Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Misunderstanding Orthodoxy

Let me first thank you all for your gracious invitation to the American Creation website. I am excited to be a part of this forum.

I want to dedicate my first post to what I deem is a gross misunderstanding of orthodoxy by some on this website. If I understand their arguments correct, they are defining Christian orthodoxy in the following manner:

1. An orthodox Christian must hold fast to specific dogmatic creeds that are inflexible. Any variation from said creeds serves as sufficient evidence of a person's "heresy."

2. Deism, Universalism, Unitarianism, Arianism, etc. played as large of a role (or larger) as did Christianity. Therefore, any reference to the aforementioned beliefs shows the lack of orthodoxy of many of our founding fathers

3. A person's choice of words indicates their suspicion of Christianity.

Simply put, this "template" for orthodoxy is incomplete.

To be certain Orthodox Christianity can be a difficult term to define. What one may esteem to be the path of salvation another will proclaim to be heresy. It is for this very reason that the aforementioned definition of "orthodoxy" is incomplete. We cannot (no matter how convenient it may be) categorize one's Christian leanings according to a dogmatic set of creeds that may or may not be supported by the individual. Take the often misunderstood case of John Locke. To be certain, Locke was neither an agnostic or a heretic as he is often portrayed. In Locke's
"Letter To The Right Reverend Edward, Lord Bishop of Worcester," Locke affirms his belief in both Jesus Christ as the supreme savior of mankind and in the divine nature of God's word as found in the Bible. In his own words Locke states:

"And if your lordship has brought in the mention of my book in a chapter, entitled, 'Objections against the Trinity, in Point of Reason, answered;' when, in my whole Essay, I think there is not to be found any thing like an objection against the Trinity..."

Locke continues:

"The holy scripture is to me, and always will be, the constant guide of my assent; and I shall always hearken to it, as containing infallible truth, relating to things of the highest concernment. And I wish I could say, there were no mysteries in it: I acknowledge there are to me, and I fear always will be. But where I want the evidence of things, there yet is ground enough for me to believe, because God has said it."

Despite this obvious acknowledgement of Christ as Lord and the Bible as His word, there are still those who refute Locke as an agnostic. Skeptics will point out that Locke's Tabula Raza is somehow indicative of his stance against orthodoxy. How exactly is this possible? It is as if skeptics maintain a dillusional belief that free thought is somehow not allowed in Christianity. Yet Locke's Tabula Raza is actually very compatible with Christianity. As Acts 10:34 states, God is "no respecter of persons." In other words, "all men are created equal."

The same mistake is made when it comes to our first Commander-in-Chief, George Washington. In my perusing of this website I have noticed the tendency of many to classify Washington as anything but Christian, simply because he allegedly backed out on Communion, confirmation, etc. These individuals are essentially making the same mistake that is made when it comes to Locke. They are merely picking and choosing from an assortment of statements that they believe serve as a body of conclusive evidence against Washington's Christianity. Again, this is incomplete. As Washington stated in his 1779 Speech to the Delaware Chiefs:

"You do well to wish to learn our arts and ways of life, and above all, the religion of Jesus Christ. These will make you a greater and happier people than you are."

Strange that a "Deist" or "Universalist" would make such a bold claim!

And again, in his March 6, 1776 General Orders, Washington stated:

"Thursday the seventh Instant, being set apart by the Honourable the Legislature of this province, as a day of fasting, prayer, and humiliation, 'to implore the Lord, and Giver of all victory, to pardon our manifold sins and wickedness's, and that it would please him to bless the Continental Arms, with his divine favour and protection.'"

Again, strange that a "Deist" would invoke a "pardoning" of sins.

Of course my opposition will point to the fact that Washington rarely if ever used words like "Jesus," "Christ," "Savior," "Redeemer," etc. This point, however, misses the larger point. Colonial America, especially amongst elites, was a culture of eloquent speech and articulate vocabulary. For Washington and others to speak or write of "Providence" or "The Divine Author of our Blessed Religion" was both typical and accepted of a devout Christian. It does not, however (as some on this site may suggest), point to a lack of Christian conviction. Reverencing the name of Christ was a proper practice for a gentleman of Washington's caliber. What I am trying to get at here is that his choice of words is hardly a representation of his "heresy." If anything it helps to prove his devotion to Christian principles, because he is following the accepted practice of reverencing Jesus.

