The TOTAL TRUTH Solution for a Fractured America
Big Picture Answers for America's Big Problems -
Rebuilding on America's Original Worldview

by Leonard Ransil

Section 4: America Founded on a Christian Worldview
Chapter 24     Our Christian Foundation: Deist or Christian?

As stated in a previous chapter, "Hidden Worldviews", it is essential to realize that every government, organization, business and institution reflects the Worldview of its founders.  So, on which of the Eight Major Worldviews did our Founding Fathers base the establishment of America?  Before the chaos of the 1960's, it was an evident and undisputed fact that America was founded by Christians on Christian principles and, therefore, that America is a Christian nation.  However, due to the concerted efforts of a very small secular minority who have grabbed many of the levers of power and influence in America, our history has been distorted and our Founders' character and beliefs defamed.

Secularist groups like the ACLU are committed to replacing America's Christian heritage with their Materialist Worldview.  Just as they have championed the Doctrine of Evolution to corrupt genuine science, they have methodically rewritten America's history books to purposely distort and even deny our true religious and political roots, as documented in 1954 by congressional findings in the Reece Committee Report on Foundations.  They bank on the principle that if a lie - no matter how preposterous - is told loud enough and long enough, many if not most people will come to believe it. It has worked in advancing the lie of macro-evolution, Hitler's lie of superior races, and the lie that Democrats, not Republicans, have historically defended the cause of Blacks. Some groups have even declared that the Holocaust is a myth.  *see the 1954: Reece Committee Report On Foundations 

Deists or Christians

Secularists have hatched several lies about the Worldview of America's Founders.  Consider this Viewpoint editorial quote (which attempts to place Thomas Paine among our Founders) from The Charlotte Observer:

“Franklin, Washington, Jefferson, Paine and most of our other patriarchs were at best deists, believing in the unmoved mover of Aristotle, but not the God of the Old and New Testaments.”1
Such fabrications are easily dispelled by the facts.  The Vine and Fig Tree website writer points out, "It would be difficult to name a single one of the Founding Fathers who approved of Paine's Age of Reason, his famous tract attacking religion in general and evangelical Christianity in particular. Even less-than-evangelicals like Benjamin Franklin and the "Unitarians" all denounced Paine's book."2  When asked his opinion of Paine's manuscript, Franklin replied:              
"I have read your manuscript with some attention. By the argument it contains against a particular Providence, though you allow a general Providence, you strike at the foundations of all religion. For without the belief of a Providence that takes cognizance of, guards, and guides, and may favor particular persons, there is no motive to worship a Deity, to fear his displeasure, or to pray for his protection. I will not enter into any discussion of your principles, though you seem to desire it. At present I shall only give you my opinion that ... the consequence of   printing this piece will be a great deal of odium drawn upon yourself, mischief to you, and no benefit to others. ... I would advise you, therefore, not to attempt unchaining the tiger, but to burn this piece before it is seen by any other person ... If men are so wicked with religion, what would they be without it?"3
The next outlandish quote from The Los Angeles Times quote was picked up on the wire services and appeared in newspapers across the nation:
“The early Presidents and patriots were generally deists or Unitarians, believing in some form of impersonal Providence but rejecting the divinity of Jesus and the relevance of the bible.”4
Similarly, In a June 19, 2004 article entitled "Judeo-Christian Heritage?" posted on his Erasmatazz website, author Chris Crawford states:
...“Contrary to some of the modern mythology, the Founding Fathers were not particularly religious. Indeed, I would guess that they were less religiously inclined than most modern politicians. The American republic was more than anything else a child of the Enlightenment, which was more than just a philosophy: it was an entire way of thinking. If you want to get a feeling for it, read Voltaire or Rousseau; these two were the leading lights of the Enlightenment."...
What nonsense!  The guesswork and fabrications in these quotes represent the modern mythology of America’s Founders and their beliefs.  As for the Enlightenment, read atheists like Voltaire and Rousseau if you want to get a feel for the anarchist blood bath that was the French Revolution.  That debacle was the ugly child of the Enlightenment which sought to throw off all social and religious restraints in a misguided effort to redefine freedom as the power to do whatever one pleases.

