Archive for the ‘ On the Edge ’ Category

A Feminist Examines Presup

The post I’m about to respond to came in on my google alerts today. It was so packed with common objections and misconceptions that I decided to answer.

Evidentialism v. Presuppositionalism
I have noticed a worrying trend among some Christians. It is the turn away from evidentialist apologetics toward presuppositionalist apologetics.

Let’s start our presuppositional examination right here. From the get-go, presup is a “worrying” trend. Second, the author is apparently unaware of the link between Sola Scriptura and Covenantal apologetics. As I have said quite often on this blog, and in our chat channel, Covenantal apologetics is Sola Scriptura in an apologetic context.

Evidentialism holds that belief should rest on evidence.

Presuppositionalism holds that belief rests on presuppositions.

What would have been both accurate and useful would be to explain what we do believe about evidence, and to cite something, anything, from the primary sources concerning what the actual discussion hinges on. Namely, that your presuppositional commitments determine both what is considered to be evidence, and how this evidence is interpreted. This is a common problem with evidentialist and unbelieving critiques. For instance: “Nor can we disagree with [Warfield] when he says that the Christian faith is not a blind faith but is faith based on evidence.” [1] “I see induction and analytical reasoning as part of one process of interpretation. I would therefore engage in historical apologetics. (I do not personally do a great deal of this because my colleagues in the other departments of the Seminary in which I teach are doing it better than I could do it.) Every bit of historical investigation, whether it be in the directly biblical field, archaeology, or in general history, is bound to confirm the truth of the claims of the Christian position. But I would not talk endlessly about facts and more facts without challenging the unbeliever’s philosophy of fact. A really fruitful historical apologetic argues that every fact is and must be such as proves the truth of the Christian position. [2]

Evidentialist apologetics attempts to bring converts by revealing the evidence behind Christianity. Evidentialists say that scientific evidence actually supports Young Earth Creationism, that archeology has proven the truth of the Bible, both new testament and old, and that the evidence for Christ’s historic existence is overwhelming.

I would simply point out that vanishingly few evidentialists argue for YEC at this point in time. Further, they would not argue that it was “proven”, but that there is a greater probability for the truth of the Bible and/or Christ’s historic existence, as a rule. I would humbly submit to you that their “philosophy of fact”, as Van Til would say, has brought them to this point.

Presuppositionalist apologetics attempts to bring coverts by arguing that the only rational, coherent worldview is that which begins by presupposing the divinity of the Bible, the existence of God, and the reality of Christ’s sacrifice. In other words, presuppositionalists say that one must presuppose Christianity, and that trying to convince someone based on evidence is flawed.

We don’t argue for the “divinity” of the Bible. We don’t believe in a quadrinity, a la Fristianity. We don’t argue that the Bible is equal to Christ, as the Word, either. One must presuppose Christianity to be making an intelligible argument, obviously; but it might behoove the author to do a bit more research into what exactly is being said on this point. If the author means “convincing someone based on evidence” as if “evidence” was something everyone agreed upon, as if it was some sort of neutral ground, sure. Obviously, Scripture says that we and world consider each other to be foolish. It’s hardly the case that we should be expected to see eye to eye on what is, or is not, “the facts”. Hence, Van Til’s discussion of “brute fact”, which the author would be well-served to study, in my humble opinion. We don’t “attempt to bring converts” by this method. We, after all, are Reformed. As such, we are divine monergists, not synergists or human monergists, so conversion is quite obviously the work of the Holy Spirit in regeneration, according to election. Neither “the facts” nor a transcendental argument will save – God saves, not man. Sure, they won’t hear without a preacher – but as the name “Yeshua” points out, salvation is of the Lord.

Evidentialist apologetics is traditionally associated with evangelicalism and fundamentalism while presuppositionalist apologetics is associated with more reformed traditions. This actually makes a lot of sense given that arminianism emphasizes free will while calvinism emphasizes predestination. It also makes sense given that Cornelius Van Til and Francis Schaeffer, both reformed, are the major luminaries who developed presuppositionalist apologetics. More and more these days this approach is spreading beyond reformed circles and into evangelicalism and fundamentalism in general.

Actually, evidentialism initially comes from Romanism, as has been carried along with the rest of the Romanist doctrine still held to by Arminianism and general Evangelicalism (to include the modern fundamentalist movement). I’d invite the author and her readers to take a gander at classical Thomism, and see what exactly the difference is supposed to be. The Reformation, of course, was a movement to “restore” Christianity. To restore it back to its historical orthodoxy. A walk back through history, and through the development of the doctrine of Sola Scriptura, will show the intrinsic link between a practical use of Sola Scriptura and a presuppositional methodology. Van Til’s contribution to “Semper Reformanda” was the Reformation of apologetic methodology to the principle of Sola Scriptura. This understanding is positively vital to understand what is actually being said, and what it comes from. Most objections along these lines are not truly to presuppositional methodology; but to the doctrine of Sola Scriptura. To answer these objections, and to accurately make objections in the first place, requires an understanding of this, and the proper relationship to be found there. General evangelicalism is attracted to covenantal apologetics in spite of itself, to be frank. The methodology does not lend itself to an Arminian, Romanist, or Dispensational hermeneutic. There are too many preconditions that are simply missing for it to be consistently and coherently used. As such, there will be a host of problems in execution, principle, understanding, and doctrinal compatibility that kill the method aborning, if you try to adapt it in some way. This is not to say that every group listed above is equally inconsistent, or that every individual is equally inconsistent; however, there is a specific doctrinal basis that it springs from, and without which, it simply does not have the framework in which to operate. Those varying inconsistencies crop up at various and sundry points – but keep in mind, please, that a truly Covenantal apologetic argues on the level of worldviews – and that it argues all of Christianity versus its antithesis; and that part of that expression of Christianity plainly states that there are but two worldviews.

I was raised on evidentialist apologetics (not surprising given that my parents were strong arminians). My parents were fond of telling the story of Josh McDowell, who started out as an atheist attempting to disprove the truth of Christianity and ended up concluding, based on evidence, that Christianity was actually true. I was taught to follow the evidence, and assured that evidence led directly to Christ.

