remembering Michael Crichton

i don’t read much modern fiction, either light or heavy, but i have read several of Michael Crichton’s novels. as most folks here probably know, he died of a brain tumor in 2008 at age 65. his comparatively early death was unexpected and a shock to his fans.

his personal life was far from exemplary: he was married five times (is that some kind of record?) he was not a Christian but a deist, in the tradition of Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and several other of our Founding Fathers. His books, which usually feature human-created scientific marvels going awry, are considered light entertainment. Indeed, they are good late-night page-turners. but i felt that as he grew older, his work had more humor, more developed characters, and more layers of meaning. My favorite of his books is Next, the last book published before his death (though I believe a couple more have been published posthumously). Strangely enough, one of the principal characters in Next is a French parrot named Gerard. I once sent Crichton a two-word fan email (knowing that he appreciated pithiness): “Gerard rocks!” I received a nice email back to the effect that Gerard seemed to have quite a “fan club” and Crichton was almost jealous! Months later, he was dead. .

Franklin was not a Deist. Revisionist history strikes again.

When, after the representatives who had met in 1797 to write the Constitution of the United States struggled for several weeks making little or no progress, eighty-one-year-old Benjamin Franklin rose and addressed the troubled and disagreeing convention that was about to adjourn in confusion. It seemed that their attempt to form a lasting union had apparently failed.

Benjamin Franklin said, “In the beginning of the contest with Britain, when we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayers in this room for Divine protection. Our prayers, Sir, were heard and they were graciously answered All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a superintending Providence in our favor…And have we now forgotten this powerful Friend? Or do we imagine we no longer need His assistance?”

“I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth: 'that God governs in the affairs of man.’ And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the Sacred Writings that except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it. I firmly believe this.”

“I also believe that, without His concurring aid, we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel; we shall be divided by our little partial local interest; our projects will be confounded; and we ourselves shall become a reproach and a byword down to future ages. And what is worse, mankind may hereafter, from this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing government by human wisdom and leave it to chance, war or conquest. I therefore beg leave to move that, henceforth, prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven and its blessing on our deliberation be held in this assembly every morning before we proceed to business.”

Benjamin Franklin then proposed that the Congress adjourn for two days to seek divine guidance. When they returned they began each of their sessions with prayer. The stirring speech of Benjamin Franklin marked a turning point in the writing of the Constitution, complete with a Bill of Rights.

In 1756, Franklin again wrote to George Whitefield and said:

I sometimes wish that you and I were jointly employed by the crown to settle a colony on the Ohio…What a glorious thing it would be to settle in that fine country a large, strong body of religious and industrious people!… Might it not greatly facilitate the introduction of pure religion among the heathen, if we could, by such a colony, show them a better sample of

Christians than they commonly see in our Indian traders?…

In such an enterprise, I could spend the remainder of life with pleasure; and I firmly believe God would bless us with success, if we undertook it with a sincere regard to His honour

I’m not much of a fiction fan myself, bit I did read Crichton’s “Timeline”. (BTW, for those that insist on pronouncing the “ch” sound, it is SILENT, his name is pronounced “CRY-ton”).

The reason I chose “Timeline” is that it has a lot of history in it, albeit fictionalized history. However, the clothing, customs, appearance, and languages of both French and the English peasants and royalty of the times . . . 14th Century . . . seemed to be mostly accurate by professional historian standards. It was made into a film in 2003.

I’d recommend both the book and the film . . . which are, as you say PR, “light entertainment”, but as in the case of all of Crichton’s works, a little on the cerebral side, and certainly science fiction.

Crichton graduated summa cum laude from Harvard College in 1964 and then went on to graduate from Harvard Medical School in 1969, did graduate study at the Salk Insitute in Southern California, but never obtained a license to practice medicine . . . instead developing a career as a writer.