In conclusion, let us keep in mind that orthodoxy is a relative term. Instead of dwelling on the ins-and-outs of this impossible to define term one should center his/her scholarly focus on the larger picture. Christian principles were at the very heart of our founding and the majority of our founding generation accepted the basic tenants of Jesus Christ's gospel (i.e. his Holy Word as found in the Bible, accepting Christ as Lord and Savior, etc.).

Thanks for including me in this forum and I look forward to future debates!

Dan Atkinson

48 comments:

Pinky said...

.
I see by your profile you are a doctoral candidate at Arizona State University specializing in American religious studies.
.
We should be reading some pretty good stuff from you.
.

Dan Atkinson said...

Thanks for the comment. I hope this posting measures up.

Dan

Tom Van Dyke said...

Welcome, Mr. Atkinson. Although you'll find I'm "warm" to the Founders' obvious theism, please see my post below on reading the Great Thinkers, vis a vis John Locke. Note that

" I think there is not to be found any thing like an objection against the Trinity

does not say Locke believes in the doctrine of the Trinity, although someone who wants to read that certainly can.

But that's the way philosophers under fire write, and this illustrates it perfectly.

As for Washington's General Order statement, it originated not with him, but the legislature. Note that the religious part is set off with quotation marks, quoting them, not him. Any good soldier would pass it on unrevised, and he fulfilled his duty.

Dan Atkinson said...

Thanks Tom. I think if you read the entire letter it is clear that Locke supported the doctrine of the Trinity and the holiness of the Bible.

As for Washington's General Orders, yes, he did quote this. But there are several additional examples of his invoking a fast for the forgiveness of sin. I made the mistake of not including those here. I apologize. You can find several at this website:

http://etext.virginia.edu/washington/fitzpatrick/

Simply type in "sin" or "fast" and you will see for yourself.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Fair enough, Dan. But I'll leave it to you to extract the relevant sections and make those arguments explicitly. I'm all for footnotes, but one cannot park his argument there.

For now, my objections stand. What I do read in Locke is that he considers at least some of the Bible to be divinely inspired. Further I'm not quite prepared to go at this point.

Brad Hart said...

Welcome to the blog, Dan. Glad to have you.

I think you will find that none of us classify Washington as a deist on this blog. Your point that Washington supported national days of prayer, forgiveness of sin, etc. is correct. However, I think you are jumping the gun on the orthodoxy question. Adherance to certain creeds IS an important element in determining a person's religious leanings. The fact that Washington avoided communion, was never confirmed, never SPECIFICALLY prayed to Jesus Christ all suggest that Washington was influenced by other beliefs, i.e. deism, unitarianism, etc.

As for your reference to Washington's speech to the delaware chiefs, you might want to keep in mind that Washington also invoked the "Great Spirit" in a 1796 letter to several Indian tribes as well.

Dan Atkinson said...

I appreciate the comments, Brad, but I could not disagree more. Let me point out where and why:

"Adherance to certain creeds" as you state is not as relevant as you might think. First of all, we do not know the mindset of Washington, which is a crucial component to this argument. Perhaps Washington avoided communion because of his feelings of personal unworthiness. After 8 years of war, it would be easy to understand why Washington might have felt a psychological burdon that caused him to question his personal worthiness. Soldiers from all eras struggle to adgust after being in combat.

Also, the sources that critique Washington's participation in communion are biased. William White was a loyalist during the American Revolution. Naturally, Washington would come off as an enemy of sorts. Or maybe Washington refused to take communion from a loyalist?

As for confirmation, Washington could simply be comfortable enough in his faith to not need it. The Bible makes no mention of confirmation as being required.

What is important is that Washington read the Bible, prayed for forgiveness, and accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. Communion, baptism, confirmation are not relevant to the argument.

As for the "Great Spirit" letter...yeah! Of course he would say that. Washington wanted to make sense to the Indians. Writing of the "Great Spirit" is not praying to the Great Spirit. Clearly the God Washington prayed to was one that forgave sin and blessed a nation...aka Jesus Christ.

Jonathan Rowe said...

I'll respond in a forthcoming blogpost. Though I think Dan might want to give a second thought to Tom's objections on Locke.

