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Famous Deist: Thomas Jefferson

The below article, Thomas Jefferson Versus Pat Robertson, makes clear the profound Deism of Thomas Jefferson.

The inclination Pat Robertson and the religious right have to equate themselves with such important and intelligent Americans as Thomas Jefferson is obvious to anyone who has glanced through any of Pat's numerous books. The fraudulent nature of their efforts is manifest to those of us who take the time to read the writings of Jefferson and compare them to the rantings of Robertson.

His ability to not only lie, but to lie convincingly, has been essential in Pat's self-ordained mission to organize millions of primarily sincere Americans into a political action organization that sends Republican "leaders" scurrying to please the powerful organization and its leaders.

Because most of the rank and file in the religious right consider themselves patriotic Americans, and falsely believe such Americans as Thomas Jefferson were Christians as defined by today's standards, it is important to the continuation of free thinking that those misled rank and file members be enlightened regarding this subject. It will then be impossible for Pat and other charlatans to continue abusing them for his own selfish gains. Once they lose their rank and file members the environment will breath more easily, workers will stop their assent into the bowels of crass materialistic capitalism and its degradation, the arts will once again enjoy their rightful place in society, and most importantly, religious fanaticism will not be pushing the world towards an irreversible nuclear holocaust based on the insane ideas found in Revelation.

Let's take a realistic look at the profound differences between the televangelist/politician and Thomas Jefferson.

1. Pat says he firmly believes Jesus Christ has a divine nature and is the son of God.

2. Pat says he firmly believes in the immaculate conception.

3. Pat says he firmly believes in the miraculous powers of Jesus Christ.

4. Pat says he firmly believes in the resurrection and visible ascension of Jesus.

5. Pat says he firmly believes in the Trinity.

6. Pat says he firmly believes in original sin.

7. Pat says he firmly believes the Book of Revelation is part of God's word.

Thomas Jefferson, on the other hand, chose to employ his God-given reason in all situations including, and especially, in matters of religion. Here is what Mr. Jefferson wrote to William Short in a letter dated October 31, 1819 from his beautiful home of Monticello in Virginia as published in Basic Writings of Thomas Jefferson, edited by Philip S. Foner, Ph.D.:

The establishment of the innocent and genuine character of this benevolent moralist (Jesus), and the rescuing it from the imputation of imposture, which has resulted from artificial systems [E.g., The immaculate conception of Jesus, his deification, the creation of the world by him, his miraculous powers, his resurrection and visible ascension, his corporeal presence in the Eucharist, the Trinity, original sin, atonement, regeneration, election, orders of Hierarchy, etc.] invented by ultra-Christian sects, unauthorized by a single word ever uttered by him, . . .

Thomas Jefferson, in the same spirit of love of God and of truth as the above example, gave this advice to his nephew Peter Carr regarding religion:

In the first place divest yourself of all bias in favor of novelty and singularity of opinion. Indulge them in any other subject rather than that of religion. It is too important, and the consequences of error may be too serious. On the other hand shake off all the fears and servile prejudices under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal 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. You will naturally examine first the religion of your own country. Read the bible then, as you would read Livy or Tacitus.

Regarding the Bible's Book of Revelation Thomas Jefferson did not believe it was from God, but thought it was from a lunatic! In a letter to General Alexander Smyth dated January 17, 1825 Jefferson wrote that he “considered it as merely the ravings of a maniac, no more worthy nor capable of explanation than the incoherences of our own nightly dreams. I was, therefore, well pleased to see, in your first proof sheet, that it was said to be not the production of St. John, but of Cerinthus, a century after the death of that apostle. Yet the change of the author's name does not lessen the extravagances of the composition; and come they from whomsoever they may, I cannot so far respect them as to consider them as an allegorical narrative of events, past or subsequent. There is not coherence enough in them to countenance any suite of rational ideas. You will judge, therefore, from this how impossible I think it that either your explanation or that of any man in 'the heavens above, or on the earth beneath,' can be a correct one. What has no meaning admits no explanation; and pardon me if I say, with the candor of friendship, that I think your time too valuable, and your understanding of too high an order, to be wasted on these paralogisms. You will perceive, I hope, also, that I do not consider them as revelations of the Supreme Being, whom I would not so far blaspheme as to impute to Him a pretension of revelation, couched at the same time in terms which, He would know, were never to be understood by those whom they were addressed.” Thomas Jefferson makes it refreshingly clear how little he thinks of the Book of Revelation and that he thinks it's a waste of time to attempt to understand its meaning because it really has none.

