| God bless our Constitution? uhhh Probably not. Jefferson's own Bible and Earthly Jesus.|
"Ironically, a man and future president who worked to safeguard freedom of religion, Thomas Jefferson, could only believe in an earthly Jesus. Jefferson, the third U.S. president and principle author of the Declaration of Independence, created his own version of the Bible, now on exhibit at the Smithsonian's Museum of American History.
Cut and pasted together at his Monticello estate in Virginia, Jefferson's Bible is stripped of the divine. There are no miracles ... and no Resurrection."
Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/04/08/jeffersons-view-resurrection-was-not-so-divine/?test=latestnews#ixzz1rUewbNR1
| 2012/4/8 19:17|
| 2012/4/8 22:09||Profile|
| 2012/4/8 22:17||Profile|
| Re: |
Having read the excerpt on Google Books, Jefferson might not have created his version of the Bible - but I still find it hard to reconcile a Christian Jefferson with Jefferson's other quotes on Christianity.
Seems that the book is pretty radical in its assertions. What do you make of it?
Perhaps Jefferson agreed not so much with Christian doctrine but with Christian morals - that's something which is rather deist or Unitarian in character.
I suspect deists/Unitarians were the umbrella under which atheists/agnostics/humanists congregate in those days. The key difference i.m.o. between modern atheists and those of old was that whereas modern society is mired in moral relativism, people back then took for granted that morals were absolute. Charles Darwin had yet to be born.
Having toured America some months ago, I found it a strange mixture of humanism and Christianity (pretty unlike historical Europe, for instance). Both are of course mutually contradictory, but America had many revivals which ensured that its moral and spiritual backbone remained strong.
| 2012/4/9 0:17||Profile|
| Re: |
The Jefferson Lies book is not history it's propaganda.
Here is a facebook page for a book called Getting Jefferson Right that is being written by a Christian historian. It deals with the false history of David Barton.
David Barton is doing much harm to the churches in America with his almost delusional cult of America. Now that he is in the national spotlight of America historians, christian and non-christian, are lining up and writing books that take him apart.
*edit: It looks like Chris Pinto has had the video taken off of vimeo. There is another person that you will have to google. Her name is Chris Rodda. She is somewhat vitriolic in her treatment of David Barton. But that is understandable, he has ran her name publicly through the mud. Google her name and you will find several well documented youtube videos.
SI Moderator - Jeremy Hulsey
| 2012/4/9 0:33||Profile|
| Re: |
It would be more beneficial if you could point out just what (specifically) you are saying is "propaganda" in the book itself or in what you described as the "false history" of David Barton.
I have experience in researching this matter. While I wouldn't judge David Barton as an "academic" or even a "scholar" on the issues surrounding Jefferson, there is a great deal of misinformation that I feel to be the real "propaganda" as it has been repeated over the years by certain revisionists. Jefferson, given his peculiarities, is a favorite target by atheists and even certain "non-involvement" believers alike.
I wouldn't accuse Barton of having created an "almost delusional cult of America" either. If anything, Barton has simply pointed out the flaws and myths that are often parroted by history revisionists. Instead of attacking the man, his motives or even the apparent (or supposed) consequences of his efforts, it would be better to examine the claims that he makes and then scrutinize them one by one.
While we can debate about the extent of participation of godly men in early American government (or who was godly to begin with) or just what constitutes "cult of America," I am highly convinced that there has been a great deal of willful omission in regard to the role that the Christian faith played in the formation of the American nation.
I have listened to David Barton speak. I have read through some of his articles. Many of the things that he says are verifiably true. When it comes to Jefferson, I don't think that Barton is attempting to paint Thomas Jefferson as a saint. However, I think that he is simply trying to differentiate between the fact and fiction, myth and romanticism.
As someone who has studied many of these things firsthand, I believe that David Barton paints a much more accurate, if also idealistic, portrayal of early American history. Those who revise history often do so through a narrow scope. They focus down to a particular section rather than the object as a whole. When studying Jefferson, or Washington, Lincoln or any other historic figure, you must examine the entire picture.
