Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Brookhiser on Hamilton's Religion

This is from an address that Hamilton biographer Richard Brookhiser gave to the Family Research Council. That such conservative sources reinforce my interpretation of Hamilton's religion shows that among serious Hamilton scholars of whatever political persuasion this is not a matter of debate: He was not an orthodox Christian when he did his principle work founding America.

This part of his life is important because he goes through many phases. The people who knew him as a young man, namely a man named Robert Troup who went to King's College with him, remembered him being very devout--saying his prayers. Troup remembered saying prayers with Hamilton. One of the people who sent him to this country was a minister named Knox. So there were these influences operating on Hamilton early in his life.

It seems to me that when he got involved in the war, on Washington's staff, and in politics, he really put that aside. I don't see much emphasis of religion continuing to motivate him in this part of his career. He does ghost the farewell address and that has a famous paragraph about the importance of religion as a foundation of morality and this is something that should never be scanted or scoffed at. I do not agree with that particular argument--I am an admirer of Washington, obviously, and of Hamilton--but that strikes me as a little bit of an instrumentalist argument, that we better have religion to keep the peasants in line.

However, I think when Phillip is killed in 1801, Hamilton becomes religious again. A central part of his life is shattered and it is not just the grief that any man would feel if his son died in these circumstances--you always have to remember that in Hamilton's mind is his own father. His own father had left him; had shamed him by leaving. So Hamilton is always trying as a father to be better than James Hamilton. Then Phillip is killed. What does that say? You are not better, you are worse. Your father was a bum, but he never told you anything that got you killed. It must have been a blow that is hard to conceive.

By all accounts and memories of his children, he was devout again at the end of his life. He was probably trying to make sense of what had happened, sort of trying to put his view of the world back together. This is when he thinks of the Christian Constitutional Society. His letters to his wife about his final duel make it plain that his scruples against aiming at Burr are moral and religious ones.

37 comments:

Tom Van Dyke said...

He was not an orthodox Christian when he did his principle work founding America.

That Hamilton was not devout in his middle years seems apparent. However, inserting the word "orthodox" here is unsupported. It seems to me you bear a burden of proof to show something heterodox about Hamilton's religious beliefs, and I for one am not aware of any.

Not taking communion until near his death is a lapse in piety perhaps, but doesn't imply his beliefs were anything besides orthodox.

Our Founding Truth said...

It seems to me that when he got involved in the war, on Washington's staff, and in politics, he really put that aside. I don't see much emphasis of religion continuing to motivate him in this part of his career.>

The record indicates a different conclusion, which happens to be Hamilton's own words and actions. Do you people of this blog believe Hamilton's own words and actions, or the opinions of historians?

It has been claimed that Hamilton's words "as to religion, a moderate stock will satisfy me," and "she must believe in God and hate a saint" strongly indicate that his Christian faith had waned. However, that theory seems to be groundless when the fact that the one Hamilton married was not only an openly devout Christian, but she was nicknamed "the little saint" by one of Hamilton's friends.
http://books.google.com/books?id=CA8_LSMJL_oC&pg=PA173&dq=%22the+little+saint%22+tighlman

When most discuss Hamilton's faith in light of his marriage, the issue of Miss Schuyler's consent is rarely discussed. Her own Christian faith and convictions are obvious. Would she then marry someone unless she had good reason to believe that he shared her faith and virtue? I think not; it is highly improbable. She certainly did not gain much in any other way through the marriage; if anything, she willingly suffered the "loss" of the comforts of her youth.

This next quote proves the historians are wrong!

How clearly is it proved by this that the praise of a civilized world is justly due to Christianity;—war, by the influence of the humane principles of that religion, has been stripped of half its horrors. The French renounce Christianity, and they relapse into barbarism;—war resumes the same hideous and savage form which it wore in the ages of Gothic and Roman violence.
Hamilton-1799.

So how can brookhiser claim Hamilton became religious after his son died, when Hamilton wrote this before his son died?

As I have pointed out many times, there is not evidence that Hamilton rejected or changed his beliefs; he was obviously orthodox in his youth, and there is no affirmative evidence that that changed. Moreover, people do not change their beliefs without experiencing some watershed event which should greatly motivate them to do so. People who hold to their beliefs with firmness and conviction, and who passionately and publicly defend their beliefs, are even less likely to change them, and it is this category of people in whom we find Hamilton.
http://ahpatriot.blogspot.com/2008/07/alexander-hamiltons-religion-part-five.html

Tom Van Dyke said...
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Tom Van Dyke said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tom Van Dyke said...