Wow! i stand corrected, very happily so. i had never heard or read that anecdote before, it is mind blowing! i have always thought of franklin as very bright (to put it mildly) but in a worldly, even slightly on the dark side, way. have to revise my revisionist opinion, smile.

so was jefferson the only real deist?

there’s a geat story (just looked it up again, it’s on wikipedia) about a prof who kept giving crichton mediocre grades on his writing. crichton then submitted a plagiarized passage straight from george orwell for a subsequent assignment, and got it back with a B minus! he nailed that prof.:pieface:

No. Jefferson wasn’t a deist either. Try and find three books if you like history. “The Real Benjamin Franklin”, “Thomas Jefferson” and “George Washington”. Three well written life histories of the three men. Footnoted to their own writings and what others wrote to them.

Jefferson as I understand it was rather a religious enigma.

worse and worse! i’ve been just absorbing conventional wisdom, something i try not to do. but didnt jefferson do his own version of the bible with all references to christ’s divinity taken out? altho i guess that would not neceesarily make him a deist, just not a christian. or did i get that wrong also?:awkward:

[quote=“patriciareed, post:8, topic:43188”]
worse and worse! i’ve been just absorbing conventional wisdom, something i try not to do. but didnt jefferson do his own version of the bible with all references to christ’s divinity taken out? altho i guess that would not neceesarily make him a deist, just not a christian. or did i get that wrong also?:awkward:
[/quote]I think the closest characterization of Jefferson is what FC said above in post#7: “a religious enigma”.

Jefferson was SO much of an enigma in EVERYTHING that he has been twisted every which way to appear to be supporting a certain argument.

For example, he himself NEVER called his edits of the Bible the “Jefferson Bible”. That phrase was assigned by others and has caught on so much that it is now considered he intended it that way. There is substantial evidence that he was just editing the document so that the simple minded Indians (at least they were perceived as “simple minded” in his day, though he didn’t have the “benefit” of Kevin Costner’s film . . . that last was sarcasm) could understand it better, NOT as a FORMAL revision of the Bible itself.

Most recently, the phrase was reinforced by the American HUMANIST Association when they distributed free copies of the “Jefferson Bible” to Congress and BHO. A fine example of how his enigmatic views can be twisted to lend support to ANY argument.

Was he a deist? Who knows? Some biographers have maintained that he was, and some have said just the opposite . . . but it is all speculation drawn from his sometimes ambiguous views.

I have read many many biographies of Jefferson. They are as varied as the colors of a flower, and because of his polysemantic statements, just as equivocal. An example of his “polysemanticism”: He sometimes referred to his Federalist opponents (Hamilton being the main one) as “Indians”.

At the end of the day, it really comes down to which Biographer you believe. I believe NO SINGLE ONE OF THEM, but rather have formed my own view of Jefferson from a compilation of elements of all of them. Some elements I throw out completely as much too speculative, some I keep to use in my filter. I put it all in my decision matrix blender, and come up with a view of Jefferson that is STILL enigmatic but one I am comfortable with.

[QUOTE=BobJam;662306]

I have formed my own view of Jefferson from a compilation of elements of all of them. Some elements I throw out completely as much too speculative, some I keep to use in my filter. I put it all in my decision matrix blender, and come up with a view of Jefferson that is STILL enigmatic but one I am comfortable with.
I think you should crank up that decision matrix blender, and write a blog on Jefferson! it sounds like you have processed a lot of information and given it a lot of thought. I must confess that my own knowledge of the founding fathers does not go much beyond the child’s picture book level. I do think that the declaration of independence, which Jefferson did write, is nothing short of brilliant, and I know that Monticello is incredibly beautiful, and that he was a complex and multifaceted man. not a good money manager apparently tho (didn’t he read poor Richards almanac??). and finally that he played a role in the constitutional convention that produced an amazing constitution, but I am a little vague on just what role he played. well, think about it anyway.

Go to the source. Read some of his own words.

Written in the front of his personal Bible, he wrote:

"I am a real Christian, that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus. I have little doubt that our whole country will soon be rallied to the unity of our creator."

In 1803, at the request of President Thomas Jefferson, the United States Congress allocated federal funds for the salary of a preacher and the construction of his church. That same year, Congress, again at Jefferson’s request, ratified a treaty with the Kaskaskia Indians. Congress recognized that most of the members of the tribe had been converted to Christianity, and Congress gave a subsidy of $100.00 a year for seven years for the support of a priest so that he could “instruct as many … children as possible.”

