Sunday, February 13, 2011

Thomas Jefferson - Atheist

Thomas Jefferson is a very complicated individual to me. He did not like slavery, but he bought and sold them (!?). He had a slave (Sally Hemings) in concubinage, and had children by her that he kept enslaved. He was the principal author of "The Declaration of Independence" and the third President of the United States. He believed in democracy and the rights of man, and wrote about these concepts with powerful eloquence. At the same time - certain aspects of his personal philosophy, and his public actions would definitely contradict (especially when it came to slavery). Maybe he was just "caught-up" in his time. Or worse. I wonder. I find his views and speculations on religious matters absolutely fascinating. I am sure if he had lived in our time - he would have been an exemplary liberal and a formidable and outspoken atheist.

1. "I do not find in orthodox Christianity one redeeming feature."

Thomas Jefferson Retirement Papers

Neither do I - scriptually, denominationally, or in the lives or activities of Christians - not one redeeming feature.

2. "Christianity is the most perverted system that ever shone on man."

Thomas Jefferson to Joseph Priestley, Washington 3-21-1801

That perversion is shown to maximum effect in the Black community. The most religious - the most pathological - the most un-educated - the most behind. This lousy situation that the Black community is in is partly due to Christianity.

3. "[If] the nature of ... government [were] a subordination of the civil to the ecclesiastical power, I [would] consider it as desperate for long years to come. Their steady habits [will] exclude the advances of information, and they [will] seem exactly where they [have always been]. And there [the] clergy will always keep them if they can. [They] will follow the bank of liberty only by the help of a tow-rope."

Thomas Jefferson to Pierrepont Edwards - 7-1801

I have never seen Christian leaders work as hard (in the past 20 years) to erase the separation of church and state. To insert their particular doctrines into the public laws, and to strong-arm legislators into submission to the church. These clergy are evil perverts and are hungry for earthly power. If they had their way - life in these United States would be worse than living in a Soviet gulag, or even North Korea. It would be the end of freedom.

4. "Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, and imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch toward uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one-half the world fools and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and error all over the earth."

Notes on the State of Virginia - Query XVII

If the Christian powers were to (actually) take over the government - all the things that Jefferson spelled-out in this quote would be the law - and that law would be vigorously enforced.

5. "[N]o man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burdened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer, on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities."

Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom 

In the words of Creflo Dollar - mega-church tele-pastor: "Now you know, we're under the Blood of Jesus, so we can't shoot and stone people like we used to. All we have to do is repent and God will forgive us and take us where we need to be. But I can tell you, man, if it wasn't for the Blood, there'd be a whole lot of us being stoned and being in Hell right now over the tithe. But if not for the Blood of Jesus, we'd be doomed.

I mean, I thought about when we first built "The Dome," I wanted to put some of those little moving bars and give everybody a little card. They'd stick it in a little computer slot. If they were tithing, beautiful music would go off and, you know, [Creflo sings] "Welcome, welcome, welcome to the World Dome."

But... if they were non-tithers, the bar would lock-up, the red and blue lights would start going, the siren would go off, and a voice would go out throughout the entire dome, "crook, crook, crook, crook!" Security would go and apprehend them, and once we got them all together, we'd line them up in the front and pass-out Uzis by the ushers and point our Uzis right at all those non-tithing members 'cause we want God to come to church, and at the count of three "Jesus-es" we'd shoot them all dead. And then we'd take them out the side door there, have a big hole, bury them, and then go ahead and have church and have the anointing.

Aren't you glad we're under the Blood of Jesus? Because if we were not under the Blood of Jesus, I would certainly try it. Folks, this is a serious thing." 

Since this guy is willing to shoot people if it were allowed - I would say it is a serious thing too. Wow - he actually said this in front of thousands of people, and on television too.

6. "I am for freedom of religion, & against all maneuvers to bring about a legal ascendancy of one sect over another."

Thomas Jefferson to Elbridge Gerry - 1799

We have enough religious wars going on in the world.

7. "I never will, by any word or act, bow to the shrine of intolerance, or admit a right of inquiry into the religious opinions of others."

Thomas Jefferson to Edward Dowse - 4-19-1803

Politicians and clergymen - are you listening?

8. "Because religious belief, or non-belief, is such an important part of every person's life, freedom of religion affects every individual. Religious institutions that [are willing to] use government power in support of themselves and force their views on persons of other faiths, or of no faith, undermine all our civil rights. Moreover, state support of an established religion tends to make the clergy unresponsive to their own people, and leads to corruption within religion itself. Erecting the "wall of separation between church and state," therefore, is absolutely essential in a free society... We have solved, by fair experiment, the great and interesting question whether freedom of religion is compatible with order in government and obedience to the laws. And we have experienced the quiet as well as the comfort which results from leaving every one to profess freely and openly those principles of religion which are the inductions of his own reason and the serious convictions of his own inquiries."

