Whether Thomas Jefferson was a deist or a theist
Many very revisionist historians currently writing our public school textbooks make Thomas Jefferson, one of our Founding Fathers, out to be a mere deist; one who believes that some one started life and then went home to read the newspaper, and that life evolved entirely on its own from there. It is true that Jefferson had his peculiarities, including cutting out all the miracles of the Bible, The Jeffersonian Bible. However, he did believe strongly in a Creator God, Who made everything and gave it all purpose.
Let us allow Jefferson to speak for himself!He wrote fellow founder John Adams on April 11, 1823:
... I think that every Christian sect gives a great handle to atheism by their general dogma that without revelation there would not be sufficient proof of the being of God - on the contrary, I hold (without appeal to revelation) that when we take a view of the universe, in its parts, general or particular, it is impossible for the human mind not to perceive and feel a conviction of design, consummate skill, and indefinite power in every atom of its composition. The movements of the heavenly bodies, so exactly held in their course by the balance centrifugal and centripetal forces; the structure of our earth itself, with its distribution of lands, waters and atmosphere; animal and vegetable bodies, examine in all their minutest particles; insects, mere atoms of life, yet as perfectly organized as man or mammoth; the mineral substances, their generation and uses; it is impossible, I say, for the human mind not to believe, that there is in all this, design, cause and effect, up to an ultimate cause, a fabricator of all things from matter and motion, their preserver and regulator while permitted to exist in their present forms, and their regeneration into new and other forms.
We see, too, evident proofs of the necessity of a superintending power, to maintain the universe in its course and order. Stars, well known, have disappeared, new ones have come into view; comets, in their incalculable courses, may run foul of suns and planets, and require renovation under other laws; certain races of animals are become extinct; and were there no restoring power, all existences might extinguish successively, one by one, until all should be reduced to a shapeless chaos. So irresistible are these evidences of an intelligent and powerful agent, that, of the infinite numbers of men who have existed through all time, they have believed, in the proportion of a million at least to unit, in the hypothesis of an eternal preexistence of a creator, rather than in that of a self-existent universe. Surely this unanimous sentiment renders this more probable, than that of the few in the other hypothesis.
Other quotes by Thomas Jefferson:
I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.
Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice can not sleep forever: that considering numbers, nature and natural means only, a revolution of the wheel of fortune, an exchange of situation is among possible events: that it may become probable by supernatural interference!
The God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God?
We hold these truths to be self evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
"The genuine and simple religion of Jesus will one day be restored: such as it was preached and practiced by Himself."
Thank you Mr. Jefferson; well said, and well worth saying!