September 18, 2007

The Founding Fathers And Judeo-Christian Values

I read a post at The American Thinker called The Judeo-Christian Values of America, by Ronald R. Cherry. This type of topic really intrigues me on many levels.

For one thing, I don't profess to be a guru when it comes to American history. I know a little about a lot, but in school in Toronto, my only memories when it comes to the American Revolution, for instance, comes from the required reading I did in Grade 7 or 8 of the fictional novel, Johnny Tremain. I remember he was missing a finger or a bunch of them. Actually, when it came to the history of Canada, I don't remember learning a lot of that either. I remember some stuff about Champlain and Cartier, but that is about it.

Since discovering I am an atheist, I know I've seen the quotes of the Founding Fathers of the US pertaining to God and Christianity, and I didn't think that collectively they had much of a connection to either. So this article motivated me to do some research.

I also don't really get what is meant by Judeo-Christian values. Not to be a smart ass, but I have a problem differentiating overall values of all human beings on this earth, well except for radical Islamics, or really any Fundamentalists who put tend to put their God on a pedestal, where their interpretation of him/her/it controls most of the aspects of their lives.

It seems Cherry, in his article, cherry picked (don't blame me, he really did cherry pick) quotes by the Founding Fathers. I think upon reading more quotes by most of the FF's, one can only conclude that they were deists or agnostics, absolutely tops.

"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, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness..."
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What about the first part of the Declaration of Independence? It talks about the Laws of Nature, and Nature's God. Nature's God aint no God you'll find in the New Testament and Old Testament. In fact, when you take into account when the DOI was written, the free thinking FF's didn't even have the knowledge of Darwin's theory of evolution. If they did, they probably would have stuck with Laws of Nature. Yeah, we are born free, and have one life to live, and the government should understand it, and so should everyone else, so we have the right to defend ourselves and protect what is ours. What is Judeo-Christian about that?

Cherry goes on in his article how the FF's acknowledged that God gave us life and creativity. Again, they acknowledged that we are naturally born, we have the ability to be creative (they knew not about how we evolved the ability to be creative). It is just God in the Gaps. There was a time when lightning couldn't be explained. If the FF's found America at that time, they would have had the mindset that God was throwing fits when lightning occurred.

You can still read the cherry picked quotes that Cherry put in his article. But watch this video to get a better understanding of what the FF's were really all about when it comes to God and religion:


OK, I am not equipped enough to rip apart his entire article, but I really want to rip apart the last part, when he defines Judeo-Christian values:

1. Our sense of right and wrong and our sense of wisdom come from the use of reason and common sense, but also, and importantly, from the Bible which, by faith was considered by our Founding Fathers to be God's inspired text; and not just from the mind or heart of man. This faith lead to the mottos: "In God We Trust" and "One Nation under God." Our Founding Fathers were believers in the God of the Bible, even if some were not orthodox Christians, and they put that faith into the Declaration of Independence, into our laws, into our national monuments, and into our culture. Faith is a part of American Culture, something Atheists, Secularists, Humanists and those of other religions should acknowledge and accept as historically accurate truth. To remove the results of Biblical Faith from America is to undo what the Founding Fathers have wrought.
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Watch the video Cherry, and tell me again that they were believers in the bible. And another thing, the morals in the bible are just common sense written down by man. No need for it to be God inspired or God's words. It is just common sense, as the FF's do not say worship God, the pretty much just say worship common sense.

2. Truth is Sacred; there can be no liberty or justice, and little happiness without it. Jesus connected truth and liberty when he said "the truth shall make you free." In the Book of Exodus of the Hebrew Bible God describes Himself: "The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth..." In Deuteronomy God is described this way: "He is the Rock, His work is perfect; For all His ways are justice, A God of truth and without injustice." Listen to King David in Psalm 25: "Show me Your ways, O Lord; Teach me your paths. Lead me in Your truth..."; and in Psalm 51: "Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, And in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom."
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Yes truth is sacred. The truth is that evolution is fact, Jesus probably didn't even exist, and the bible you are quoting was edited over and over again and translated in different languages and re edited a few more times. Just man writing a fictional story while putting in a lot of common sense. Truth doesn't need a bible, but it will make you free.....religion won't.