[Ugh. Those deletions were me, for technical reasons.]

OFT: As I have pointed out many times, there is not evidence that Hamilton rejected or changed his beliefs; he was obviously orthodox in his youth, and there is no affirmative evidence that that changed.

Yes, the burden of proof would be on the contrary position, eh?, that Hamilton became unChristian in his middle years, or some sort of "theistic rationalist."

No evidence has been offered yet.

The story of a person's religious life is often that we return to whence we came with a greater understanding and appreciation, after we're done with the affairs of this world.

Not always, mind you, but often.

Or mebbe always, as we walk through that final corridor towards the light. Me, I'd like to think so. I'm an apokatastasis kinda guy. To be in heaven while somebody else was in hell would be a buzzkill.

Jonathan Rowe said...

OFT is repeating blogger Hercules Mulligan's fallacious argument.

First, as David L. Holmes shows in "The Faiths of the Founding Fathers" it was extremely common, indeed "a pattern" for deistically minded Founding Father men to have orthodox Christian wives. [His term for the "theistic rationalists" is "Christian-Deists."]

Second, throughout all of history this has been common -- one spouse being devout (usually the wife) the other not. Often, but not always, the wife brings the husband to her devoutness eventually. I think of Stephen Baldwin who is now "born again Christian" along the same lines of OFT, Brian Tubbs and Dr. Frazer, but for years was non-religious with a born-again wife, who constantly prayed for him.

I think of my next door neighbor, Mrs. Harvick, a lifelong evangelical and Mr. Harvick who recently died -- a lifelong agnostic -- but was given a funeral in her church anyway (he donated his body to science).

I think of my maternal grandparents. Granny was a life long devout Roman Catholic, who strictly kept the Sabbath. Grandpop was a lifelong agnostic, also given a funeral at St. Ignatius (her church). But never a communicant. If you examine Church records, you'll see he donated lots of money to them and even bought them a stained glass window that, if I am not mistaken, exists till this day.

I also think of Robert Novak, now an Opus Dei Roman Catholic, but who for years, attended the Catholic Church as an agnostic Jew simply because his wife was a devout Roman Catholic.

Hamilton sets out the standard for his wife in his letter and it is a low theistic rationalist or even a deist standard; it is NOT the words of an orthodox Christian.

He also notes he was chiefly looking for a wife with a fat pocketbook and indeed, Elizabeth, whom he cheated on, had one.

How you can make this guy into a born again Christian before the 1800s is simply baffling.

Brian Tubbs said...

I'm comfortable setting aside the wife argument. I will grant that it's a stretch to say that, because Mrs. Hamilton was a devout orthodox Christian, Mr. Hamilton was also devout. HOWEVER...

There IS evidence that Hamilton professed Christianity in his youth.

During his time in the Revolution and the new government, his faith did seem to fade into the background. But, as Tom Van Dyke points out, this is a matter of devotion more so than orthodoxy.

There's no historical indication that Hamilton abandoned or changed his BELIEFS in the Christian faith. The only evidence is that his devotion diminished -- to be renewed with the death of his son.

Kristo Miettinen said...

I understand the powerful desire to speculate on the actual political faith of individual founders, but what really matters is less their personal faith than their understanding of the relationship between the state (or nation, in most cases, since nations and states are mostly congruent) and the government.

In this sense, with respect to Christian foundations (or lack thereof) of our form of government, Hamilton is a nullity - his essentially exclusive focus was on the role of government in securing the preconditions for economic prosperity. For the relevance or irrelevance of religion for statecraft, he had no time.

This is not a bad thing - society requires specialists, and Hamilton certainly was one. Just as a Christian mathematician can devote his life to his formulae without thereby diminishing (or expressing) his faith, so Hamilton could (and did) express his genius in his public service.

And off-topic though it is, I would suggest that Hamilton was something of a genius, or at least had developed economic insight remarkable for his times. To give two examples, his understanding of the economic need for perpetually circulating government debt was totally dismissed by otherwise sophisticated folks like Jefferson, but is unchallenged today. And his argument of the utility of public debt for pensioners was a remarkable humanitarian touch, also ignored then but unchallenged today.

Our Founding Truth said...