By the way, many of these revisionists are the same individuals who are also revising the persons of Jesus and the apostles too. They take a verse or passage out-of-context to paint a picture of a very worldly Jesus and apostles. I was watching a "history" program at a friend's home recently about Paul the Apostle. The distortions that they painted of Paul were unbelievable. Yet, the individuals painting Paul in such a light are the same ones who revise the history of this country (and the men who helped found it) and then accuse anyone who disagrees with their attempts as "revisionists."
As for Chris Rodda: I don't know what you are claim that David Barton has said about her that you claim was running "her name publicly through the mud." I have read through several of her articles myself and David Barton isn't the only target of her ire. It seems that she has an intense hatred for what she calls the "religious right."
However, like I have said before, this "slur" is ironically inclusive of most sincere Christians too...and many people who are disagree with any attempt to neglect any history that contains the faith (or references to Christianity) of early Americans.
During grad school, I engaged into a discussion with a "non-involvement" believer and an atheist professor. Oddly enough, those two were united in their hatred for the "religious right." However, when the conversation turned to specific topics like abortion, the goals of homosexual activists, pornographic "free speech," and whether or not "morality" exists, we all realized that the atheist professor's definition differed from the believer's.
The professor lumped ALL "fundamentalist" believers into the "religious right" if they feel that abortion is sinful, immoral and should be illegal. This professor demonstrated the fact that most of us on this website -- if we shared with them what we believe -- would be "cast off" as part of the "religious right" even if we never join any organization or show up to the polls during elections. This professor also demonstrated that many liberals WANT for believers to keep their faith to themselves, at least to the point of not affecting the outcome of elections or policy.
This definition set off a debate in which the "non-involvement" believer -- who had previously argued that America has always been a non-Christian nation -- was defending the right of Americans to believe something strongly enough that they can try to influence the opinions of others or guide them at the polls or in the decisions of public figures. The professor argued that a "separation of church and state" should restrict ANY influence of the Church on the people of the state or the laws of the state. Ironically, the believer then argued that the state should not be promoting forms of immorality and pushing those opinions about such things upon the people through policy and laws.
This is the sort of conundrum that many believers face. It is that "Catch 22" where you only make individuals happy with your faith in Christ if you leave it at home or inside of a Church building and don't allow that faith to influence anyone else.
On a personal level, I feel a liberty to vote in elections and even share my opinions about it. Like most believers, we don't hold to some idealistic notion that America was formed out of a "religious revival." However, I am convinced that there was a spiritual heritage in America in that it was a moral society and heavily influenced by religious faith.
Yes, that faith may have differed from what we view as proper or true. However, the fact remains that religious faith was a much, MUCH greater part of early America than it is right now...or what many people on the ideological Left want it to be. If you believe in Christ and it influences your decisions, you are often lumped together with that same "dangerous" group of individuals who want to "proselyte" the country for Christianity. While this statement may sound ludicrous, it was actually told to me during a discussion with an Economics professor from Harvard University.
They feel that it is totally appropriate for elected politicians to define marriage to include homosexuality (*while accusing anyone who disagrees as trying to "redefine" marriage). They feel that it is commendable for elected politicians to define "a living human being" as anyone outside of the womb and paint anyone who disagrees as a "radical" who wants to allow their crazy religious views to "take away a woman's right." They can't even see that THEY are the ones redefining laws...morality...history...and even faith.
So, in this sense, I would have much more in common with a person like David Barton than I would probably have with a woman like Chris Pinto. While I have seen some slight romanticism and idealism with Barton's presentation, the essence of what he is pointing out is factual and an accurate representation of a part of history that some would rather ignore.
All that one has to do to understand the deep religious faith of early American founders is to read their own writings firsthand...and NOT what others have quoted them as saying or believing. Rodda, on the other hand, seems fixated with a vastly secular history of this nation where founders confined their religious faith to the home and churches. Yet, the faith of most founders was practiced in the open and was evident in their writings, laws, policies and in what they PERMITTED in schools and government settings.
