Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Thomas Jefferson on Jesus Christ

My post is in reaction to a comment made by
commentator, Fonso. Without source, Fonso
attributes the following quote to Thomas
Jefferson(TJ): "I am a real Christian, that
is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of
Jesus." From there Fonso makes an erroneous
opinion: "He(TJ)subscribed to what was written
in the Bible(doctrines of Jesus).

The problem is that Fonso and his fellow
Christian reactionary followers try to use TJ
to make him into a Christian. However, the facts
just do not support such attempts. There are
so many outstanding extant quotes in TJ's writings,
statements, and letters that it is difficult to
narrow them down. Jefferson viewed any religion,
and especially Christianity, as a "form of tyranny
over the mind of man." (TJ to Benjamin Rush, 1800)
This hostility to religion and to Christianity
specifically is a constant with TJ. Indeed, the
last letter that he penned just nine days before his
death on July 4, 1826 again reminded the nation about
the danger of religion in public affairs.

TJ in his Autobiography over the debates over the
Virginia Act for Religious Freedom wrote: "When the
preamble declares that coercion is a departure from
the plan of the holy author or our religion, an
amendment was proposed by inserting 'Jesus Christ',
so that it would read "a departure from the plan of
Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion," the
insertion was rejected by the great majority, in proof
that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its
protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and
the Mohammedan, the Hindoo and Infidel of every

On January 8, 1789 TJ wrote Richard Price: "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 worshipped by those who think themselves

TJ to John Adams, January 24, 1814: "The whole history of these
books(the Gospels) is so defective and doubtful that it seems
vain to attempt minute enquiry into it, and such tricks have
been played with their text, and with the texts of other books
relating to them, that we have a right, from that course, to
entertain much doubt which parts of them are genuine. In the
New Testament there is internal evidence that parts of it have
proceeded from an extraordinary man; and that other parts are
of the fabric of very inferior minds. It is easy to separate
those parts, as to pick out diamonds from dunghills."

TJ to William Short, April 13, 1820: "Among the sayings and the
discourses imputed to him, Jesus, by his biographers, I find
many passages of fine imagination, correct morality and of the
most benevolence; and others again of such ignorance, so much
absurdity, so much untruth, charlatanism, and imposture, as to
pronounce it impossible that such contradictions should have
proceeded from the same being."

TJ to John Adams, April 11, 1823: "And 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 classified with the fable
of the generation of Minerve in the brain of Jupiter. But may
we hope that the dawn of reason and freedom of thought in these
United States will do away with the artificial scaffolding, and
restore us the primitive and genuine doctrines of this most
venerated reformer of human errors."

Indeed, Jefferson rewrote the Bible..It is called The Jefferson
Bible. He viewed Christ as obviously not devine, he writes often
about the demonism of Christianity, but he recognizes Christ as
an "extraordinary man". Jefferson considers the Bible a book
of superstition and mysticism. When Jefferson said, if he did,
that "I am a real Christian", the emphasis should be put on the
adjective "real", Fonso, not Christian. He only accepts the moral
doctrines of Jesus only.

Lefty Blogs