"I think if you read the entire letter it is clear that Locke supported the doctrine of the Trinity and the holiness of the Bible."

NO! If you read the context it's clear that Locke was playing the role of a philosopher beating around the bush. Locke conspicuously left out the doctrine of the Trinity when explicating what he thought of as "central" doctrines to Christianity. And he was called on it. That's the context of the letter. If Locke were a Trinitarian he would have included the Trinity in his doctrines that all reasonable Christians should be able to agree on. But he didn't.

Jonathan Rowe said...

Writing of the "Great Spirit" is not praying to the Great Spirit. Clearly the God Washington prayed to was one that forgave sin and blessed a nation...aka Jesus Christ.

If you read the original you'll see that in one of them GW does more than just "invoke" the "Great Spirit" but prays to him by name -- worse than praying to "Allah" because at least Allah claims to be the God of Abraham whereas the "Great Spirit" makes no such claim.

AND, Washington was never once recorded in his own words that exist in the historical record as praying to "Jesus Christ." Though the Church to which he nominally belonged did.

Dan Atkinson said...

I have to disagree with Jon Rowe when he writes the following:

"If you read the context it's clear that Locke was playing the role of a philosopher beating around the bush."

This is hardly the case. The thesis of this work (as was the thesis of his "Reasonableness of Christianity") is that Jesus is the Christ and only means of salvation. Locke, as pointed out by historian John C. Higgins, preferred to call Jesus "the Messiah" and his entire body of work is devoted to uncovering this fact. Locke's propensity for delving into logic, reason, and philosophy cannot be used as evidence that he was not a Christian.

As for Washington, when he prays for forgiveness of sin, who exactly do you think he is praying to? And addressing the "Great Spirit" in a letter or petitioning the "Great Spirit" is not a prayer. It is just a letter.

Dan Atkinson said...

Also, Locke did not leave out the essential components of Christianity. Jon, you claim that he left out some key elements of trinitarian Christianity. I fail to see where. Over and over Locke recognized the vicarious sacrifice made for the sins of the world by Jesus Christ as essential for salvation. What more do we need than this?

You can go to Google books and search for "reasonableness of Christianity" and you will find example after example of what I am saying.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Dan, if I may---please make your arguments explicitly. Dig out the quotes. We have plenty of time. Otherwise, we're simply into Was! Was not! Was too! territory.

You'll find most folks are more interested in hearing a solid counterargument than holding fast to their positions.

I notice that like his "Two Treatises," Locke published The Reasonableness of Christianity anonymously. Hmmm.

Dan Atkinson said...

People regularly make the mistake of classifying Locke as a father of deism. This is not the case. The reason for this confusion is based on the fact that Locke beleieved a person could discover the truth through human reason as easy as through revelation, that a person discovered truth through their own personal experiences. This is in NO WAY contrary to the Christian faith.

Although Locke believed that human reason could lead a person to religious truths, he believed that most people failed to reason, and therefore needed to be assisted by those who recieved divine insight and revelation from God, like the prophets of the Bible.

The fact that Locke also refered to Jesus Christ as the "Son of God" makes it difficult to consider him anything but a Christian.

Brad Hart said...

Dan states:

"What is important is that Washington read the Bible, prayed for forgiveness, and accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. Communion, baptism, confirmation are not relevant to the argument.?

I would LOVE a source on this claim, Dan. Where in the world are you drawing your conclusions that Washington "accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior?" Oh, and General Orders, while interesting to read, make NO MENTION of praying to Jesus Christ specifically.

Brad Hart said...

As for Locke, I agree with historian and religious scholar T.E. Wilder when he writes:

"Locke advocated that the Church should reject its hierarchical structure and the authority of its bishops, abandon its cannon law and theology, its creed and sacraments, its liturgy, all belief in mysteries and miracles, all external discipline, the Thirty-nine Articles and Book of Common Prayer, all its religious customs and traditions - in short, its entire historical inheritance - as so many superstitions and "prejudices," in favor of one requirement for membership and salvation - to acknowledge that Christ is the Messiah. In the last section of his Essay, Locke stated the central principle of deism: "Reason must be our last judge and guide in everything"

Doesn't sound like a DEVOUT ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN to me!

