Thursday, January 29, 2009

Thomas Jefferson...what a mind

John F. Kennedy once said, to an assembled group of scholars in the White House:

"I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, that has ever been gathered at the White House - with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone"

These quotes by Thomas Jefferson prove his point:

The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.

It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes. A principle which if acted on would save one-half the wars of the world.

I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.

My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government..

No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.

The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.

The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.


In light of the present financial crisis, it's interesting to read what Thomas Jefferson said in 1802:

"I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around the banks will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered. "

Z; Pretty amazing, huh?



Sue said...

Thomas Jefferson wrote:

'All men are created equal'

Then he went home to have his slaves pull off his boots and serve him tea.

christian soldier said...

When I found (in the early 80s) the true history of the US as taught by M. Foster and his Mayflower Institute-I knew that my excellent HS and University had lied by omission having not taught the truth of the founding of this great country...
The words of-Jefferson-
Z-have you ever read the prayer journal of the young George Washington?...Did you know that his enemy once said that his character was the wonder of the world? Now his name is hard to find in our childrens' text books...
See you tomorrow...


Anonymous said...

It is amazing how wise Jefferson was. The applicability for today's issues is stunning. It also proves that one does not need to use a lot of words to accurately describe situations.

It also demonstrates that while 'men are created equal' before God, that does not mean that they are able to fulfill the same functions on earth (the big lie of communism).


Papa Frank said...

Now Sue answer me this: How did he treat his slaves? Did he treat them with respect? Did he beat them? Did he give them good lodging and nourishment? How about the whole story for once. If you want racism I'l give it to you in spades. It's called the Democrats. You STILL continue to elect Robert Byrd. You founded and funded the KKK. You were the majority of slave owners. But I guess you don't see any of those realities.

Anonymous said...

He was ahead of his time.
We visited Monticello a few years back and it was just amazing.

Pasadena Closet Conservative said...

Get over it, Sue!

It was a different time. There's no way to analyze it intelligently with a present-day mindset.

I appeal to you and others to see all sides of the man.

He was not a one-dimensional monster. But that's all you see him as, and sadly it's your loss.

Average American said...

And for those that don't know, Thomas Jefferson was America's first part black President----NOT NOBAMA!!

Anonymous said...

Here's a good one:
"The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not"

Heck this is HALF of Obama's bill he's talking about! All of those quotes except the last were spot on Z. Jefferson was an amazing man.


Anonymous said...

Sorry folks, Jefferson was a bit of a stuffed shirt. My hero is and always will be the author or Poor Richard.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...


A learned blockhead is a greater blockhead than an ignorant one.

A countryman between two lawyers is like a fish between two cats.

A man wrapped up in himself makes a very small bundle.

A small leak can sink a great ship.

...and I'll think I'll stop at this one:

Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain and most fools do.

I.H.S. said...

"It was a different time. There's no way to analyze it intelligently with a present-day mindset."-PCC

I agree with that statement, I would also say in response to Sue; that Truth has a way of being spoken by people even if they themselves aren't aware of the impact those words hold.

Thomas Jefferson spoke truth when he wrote, "...ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL". Though that Truth was realized much later, it was nontheless REALIZED.


Z said...

Carol, the childrens' textbooks are too full of America the racist country and we should get used to feeling guilty for having been a world's unbelievable. Parents need to CHECK.

Mr Z..I think that's true...

Papa..Bob Byrd ALWAYS gets a pass....NOTHING he ever did brings any condemnation; they're too busy naming highways and buildings after the Klan Recruiter.

Pinky...unbelievable brain...even to simple things like the Lazy Susan! cracks me up to think of that...I'd like to go there as the pictures are of such a graceful, beautiful building.

Morgan...and our Left is too busy admiring obama to realize the consequences of that quote! To our peril.

FJ...great quotes! FRANKLIN~? You'd love the statue of him in Paris..I was always proud to pass it.

Pasadena and I.H.S...I believe that to be true as well....different times, valid statement... .what a bunch of unbelievable men God started this country with.

Anonymous said...

Yes, and even now, it seems the great porkulus spending bill has passages about no projects being done unless the materials used are US products.

Now, that might sound good to some, but the truth is, good old protectionism and payback to Unions is what is going on here.

All men ARE created equal. It does not mean they are all the same.
Big difference.

We all are born with unlimited choices in this country , but what happens in the future is up to the individual.

By the way, for anyone who cares:
George Washington actually wrote and had published a book on manners and etiquette when he was only 14 years old.
The man had so much class and honor.

Anonymous said...

Pretty amazing indded.

Great thoughts Z

I really enjoyed reading it.

Sue said...

papa frank: give me a break. It's ok to have slaves if you treat them well. There's something missing in that equation.
(He went out to the slave shacks and treated Sally Hemmings very well)

Pasadena CC: Yes, it was a different time. A time when people
enjoyed the luxury of not having to do for themselves when they could force other human beings to do it for them. The time when people freed their slaves AFTER they died.

Thomas Jefferson spoke the truth that All Men Are Created Equal. But the truth is he wasn't willing to give up the luxury of slaves in his time.

Z said...

Sue, why not address I.H.S.?

In the comments to your remark, did CONTEXT mean absolutely nothing to you?
Does nothing Jefferson said or did have any merit?

Elmers Brother said...

He went out to the slave shacks and treated Sally Hemmings very well)

That has turned out to be most likely false. His brother Randolf was the likely father of one of her children.

Papa Frank said...

And about the majority of slave owners being democrats? The KKK the brainchild of Democrats? Robert Byrd?

Carmi said...

Big government has always scared me. I've always been intrigued by politicians who run for office on a platform of shrinking the size and weight of government, only to be disappointed afterward when their efforts fizzle.

It's almost as if the so-called system has become immune to change. I don't believe it is, and I believe there are forces capable of using next-generation technology and process to effect said change. But it won't be easy. It'll take drive and partnership. I hope society has the will to see it through.

Carmi said...

Oh, loved your comment on my blog, btw. Cool that your sis lives in London, too. I wonder if I know her! (It's a city of 350,000, yet everyone seems to know everyone here...a very cool small-town vibe. One of the reasons I love it here.)

I've got some snow pics in the pipeline. On the way...

Gayle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gayle said...

I have a video posted at the top of my blog where a black man tells people that it is utterly stupid to hold the white race who is living now responsible for crimes committed by people who are long dead! He's absolutely right.

Jefferson had it exactly right too. He was brilliant. Good post here, girlfriend.

I.H.S. said...

Sue, this is why I said, "that Truth has a way of being spoken by people even if they themselves aren't aware of the impact..."

Whether he lived by what he said or not; it was still TRUTH. And, that TRUTH today is realized by most; because there are still who think that I and those that look like me think we should still be in chains. And the TRUTH to this is, "IT AIN"T NEVER GONNA HAPPEN AGAIN".


Z said...

Thanks, I.H.S...and Thomas Jefferson TODAY would totally agree with you.

Sue said...