This is actually fairly typical. Note, however, that there is usually a decided de-emphasis on the work of the Spirit in the use and presentation of evidence (not to mention the philosophy of evidence) in this apologetic methodology. Let’s be frank. If the Spirit is mentioned at all, it’s usually in a touchy-feely “invitation” at the end, after God is “proven” by means of “higher probability”. What the Spirit’s work is, as stated in Scripture, is practically never mentioned, and if it is, it bears practically no resemblance to the Scriptural testimony. The emphasis is more likely on the target’s will, and intellect – and practically never on that same person’s moral guilt before the holy God, which both affects and taints everything about that will and intellect. On the contrary, Reformed doctrine requires that the unbeliever be confronted with their sinfulness before God and their inability to reason, will, or act in any righteousness before God whatsoever. This is a confrontation that is just as much evangelical as it is apologetical. They are, after all, two sides of the same coin. The emphasis in evidentialism and evangelical doctrine, rather than on the Triune God’s monergistic work of salvation – in election, atonement, and regeneration – is on the synergistic work of man in reasoning, willing, and acting rightly of themselves, to “meet God” in the middle.

Having been raised on evidentialist apologetics, when I arrived at college and found new evidence I had never heard of as a child, I didn’t simply reject that evidence. Instead, I researched and read and studied and reevaluated my beliefs based on new evidence. I found, for example, that the evidence does not actually indicate that Young Earth Creationism took place (quite the opposite), that archeology has actually contradicted the Bible in many places, and that the Bible actually does contain historical errors and contradictions. This process of reevaluation started a long spiritual journey, and even today I continue to strive to follow evidence, and I work to make sure I take into account any new evidence I encounter.

In other words, having been raised in evidentialism, and the freewheeling doctrinal imprecision of arminian/evangelical churches, the author was never taught to 1) Think Biblically or 2) Think about what “evidence” means, or is predicated on. Since “evidence” is considered to be a neutral ground between believer and unbeliever upon which we have a point of contact, and since she was never taught how to deal with evidences on the level of their presuppositional commitments, she was caught between a rock and a hard place. If you are stuck between fundamentalist evangelicals and fundamentalist secularists, you will be either be grist for the mill, or “bail” in one direction or the other on any given “fact” that is presented. The “fact”, or how it is presented and interpreted, is never really examined. It “just is”, as if it is on the level of the self-existent God. Instead of interpreting “the facts” through Biblical presuppositions, “the facts” are, in reality, being interpreted through secular presuppositions that state that it is flatly impossible that the world could have come into being as the Bible said it did. If we are never taught to “dig beneath” the level of “brute fact”, we are simply fodder for the antithetical worldview, raised against the knowledge of God. “Striving to follow evidence”, then, is mere slavish adherence to secularist presuppositions concerning the nature and meaning of evidence.

The goal of evidentialist apologetics is to convince others of the truth of Christianity by using evidence. It assumes that anyone who honestly looks at the facts will arrive at the truth of Christianity, and that the facts support the truth of Christianity. In the last few years, my parents have been moving toward presuppositionalism. This makes sense, given that the evidentialist approach actually led me away from their beliefs and that Vision Forum is actually openly and proudly presuppositionalist.

The first two sentences are a more or less accurate restatement of evidentialism. The second two are more or less well-poisoning concerning presuppositionalism. Let’s notice two things about the former. First, she is talking about persuasion, not proof. As we’ve already mentioned, there’s a doctrinal divide there. Persuasion, in Reformed doctrine, comes only when the regenerate encounter the truths of Scripture, and believe them as it is given them to do so. This is separate from proof, which also has a fundamental divide in view. For the Christian, apart from the Triune God of Scripture, you can’t prove anything. For the non-Christian, proof is determined by their own presuppositional commitments as to what a valid “proof” consists of. Secondly, it is “assumed” that a) anyone who b) honestly looks at c) the facts will arrive at the truth of Christianity, and that those facts support the truth of Christianity. Let’s look at a) for a moment.
First, there is a lack of any sort of Biblical notion of election, or division between sheep or goats, or the effects of sin, or of the necessity for regeneration. This is a doctrinal issue, at base. Let’s look at b). Arminianism, following Romanism, considers men to be able to choose good, to be intellectually honest, or to act in such a way as to properly respond to the truths of God – of themselves. This is vastly different from the historical orthodoxy the Reformation sought to return to, following Scripture, which teaches that men, in and of themselves, are evil, and they do the work of their master, Satan. They are slaves to sin, and unable to break those chains. Only the regeneration of the Spirit can break those chains, given men a new heart and mind, and give them the faith which which they believe the Gospel. This is a fundamental disconnect, and cannot be overemphasized. As for c), we simply point out that God is truly and exhaustively Sovereign. This is also a fundamental disconnect from the insistence on libertarian free will that stems from Romanist/Arminian/Evangelical doctrine. I’d also point out that it differs not a whit from the insistence of the world on their own self-determination in the realm of the intellect, the will, and their own actions. This is also a doctrinal issue. As Reformed believers, we stress, with much insistence, the Biblical testimony to the exhaustive sovereignty of God over all things whatsoever that come to pass. Given this doctrine, all facts are God’s facts. I’ll repeat this; All facts are God’s facts. If all facts are truly God’s facts; if God ordains both ends and means, and every single relationship thereof, in a truly exhaustive fashion, then there is no room for “the facts” as they are presented to us by the Evangelical/Secularist position. All facts are, given what God has revealed to us in His Word, guaranteed to us by His Spirit, and shown to us in ourselves, and in the creation surrounding us, actually evidence for the truth of Christianity. It is not neutral evidence. It is a hostile witness against a rebellious subject.

Presuppositionalism argues that the evidence we experience in the world is simply facts and pieces of data that must be interpreted through an interpretive framework, or worldview, and that the only way to consistently interpret these facts is through the Christian worldview.

The first part is wrong; the second part is right. Here’s why, and it will be expanded below. It ignores that “all facts are God’s facts”, as we just explained. As she will say below, she assumes exactly the opposite of what we believe, and inserts that in our position. It is not the case that “facts and pieces of data” are “simply” that, and merely need to be “interpreted” – it is actually the case that the only framework through which facts are even intelligible is that which is revealed to us by the ordainer and the creator of all that is to be filtered through that framework, and of the framework itself. Facts are not neutral.

In other words, a person looking at facts and evidence will not necessarily be led to Christ; rather, one must start by assuming the truth of the Bible in order to find Christ. You can see the influence of calvinism here. Presuppositionalist apologetics, then, focuses on pointing out inconsistencies of other worldviews and arguing that Christianity is the only coherent worldview, the only way to explain the existence of reason and logic. In fact, presuppositionalism literally goes so far as to argue that evidence-based apologetics – as opposed to apologetics based on contrasting worldviews – is contra-Biblical.

