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Sunday, October 11, 2015

The Faith of Benjamin Franklin

By Douglas V. Gibbs

Benjamin Franklin, one of America's Founding Fathers, is often referred to as a deist, or an agnostic.  I do not use such words to describe his faith. Franklin's faith is mysterious because there is ample evidence, mostly accented by his less-than-Christian actions (especially when it came to the ladies), that Franklin was not necessarily a devout Christian.  Despite the questions surrounding the depth of Franklin's faith in God, his respect for Christianity and his recognition of the existence of the Judeo-Christian God is unmistakable. One such example actually emerged after Franklin's death. He was an ambassador to France from 1776 to 1785 and was a beloved figure of the French. In 1790, Jacques Mallet Du Pan, a French journalist and leader, indicated in his historical memoirs that Franklin had given the French political advice in regards to being a virtuous society. "Whoever should introduce the principles of primitive Christianity into the political state would change the whole order of society." An interesting piece of advice from someone that is often called an agnostic, or deist, by historians that may not necessarily agree with the originalist point of view of the United States Constitution.

Other quotes by Benjamin Franklin also reveals the Christianization of Franklin.  As he got older, Dr. Franklin recognized the miracles that were emerging around him, miracles that left him no choice but to come to the conclusion that only divine Providence could be credited with the founding of the United States of America.

"Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom.  As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters." -- Benjamin Franklin.

During the Constitutional Convention in 1787, his request that the delegates pray before each session of the convention was accompanied by the following words:

"In this situation of this Assembly, groping as it were in the dark to find political truth, and scarce able to distinguish it when presented to us, how has it happened, Sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of lights to illuminate our understandings? In the beginning of the Contest with G. Britain, when we were sensible of danger we had daily prayer in this room for the divine protection. ”Our prayers, Sir, were heard, and they were graciously answered. All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a Superintending providence in our favor. To that kind providence we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in peace on the means of establishing our future national felicity. And have we now forgotten that powerful friend? I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth- that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings, that "except the Lord build the House they labour in vain that build it." I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without his concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the Builders of Babel: We shall be divided by our little partial local interests; our projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall become a reproach and bye word down to future ages. And what is worse, mankind may hereafter from this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing Governments be Human Wisdom and leave it to chance, war and conquest."

Hardly the language of a man one might call an agnostic, or theist.

-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary

1 comment:

JG said...

Benjamin Franklin was a wise man.

Hidden in these words is the solution, together with adherence to the U.S. Constitution, to bringing Americans together and rekindling the spirit of this great nation.