What really were Thomas Jefferson's views on Christianity and Jesus? Was he a Christian? Did he believe in Jesus? Was he a Deist? Was he an Atheist?
What really was Thomas Jefferson and why is one of the most scholarly and well-read founding fathers such a mysterious character when it comes to Christianity? Why is he (and a few others like Franklin and Paine) the outcast when it comes to America being founded on Christian principles? Why is it that Christian patriots love everything Jefferson did and wrote about in office... except for when it comes to religion? I would like to present my take on such an important issue.
Let me first start out by saying I used to disagree with Thomas Jefferson on religion. I used to get pissed when he would say things like:
The clergy converted the simple teachings of Jesus into an engine for enslaving mankind and adulterated by artificial constructions into a contrivance to filch wealth and power to themselves...these clergy, in fact, constitute the real Anti-Christ.
I have examined all the known superstitions of the world, and I do not find in our particular superstition of Christianity one redeeming feature. They are all alike founded on fables and mythology. Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined and imprisoned. What has been the effect of this coercion? To make one half the world fools and the other half hypocrites; to support roguery and error all over the earth.
I could never understand why I, being a Christian, couldn't agree with one of the greatest founding fathers on Christianity. Why would he say things like this about Christianity? Why didn't he have the same take on Jesus as most Christians and other founding fathers for that matter? Don't all Christians believe in Jesus? What the heck is going on here? How can you do so much for such a great "Christian" nation but then say these things? It creates a huge problem because everyone knows this guy was not an idiot, but for some reason he agrees with virtually nobody when it comes to Christianity and Jesus. A lot of people simply write him off as being wrong on the subject of religion and theology. But the more one looks into it the more one discovers that he most likely was not wrong. In fact, it appears that he was dead on. So what does this say about the people who disagree with him?
I think this topic hits on a very important point that so few people are ever able to really think about or comprehend, and that is: different levels of understanding. What do I mean by different levels of understanding? I mean that Thomas Jefferson took a much more educated approach to Christianity. He was at a much HIGHER level than most Christians.
Allow me to elaborate. I can no longer call myself a Republican because that party no longer adherers to my values. They have become perverted and I have become smarter. It used to be reasonable to be a Republican when they practiced Constitutional principles like small government, monetary responsibility, free-enterprise, and so on. But now the Republican party practices none of these things. They love big government, they love war, they love taxes, they love all the things the Constitution doesn't. So I now have to call myself a libertarian or a conservative or a Constitutionalist or anything that hasn't been perverted by the Republican party.
This is precisely the way Jefferson feels about Christianity. He knows that Christianity has been hijacked and perverted by the Caesars. He knows the history behind Rome and all the filth and money that came with the formation of Christianity. He knows the ugly side of it. Most Christians do not. So when he comes out and disagrees with the ugly aspects he gets ridiculed by the majority of Christians who do not have the educated and refined view Jefferson has. This is the exact same as if I were to disagree with certain Republican principles because they aren't really Republican. I too would be bashed by the majority of Republicans, the ones that have been perverted and have lost the true principles. Look what happens when Ron Paul, a real Republican, comes out and says it's not a Republican value to vote in favor of war. Every Republican in office ridicules him.
This is what is going on with Thomas Jefferson and Christianity. He is the REAL Christian who understands Christianity while most Christians are not at his understanding. They haven't done their homework to know what the Bible is really saying. They haven't read outside of the Bible to see how everything fits together - just like how most Republicans have not done their homework to understand why Ron Paul has a much higher understanding than they do.
Wait, wait, wait... how can Thomas Jefferson be a REAL Christian if he doesn't believe you need to be saved by Jesus? I'm glad you asked. This is what used to confuse me on Jefferson for the longest time. Here it is: JESUS IS A METAPHOR. That's right a metaphor, just like many, many other things in the Bible. Yes, he was a real person and yes he did great things. But in the story of the New Testament Jesus is a metaphor for spiritual and intellectual enlightenment. Of course you need to be saved through Jesus, that is, spiritual and intellectual enlightenment. Of course you need to be born again and shed your old ways. Of course you need the blood of Christ to be saved. You need to change yourself and your understanding to be saved, otherwise you will not pass the test. This is what the story of Jesus is saying in my most humble opinion. And I am almost positive this is the way that Thomas Jefferson took it.
Fellow founding father Thomas Paine sums it up well:
The Christian religion is a parody on the worship of the Sun, in which they put a man whom they call Christ, in the place of the Sun, and pay him the same adoration which was originally paid to the Sun.
This obviously opens up a huge can of worms and creates a huge sub-topic for discussion. It is not the purpose of this post to talk about Jesus and Sun Worship, but suffice to say there are huge similarities and things that need to be addressed in modern day Christianity.
So when you have a guy like Thomas Jefferson coming out and saying things about the teachings of Jesus being hijacked it starts to become more clear what's going on. You start to understand why he respects Jesus clearly, but disrespects the way the clergy has totally twisted things to enslave humanity. He knows what's going on. He has done his homework fully.
I forgot to observe, when speaking of the New Testament, that you should read all the histories of Christ, as well of those whom a council of ecclesiastics have decided for us, to be Pseudo-evangelists, as those they named Evangelists. Because these Pseudo-evangelists pretended to inspiration, as much as the others, and you are to judge their pretensions by your own reason, and not by the reason of those ecclesiastics.
That's right. Go read what the Gnostics had to say. What does Jesus say in the Gospel of Thomas? What about the Kolbrin Bible? What about all the other texts that aren't in the Bible? Why do so many Christians shy away from reading something about Jesus that ISN'T in the Bible? The Bible is just one book. There is a whole library of history out there for you to learn what Jesus was really all about.
Perhaps Thomas Jefferson has uncovered something that few Christians are prepared to handle, the same way Ron Paul has discovered something that few Republicans are prepared to handle. But then again, maybe he was just some lost intellectual that was too logical and unemotional to understand such a simple concept of atonement for all who believe in the Son of God. I leave that for you to decide. However, it may be wise to follow Jefferson's advice in educating yourself on ALL the histories of Christ and to make your OWN decision based off your own research and reasoning, not that of the ecclesiastics.
So was Thomas Jefferson an atheist? Absolutely not! Was he religious? No. Did he like the church? Nope. Was he a Deist? Yes. Was he a Christian? Yes - a real Christian. He even says so himself:
I am a real Christian, that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus.
So one has to ask themselves: If Thomas Jefferson is claiming to be a real Christian and other people with opposed beliefs are also claiming to be real Christians then who has got it right? Or perhaps both do and are at different levels of understanding commensurate to their current evolution? After all:
To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God
In other words:
It is important next to realize that the secret doctrine concealed in the Bible must be discovered with the aid of certain keys. Each of the myths, fables and symbolic figures has at least seven complete and distinct interpretations. In other words, to open the door, that is, unveil the secret, the key must be turned seven times in the lock.
Manly P Hall
Maybe this Thomas Jefferson wasn't so stupid when it came to religion after all.Filed under: Government, Thomas Jefferson, Jesus