Actually, we go quite a bit farther. The Shepherd finds His sheep – we don’t “find” Him, because we aren’t the One looking. Yes, Calvinism is in view here, but I’m not sure how much the author really has studied Calvinism as a complete system. The point isn’t that we “assume the truth of the Bible to find Christ” – it’s that the Spirit’s regenerative work, and the gift of faith and repentance are the preconditions for our salvation; that the work of Christ in His atoning work for His people propitiates the just wrath of the Father, and that the electing grace of the Father, who draws men to Christ is the precondition for it all. In short, it’s not anywhere near this simplistic presentation. The Spirit grants us faith – and the new heart and mind to accompany it, so we believe and/or trust the Author of Scripture as we ought. The focus of Covenantal apologetics is two-fold, actually, not singular. It “pushes the antithesis” between Christianity and it’s opposite, to show that a) Christianity, as revealed by the Creator of all things, is the sole possible precondition for the intelligibility of all things; and b) that it’s opposite is impossible. It’s a two-step method, not a one-step method. “The first step is to lay out the Christian worldview in terms of which human experience is intelligible and the objection of the unbeliever can be contextually defeated. The second step is to show that within the unbeliever’s worldview, nothing is intelligible – not even objections to the Christian’s viewpoint.”[3]

Presuppositionalists don’t deal with evidence, because they argue that evidence and facts are neutral and can be used to support any worldview, because they are interpreted through that worldview’s lens. In other words, if someone presupposes a world without God, that’s what they’ll see; if someone presupposes a Christian world, that’s what they’ll see; if someone presupposes a Muslim world, that’s what they’ll see; etc. That is why presuppositionalists spend their time not on the evidence but rather on trying to show that their worldview is only rational, coherent worldview in existence, and that every other worldview is internally contradictory. Evidence doesn’t matter; what one chooses to believe is what matters.

This is catastrophically wrong. It is absolutely opposite to what we believe, in fact. First, I categorically deny that evidence and facts are neutral. In fact, I have specifically stated that they are not. On every single point the Christian and non-Christian are fundamentally at odds. There is no point in our respective worldviews where we have any neutral ground whatsoever. If that isn’t clear enough, I’ll spend as much time as it takes to make it clear. This statement is absolutely, unequivocally false. There are two worldviews, and they take antithetical positions on every fact whatsoever. It is the case that facts are not neutral, and can only be intelligible when the Christian worldview is presupposed. It is not the case that facts are neutral and can be interpreted differently, depending on which worldview you happen to hold. Additionally, please take note of the usage of “worldview” here. I have said, several times, that we believe there are two worldviews. We are not saying that there are three, or any higher number. There are two, and only two. There are many practically inconsistent variations of the non-Christian worldview; just as there are inconsistencies in the Christian worldview of many actual (or putative) Christians. Yet, there are only two worldviews. I’ll leave you to research the principle/practice dichotomy Van Til presents.

We don’t spend our time on “trying to show that their worldview is only rational, coherent worldview in existence, and that every other worldview is internally contradictory” because “evidence doesn’t matter”; we spend time proving that the Christian worldview is the only possible worldview by demonstrating that the contrary worldview is impossible – it does not provide the preconditions for intelligibility. We do this because it is actually the case that the non-Christian worldview does not provide those preconditions. Not because “evidence doesn’t matter” – but because evidence is unintelligible unless our worldview is presupposed. The last sentence is the real problem with the author’s view of presuppositionalism. “What one chooses to believe” is predicated on what you presuppose. What you presuppose is directly consonant with whether you are regenerate, or unregenerate. It is that clear cut. Are you a “slave to sin” or are you “Christ’s slave”?

The problem with these people is that you can’t argue with them. They’re going to believe it because they believe it, and nothing else matters. As an example, Answers in Genesis, a Young Earth Creationist group that runs the Creationist Museum in Kentucky and has recently embraced presuppositional apologetics wholeheartedly, is actually completely open about the fact that it simply rejects evidence that contradicts their interpretation of the Biblical account of creation. It’s not about the evidence. It’s about the presupposition. And no matter what you say, you’re not going to change their minds.

“These people” seems to indicate what the author thinks of those who adhere to this method. Instructive, indeed. Far from not being argued with, I can personally attest to the fact that I am argued with constantly by objections from unbelievers as well as putative believers. Once again, the distinction between persuasion and proof is not being addressed. An argument is a proof. Acceptance of it as true is persuasion. It is not that they “can’t argue with these people” – it is that they a) aren’t persuading us and b) are not being persuaded. As we have already stated, this is both accounted for by the Scriptures, and expected. God changes hearts and minds, not us. As to the attempted well-poisoning concerning AiG – I’d like to present this as evidence. If the author would like to share some substantiation of their statement, I’d love to see it. My suspicion is that it is yet another example of a confusion between a) proof and persuasion or b) the author’s misunderstanding of our position concerning evidence. What the author is doing with the continual drumbeat about “evidence” is simply confusing what we actually have to say concerning evidence. It’s not simply about evidence. We have no intention of being that superficial and unreflective concerning the nature of the discussion. What we are doing, however, is addressing the philosophy of evidence along with the evidence itself. If the author would like to show how she has done anything remotely similar in addressing this subject, I’d love to see it. What the author has done is to demonstrate the importance of what we are actually saying; a sort of demonstration concerning the law of unintended consequences. Unless she addresses the philosophy of evidence along with the evidence, she is simply assuming her own position vis a vis her philosophy of evidence, and demanding that others accept it. If others do not kowtow to her wishes, she dismisses them, and says “you can’t argue with these people”. “These people” would beg to differ, and would invite the author to address the philosophy of fact, or evidence, along with the facts and evidence.

Problems with presuppositionalism include:

The logic is circular: you prove something is true by assuming it is true.

Have you read any counters to this incredibly common objection before? I don’t see any discussion about those rebuttals in this post. There are… many… rebuttals. Example.

Presuppositionalism could be used to “prove” any religion, or even atheism.

Please provide an example. This is another common objection, incidentally.

Just because a worldview is coherent doesn’t mean it’s true.

Who ever told you that was our argument? Again, this is a two-step method, not a one-step.

There are many things about the Christian worldview that are arguably not coherent.

This is a great example of uncritical thinking. Do we consider them to be arguable? If not, why are you begging the question in your own favor?

There are other worldviews that also explain the existence of reason and logic.

Please enlighten us 😉

You can’t actually know something is true if you simply discount evidence entirely.

Utterly false description of our position.

Finding truth involves not making presuppositions, but trying to rid yourself of them.

Start with this one, please. We don’t make presuppositions; they are revealed to us. Second, this is really, really bad.

Presuppositionalism holds that everyone starts out with assumptions, and that starting by assuming the Bible is therefore no different than what anyone else is doing. Actually, most people start out with fairly simply assumptions.