I.H.S: Yes, he wrote the truth. They are beautiful words. But he speaks with forked tongue. He gets the credit for those beautiful words and he also had the luxury of having slaves. That is what gripes me about Thomas Jefferson.

Ducky's here said...

Will we be seeing you folks moving to a no government, fully armed Libertarian paradise like Afghanistan or Somalia soon?

Sue said...

z - Absolutely Thomas Jefferson had merit. I give him credit for everything he did, and he did a lot. He also died broke and left his daughter to pay off his debts.

But this thing about All men are created equal and still having slaves will always bother me.

dmarks said...

Papa: For most of its existence, the Democratic Party has been on the side of the racists.

First it was the party of slavery, then Jim Crow.

Now it is the party of affirmative action "quotas", preferences, and goals.

The Democratic Party's current racism isn't near as bad as slavery and Jim Crow, but it does exist. And still, the Republicans are the ones generally fighting for racial equality.

Sue: "'All men are created equal'

If the Democrats really believe this, then it is time for them to oppose any and all policies which punish and reward based on skin color. We would welcome (for example) the Dems lining up 100% to sign Ward Connerly's civil rights initiatives.

Ducky's here said...

How did his idea that the nation could be run entirely on import tariffs work out?

I bet it didn't force him to downsize the Navy so that he was a little week and had to pay of the Barbary pirates after he refused to pay tribute.

Odd that you folks love the one president who was absolutely AGAINST a strong national defense. He didn't even want a standing national army.

Genius? Hardly.

Z said...

dMarks..such an important point about the civil rights initiatives.
Once, we badly needed to rid America of slavery, Jim Crow, the Klan, etc...there are still hate filled groups of all color and credo...but we've come a LONG way.

But, today, real civil rights are real respect...for everyone, based on, as Dr. King said, their CHARACTER. Reading Clarence Thomas' book makes one have worked that hard at Yale and then to get jobs and feel that some people thought it was his color that got him his good grades!?! What a HORRIBLE situation. HOW disrespectful and dishonoring.

Ducky's here said...

Jefferson APPOINTED the government in the new Louisiana territories after Monroe brilliantly pulled off the purchase and immediately set to collecting taxes.
Did that constitute taxation without representation?

Z said...

Ducky, the Republican party then was committed to reducing the standing army and so Jefferson worked to find the very best soldiers available so they only had the best. They weren't committed to getting rid of the army. CONTEXT, Ducky..CONTEXT.

Yes, according to the quotes on the piece here? GENIUS, you bet.
JFK was right.

Z said...

I'm arguing with American liberals about whether Thomas Jefferson was a genius, against our national defence, and/or a racist.

This says a lot, doesn't it?

Ducky's here said...

z, I'm sorry but you are just plain WRONG.

Jefferson was so frightened of standing armies that he decided to invade Canada, used untrained militias and the British decided to spank him by burning Washington. That's not a universal opinion but it has a substantial following.

Jefferson is an extremely over rated figure who accomplished little as president.

Ducky's here said...

Now Sue answer me this: How did he treat his slaves? Did he treat them with respect? Did he beat them?


Frank, are you serious?

Pat Jenkins said...

you know what would be great z, a compare and contrast! you could quote jefferson, and then have the contrast with a quote form obama! though the bad side of that would be it shows how far we have fallen with our leadership!

Z said...

thanks, Pat! Good idea.!

Ducky, read about slavery. There are books on how 'slaves' actually loaned cash to their 'owners'......CONTEXT, Ducky. Not all were treated badly, as badly as BEING OWNED is. We can't make slavery go away, but we can be truthful and realize that even people who were owned were sometimes treated well. Does that make slavery RIGHT? (I can't believe I have to say this, but I know from experience I must)...OF COURSE NOT.........but, it happened.

It's was NOT uniquely American (though the left likes to use it to thrash America with)..and we were the first to rid ourselves of institutional slavery. BUT...that doesn't matter. it was TERRIBLE..and Thos Jefferson is a monster for having lived the same life others lived. To those who can't understand CONTEXT. I know.

DaBlade said...

The tree of liberty is withering with the democrats in charge. We will soon see the fruit from this poisonous tree.

Anonymous said...

The fact that our founders were human beings who were not without flaws is not news.

What is amazing is that such people came together to form a government which had as it's main goal, a country whose ideals and precepts embodied freedom and independence.

They set out to create a Republic in the face of great odds against it's success, and at great risk to themselves.

So Sue, we can today, nit pick and minimize these great men for their human failings, but, if not for them, America would not exist, or have been a beacon for all who wish to be free.

It behooves us all to read Jefferson's words and warnings, and remember if we take America's gifts for granted and listen to false prophets, the very country that gave us our opportunities for meaningful lives on our own terms, can be no more.

I say, God bless those great men. I think some gratitude is in order.


Sue said...

ducky: We surely all agree that slavery is and was wrong.

That's nice if TJ treated his slaves decently.

But how you treat your slaves has nothing to do with whether slavery was right or wrong.

Slavery was wrong. A man of his stature and intelligence should have recognized this - and acted upon it when he was alive.

Let's not skirt the issue.

CJ said...

Jefferson deserves credit for a great deal though I have a problem with him because he rewrote the Bible -- to leave out all the supernatural stuff that offended his Enlightenment-educated mind.

But I just wanted to chime in here on slavery just to point out that it was pretty much a universal institution up until fairly recent times, so I'm agreeing with those who say the mindset of our times can't rightly judge something so built into the life of former times just because we have a perspective they didn't have.

It was accepted in Old Testament times because it was so universal, though humane laws were given in the Bible to govern it. The New Testament didn't make an issue of it either for the same reason. However, Paul did touch on the question when he returned the slave Onesimus to his master with the hope that the master would treat him as a brother in Christ as equal even to Paul himself.

It did become a matter of Christian conscience over time, however, to do away with slavery altogether, and finally it was done in the West. It still persists in the Middle East and Africa.

Ducky's here said...

Far from advocating a "minimal state", we find it unquestionable that in an advanced society government ought to use its power of raising funds by taxation to provide a number of services which for various reasons cannot be provided or cannot be provided adequately by the market.
Hayek, "Law, Legislation, and Liberty" 1982

CJ said...

In other words, Sue, it was not so obvious in former times, as it still isn't in other parts of the world, that slavery is wrong, as you claim:

Slavery was wrong. A man of his stature and intelligence should have recognized this - and acted upon it when he was alive.

Be careful how you judge others. Who are you to say he should have recognized this, when there is absolutely no doubt that you wouldn't have recognized it yourself in his time.

Tony C said...

One of my favorite Jefferson quotes -

"When the government fears the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny."

No doubt where we stand today.

Have a great weekend Z!

Ducky's here said...

... liberty may be endangered by the abuses of liberty as well as by the abuses of power...
James Madison

Elmers Brother said...

you think Jefferson had a problem?

What about Jimmmah Carter?