The Christian faith was undeniably an accepted and obvious part of the early American continent. Now, this freedom is being torn asunder and being replaced with a form of "new morality" that is defined apart from religious faith and pushed upon society as the law of the land. This is what many people are trying to point out. Whether or not Jefferson's faith was rooted in Christ (or the REAL Christ) is less of an issue as the fact that Jefferson would probably have welcomed the free discussion of religious faith or principles in the public or to define the positions or decisions that such individuals would make.
When you study Jefferson, sometimes, it is interesting to note things that aren't actually said (policy wise) but what is implied. I find it interesting when he mentions just what went on in public buildings while he was president. In a few letters, he didn't make issues about public Christmas displays in government buildings yet noted that they were there (with descriptions). He didn't complain about a need for a "separation" regarding such matters. He wrote many letters about the Christmas season, how he noticed it being celebrated, how he celebrated it in the White House and how he loved the song "Adeste Fideles." This is not the view that secularists want to paint of Jefferson.
Of course, our faith is not in Jefferson. It isn't in the founding fathers. It isn't in America either. It is in Christ...and Christ alone. However, this doesn't mean that we must sit back and let others rewrite or ignore history to fit the end that they want to portray either. Personally, I am glad when individuals point out the many anecdotes of religious faith from the early formation of the American country and how it may or may not have influenced the decisions of many of those founders.
| 2012/4/9 3:07||Profile|
| Re: |
I agree with you that liberal revisionist history is bad. But David Barton is just as bad. He is a reconstructionist. They are conservative evangelical revisionists.
Some of David Barton's revisions include:
The myth that the Continental Congress imported 20,000 Bibles during the Revolutionary War. He has recently walked back his claim that the Bibles were actually imported. He does not however tell the real history of what happened. Bibles, among other items, were in short supply and were subject to price gauging and war profiteering.
Another is the Aitken Bible. He hasn't changed any of the misleading statements he's made about this. The Congress never recommended the use of this Bible for public schools. David Barton cherry picks a quote from Robert Aitken's petition to Congress to review the quality of the Bible he's printed. David Barton then takes that quote and assigns it to the U.S. government as though they are excited to have a Bible to use in schools. The real history and what happened is quite different. Robert Aitken was a business man and wanted the seal of approval from the U.S. for his Bible. He did not get what he was seeking. His aim was for his print to become the official "Bible" of the United States. Not because he was a Christian, but because he was a business man. Congress did not make the Aitken Bible the official Bible. They did not seek, authorize, or fund the printing of Mr. Aitken's Bible. What they did do however was have the chaplains to congress proof read his work. After the chaplains agreed that it was a quality work congress gave an official recommendation to Aitken's Bible, not to promote the spread of the Gospel but to promote the quality of American printers as they had a reputation for not being as good as those from Europe.
Jefferson did not send missionaries to evangelize the Indians. Barton talks about a treaty with the Kaskaskian Indians. There is a provision in the treaty to send Catholic priests and help to build Catholic schools. This was not to evangalise them as David Barton reports. What's more Jefferson did not consider this in violation of the establishment clause of the Constitution because this was a treaty with a foreign nation. Evan more, the reason why the Catholic priests were sent was because the Kaskasian Indians were ALREADY Christians and they requested this as a part of the treaty.
The reason I used the term 'Cult of America' is because of the strain of theology that runs through many American churches. We borrow partly from dominionist theology when it comes to the U.S.A. and think that somehow this country is not like the rest in that we think we have a special national relationship with God. David Barton takes the Gospel and makes it secondary to the United States. Instead of the Gospel being an end in its self it becomes a tool to make America a great nation 'once again'.
Chris Rodda has been very embittered from unkind debates with zealous christians and it shows in her writings.
Chris Pinto has to be taken with a big grain of salt. Where Milton Green saw two demons behind every tree, Chris Pinto sees a Jesuit and two Freemasons...lol.
However there are also conservative Christian historians who are alarmed at the popularity of David Barton.