No, it doesn’t. Seriously, if you don’t even know what you’re talking about, why are you writing on the subject? That is not even remotely our position. Do you really think the Bible is no different than what anyone else is doing? Do you think any Christian does? If so, why are they Christian, then? If even a fairly liberal type doesn’t even do that, why on earth are you saying Calvinists do, of all people? I can’t believe that you thought this through especially well.

I, as an example, start out by assuming that I can trust my senses and that the world around me is something I can seek to understand. Lest a presuppositionalist argue that these are atheist or materialist assumptions, I would point out that essentially everyone starts out with these assumptions. In fact, I have never met a Christian who didn’t start out with these same assumptions. Assuming that we can trust our senses and learn about the world around us is completely different from assuming the truth and divinity of the Bible or the existence of God.

“Lest” I do or not – those aren’t materialistic assumptions. Materialistic assumptions don’t exist, as assumptions are definitionally immaterial. However, even from another perspective, they don’t belong in materialism (per se) either, because she has no reason whatsoever to trust her senses, or to assume that she should. See, she’s saying next that “we all do it” – but the real question is “what justifies it?” Starting where she starts is purely arbitrary. Second, who says that this is “completely different”? Asserting assertions assertively is not an argument, or even close to one. Plus, she is an atheist. Hence, atheistic assumptions. Is this really that hard?

I have a friend who is a presuppositionalist. I recently asked her what she would do if archaeology directly contradicted a literal reading the Old Testament (it does). She told me that it would not change anything, because she would simply assume that future archaeological finds would clear up the contradiction and line up with the Old Testament. In other words, actual evidence in the here and now does not matter, not one whit. All that matters is her assumption that the Bible is true.

Notice: Facts are once again “brute”. Her philosophy of fact isn’t even examined. Whatever it “is”, is unquestionably. (Don’t look behind that curtain, Dorothy!) I can say to her, in return, “all that matters is your assumption that the facts are true”.

But I have to ask: If you simply assume your beliefs are true and throw out any use of evidence at all, if there is no possible evidence or experience that could disprove your beliefs, how in the world can you actually know they’re true? It would be like me saying that there is an invisible pink unicorn that lives in my room. You can’t touch it or hear it or detect it with any sort of test. You’re not ever going to come to the unicorn’s existence through evidence, and you shouldn’t try to. Rather, you simply have to assume it’s there. But then, if there is no evidence for it and it can’t be disproven, how in the world do I know it’s there in the first place? I don’t: I just assume it. Wha?

This incessant drumbeat on “throwing out evidence” is key to her ideas concerning our methodology. It’s demonstrably false. If she had read any primary source materials concerning our methodology, this would be painfully obvious. Instead, we are treated to one of the most asinine comparisons we’ve ever heard from atheism. As an aside? Using secularist arguments right after you imply your distance from secularism isn’t that great a strategy.

Interestingly, this emphasis on maintaining a persuppositional worldview is is why Vision Forum and others like it see secular colleges and secular sources of knowledge as dangerous. For them, facts and evidence are not neutral, but are interpreted through an assumed worldview. Therefore, a Christian should never study under a non-Christian, because what he will be learning falsehoods, not truth. One can only learn truth by studying under other likeminded Christians. The insularity this produces is overwhelming.

Interestingly, this emphasis on maintaining an objective view is is why Atheists United, American Atheists, Atheists Alliance International and others like it see religious colleges and religious sources of knowledge as dangerous. For them, facts and evidence are not neutral, but are interpreted through an assumed worldview. Therefore, a secularist should never study under a Christian, because what he will be learning falsehoods, not truth. One can only learn truth by studying under other likeminded secularists. The insularity this produces is overwhelming.

  1. [1] Van Til, A Christian Theory of Knowledge, p. 250
  2. [2] Ibid., p. 293, emphasis original
  3. [3] Bahnsen, Van Til’s Apologetic – Readings & Analysis, pg. 268, Note 22.

Pick a God.

So… refraining from “God” in general makes us think about our specific God. *By definition*, according to the atheists, this should make us think about how our God doesn’t deserve to be called God.

What? We’re exclusivists, dummy. Gotta love the “Especially Yahweh, Allah, and Elohim” at one point, incidentally. Makes you exceedingly impressed with their giant pulsating brains of sciencereasonlogic. Okay, not really.

Necessary Trancendental Arguments?

P1) There are no brute facts
P2) We are asserting that only by the Triune God of Scripture can we know anything properly
P3) The only argument which does not assume neutrality is a transcendental argument
C) If we are arguing any fact with an unbeliever, we must argue transcendentally – from the Impossibility of the Contrary, due to the nature of our respective presuppositions
C1) On any fact where the opponent’s view of facts does not accord with the Christian Scripture, our argument must be from the Impossibility of the Contrary

Discuss 🙂

This is video from last year’s Arabic Festival. It’s rather stunning.

I’m posting this because this year, David Wood and Nabeel Qureshi have been arrested at the Arabic Festival. I don’t have any more details at this time, but please pray for these brothers. David is scheduled to debate twice tomorrow at the same venue as Dr. White is debating Sunday and Monday. Please pray for them, and for the debates this weekend. More info can be found here.

Once upon a time, in a wild little channel called #Scripture, a group of atheists sat there and mocked. For hours. Here’s how it went, including the title story, at the end.