1. he met privately with the head of the States Rights Council, a white supremacist group, and campaigned in all-white private schools that were known as 'segregation academies,' where he promised that he would do 'everything' to support their existence. 'I have no trouble pitching for [George] Wallace [segregationist] votes and the black votes at the same time,' he told a reporter. He also said to another reporter, 'I can win this election without a single black vote.'"

2. "I see nothing wrong with ethnic purity being maintained."

3. I am sick and tired of hearing about the Holocaust.

4. ...the U.S. should take "more forceful action" with Israel, Arafat "may well see the suicide attacks as one of the few ways to retaliate against his tormentors." [Emphasis added.] He then blamed Ariel Sharon for the popularity of suicide bombers, whom he described as "counterproductive."

5.'s Jew-killers are just "misguided young men and women," but withholding aid to Palestinians for electing Hamas is a "crime."

6. Not only are Jews to blame for dead Jews, they are to blame for dead everyone else.

7. He's "never met a dictator he didn't like,"

Elmers Brother said...

What about Theodore Roosevelts support of eugenics?

Elmers Brother said...

anyone want to talk Lincoln? FDR?

Sue said...

cj: As Norman Dale said in Hoosiers: My team's on the floor.

Thomas Jefferson could put words together so they sounded real good.

Maybe he invented the lazy susan.

And he trained his pet mockingbird to take food from his lips.

But anyone that says that 'All men are created equal' and still owns slaves has got to be superficial.

I still maintain that slavery is wrong whether you beat your slaves or not.

I.H.S. said...

Sue, did you ever stop to consider that Thomas Jefferson was speaking in a limited sense?

Meaning: He was speaking to colonist, and as you well know they didn't view slaves as people.

But, again that has nothing to do with the TRUTH being written, he just didn't fully understand the depth or meaning of the TRUTH.


christian soldier said...

Slavery-just where is it being practiced today-- HMMMMM !!!

highboy said...

I like the part where Jefferson used government funds to convert various Indian tribes to Christianity.

CJ said...

Sue, WE're all agreed that slavery is wrong. The point is that THEY didn't agree and you don't have the right to insist they see things the way you do 250 years later.

Now I'm beginning to wonder just why it was necessary to say "all men are created equal" if they didn't consider blacks to be fully human? They had to be correcting some earlier social problem in which men were not all considered equal. Who? Where? When?

Z said...

I'd even go so far as to say Jefferson did include the Black man when he said that phrase (though I think I.H.S. has a very worthwhile suggestion there.. it certainly fits the times, sadly!) but Jefferson was strapped with the TIMES, the CONTEXT! What was he going to do, just let them go? to WHAT? Who'd HIRE them? Educate them? ANYBODY!? Then what!

I had an acquaintance whose family had lived in S Africa for YEARS..with people on the farm who lived there like on a plantation. They paid them, obviously, but the Black families on their farms had BECOME family to THEM. When Isabelle had to leave because it was getting dangerous there, these Black families begged them to stay and let them live with them! They had been bullied by their own people to leave Isabelle but they did NOT WANT TO GO! And, look, things have become SO much worse for the Black man in S. Africa! We aren't hearing it in the American news. It's a nightmare now, very unsafe cities where they were safe once... horrid.

I digress.

Highboy...I don't know if you've got your tongue in your cheek or not, but I'd say that was a good thing. I'm just surprised that it was Jefferson because, though the left and secularists like to say ALL our founding fathers were "deists", Jefferson's about the only one who could REALLY be labeled that!

Papa Frank said...

Sue -- Let's put the slavery issue in today's perspective with the closest analogy to your modern mind. Slavery in the time of Thomas Jefferson was a reality albeit good or bad or shades of both. In our perspective it is clearly bad although the Democrats are still making slaves with each handout. (But that's a lesson for another time.) In today's terms would you consider abortion to be good or bad? Many people have no problem seeing it for the barbaric murder of the most vulnerable of us and see it as clearly bad. How many people though see it as clearly good? Do you? Would you then say that abortion is GOOD or would you say that abortion is an unfortunate reality? This may give insight into the thinking of folks like Thomas Jefferson. Your idea of slavery is very skewed as you think that slavery had everything to do with one person dominating over another person. Here's the reality of it: many slaves were treated very well and were far better off to be the slave of a good master than to be hungry and cold. Many slaves when freed went nowhere and continued to work for their former owners. The majority of slaves were white and not black and yet we only tell a fraction of the story of slavery. And here is the core of the problem for the classic liberal mind -- a slave was every bit as important and every bit as valuable as their owner. You hear slave and you automatically think that this station in life lacks value. Slaves were often the caregivers and teachers of a family. There was much value in their work and in their life as a slave. In today's world liberals see truck drivers, custodians, mechanics, etc... as less valuable than lawyers, community organizers, or politicians. That's why you never understand conservatives and the indignation they have for liberals and elitists (but I repeat myself.) So is abortion GOOD or is it a reality that you support?

Z said...

Pops? WOW

Anonymous said...

I wonder what Sue thinks of a party that calls itself "democratic" and then tells its' voters in Michigan and Florida that their ballots will only be counted as half a vote so that a party preferred candidate can be declared said party's primary winner...

Anonymous said...

All men are created equal?

Unless you're a Democrat, that is.

Anonymous said...

...and ALL liberals SURELY know that abortion is WRONG. Anybody here think they'll ever again admit it or put an end to it?

Sue said...

papa frank - I wish I could answer you on your own terms. I really only have simple ideas in my head, but nothing intelligent to express them.

I consider abortion morally wrong.

I stand by what I have said about slavery. If there was so much good about it why did so many men die in the Civil War?

Papa Frank said...

I don't find anything GOOD about slavery. As for the Civil War you would first have to convince me that it was primarily fought over slavery. And that's a tall order.

Will history one day judge us in a harsher light for the organized slaughter of children than we look at our ancestors for slavery? Are we better? How would you judge Obama being in favor of even partial-birth abortion compared to Thomas Jefferson owning slaves? Will you negate anything that HE says or does or writes because of HIS support of this barbaric act?

Sue said...

I don't want to mix up the issues.

I don't think that Thomas Jefferson's image or popularity will suffer because of my opinion of him. The slavery issue is not the only thing that gives me a negative opinion of him. I think he had an ego problem when he rewrote the Gospel. And it says something that he was broke when he died. And also the SH's thing if it is true.

Isn't it ok for me to have an opinion about him?

As for Obama, I voted for him. That does not mean that I think he is a god. But I thought I'd give him time and see what he can do.

As for abortion, that is a separate issue that I do have thoughts about but not at the same time as slavery.

Steve Harkonnen said...

If you ever want to get utterly and mind-numbingly bored, go visit Monticello.

But, then again, American History is BO-RING.

Give me Westminster Abbey, Hastings, or the tower bridge any day.

Sue said...

As I take one last look at the day's comments, mine - at the top -stands out as blaringly insensitive. I jumped right in, never thinking twice about making the first negative comment about Thomas Jefferson on a conservative blog.

Will I ever learn?