Jonathan Rowe said...

"Otherwise, we're simply into Was! Was not! Was too! territory."

Let me illustrate: Dan you are wrong. Locke never endorses the doctrine of the Trinity. Arians and Socinians think of Jesus as "Savior," "Messiah" and even "Christ." There is good reason that the ivy league political philosophers who are experts on Locke have concluded that Locke was a secret Arian or Socinian. Such professors are often off base. But they aren't stupid.

Dan Atkinson said...

Jon Rowe, Brad Hart, and Tom Van Dyke are completely missing my argument. The only acceptable definition of orthodoxy as found in the Bible is an acceptance of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and acceptance of his word as found in the Bible. This is EXACTLY what Locke accepted. The other points you make are not relevant to my argument.

Essentially you all pointing out Locke's acceptance of Jesus Christ is proving my point. I could care less what "scholars" categorize him as. The bottom line is that he believed in Jesus.

Cheryl L. Stansberry said...

I believe also the definition of a unitarian in the early founding of America was considerably more religious than even nominal "Christians" today.

Brad Hart said...

Dan states:

"Jon Rowe, Brad Hart, and Tom Van Dyke are completely missing my argument. The only acceptable definition of orthodoxy as found in the Bible is an acceptance of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and acceptance of his word as found in the Bible. This is EXACTLY what Locke accepted. The other points you make are not relevant to my argument."

What the...

Dan, you need to understand that the entire world does NOT accept YOUR definition of Christianity. As a religious graduate student I am sure you understand this principle. Nobody is arguing against your claims that Locke recognized Jesus as divine. What we are saying is that Locke CHALLANGED the ORTHODOXY OF HIS DAY. As a result, his views were seen as "heretical," or "unorthodox."

Is Dan Atkinson the real name of Our Founding Truth???

Jonathan Rowe said...

The only acceptable definition of orthodoxy as found in the Bible is an acceptance of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and acceptance of his word as found in the Bible. This is EXACTLY what Locke accepted....The bottom line is that he believed in Jesus.

You are now narrowly defining your argument to suit your conclusion. Yes, it's true that Locke 1) called himself a Christian, 2) professed to believe in the Bible, and 3) believed Jesus was the "Messiah."

The same thing can be said of Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses.

Christendom established "orthodoxy" in 325 AD with the Nicene Creed. If you believe in Arianism or Socinianism, regardless of whatever else you profess to believe in, you are a "heretic" according to orthodox standards, plain and simple.

Locke, in this sense, was likely a heretic. That's my argument.

Jonathan Rowe said...

Is Dan Atkinson the real name of Our Founding Truth???

Heh. I don't think you mean this literally. Dan is a better writer than OFT. Though I'm not convinced he's not "Hercules Mulligan."

Dan Atkinson said...

Locke may have been seen as a heretic, but that doesn't make him any less Christian. An acceptance of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior along with the Bible as His Holy Word is sufficient enough to call him a Christian. So why do you all insist on calling him something different? This phenomenon is nothing more than intellectual arrogance parading around and twisting who Locke was into something that he is not.

And no. Sorry to disappoint but I am who I say I am, though I would love to hear what the other two gentlemen have to say on this issue.

Jonathan Rowe said...

We'se just jokin' on the Herc. and OFT issue.

But again, re your definition of what is a Christian & heresy, I would point out that Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses likewise would qualify as "Christians." The insistence on his heresy, at least from my end, has to do with the issue of "pluralism," "heritage," and who owns the US Founding, its philosophy, and that of Western "liberal democracy" or "republicanism."

From my end, much of this has to do with the claim: "It's our culture, our heritage, and we have every right to 'reclaim' what we once owned." And I'm here to show how dissidents and heretics had quite a great deal to do with the Founding of America and Western notions of liberal democracy/republicanism.

Dan Atkinson said...

Jon Rowe stated the following in response to my previous comment:

"From my end, much of this has to do with the claim: "It's our culture, our heritage, and we have every right to 'reclaim' what we once owned." And I'm here to show how dissidents and heretics had quite a great deal to do with the Founding of America."

Not so.

America's founding IS a part of our Christian culture, or better put, without Christian philosophy, doctrine, etc., there never would have been an American founding to begin with.

