionary and the evidence in the historical record, what source do you have that suggests your fantastic translation is “better”? I mean how can you so simply (and be an honest man) ignore all the evidence about the facts of jewish slavery and try to present this fictitious translation as “better”?

      • Old Fashion Liberal says:

        R.R. Edwards – You have your history a bit mixed up. Actually you are talking about slavery as it existed in the American South prior to the Civil War.

        If you would read the Bible more carefully, you could do a better job of presenting your case. That assumes, of course, you would still want to argue in favor of such tripe.

        For example, here is a portion of Exodus that describes the status of servants.

        Exodus 21:2-11 (New International Version)

        Hebrew Servants
        2 “If you buy a Hebrew servant, he is to serve you for six years. But in the seventh year, he shall go free, without paying anything. 3 If he comes alone, he is to go free alone; but if he has a wife when he comes, she is to go with him. 4 If his master gives him a wife and she bears him sons or daughters, the woman and her children shall belong to her master, and only the man shall go free.

        5 “But if the servant declares, ‘I love my master and my wife and children and do not want to go free,’ 6 then his master must take him before the judges. He shall take him to the door or the doorpost and pierce his ear with an awl. Then he will be his servant for life.

        7 “If a man sells his daughter as a servant, she is not to go free as menservants do. 8 If she does not please the master who has selected her for himself, he must let her be redeemed. He has no right to sell her to foreigners, because he has broken faith with her. 9 If he selects her for his son, he must grant her the rights of a daughter. 10 If he marries another woman, he must not deprive the first one of her food, clothing and marital rights. 11 If he does not provide her with these three things, she is to go free, without any payment of money.

        Why was the Old Testament written this way? Here is a clue.

        Matthew 19:3-9 (New International Version)

        3Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?”

        4″Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’[a] 5and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? 6So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.”

        7″Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?”

        8Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. 9I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery.”

        The Old Testament was written for human beings, human beings with hard hearts. It took Jesus Christ to soften them a bit more.

        Instead of complaining about the Bible and the fact it speaks of what was, slavery, you might be better off wondering why some Christian nations fought to end slavery. Why did Christian nations seek to end a practice no other religion condemned?

  47. R.R. Edwards says:

    Sorry Tom, but cherry picking the stuff you like and using it out of context doesn’t actually make you correct. 1st let me repeat what history actually says about jewish slavery of others: they had no human rights and their slave status was passed to their children.

    The mistake you have made is is to quote how they were to treat slaves of their own people. The “pleasant” rules you quoted did NOT apply to slaves from other tribes that they owned. But, as I mentioned if you ignore reputable source and instead rely on the bible, it paints the same picture if you read the whole thing:

    Leviticus 25:44-46 – Pass foreign slaves to your children when you die and keeps them as slaves forever
    Exodus 21:20-21 – You can beat your slaves to death
    1 Peter 2:18 – slaves must always obey their owners in all things – e.g. sexual assault

    Also what is this last ridiculous statement you make – “Why did Christian nations seek to end a practice no other religion condemned?” First of all – all religions are evil, so what are you trying to say, Christianity is less evil? Obviously I disagree and as I have talked earlier, I use Hitler as an example of how evil Christianity is.

    Also the USA is dominated by Christians who are always screwing with it, but it is in no way a Christian nation. Ask the pope, he will tell you – e.g. he made a pact with Hitler, but has never approved of the US government. But seriously, how do you ignore that slavery was written into the US constitution as a requirement of Christians. So sorry, no you don’t get to use the US as a Christian nation. Also, when the French outlawed slavery it was while they were rejecting Christianity fiercely. Spain and Portugal did not “give up slavery”, their slaves simply revolted and freed themselves.

    I’ll give you Britain though – they rejected slavery as a Christian nation. Not much of a track record though. Interestingly China and most of the countries of the world outlawed slavery without becoming Christian – so uh – nice fantasy you have, but no.

  48. R.R. Edwards says:

    oh another sorry Tom, I thought that last post was from you, but I see it was Old Fashion Liberal. My bad.

  49. Citizen Tom says:

    R.R. Edwards – You honestly don’t get it, do you? God did not approve of slavery, but He allows us free will. Our forebears accepted slavery as a normal part of their culture. Do you condemn somebody for driving a car to work or wearing a coat in winter time? We are talking about a different time, a different place, and a different culture. These people accepted slavery as normal as driving a car or wearing a coat in winter.

