Supplemental Page to Peter's Appeal to Authority, by Dawson Bethrick

In Post #59 to the Freethinkers thread on the Theism vs. Atheism Web, Christian apologist Peter Pike submitted a list of quotations from America's founding intellectuals to prove that they were either Christian or at least sympathetic to religious ideas, thus implying that the principles with which they informed the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution were religious in nature.

The Rev had also posted a list of quotes from America's founding intellectuals which calls into question the belief that the they were all Christian.


Peter wrote:

I have no desire to get invovled in a political discussion with someone who purposly blinds himself to the truth of how our country was founded in the first place. God wasn't really important at all--it was just a word they used back then because they were primative....

"Before any man can be considered as a member of Civil Society, he must be considered as a subject of the Governor of the Universe." --James Madison

"It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded not by religionists but by Christians, not on religion but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ." -- Patrick Henry

(yes, the guy who said "Give me liberty or give me death!") Henry also said,

"Whether this [new government] will prove a blessing or a curse will depend upon the use our people make of the blessings which a gracious God hath bestowed on us. If they are wise, they will be great and happy. If they are of a contrary character, they will be miserable. Righteousness alone can exalt them as a nation [Proverbs 14:34]. Reader! Whoever thou art, remember this, and in thy sphere practice virtue thyself and encourage it in others."

"The Hand of providence has been so conspicuous in all this, that he must be worse than an infidel that lacks faith, and more than wicked, that has not gratitude enough to acknowledge his obligations." George Washington's letter of August 20, 1778 to Brig. General Thomas Nelson

"Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports . . . And let us indulge with caution the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion . . . Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail to the exclusion of religious principle." --George Washington

"The highest story of the American Revolution is this: it connected in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity." -- John Adams

"The Christian religion is, above all the Religions that ever prevailed or existed in ancient or modern times, the religion of Wisdom, Virtue, Equity, and Humanity. Let the Blackguard Paine say what he will; it is Resignation to God, it is Goodness itself to man." John Adams retorting to Thomas Paine in his diary, July 26, 1796.

"Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever." -- Thomas Jefferson, who also stated: "The reason that Christianity is the best friend of Government is because Christianity is the only religion that changes the heart."

"Resistence to tyrants is obedience to God"--Thomas Jefferson

"We have no government armed in power capable of contending in human passions ubridled by morality and religion. Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other." John Adams, address to the militia of Massachusetts, 1798.

"I have always said and always will say that the studious perusal of the Sacred Volume will make better citizens, better fathers, better husbands... the Bible makes the best people in the world." -- Thomas Jefferson

It is no slight testimonial, both to the merit and worth of Christianity, that in all ages since its promulgation the great mass of those who have risen to eminence by their profound wisdom and integrity have recognized and reverenced Jesus of Nazareth as the Son of the living God." -- John Quincy Adams

"A true American Patriot must be a religious man...He who neglects his duty to his maker, may well be expected to be deficient and insincere in his duty towards the public" -- First Lady, Abigail Adams

This is why, years later, we have the following quote:

"America was born a Christian nation. America was born to exemplify that devotion to the elements of righteousness which are derived from the revelations of Holy Scriptures. Ladies and gentlemen, I have a very simple thing to ask of you. I as of every man and woman in this audience that from this night on they will realize that part of the destiny of America lies in their daily perusal of this great book of revelations. That if they would see America free and pure they will make their own spirits free and pure by this baptism of the Holy Scripture." Woodrow Wilson, 1911, pre-Presidential campaign speech.

Rufus King, a member of the Continental Congress, aide to General Sullivan in the War for Independence, minister to England, and a U.S. Senator, at a convention considering amendments to the New York Constitution in 1821 said:

"[In o]ur the oath which they prescribe, we appeal to the Supreme Being to deal with us hereafter as we observe the obligation of our oaths. The Pagan world were and are without the mighty influence of this principle which is proclaimed in the Christian system - their morals were destitute of its powerful sanction while their oaths neither awakened the hopes nor fears which a belief in Christianity inspires."

"I now offer you the outline of the plan they have suggested. Let an association be formed to be denominated 'The Christian Constitutional Society,' its object to be first: The support of the Christian religion. Second: The support of the United States." -- Alexander Hamilton in an 1802 letter to James Bayard about planning the creation of "The Christian Constituional Society."

have lived, sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth -- God Governs in the Affairs of Men, And if a Sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, Is it possible that an empire can rise without His aid?

"Except the Lord build the house, They labor in vain who build it." "I firmly believe this." Benjamin Franklin, 1787, Constitutional Convention

"Human law must rest its authority ultimately upon the authority of that law which is divine....Far from being rivals or enemies, religion and law are twin sisters, friends, and mutual assistants. Indeed, these two sciences run into each other."James Wilson, a signer of the Constitution and an original Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court




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