I do not take back what I said about Thomas Jefferson, for that would be betraying myself. But I do recognize that I trespassed on someone else's territory in an unmannerly way.

I try to learn but more often fail.

Tomorrow is another day. I hope to do better.

Papa Frank said...

Sue -- you are an honorable person. It's not too late to become a conservative. We'd love to have you! ;0)

Z said...

Sue, do you think liking Thomas Jefferson or not is a Con/Lib thing?
I think it's just different sensitivities...
your original point was a valid one.
It's a real dichotomy, no doubt about it..I thought the differing opinions of whether someone can be an honorable man IN THOSE DAYS and have a 'slave' was interesting and that we all learned from each other.
I hope so

Rick said...

Hey Elmer's Brother!

Thank you for all this on! None of this surprises me either. He makes Pat Buchanan look like a pro-semite! People keep throwing him up as such a great Christian president because he carried his Bible to church every Sunday and built lots of houses. Were it not for a man of the stature of Reagan we probably would not have recovered from the disaster he brought us.

Sue said...

papa frank - Thank you. That comment means a great deal to me.

z - Actually, I have been thinking all along that it was a con/lib thing. But since in my life I am surrounded by people who are conservative I tend to think that way about almost everything.

I found this in one of my notebooks and want to share it with you. It has nothing to do with my comments about T. Jefferson, but rather it reflects the feelings of almost every president.

'Never did a prisoner, released from his chains, feel such relief as I shall on shaking of the shackles of power.'

Thomas Jefferson

His second term did not go as well as the first, and on his tombstone
he requested that no mention be made that he was President of the United States.

Anonymous said...

More Jefferson quotes

1. "It would be a dangerous delusion were a confidence in the men of our choice to silence our fears for the safety of our rights: that confidence is everywhere the parent of despotism – free government is founded on jealousy, and not in confidence which prescribes limited constitutions . . . In questions of power then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him from mischief by the chains of the Constitution."

2. "I place economy among the first and most important virtues, and public debt as the greatest danger to be feared."

3. "When we consider that this government is charged with the external and mutual relations of these states; that the states themselves have principle care of our persons, our property and our reputation, constituting the great field of human concerns, we may well doubt whether our organization is not too complicated, too expensive; whether offices and officers have not multiplied unnecessarily, and sometimes injuriously, to the service they were meant to promote."

4. "Whenever a man has cast a longing eye upon them [public offices] a rottenness begins in his conduct."

5. "What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure."

6. "In every government on earth is some trace of human weakness, some germ of corruption and degeneracy, which cunning will cultivate, and improve. Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves are its only safe depositories. And to render even them safe their minds must be improved to a certain degree."

~ Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)

Z said...

Hi, Sue, and thanks for posting these...really a lot to think about.

He sure did seem like the rose was off the presidential bloom by the time he was a private citizen!
I can't imagine the immense gravitas, responsibility, sadness, that comes with being president...imagine TODAY, when modern presidents get briefed every day about terror attempts that were thwarted or are still promised to us all? Imagine what Bush went through with the media and the new generation of politicians who used LIAR and STUPID and NAZI against him!?

YOu wonder if, once you've seen all those things jefferson so well phrases about greed and "germs of corruption", etc etc., you'd want to have PRESIDENT on your gravestone!! But, here's a man who also removed sections of the bible and rearranged it!
Perhaps he was a very proud, stubborn and difficult man, because that showed a LOT of ego!! "Let's rewrite the word of God because I'm not sure it's right!"

VERY fascinating figure, no doubt! I know you study the presidents and I'm glad for your input...maybe I'll pick another and feature something...which would you do after Jefferson!? Do you have a total favorite from the older times?

Sue said...

z - John Adams

Here are a few more things about Thomas Jefferson:

This is his epitaph that I mentioned:

Here was buried Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of American Independence, of the statute of Virginia for religious freedom, and father of the University of Virginia(of this he was especially proud.)

The White House was not completed when he occupied it (after John Adams) and Jefferson described it as 'a great stone house, big enough for two emperors, one pope and the grand lama in the bargain.'

At a July 4, 1801 reception in the Blue Room at the White House, Jefferson introduced the custom of shaking hands instead of bowing stiffly as previously had been done.

Something about his personality:

Jefferson kept to himself more than any other president. He gave only two speeches as president - the two inaugural speeches. Jefferson tended to mumble. He preferred to use intermediaries to deal with Congress.

He showed little concern for his public image and when the new British minister called on the president, he found him standng in 'slippers down at the heels and both pantaloons, coat, and underclothes indicative of utter slovenliness and indifference to appearance.'

This last one is not meant to be critical(by me) but a Brit would no doubt be critical of a president appearing like that. I actually applaud Jefferson on this one as I am not one for dressing up.

JMK said...

"Odd that you folks love the one president who was absolutely AGAINST a strong national defense. He didn't even want a standing national army." (LDuck)
Early America didn't WANT to be involved in global trade and probably RIGHTLY so, in those days.

The international markets were run and rigged by the colonizing nations, as you'd expect.

The real argument that few on the Left are capable of making (I wonder why that is) is that Jefferson, who KNEW well the NEED for limited government, was one of the early Presidents who did the most to expand it, borrowing heavilly for the Louisiana Purchase.

Jefferson probably ranks right behind Johann Wolfgang Goethe (212IQ) in terms of intelligence, so Z is completely correct.

Self-contradiction is not a sign of either lesser intellect or questionable judgment. In FACT, it's almost always the dolt who is unflagging in his viewpoints over a lifetime.
"Far from advocating a "minimal state", we find it unquestionable that in an advanced society government ought to use its power of raising funds by taxation to provide a number of services which for various reasons cannot be provided or cannot be provided adequately by the market."
(From Hayek's Law, Legislation, and Liberty) 1982

THAT is indeed the basis of Libertarianism - LIMITED governance. Hayek knew what Jefferson knew, that government is always LESS efficient than the private sector for a host of reasons, including that the least capable, the least willing to help others, the least innovative and the most avaricious people tend to seek the self-agrandizement of "public office."

For that reason, the momentum of government, even when the most Conservative of elements are empowered, is inevitably toward more and MORE government.

That is almost certainly why, America has had only one political leader over the past 100 years (Newt Gingrich) to CUT the federal budget, resulting in ALL those surpluses of the late 1990s and the booming economy, with some of the LOWEST Misery Indexes since those numbers were recorded during that same period. Since Gingrich, NOT a single Congressional leader, not Tom DeLay, not Dennis Hastert and not Nancy ("What was so great about the Great Depression") Pelosi.
"Will we be seeing you folks moving to a no government, fully armed Libertarian paradise like Afghanistan or Somalia soon?" L Duck)
Those are two tribal, feudal system that are, in fact, closest to Marxism than almost any society on earth today.

Ironically enough, the UAE and Qatar are the closest to Small government, Libertarian paradises. BOTH those places are pretty swell places, overall and both are pro-Western, even pro-American, as they've fully cooperated with us in the WoT.

JMK said...

