We have a lot of people to be thankful for. In particular, people who risked life, limb, family and fortune to do what is right. Thomas Jefferson is one of those people. Today, April 13th, is Thomas Jefferson’s birthday.
The Thomas Jefferson v. Pat Robertson page at www.deism.com gives a lot of documented facts about Jefferson’s beliefs
regarding God and religion. It makes very clear that despite the claims made by the Christian clergy that Jefferson was a Bible believing Christian, Jefferson was not a Christian, but was a Deist.
As those familiar with Deism know, there are many different types of people who are Deists. There are liberals, conservatives, Libertarians, Democrats, Republicans, Independents and people from all across the spectrum of political ideas and beliefs. There are Deists who believe in life after death and Deists who do not. There are Deists who believe Jesus was a real person and Deists who do not (here’s a link to our page that has one article taking the position that Jesus was a real person and one article taking the position that Jesus never existed even as a person). Jefferson believed Jesus to be a real person who attempted to correct the Deism of the Jews. Thomas Jefferson saw Jesus as a mere mortal who was a Deist and definitely NOT the son of God.
Thomas Jefferson, along with everyone else who supported the American Revolution, violated the Bible’s teaching at Romans 13:1-7 which teaches that the political powers that be are ordained of God and that anyone who does not live in fear of them and who is not obedient to them is punished with damnation. He and his fellow revolutionaries gave us all a great example to question authority and, if required, to overthrow it. This is written in the Deistic document the Declaration of Independence which Jefferson is credited with writing (many people believe Thomas Paine had a big influence in writing it as well). It reads, “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. … it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”
Thomas Jefferson also showed the importance of altruism. This makes anti-altruism teachings by people like Ayn Rand, aka Alisa Zinov’yevna Rosenbaum, null and void. Jefferson was financially well-off. He had a successful career, a family and a beautiful home. Based on anti-altruism teachings promoted by Rand/Rosenbaum, Jefferson should have focused on getting richer. Instead, Jefferson and his brothers-in-arms put all they had on the line, including their families and their lives, to overthrow the government and to create and build a republic which promoted free thought and progress and which made better lives possible for many more people.
In Thomas Jefferson’s Notes on Virginia he warned against greed when he wrote, “From the conclusion of this war (the American Revolution) we shall be going down hill. It will not then be necessary to resort every moment to the people for support. They will be forgotten, therefore, and their rights disregarded. They will forget themselves, but in the sole faculty of making money, and will never think of uniting to effect a due respect for their rights.”
Jefferson has come under attack by people claiming he had sexual relations with his slave, Sally Hemings, and that he produced children with her. There is DNA evidence that descendants of Sally Hemings are related to Thomas Jefferson. However, the DNA only proves that “A” Jefferson fathered children with her, NOT that Thomas Jefferson fathered children with her. This is a very important point of fact that is too often ignored. A great book about this is In Defense of Thomas Jefferson: The Sally Hemings Sex Scandal by William G. Hyland, Jr. (The author of the book presents evidence that strongly indicates Jefferson’s brother, Peter Jefferson, was probably the father of these children.)
The sacrifices and progress made by Thomas Jefferson eventually spread around much of the world. The revolution took such a toll on the British government as to make them much more open to changes in other parts of their empire, such as Australia and Canada.
All of us, especially Deists, have a lot to thank Thomas Jefferson for!
Bob Johnson is a freelance writer in the Tampa area of Florida. He was raised Roman Catholic, but after a stint in Marine Corps infantry and reading Thomas Paine’s The Age of Reason he became a Deist.
In 1993 he founded the World Union of Deists, and in 1996 he launched the first website devoted to Deism. He is the author of God Gave Us Reason, Not Religion, Deism: A Revolution in Religion, A Revolution in You and An Answer to C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity. He has also written the introduction to Thomas Paine’s The Age of Reason, The Complete Edition and Principles of Nature by Elihu Palmer.