Monday, July 19, 2010

The Jefferson Bible

I love hearing stories about the American founding fathers. They are some of the most interesting people in history. I can't imagine any of them existing in our current political environment. Most of them would be considered eccentrics, on the fringe of political life, possible not in political life at all. The story I heard today of the Jefferson Bible is a perfect example.

Like Washington and Franklin, Jefferson was a deist. He basically believed that God created the universe but did nothing in the way of intervening with humanity. He respected the teachings of Jesus but only saw him as a prophet and a philosopher but not divine. He didn't believe in the trinity. He believed much of supernatural events in the Bible were added to attract the pagans to Christianity. So he attempted to rewrite the Bible from a deist point of view. He took a razor to his copy of the King James Bible and cut out all the supernatural events in the New Testament. He also put all the events chronological order. He begins with the birth of Jesus (hold the angels) in Luke 2 and Luke 3, then follows with Mark 1 and Matthew 3 etc. No miracles. No son of God.

Can you imagine a modern US politician doing anything like? His/her career would be over the moment they took the razor blade to the book. It wasn't published until after his death, but it was no secret what he was doing during his lifetime.

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