Founding Fathers Hated
Christianity For Good Reason
Matt Newcomb

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"The Christian God can be easily pictured as virtually the same as the many ancient gods of past civilizations. The Christian god is a three headed monster; cruel, evil and capricious. If one wishes to know more of this raging, three headed, beast-like god, one only needs to look at the caliber of the people who say they serve him. The are always of two classes: fools and hypocrites."
-- Thomas Jefferson

"During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What has been its fruits? More or less, in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution."
-- James Madison

"Christianity is the most perverted system that ever shone on man"
-- Thomas Jefferson

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From: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: "Ward M. Newcomb, MD"
Subject: Re: FORUM:_Time_To_Stop_Being_Polite_To_Religion__8654
Date: February 09, 2002 10:05 PM

The Founders and their generation came fresh from witnessing, first-hand, the destruction that is tyrannical government exploiting religion for its own ends and greedy, clannish religion invoking the power of government to enforce its policies of favoritism with the edge of the sword. It's easy to see that the Founders saw the separation of religion from government as essential to human Liberty. It's also easy to see how many of the Founders would tend to "throw the baby out with the bath water" when it comes to any and all expressions of religion.

Since then, the effects of the Age of Enlightenment, still in progress during the American Revolution, have had a chance to temper religion. Time has also had a chance to fade and even erase the cultural memories of just how brutal those times were. So brutal were they that revolution after revolution systematically threw off yoke after yoke and essentially changed how the world allows governments to conduct the affairs of nations and municipalities. Similar changes occurred in the way religious groups allow their clergy to handle their ecclesiastical affairs. In fact, a lot of what the Founders complained about in religion just does not happen today: their words seem strange to our ears, because we have never witnessed religious groups doing what the people had, for generations, taken for granted, what the Founders finally faced up to, shouting "No more! No more!"

This is what I tried (in futility) to point out in my most recent editorial column, "But We Can't Even See What's Wrong." Perhaps in another year or two, I'll have given this concept enough thought to be able to describe it in English, but for now I can but grope for the words to describe the difference between what they went through and what we don't go through, why a society that is for the most part oblivious to history cannot see the potential dangers in such policies such as President Bush's "Faith-Based initiative." This blindness even goes so far as to prevent some from seeing how we could even be offended by their talk, mush less frightened.

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I suspect that we each are capable of being just as corrupt as anybody else, and that ideology plays a smaller role than we all suspect. This is because ideology (such as, "Is there or is there not a God?" or "Should we permit or prohibit the consumption of alcohol?") is not the same thing as thinking style.

Thinking style determines whether one will say, "This is the absolute truth" (fundamentalism) or "I'm not sure if there is any such thing as 'absolute truth'" (relativism); either thinking style can say "Yes" or "No: to the God-question or the drinking question. Thinking style has also tended to determine if we think certain groups are inherently superior to others (or all) or whether we wait until people act before trying to assess their traits or capabilities (tribal loyalism). People and groups can become loyalistic toward or against either God-believers or nonbelievers, either drinkers or teetotalers.

Stalin used and advocated a fundamentalistic thinking style, and he applied fundamentalistic thinking to the ideology of atheism. Many Western atheists like to think this is impossible, that atheism inherently protects against such a style of thinking. Notwithstanding, between one and seven million of Stalin's victims did not live to tell us that this is indeed possible enough to have happened. Stalin was likewise very loyalistic toward his ideology (atheism, among other things), and he thus applied the fundamentalistic thinking style to atheism. One's atheism became the test of belonging, the determiner of whether you were good or worthy or superior or "one of us," just as Protestantism and Roman Catholicism has been in the North of Ireland.

True, some ideologies tend to feed into a fundamentalistic thinking style and tend to promote loyalism more than others. Many religious ideologies are will known to the charlatans among us as efficient and effective tools for exploiting large groups of people. Science, particularly when not properly understood, likewise holds the same potential as religion does when it is not properly understood. (For the sake of discussion, I'll give both the benefit of the doubt in this respect.) However, no ideology is immune to being used by exploiters to whip large groups of unthinking people into a frenzied and polarized mob, useful for bringing all sorts of personal, financial, and political gain to the exploiters.

Similarly, other ideologies contain natural protections against these potentially destructive thinking styles. Science, particularly Liberal Scientific Method, as currently practiced throughout the world as an unspoken standard of thinking, probably contains the strongest protections of all ideologies. Some religious views likewise contain protections against at least the destructive thinking styles, in some cases even utilizing the very elements that in any other context might prove destructive.

Cliff Walker
Positive Atheism Magazine
Six years of service to
     people with no reason to believe

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