I find that there are two extremes when it comes to looking at history and especially the founding of this nation. We have one side, that in it's attempt to remove God from our society, they twist and manipulate history to meet their goal, making out the founders to be athiests, agnostics, and deists, who broke off from Great Britain because of taxation, and who killed or drove the Indians off their land.
Then we have another side that believe wholeheartedly and without question that America was founded as a Christian nation, by great Christian men, and hold the founders in high esteem, perhaps at times on a pedastal.
Rather than criticizing the founders for where they were wrong, or glorifying the facts to make them out to be more than what they were, I would like to just take an honest look at history and pull out some facts that are left untold.
Honestly, some of my own doctrines conflict greatly with the doctrines of the founders, especially in the areas of war and nonresistance. I do believe they tried to honor God tho, and were sincere in their way of following Him. You can see that in their journals, documents and writings. And God blessed them and this naton because of that.
True, they did break off from England and fought for their Independence. It is interesting to know that taxation was not the main purpose of breaking off like we've been told; it was in fact, a minor factor. It was actually number 17 in a list of 27 reasons for breaking off from Great Britain. The two major reasons for breaking off had to do with freedom of religion and to end slavery. Many bills were sent to King George the 3rd concerning these issues, but the king vetoed them all. Now true, slavery didn't end in America nationwide til after the Civil War, but what you might not know is that probably 70 percent of the founders were oblitionists.
Also, they wanted to evangelize the Indians, but the king wouldn't allow it. Now wait!! Why would they evangelize the Indians when they ran them out or killed them for their land? Truth be told, that's not what happened! True, the Indians were badly treated in later years, but that was not how it was from the start. The land was purchased from the Natives at their own set price, and every piece of property had a title to it. The pilgrims had the longest lasting treaty with the Indians. There was Rev. Thomas Hooker and his settlers who bought Connecticut, and Rev.Roger Williams purchased Rhode Island. And then we have William Penn. The King owed William Penn a great debt and to pay it off he gave Penn the land of which is today Pennsylvania. However, Penn came over and said it was not his to take; it belonged to the Indians. As it was, several tribes claimed ownership of the land and so Penn bought it from each tribe and had titles from each one.
In the Northwest Ordinance of 1789, article 3, it stated:
'The utmost good faith shall always be observed toward the Indians; their lands and property shall never be taken from them without their consent.'
Now perhaps some people did come in and take some land or kill some Indians. I am not gonna say that it never happened. The deal is, we always hear the exception to the rule and we don't get the facts that for the most part, it wasn't that way.
Now let's take a moment and look at Thomas Jefferson. There's been a lot of myths floating around out there that he had major issues with the Bible and cut out verses he didn't agree with. But did you know Jefferson was a lifetime member of the Virginia Bible Society? He also gave very large donations to the Bible Society because he couldn't imagine anyone in Virginia being without a Bible.
He helped fund the printing of the John Thompson Bible and the Charles Thompson Bible. He gave Bibles as gifts to each of his grandchildren. He was president of the Washington DC schoolboard, and helped plan the education. The Bible was used as a textbook and annual reports were given by the children using Old and New Testament readings.
So why did he cut out portions of the Bible? Well, after sitting under a message by William Bennet on evangelizing the Indians, Jefferson went away with an idea. Bennet said in order to reach the Indians, you must first start out with something small. There was no way they could take in the whole Bible at once, they must first begin with the highlights and basic teachings. Thus Jefferson went home and began cutting and pasting key verses and parables to create what we might call a Synoptic Gospel. It contained Jesus
• Raising the dead
• Healing the sick
• Casting out demons
• Jesus the Son of God
• The Second Coming
• Heaven, Hell and Angels
The title he gave it:
'The Philosophy of Jesus of Nazareth Being Extracted from the Account of His Life and Doctrines given by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John; Being an Abridgment of the New Testament for the Use of Indians.'
That was in 1804.
Jefferson was a critic. He critiqued the morals in other nations-what worked and what didn't. He also critiqued the writing of Antoninus, Epicurus, Plato, Aristotle, and many others, all who had moral teachings in their writings. Jefferson compared every one of them and said nothing came close to the teachings of Jesus, and in 1820, he compiled 'The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth Extracted Textually from the Gospels.' It contained 50 moral teachings of Jesus including
• The Good Samaritan
• The olden Rule
• Tuning the Other Cheek
• Kindness to an enemy
• Forgiving offenders
• The Lord's Prayer
• The Great Commandment
• Morality we owe to God and man
Well there is just a tad bit of history that might be new to you. Some of it was for me! A lot more could be shared, but maybe another time.
In closing, a lot of debate could be made whether the founders were Christians or not. Certainly some were not, but I do think many were sincere in their faith even if their doctrines weren't all correct. In short, they did found a nation that is unlike all others and we can clearly see that God has blessed it. We have had freedoms like no other land, especially in our freedom of religion. No, they might not have been a perfect people, but let's not knock them down when we live here and have so enjoyed the religious liberties they passed down to us.