Hamilton sets out the standard for his wife in his letter and it is a low theistic rationalist or even a deist standard; it is NOT the words of an orthodox Christian.>

Again, this is all speculation because Hamilton married a Christian. Jon, you need his own words rejecting Orthodox Christianity, and you don't have it, and never will.

The above quote of Hamilton affirming Christianity in 1799 refutes Brookhiser and anyone else's notion that Hamilton did not become religious until after his son died.

For the relevance or irrelevance of religion for statecraft, he had no time.>

Kristo,

Hamilton did have time, and soon to form the Christian Constitutional Society to promote Christian leaders into Christian governance. God took his son through his own sin, which obviously touched Hamilton deeply.

Kristo, I do not believe we can separate individual faith from any other realm in life. God demands obedience in every sphere as I Cor 10:31 claims.

Marrying a Christian is evidence for orthodoxy, not against it.

Hamilton was an Orthodox Christian until someone can prove otherwise by Hamilton's own words.

Pinky said...

.
Dear OFT,
.
It might help readers understand your posts if you were to employ some HTML tags such as those shown below the "Leave your comment" window.
.
Sincerely,

PJ

Jonathan Rowe said...

Actually Adair and Harvey categorize Hamilton's years from 1792 to Phillip's death as opportunistic defense of Christianity, without personal belief. They make a good case. Hamilton wasn't a member of a Church during this time. And when he died, his words show the kind of Christianity to which he converted saw the Lord's Supper as a central sacrament. If he were a Christian during this time, he'd be a communicant in a Church, which he was not.

Again, how you can see Hamilton during this time as a "Christian" (as you understand the concept) is baffling. Before his son died, when he was on top of the world, he talked and acted like an arrogant unregenerate ass.

Brad Hart said...

OFT writes:

"Hamilton did have time, and soon to form the Christian Constitutional Society to promote Christian leaders into Christian governance. God took his son through his own sin, which obviously touched Hamilton deeply.

Ron Cherow, one of the foremost experts on Hamilton, exposes the truth surrounding Hamilton's Christian Constitutional Society. He writes:

"Hamilton hoped that this new society would merge Christianity, the Constitution and the Federalists party, for the sole purpose of defeating Jefferson...

...By signing up God against Thomas Jefferson, Hamilton hoped to make a more potent political appeal. Te society was an execrable idea that would have grossly breached the separation of church and state and mixed political power and organized religion. Hamilton was not honoring religion by exploiting it for political ends. Fortunately, other federalists didn't cotton the idea. As he drifted into retrograde modes of thought, Hamilton seemed to rage alone in the wilderness, and few people listened."


OFT, this society was NOT what you are making it out to be. Its goals were primarily political, NOT religious.

Jonathan Rowe said...

Brad,

You are exactly right. The CCC was a Machiavellian opportunistic use of religion for political purposes. NO orthodox Christian, if they truly understood what Hamilton was trying to do, could endorse such cynical, opportunistic use of their faith for political ends.

Hamilton from 1792 to Phillip's death, essentially prostituted the Christian religion for political ends. Some of the out of context statements during this era talking up Christianity do not equate with his devout belief in orthodox Christianity.

Our Founding Truth said...

Hamilton wasn't a member of a Church during this time.>

A fallacy that is baseless.

If he were a Christian during this time, he'd be a communicant in a Church, which he was not.>

Another fallacy showing how inept you are of the situation.

Before his son died, when he was on top of the world, he talked and acted like an arrogant unregenerate ass.>

A false statement. Did you really go to law school?

Ron Cherow>

I will believe Hamilton's own words over yours or Cherow's.
http://www.christianconstitutionalsociety.org/ahamiltonccs.htm

OFT, this society was NOT what you are making it out to be. Its goals were primarily political, NOT religious.>

And you are wrong, read the CCS for yourself. The 1st point of the societ is to "The support of the Christian religion". Hamilton's political aspirations were already shot by his adultery, and opposing the Federalist Party. A Christian man is religious, not political.

Brad Hart said...

Hmmmm...so, OFT has thus far refuted the work of two leading historians by simply stating that they are wrong (while providing no evidence ) and labeling them as uninformed secularists. And exactly what credentials do you have sir?