The problem here is that what Jon Rowe calls heresy is, in reality, NOT heresy but in fact Christianity at its purest form. Our founders were not heretics for refuting the Anglican faith or any other faith for that matter. Rather their determination to invoke the blessings of providence suggests that they were, in fact, true Christians.

I think we are having a problem defining our terms here. It seems as though Rowe and Hart don't define Christianity in the way it should be defined. Ignore looking at the Council of Nicea and other pious creeds. These are not relevant. Instead, try to see the overall horizon that teaches us that a Christian accepts Jesus as Lord and Savior and his Holy Word. This is sufficient for Christianity.

Jesus is Lord.

Raven said...

Oh no...not another Christian apologist!

Dan Atkinson said...

No Raven, I'm sorry but that title doesn't stand. Christianity has NOTHING to apologize for. In the words of Paul I proclaim:

"For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth." (Romans 1: 16)

To Jesus all glory be thine! Amen.

Pinky said...

.
I am at a loss for words.
.
How about that, Brian?
.
heh heh heh
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Pinky said...

.
We gotta get Brian in here.
.

Jonathan Rowe said...

Instead, try to see the overall horizon that teaches us that a Christian accepts Jesus as Lord and Savior and his Holy Word. This is sufficient for Christianity.

As far as I can tell, Washington, J. Adams, Jefferson, Franklin, and Madison may have considered Jesus to be a "savior" of some sort (and btw, there is more evidence for JEFFERSON and FRANKLIN believing in this than for Washington, because they are on record referring to Jesus as such whereas Washington is not) they didn't consider Him an Incarnate God or second person in the Trinity.

Re the Bible, they believed it to be a partial Word or God, or partially inspired. They believed man's reason was the ultimate determiner of reality and determined which parts of the Bible were valid.

If this is "Christianity" then I don't disagree that these Founders were all "Christians" and the US political founding rests firmly on "Christianity."

It's funny too that you use Anglicanism as the classic example of what they were rebelling against. The entire case [i.e., Peter Lillback's entire case] for Washington's "orthodoxy" or believing in doctrines like the Trinity, infallibility of the Bible and Jesus as savior, is thru his membership in the Anglican Church. If he were rebelling against that, then there is no good reason to think he was any more "Christian" than Jefferson, Franklin or J. Adams.

Jonathan Rowe said...

The problem here is that what Jon Rowe calls heresy is, in reality, NOT heresy but in fact Christianity at its purest form.

I'm also going to be relentless here with the Nicene Creed thing. I've studied the history of orthodoxy and know the matter was settled in 325 AD. If you believe in non-Trinitarianism which so many of America's key Founders did, then you are a heretic plain and simple.

Now, if you disagree with such a tight standard of Christian orthodoxy then you are either an inclusive theological liberal or a perhaps a conservative who nonetheless believes believes in one of these "heretical" sects like Mormonism, or Jehovah's Witnessism.

If your church confesses Trinitarian doctrine, as most traditionally Christian Churches do, their official position on the Nicene Creed is that that which falls outside of it is heresy.

And they probably won't take too kindly to efforts that try to "expand" definitions of acceptable Christianity to include notable historical figures like John Locke (or Isaac Newton and John Milton) and America's key Founders.

Dan Atkinson said...

Jon Rowe writes the following:

"As far as I can tell, Washington, J. Adams, Jefferson, Franklin, and Madison may have considered Jesus to be a "savior" of some sort."

No.

Most of them considered Jesus Christ to be THE Savior of mankind. Jefferson and Franklin are probably the odd men out, but we cannot consider TWO individuals to be a representation of EVERYONE. As For Washington, the man was clearly a Christian. As his prayer journal states:

"O most Glorious God, in Jesus Christ my merciful and loving father, I acknowledge and confess my guilt, in the weak and imperfect performance of the duties of this day. I have called on thee for pardon and forgiveness of sins, but so coldly and carelessly, that my prayers are become my sin and stand in need of pardon."

There is a lot more but I think that will suffice.

I am aware that many of you debate the authenticity of this record (though I don't know why). There is just as much information to support this journal as to refute it.

Brad Hart said...

Dan writes:

"I am aware that many of you debate the authenticity of this record (though I don't know why). There is just as much information to support this journal as to refute it."

Hmmmmm....