On April 21, 1803, Jefferson wrote this to Dr. Benjamin Rush (also a signer of the Declaration of Independence):

“My views...are the result of a life of inquiry and reflection, and very different from the anti-Christian system imputed to me by those who know nothing of my opinions. To the corruptions of Christianity I am, indeed, opposed; but not to the genuine precepts of Jesus himself. I am a Christian in the only sense in which He wished any one to be; sincerely attached to his doctrines in preference to all others.”

In that same letter, he wrote,

“To the corruptions of Christianity I am, indeed opposed; but not to the genuine precepts of Jesus himself. I am a Christian, in the only sense in which he wished any one to be; sincerely attached to his doctrines, in preference to all others.”

In a letter to William Short on October 31, 1819, he wrote:

“But the greatest of all the reformers of the depraved religion of His own country, was Jesus of Nazareth.”

Thomas Jefferson

Letter to Moses Robinson, 1801:

…the Christian religion, when divested of the rags in which they have enveloped it, and brought to the original purity and simplicity of its benevolent institutor, is a religion of all others most friendly to liberty, science, and the freest expansion of the human mind.

Jefferson’s Second Inaugural Address, March 4, 1805:

I shall need, too, the favor of that Being in whose hands we are, who led our forefathers, as Israel of old, from their native land, and planted them in a country flowing with all the necessaries and comforts of life; who has covered our infancy with his providence, and our riper years with his wisdom and power; and to whose goodness I ask you to join with me in supplications, that he will so enlighten the minds of your servants, guide their councils, and prosper their measures, that whatsoever they do, shall result in your good, and shall secure to you the peace, friendship, and approbation of all nations.

Letter to Dr. Benjamin Waterhouse, 1822:

The doctrines of Jesus are simple, and tend all to the happiness of man:

1.  That there is one only God, and He all perfect.

2.  That there is a future state of rewards and punishments.

3.  That to love God with all thy heart, and they neighbor as thyself, is the sum of religion…But compare with these the demoralizing dogmas of Calvin…The impious dogmatists, as Athanasius and Calvin,…are the false shepherds foretold [in the New Testament] as to enter not by the door into the sheepfold, but to climb up some other way. Thee are mere usurpers of the Christian name, teaching a counter-religion made up of the deliria of crazy imaginations, as foreign from Christianity as is that of Mahomet.  Their blasphemies have driven thinking men into infidelity, who have too hastily rejected the supposed Author himself with the horrors so falsely imputed to Him.  Had the doctrines of Jesus been preached always as pure as they came from his lips, the whole civilized world would no have been Christian.

Was Thomas Jefferson a Deist? - Creation RevolutionCreation Revolution

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Here’s the full text of the letter I quoted from Jefferson to Waterhouse in 1822. Lots of Jefferson’s letters are at the link.

DEAR SIR,

– I have received and read with thankfulness and pleasure your denunciation of the abuses of tobacco and wine. Yet, however sound in its principles, I expect it will be but a sermon to the wind. You will find it as difficult to inculcate these sanative precepts on the sensualities of the present day, as to convince an Athanasian that there is but one God. I wish success to both attempts, and am happy to learn from you that the latter, at least, is making progress, and the more rapidly in proportion as our Platonizing Christians make more stir and noise about it. The doctrines of Jesus are simple, and tend all to the happiness of man.

That there is one only God, and he all perfect.
That there is a future state of rewards and punishments.
That to love God with all thy heart and thy neighbor as thyself, is the sum of religion.

These are the great points on which he endeavored to reform the religion of the Jews. But compare with these the demoralizing dogmas of Calvin.

That there are three Gods.
That good works, or the love of our neighbor, are nothing.
That faith is every thing, and the more incomprehensible the proposition, the more merit in its faith.
That reason in religion is of unlawful use.
That God, from the beginning, elected certain individuals to be saved, and certain others to be damned; and that no crimes of the former can damn them; no virtues of the latter save. 