As for you insistence that the CCS was something more than it was, you must understand the concept of CONTEXT, which means that we can't always take things at face value. Now I will grant you that the CCS probably did do a great deal to further the cause of Christianity. Until I see proof to the contrary I am willing to concede that point. However, I still believe (based on the evidence available) that the CCS was also employed in achieving certain political goals. With that said, can you at the very least admit the POSSIBILITY that Hamilton was using religion to destroy Jefferson and his followers, and that the CCS was used as a tool in such an endeavor? Or is that simply impossible because you cannot accept a hypothesis other than your own?

Now, I may be going out on a limb here, but my guess is that Chernow and Brookhiser are probably better sources than any of us on this blog when it comes to the life of Hamilton. Both of their books cite the exact same material that you have mentioned, OFT. So, the logical conclusion is that both Chernow and Brookhiser, two award winning and respected historians, are wrong, or you are wrong.

Our Founding Truth said...

However, I still believe (based on the evidence available) that the CCS was also employed in achieving certain political goals. With that said, can you at the very least admit the POSSIBILITY that Hamilton was using religion to destroy Jefferson and his followers, and that the CCS was used as a tool in such an endeavor?>

First, you have to admit it was the prime goal as you stated. Second, he was a Christian right? With everything that happened to him: committing adultery, his son dying, being alienated from his party, etc. I believe he was a changed man.

However, I still believe (based on the evidence available) that the CCS was also employed in achieving certain political goals.>

Even after he was shot, he completely forgave Burr. Would a guy who wanted to destroy the Jeffersonian party, and have political motives say that about Burr?

I have to believe where the majority of evidence lies, right? I don't think Hamilton cared about politics at that time. He was through with it, and most historians believe that to be true. I son't see an agenda like you do.

Now, I may be going out on a limb here, but my guess is that Chernow and Brookhiser are probably better sources than any of us on this blog when it comes to the life of Hamilton.>

I just proved that Brookhiser is wrong, period. He said Hamilton didn't become religious until after his son died. I proved that was false, and you have read it.

Based on Hamilton's words, I have to be right and they have to be wrong. There's no other way to look at it.

Hercules Mulligan at Alexander Hamilton Patriot knows far more about Hamilton than I, Chernow, or Brookhiser. Check out his website.
http://ahpatriot.blogspot.com/

Our Founding Truth said...

With that said, can you at the very least admit the POSSIBILITY that Hamilton was using religion to destroy Jefferson and his followers, and that the CCS was used as a tool in such an endeavor?>

It's possible, but not what the majority of the evidence supports. The CCS was about Christianity, and the Constitution. Hamilton was a defeated, highly religious man.

So, I take Hamilton at his word. There was no intent to deceive on his part, his was writing to a Bishop.

Hmmmm...so, OFT has thus far refuted the work of two leading historians by simply stating that they are wrong (while providing no evidence )>

I did refute Brookhiser, with Hamilton's own words. He affirmed Christianity, not question it:

The animosity to the Christian system is demonstrated by the single fact of the ridiculous and impolitic establishment of the decades, with the evident object of supplanting the Christian Sabbath. The inscriptions by public authority on the tombs of the deceased, affirming death to be an eternal sleep, witness the desire to discredit the belief of the immortality of the soul. The open profession of atheism in the convention, received with acclamations; the honorable mention on its journals of a book professing to prove the nothingness of all religion; the institution of a festival to offer public worship to a courtesan decorated with the pompous title of "Goddess of Reason"; the congratulatory reception of impious children appearing in the hall of the convention to lisp blasphemy against the King of kings, are among the dreadful proofs of a conspiracy to establish atheism on the ruins of Christianity,
~ The Stand # III (1798; emphasis original)

An attack was first made upon the Christian revelation, for which natural religion was offered as the substitute. The Gospel was to be discarded as a gross imposture, but the being and attributes of GOD, the obligations of piety, even the doctrine of a future state of rewards and punishments, were to be retained and cherished.

FRAGMENT ON THE FRENCH REVOLUTION 1 - Alexander Hamilton, The Works of Alexander Hamilton, (Federal Edition), vol. 8 [1774]

The date of that quote is most likely 1794, because the French renounced Christianity in 1793, and it was clearly on his mind.