[avalanch_] one does not deal with the irrational undesireables by taking them seriously and trying to argue with them. they refuse to listen to reason afterall.
[avalanch_] thus, much as we ridicule neo-nazi’s, so too must we ridicule theists.
[avalanch_] i can not help being superior.
[glk] Jesus stories do not sound like historical data. All gods are based on faith.
[ridge_`] avalanch_: in the end, it’s the most effective means of dispelling myths.
[avalanch_] ridge: i agree. the more we ridicule theism, the more the smart people will realize theism just isn’t cool and respect-worthy
[RazorsKiss] Prv9:8 Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you, Reprove a wise man and he will love you. (NAS)
[glk] Feel free to correct my facts
[RazorsKiss] avalanch_: the more you show disdain, the more you show condescension, the more it’s apparent what the fruit of your worldview is.
[avalanch_] RazorsKiss: do you not disdain criminals? do you not disdain the intolerant? the bigoted? have you no disdain for those that are simply less than you?
[avalanch_] no single religion has ever included more than 50% of humans.
[RazorsKiss] Who are the criminals? Who are the intolerant? Who are the bigoted? Who consider others less than themselves?
[RazorsKiss] Those who are consumed by overweening pride.
[avalanch_] RazorsKiss: so, you have no disdain for pedophiles and rapists?
[RazorsKiss] Thus, we can see the fruit of your worldview.
[RazorsKiss] pedophiles and rapists have a disdain for their victims.
[avalanch_] RazorsKiss: and yet you have no disdain for them?
[RazorsKiss] I’m no better than they are.
[RazorsKiss] Neither are you.
[RazorsKiss] The true problem is that you think you are.
[avalanch_] RazorsKiss: ofcourse you’re better than they are. as am i. we are not all created equal, no matter what you might think.
[RazorsKiss] I don’t think we were. I think we’re all equally sinful by nature, however.
[glk] I never sin. Sin is violations of a religion rule. I have no religion or god.
[RazorsKiss] And what you disdain, I consider equally created in the image of God, if not identical in giftedness.
[avalanch_] RazorsKiss: so, god created pedophiles? and this is a god you WORSHOP? what is WRONG with you?
[RazorsKiss] No, God created humans.
[RazorsKiss] Humans sin.
[avalanch_] RazorsKiss: we have no evidence of that whatsoever.
[RazorsKiss] So you’ll assume, yes.
[RazorsKiss] Some sin sexually, some sin intellectually.
[avalanch_] yet all are created equally by your god apparantly
[glk] I never sin. Sin is violations of a religion rule. I have no religion or god.
[RazorsKiss] We are created as humans, yes – and all humans have the image of God in their ability to think, and to act.
[glk] I was born, not created by any gods
[avalanch_] RazorsKiss: so now *god* is a pedophile?
[glk] Gods are not detected. People invent gods and write holy books.
[glk] There was no Adam, Eve, original sin, talking snake, magic trees, Fall or world flood. Genesis is mythology.
[avalanch_] RazorsKiss: i’m sorry, i just can not believe in a god that allows such people to exist
[glk] There was no 6 day creation or Noah Flood. Genesis is mythology.
[RazorsKiss] Is equivocation your usual debate tactic?
[glk] Modern people lived over 200,000 years ago. Cave art dates to 30,000 years old. The first hominids date to about 6 million years old.
[RazorsKiss] Or do you just do that when you lack an argument?
[RazorsKiss] Fallacies don’t become the eminently superior, do they?
[avalanch_] RazorsKiss: i think the fact that evil exists in the world is reason enough not to worship god.
[avalanch_] this is hardly a fallacy
[glk] I detect none of the gods, Allah to Zeus.
[RazorsKiss] I think that argument by equivocation is hardly a sound argument.
[glk] Modern people lived over 200,000 years ago. Cave art dates to 30,000 years old. The first hominids date to about 6 million years old.
[RazorsKiss] Let’s set up your argument as propositions, shall we?
[avalanch_] let’s not.
[RazorsKiss] 1. God created men.
[RazorsKiss] 2. Some men are pedophiles.
[RazorsKiss] 3. God is a pedophile.
Is this a sound argument, avalanch_?
[glk] Modern people lived over 200,000 years ago. Cave art dates to 30,000 years old. The first hominids date to about 6 million years old.
[RazorsKiss] Or is that a rampant equivocation?
[glk] There is no evidence for a Noah flood
[avalanch_] RazorsKiss: 1. god supposedly created man IN HIS OWN IMAGE, 2. some men are rapists.
[glk] No water exists to flood the earth
[RazorsKiss] Define image.
[avalanch_] no, *you* define it. you’re the one who believes it.
[RazorsKiss] Why, you’re the one using it in an argument.
[RazorsKiss] Shouldn’t you be able to define what you’re attacking?
[avalanch_] RazorsKiss: nope.
[avalanch_] RazorsKiss: you’re the one that made the claim god created us in his image. not me.
[glk] No science or history reference agrees with your stories.
[RazorsKiss] Well, I thought you were interested in a rational discussion – it seems I was mistaken.
[avalanch_] RazorsKiss: rational? with someone like you? surely you jest.
[RazorsKiss] Given that your first attempt at a “rational” argument was a demonstrable fallacy, I really find the accusation amusing.
[avalanch_] RazorsKiss: what on earth makes you think i was trying to hold a rational debate with you? you deserve nothing but my ridicule.
[glk] Gods do nothing
[avalanch_] RazorsKiss: if i was trying to hold a rational debate, i certainly wouldn’t do it here.
[RazorsKiss] heh.
[RazorsKiss] then come over to #apologetics.
[avalanch_] i’d rather not. they’re as irrational over there as they are here.
[glk] I am old and very wise.
[RazorsKiss] oh… so what you’re saying is, you assume irrationality a priori.
[RazorsKiss] Right, well. That’s certainly… rational.
[avalanch_] RazorsKiss: anyone who believes in a magic skydaddy can’t possibly be very rational on the subject.
[ridge_`] avalanch_: again, ridicule debate works best. Do not stray from the system.
[RazorsKiss] yes, that’s certainly showing the massive depth and weight of your argumentation 😀
[avalanch_] RazorsKiss: again, you are under the mistaken impression that i’m trying to hold a rational debate here.
[RazorsKiss] create a strawman… call it names… then dismiss it.
[avalanch_] RazorsKiss: don’t project.
[avalanch_] ridge: i concur.
[avalanch_] ridge: unfortunately they seem to mistake my mockery for attempts at rational arguments.
[avalanch_] ridge: which only serves to further heighten my amusement at ridiculing them
[RazorsKiss] or, perhaps, it’s all you’re capable of?
[ridge_`] You expect too much.
[avalanch_] ridge: well i do have standards.
[RazorsKiss] We could turn it around.
[RazorsKiss] Let’s say there’s a group that believe in random uniformity.
[RazorsKiss] That everything random is random in a uniform manner.
[RazorsKiss] Always random, just the same.
[RazorsKiss] These folks all assume that everything happens the same way.
[RazorsKiss] But that it all happens randomly, of course.
[RazorsKiss] And that this uniform randomness somehow gave rise to order.
[RazorsKiss] This uniform randomness is governed by something called entropy.
[RazorsKiss] This entropy ensures that things stay orderly.
[RazorsKiss] Because, after all, there has to be a reason for a magic boom.
[RazorsKiss] That magic boom created something from nothing!