And where is this evidence to support the validity of the prayer journal? Let me give you three BIG points that refute the journal's validity:

1.) Handwriting samples of the journal have been proven -- by multiple handwriting experts -- to not match the known writings of George Washington.

2.) The prayer journal surfaced years after Washington's death.

3.) The journal does not match the other journals kept by Washington -- Washington specially ordered his journals from Britain. This one is COMPLETELY different. Also, most of the prayers are similar to the written prayers of the Anglican Church and not Washington's typical written views of religion.

Where is your evidence to support the journal's validity? I'd love to see it!

Our Founding Truth said...

Is Dan Atkinson the real name of Our Founding Truth???>

See that Jon, I am a good writer.

Oh no...not another Christian apologist!>

How funny.

Hi Dan,

I concur with your understanding of Locke, he said he believed in other doctrines pertinent to the faith not apart of his "Jesus is Messiah" doctrine.

Furthermore, if Locke didn't deny the Trinity, why believe he did?

Hey Tom,

Why would Locke deny the trinity if he said the bible doesn't deny it? Common sense dictates it's probable a person would accept the trinity if he believes the Bible is not against it.

OFT

Tom Van Dyke said...

Aw, Jeez, Our Founding Truth. You once called me a secular atheist or something similar [memory here, admittedly a tricky thing, so apologies in advance if I'm wrong].

You don't know what I am or believe, or what I know or what I question.

At some point soon, I'll address this very legitimate question re Locke, but not in comment #34 in a discussion that has gone haywire. I hope to surprise you with my proposition.

If I do reply to you again, please be assured it's out of Christian charity and for no other reason. ;-[D>

Mr. Atkinson, I do wish you'd accept my counsel that the question of Locke and Christianity and the Founding and God won't be settled in your first post on this blog and its comments section.

Please, take your time. Make your case slowly and throughly. Your audience is all ears.

If you poke through this blogs archives, you'll find many of your points and quotes have already been considered and discussed---you were not invited here to dispel everyone's ignorance, to part the waters.

What you "believe" is of great importance to you, but carries no weight with your new blogbrothers, blogsisters and our esteemed readers and commenters.

If I may quote our mutual friend GK Chesterton here:

"Reason is always a kind of brute force; those who appeal to the head rather than the heart, however pallid and polite, are necessarily men of violence. We speak of 'touching' a man's heart, but we can do nothing to his head but hit it."

Of late, you have not touched my heart or anyone else's. Nor have you attempted to, which is the way of Jesus. I do admit you've brought on a bit of a headache.

Peace, I'm out on this one. Catch y'all next go-round.

Jonathan Rowe said...

"O most Glorious God, in Jesus Christ my merciful and loving father, I acknowledge and confess my guilt, in the weak and imperfect performance of the duties of this day. I have called on thee for pardon and forgiveness of sins, but so coldly and carelessly, that my prayers are become my sin and stand in need of pardon."

There is a lot more but I think that will suffice.


The prayer book has been debunked as inauthentic. And no, there is not a lot more. The only time the words "Jesus Christ" have ever been used in Washington's recorded writings were in the speech to the Delaware Indians that you've already reproduced.

Pinky said...

.
I have to say that this is one of the best blog sites I have come across on the 'Net.
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The management does not seem to hold any a priori "truth" that is used to trump any and all opposition.
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What does seem to be the course here is that unfounded claims get run through the gristmill until the claimant either substantiates the claim or cries out, "Uncle!".
.
I hope that continues.
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It would be too bad to see this site fail.
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Keep up the good work.
.
.

Jonathan Rowe said...

Let me also add that it's unlikely that Jefferson and Franklin were "outliers." We'll explore John Adams' views more here (and if you check our archives, we've already done so in detail). But on his personal religious creed, he was virtually agreed with Jefferson and Franklin. It's well understood that Adams' religious views were "mainstream" for the Founders. Thus, that such a mainstream and conservative figure as Adams held personal religious views that were almost the same as Jefferson's shows how mainstream Jefferson's, Franklin's, and J. Adams' religious views were for the FFs. And indeed, those 3 were chosen to write the Declaration!

bpabbott said...

