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Re: Combined responses 1-May-05

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  • Stephen E. Jones
    Group On Sat, 30 Apr 2005 19:25:58 -0400, Alan C wrote ... because ... See above and previous. I don t have time for these games. When Alan (or any YEC) has
    Message 1 of 12 , May 1, 2005
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      On Sat, 30 Apr 2005 19:25:58 -0400, Alan C wrote
      Re: Young earth:

      >SJ>Note that I am not asking for *negative* scientific evidence
      >*against* the Earth (and Universe) being billions of years old. I am
      >asking for *positive* scientific evidence *for* the Earth (and Universe)
      >being ~10,000 years old.

      >AC>Your problem is that you Aussies look at things upside down,
      because
      >you live upside down, in the wrong terrestrial hemisphere! :-) You even
      >call it "down under", right? :-)

      See above and previous. I don't have time for these games. When Alan (or
      any YEC) has positive scientific evidence that the Earth (and Universe) is
      ~10,000 years old, let them post it. Until they do, YEC is not *even*
      wrong as a scientific model, because it has no positive scientific evidence
      of its major claim, namely that the Earth (and Universe) is ~10,000 years
      old.

      [...]

      On Sat, 30 Apr 2005 19:45:07 -0400, Alan C wrote Re: Evo, Creationism,
      U.S. and judgment, et.al.:

      >SJ>>Even though Denyse is a Canadian, I thought it might be resented
      >>if I an Australian said that I would not be surprised if America is
      >>"on the verge of collapse", for the same reasons that Alan raised. It
      >>is no coincidence to my mind that when America was a Christian nation
      >>it was abundantly blessed by God, but now it is turning its back on
      >>God and is, as the title of the book by eminent conservative
      >>constitutional scholar Robert H. Bork, "Slouching Towards Gomorrah":

      AC>It seems appropriate for me to clarify here for those who may not
      >know that I indeed am an American, that is, a U.S. citizen. Actually at
      >this point a Christian should be able to compare the U.S. now to the
      >U.S. of "yesteryear", and the picture is obvious, never mind gradual.
      >There was prosperity while the culture, the nation, was what I would
      >call "net Christian", though castigated along the way for sin, such as
      >was said by Abraham Lincoln at his Second Inaugural Address.
      >
      >Judgment has been occurring at accelerated rates in the degree with
      >which as a nation this country turns its back on its Biblical legacy. At
      >this point, America is more accountable than other former "Christian
      >nations", who have already been through their castigatings, such as all
      >of Europe with continual wars and especially the two devastating world
      >wars of the 20th century.

      Agreed. IMHO America's only hope is to repent and return to its former
      reality of, substantially, "One Nation Under God":

      --------------------------------------------------------------------------
      http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2004/001/21.34.html
      Christianity Today, January 2004

      One Nation Under God-Sort of
      We've got bigger problems than the Pledge of Allegiance.
      A Christianity Today editorial | posted 01/07/2004

      This term, the United States Supreme Court will consider the
      constitutionality of the Pledge of Allegiance. At issue is whether the
      phrase "under God" suggests a government establishment of religion, and
      therefore whether the pledge should be banned from public schools. We
      firmly hope the justices leave well enough alone.

      The arguments for the validity of these two controversial words "under
      God" are varied and strong, as many commentators have already noted.
      Robert Destro of Catholic University of America presented a fine
      summary of the political arguments in an amicus curiae brief:

      All three branches of our federal government have long recognized
      the premise from which Jefferson argued his Declaration of
      Independence, namely that our freedom is grounded in an authority
      higher than the State If reciting the Pledge is unconstitutional
      simply because it refers to a nation "under God," then reciting the
      Declaration of Independence, which refers to the Creator as the
      source of rights, is surely cast in doubt. And that would mean that
      publicly acknowledging the traditional grounding of our rights
      itself arguably violates those very rights. That would be an
      earthquake in our national ethos.