[RazorsKiss] The nothing, which became something, had no reason for being something.
[RazorsKiss] But, because it was something, it couldn’t reasonably just stay nothing.
[RazorsKiss] It had to expand.
[RazorsKiss] In an orderly fashion, of course.
[RazorsKiss] Because entropy said so.
[RazorsKiss] This entropic order which expanded the nothingness into something, with it’s random uniformity, decided, in a randomly uniform whim, to start becoming things.
[RazorsKiss] Those things were obeying laws.
[RazorsKiss] Those laws are immaterial things with no origin, and no reason, that mysteriously ignore quite seriously, any attempt at reason.
[glk] The laws came from the big bang
[RazorsKiss] It’s quite a mystery, in a completely rational universe.
[RazorsKiss] Of course, this rationality has no origin, and it governs everything – sensibly, of course.
[RazorsKiss] For no reason, with eminently reasonable guidelines.
[RazorsKiss] Now, all of this something, which came from nothing, and is orderly in it’s obedience to entropy
[RazorsKiss] In it’s eminent reasonableness, decided to become orderly matter – which random caromed around the universe.
[glk] Laws made the order, like electricity and gravity
[glk] Solar systems for naturally
[RazorsKiss] Sure, glk – it’s lawfully obeying entropy in an orderly fashion.
[RazorsKiss] Everyone knows that, after all.
[RazorsKiss] They teach it in schools!
[RazorsKiss] So, anyway, where was I?
[RazorsKiss] Oh, yes. Orderly matter.
[RazorsKiss] Blindly obeying the random laws of nothing in particular, for no reason whatsoever.
[glk] You obey the blind laws of nature
[RazorsKiss] Right.
[RazorsKiss] So. This matter spends a long time – which is our new hero!
[RazorsKiss] And this time doesn’t obey random chance. oh, no.
[RazorsKiss] It has a goal! Entropy set it into motion, and it’s function is to overcome the evil forces of entropy
[RazorsKiss] Doesn’t that make it all better?
[RazorsKiss] So, our hero, time, spends… billions of years. Doing not a whole lot.
[RazorsKiss] Just blindly ticking.
[glk] The earth is 4.57 billion years old and the universe is 13.7 billion years old.
[RazorsKiss] Watching atoms spin around.
[RazorsKiss] It’s great fun.
[RazorsKiss] If time could have fun, and was anything but a deus ex machina.
[RazorsKiss] But, all assumptions have a deus ex machina – and time is ours!
[RazorsKiss] So, time does all sorts of incalculable things over countless eons…
[RazorsKiss] (because, duh – there was no one to count them?)
[RazorsKiss] And then we magically have a planet, built completely out of popsicle sticks and paper mache.
[avalanch_] i don’t think you understand how gravity works.
[glk] Over 300 other planets are observed
[RazorsKiss] And a big fireball, formed out of time’s massive boredom.
[avalanch_] but that’s okay. you’re oberying it anyway
[RazorsKiss] But then time realized that was all a dumb idea
[RazorsKiss] And went back to the original mindless plan
[RazorsKiss] Of spending forever, waiting for something to happen
[RazorsKiss] Well, all sorts of things happened, as far as is assumed – because noone was there to observe it
[RazorsKiss] And then there was a planet – and it was all due to chance and time.
but chance wasn’t really the hero. Time was.
[avalanch_] no, it was thanks to gravity actually
[glk] They can look back in time close to the big bang
[RazorsKiss] yeah, I guess all of those immaterial, and inexplicable magic laws had a bit to do with it.
[avalanch_] how did god? same fricking problem
[RazorsKiss] But we can’t go spoiling time’s heroic epic, can we?
[glk] it was the origin of space time matter and energy
[RazorsKiss] This is about TIME!
[RazorsKiss] Not about some silly laws that have no explanation from a naturalistic perspective!
[glk] The origin of the big bang is unknown
[RazorsKiss] We can’t go yammering on about some bunch of laws that just exist, can we?
[avalanch_] glk: m-model dude. M MODEL!
[avalanch_] ofcourse we can
[RazorsKiss] And the magic explosion is NOT CRITICAL
[RazorsKiss] Time, as everyone knows, is THE MOST IMPORTANT part of it all.
[avalanch_] it’s not an explosion.
[RazorsKiss] Don’t interrupt me, I’m mocking.
[avalanch_] *that* is mocking?
[RazorsKiss]Are you seriously expecting this to be a rational debate?
[avalanch_] don’t be preposterous.
[RazorsKiss] I can’t believe you could be so stupid as to think this was all about you.
[RazorsKiss] I mean really.
[RazorsKiss] Does the world revolve around you?
[RazorsKiss] Are you some sort of flat-earther? get real. I’m mocking here.
[RazorsKiss] Don’t confuse yourself – people are trying to mock.
[RazorsKiss] And mocking is key to the success of your time here.
[RazorsKiss] Remember that – it’s critical.
[RazorsKiss] So, anyway.
[RazorsKiss] The heroic time, and his bumbling, blinded sidekick, random chance
go reeling through history, screwing everything up, according to entropy’s orders
[RazorsKiss] And, automagically – because we assume this a priori – we couldn’t be telling this story otherwise, could we?
[RazorsKiss] Some rocks turn into magical pre-life amino acids
[RazorsKiss] It’s quite a loving sight
[glk] That is part of the mystery
[avalanch_] i wouldn’t call them magical.
[glk] Amino acids form naturally
[RazorsKiss] The heroes watching the mysterious, magical amino acids… gurgling
[RazorsKiss] Just… doing whatever magical things amino acids do.
[glk] Carbon meteorites contain amino acids
[RazorsKiss] And then, after about a billion years of staring
[RazorsKiss] They’re living organisms!
[ridge_`] We should have the science and knowledge NOW, what we’ll have in 200 yrs from now, if not for that blasted magic stratosphere man.
[RazorsKiss] It’s really an unremarkable thing, because, after all, no one’s around to remark
and no one will care for a billion or two more years
[avalanch_] ridge: hell, if the ancient greek civilization had continued, we could have been living on mars for centuries now
[RazorsKiss] Not that caring has any possible significance, even to modern descendants of those amino acids
[RazorsKiss] But, we digress!
[ridge_`] Time to crush this thing once and for all. But HOW?
[avalanch_] ridge: nanophage
[ridge_`] Facts do no good.
[RazorsKiss] And time, being a bit of a patient type, keeps enduring random chance’s bumbling lack of progress
[avalanch_] ridge: i’m telling you, nanophage. just a little mass genocide.
[RazorsKiss] But, entropy, with it’s constant need to tear things down
[RazorsKiss] Manages to form complex living creatures
[RazorsKiss] And random chance is mighty put out.
[RazorsKiss] Let me tell ya. he was still enjoying watching the amino acids, and now he has to try to screw something ELSE up.
[RazorsKiss] Entropy was seriously falling down on the job, you know?
[RazorsKiss] And random chance just wasn’t going to take this lying down.
[glk] The Stanley-Miller experiment produced amino acids from simple gas mixtures
[RazorsKiss] All of this added complexity just wasn’t working for him.
[RazorsKiss] See, it made more work for random chance
[RazorsKiss] And who wants more work?
[RazorsKiss] But time was inexorable
[RazorsKiss] You know him – he stops for no… complex organism
[RazorsKiss] I think I’ll stop story time for now – tune in next time for “random chance: multiplied unimaginably, and still unable to stop unlikely mutation!”
~The End