"Thomas Jefferson wrote:

'All men are created equal'

Then he went home to have his slaves pull off his boots and serve him tea. (Sue)

That is one of those comments that we are all dumber for having read it.

Slavery has been a cherished institution and part of man's mstoried history from the birth of the breed.

The Bible, the Koran and the Talmus ALL endorse slavery by deciminationg rules by which one should keep one's slaves.

The West DIDN'T come lately to the enlightenment that "slavery was wrong."

The West WAS the enlightenment!

In fact, today, more than 200 years HENCE, the rest of this fetid globe has still not become enlightened by their betters in the West!

Chattel slavery STILL exists in much of Asia, most of the Mideast and virtually all of sub-Saharan Africa.

And the West isn't just 200+ years ahead of the rest of the world, it's more likely 800 to 1200 years ahead.

Why even yourself, author of that above comment, would be a veritable genius in Ghana or Afghanistan. Why America COULD export its treasure-trove of Housing Project and Trailer-Park skells and deliver them unto much of the rest of the world as "enlightened statesmen."

JMK said...

KEYSTROKE TYPO: "The Bible, the Koran and the Talmud ALL endorse slavery by deciminationg rules by which one should keep one's slaves."

Wouldn't want folks to get side-tracked from the main point by a mere typo.

Z said...

Let's not, please, get rough on other commenters...PLEASE? All the input is welcome, interesting and I'm glad it's here for discussion.
JMK..I don't see how we're 'dumber' for having read that at ALL....there IS contradiction there and opinions have been fascinating in regard to it!
I'm not saying anybody HERE does, but there are people who think America was the ONLY country which had slavery and I think you and Papa Frank have filled in the facts..I thank you for that.
Everyone, please remember, please, that everyone here is entitled to their own opinions and I LOVE that this is a site where we can disagree.

Sue, I'm one who likes dressing up a little and am constantly complaining that "people don't dress appropriately" anymore (to church, to concerts, etc.), so I'm a bad one to run that info by, I have to admit!! (LOL!)and if it really WAS "slovenliness", I'd vote against it! If it were just the less than uptight British style of the day, I'd be saying Jefferson was probably right!!

Well, after reading EVERYONE's remarks about Thomas Jefferson here, I guess we'd all come to the conclusion that Jefferson was a man of many moods and many sides.....but we'd have to know he was brilliant and a real dichotomy in many ways.

JMK said...

"JMK..I don't see how we're 'dumber' for having read that at ALL....there IS contradiction there and opinions have been fascinating in regard to it!
I'm not saying anybody HERE does, but there are people who think America was the ONLY country which had slavery and I think you and Papa Frank have filled in the facts..I thank you for that."
Fair enough. I am somewhat irascible when I read things that presume conventional values on ages past.

Not only is chattel slavery STILL the rule, rather than the exception in most of the world, it was virtually universal 200 years ago and the idea that non-Europeans would NOT be counted among "all men" was simply and completely assumed at that time.

The idea that "we today are more enlightened than they," is fallacious. In fact, THEY (the Jefferson's. Lincoln's, etc.) were and still ARE more advanced in their thinking than the vast majority of the earth's population today.

I don't mean to deliberately hurt other people's feelings, though some comments are so "out there" in their presumptions that it's hard for any reasonable reply not to tread on the sensibilities of those that hold views like, "We're more enlightened today."

JMK said...

A quick adendum: "and the idea that non-Europeans would NOT be counted among "all men" was simply and completely assumed at that time....among Europeans and people of European descent, of course and the reverse was certainly true of all those from other cultures, as well...most people believed "Our culture is superior to all others."

Z said...

Thanks, JMK....As long as we just elaborate on our points of views, anything goes here...

The only thing I can't have here is name calling or the kind of belittling and nasty remarks Ducky has a tendency to make, then I've censored him....once or twice, I think!

Anonymous said...

Not to be a nitpicker, but what is the meaning of


BTW: It was I who posted the six quotations from Jefferson's writings earlier today. I didn't realize till now that I hadn't signed the post. Not that it matters, because I didn't write a word of it. It was 100% Jefferson.

Anonymous said...



It's FreeThinke here.

Must be senility setting in. ;-s

Sue said...

jmk - Actually, you did mean to hurt my feelings. But since I don't know you I can get over it.

The sum total of what I know about Thomas Jefferson is that he had a way with words, which are now immortal.

He was intelligent, but like some intelligent people he lacked some attributes. Not smart enough to mangage his money and like me didn't care about 'dressing up.'

And according to some people he didn't think slaves were people.
Then what were they.

Sue said...

Oh, and like the late egotistical John Lennon, he really didn't have an abiding respect for Jesus Christ.

Anonymous said...

Z, I hate to be the one to correct you, but the Republican Party didn't exist in Jefferson's time.

I'm not sure of the exact date of its emergence, but I believe it was past the middle of the nineteenth century.

The predecessors of the Republicans were called Whigs.

One of us ought to look this up. I don't think my word is final on anything.

Washington didn't believe in political parties as such. That didn't stop the debate in the days of our founding and soon after from being vigorous and often fierce. The Founders were human and subject to "all the ills that flesh is heir to."

There is a lot of specious "hagiography" written about the Founders, and many of the quotes traditionally attributed to them have been called into question.

But even so, every society MUST have its mythology. No people that I know of are capable of knowing the full truth about anything, and if confronted with it, the vast majority would reject it --- just as they did --- and still do --- Jesus Christ, who WAS the Truth in human form.

Nothing infuriates people more than knowledge and insight that runs counter to their pet ideas and favored perceptions.

~ FreeThinke

Anonymous said...

PS: I have not read Thomas Jefferson's personal version of the Bible, but I do know that paraphrasing and summarizing ANY work of literature or history is a time-honored way to study and develop greater understanding and more intimate acquaintance with the work in question.

To be so interested in something as to want to take the time and effort to rewrite it in one's own way, shows tremendous respect --- not contempt --- for the work. I don't believe Jefferson ever tried to force his interpretations of the Bible on anyone. He merely reserved the right to think it through for himself.

The Bible may be read and enjoyed as literature and as history as well as Holy Writ.

The Bible is a HUGE part of the history of Western Civilization for believers and Unbelievers alike. There would BE no Western Civilization, as we know it, without the Bible, It infuses everything. Even those who have blatantly rebelled against it --- and those who revile it, as is too much the fashion now --- are obviously very much influenced by it.

I believe all of the Founders were very much aware of that, and showed deep respect for it --- at least in the face they presented to the public.

Somehow, I cannot bring myself to believe that Thomas Jefferson wound up among the Damned, which is what Believers generally want to think must be the fate of skeptics --- or am I wrong about that?

~ FreeThinke

~ FreeThinke

Z said...

Sue, thanks for your restraint. I really appreciate that. and I don't differ on too much but I've FINALLY realized our disagreements DO all relate to one thing: My take being that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God written by people through whom he spoke......

And if seems to me like yours is the Bible being the product of a lot of very good men some of whom knew Jesus and shared the memories of men about the times of the Old Testament and wrote down as near as they could the Gospel.