Now, which of these is the true and charitable Christian? He who believes and acts on the simple doctrines of Jesus? Or the impious dogmatists, as Athanasius and Calvin? Verily I say these are the false shepherds foretold as to enter not by the door into the sheepfold, but to climb up some other way. They are mere usurpers of the Christian name, teaching a counter-religion made up of the deliria of crazy imaginations, as foreign from Christianity as is that of Mahomet. Their blasphemies have driven thinking men into infidelity, who have too hastily rejected the supposed author himself, with the horrors so falsely imputed to him. Had the doctrines of Jesus been preached always as pure as they came from his lips, the whole civilized world would now have been Christian. I rejoice that in this blessed country of free inquiry and belief, which has surrendered its creed and conscience to neither kings nor priests, the genuine doctrine of one only God is reviving, and I trust that there is not a young man now living in the United States who will not die an Unitarian.

But much I fear, that when this great truth shall be re-established, its votaries will fall into the fatal error of fabricating formulas of creed and confessions of faith, the engines which so soon destroyed the religion of Jesus, and made of Christendom a mere Aceldama; that they will give up morals for mysteries, and Jesus for Plato. How much wiser are the Quakers, who, agreeing in the fundamental doctrines of the gospel, schismatize about no mysteries, and, keeping within the pale of common sense, suffer no speculative differences of opinion, any more than of feature, to impair the love of their brethren. Be this the wisdom of Unitarians, this the holy mantle which shall cover within its charitable circumference all who believe in one God, and who love their neighbor!

I conclude my sermon with sincere assurances of my friendly esteem and respect.

To Dr. Benjamin Waterhouse Monticello, June 26, 1822 < The Letters of Thomas Jefferson 1743-1826 < Thomas Jefferson < Presidents < American History From Revolution To Reconstruction and beyond
The Letters of Thomas Jefferson 1743-1826 < Thomas Jefferson < Presidents < American History From Revolution To Reconstruction and beyond

[quote=“tperkins, post:12, topic:43188”]
Here’s the full text of the letter I quoted from Jefferson to Waterhouse in 1822. Lots of Jefferson’s letters are at the link.

To Dr. Benjamin Waterhouse Monticello, June 26, 1822 < The Letters of Thomas Jefferson 1743-1826 < Thomas Jefferson < Presidents < American History From Revolution To Reconstruction and beyond
The Letters of Thomas Jefferson 1743-1826 < Thomas Jefferson < Presidents < American History From Revolution To Reconstruction and beyond
[/quote] very interesting. does he ever directly address the question of Christ’s divinity? or the degree to which God remains actively present in the world He created? Jefferson is obviously anticalvinist and very probably anti-Catholic; neither of those is surprising.

There’s so much to remember specific quotes off hand. I’ll do some digging.

[quote=“tperkins, post:11, topic:43188”]
Read some of his own words
[/quote]The problem with that is this: After his wife, Martha, died, he BURNED all the letters that he had written to her.

Why is that a problem? After all, we have his other letters to, Adams for example, and a lot of his business and political associates.

Because . . . letters to a spouse are more often “honest” and revealing of the true nature of a person.

For example, a lot of what we know about the “real” John Adams comes from his letters to his wife Abigail, who he wrote to almost daily.

Same thing with Winston Churchill. A lot of what we know about him comes from his letters to his wife, Clementine.

There is a “public persona”, most often shown in letters to political and business associates, and a “private persona”, most often shown in letters to a spouse (back then, anyway . . . probably not today as much).

Often, the two are VERY different.

Jefferson was indeed a very “private” fellow, and didn’t want anybody to know the “real” Jefferson . . . thus he burned his letters to his wife. (So also was Martha Washington a “private” person, and she too burned her letters to George.)

Consequently we are reduced to speculating: Did he say that to garner the support of a political or business associate, or did he say that genuinely?

And if a noteworthy figure wrote letters to individuals whose support they neither needed nor sought, it STILL requires some speculation: Were they presenting their “public persona”, or their “private persona”? (Highly unlikely they were presenting their “private persona” if that correspondent were not their spouse.)

There are many examples of John Adams and Winston Churchill saying one thing to their associates, and an entirely DIFFERENT thing to their spouse. Most historians (or at least the ones that I trust) give more credence to the letters to the spouse.

I’m not necessarily saying that Jefferson was not telling the truth in his correspondence with associates, but there’s considerable evidence that he was at the very least “spinning” and also left some things out.