Here he is talking about the thousand year reign of Christ in 1793:

The triumphs of vice are no new thing under the sun, and I fear, till the millennium comes, in spite of all our boasted light and purification, hypocrisy and treachery will continue to be the most successful commodities in the political market.
~ To Richard Harrison (1793)

Here's another one before his son died:

He [Gouverneur Morris] asks, "Why distrust the evidence of the Jews? Discredit them, and you destroy the Christian religion." Has he forgotten what this race once were, when, under the immediate government of God himself, they were selected as the witnesses of his miracles, and charged with the spirit of prophecy? or how they changed when, the remnants of the scattered tribes, they were the degraded, persecuted, reviled subjects of Rome, in all her resistless power, and pride, and pagan pomp, an isolated, tributary, and friendless people? Has the gentleman recurred to the past with his wonted accuracy? Is it so, that if we then degraded the Jews, we destroy the evidence of Christianity? Were not the witnesses of that pure and holy, happy and Heaven-approved faith, converts to that faith?
~ Speech before the New York Supreme Court in the case Le Guen v. Gouverneur and Kemble (1800)
SOURCE: History of the Republic of the United States, as Traced in the Writings of Alexander Hamilton and His Contemporaries, John Church Hamilton, volume 7, page 711

It is our duty, therefore, as Free Citizens and Christians, not only to regard, with Compassion, the injustice done to those, among us, who are held as Slaves, but to endeavor, by lawful Ways and Means, to enable them to Share, equally with us, in that civil and religious Liberty, with which an indulgent Providence has blessed these States; and to which these, our Brethren, are by Nature, as much entitled as ourselves ...
~ Minutes of the New York Manumission Society (of which Hamilton was a chief founder) of 1784

Brad Hart said...

OFT writes:

"Even after he was shot, he completely forgave Burr. Would a guy who wanted to destroy the Jeffersonian party, and have political motives say that about Burr?

I don't think this is as relevant as you might think. Now, I am in complete agreement with you about Hamilton renewing his devotion to religion later in his life, but forgiving Burr on his death bed does not suggest that he was unwilling to hurt Jefferson. Hamilton was fully commited to seeing the Federalists defeat Jefferson, and he most certainly used religious arguments against the Sage of Monticello.

I guess what I am getting at is that we need to separate Hamilton's politcal/less religious part of his life from his later devotion. Yes, Hamilton became more devout later on. You won't get any quarrel from me on that one. However, during the time that he served as Sec. of Treasury and immediately after, Hamilton WAS employed in defeating Jefferson...at all costs, and religion was certainly a tool he used in that battle.

I think we are agreeing here more than we might realize.

Brad Hart said...

As for refuting Brookhiser and Chernow, I don't think citing a few quotes is quite the way to accomplish that. After all, Chernow lists a number of quotes that refute what you have pointed to above (read the posting "Ron Chernow on Hamilton's Religion).

For example, Chernow cites Hamilton as saying the following:

-"There never was any mischief but had a priest or a woman at the bottom."

-"The world has been scourged with many fanatical sects in religion who, inflamed by a sincere but mistaken zeal, have perpetuated under the idea of serving God the most atrocious crimes."

In addition, Chernow also points out the fact that Hamilton had an aversion to liturgy, public prayer, etc. This clearly indicates that Hamilton AT LEAST had reservations when it came to organized religion.

Now, you are right to point to Hamilton's general devotion to Christianity. On that he never wavered. Though his personal devotion to Christianity may have had its ups and downs, Hamilton never EVER denied Christianity...at least I have yet to see any evidence of this.

I guess our biggest difference, OFT is that I don't believe that Hamilton was devout throughout the entire course of his life. Clearly there were times when his devotion sank dramatically, only to rise again later in life. Also, I wonder about his obvious aversion to organized religion. As Chernow points out, he never officially joined a church. Now, this doesn't automatically mean that he was anti-Christian. It could simply mean that he preferred to worship in a private manner without any official ties.

BTW, thanks for the quotes! I will add them to my collection.

Jonathan Rowe said...

Hercules Mulligan at Alexander Hamilton Patriot knows far more about Hamilton than I, Chernow, or Brookhiser. Check out his website.

The fact that OFT would claim that blogger "Hercules Mulligan" knows more about Hamilton than Chernow or Brookhiser demonstrates we are dealing with someone who is delusional.

Our Founding Truth said...

-"There never was any mischief but had a priest or a woman at the bottom.">

What is this?

-"The world has been scourged with many fanatical sects in religion who, inflamed by a sincere but mistaken zeal, have perpetuated under the idea of serving God the most atrocious crimes.">

Brad, you need more than this. I could have written this; and I do.

