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Thursday, August 25, 2016

Like Many of our Founders, I'm a Deist


Poor Man Survival

Self Reliance tools for independent minded people…

ISSN 2161-5543

A Digest of Urban Survival Resources

Hal Lindsey once said that we “can live about forty days without food, about three days without water, about eight minutes without air…but only for one second without hope.”



Like Many of Our Founding Fathers, I’m a Deist


   I grew up in what some might consider an oddly mixed neighborhood of old world Italian Catholics, Protestants and Lutherans and Jewish families with a few families from India mixed in.  My mother was Lutheran, my Dad was Catholic, my neighbors were a Heinz-57 mixture and I learned later some of our family heritage included Russian-Polish Jews who had escaped Hitler early on [many had secretly changed their religion to escape persecution], while others were Germans who had left for America and had served in our War of Independence.


We’re related to the German WWI flying Ace, the Red Baron and to Henry Winkler, best known as the ‘Fonz’ of TV show Happy Days


As kids we attended the Lutheran church, the Catholic Church and even the Jewish synagogue – just tagging along with our friends, it didn’t really make any difference to us.  Growing up I attended the Bar Mitzvahs of my Jewish friends as well as the confirmations of my Catholic friends.  My parent’s never discouraged us from exploring the faith of others. 


At the time my mother worked as an ER nurse and frequently brought home interns from other countries, especially from India which had been my first encounter with a vegetarian…who ever heard of someone not eating a hamburger was my first thought?


I’ll admit, my Dad forced us to attend Sunday school and even the Catholic version taught by the nun Sister Mary ‘burn-in-hell-you-brat’ McCarthy and being a particularly annoying young man, the nuns were aggressive in reminding me of that fact by frequently applying a ruler to my knuckles – my first nightmare!


As far as I can recall all of us got along well, there was not religious strife, no jihad or burning at the stake, no beheadings or fiery sermons damning the other guys’ religion.  As I got a bit older I began to question the purpose of religion, especially once I learned there were more than 1700 different versions of Christianity alone and how Muslims would not tolerate infidels.  Many religions taught ‘tolerance’ but practiced  just the opposite – they were too busy casting the first stone in judgment.


Ironically, our Founders ensured us Freedom of Religion…”The purpose of separation of church and state is to keep forever from these shores the ceaseless strife that has soaked the soil of blood for centuries.’ –Thomas Jefferson


Too often the leaders of some religions behave like intolerant zealots intent on forcing their rigid view on how everyone should live on everyone else and/or to control the politics of a nation.  I believe the real purpose shouldn’t be some tired, intolerant dogma but instead a practice of teaching that seeks to help each other – every day!  Make the world a better place, help those less fortunate.


Deism\De”ism\ (d[=e]”[i^]z’m), n. [L. deus god: cf. F.
d[‘e]isme. See Deity.]
The doctrine or creed of a deist; the belief or system of
those who acknowledge the existence of one God, but deny


Over the years I’ve learned that many of our Founding Fathers were Deists and have adopted this philosophy as the one which works best for me as well…

Deism is not a specific religion but rather a particular perspective on the nature of God. Deists believe that a creator god does exist, but that after the motions of the universe were set in place he retreated, having no further interaction with the created universe or the beings within it. As such, there are a variety of common religious beliefs that deists do not accept.


Famous Deists:

A large number of United States Founding Fathers were deists or had strong deist leanings. Some of them identified themselves as Unitarians, a non-Trinitarian form of Christianity that emphasized rationality and skepticism. These deists include Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, James Madison and John Adams.

The religious sensitivities of early Americans were such that the Founding Fathers avoided the mention of God in the Constitution.  They spoke about reverence for Almighty God and encouraged religious toleration, but many avoided discussing their personal beliefs.  So which of the Founders were Deists?  Most often the Founding Fathers included amongst Thomas Paine’s allies are spoken of as Deists.  These allies included George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson.

  • Was Washington a Deist?  Washington was closed-mouth about his personal religious beliefs.   He attended church services, but in the later part of his life he was not a communicant.  He promoted religious toleration, and he promoted the belief in God.  Washington established the tradition of chaplains serving in the United States military (see here).  In addition, Washington inaugurated the first Thanksgiving (see here).  Nonetheless, as he never made his personal beliefs about Christianity publicly known, Washington was a Mason and a Deist.
  • Was Franklin a deist?   In his autobiography, Franklin makes it clear that he was a Deist.  Nonetheless, it is also apparent that Franklin had great respect for the teachings of Jesus as well.
  • Thomas Paine was certainly a Deist-See or read his  The Age of Reason.

Outside ancient Greece many other cultures have expressed views that resemble deism in some respects. However, the word "deism", as it is understood today, is generally used to refer to the movement toward natural theology or freethinking that occurred in 17th-century Europe, and specifically in Britain.

The challenge which each of us faces each day is how can we make the world a better place?

Here are two sites which offer more information:



Yours for better living,

Bruce ‘the Poor Man’




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Additional Resources

The Anatomy of a Breakdown

The Prepper’s Blueprint: The Step-By-Step Guide To Help You Through Any Disaster

Prepper’s Home Defense: Security Strategies to Protect Your Family by Any Means Necessary

Contact! A Tactical Manual for Post Collapse Survival

20 Very Cool Especially Useful DIY Survival Hacks From DIY Ready: Looking for some cool DIY projects that can help you when SHTF? Wants to learn a new skill in the process? These 20 Diy Projects For Survival will have you prepared for anything and then some.

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1 comment:

DAR said...

Interesting-I didn't know that about our Founders and wasn't familiar with the concept of Deism but it sure makes sense and I sure am tired of religions which teach hate and intolerance.