Were the Founding Fathers Religious?

Let’s see from their own quotes. Let’s start with James Madison:

“During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What has been its fruits? More or less, in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution.”

What about John Adams?

“As I understand the Christian religion, it was, and is a revelation. But how has it happened that millions of fables, tales, legends, have been blended with both Jewish and Christian revelation that have made them the most bloody religion that ever existed?”

Writing to Jefferson, Adams said, “I almost shudder at the thought of alluding to the most fatal example of the abuses of grief which the history of mankind has preserved – the Cross. Consider what calamities that engine of grief has produced!”

What about Thomas Paine?

“That these books are spurious, and that Moses is not the author of them; and still further, that they were not written in the time of Moses, nor till several hundred years afterwards, that they are an attempted history of the life of Moses, and of the times in which he is said to have lived….written by some very ignorant and stupid pretenders several hundred years after the death of Moses, as men now write histories of things that happened, or are supposed to have happened, several hundred or several thousand years ago…No grand and noble deity should have such atrocities and stupidities laid to his charge.”

Paine was thrown in jail for his atheism.

And, Thomas Jefferson? Well, Jefferson had a lot of quotes on religion and Christianity:

1.”Christianity is the most perverted system that ever shone on man…I am satisfied, and sufficiently occupied with the things which are, without tormenting or troubling myself about those which may indeed be, but of which I have no evidence.”

2.”Shake off all the fears of servile prejudices, under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call on her tribunal for every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear.”

3.”A professorship of theology should have no place in our institution.”

4.”The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the Supreme Being as his father, in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva. The priests of the different religious sects dread the advance of science as witches do the approach of daylight.”

5.The state-sanctioned religious authority “has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, a betting his abuses in return for protection to his own. It is easier to acquire wealth and power by this combination than by deserving them.”

6.The Declaration, “May it be to the world…the signal of arousing men to burst the chains under which monkish ignorance and superstition had persuaded them to bind themselves, and assume the blessings and security of self-government. That form which we have substituted, restores the free right to the unbounded exercise of reason and freedom of opinion. All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man.”

7.”The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately, by the grace of God.”

As Jefferson’s days began to wane, he wrote to friends that he faced the approaching end without either hope or fear. This was as much as to say, that Jefferson wasn’t a Christian. In fact, almost all of the American founders died without any priest by their bedside, as did Thomas Paine.

To your success,
Nikhil Mahadea