    What Old Testament Law did is moderate the abuses. Instead of cherrypicking specific verses, try reading them in context. The Jews settled in an area where people worshipped idols, sacrificed their babies, and thought sex with prostitutes a form of worship. If you think the morals of our era rotten, try to imagine living with superstituous people who thought a hunk of wood needed to be apeased. Otherwise, they feared they would have nothing to harvest and eat.

    Leviticus 25 focuses on getting the Hebrews to at least treat each other decently. These people tended not to consider anyone outside their own families as entirely human. Foreigners! The foreigners were idol worshippers, had strange ideas, and were barely tolerable. There was no telling what they might do.

    Exodus 21:20-21 does not say you can beat your slave to death. Read it a again. Those verses are included in a section that provides for punishing those villains who hurt others. That includes the fatal injury of slaves.

    How you manage to interpret 1 Peter 2:18 the way you do, only the Lord knows. What is a slave suppose to do, kill a bad master? What would be the result of that? Do you actually understand how slavery worked? Even the slaves did not think slavery itself was evil. Do you have a boss where you work? What they wanted was for their master to be a good “boss.”

    Here are links to each chapter so anyone who wants to can read them in context.

    Leviticus 25

    Exodus 21

    1 Peter 2

    Consider this verse on Sin, Faith, and Duty.

    Luke 17:1-9 (Today’s New International Version)

    Luke 17
    Sin, Faith, Duty
    1 Jesus said to his disciples: “Things that cause people to stumble are bound to come, but woe to anyone through whom they come. 2 It would be better for you to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around your neck than for you to cause one of these little ones to stumble. 3 So watch yourselves.
    “If a brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. 4 Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.”

    5 The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”

    6 He replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.

    7 “Suppose one of you has a servant plowing or looking after the sheep. Will he say to the servant when he comes in from the field, ‘Come along now and sit down to eat’? 8 Won’t he rather say, ‘Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and drink’? 9 Will he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do?

    When a slave did what he was suppose to do, that was only what was expected. That is why when Jesus called even the lowly God’s children, the poor and the downtrodden well understood they were being offered a great gift.

    • R.R. Edwards says:

      Tom- if your argument were true or logical, you would be saying the 10 commandments were the rules of men not of god. I would agree with that but it makes no sense for someone who hold the bible as sacrosanct so I can only think you simply don’t understand your own argument. If anything in the bible is true, the commandments have to be the moral code of god and they specifically allow for slaves as long as they get sunday off.

      The Hebrews did not settle in a foreign land. They were the survivors and descendants of the Canaanites. Trying to pretend Hebrews settled among foreigners is simply an uneducated stand. There was no exodus no matter how much you wish there was. Thus all of your references to fiction are moot. You can’t refer to an obvious fabrication and use it as evidence or an excuse for behavior any more than I could use Dr. Suess to do the same. You might as well be talking about all the who’s in whoville.

      Also I guess you don’t understand what Pete meant when he said that slaves must obey their masters in all things. You think that means they can’t kill their masters. Yes that is true and also they had to obey them in all things.

      • Citizen Tom says:

        R.R. Edwards –

        With respect to the Bible, for practical purposes, you just said I am wrong because I am wrong.

        The Hebrews considered the Promised Land their land, and considered the Canaanites foreigners. You want argue with them? You are thousands of years too late.

        Your interpretation of 1 Peter 2:18 is just plain foolish. If others started interpreting your words with the same degree of nonsensical bias, they would shoot you on sight.

        Anyway, you are still wasting time. What is the point cherrypicking the Bible to prove your biases? It is an exercise in futility. Why not try to understand the Bible’s message? Read it from cover to cover. Use a decent commentary and a systematic method. Try to put yourself in the position and the time of the first people who heard the words of each chapter.

        God help us all and good night.

  50. R.R. Edwards says:

    Actually Tom you have said you are right because you are right. I have said you are wrong because you dont have a logical foundation. There were no “Canaanites” from the Hebrew point of view. The bibles tails of Canaanites were fables/horror stories to scare children at night that you magically think are real and historically accurate. But they are not. I have put myself in the place of the people first hearing the words of the bible, what you haven’t done is put it in perspective of reality. Only when you understand reality can you actually put it into perspective. It doesn’t do anyone any good to pretend a bunch of fiction is reality. Lies are bad and lying is immoral, which is why the bible is evil.

