I have examined all of the known superstitions…

Thomas Jefferson

“I have examined all of the known superstitions of the world and I do not find in our superstitions of Christianity one redeeming feature. They are all founded on fables and mythology. Christianity has made one-half of the world fools and the other half hypocrites.”

~ Thomas Jefferson – Notes on the State of Virginia 1781-1785

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4 thoughts on “I have examined all of the known superstitions…

  1. This quotation is from a letter from Jefferson to John Adams, in which Jefferson expresses his dislike for the theology of John Calvin:
     “I can never join Calvin in addressing his god. He was indeed an Atheist, which I can never be; or rather his religion was Daemonism. If ever man worshipped a false god, he did. The being described in his 5. points is not the God whom you and I acknolege and adore, the Creator and benevolent governor of the world; but a daemon of malignant spirit. It would be more pardonable to believe in no god at all, than to blaspheme him by the atrocious attributes of Calvin.” (Jefferson to Adams, April 11, 1823)
    In criticizing Calvin for having incorrect notions about God, Jefferson makes it clear that he himself is not and never could be an atheist.  He not only believes in God but worships the one whom he believes to be the one true God.
    In the middle of this same letter, Jefferson considers the ways in which the universe points to an intelligent and all-powerful Creator: 
     “I hold (without appeal to revelation) that when we take a view of the Universe, in it’s parts general or particular, it is impossible for the human mind not to percieve and feel a conviction of design, consummate skill, and indefinite power in every atom of it’s composition…. So irresistible are these evidences of an intelligent and powerful Agent that, of the infinite numbers of men who have existed thro’ all time, they have believed, in the proportion of a million at least to Unit, in the hypothesis of an eternal pre-existence of a creator.”
     At the end of the letter, Jefferson looks forward to the day when he will be together with Adams and their departed colleagues in God’s presence in Paradise:
     “So much for your quotation of Calvin’s ‘mon dieu! jusqu’a quand’ [My God! How long?] in which, when addressed to the God of Jesus, and our God, I join you cordially, and await his time and will with more readiness than reluctance. May we meet there again, in Congress, with our antient Colleagues, and recieve with them the seal of approbation ‘Well done, good and faithful servants.’”
     These are not the words of an orthodox Christian, but they certainly seem to be the words of a man who believed in God.

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