Basic Religious Principles of the Founding Fathers

A breakfast club member has written an article that looks interesting.  I told him we could post it as anonymous on the Blog.  I’ve known him for 30 years and he thinks the correct way.  So can we post it as anon. but through me.   So, here’s a promise kept.

Basic Religious Principles of the Founding Fathers

By an Anonymous Guest Of Mine as he wrote it ( I have not change a word, or a letter, or a punctuation mark. )

Americans today fail to realize the importance which the Founding Fathers originally attached to the role of religion in the structure of the civilization which they hoped would be the first free civilization in the modern world. They thought religion would be important far into the future as it was for them. They felt education should forever be encouraged.

Essential to basic education were instruction of religion defined as a fundamental system of beliefs concerning man’s origin, relationship to the cosmic universe and with his fellowman. Morality, a standard of behavior distinguishing right from wrong, and Knowledge best described as awareness and intellectual understanding of established facts relating to all fields of human experience or inquiry. In his farewell address George Washington stated “ Of all depositions and habits which lead to political prosperity , religion and morality are indispensable supports … And let us with caution  indulge the supposition that morality  can be maintained without religion…Reason and experience  both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail to exclusion of religious principle”. Washingtonwas inspired to make the statement because in 1796 he saw the French Revolution turn into a blood bath of excess violence by the promoters of atheism and amorality.  He felt religion and morality were great pillars to human happiness.

Ben Franklin

Ben Franklin’s fundamental beliefs were as follows:

There exists a creator who made all things, and mankind should recognize and worship Him.

The Creator has revealed a moral code of behavior for happy living which distinguishes right from wrong.

The Creator holds mankind responsible for the way they treat each other.

All mankind live beyond this life.

In the next life, mankind is judged for their conduct in this one.

Religion was taken so seriously inAmericathat an outside observer Alexis de Tocqueville, a French jurist who visited the United Statesin 1831 was so impressed he wrote the book Democracy in America. He wrote “Religion in Americatakes no direct part in the government of society, but it must be regarded as the first of their political institutions… I do not know whether all Americans have a sincere faith in their religion- for who can search the human heart? – But I am certain that they hold it to be indispensible to the maintenance of republican institutions. This opinion is not particular to a class of citizens or to a party, but it belongs to the whole nation and to every rank of society”. De Tocqueville continues to note the difference in France and America. In France religion and freedom march in opposite directions but in America there was a new form of Christianity that was not styled to a democratic or republican religion but it contributed powerfully to the establishment of a republic and a democracy in public affairs; and from the beginning, politics and religion contracted an alliance which has never been dissolved.  There are innumerable religious sects inAmerica. They differ in respect to the worship which is due to the Creator; but they all agree in respect to the duties which are due from man to man. Each sect adores the Deity in its own manner, but all preach the same moral law in the name of God.  All sects of theUnited Statesare comprised within the great unity of Christianity, and Christian morality is the same everywhere. There is no country in the world where the Christian religion retains a greater influence over the souls of men than in America.

The founders were careful not mention Christianity in the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution but it was clear to other observers of the American way of life that Christian Ideals and Christian Morality were prevalent throughout the country. They purposely failed to mention Christianity in the founding documents because they had suffered religious suppression in theEurope. They did not wish to establish a religion endorsed by government inAmerica. While they were careful not to suppress any other religion or belief, there is no doubt they formed the government based on Christian ideals. The abandonment of those ideals, practices and morality has served to bring this country to its present condition.

One Comment

  1. I think that you have overlooked one of Mr. Franklin’s fundamental beliefs. He believed that Jesus Christ died for the salvation of men and that men must repent and believe on Him in order to be accepted by God. This belief was stated in very plain terms when he wrote:

    “Christ by his Death and Sufferings has purchas’d for us those easy Terms and Conditions of our Acceptance with God, propos’d in the Gospel, to wit, Faith and Repentance.”

    The full documentation of this quote along with several others of the same sort is available at: .

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