The Faiths of the Founding Fathers

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Oxford University Press, 2006 M05 1 - 240 páginas
It is not uncommon to hear Christians argue that America was founded as a Christian nation. But how true is this claim? In this compact book, David L. Holmes offers a clear, concise and illuminating look at the spiritual beliefs of our founding fathers. He begins with an informative account of the religious culture of the late colonial era, surveying the religious groups in each colony. In particular, he sheds light on the various forms of Deism that flourished in America, highlighting the profound influence this intellectual movement had on the founding generation. Holmes then examines the individual beliefs of a variety of men and women who loom large in our national history. He finds that some, like Martha Washington, Samuel Adams, John Jay, Patrick Henry, and Thomas Jefferson's daughters, held orthodox Christian views. But many of the most influential figures, including Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, John and Abigail Adams, Jefferson, James and Dolley Madison, and James Monroe, were believers of a different stripe. Respectful of Christianity, they admired the ethics of Jesus, and believed that religion could play a beneficial role in society. But they tended to deny the divinity of Christ, and a few seem to have been agnostic about the very existence of God. Although the founding fathers were religious men, Holmes shows that it was a faith quite unlike the Christianity of today's evangelicals. Holmes concludes by examining the role of religion in the lives of the presidents since World War II and by reflecting on the evangelical resurgence that helped fuel the reelection of George W. Bush. An intriguing look at a neglected aspect of our history, the book will appeal to American history buffs as well as to anyone concerned about the role of religion in American culture.

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LibraryThing Review

Crítica de los usuarios  - Cheryl.Russell - LibraryThing

A balanced view of the religious beliefs of the Founding Fathers. Leer comentario completo

LibraryThing Review

Crítica de los usuarios  - JeffChadwell - LibraryThing

I thought it was a great book. I've known since high school that many of our Founding Fathers considered themselves Deists, but I never really knew what that meant. This book gave me a much better idea of what Deists believe and showed how this belief system influenced the birth of our nation. Leer comentario completo

Contenido

Martha Custis Washington
111
Eleanor Parke Custis Lewis
114
Abigail Smith Adams
116
Martha Wayles Skelton Jefferson
120
Martha Jefferson Randolph and Maria Jefferson Eppes
121
Dolley Payne Madison
124
A Laypersons Guide to Distinguishing a Deist from an Orthodox Christian
132
Three Orthodox Christians
142

The Anglican Tradition and the Virginia Founding Fathers
32
The Enlightenment Religion of Deism
38
The Founding Fathers and Deism
48
The Religious Views of Benjamin Franklin
52
The Religious Views of George Washington
58
The Religious Views of John Adams
72
The Religious Views of Thomas Jefferson
78
The Religious Views of James Madison
90
The Religious Views of James Monroe
98
The Wives and Daughters of the Founding Fathers
108
Elias Boudinot
149
John Jay
153
The Past Is a Foreign Country
160
Epilogue
164
Notes
186
Bibliography
202
Illustration Credits
210
Index
214
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Página 75 - God of God, Light of Light, Very God of Very God, Begotten, not made, Being of one substance with the Father, By Whom all things were made; Who, for us men, and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary, and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate.
Página 55 - The Body Of Benjamin Franklin, Printer, (Like the cover of an old book, Its contents torn out, And stript of its lettering and gilding,) Lies here, food for worms. But the work shall not be lost, For it will, as he believed, appear once more, In a new and more elegant edition, Revised and corrected By THE AUTHOR.
Página 26 - About a quarter before nine, while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone, for salvation; and an assurance was given me that He had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.
Página 12 - ROCK of Ages, cleft for me, Let me hide myself in Thee! Let the water and the blood, From Thy riven side which flowed, Be of sin the double cure — Cleanse me from its guilt and power.
Página 46 - I believe in one God, and no more; and I hope for happiness beyond this life. I believe in the equality of man, and I believe that religious duties consist in doing justice, loving mercy, and endeavoring to make our fellow-creatures happy.
Página 36 - ALMIGHTY and most merciful Father; We have erred, £\ and strayed from thy ways like lost sheep. We have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts. We have offended against thy holy laws. We have left undone those things which we ought to have done; And we have done those things which we ought not to have done; And there is no health in us.
Página 75 - I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of life, who proceedeth from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified, who spake by the Prophets.
Página 36 - YE that do truly and earnestly repent you of your sins, and are in love and charity with your neighbours, and intend to lead a new life, following the commandments of God, and walking from henceforth in his holy ways, draw near with faith, and take this Holy Sacrament to your comfort; and make your humble confession to Almighty God, meekly kneeling upon your knees.
Página 95 - The Father is made of none : neither created nor begotten. The Son is of the Father alone : not made, nor created, but begotten. The Holy Ghost is of the Father and of the Son : neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding.
Página 69 - The LORD God of gods, the LORD God of gods, he knoweth, and Israel he shall know ; if it be in rebellion, or if in transgression against the LORD, (save us not this day...

Acerca del autor (2006)

David L. Holmes is Walter G. Mason Professor of Religious Studies at the College of William and Mary. He is the author of A Brief History of the Episcopal Church, A Nation Mourns, other books, and numerous articles.

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