Thomas Jefferson disagrees with Pat on all seven of these essential points of religious indoctrination and dogma! This leaves absolutely no common ground between the thinking of Pat and that of Mr. Jefferson. Pat is attempting to deceive the people the way he did during his presidential bid in 1988 regarding his fraudulent war record.

One quote Pat and other politically greedy Christian-politicians abuse of Thomas Jefferson's is, "I am a Christian, in the only sense he wished any one to be; sincerely attached to his doctrines, in preference to all others. . .;" The calculating political deceivers stop at this point, completely losing the meaning Mr. Jefferson conveyed with his entire passage, for it continues, "ascribing to himself every human excellence; and believing he never claimed any other." Would Pat and his congregation of sheep welcome Mr. Jefferson as a Christian knowing he rejected the idea of the divinity of Jesus? Would the Christian Coalition bank-roll him (although I'm positive he would not accept their backing) being fully aware of his "blasphemous" and dangerous ideas?

Taken from the same source as the above quote, a letter from Thomas Jefferson to Doctor Benjamin Rush dated April 21, 1803 from Washington D.C., Jefferson paints Jesus as a Deist, as the following quote illustrates.

"II. Jews. I. Their system was Deism; that is, the belief in one only God. But their ideas of Him and of his attributes were degrading and injurious.

"2. Their ethics were not only imperfect, but often irreconcilable with the sound dictates of reason and morality, as they respect intercourse with those around us; and repulsive and anti-social, as respecting other nations.(Pat would definitely disagree with Jefferson on this point, for we all know God Himself instructed the Jews to slaughter other nations and people according to the Bible. Editor) They needed reformation, therefore, in an eminent degree.

"III. Jesus. In this state of things among the Jews, Jesus appeared. His parentage was obscure; his condition poor; his education null; his natural endowments great; his life correct and innocent: he was meek, benevolent, patient, firm, disinterested, and of the sublimest eloquence.

"1. Like Socrates and Epictetus, he wrote nothing himself.

"3. According to the ordinary fate of those who attempt to enlighten and reform mankind, he fell an early victim to the jealousy and combination of the alter and the throne, at about thirty-three years of age, his reason having not yet attained the maximum of its energy, not the course of his preaching, which was but of three years at most, presented occasions for developing a complete system of morals.

"4. Hence the doctrines which he really delivered were defective as a whole, and fragments only of what he did deliver have come to us mutilated, misstated, and often unintelligible.

"5. They have been still more disfigured by the corruptions of schismatizing followers, who have found an interest in sophisticating and perverting the simple doctrines he taught, by engrafting on them the mysticisms of a Grecian sophist, frittering them into subtleties, and obscuring them with jargon, until they have caused good men to reject the whole in disgust, and to view Jesus himself as an imposter.

1. "He corrected the Deism of the Jews, confirming them in their belief of one only God, and giving them juster notions of his attributes and government."

As is evident from the above material, Mr. Jefferson was not a Christian by Pat's standards. In reality, Jefferson was a Deist. In part two of this article I will examine a project Jefferson took upon himself, which in and of itself, proves he emphatically denied the divinity of Jesus, yet he admired him for his reported sincerity and altruistic teachings.


Christians believe in the sacredness of the Bible, as Moslems believe in the sacredness of the Koran and Jews in the divine inspiration of the Talmud and Torah. In fact, you can't belong to any of the fundamentalist branches of these revealed religions without accepting the appropriate book as coming from God her/himself.

If we accept Pat's distorted idea that Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence and major figure in the creation of the American republic, was actually a Christian by today's definition then we must ignore blatant facts. We must sink ourselves into a dream world where unsubstantiated opinion finds an equal, or even exalted, place with, or to, reality. It would require something similar to preparing our minds to seriously and honestly attend church.

Would anyone who meets the requirements of being a true adherent to any revealed religion alter the "Holy Book" of their chosen faith? The obvious answer of course, is NO. Particularly with a religion such as Christianity. A religion whose god thinks nothing of drowning the entire population of planet earth including infant children, the elderly and even women and (take note Pat) their unborn babies. I guess, according to the Bible story of Noah, the Judeo-Christian god is an abortionist/mass murderer.

Again, would a person who believed in a bogey-man god such as this dare alter this particular deity’s "Holy Book"? Especially with the warning which appears at the end of the "scriptures" in Revelation 22: 18-19 which reads: "For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, if any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: and if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, . . ."