In any event, BOTH have to be considered to get a complete picture of the individual . . . AND WE DON’T HAVE THAT WITH JEFFERSON.

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You are correct Bob, but it’s my opinion that your beliefs can not help to sneak into your writings no matter how hard you try. Because of Jefferson’s habit of keeping his personal beliefs close to his vest, I can not directly quote him to respond to patricia’s query. Patricia, my opinion is formed from the sum whole of his writings that I’ve read. There are hints all over of what influenced him. I truly believe he had doubts of Christ’s divinity, and sought to find the truth. He Poured over any religious tomb he could find from the Bible, the Torah and even the Qur’an Just to name a few. I’m sorry I failed in finding you what I thought were connected quotes, but they were not. I did find this gem that I believe really shows you some of his inner beliefs. A letter to his nephew offering him advice on shaping his future. Jefferson lays out his inner quest for the truth by setting the path out in front of him on what to read to piece together his own conclusion. It contains one of my favorite quotes from Jefferson. Why would he lie or hide himself in giving advice to his nephew?

Jefferson’s letter to his nephew, from Paris, August 10, 1787.

Dear Peter, — I have received your two letters of December 30 and April 18, and am very happy to find by them, as well as by letters from Mr. Wythe, that you have been so fortunate as to attract his notice & good will; I am sure you will find this to have been one of the most fortunate events of your life, as I have ever been sensible it was of mine. I enclose you a sketch of the sciences to which I would wish you to apply, in such order as Mr. Wythe shall advise; I mention, also, the books in them worth your reading, which submit to his correction. Many of these are among your father’s books, which you should have brought to you. As I do not recollect those of them not in his library, you must write to me for them, making out a catalogue of such as you think you shall have occasion for, in 18 months from the date of your letter, & consulting Mr. Wythe on the subject. To this sketch, I will add a few particular observations.

  1. Italian. I fear the learning of this language will confound your French and Spanish. Being all of them degenerated dialects of the Latin, they are apt to mix in conversation. I have never seen a person speaking the three languages, who did not mix them. It is a delightful language, but late events having rendered the Spanish more useful, lay it aside to prosecute that.

  2. Spanish. Bestow great attention on this, and endeavor to acquire an accurate knowledge of it. Our future connections with Spain and Spanish America, will render that language a valuable acquisition. The ancient history of that part of America, too, is written in that language. I send you a dictionary.

  3. Moral Philosophy. I think it lost time to attend lectures on this branch. He who made us would have been a pitiful bungler, if he had made the rules of our moral conduct a matter of science. For one man of science, there are thousands who are not. What would have become of them? Man was destined for society. His morality, therefore, was to be formed to this object. He was endowed with a sense of right and wrong, merely relative to this. This sense is as much a part of his nature, as the sense of hearing, seeing, feeling; it is the true foundation of morality, and not the to kalon [beautiful], truth, &c., as fanciful writers have imagined. The moral sense, or conscience, is as much a part of man as his leg or arm. It is given to all human beings in a stronger or weaker degree, as force of members is given them in a greater or less degree. It may be strengthened by exercise, as may any particular limb of the body. This sense is submitted, indeed, in some degree, to the guidance of reason; but it is a small stock which is required for this: even a less one than what we call common sense. State a moral case to a ploughman and a professor. The former will decide it as well, & often better than the latter, because he has not been led astray by artificial rules. In this branch, therefore, read good books, because they will encourage, as well as direct your feelings. The writings of Sterne, particularly, form the best course of morality that ever was written. Besides these, read the books mentioned in the enclosed paper; and, above all things, lose no occasion of exercising your dispositions to be grateful, to be generous, to be charitable, to be humane, to be true, just, firm, orderly, courageous, &c. Consider every act of this kind, as an exercise which will strengthen your moral faculties & increase your worth.