In addition, Chernow also points out the fact that Hamilton had an aversion to liturgy, public prayer, etc. This clearly indicates that Hamilton AT LEAST had reservations when it came to organized religion.>

Again, this is all bogus, garbage. Liturgy has nothing to do with what makes a person a christian. Public prayer is a fallacy.

I guess our biggest difference, OFT is that I don't believe that Hamilton was devout throughout the entire course of his life. Clearly there were times when his devotion sank dramatically, only to rise again later in life.>

He seemed less devout because he didn't write about Christianity as much, which made it appear he was less devout. But, no event happened that changed his religiousity, as the "historians" claim.

Now, this doesn't automatically mean that he was anti-Christian. It could simply mean that he preferred to worship in a private manner without any official ties.>

Of course that's the reason, remember, he despised liturgy, most of the framers did.

Have you ever been to a catholic mass? The framers despised all that fake, ritual. God looks at the heart.

The fact that OFT would claim that blogger "Hercules Mulligan" knows more about Hamilton than Chernow or Brookhiser demonstrates we are dealing with someone who is delusional.>

Dude, you are the most ignorant person on this blog.

Your the type of guy who could learn how to play baseball from the inventors of baseball, and then you would change every rule that was made, and say "this is baseball, the way the inventors started it"

That is you, the epitomy of ignorance, and betrayal. You should definitely be banned from this blog for the deceit you write!

Pinky said...

.
Dude, you are the most ignorant person on this blog.
.
How does that kind of talk edify anyone?
.

.

bpabbott said...

OFT to Brad: >>Dude, you are the most ignorant person on this blog. Your the type of guy who could learn how to play baseball from the inventors of baseball, and then you would change every rule that was made, and say "this is baseball, the way the inventors started it". That is you, the epitomy of ignorance, and betrayal. You should definitely be banned from this blog for the deceit you write!<<

Reality check please.

In one day alone you have modified the meaning and context of quotes by inserting your own words for the words of the founders, and have cut and pasted passages many pages apart to bring the unrelated passages into a context unintended by the man who wrote it.

On any given day you make assertions for which you lack evidence (which is already sufficient to qualify as a lie, imo), but when you have to resort to fraud in a desperate attempt to counter assertions backed by evidence, I think it is clear that *you* have no basis of support for you ideology (what ever it may be) ... and that you know it!

... and now the remark to Brad, which I qouted above? ? ?

Are we really at the point of a final act of desperation where you project your transgressions upon others and demand that they be banned by word or *your* authority? ? ? ?

No matter how virtuous you goals might be (I suspect they are anything but, btw) if you pursue your agenda by the propgation of lies, fraud, and deciet, you'll eventually drive even you allies away (assuming you have some).

Tom Van Dyke said...

Yeah, I hear that, Ben, although I don't think the brackets are intended to deceive. They're simply a breach of scholarly etiquette. And I agree, they destroy his credibility. Gotta play by the scholarly rules.

Dude, you are the most ignorant person on this blog.

OFT, This is unacceptable. Please stop. I let it pass when you and Jon were trading volleys, but Brad has done nothing but give you a fair hearing and has even sent some kind words your way.

Our Founding Truth said...

OFT, This is unacceptable. Please stop. I let it pass when you and Jon were trading volleys, but Brad has done nothing but give you a fair hearing and has even sent some kind words your way.>

Brad didn't say that, Jon did. He said I was delusional, but because of how I've proved that brookhiser was wrong about Hamilton, I get called delusional. Go figure.

Do you call primary source material over so called historians' opinions delusional?

How is that delusional?

Our Founding Truth said...

Brad, that wasn't headed in your direction, someone else applied that to you.

Do you think the evidence supports Hamilton as a Christian or a theistic rationalist like Rowe claims?

bpabbott said...

OFT: "How is that delusional?"

Wow! ... Tom will slap at me for this, but ...

"A delusion is commonly defined as a fixed false belief and is used in everyday language to describe a belief that is either false, fanciful or derived from deception. In psychiatry, the definition is necessarily more precise and implies that the belief is pathological (the result of an illness or illness process). As a pathology it is distinct from a belief based on false or incomplete information or certain effects of perception which would more properly be termed an apperception or illusion."
-- Delusion

OFT: "Brad, you need more than this. Dude, you are the most ignorant person on this blog."

opps, did I forget the ellipses? :-(

OFT later deflects: "Brad, that wasn't headed in your direction, someone else applied [the assertion of ignorance] to you."

