Saturday, November 12, 2011

Did an Atheist create the Jefferson Bible?

What the Washington Times asks here.

No Jefferson was not an atheist. He was a theist who possessed some very interesting outside the box views on Christianity.

4 comments:

Mark in Spokane said...

Good point, Jon. Jefferson's religion certainly wasn't orthodox, but he was far from an atheist, as the Jefferson Bible attests. As my own posts here on AC on the Jefferson Bible have shown, while removing the earthly miracles of Jesus from his version of the New Testament, Jefferson retained all of the "big picture" material about God as an active presence in the world: providence, creation, God's love for humankind, etc. Jefferson also retained all of the material relating to an afterlife, God's judgment on both individuals and the nations, and His rewarding and punishing based on that judgment.

Jonathan Rowe said...

Thanks Mark. I agree with everything you write here.

Michael Heath said...

Mark in Spokane writes, Jefferson retained [...] God's love for humankind, etc. Jefferson also retained all of the material relating to an afterlife, God's judgment on both individuals and the nations, and His rewarding and punishing based on that judgment.

Did Thomas Jefferson remove the biblical passages asserting God would cast judgments which included eternal punishment? It's not rational to assert God loves humanity while also claiming that very same god will be condemning even one human to infinite suffering as the Bible incoherently does.

I've never read the Jefferson Bible and am curious regarding Mr. Jefferson's ability to pick-up on this glaring logical failure and if he did, how he responded.

Jonathan Rowe said...

I can look for TJ's prooftexts. But I'm pretty sure he DIDN'T believe in eternal punishment for anyone. Those like him believed the bad would experience temporary punishment and eventually make it into Heaven.