Am I close?

So, to suggest someone should be honored for taking out all the Miracles, any talk about the Trinity, and a few other things, is absolutely unbelievably presumptuous, wrong, and even scary, to ME, but you're fine with it...I would be, too, if I thought the Bible was as worthy and ripe of interpretation as a Sandberg poem, for example.

We'll never know who's right on in this life...but at least we might know better why some of our opinions on so many other Bible-based situations differ so essentially and elementally!


Sue said...

I would like to end my part in the Thomas Jefferson brouhaha by asking that my last two comments be disregarded. I wrote them out of spite when jmk said he didn't mean to hurt my feelings. I hate it when someone says that but they really did mean to.

There is no point in dredging up all this negative stuff about TJ. What's done is done and what has been said has been said. I need to get over it and move on to something else.

RightKlik said...

Excellent collection of quotes.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Z,

To try to answer your question: You are partly right about our difference on the Bible.

What I do believe is that Almighty God is the God of all humanity and of everything in the Universe. I believe --- because of the largely superficial-but-seemingly-profound differences in the various cultures, languages and civilizations that exist today and have sprung up, developed and passed on throughout history --- that God has revealed Himself to virtually all people in part.

So in that sense I believe the Bible is, indeed, a collection of revelations that were either given or simply occurred in the form of insight to those who wrote and shaped its texts.

The big difference between us is that I believe God CONTINUES to reveal himself to us in myriad ways through everything that's good, truthful, sincere, charitable, wholehearted, dedicated and ingenious, and that each one of us is capable of seeing God --- in part --- for ourselves.

There's a great deal more to it than that, but this isn't the place and I haven't the time to go into it. I have said quite a lot about it in the past, but often that seems to upset or annoy people, and I have no wish to do that.

All I can say to try to sum up is that there is no such thing as "your" God, or "my" God or "their" God, etc. There is only ONE God, but all of us see Him from the "prison," if you will, of our own cultural and intellectual perspective.

He works in mysterious ways, and we are not given to understand them all by a long shot.

I would like to know a lot more about Thomas Jefferson's quest to understand the Bible from the perspective of pure reason --- if that's what he tried to do --- before I pas any kind of judgment on it.

If you have received the gift of complete, childlike faith, rejoice and be glad. Not everyone is so blest.

~ FreeThinke

JMK said...

"And according to some people he didn't think slaves were people.
Then what were they."
That was the STANDARD vioew of that day.

It was actually anti-Catholic (some would even say, anti-Christian) Free Masons who advanced and gradually popularized the notion (at least in the West)that "all MEN" meant ALL humans." Obviously, since chattel slavery is STILL the norm rather than the exception on earth, MOST outside the West haven't been brought up to speed on that score.
"Oh, and like the late egotistical John Lennon, he really didn't have an abiding respect for Jesus Christ." (Sue)

Yes, like Einstein and many others, Thomas Jefferson was a non-denominational Deist. He was NOT a Christian.

Nor, for that matter, am I, but that doesn't necessarily make such folks "bad people," does it?

Sue said...

jmk - it doesn't make you or anyone else 'bad.' I retracted those statements, even though they will forever be on z's blog for anyone to read and think that I am 'bad.' I am 100% against judgement on those who are not of my faith. Those comments were erroneously made in the heat of the argument.

Z said...

FT, you said "The big difference between us is that I believe God CONTINUES to reveal himself to us in myriad ways through everything that's good, truthful, sincere, charitable, wholehearted, dedicated and ingenious, and that each one of us is capable of seeing God --- in part --- for ourselves."

The way that God continuously reveals himself is THROUGH the Bible.! The words change when you study. And, you get just what you needed to hear when you're ready. Can I explain that? Absolutely not. It's another beautiful mystery I've seen and had friends realize over and over and over again.
He reveals...but he DOES NOT CHANGE from His Word.
WE reveal ourselves through the wonderful actions you describe above!

YOu said "All I can say to try to sum up is that there is no such thing as "your" God, or "my" God or "their" God, etc. There is only ONE God, but all of us see Him from the "prison," if you will, of our own cultural and intellectual perspective."

The God of the Bible...and, I used to think that that was close-minded thinking, but that "prison" is what you're freed from when you start realizing it's from HIS perspective we must view Him, not ours.

"If you have received the gift of complete, childlike faith, rejoice and be glad. Not everyone is so blest."

ME? I wish! It's specifically said in the Bible that becoming childlike is what is necessary ....but ME? HA! I doubt, I ask, I read and reread and study....FINALLY, it's sinking in what CHILDLIKE means... Believe what He says, like Mom used to say.."Because I SAID SO"

WONDERFUL to talk like this and for you to know I understand and do NOT demean our differences and that you feel the same way. This isn't an argument, just an exposition of our truths. Thanks for participating, FT! I enjoy it., it doesn't make you bad people!!

Thanks so much for your input here...very much appreciated.

Z said...

SUE! Let me know and I will be MOST happy to delete whichever comment you'd like.

Tell me which ones and it's done...I'd hate having comments around in which I've felt I could have done better or just plain don't like. PLEASE let me know. Thanks.

Sue said...

z - I'm fine with the comments just the way they are.

In all the comments on your blog that I've read there is only one that I thought was inappropriate (not on this one) and that read 'if Obama wants to be like Lincoln, maybe he'll end up like him.'

CJ said...

Z pretty much spoke for me in answering you, FT, but you did say you'd like to know more about Jefferson's "quest to understand the Bible from the perspective of pure reason" and I can answer you that it wasn't a quest to understand at all.

He felt he understood it all just fine, but that Christians of course got it all wrong; so he wanted to rewrite the Bible to reflect what he understood to be the truth in it. Which meant treating Jesus as a great moral teacher, putting him alongside other great moral teachers, and getting rid of all the supernatural nonsense as he saw it. Wikipedia is pretty good on the subject:

The idea of a book of revelations by the Creator God Himself is a bit much for do-it-yourself human beings.

Z said...

Sue, absolutely. And the author of that comment understood my chiding him. He generally never says anything close to that...I had to allow for his anger quotient...
though NOTHING warrants that kind of suggestion...NOTHING

Sue said...

cj - in reference to what you said about Jesus being a great moral teacher and getting rid of all the supernatural nonsense, there is a saying that goes: Either Jesus is the Son of God or He is nothing. For someone, or another religion to say that he was a great teacher or was a good man, that is nothing if he is not the Son of God.

Z said...

Good one, Sue..And CJ is ALL OVER THAT..TOTALLY on that side, an excellent believer of very deep study and love of Jesus Christ..

If He is small enough to understand everything about Him, He isn't big enough to WORSHIP.

CJ said...

Right on, Sue, that's what FT needs to see.

Sue said...

FT: This occured to me just very recently. I believe that the answer to knowing God is to have a 'relationship' with Him. This is something that exists just between the two of you. It excludes the Bible, going to church and whatever else. Of course the Bible and church are all a part of it. But I believe that once you know God - having allowed Him into your life - that relationship will never be broken.