The Real Benjamin Franklin

While our Founders were opposed to the abuses of civil and ecclesiastic authority and power in Europe, they were equally against atheism and, therefore, secularism in America.  Benjamin Franklin made that clear to the French when he wrote:
"Hence bad Examples to Youth are more rare in America, which must be a comfortable Consideration to Parents. To this may be truly added, that serious Religion, under its various Denominations, is not only tolerated, but respected and practiced.  Atheism is unknown there; Infidelity {defined in Noah Webster's 1828 Dictionary as a disbelief in the Scriptures and in Christianity} rare and secret; so that persons may live to a great Age in that Country, without having their Piety shocked by meeting with either an Atheist or an Infidel."5
It is important to note that Franklin, a poster boy for today’s “free-thinking” Secularists, is applauding “serious religion, under its various denominations” by which he specifically meant Christian denominations and, therefore Christianity, since the vast majority of Americans at that time were Christians.  In fact, as late as 1776, 150 years after the Pilgrims landed, the makeup of America was: 98 percent Protestant Christians; 1.8 percent Catholic Christians; .2 of 1 percent Jews.6

That was not by accident.  While the early settlers were almost exclusively Christians of different denominations, devotion to God ebbed and flowed in the colonies over time.  But:
"Between 1730 and 1745 there swept over the American colonies from Maine to Georgia a religious revival known as the Great Awakening. The revival movement, unlike the earlier doctrine of the Puritans, promised the grace of God to all who could experience a desire for it."7
According to an eyewitness account by Benjamin Franklin commenting on the famous revivalist, George Whitefield:
"The multitudes of all sects and denominations that attended his sermons were enormous, and it was matter of speculation to me, who was one of the number, to observe the extraordinary influence of his oratory on his hearers, and bow much they admir'd and respected him,... It was wonderful to see the change soon made in the manners of our inhabitants. From being thoughtless or indifferent about religion, it seem'd as if all the world were growing religious, so that one could not walk thro' the town in an evening without hearing psalms sung in different families of every street."8  
Moreover, Franklin was so taken by the “serious religion” of George Whitefield’s message and ability and the potential he saw for social good that he wrote the following letter to him:
"To Geo. Whitefield  New York, July 2, 1756
Dear Sir:

... I sometimes wish that you and I were jointly employed by the crown to settle a colony on the Ohio. I imagine that we could do it effectually, and without putting the nation to much expense; but I fear that we shall never be called upon for such a service.  What a glorious thing it would be to settle in that fine country a large, strong body of religious and industrious people!

... Might it not greatly facilitate the introduction of pure religion among the heathen, and if we could, by such a colony, show them a better sample of Christians than they commonly see among Indian traders? ... In such an enterprise, I could spend the remainder of life with pleasure; and I firmly believe that God would bless us with success, if we undertook it with a sincere regard to His honour, the service of our gracious king, and (which is the same thing), the public good."9
Franklin Calls for Prayer

Does that sound like a man who was indifferent to God or regarded him as an impersonal force?  While Franklin apparently never became born again in Jesus Christ, he obviously believed that God did intervene in our affairs as indicated by his appeal that broke the deadlock at the Constitutional Convention:
"I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth, that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the Sacred Writings, that 'except the Lord build the House, they labor in vain that build it.' I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without His concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better, than the Builders of Babel: We shall be divided by our partial local interests; our projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall become a reproach and bye word down to future ages. And what is worse, mankind may hereafter from this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing governments by human wisdom and leave it to chance, war and conquest.

I therefore beg leave to move that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the clergy of this city be requested to officiate in that service."10 (emphasis added)
By this account, Franklin believed that God directly, if not miraculously, intervened in the "natural" functioning of the universe.  Deists today do not pray to God; Benjamin Franklin did.  It is obvious that the term meant something quite different in his day than it does in ours, since he rejected the "God as indifferent clockmaker” model.  And his actions speak louder than his words:
"Benjamin Franklin's 1749 plan of education for public schools in Pennsylvania insisted that schools teach the religion ... and the excellency of the Christian religion above all others, ancient or modern."  Franklin proposed a Biblical inscription for the Seal of the United States; he chose a New Testament verse for the motto of the Philadelphia Hospital; he was one of the chief proponents of a paid chaplain in Congress; and when Franklin helped found the college which bore his name in 1787, it was dedicated as 'a nursery of religion and learning built on Christ, the Corner-Stone'."11 
Christianity In Contrast To Deism

The Founders were not "generally" or "mostly" deists.  Russell Kirk writes in The Roots of American Order :
"... the men called Deists differed among themselves on many points. ... Deism was an outgrowth of seventeenth-and eighteenth-century scientific speculation. The Deists professed belief in a single Supreme Being, but rejected a large part of Christian doctrine.