      Professor Destro seems mistaken about only one thing: the earthquake
      happened long ago. It wasn't one big shock, but mini-tremors that over
      decades created a deep chasm in American life.

      Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn brought this chasm to America's attention in 1978
      in his now-famous Harvard commencement address, "A World Split
      Apart." In the last three centuries, all moral and spiritual limitations, all
      Christian notions of duty and sacrifice, have slowly been discarded in the
      West. While we've safeguarded human rights, "man's sense of
      responsibility to God and society grew dimmer and dimmer We have
      lost the concept of a Supreme Complete Entity which used to restrain our
      passions and our irresponsibility. We have placed too much hope in
      political and social reforms, only to find out that we were being deprived
      of our most precious possession: our spiritual life."

      The spiritual decline has only accelerated in the 25 years since. We live in
      a political/economic nexus that not only permits but actually protects those
      who practice evil. In the slavish and mindless pursuit of liberty, we've
      ended up with a system that guards the rights of pornographers to
      commodify sex, of advertisers to entice people to hedonism, of executives
      to pursue a life of greed, of abortionists to kill innocent human life.

      This is not a godly system, though it is a system under God-or, more
      precisely, under God's judgment. The prophetic words spoken against
      Israel long ago are tragically timely: "Ah, sinful nation, people laden with
      iniquity, offspring who do evil, children who deal corruptly, who have
      forsaken the Lord The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint.
      From the sole of the foot even to the head, there is no soundness in it, but
      bruises and sores and bleeding wounds" (Isa. 1).

      Retaining the phrase "under God" is not going to protect "Christian
      America" from functional secularism. That earthquake has already shaken
      our nation. But the phrase will continue to signal the source of our
      liberties, and to whom we stand accountable for the misuse of liberty.

      Where's the Leaven?
      Despite the nation's severe ills, most American Christians think
      democratic capitalism is, if not the kingdom of heaven, certainly better
      than the alternatives. Indeed. Then again, more and more analysts believe
      classic liberalism is in deep trouble. Yale political science professor Jim
      Sleeper recently put it this way: "The dilemma is that an all-consuming
      'logic' of individual rights, free markets and corporate contracts can't
      sustain freedom in a liberal republic. It becomes such a cold tangle of
      contracts and rights that its freedoms rely ultimately on beliefs and virtues-
      religious, philosophical, ethno-cultural-that the liberal state itself cannot
      nurture, much less enforce."

      Yet for some, a darker apologetic lurks in the background. So many of us
      buy into this system because it promises us two things: It keeps
      government out of our religious lives, and it allows us to enjoy a standard
      of living-both in our churches and at home-unparalleled in human history.
      Such benefits are not to be overlooked. But what have we to say to the
      skeptic who accuses us of spiritual selfishness, of abandoning the culture
      to the unholy trinity of money, sex, and power so that we can worship the
      Holy Trinity in peace?

      Perhaps, because of our religious freedom, we can leaven a corrupt
      society, keep evil in check, and maybe even become a catalyst for a
      national revival. The sweep of American history suggests instead that the
      church is being leavened by the world.

      In the end, whether America is going the way of Lot's Sodom and
      Gomorrah or Jonah's Nineveh is not for us to know. Our times are in God's
      hands. Our task is to be faithful in whatever time we find ourselves.

      One way of being faithful is to lobby to keep the powerfully symbolic
      "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance. But success in court only means
      so much. Some of the most evil regimes in modern history-from 1930s
      Germany to 1990s Rwanda to 2002 Iraq-firmly believed they were "under
      God." And it's hardly as if America's moral and spiritual climate has shot
      up since this phrase was added to the pledge in 1954.

      No, even if this mighty symbol is retained in the pledge, we have much
      bigger work before us, and the outcome is hardly certain.
      Copyright � 2003 Christianity Today. [...].
      January 2004, Vol. 48, No. 1, Page 34
      --------------------------------------------------------------------------

      Otherwise I expect that America too will see the writing on the wall: "You
      have been weighed in the balances, and found wanting" (Dan 5:27 NKJV).