Here are some books:
Was America Founded as a Christian Nation? by John Fea
Christian America? Edited by Daryl C Cornett. (this book is actually written in debate format with several authors including David Barton)
In God we Don't Trust by David Bercot
The first one I listed is probably the best one.
A good blog by a conservative Christian historian is:
And here is a youtube link to a letter that Chris Rodda debunks:
This video effectively shows David Barton's willingness to knowingly revise history in order to achieve his own end. What is almost funny is that you can read the letter in its true context on David Barton's own web site:
Edit* Do I believe that America was legally a Christian nation? No. The Constitution's lack of mentioning God and the Dec. of Independence's talking of the deistic 'Nature's God' is telling. There was a conscious effort made by the authors of these documents to make them secular.
Do I believe that America is theologically a Christian nation? No. America is another nation in the world just like any other nation. Article 11 in the treaty with the Barbary States that was made by our founding fathers states that 'America is not a Christian nation in no sense of the word'. This treaty was passed by a unanimous vote by the Senate. It was printed in major newspapers. There was no dissenting voices raised as to the language of the treaty.
Do I believe that America is culturally a Christian nation?
Absolutely. We are still affected to this day by the two great awakenings and the Pentecostal Renewal.
SI Moderator - Jeremy Hulsey
| 2012/4/9 12:20||Profile|
| Re: |
I'm glad this discussion is taking place. Men like David Barton have painted an early America where everyone was an evangelical Christian who loved the Bible and loved Jesus.
A simple cursery review of primary sources shows that yes, many of our founding fathers were religious, and some very boldly evangelical... but there were also many who were not.
Christians who want to know about true American history need to do the research for themselves. I would not trust a book by David Barton on the subject anymore than I would trust a public school history book.
You have to go to the primary sources, not second hand. Do not let anyone do your research for you.
David Barton is the Thomas Kincaide of American history.
| 2012/4/9 12:49|
| Re: |
Like I said, I do think that Barton is an idealist and romanticizes the history of early America. However, I would hardly call him a propagandist. I have more than just a working knowledge of history and I tend to look at citations and the many historical anecdotes that create the "big picture" rather than taking anyone's claim for granted.
On a personal level, I feel that there is an obvious bias and slant with Chris Rodda that is easily debunked by an almost zealous mission to not only revise history to her own liking but to assassinate the character of those with whom she disagrees.
I have looked through some of the books that you have mentioned. In fact, I have even purchased a couple of them. However, there is an obvious "skew" to the writing that is almost as if the opinion is made BEFORE the "research" was conducted.
I don't think that Chris Rodda is just "embittered" by people that she dismisses as the "religious right." I think that she is embittered by the core beliefs of individuals that she lumps together with what is now slurred as the "religious right." Like I said, many people would quickly lump ALL of us in the "religious right" if we made our beliefs known or show any attempt to share our beliefs with others.
The Harvard professor that I mentioned before has a distaste for what he calls the "religious right" and "religious fundamentalism" too. He dismisses sincere Christian faith as the result of a "mental disorder" or the result of "low intelligence." He eventually said that he came to this because of "bad experiences" that he had during childhood where he was told that he was going to go to Hell if he didn't turn to Jesus. This, he said, is "dangerous lunacy" and he doesn't the "religious right" to "infect" other Americans with this "nonsense."
It took a while, but I pointed out that his problem was not with "religious faith" but with people who believe it enough to share it. When he asked what made me think this way, I pointed out that you can't get any more "fundamental" than the Amish, yet he doesn't argue about them. Why? The Amish don't actively evangelize outside of their community. They don't vote. They don't influence policy.
The professor acknowledged that this was true, because he thinks that the Amish are simply "wallowing in delusion" and "aren't hurting anyone but themselves."
Still, the history of this nation is UNDOUBTEDLY influenced by the Christian faith. This is so obvious that is should not be in question...but it is ignored by many modern writers of history. The presentation of Jefferson made by revisionists today is one of an agnostic deist who felt that religion should be confined to the mind or, at the most, the home and church. Yet, Jefferson participated in public displays of religion. Whether through public prayer in government settings, "official" services or references to faith in writings, law and policy, Jefferson was NOT the "keep religion in the mind" type of mentality.