For the Christian, the object of life was to know God and enjoy Him forever; for the Deist, the object of life was private happiness. For the Deists, the Supreme Being indeed was the creator of the universe, but He did not interfere with the functioning of His creation. The Deists denied that Old and New Testaments were divinely inspired; they doubted the reality of miracles; they held that Jesus of Nazareth was not the Redeemer, but a grand moral teacher merely. Thoroughly rationalistic, the Deists discarded all elements of mystery in religion, trying to reduce Christian teaching to a few simple truths. They, and the Unitarians who arose about the same time, declared that man was good by nature, not corrupt; they hoped to liberate mankind from superstition and fear."12 
It is clear that Deists were not popular among the predominately Christian population and were not allowed to hold public office because they did not believe in the God on which the oath of office was to be taken.  Patrick Henry’s sentiments were the norm for that time:
"[T]he rising greatness of our country ... is greatly tarnished by the general prevalence of deism which, with me, is by another name for vice and depravity ... . I hear it is said by the deists that I am one of their number; and indeed that some good people think I am no Christian.  This thought gives me much more pain than the appellation of Tory [being called a traitor], because I think religion of infinitely higher importance than politics.... [B]eing a a character which I prize far above all this world has or can boast."13
America Founded by Christians

Secularists like to use Patrick Henry’s quote to prove that our Founders “were generally deists.”  But Dr. M. E. Bradford of the University of Dallas, who wrote a series of biographical sketches on the fifty-five delegates to the Constitutional Convention, documented their religious affiliations: 28 Episcopalians, 8 Presbyterians, 7 Congregationalists, 2 Lutherans, 2 Dutch Reformed, 2 Methodists, 2 Roman Catholics, 3 deists and 1 unknown.  At most, 5.5 percent of America’s Founders were deists, 3 of 55, though many of them may have embraced deist convictions at some point in their lives.

It is obvious that Secularists are distorting the facts about America’s wonderful Christian heritage.  The next chapter will consider their absurd claims made about Thomas Jefferson and others so that the truth can win out over falsehood.
Additional recommended resources:articles by William J. Federer, Christian Worldview Network, David Barton's book, Original Intent, and Bible Bulletin Board.  
1 Michael McDonald, "Founding Fathers Weren't Devout," The Charlotte Observer, Viewpoint, Friday, January 15, 1993, 7A.
2 Vine and Fig Tree, "Were the Founding Fathers 'Deists,' 'Freethinkers,' and 'Infidels'?", retrieved May 15, 2007.
3 Jared Sparks, The Works of Benjamin Franklin, Boston: Tappan, Whittemore, and Mason, 1840, Vol.X, pp. 281-2 as quoted by Wallbuilders, retrieved May 15, 2007.
4 Steven Morris, “America’s Unchristian Beginnings”, The Los Angeles Times, August 3, 1995, p. B-9.
5 Benjamin Franklin, "Information to Those Who Would Remove to America", The Founders' Constitution, Volume 1, Chapter 15, Document 27, The University of Chicago Press,, retrieved May 15, 2007.
6 D. James Kennedy, Coral Ridge Ministries, "America: A Christian Nation", Coral Ridge Ministries,, retrieved May 15, 2007.
7 National Humanities Institute, Jonathan Edwards: On the Great Awakening, December 12, 1743,, retrieved May 15, 2007.
8 Archiving Early America, "The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin",, retrieved May 15, 2007.
9 The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Vol. XXII, 1868, p. 268,, retrieved May 15, 2007.
10 The Congressional Prayer Caucus, Prayer in Congress,, retrieved May 15, 2007.
11 J. B. Williams, "Why America is One Nation Under God",, retrieved May 15, 2007.
12 Russell Kirk, The Roots of American Order, pp.337-38 as quoted by Vine and Fig Tree,, retrieved May 15, 2007.
13 S.G.Arnold, The Life of Patrick Henry of Virginia, Auburn and Buffalo:Miller, Orton and Mulligan, 1854, pp. 249-250, as quoted by David Barton, Original Intent: The Courts, the Constitution, and Religion, Wallbuilder Press, Aledo, TX, 2005, p. 145.
14 M. E. Bradford, “A Worthy Company: Brief Lives of the Framers of the United Sates Constitution,” Marlborough, N.H.: Plymouth Rock Foundation, 1982, pp. iv-v; adapted and used by John Eidsmoe, “Christianity and the Constitution,” Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1987, p. 41, as quoted by The Spirit of Prophecy, "The Religious Makeup of the Delegates To The Constitutional Convention, 1787,", retrieved May 15, 2007.

Total Truth = Big Picture Thinking
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