No one who actually believed in the Bible would dare alter it. Thomas Jefferson, though, did alter it! He altered it quite a bit. He completely did away with the Old Testament as barbaric trash not fit to be mentioned in the same sentence with the word God, and he eliminated everything but portions of the four Gospels. All of the epistles are gone, as well as Revelation. Does this sound like a person who would endorse Pat Robertson and the religious right? Does it sound like a person who believes the Bible to be the Word of God? Does it sound like a Christian?

People who are under the spell of Christianity, particularly the religious right/Christian Coalition/Pat Robertson brand, may not believe Mr. Jefferson actually did such a "blasphemous" thing. Anyone who doubts this, or anyone who's interested, can get their own copy of The Jefferson Bible through by clicking here.

The parts of the four Gospels Jefferson believed worthy to include as truly representing Jesus all exclude any claim of divine origin for Jesus or any miracles which contradict the eternal laws of Nature.

The dream sequence of Joseph and the angel are not to be found in the Jeffersonian version of the Bible. Because Thomas Jefferson was a great man who wasn't afraid to exercise his God-given reason to the fullest extent of his ability, he refused to believe in his own dreams, let alone in the dreams of others.

The beginning of The Jefferson Bible starts with Joseph and Mary going to Bethlehem to be taxed, and Jesus being born there. Absent are all the far-fetched superstitious ramblings which, if believed, make a mockery of the reason only God could have given us. I personally find this believable version much more appealing than the religious version. However, there is rational doubt as to whether Jesus even actually existed or is simply a fictional character like Hercules. It’s a great read! The Editor)

In a letter from Mr. Jefferson to William Short, written October 31, 1819 he described the process of discerning what he believed to be the actual words of Jesus from the forgeries of opportunistic biographers as separating, "the diamond from the dunghill, . . ." It appears Pat Robertson and the religious right choose to embrace what Jefferson considered as dung! Why is this not surprising?

We are all aware of that part of the Christian myth that makes the absurd claim that Jesus rose from the grave after being crucified. A good friend of Thomas Jefferson's, Thomas Paine, covers the contradictions in the Gospels regarding the alleged resurrection of Jesus in a very thorough and entertaining manner in his book, The Age of Reason. Paine writes:

"The book of Matthew continues its account (of the resurrection), and says (chap. xxviii., ver. I) that at the end of the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and Joanna, and Mary, the mother of James, and other women, that came to the sepulchre; and John states that Mary Magdalene came alone. So well do they agree about their first evidence! they all, however, appear to have known most about Mary Magdalene; . . .

"The book of Matthew goes on to say (ver. 2), And behold there was a great earthquake, for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. But the other books say nothing about any earthquake, nor about the angel rolling back the stone and sitting upon it, and according to their account, there was no angel sitting there. Mark says the angel was within the sepulchre, sitting on the right side. Luke says there were two, and they were both standing up; and John says they were both sitting down, one at the head and the other at the feet.

"Matthew says that the angel that was sitting upon the stone on the outside of the sepulchre told the two Marys that Christ was risen, and that the women went away quickly. Mark says that the women, upon seeing the stone rolled away and wondering at it, went into the sepulchre, and that it was the angel that was sitting within on the right side that told them so. Luke says it was the two angels that were standing up; and John says that it was Jesus himself that told it to Mary Magdalene, and that she did not go into the sepulchre, but only stooped down and looked in.

"Now, if the writers of those four books had gone into a court of justice to prove an alibi (for it is of the nature of an alibi that is here attempted to be proved, namely, the absence of a dead body by supernatural means), and had they given their evidence in the same contradictory manner as it is here given, they would have been in danger of having their ears cropped for perjury, and would have justly deserved it. Yet this is the evidence, and these are the books that have been imposed upon the world as being given by divine inspiration and as the unchangeable Word of God."

Fellow Deist Chris Sandoval has written an important new book shining the light of reason on this claim of resurrection, Can Christians PROVE The Resurrection?

As already shown, Thomas Jefferson did not believe in the divine nature of Jesus as Pat Robertson and the religious right do. Neither did Thomas Paine, as the following quote regarding the myth of the ascension of Jesus into heaven, taken from The Age of Reason plainly illustrates:

"I come now to the last scene, that of the ascension into heaven. Here all fear of the Jews, and of everything else, must necessarily have been out of the question: it was that which, if true, was to seal the whole, and upon which the reality of the future mission of the disciples was to rest for proof.