Now, I wouldn't try to romanticize Jefferson. If anything, I find that he presented conflicting views of Christianity and Christ. Some of the anti-Christ quotes that are perpetrated by atheists are simple distortions of outright lies. Many are simply quoted by other atheists or revisionists and are not found in any original or even early/contemporary writings.
However, this is not to say that there weren't any troubling writings from Jefferson. There are references that are cringe-worthy from a Christian perspective. Still, there are many ignored references where you would almost think that Jefferson was a sincere believer by what he said, wrote or did. For a guy who supposedly did not believe in the deity of Christ (or, perhaps, held that view for only parts of his life), Jefferson made many mentions to Christ. In one of his letters, he wrote that the "Holy Spirit is a gentleman" and argued that He does not "force Himself upon any man" but "draws men unto him." Jefferson's favorite hymn contained the words that proclaimed Christ Jesus as the "God of God."
For this reason, I think that Jefferson can only be faithfully presented if you do so with the WHOLE PICTURE. Some present only an agnostic or deist version. I suppose that there are some who try to present him as a member of the clergy. However, I don't think that this is what Barton is doing. He is simply pointing out the myths that are perpetrated by others...or the willful omissions that would turn their own presentation of Jefferson upside down (or rightside up).
In terms of the original notion in this thread, I agree with what Barton presented in the book that I quoted. It is simply untrue to suggest that Jefferson tried to rewrite his own Bible. Jefferson may have been a deist. However, he also embraced -- and even encouraged -- the concept of the Christian faith (even if he believed that many were missing much of what he believed from it). At the same time, Jefferson may have simply wrestled with his beliefs throughout his life.
Yet, the point that I am trying to make (and what I assume that Barton is trying to make) is that Jefferson was not the type of man that is painted by modern revisionists. Jefferson never held an opinion that a public display of faith must be limited by government or that its free exercise should be completely separated from public life, policy or law. Jefferson, from my own estimation, believed that religious faith was a matter of conscience and that the government could neither define nor impede that conscience.
I suspect that Jefferson would have been shocked if he somehow could have traveled through time and witnesses today's American society.
While Barton may romanticize early America with a bit of idealism, I don't believe that he is painting it as a society of evangelical Christians experiencing a wonderful revival. However, Barton seems to point out that America was the type of completely secular society that revisionists desperately try to convey either.
Unfortunately, many people will not go to firsthand sources. They will read secondhand sources and make assumptions. This is why it is always important to go to the sources whenever possible -- regardless of the claims that are being made.
With this in mind, I don't believe that Barton is doing anything detrimental. He is simply pointing out the "other side of the story" in the face of countless history revisionists who paint a very different story more through omission of facts and historic anecdote rather than outright deception. In this, the goals of the secular revisionists are even worse than anything that they accuse Barton of doing. Barton presents the "other side of the story" almost solely because he assumes that we are already familiar with the version of history written by revisionists. However, the revisionists are NOT presenting the other side. In fact, they seem to grow upset or become "embittered" anytime someone attempts to do just that.
| 2012/4/9 13:04||Profile|
| Re: |
This is very sad that many today are being mislead because of the fabrication that some are doing in the name of Christianity. This causes many enemies of Christ to get a gainsay over many who have yet to believe the truth in Jesus. Truth never needs any fabrication to help the cause of Christ. The truth of Jesus Christ stands on its own merit and never needs anything added or covered up.
Jesus said my kingdom is not of this world and neither will his servants fight for this world. His servants are in this the world but not of this world because they are strangers and pilgrims passing through waiting for the coming of the Lord and the setting up of His kingdom-in the mean time praying for His kingdom to come and His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. The true church is in His spiritual kingdom separate from the world.
I believe in the church being separate from the state as I believe the founding father's of america stated in the constitution. All the kingdoms of this world will be swallowed up by the one true and everlasting kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ. Every knee will bow to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords and only Savior the Lord Jesus Christ.
a brother in Christ,
| 2012/4/9 13:24||Profile|