November 6, 2011 by Bill
At my late age in life I often wonder, “Will it ever end?” It often seems eternal the continuing friction and hostility between the historical and religiously illiterate and those who are knowledgeable and enlightened.
As reported by the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science, Newt Gingrich, a former U.S. Representative and 58th Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, said an atheist can’t be trusted, and has no business in the White House. “Does faith matter? Absolutely,” Gingrich said. “How can you have judgment if you have no faith? How can I trust you with power if you don’t pray?” He continued, “The notion that you are endowed by your creator sets a certain boundary of what we mean by America.” Gingrich also said that Americans should value religion first, above morality and knowledge.
This very real battle is now being played out in Costa Mesa, California. An atheist and humanist group put up a billboard near Newport Boulevard quoting Thomas Jefferson on his opinion of Christianity, which was not good. A group called Backyard Skeptics is behind the billboard.
The quote they used can be found in Selections from the Writings of Thomas Jefferson, edited by Saul Padover, The Heritage Press, page 302:
“Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned, yet we have not advanced one inch. What has been the effect of this coercion? To make one half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and error all over the earth.”
The quote was called inaccurate, but there it is in Jefferson’s own words.
All Jefferson quotes are saying the same thing in different ways and different words. He called the bible a “dunghill.” Please read my many other columns on Jefferson on this website.
The Jefferson Library confirmed to the group that Jefferson was a firm dedicated DEIST and NOT a Christian. He revealed this in almost all of his writings.
In Deism, God is only an impersonal “force” or “energy” or “nature’s God.” The bible is only literature and bad literature at that. Jesus was only a nomadic teacher and all of the “Christ” mythology comes from Paul and those who did not even know Jesus.
In the famous “Jefferson Bible,” he cut out, with scissors, all the Old Testament, calling it “rubbish,” and in the New Testament all the mythology was cut out, like virgin birth, resurrection, etc. and all he included was a few of the parables that he thought good, no matter who wrote them.
The billboard in Costa Mesa accurately reflects the attitude of Jefferson about Christianity. But, as usual, “militant ignorance” (Goethe’s words) came into play demanding the billboard be taken down.
The leader of the Backyard Skeptics said they plan to put up another secular one, but it could take much longer than a week. Maybe Costa Mesa will get an education that is long overdue.
I have said that this is an ongoing conflict between historical ignorance and enlightenment. I could give examples from real life that would fill a dozen of my essays.
I wrote a column several years ago on the fact that George Washington was not a Christian but a Deist. I received a phone call from a secretary of a Christian school here in Palm Springs demanding that I write another column and apologize for my error. I gave the secretary books and documentation that was well known in academic studies. She told me they were all lies, and that she had the truth. I asked her for her source. She said: “My calendar.” I asked her “What calendar?” She said: “the Pat Robertson calendar from his Christian ministry.” At that point, I just gasped and gave up.
Another instance: My room mate at the University in Chicago was an older man, like myself, and his daughter, in a Northern Indiana school, 6th grade, came home crying one day. Her dad asked her: why? She said her teacher told her she was lost and going to be judged in hell. My roommate was furious and went to the school and asked the teacher why she would say such a thing. The teacher said, because it was true, she could see in his daughter’s eyes that she was lost due to the demons inside of her. The school was controlled by a board of Christian fundamentalists.
And another: When I lived in Tacoma, Washington, the Seattle Times had on their front page a story about two young men who had almost died from cutting their hands off. The newspaper said that they had been in a fundamentalist bible class and read where it said what should be done if your eyes or hands OFFEND thee. With the hands it was to “cut them off.”
The damage that Christian ignorance, illiteracy, and fanaticism have done to human beings is one of the great crimes of this country. And yet, every day, the media encourages the Billy Grahams, with his illiterate son, and like mentalities by quoting them, publishing their lethal columns, and spreading their virus-filled manure over the readers and country.
Where will it end? Maybe, never in my lifetime. May God, the Tao, Wakan Tanka and Zoroaster help us.
For more information on this subject you may want to read Jefferson and the 4th of July, in the archives of this site for July 19, 2009.