"Words, whether declarations or promises, that passed in private, either in the recess of a mountain in Galilee, or in a shut-up house in Jerusalem, even supposing them to have been spoken, could not be evidence in public; it was therefore necessary that this last scene should preclude the possibility of denial and dispute, and that it should be, as I have stated in the former part of "The Age of Reason," as public and as visible as the sun at noonday; at least it ought to have been as public as the crucifixion is reported to have been. But to come to the point.

"In the first place, the writer of the book of Matthew does not say a syllable about it; neither does the writer in the book of John. This being the case, is it possible to suppose that those writers, who affect to be even minute in other matters, would have been silent upon this, had it been true?

"The writer of the book of Mark passes it off in a careless, slovenly manner, with a single dash of the pen, as if he was tired of romancing or ashamed of the story. So also does the writer of Luke. And even between these two there is not an apparent agreement as to the place where his final parting is said to have been.

"The book of Mark says that Christ appeared to the eleven as they sat at meat, alluding to the meeting of the eleven at Jerusalem; he then states the conversation that he says passed at the meeting; and immediately after says (as a schoolboy would finish a dull story) So then, after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven and sat on the right hand of God.

"But the writer of Luke says, that the ascension was from Bethany; that he [Christ] led them out as far as Bethany, and was parted from them, and was carried up into heaven. So also was Mahomet; and as to Moses, the apostle Jude says (ver. 9) that Michael and the devil disputed about his body. While we believe such fables as these, or either of them, we believe unworthily of the Almighty."

The above quote from Thomas Jefferson makes clear he was not a man of faith, he was a man of reason. This is made evident in a letter from Thomas Jefferson to James Smith written in 1822. In that letter Jefferson wrote, "...that man, once surrendering his reason, has no remaining guard against absurdities the most monstrous, and like a ship without rudder, is the sport of every wind. With such person, gullibility which they call faith, takes the helm from the hand of reason, and the mind becomes a wreck."

Another discrepancy in the comparison of Thomas Jefferson and Pat Robertson is honesty and uprightness. This was apparent with Robertson's sly attempt at portraying himself as a combat Marine and war hero during his failed presidential bid, when in actuality his father (remember, Pat is a son-of-a-senator) got him out of dangerous combat duty during the Korean War.

Another revelation of Pat which helps define profound differences between him and Mr. Jefferson is Pat's knack to rely on ghost writers. As anyone who is vaguely familiar with Thomas Jefferson knows, he was a voluminous writer. Not only did he write the Declaration of American Independence, he also wrote The Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom and thousands of important letters of correspondence overflowing with original and progressive ideas.

Pat, on the other hand, relies on ghost writers for the appearance of originality. An excellent article appeared in Christianity Today (with a copyright from the Baptist Press), which reveals Pat not only uses ghostwriters (which makes the false impression of literary accomplishment) but that one of his key ghostwriters was a homosexual. Now how could someone as self-righteous as Pat, a pure Christian washed in the blood, do business with someone the Christians claim is an abomination to the Lord? The answer is money.

According to the article, the Christian book market generates about $3,000,000,000.00 annually. That's close to the amount of tax dollars Congress gives to the religious state of Israel! To quote from the article, "All too often, readers are buying a kind of Milli-Vanilli theology, said writer Edward Plowman, whose decades of experience includes work as a media aide to evangelist Billy Graham.

"’Few people want to name names, but everyone knows the ghosts (Holy Ghosts? Editor) are out there and that they're busier than ever,’ said Plowman, who is finishing a book called Haunted Houses. ‘Most of the time, it all comes down to money. A book with a big minister's name on it will sell far more copies than one written by someone else. I mean, Johnny Researcher may be a great writer, but no one knows or cares who he is. Right?’"

Mel White, Pat's gay ghost, wrote not only for Pat, but also for Billy Graham, Jerry Falwell and others. He is quoted in the article as saying, "The big celebrity types don't have time to read books, let alone write them. . . . It was hard to get someone like Pat Robertson to even read his own book."

As we have seen, Jefferson looked at Jesus simply as a great man and as mortal as any person on earth. He completely denied the alleged divine nature of Jesus to the point of writing to William Short on August 4, 1820 the following: "Jesus did not mean to impose himself on mankind as the Son of God." Therefore, Thomas Jefferson would not be considered a Christian by Pat Robertson's criteria.

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