      [...]

      On Sun, 01 May 2005 00:28:51 -0000, Daniel Edington wrote
      Re: Since when is naturalism a problem?:

      Welcome to Dan.

      DE>All of natural science (hereafter referred to simply as science)

      This is false: "science" is more than "natural science. The "Merriam-
      Webster Online Dictionary" gives "natural science" as only 3b of its
      definition of "science":

      --------------------------------------------------------------------------
      http://m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary?book==Dictionary&va==science
      Main Entry: sci�ence [...] Function: noun
      Etymology: Middle English, from Middle French, from Latin scientia,
      from scient-, sciens having knowledge, from present participle of scire to
      know [...]
      1 : the state of knowing : knowledge as distinguished from ignorance or
      misunderstanding
      2 a : a department of systematized knowledge as an object of study <the
      science of theology> b : something (as a sport or technique) that may be
      studied or learned like systematized knowledge <have it down to a
      science>
      3 a : knowledge or a system of knowledge covering general truths or the
      operation of general laws especially as obtained and tested through
      scientific method b : such knowledge or such a system of knowledge
      concerned with the physical world and its phenomena : NATURAL
      SCIENCE
      4 : a system or method reconciling practical ends with scientific laws
      <culinary science>
      5 capitalized : CHRISTIAN SCIENCE [...]
      --------------------------------------------------------------------------

      It has listings for other sciences, namely "behavioral science," "cognitive
      science", "information science", even "creation science":

      --------------------------------------------------------------------------
      http://m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary?book==Dictionary&va==creation+science
      Main Entry: creation science Function: noun
      : CREATIONISM; also : scientific evidence or arguments put forth in
      support of creationism [...]
      --------------------------------------------------------------------------

      DE>operates based on the theory of naturalism,

      This also false, "naturalism" is not a "theory', it is a metaphysical
      *assumption".

      DE>This fact is not so much
      >a matter of choice as a matter of necessity.

      This is false too: *because* it is an assumption, "naturalism" is a
      *choice*.

      DE>This is because of the
      >fact that science is an attempt to understand the material world by
      >means of a system known as the scientific method.

      First, "science" these days studies more than "the material world". Science
      studies entities that like strings, vacuums, fields, space-time, thoughts and
      information that have none of the usual descriptors of "material" objects,
      like mass, length or volume. This is particularly so in biology where
      leading Darwinist theoretician George Williams belatedly realised and
      then pointed out that "Evolutionary biologists have failed to realize that
      they work with two ... incommensurable domains: that of information and
      that of matter. ... This dearth of shared descriptors makes matter and
      information two separate domains of existence .... The gene is a package
      of information, not an object":

      "Evolutionary biologists have failed to realize that they work with
      two more or less incommensurable domains: that of information
      and that of matter. ... These two domains will never be brought
      together in any kind of the sense usually implied by the term
      `reductionism.' You can speak of galaxies and particles of dust in
      the same terms, because they both have mass and charge and
      length and width. You can't do that with information and matter.
      Information doesn't have mass or charge or length in millimeters.
      Likewise, matter doesn't have bytes. You can't measure so much
      gold in so many bytes. It doesn't have redundancy, or fidelity, or
      any of the other descriptors we apply to information. This dearth of
      shared descriptors makes matter and information two separate
      domains of existence, which have to be discussed separately, in
      their own terms. The gene is a package of information, not an
      object. The pattern of base pairs in a DNA molecule specifies the
      gene. But the DNA molecule is the medium, it's not the message.
      Maintaining this distinction between the medium and the message
      is absolutely indispensable to clarity of thought about evolution."
      (Williams G.C., "A Package of Information," in Brockman J., "The
      Third Culture," [1995], Touchstone: New York, 1996, reprint,
      p.43. http://www.edge.org/documents/ThirdCulture/h-Ch.1.html)