3. Human life is the first gift of God, and it is of infinite value since man is made in the image of God. Judeo-Christian Values have lead to a culture of life in America, not a culture of death. Americans with Judeo-Christian Values will defend innocent God-given life.
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Who has a culture of death other than the Fundamentalists? Human life is precious because it our only chance to experience life, it is common sense and you don't need Judeo-Christian values to understand this. Those who believe in an afterlife if anything minimize how special our life is. And life is precious almost in every culture on this planet, with the exception of a few. And what is this image of God stuff. Does God have an ass? Does he have to take at least one dump a day?

4. Our Liberty is a gift from God and stated so in the Declaration of Independence. It is also stated in the New Testament Christian Bible: "Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is Liberty." Americans with Judeo-Christian Values will defend their God-given Liberty from tyranny and terror.
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Again, liberty is common sense, and so is defending ones liberty. Chimps even get it, and they don't have a bible to go by.

5. Human creativity is also a gift from God and is not to be unjustly suppressed by totalitarian, tyrannical or excessively taxing government. The work ethic is an important part of Judeo-Christian Values since honorable work is a reflection of God-given human creativity. Human reason is also a part of God-given human creativity, and it has led to scientific knowledge and technological progress. Reason and science are important aspects of Judeo-Christian Values. Human creativity is central to the pursuit of happiness, but does not guarantee it; totalitarian systems such as Communism or Islamic Sharia Law guarantee utopian happiness, but don't deliver it.
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I acknowledge we are creative, but it has nothing to do with God or Judeo-Christian values. Reason and creativity has been happening even prior to when chimps and man branched off over 5 million years ago, and the political ideology each human lives within throughout the world may restrict our creativity but doesn't take away creative thoughts, well except for religious Fundamentalists. They may even breed away some of our evolved creativity and reasoning potential.
There really isn't that much different in what a Canadian does daily and an American, in fact probably none at all, but we have a more Socialist government, and pound for pound we are able to be just as creative as Americans.

6. "Establish justice." This is commanded repeatedly in the Hebrew Bible. This is how it has been done in America: Honor Life, Liberty and Creativity. Liberty in practical terms means: Freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, freedom of religion, no established or state-supported religion, right to bear arms and act in self-defense, uninterrupted elections and the division of powers into its three branches. Where our culture is now headed in the wrong direction, in my opinion, is to provide special rights for certain groups of people. Our Founding Fathers acknowledged these basic rights for all people, and our Civil War enforced it for the American slaves when they were denied their God-given Liberty.
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What the heck is he rambling about here? What special rights does someone in America have over others? Aside from that, every Western country pretty much Establishes Jusice and honours Life, Liberty and Creativity. This isn't an American phenomenon, and it is just an offshoot of secularism not the bible. I'd like to see where the bible states no have a state-supported religion or even imply it. Justice in the bible was all about worshiping the God of that bible above all else.

7. "Hate Evil". This is commanded three times in the Hebrew Bible; this is from the book of Proverbs: "The fear of the Lord is to hate evil." Hear the Prophet Isaiah: "Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness...." Americans with Judeo-Christian Values, as opposed to Europeans, still believe in the death penalty for pre-meditated murder, and America is still the nemesis of terrorists and tyrants - see the seal of the state of Virginia.
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I thought he was defining Judeo-Christian values and now he is stating you need to believe in the death penalty if you have these values. America was founded on the death penalty for premeditated murder? What happened to "turn the other cheek." And most American countries were founded on killing pre-meditated murderers as well, in fact, they were founded on killing anyone who got in your way, much like America and every country on this planet. Communist countries kill people for pre-meditated murder as well. Muslim countries too. It isn't a biblical phenomenon or an American one.

8. "Love your neighbor" - commanded in the Hebrew and Christian Bibles. "Love your enemy" - commanded in the New Testament Christian Bible. Generations of Americans, starting with our Founding Fathers, have had to square the values of "Hate Evil" with "Love your enemy." This has been done by hating the evil within the enemies of God-given Life and Liberty, but not hating the evil-doer him/herself.
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I hate to break it to this guy, but American hate OBL, and most hated Hitler. It is natural to hate those who want to destroy you, or want to destroy innocents. Again this is nothing that has anything to do with Judeo-Christian values, because the OT and NT have a different viewpoint on how to hate, and most people go by the OT way, everywhere on this planet, except for maybe Buddhists. But I don't know any Buddhists, so maybe I shouldn't speak for them.