Dan, you appear to be embracing perceptions rather than evidence. One good example is what you perceive a Christian apologist to be :-(

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_apologetics

Before claiming GW and/or Locke to be an Orthodox Christian, what is it you mean by that ... and does your definition align itself to any standard?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orthodox_Christianity

Our Founding Truth said...

It's well understood that Adams' religious views were "mainstream" for the Founders.>

My blog proves this is a false statement.

Thus, that such a mainstream and conservative figure as Adams held personal religious views that were almost the same as Jefferson's shows how mainstream Jefferson's, Franklin's, and J. Adams' religious views were for the FFs.>

Note the word "almost," I can and will prove, with his own words, Adams was not a rationalist.

OFT

Jonathan Rowe said...

I can prove with Adams' own words that he said he was a rationalist that reason trumped revelation. That Adams believed in the Resurrection does nothing to disprove this because Adams thought of such as a "rational" miracle. And btw, Adams didn't believe in the Resurrection of an Incarnate God making a blood atonement for the sins of man, but rather God doing for the most MORAL man what He one day will do for all good men, perhaps all men.

This is what Joseph Priestley taught and was one area where Adams and Priestley and Jefferson differed even thought Jefferson (like Adams and Franklin) considered Priestley a spiritual mentor. This is what I meant by "almost" in that Jefferson and J. Adams believed in "almost" the same thing on their personal religious creed.

Raven said...

OFT:

It's well understood that Adams' religious views were "mainstream" for the Founders.

My blog proves this is a false statement


Dude, I have no idea why you keep bringing up your blog. I've read almost everyting on it and find it to be complete nonsense. Your blog is not a source of truth.

bpabbott said...

OFT: "Note the word "almost," I can and will prove, with his own words, Adams was not a rationalist."

Really? ... I look forward to your post. However, please give me a heads-up as I don't frequent your blog (nor you mine, I expect).

bpabbott said...

Raven to OFT: "I've read almost everyting [your blog]."

My condolences! ;-)

Raven, any chance you used to frequent the now defunct yahoo message boards using a similar alias?

Our Founding Truth said...

I can prove with Adams' own words that he said he was a rationalist that reason trumped revelation.>

You use one quote out of context.

That Adams believed in the Resurrection does nothing to disprove this because Adams thought of such as a "rational" miracle.>

I have his words you apprarently have neglected; the resurrection need not be brought up, but this is funny. I should put this in my book. Jon, the stuff you write is going to hurt your career. Any violation of reason [a resurrection] is a violation. Adams doesn't get to pick and choose what is and is not a miracle, that option isn't on the table.

Dude, I have no idea why you keep bringing up your blog. I've read almost everyting on it and find it to be complete nonsense. Your blog is not a source of truth.>

Be my guest, disprove just one post.

I look forward to your post. However, please give me a heads-up as I don't frequent your blog (nor you mine, I expect).>

This proof will be in print, however, all you have to do is check Adams' writings and you will find he reason as the arbiter of truth.

Jonathan Rowe said...

OFT,

You don't understand the theistic rationalist position on miracles. "Reason" was the test of whether a miracle could be believed. As such they believed in "rational miracles." I'm not defending this position (it seems kind of wacky in my eyes). But it is what they believed. For instance, rationalist Ben Franklin believed both in his own future bodily resurrection AND the turning of water into wine at Cana as "rational" miracles.

bpabbott said...

OFT: "This proof will be in print, however, all you have to do is check Adams' writings and you will find he reason as the arbiter of truth."

Enough already :-( ... Let's see what your essay :-)

Our Founding Truth said...

You don't understand the theistic rationalist position on miracles. "Reason" was the test of whether a miracle could be believed. As such they believed in "rational miracles." I'm not defending this position (it seems kind of wacky in my eyes). But it is what they believed. For instance, rationalist Ben Franklin believed both in his own future bodily resurrection AND the turning of water into wine at Cana as "rational" miracles.>

No one buys that, it's what a few fruitcakes believed, and my book will show people how bogus that doctrine is. No one gets the choice of determining what a miracle is and is not. A violation of reason is a violation of the law of nature. Turning water into wine, by Jesus' Word is a violation of reason no matter how you sugar coat it. High schoolers can see the contradiction, and I will print this absurdity.

OFT

bpabbott said...

OFT: "I will print this absurdity."

ok, get on with it already! ;-)