      Second, as any philosophy of science textbook would tell Dan, there is no
      such thing as "*the* scientific method". There are scientific *methods*
      that are appropriate to each science discipline:

      "For our present purpose, it is sufficient to recognize that these are
      the salient acknowledged elements of the popular view of being
      scientifically methodical: empirical, pragmatic, open-minded,
      skeptical, sensitive to possibilities of falsifying; thereby
      establishing objective facts leading to hypotheses, to laws, to
      theories; and incessantly reaching out for new knowledge, new
      discoveries, new facts, and new theories. The burden of the
      following will be how misleading this view-which I shall call `the
      myth of the scientific method'-is in many specific directions, how
      incapable it is of explaining what happens in science, how it is
      worse than useless as a guide to what society ought to do about
      science and technology. ... Thus geologists and physicists tend to
      approach even scientific problems in disparate ways. They learn
      differently what it is to be scientific, what the scientific method is;
      and so too do chemists and biologists and other scientists come to
      different and even contradictory views of what science is. Yet these
      characteristic differences are but little recognized, and the
      misconception remains widespread that there exists a single
      method whose utilization marks the whole of science. In point of
      fact, as just illustrated, there is not any single thing that one can
      usefully and globally call science; rather, there are many different
      sorts of science." (Bauer H.H., "Scientific Literacy and the Myth of
      the Scientific Method," [1992], University of Illinois Press: Urbana
      & Chicago IL, 1994, reprint, pp.19-20, 28)

      DE>By its very
      >definition supernatural phenomenon are not subject to the scientific
      >method, therefore "supernatural science" is in essence an oxymoron.

      One can define something so that it is true "By its very definition", but
      then "Like the other kinds of logical truth, definitional truth is also
      innocent of any factual substance" it "give[s] no information about the
      world, but only about the use of language ... such truth is tautological or
      trivial":

      "There is a third variety of true sentences which logicians
      frequently speak of, "true by definition." ... Like the other kinds of
      logical truth, definitional truth is also innocent of any factual
      substance - the only information it gives is that if you define a term
      in a certain way, then, the conditions of the definition being met,
      you can use the term. ... They give no information about the world,
      but only about the use of language in reasonable discourse. It is this
      lack of material content that is referred to when it is said that such
      truth is tautological or trivial." (Fearnside W.W. & Holther W.B.,
      "Fallacy: The Counterfeit of Argument," Prentice-Hall: Englewood
      Cliffs NJ, 1959, 25th printing, pp.136-137)

      If "natural science" really did want to define itself such that "supernatural
      phenomenon are not subject to" it, then it should make *no* comment on
      the supernatural *at all*, not even to say that "`supernatural science' is in
      essence an oxymoron".

      But then "evolution" (for starters) could not be defined as "the standard
      scientific theory that `human beings have developed over millions of years
      from less advanced forms of life, but God had no part in this process":

      "In one of the most existentially penetrating statements ever made
      by a scientist, Richard Dawkins concluded that `the universe we
      observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at
      bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but
      blind, pitiless indifference.' Facing such a reality, perhaps we
      should not be surprised at the results of a 2001 Gallup poll
      confirming that 45 percent of Americans believe `God created
      human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within
      the last 10,000 years or so'; 37 percent prefer a blended belief that
      `human beings have developed over millions of years from less
      advanced forms of life, but God guided this process'; and a paltry
      12 percent accept the standard scientific theory that `human beings
      have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of
      life, but God had no part in this process.'" (Shermer M., "The
      Gradual Illumination of the Mind: The advance of science, not the
      demotion of religion, will best counter the influence of
      creationism," Scientific American, February 2002.
      http://makeashorterlink.com/?Q31143275)

      and nor could Darwinian evolution claim there is "*no* mechanism is
      known (to put the point mildly) that could guide mutation in directions
      that are non-random":