    • Citizen Tom says:

      R.R. Edwards – I am not going to bother to respond anymore. If you want to hate Christianity, it is your choice and not one I can take from you. I can argue with you, but I cannot make you a Christian. I can only let you display your evidence and let others see how shallow it is. That you have done.

  51. Lewis Loflin says:

    Citizen Tom:

    You finally realize you can’t reason with the bigoted troll Mr. Edwards. Again you allowed him to tie up this for days. I stooped reading his garbage long ago.

    He’s just another Humanist without a clue. Humanism has given us many great things: fascism, communism, Nazism. (National Socialism) As far as evil, these humanist philosophies have killed between 100-200 million people in the 20th Century. Evil? Edwards doesn’t have clue.

    • Old Fashion Liberal says:

      Lewis – Citizen Tom just let R.R. Edwards have his say. Edwards made himself look foolish, and that was the expected result.

      When someone is saying hateful things, it does no hurt to examine their reasoning. Once we do that that our anger usually changes to pity. Then it is easier to forgive.

  52. R.R. Edwards says:

    Oh stop your guys and your “love” and “concern” and “reason” are too overwhelming for my hateful, evil, trollness self. It makes me blush. You did forget to do apparently is read the constitution of the Nazi party which, as I mentioned requires each one to be a Christian. Yes, I am sure you know better than history or the pope or their bishops or the individuals or god himself, you are the soul decider of who is a Christian. I forgot for a moment this is your fantasy. What need for you to have “proof” or “reason” or “truth”?

  53. Brenda says:

    Good grief. R. R. Edwards, if you don’t believe in God and Christ, how can you believe in EVIL which you keep spouting.

    • To be fair to RR Edwards, sort of, I am a lifelong non-theist, and yet recognize the existence of evil in the world. Far too much of it, in fact. But I see RR Edwards as not rising to the level of evil per se, but acting as an enabler of it through willful distortion.

      Christianity has been, to my thinking, generally a force for good — especially in modern incarnations. There have been problems, and serious ones indeed! But these seem to be the exception, and I have never had the hostility toward it that is expressed by RR Edwards.

      The 3/5ths issue in the Constitution, for example, was a compromise aimed against slavery, and was fought by the Southern delegations, who wanted slaves counted fully in the census for representational purposes. The North wanted them not counted at all, to reduce the number of slave-supporting delegates in future Congresses. This 3/5ths deal was a compromise originally proposed by Franklin. It was the official beginning of the end of slavery, despite how much a part of life it was in the country at the time.

      RR Edwards’ profound misunderstanding of this — and perception of the Constitution as “blatantly more evil” than the Nazi doctrines as a result of this misunderstanding — is rather sad. But at least Edward does not have to worry that I’ll pray for him.

      ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

      • Citizen Tom says:

        Keith – I would not worry too much about being fair to R. R. Edwards. He is the only genuine troll to ever plague this blog. I don’t mind people expressing their opinion, but when it became obvious he was just trying to provoke people, I found it necessary to ignore him.

        Otherwise, thank you for a very interesting comment. Although I knew Franklin advocated the end of slavery, I was not aware Franklin proposed that compromise.

        I have a question for you. You clearly recognize the existence of evil. Without God, by what standard do you define evil?

        • Heinlein made a comment one time (I think in Time Enough for Love): “Sin is hurting other people unnecessarily.” By his lights, suicide thus wasn’t a sin, it was merely stupid. It is perhaps too broad a brush, but still resonates with me.

          Killing other people — oppressing them — enslaving or injuring or constraining them unnecessarily, all qualifies as “evil.” Not the same size evil, of course.

          The framers set up an excellent system. Whether one believes that rights are “natural” or “God-given,” it is possible to agree that they are not simply manufactured by a government for its convenience. But even if you accept that rights are a government construct, the Constitution provides for a way to preserve them against the machinations of the majority. Attempts to deprive citizens of these rights would be evil (in my view), graded in size based on the nature of the right involved.

          What about jail? Capital punishment? Self-defense? This, to me, falls into the space left open by the “unnecessarily” in Heinlein’s quote. Not always — it is not always just to jail someone, even if the government is doing so. But at least there is a presumption that “necessarily” is possible in such cases, and they are not automatically “evil” in the Heinlein sense.

          I’ve got to travel again, but did want to reply with something before departing.

          ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

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