Proper used of brackets, yes? :-)

Deluded he may be, but if not, OFT certainly has an insulting view of the intelligence of those who read these comments.

bpabbott said...

OFT: "Do you think the evidence supports Hamilton as a Christian [OR] a theistic rationalist like Rowe claims?"
[emphasis mine]

Why must it be "or"?

Tom Van Dyke said...

Proper use of brackets, yes? :-)

Hehe. Yes.

Jonathan Rowe said...

I called OFT delusional for asserting that blogger Hercules Mulligan, whose real name is unknown, and who admittedly never took a college course in his life knows more about Hamilton than Chernow or Brookhiser. THAT'S delusional.

OFT, by the way is the ONLY person ever banned from Positive Liberty. And he was also banned from Ed Brayton's Scienceblog. I'm starting to think we should ban him from this blog, for HIS OWN sake, not necessarily for ours.

Pinky said...

.
I'll say this much for OFT. He sure knows how to snooker otherwise intelligent people into endless debate over nonsensical things.
.
And, he shows us who he is as a person.
.
Give him time. Life wounds all heels.
.

Brad Hart said...

Hello all! I just got back from work and I am very sad to see that I missed this entire exchange. It's nice to see that I have become the topic of conversation on this thread instead of Hamilton. That's quite flattering and I thank you all! =)

To be honest, I am a bit lost. Who is ignorant? Who is misusing brackets?

Here is the bottom line: Mr. OFT, I think you should be very careful when you question the work of two highly acclaimed historians in the field. No offense to anyone here, but my guess is that they both know a hell of a lot more on Hamilton than the rest of us. I don's see any of us with books/bios of Hamilton being published. For that reason I am very accepting of Brookhiser and Chernow's work. Now, I am not suggesting that we shouldn't give an honest critique. After all, history is about disagreeing (this blog is certainly an example of that). Instead, I would hope that we could give the accredited historians an honest look, without automatically assuming that they are out to attack/defend the secular/Christian perspective.

BTW, I actually want to give a quasi-defense to OFT. I know that he was not attacking me as the most ignorant person on this blog (or at least I hope not). That pearl was meant for Mr. Rowe (at least I think it was). Either way, I have to disagree here. Jon Rowe is, in my opinion, one of our top contributors, so I hope OFT will refrain from these attacks. I know that the two of you don't see eye-to-eye, but let's try to not call the other guy "the most ignorant person on the blog."

So, can we get back to Hamilton's religion now???

Our Founding Truth said...

Here is the bottom line: Mr. OFT, I think you should be very careful when you question the work of two highly acclaimed historians in the field.>

Brad, you're missing the point. Both of them are not acclaimed, because I proved to you, they are wrong. Do you understand that?

Our Founding Truth said...

Just because you write a book, or have a degree doesn't mean anything. In this case Brookhiser is wrong, period!

I'll say it again, for the last time. Brookhiser says Hamilton became irreligious until after his son died. That is a flatout falsehood! And anyone supporting that is guilty of the same.

Brad Hart said...

OFT writes:

"Brad, you're missing the point. Both of them are not acclaimed, because I proved to you, they are wrong. Do you understand that?...

...Just because you write a book, or have a degree doesn't mean anything. In this case Brookhiser is wrong, period!"


No. I guess I do not understand. I don't share your affinity for discarding academia and replacing it with one-sided arguments. Now, I am sure that Brookhiser and Chernow have been wrong plenty of times in the past. Having a degree does not make one bulletproof. However, I also am at odds with the idea that historians are secular-minded cyborgs that are bent on eradicating God from history, and unfortunately this seems to be the tone of many Christian nation apologists.

I guess we will have to agree to disagree on this one. Personally (and with all due respect) I don't believe that you have disproved Brookhiser or Chernow.

Jonathan Rowe said...

OFT proved neither of them wrong. Douglass Adair is *the* authority on Hamilton and he categorizes some of the pro-Christian things he says before his son died as opportunistic defense of Christianity for political purposes as opposed to actual belief in orthodox doctrines.

OFT offers nothing to contradict this understanding.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Douglass Adair is *the* authority on Hamilton and he categorizes some of the pro-Christian things he says before his son died as opportunistic defense of Christianity for political purposes as opposed to actual belief in orthodox doctrines.

Yes, but that must be acknowledged as opinion. We cannot see into a man's heart.