9. In the Judeo-Christian Value System there is a natural and common-sense balance between compassion and courageous confrontation of evil. This can be seen metaphorically as a natural balance between femininity and masculinity; both good and necessary. The secular culture of Europe and of many in the United States today have unwisely suppressed the masculinity of Judeo-Christian American Culture, and this has put our society out of balance.
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I thought all men (including women) are created equal. I thought that is part of the foundation bs this guy is spewing. He is trying to differentiate how America differs from Europe? Man dominated everywhere before and when America was founded (not a Judeo-Christian phenomenon), the FF's actually started paving the way to give everyone equality. This dude has serious problems in hypocrisy. He is blaming secularism on women getting equal rights? And trying to say it is a bad thing? So does God want women to vote or doesn't he?

10. From Many, One: e pluribus unum. Ethnicity and race don't matter, but values do matter. We Americans should consider ourselves blessed to live under God-given Liberty in the same melting pot; and we are privileged to pursue happiness through creative work and play, unencumbered by excessive government. Those things that divide us, such as race or ethnicity, can be viewed metaphorically as our various styles; and are not very important. Those things of lesser importance should melt into what is very important and which should unite us: our value of Life, Liberty and Creativity - those rights defined by the Declaration of Independence, and rightly identified as the gifts of God.
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Again, most of the secular west go by the idea that humans are humans and ethnicity shouldn't be a deterrent as long as everyone respects each other, because we value the social contract and appreciate for the most part that this is my only chance and it is your only chance to live a life. This is secularist, not Judeo-Christian values which preach segregation more than anything else. These are secular values. How were blacks doing during the American Revolution? And what is this Gifts of God nonsense? Rightly identified? Any evidence of God.....oh, never mind.

11. The natural resources of the Earth, including the animals, along with the rest of creation should be honored and well cared for, but also used and enjoyed; and never worshiped.
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Most countries don't worship animals and resources, and they laugh at anyone who does. Except for the countries that worship cows. Again, this is just humans and our ability to think and reason, it isn't American or biblical.


Whew, long post. I hope I made some sense.

7 comments:

  1. Yes, yes you did make sense!

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  2. The whole concept of Judeo-Christian "values" informing the founding fathers goes -- whoosh -- out the window if you read the Constitution, which, I remind Christian godpushers, is the document that really established our country.

    Here's how many times god, or any synonym for him, is mentioned in the Constitution: Zero.

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  3. Excellent response to a wackjob.

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  4. Too many xians (and maybe many others) often confuse the Declaration of Independence with the U.S. Constitution.

    From TheocracyWatch.org: "The Declaration of Independence is not a legal document; it is not the U.S. Constitution. Foes of the principle of separation of church and state often refer to the word "Creator" in the Declaration of Independence as proof that the framers of the U.S. Constitution intended for the United States to be ruled by a sovereign being. Nothing could be further from the truth. The United States Constitution was written and ratified by elected officials representing a coalition of Enlightenment rationalists and evangelical Christians who were deeply concerned about entanglements between religion and government."

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  5. Most historians accept that the founding fathers were mostly deists who called themselves Christians if asked on account of being raised that way, and being politicians.

    My AP US History teacher in high school (who was awesome) always said that the reason the country's first laws followed "Judeo-Christian values," i.e., the ten commandments, was that those were the rules that had been tried and tested over and over again by various cultures since Hammurabi wrote them down, and they were accepted to be the most valuable for maintaining civilization.

    I love that the Christians are using the fact that the Declaration of Independence to justify making their religion law when that is the one of the things that all the founding fathers were most concerned about-- keeping them separate.

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  6. I recommend perusing the blog Positive Liberty. Many of the posts debunk claims that the founders of America were Christians in any strong sense.

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  7. Doesn't it strike you that that crap about "Judeo Christian values" have been strongly on the rise since 9/11 and the rise of Radical Islam? Jewish pundits that crap on about JCVs would do well to remember that the root cause of anti-Semitism is indeed Christian opposition to Judaism. Or is AS now also a Judeo-Christian value?

    The transparency of the lies regarding JCVs is so manifest that only a complete idiot or a cynical propagandist would use them... That leaves plenty though.

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