Thomas Jefferson - Letter to Virginia Baptists - 1808

The problem is that the clergy and their denominations don't want "freedom of religion" at all. Civil rights are in opposition to scripture. Kingdom-building? Chosen people? Commandments?

9. "The impious presumption of legislators and rulers, civil as well as ecclesiastical, who, being themselves but fallible and uninspired men, have assumed dominion over the faith of others, setting up their own opinions and modes of thinking as the only true and infallible, and as such endeavoring to impose them on others, hath established and maintained false religions over the greatest part of the world and through all time: That to compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors, is sinful and tyrannical..."

Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom  

And the clergy have no problem with imposition.

10. "Christianity neither is, nor ever was, a part of the common law."

Thomas Jefferson - Letter to Dr. Thomas Cooper - 2-10-1814

Let us hope it stays that way.

11. "The clergy, by getting themselves established by law and ingrafted into the machine of government, have been a very formidable engine against the civil and religious rights of man."

Thomas Jefferson to Jeremiah Moor - 1800

And this is why atheists and humanists must remain vigilant, loud and confrontational.

12. "History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance of which their civil as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes."

Thomas Jefferson to Baron von Humboldt - 1813

As an example - look at the shit that is going on in Africa and the Middle East - in addition to the religiously-driven Tea Party here in America.

13. "The law for religious freedom... [has] put down the aristocracy of the clergy and restored to the citizen the freedom of the mind."

Thomas Jefferson to John Adams - 10-1813

The hated (by clergy) First Amendment...

14. "The declaration that religious faith shall be unpunished does not give immunity to criminal acts dictated by religious error."

Thomas Jefferson to James Madison - 7-31-1788

Among the enlightened - preaching Christianity should be regarded as a criminal act (unofficially of course).

15. "I concur with you strictly in your opinion of the comparative merits of atheism and demonism, and really see nothing but the latter in the being worshiped by many who think themselves Christians."

Thomas Jefferson to Richard Price - 1-8-1789

God as demon - interesting...

16. "[Creeds] have been the bane and ruin of the Christian church, its own fatal invention, which, through so many ages, made of Christendom a slaughterhouse, and at this day divides it into castes of inextinguishable hatred to one another."

Thomas Jefferson to Benjamin Waterhouse - 6-26-1822

Denominationalism is one of the major forces that prevent the Black community from getting its act together.

17. "No man complains of his neighbor for ill management of his affairs, for an error in sowing his land or marrying his daughter, for consuming his substance in taverns... In all these he has liberty; but if he does not frequent the church, or then conform in ceremonies, there is an immediate uproar."

Thomas Jefferson - Notes on Religion 1771-1779

Ain't that a bitch? This is what happens when you have to deal with a bunch of nosy-assed Christians.

18. "I have ever judged of the religion of others by their lives... It is in our lives, and not from our words, that our religion must be read. By the same test the world must judge me. But this does not satisfy the priesthood. They must have a positive, a declared assent to all their interested absurdities. My opinion is that there would never have been an infidel, if there had never been a priest. The artificial structures they have built on the purest of all moral systems, for the purpose of deriving from it pence and power, revolt those who think for themselves, and who read in that system only what is really there."

Thomas Jefferson to Mrs. Samuel H. Smith - [Monticello] 8-6-1816

Nothing will satisfy clergy other than the complete submission of society to their religious bullshit.

19. "The priests of the different religious sects... dread the advance of science as witches do the approach of daylight, and scowl on the fatal harbinger announcing the subdivision of the duperies on which they live."

Thomas Jefferson to William Short - 1820

The denominations and their leaders (clergy) hate science because science tells the truth and religion propagates fairy-tales as an "operating system" to run your life. "I believe I can fly" - at twenty stories up, and gravity is waiting for you - right outside the window.

20. "Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions. Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them; and no man ever had a distinct idea of the trinity. It is the mere Abracadabra of the mountebanks calling themselves the priests of Jesus."

Thomas Jefferson to C. Thompson - 1816 (Regarding the doctrine of the Trinity)

Yes - we got the "trinity" (a 3 in one, including a "Holy Ghost!!!"), and next door, a "Church of God in Christ," and right down the street - we have a "Church of Christ in God," and around the corner we have "Jehovah" in a "Kingdom Hall" that needs a "Witness." What do you mean "unintelligible proposition?"

21. "A professorship of theology should have no place in our institution." (Referring to the University of Virginia).

Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Cooper - 10-1814

Makes sense to me!!!


  1. Honestly, I don't see the point in competing with Christians on this kind of quote-mining game. A barrage of quotes devoid of context, or even a reference, is hardly worth a second thought.

    1. You are right - I will work on expanding and referencing this post. I love these particular quotes so much, that I was a bit hasty in putting them out without "seasoning." I always appreciate constructive criticism.