Totem to Temple – full article.

I remember when the televangelists got angry when their donations dropped and the relief agencies got the money. James Dobson threatened to cut back. Beverly LaHaye wrote a letter explaining that donations had dropped 56% because of the 9-11-01 attacks and that their mail (and their money) was held up in a Washington DC post office because of anthrax screenings (it was the same post office that delivered anthrax laced mail to Senators Leahy and Dodd). Lahaye threatened to “resort to drastic measures, including taking our daily radio program ‘Concerned Women Today’ off the air entirely in major markets and even laying off valuable staff members.” I found it very insensitive that people have died from this disease called anthrax and all she cared about was the money!! and not the souls who died?

Will they do the same stuff again?

They refer to Focus on the Family, Concerned Women Today, the 700 Club, and Hank Hannegraff.

The televangelists can call the Christian relief agencies their ‘brothers’ in front of the cameras sitting on their imitation Gold furniture, However, behind the scenes, they are the fiercest competitor of the almighty dollar.

This upsets me. Here’s the main page for this commentator.

I’m seriously thinking of contacting Focus on the Family, at very least, for a statement on this.

(Picked up at: Messy Christian – an interesting post, incidentally.)

Christian Heritage Pt 1

Part 1: Faith, Foundations, and Fatherhood.
A. Faith in American History

When you examine the source documents, penned by the various “Founding Fathers”, you’ll discover a trend.

That trend consists of three things.

1. A reluctance – even an aversion, to establishing a particular sect
of Christianity as the “official” religion for the country.

2. A deep, abiding belief that Christian moral foundations were
absolutely required to govern this country – and that such convictions
were the primary force governing their lives.

3. That freedom to practice, express, and profess their religious beliefs was a goal of the highest sort of order.

The first English colony in the Americas was called “Jamestown”.

At the end of their “Instructions”, is found this phrase:


Lastly and chiefly the way to prosper and achieve good success is to
make yourselves all of one mind for the good of your country and your
own, and to serve and fear God the Giver of all Goodness, for every
plantation which our Heavenly Father hath not planted shall be rooted
out. – Source (Virginial Company, 1606)

In their First Charter is found the following statement:


Wee, greately commending and graciously accepting of theire desires to
the furtherance of soe noble a worke which may, by the providence of
Almightie God, hereafter tende to the glorie of His Divine Majestie in
propagating of Christian religion to suche people as yet live in
darkenesse and miserable ignorance of the true knoweledge and worshippe
of God and may in tyme bring the infidels and salvages living in those
parts to humane civilitie and to a setled and quiet govermente, doe by
theise our lettres patents graciously accepte of and agree to theire
humble and well intended desires; – Source (First Virginia Charter, 1606)

As we can see, the Virginia charter quite specifically mentions religion, the worship of God Almighty, and missionary duties.

And of course, the Mayflower Compact.


IN THE NAME OF GOD, AMEN. We, whose names are underwritten, the Loyal
Subjects of… &c. Having undertaken for the Glory of God, and
Advancement of the Christian Faith, and the Honour of our King and
Country, a Voyage to plant the first Colony in the northern Parts of
Virginia; Do by these Presents, solemnly and mutually, in the Presence
of God and one another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a
civil Body Politick, for our better Ordering and Preservation, and
Furtherance of the Ends aforesaid: And by Virtue hereof do enact,
constitute, and frame, such just and equal Laws, Ordinances, Acts,
Constitutions, and Officers, from time to time, as shall be thought
most meet and convenient for the general Good of the Colony; unto which
we promise all due Submission and Obedience. IN WITNESS whereof we have
hereunto subscribed our names at… – Source (Pilgrims, upon their arrival at Plymouth, 1620)

The Pilgrims are an interesting study. They were the first of the
Northern Colonies, and were, in reality, religious fugitives –
dissenters concerning the Anglican Church’s “official” status as the
English religion.

The Pilgrims (Early History)


The Pilgrims were English Separatists. In the first years of the 17th
century, small numbers of English Puritans broke away from the Church
of England because they felt that it had not completed the work of the
Reformation. They committed themselves to a life based on the Bible.

The term Pilgrim was first used by William Bradford to describe the
Leiden Separatists who were leaving Holland. The Mayflower’s passengers
were first described as the Pilgrim Fathers in 1799. – Source (Read more about them there, as well.)

The Puritans (Early History)


The Puritans were a group of people who grew discontent in the Church
of England and worked towards religious, moral and societal reforms.
The writings and ideas of John Calvin, a leader in the Reformation,
gave rise to Protestantism and were pivotal to the Christian revolt.
They contended that The Church of England had become a product of
political struggles and man-made doctrines. The Puritans were one
branch of dissenters who decided that the Church of England was beyond
reform. Escaping persecution from church leadership and the King, they
came to America. – Source (Prof. Robert Barger, prepared by Kay Kizer)

(Further reading – Catholic Encyclopedia treatment of “Puritans”, or, the “Puritans” page, at the Hall of Church History.)

John Winthrop


It is yourselves who have called us to this office, and, being called by you, we have our authority from God, in way of an ordinance, such as hath the image of God eminently stamped upon it,
the contempt and violation whereof hath been vindicated with examples
of divine vengeance. I entreat you to consider that, when you choose
magistrates, you take them from among yourselves, men subject to like
passions as you are. Therefore, when you see infirmities in us, you
should reflect upon your own, and that would make you bear the more
with us, and not be severe censurers of the failings of your
magistrates, when you have continual experience of the like infirmities
in yourselves and others. We account him a good servant who breaks not
his covenant. The covenant between you and us is the oath you have
taken of us, which is to this purpose, that we shall govern you and judge your causes by the rules of God’s laws and our own, according to our best skill.

For the other point concerning liberty, I observe a great mistake in the country about that. There is a twofold liberty, natural (I mean as our nature is now corrupt) and civil or federal. The first is common to man with beasts and other creatures. By this, man as he stands in relation to man simply, hath liberty to do what he lists: it is a liberty to evil as well as to good.
This liberty is incompatible and inconsistent with authority, and
cannot endure the least restraint of the most just authority. The
exercise and maintaining of this liberty makes men grow more evil, and
in time to be worse than brute beasts: omnes sumus licentia deteriores.
This is that great enemy of truth and peace, that wild beast, which all the ordinances of God are bent against, to restrain and subdue it. The other kind of liberty I
call civil or federal; it may also be termed moral, in reference to the
covenant between God and man, in the moral law, and the politic
covenants and constitutions, amongst men themselves.
liberty is the proper end and object of authority, and cannot subsist
without it; and it is a liberty to that only which is good, just, and
honest. This liberty you are to stand for, with the hazard (not only of your goods, but) of your lives, if need be.