I used to have - as you call it - a childlike faith in God. No longer. I challenge Him on a daily basis, sometimes I don't even have the trust I used to, but because I have know Him, He will always be a part of me. That makes me feel secure.

So the relationship is the answer. And He will have a relationship with anyone who wants it. I have not always been happy with Him (thus not having the childlike relationship), but He will never leave me and I would never want Him to.

CJ said...

I know I'm being pushy to do this, and FT can certainly answer when and if he returns to this board, but I've known him for some time and we've been through this many times before, and I have to say he thinks he DOES have a relationship with God. He's prayed all his life and feels God has answered his prayers and intervened in his life.

BUT he does not believe that Jesus Christ is God, and he does not believe that God will judge us for our sins, that repentance is required as part of salvation and so on.

Sue said...

CJ - One problem in my commenting is that I have only recently started commenting on z's blog and am not really a part of the 'family' enough to know who is who and what they believe.

Certainly if FT thinks he has a relationship with God then he must, and if he prays, that is important.

But I will say without any reservation that Jesus Christ is God. And for a Christian that is a pretty important part of believing. I have noticed that other people have trouble with this too. I think the Trinity is part of the problem, where we have God the Father, and then Jesus on a separate level.

As far as God judging us for our sins, I see the God that I know as a part of my everyday life. He has shown me that He is willing to come down to my level (so to speak) in order that I might know Him. I don't associate Him with Old Testament words, but rather to me He is modern and knows what my needs are and how to make me see who He is.

CJ said...

As soon as you say "Jesus Christ is God" you've pretty much asserted two-thirds of the Trinity already. It's one of the facts revealed in the New Testament that led to the concept of the Trinity. About Jesus being on "another level" well, if He's God He's God, He has all the powers of God, and scripture describes Him that way, as equal to God. It ALSO describes Him as subordinating Himself to God the Father. Both are true. When you then recognize that the Bible shows that the Holy Spirit is a separate consciousness or Person, independent of God the Father and God the Son, and also with all the powers of God, you have the complete Trinity.

Human beings can't understand much of this, but we aren't asked to understand it, just believe what the scripture says.

Anyway, FT does seem to have a relationship with God, but unfortunately he rejects a lot of what the Bible says about God and about Jesus Christ so he's really inventing his own God and not believing as a Christian does.

But perhaps he'll come back and say more about it himself.

Z said...

Sue, most of us are pretty new to each other; I've only been 'open' a year now.

FT has been a commenter, as have CJ and myself (and Priscilla and Morgan, for that matter) at another very well known and MUCH MUCH bigger blog than mine. So some of us have 'known' each other there and thru emails for a few years now.
And BOY, have CJ and FT and I gone 'round the block on THIS subject. It's always interesting, that's for sure!

JMK said...

"it doesn't make you or anyone else 'bad.' I retracted those statements, even though they will forever be on z's blog for anyone to read and think that I am 'bad.' I am 100% against judgement on those who are not of my faith. Those comments were erroneously made in the heat of the argument." (Sue)
I wasn't excoriating you for that at all, Sue. I didn't mean to come off as though I did.

I used the old "doesn't make one a bad person" line, because it's humorously (so I thought) cliche.

I was raised Catholic and came to reject that at a very early age (a long, ugly and uninteresting story).

I think Jesus was an excellent philosopher, even though I much prefer Nietzsche's views myself.

In my opinion, Christ's views run counter to human nature. "Treat others as we'd like to be treated?"

Who does that?

NO humans that I've ever known.

It seems the BEST you can hope for is an "I treat others the way they treat me," deal, which is exactly antithetical to Jesus's teachings.

"Turn the other cheek?"

Again, did the rioting followers of post Christians like Gandhi and King do that?

Again, NO! We humans aren't made like that.

But none of those are what turned me away from Catholicism....teachings like "I am my brother's keeper," and "Judge not, lest you be judged" are, in my view, among the most toxic and corrosive teachings ever uttered by men.

Consider that in the name of "not judging" Westerners have been cowed into refusing to stand up for even the most beliefs and traditions that built Western civilization and judge those who don't adhere to those things as wrong, incompetent or perverse. They've been cowed into accepting the inanity that "all cultures are equal," which is a complete canard.

I don't revile Christianity, nor any religion at all, I merely accept that though I believe, as do many, that there is such a perfect order and symetry to the universe that there must also be some divine hand at work, some "creative life force," and I accept that I do not and cannot understand that concept (called God) any more than I can fathom infinity or forever. I don't accept manmade religion's attempts to make the undecipherable more approachable, even though I can appreciate the effort, along with all the pomp and circumstance involved.

I think religion, on the whole, does more good than harm, despite its many misuses, mostly (almost ALL) by various governments.

Sue said...

JMK: I can only respond to what you said by the individual statements. And of course what I say will reflect my beliefs.

I do not like the Catholic church, but that is not to say I do not like Catholics. But that is another subject.

As I said before, if you believe as a Christian, then you know that Jesus was not a philosopher, or a great teacher, or a good person. He was the son of God - or to say, God Himself.

I don't know if anyone consciously goes around thinking that they will 'treat others as they would like to be treated,' but unconsciously I think we do.

But I do believe that you should 'judge not, lest you be judged.' When I first became a Christian, I judged everyone in sight, because I thought I was so good. Then I came to see that it was wrong to judge others. I'm still working on that one. The 'not judging lest you be judged' concept only works if you believe that there is a God. His judgement of us is not necessarily bad, but rather to keep justice in our world and teach us the right way to live. I have seen Him showing me that many times.

I think there is plenty of 'I am my brother's keeper' in our world.

Along with my not liking the Catholic church, I also am leary of manmade religion. Being a liberal, I like Bill Maher and I think he makes some good points about that in his movie Religulous.

Z said...

JMK, I don't know more vehemently non Christian people than lapsed Catholics...And I'm sorry about that.
Some say it's because the Catholic church doesn't build a 'relationship' between the people and Jesus , that they TELL, not SHOW. I am with Sue and I have excellent Christian Catholic friends, but they've studied the Bible, not stayed disappointed with the doctrine..that's what changed their hearts.

I SO know how you feel as I have been a real searcher on this, too, but studying, REALLY discussing and studying did something to me.

You're right..NOBODY can be like Jesus! TOO GOOD! BUT, we can strive......and, all He asks is that you believe in Him. You get some help after that, trust me!

BUT, I hate sounding like some holy roller and this site isn't a faith site, mostly......I'm just throwing this out to you.

Sure do appreciate you being here and participating in excellent conversations. thanks.

JMK said...

"I don't know if anyone consciously goes around thinking that they will 'treat others as they would like to be treated,' but unconsciously I think we do." (Sue)
If we did (even unconsciously think that we will 'treat others as they would like to be treated,'), than we would.
" When I first became a Christian, I judged everyone in sight, because I thought I was so good. Then I came to see that it was wrong to judge others." (Sue)
It can be far more easily argued that it's impossible NOT to judge and WRONG not to do so.

