Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Thomas Jefferson Really Did Cut From the Bible That Which He didn't Believe

Warren Throckmorton, once again, gives us the details. Thomas Jefferson, like Jesse Lee Peterson (the interviewer) didn't believe in the Trinity. Jefferson unlike Peterson, cut that from which the Bible he didn't believe.

When so asked David Barton could have answered honestly. But, alas, he didn't. Jefferson thought St. Paul was a big phony. I wonder how you get an uncut Bible, while believing this.

When presented with the question, Barton went on the classic "red herring" expedition with something about Native Americans and Christianity.

But let me note, Jefferson like George Washington, thought it might be better for Native Americans to convert to "Christianity" for entirely utilitarian (the parlance of America's Founding might use terms like "useful" or "civilization") reasons.

This theory holds Jesus was the greatest moral teacher the world has ever known (something Jefferson believed; though it's not clear Washington believed even this). It would be better, then, if Native Americans converted to Christianity for this reason, not because Christianity is true, their religion is false.

In fact, both Jefferson and Washington referred to the Native Americans' God as "The Great Spirit." This is similar to today's controversy among Christians whether Muslims worship the same God as Christians do.

Jefferson and Washington both held, yes, Jews, Christians, Muslims and unconverted Native Americans all worship the same God. Likewise there is nothing in the recorded words of either of them that suggest Christianity is true, the other religions false (otherwise, therefore, Native Americans need to convert away from their "false" religion). Rather, only that Jesus' moral teachings were superior. Or that Christianity would better help the Natives assimilate into American civilization.


Tom Van Dyke said...

Jefferson thought St. Paul was a big phony. I wonder how you get an uncut Bible, while believing this.

Jefferson only did the Gospels, not the epistles.

Tom Van Dyke said...

And strangely enough, he did leave Judgment Day in. It wasn't purely earthly moral philosophy.

Unknown said...

Luther did the same thing. Why is it so shocking?