  4. Religion. Your reason is now mature enough to examine this object. In the first place, divest yourself of all bias in favor of novelty & singularity of opinion. Indulge them in any other subject rather than that of religion. It is too important, and the consequences of error may be too serious. On the other hand, shake off all the fears & servile prejudices, under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear. You will naturally examine first, the religion of your own country. Read the Bible, then as you would read Livy or Tacitus. The facts which are within the ordinary course of nature, you will believe on the authority of the writer, as you do those of the same kind in Livy & Tacitus. The testimony of the writer weighs in their favor, in one scale, and their not being against the laws of nature, does not weigh against them. But those facts in the Bible which contradict the laws of nature, must be examined with more care, and under a variety of faces. Here you must recur to the pretensions of the writer to inspiration from God. Examine upon what evidence his pretensions are founded, and whether that evidence is so strong, as that its falsehood would be more improbable than a change in the laws of nature, in the case he relates. For example, in the book of Joshua, we are told, the sun stood still several hours. Were we to read that fact in Livy or Tacitus, we should class it with their showers of blood, speaking of statues, beasts, &c. But it is said, that the writer of that book was inspired. Examine, therefore, candidly, what evidence there is of his having been inspired. The pretension is entitled to your inquiry, because millions believe it. On the other hand, you are astronomer enough to know how contrary it is to the law of nature that a body revolving on its axis, as the earth does, should have stopped, should not, by that sudden stoppage, have prostrated animals, trees, buildings, and should after a certain time gave resumed its revolution, & that without a second general prostration. Is this arrest of the earth’s motion, or the evidence which affirms it, most within the law of probabilities? You will next read the New Testament. It is the history of a personage called Jesus. Keep in your eye the opposite pretensions: 1, of those who say he was begotten by God, born of a virgin, suspended & reversed the laws of nature at will, & ascended bodily into heaven; and 2, of those who say he was a man of illegitimate birth, of a benevolent heart, enthusiastic mind, who set out without pretensions to divinity, ended in believing them, and was punished capitally for sedition, by being gibbeted, according to the Roman law, which punished the first commission of that offence by whipping, & the second by exile, or death in fureâ. See this law in the Digest Lib. 48. tit. 19. §. 28. 3. & Lipsius Lib 2. de cruce. cap. 2. These questions are examined in the books I have mentioned under the head of religion, & several others. They will assist you in your inquiries, but keep your reason firmly on the watch in reading them all.

Do not be frightened from this inquiry by any fear of its consequences. If it ends in a belief that there is no God, you will find incitements to virtue in the comfort and pleasantness you feel in its exercise, and the love of others which it will procure you. If you find reason to believe there is a God, a consciousness that you are acting under his eye, & that he approves you, will be a vast additional incitement; if that there be a future state, the hope of a happy existence in that increases the appetite to deserve it; if that Jesus was also a God, you will be comforted by a belief of his aid and love. In fine, I repeat, you must lay aside all prejudice on both sides, and neither believe nor reject anything, because any other persons, or description of persons, have rejected or believed it. Your own reason is the only oracle given you by heaven, and you are answerable, not for the rightness, but uprightness of the decision. I forgot to observe, when speaking of the New Testament, that you should read all the histories of Christ, as well of those whom a council of ecclesiastics have decided for us, to be Pseudo-evangelists, as those they named Evangelists. Because these Pseudo-evangelists pretended to inspiration, as much as the others, and you are to judge their pretensions by your own reason, and not by the reason of those ecclesiastics. Most of these are lost. There are some, however, still extant, collected by Fabricius, which I will endeavor to get & send you.

5. Travelling. This makes men wiser, but less happy. When men of sober age travel, they gather knowledge, which they may apply usefully for their country; but they are subject ever after to recollections mixed with regret; their affections are weakened by being extended over more objects; & they learn new habits which cannot be gratified when they return home. Young men, who travel, are exposed to all these inconveniences in a higher degree, to others still more serious, and do not acquire that wisdom for which a previous foundation is requisite, by repeated and just observations at home. The glare of pomp and pleasure is analogous to the motion of the blood; it absorbs all their affection and attention, they are torn from it as from the only good in this world, and return to their home as to a place of exile & condemnation. Their eyes are forever turned back to the object they have lost, & its recollection poisons the residue of their lives. Their first & most delicate passions are hackneyed on unworthy objects here, & they carry home the dregs, insufficient to make themselves or anybody else happy. Add to this, that a habit of idleness, an inability to apply themselves to business is acquired, & renders them useless to themselves & their country. These observations are founded in experience. There is no place where your pursuit of knowledge will be so little obstructed by foreign objects, as in your own country, nor any, wherein the virtues of the heart will be less exposed to be weakened. Be good, be learned, & be industrious, & you will not want the aid of travelling, to render you precious to your country, dear to your friends, happy within yourself. I repeat my advice, to take a great deal of exercise, & on foot. Health is the first requisite after morality. Write to me often, & be assured of the interest I take in your success, as well as the warmth of those sentiments of attachment with which I am, dear Peter, your affectionate friend.

