Thomas Jefferson is often held up by the more rabid Bible-thumpers as a ‘Good Christian,’ who helped found the United States, and is validation for their “on Christian values,” and other judgemental views. Jefferson however, edited, and had printed, a personal copy of the Bible, in which he removed every story of Christ’s ‘miracles,’ although he never admitted why he had done that.
While viewed as a Christian, he had the following to say about religion, and God.
“No man shall be compelled to frequent or support religious worship or ministry or shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief, but all men shall be free to profess and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion.”
“Question with boldness even the existence of a god; because, if there be one, he must more approve the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear.”
When Christians talk about being “persecuted,” what they really mean is that they are discontent at no longer being able to use social and Political power to force their views, their morality or their dogma onto other people as they once did. They can no longer burn people at the stake, prosecute people for blasphemy, and have much less of an ability to oppress minorities, and “keep them in their place.”
The dogma, ignorance and authoritarianism that is required for Christianity to maintain control has greatly diminished, and religious authorities and their institutions no longer have the power, nor the respect that they once had. This makes them feel as if they are being unfairly persecuted, although they have no understanding of what the word means.
- Religion is about internal spiritual experiences, and that is all.
- There is no world other than the material world around us.
- There are no beings other than the living organisms on this planet or elsewhere in the universe.
- There is no objective being or thing called God that exists separately from the person believing in him.
- There is no ultimate reality outside human minds either.
- We give our own lives meaning and purpose; there is nothing outside us that does it for us.
- God is a projection of the human mind.
- God is the way human beings put ‘spiritual’ ideals into a poetic form that they are able to use and work with.
- God is simply a word that stands for our highest ideals.
- God-talk is a language tool that enables us to talk about our highest ideals and create meaning in our lives.
- Religious stories and texts are ways in which human beings set down and work out spiritual, ethical, and fundamental meanings in life.
- Our religious talk is really about us and our inner selves, and the community and culture we live in.
- Religious talk uses the familiar language of things that exist outside ourselves to make it easier for us to handle complex and subtle ideas.
- Faith therefore isn’t belief in a God that exists outside minds.
- Faith is what human beings do when they pursue ‘spiritual’ ideals.
- Saying that someone follows a particular faith is a way of talking about their attitudes to life and to other people.