Whatsoever crosseth this is not authority, but a distemper thereof.
This liberty is maintained and exercised in a way of subjection to
authority; it is of the same kind of liberty wherewith Christ hath made
us free. Source (“On Liberty”. Read the whole thing. It’s excellent.)

Powerful words! Eminently powerful. I also believe this accurately
describes the thoughts and intentions of these early Puritans.

Now, take a look at the city-level covenants of the Puritans – see how
deeply their beliefs affect both their lives, and their governments.


(Salem: Yes, that Salem.)
– “We covenant with our Lord, and one with another; and we do bind our
selves in the presence of God, to walk together in all his ways..”

Charles-Boston Church
– “In the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and in Obedience to his holy
Will and Divine Ordinance, We whose Names are here under written, being
by his most wise and good providence brought together into this part of
America in the Bay of Massachusetts…”

– “We whose Names are hereto subscribed, having through God’s Mercy
escaped out of Pollutions of the World, and been taken into the Societe
of his People, with all Thankfulness do hereby both with Heart and Hand
acknowledge, That his Gracious Goodness, and Fatherly Care, towards us”

– “One: We whose names are here unto subscribed do, in the fear and
reverence of our Almighty God, mutually and severally promise amongst
ourselves and each to profess and practice one truth according to that
most perfect rule, the foundation whereof is ever lasting love…”

– “You shall swear by the great and dreadful Name of the High God,
Maker and Governor of Heaven and earth and by the Lord Jesus Christ,
the Prince of the Kings and rulers of the earth, that in his Name and
fear you will rule and govern his people according to the righteous
will of God, ministering justice and judgement on the workers of
iniquite, and ministering due incouragement and countenance to well
doers, protecting of the people so far as in you lieth, by the help of
God from foreigne annoyance and inward desturbance, that they may live
a quiet and peacabble life in all godliness and honesty. So God be
helpful and gracious to you and yours in Christ Jesus.”


The Puritans had a strong, strong belief in God – which also governed
their society – and discouraged any dissenting views. This made them
incredibly strong, as a community, but incredibly week, as far as
interaction with other ideals. Now, this was not a result of their religious beliefs – it was a result of their insularity from all others, and their absolute, law-centric [i]civil
order. In effect, in their escape from a “state religion” – they made
one of their own. It was this mistake, and this problem, which led to
the Witch Trials, and other issues.

It was partly upon this particular mistake, among others, that the
“establishment” clause was introduced. Puritans were the most moral of
the original settlers. They were extraordinarily so. However, their
strengths – specifically, their concentration upon legality-oriented
Christianity – was also their weakness. Their example was both
powerful, as well as subtly dangerous.

I find it odd that the word “Puritan”, even though their influence on
the burgeoning nation was tremendous, has been turned into a “dirty”
word. The Puritans had their problems – this is not at question.
However, their standards of an inalienable right to freedom from the State was the spark which ignited the powderkeg of the American Revolution. It was in Massachusetts that the fist of England fell first. It was in Massachusetts where the first shots were fired, and the Revolution began. It was in Massachusetts – Boston, to be precise, where the British first tasted defeat at the hands of Americans. At Bunker Hill.

Why is it these Puritans are considered to be “dirty laundry”, when it
was precisely those selfsame Puritans who provided the backbone to the
infant Revolution? Men like John Adams (Puritan Congregationalist), Samuel Adams (Puritan Congregationalist), John Hancock (Puritan Congregationalist), Robert Treat Paine (Puritan Congregationalist), were all Puritans. Only one of the Massachusetts signers was an Episcopalian –Elbridge Gerry. However, all were men of exceedingly strong religious convictions.

John Edwards, considered by many to be the most influential American theologian of all time, was also a Puritan!

Is the trend becoming clear yet?

Massachusetts was, perhaps, one of the most instrumental states in
creating the American Revolution – however, the religious basis on
which that state was created, and remained deeply involved in, is
rarely mentioned.

Virginia, who had 7 signers of the Declaration, was not similarly represented – not to the extent of Massachusetts, at least. Richard Henry Lee

(Robert E. Lee’s ancestor). Although he is rarely, if ever, listed as a
member of a “congregation”, Lee was a supporter of state-sponsored
religion. “refiners may weave as fine a web of reason as they please,
but the experience of all times shows religion to be the guardian of
morals” Source.

Francis Lightfoot Lee
– Brother of Richard Henry. We know much of his political actions – but
little of his religious ones. Rev. Charles A. Goodrich, in his book
“Lives of the Signers to the Declaration of Independence”, says that he
became a Christian before he died. Not much more is known.

Carter Braxton
was a church official, and represented his church in statewide
conventions. He died in rags, after having his fortunes destroyed by
the British. He truly “pledged his life, his fortune, and his sacred

Benjamin Harrison was a footloose type – he was an inveterate explorer, by many accounts. We don’t know a great deal about him otherwise.

Thomas Jefferson
was, in fact, one of the few known deists among the founding fathers.
However, he also considered Christian morality and virtue the
foundation for government, and the governed. See my essay “History: Separation of Church and State”, for a full treatment of Thomas Jefferson.

George Wythe was an Episcopalian, with a strong dash of Quaker. However, he is often portrayed as a deist. He was Jefferson’s mentor.

Thomas Nelson Jr. Died 13 years after signing the Declaration. He served mostly in a military capacity.

So, as you can see, the variances between Massachusetts and Virginia
are profound. I won’t go into a detailed list of all 56 signers – but
that was a good cross-section of the two “most influential” states. In
Massachusetts, every one

of the signers was a devoted Christian – 4 Puritans, 1 Episcopalian. In
Virginia, 1, maybe 2 of the signers were professed Christians.
Interesting contrast.

So, there was an interesting disconnect, when it comes to Declaration signers.

However, it changes, more than slightly, once we get to the signers of the Constitution.

I will submit as reference the following website:

Errant Skeptics: The Fifty Five Delegates

Contained therein, is the religious affiliations (along with copious
research concerning them) of the 55 Constitutional Congress delegates.

I also submit This page, from, with a table of the same, in database format.

Judging by these lists, as well as the references based upon them, we
can safely conclude that the historical basis of the laws, morals, and
customs of our nation, were founded directly in Christian principle and

To Be Continued.

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