P.S. Let me know your age in your next letter. Your cousins here are well & desire to be remembered to you.

`
If the following is true, then Thomas Jefferson was a “Christian” only in the sense
that he was a believer in the moral precepts of Christianity and he admired Jesus merely as
the highest moralist yet to appear in history.

Just this following statement alone by Jefferson [if true, and the documentation for all this looks
as legitimate to me as does ANY documentation of what Jefferson said] then Jefferson gutted the
New Testament and gutted Christianity, seeing as how the Apostle Paul wrote the great doctrinal
epistles of the New Testament and wrote the great doctrines of Christianity such as
Justification By Faith which is the core doctrine of Christianity.

*“In the same letter Jefferson states he is separating
"the gold from the dross”, and describes the “roguery of others of His
disciples”, [50]

calling this group a “band of dupes and impostors”,
who wrote “palpable interpolations and falsifications”, with Paul being
the “first corrupter of the doctrines of Jesus”."[50]*

[SIZE=1]the above quote is also down below in the quote blocks

And the above [which is more than enough to settle it for me, if true] is not
to even mention the rest of that stuff down there [which is NOT by any means
all of it … there is more documented quotes over there in this wiki article …

I’m only interested in the documented quotes, not what the writer of the
article says, which as a laymen [I’m certainly not a Jefferson scholar] is
all I have to go on.]

[/SIZE]

**

Jefferson continued to express his strong objections to the doctrines of the virgin birth, the divinity of Jesus, and the Trinity.

In a letter to Adams (April 11, 1823), Jefferson wrote, “And the day will come, when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the Supreme Being as His Father, in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva, in the brain of Jupiter.”[66] **

Wiki source cited:
Footnote 66 Letter to John Adams. Monticello. April 1823. Retrieved 2012-05-28.

Thomas Jefferson and religion - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In an 1821 letter he [Jefferson] wrote:**

“ No one sees with greater pleasure than myself the progress of reason in its advances towards rational Christianity.

[COLOR="#B22222"]When we shall have done away the incomprehensible jargon of the Trinitarian arithmetic, that three are one, and one is three; when we shall have knocked down the artificial scaffolding, reared to mask from view the simple structure of Jesus; when, in short, we shall have unlearned everything which has been taught since His day, and got back to the pure and simple doctrines He inculcated, we shall then be truly and worthily His disciples; and my opinion is that if nothing had ever been added to what flowed purely from His lips, the whole world would at this day have been Christian.

I know that the case you cite, of Dr. Drake, has been a common one. The religion-builders have so distorted and deformed the doctrines of Jesus, so muffled them in mysticisms, fancies and falsehoods, have caricatured them into forms so monstrous and inconceivable, as to shock reasonable thinkers, to revolt them against the whole, and drive them rashly to pronounce its Founder an impostor. Had there never been a commentator, there never would have been an infidel. … I have little doubt that the whole of our country will soon be rallied to the unity of the Creator, and, I hope, to the pure doctrines of Jesus also.[67][/COLOR] **

Wiki source cited:
Footnote 67 ^ Letter to Timothy Pickering, Esq… Monticello. February 27, 1821. Retrieved 2010-01-18.

