Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Was Deism a Strong Influence in Early America?

In Library of Congress' online exhibit Faith of Our Forefathers, we have learned that faith was important in our early history. But many people still believe that most of our Founding Fathers were not Christians, but rather were Deists. I have seen it stated in countless blogs and articles that most of our Founders were Deists. In fact, this very recent blog post says exactly that:

Most of the Founding Fathers and Early Presidents Were Deists and Freemasons, Not Christians

Is that so? The Library of Congress information says "No."

"Deism made its appearance in the 18th century. It was a religious movement, promoted by certain English and continental thinkers, that attracted a following in Europe toward the end of the 17th century and gained a small but influential number of adherents in America in the late 18th century. Deism rejected the orthodox Christian view of Christ, often viewing him as nothing more that a "sublime" teacher of morality.

"Deism and some strains of "liberal religion," which stressed morality and questioned the divinity of Christ, found advocates among upper class Americans, conspicuous among whom were Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and Ben Franklin, but supporters of these views were never more than "a minority within a minority" and were submerged by evangelicalism in the 19th century."

Read more on this page:

Faith of Our Forefathers

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