Are you saying you don't "judge" pedophiles as being wrong?

Are you saying there's no difference between the "death-cult" that is radicalized Islam and the theocracies that use and support it and the largely secular West?

I don't believe that tolerance is the same as judgment. In other words, acknowledging that some things are wrong and those who engage in them, evil, is not "intolerant," but instead, tolerating such things and people is judging your own culture in a negative light.

Sue said...

jmk - You raise a good point. I think we all have good radar when it comes to serious crimes such as pedophiles, serial killers and terrorists. We have laws against crimes such as these. I was thinking more about judging others because of what they believe
(their faith), how they live their daily lives or what they do in privite. Judging people because they are different from me and do things that are different. (such as the way I judge the Catholic church, for instance.)

But we all have opinions, and it is hard to separate that from judgements.

JMK said...

"JMK, I don't know more vehemently non Christian people than lapsed Catholics..." (Z)

I can only say that in my case I had a "relationship" with the Church (Altar Boy and all that) and believed in all the teachings, as I had no reason not to, though I did have a lot of trouble understanding why a baby who died before being Baptized wound up "in Limbo," things like that.

A traumatic event when I was 8 y/o made me realize that “Jesus does not save,” at least not in any literal sense.

That didn’t cause an abrupt break, but it undermined and effectively ended that pristine childlike faith I held as a kid.

I wouldn’t serve as an Altar Boy after that and by 11 y/o I asked my Dad if I could just stop going to Church, which he allowed.

There was certainly an early period where I considered the idea of a God (at least an anthropomorphic God) a lie. That’s probably a normal childlike means to questioning faith. Most of the self-proclaimed atheists and agnostics I’ve met, never really get past that level. In fact, that’s probably the reason there are so many more self-proclaimed atheists than agnostics, it seems that atheists fail to recognize that atheism (the belief that there is no God) is just as much a faith-based belief system as Christianity, Judaism or Islam.

Around the time I got into HS, I accepted that it wasn’t, for me, at least, a question of “is there a God,” but what purpose organized religion plays in spirituality, morality and ethics.

I put aside the question of God, at that time, and accepted being an agnostic (To the question, “Is there a God,” the agnostics answer is, “I don’t know.”) and saw religion as “the problem.”

When I came across Friedrich Nietzsche, I felt I’d found an honest and approachable philosophy of life. His “The Anti-Christ” was the most breathtaking thing I’d ever read. In it, Nietzsche calls charity “the curse of Christ,” by which mankind reverses the course of natural selection and enables, even encourages and supports the continuation of its weakest members through “the misplaced sympathies enshrined as the false virtue, charity.”

For a relatively long period, (17 to 31) I saw religion as a barrier to true spirituality and the underlying arbiter of, what I considered to be a false morality. In my view, “If religion was suspect, so was the morality that has sprung up around it.” That led to, what is called a “surrealist” view of things, where you can only verify YOURSELF, all others and all other things, may well only be fictions of our imaginations. That, coupled with any form of disassociative disorder (the inability to emotionally connect with others) can have disastrous consequences.

To this day, I believe Friedrich Nietzsche to be the greatest philosopher of the modern age, a man with even keener insights on the human condition than Jesus had.

One of the disasters of the modern age, at least in my view, is that a second-rate, buffoon, like Karl Marx (a man who merely misinterpreted Jesus’ individualistic teachings, as a paean to collectivism) has obscured a true genius, like Nietzsche.

Over time, I’ve thought a lot about spirituality and have come to accept that what Einstein said on the matter is probably about as accurate as a human can put it, “My religiosity consists in a humble admiration of the infinitely superior spirit that reveals itself in the little that we, with our weak and transitory understanding, can comprehend of reality,” AND “I'm not an atheist. I don't think I can call myself a pantheist. The problem involved is too vast for our limited minds. We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books but doesn't know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God. We see the universe marvelously arranged and obeying certain laws but only dimly understand these laws." For me, that pretty well sums up spirituality as best as can be.

As I said, I KNOW that religion has done a LOT of good and the harm done in religion’s name throughout history, has almost entirely been done BY government’s that have misused religion for their own ends. That is probably why I have far fewer problems with religious people than with atheists.

Atheists tend to be some of the truest faith-based zealots around and worse still, they delude themselves into thinking that their faith has some “scientific justifications.”

In my view, organized religion presents the complex issues of spirituality, morality and ethics in an easily accessible form and that is very, VERY good for an awful lot of people.

JMK said...

"I was thinking more about judging others because of what they believe (their faith), how they live their daily lives or what they do in privite." (Sue)
I think that's admirable...that "live and let live" sought of attitude, with moderation, of course.

It seems that that is the primary struggle of this age, the one between tolerance (for innate and uncontrolled differences) and permissiveness (an "anything goes" attitude) toward aberrant behaviors.

There's a fine line there and too often it seems, we've erred on the side of an "anything goes" permissiveness.

There is an irony in that many on the far-Left who oppose internet pedophile stings, anti-terror programs (ie. NSA Surveillance programs), so enthusiastically embrace all kinds of government micro-managing of people's lives (fascism), in the form of "Green regulations," anti-smoking laws, trans fat bans, etc.

EVERYONE "judges," it seems that the problem, the innate intolerance lies in our rationalizing our own judgments, while decrying those of others.

The reason that so many "Liberal" people, or "tolerance zealots" are often so intolerant themselves, seems to come down to a pronounced lack of introspection on most people's parts.

Sue said...

jmk - I like the child in the large library analogy.

As deep as my faith is, and although I like to think I 'know'
God, I tell myself that it is unlikely that He would allow me to even get close to knowing the Truth of how things are. The best I can do is go by what I believe and live my life the best I can based on those beliefs.

More and more I do not feel that man made religion gives me what I need. I take comfort in the peace of mind God has given me and feel my way from that - day to day, even hour to hour, or minute to minute.

JMK said...

"More and more I do not feel that man made religion gives me what I need. I take comfort in the peace of mind God has given me and feel my way from that - day to day, even hour to hour, or minute to minute." (Sue)
I can't speak for others and can only speak out of my own experiences and I've moved FROM religion and away from any sense of spirituality BACK TO the point where I'm probably more truly spiritual, more profoundly grateful and incredibly awed by the specatcular and apparently divine order of all things, than I've ever been.

I kind of like the Quakers view on religion - silent, personal prayer, no real organized or set ritual for worship.

I think, in a sense, living well and developping your own potential to its fullest extent, is the best prayer...the best offering there is.

Sue said...

'living well and developing your own potential to its fullest extent' - I am a big believer in individual development, knowing one's self and liking one's self.
I also believe that the Creator, Father and Savior should be recognized - if that is one's belief. There are different ways of doing that - one of which is church worship. But that is not the only way.

Anonymous said...

A general note to ALL:

Count the number of times you use "I" in a post, and rewrite it to reduce the number by at least half.

~ FT