Thomas Jefferson and religion - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

**On one hand Jefferson affirmed, “We all agree in the obligation of the moral precepts of Jesus, and nowhere will they be found delivered in greater purity than in his discourses”,[46]

** and that he was “sincerely attached to His doctrines in preference to all others”,[47] and that “the doctrines of Jesus are simple, and tend all to the happiness of man”.[48]

**However, Jefferson considered much of the New Testament of the Bible to be false. In a letter to William Short in 1820, he expressed that his intent was to “place the character of Jesus in its true and high light, as no imposter himself”, but that he was not with Jesus “in all his doctrines”, Jefferson described many passages as “so much untruth, charlatanism and imposture”.[49] **

**
In the same letter Jefferson states he is separating “the gold from the dross”, and describes the “roguery of others of His disciples”, [50] calling this group a “band of dupes and impostors”, who wrote “palpable interpolations and falsifications”, with Paul being the “first corrupter of the doctrines of Jesus”.[50]**

Wiki source cited for footnote 49
Thomas Jefferson & Thomas Jefferson Randolph (1829). Memoirs, Correspondence, and Private Papers of Thomas Jefferson : Late President of the United States. London: H. Colburn and R.

Wiki source cited for footnote 50
a b Jefferson, Thomas (1854). H. A. WASHINGTON, ed. The Writings of Thomas Jefferson: Being His Autobiography, Correspondence. WASHINGTON, D. C: TAYLOR & MATJRY. p. 156. Retrieved 2008-07-13.

**Jefferson also denied the divine inspiration of the Book of Revelation, describing it to Alexander Smyth in 1825 as “merely the ravings of a maniac, no more worthy nor capable of explanation than the incoherences of our own nightly dreams”.[51] **

** From his study of the Bible, Jefferson concluded that Jesus never claimed to be God.[52] **

Wiki source cited for footnote 51
Jefferson, Thomas (1854). H. A. WASHINGTON, ed. The Writings of Thomas Jefferson: Being His Autobiography, Correspondence. WASHINGTON, D. C: TAYLOR & MATJRY. p. 395. Retrieved 2008-07-13.

Wiki source cited for footnote 52
Edward J. Larson, A Magnificent Catastrophe: The Tumultuous Election of 1800, America’s First Presidential Campaign (Simon and Schuster, 2007), p. 171.

Thomas Jefferson and religion - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

:diamonds: :diamonds: - :diamonds: :diamonds:

Jefferson was possibly the only one of the founding fathers who was not a true Christian. The modern libs would have us believe they were all deists or less, whereas most of them can be shown to be Christians.

as you suggest, this is probably one of Jefferson’s more candid expressions on the subject of religion yet it remains puzzling in some ways. he seems to believe that Christ was a great teacher and example, but clearly he has doubts regarding JC’s divinity. and he approves questioning God’s existence, yet firmly rejects the formal study of moral philosophy as a science in favor of following the best instincts your Creator gave you!! I think that is close to what is sometimes called belief in Natural Law…God-given, and therefore discernible by all God’s children without need of extensive tutoring.

indeed, the declaration of independence does echo this paradigm in its oh-so-civilized, but oh-so-ringing, opening words: "When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another… a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights… as with the Gettysburg address, what’s said in the Declaration has never been said better, and never will be said better. and while there are many sincere humanist believers in human rights, I’ve noticed that when you pin them down, they are hard put to articulate a purely secular basis for human rights. but if you believe in a God who created us all in His image, and even sent his Son to save for eternity any person who shows the disposition to be saved-- regardless of ancestry, social status, disability or any extraneous factor-- the recognition of human rights falls right into place as very simply the way God sees us, and therefore the way we must see each other.

I think it would be safe to say that Jefferson was a truly great man even while perhaps a flawed man, and he was a crucial ingredient in the miraculous mix that was the constitutional convention.

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[QUOTE=Jack Hectormann;662403]`

If the following is true, then Thomas Jefferson was a “Christian” only in the sense
that he was a believer in the moral precepts of Christianity and he admired Jesus merely as
the highest moralist yet to appear in history.

no question that he did not believe in Christ’s divinity. He does seem consistent in affirming belief in God, but what kind of God it’s a little hard to tell, and so we are left wondering, was he a theist or a deist? probably we will never know for sure. probably it’s in those burned letters BJ mentions! I still consider Jefferson a very great man, though as a believing and practicing Catholic, I believe in a God who is very present in the world, and in Jesus Christ as the Son of God having been sent to bring the abiding hope of eternal salvation to that world.

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