      "There is a fifth respect in which mutation might have been
      nonrandom. We can imagine (just) a form of mutation that was
      systematically biased in the direction of improving the animal's
      adaptedness to its life. But although we can imagine it, nobody has
      ever come close to suggesting any means by which this bias could
      come about. It is only in this fifth respect, the 'mutationist' respect,
      that the true, real-life Darwinian insists that mutation is random.
      Mutation is not systematically biased in the direction of adaptive
      improvement, and no mechanism is known (to put the point
      mildly) that could guide mutation in directions that are non-random
      in this fifth sense. Mutation is random with respect to adaptive
      advantage, although it is non- random in all sorts of other respects.
      It is selection, and only selection, that directs evolution in
      directions that are nonrandom with respect to advantage."
      (Dawkins ., "The Blind Watchmaker," [1986], Penguin: London,
      1991, reprint, p.312)

      DE>Thus it would be quite impossible to develop a truly scientific
      >theory

      Dan has overreaches himself by a fallacy of equivocation on the word
      "scientific". He wants to have it both ways by talking about a supposed
      limitation of "natural science" and then applying that top *all* "scientific
      theory".

      If "natural science" was prepared to limit itself such that "supernatural
      phenomenon are not subject to" it, then it could have no objection to
      another branch of "science", like "Theistic Science":

      "In its broadest sense, theistic science is rooted in the idea that
      Christians ought to consult all they know or have reason to believe
      in forming and testing hypotheses, in explaining things in science,
      and in evaluating the plausibility of various scientific hypotheses,
      and among the things they should consult are propositions of
      theology. Theistic science can be considered a research program (a
      series of theories that are continuous in some sense-for example,
      various theories of atomism in the history of science have been part
      of the same research program) that, among other things, is based
      on two propositions: 1. God, conceived of as a personal,
      transcendent agent of great power and intelligence, has through
      direct, primary agent causation and indirect, secondary causation
      created and designed the world for a purpose and has directly
      intervened in the course of its development at various times
      (including prehistory, history prior to the arrival of human beings).
      2. The commitment expressed in proposition 1 can appropriately
      enter into the very fabric of the practice of science and the
      utilization of scientific methodology. Proposition 1 is the most
      important of the two, for unless one embraces some form of
      scientism, it could be true and rational to believe irrespective of
      proposition 2. However, the two propositions taken together are an
      important part of theistic science, and I will be offering a limited
      defense of the controversial thesis that theistic science, including
      propositions 1 and 2, is a legitimate and important part of a more
      general Christian understanding of the integration of science and
      theology, and that theistic science does not violate the nature of
      science. Since theistic science is a research program, it is consistent
      with a number of different theories that specify it- for example,
      progressive creationist models, young-earth creation science and
      other models." (Moreland J.P., "Theistic Science &
      Methodological Naturalism," in Moreland J.P., ed., "The Creation
      Hypothesis: Scientific Evidence for an Intelligent Designer,"
      InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove IL., 1994, p.41)

      that do not claim for themselves any such limitation, seeking and obtaining
      government funding to carry out research into ""supernatural
      phenomenon".

      DE>involving any form of supernatural creation, intervention,
      >guidance and design.

      If Dan wants to define "natural science" such that it could not make any
      valid pronouncements on "supernatural creation, intervention, guidance
      and design" that would be OK by Theistic Science.

      DE>It as it this point that creationists and
      >proponents of intelligent design theory begin to object.

      First, "intelligent design theory" does not claim to be studying
      "supernatural phenomenon" or to be a "supernatural science". As I have
      points out on CED in the past, the distinction that ID makes is not between
      "natural" and "supernatural" causes but between "unintelligent" and
      "unintelligent causes":

      "The science we look to, however, needs to be unencumbered by
      naturalistic philosophy. If we prescribe in advance that science
      must be limited to undirected natural causes, then science will
      necessarily be incapable of investigating God's interaction with the
      world. But if we permit science to investigate intelligent causes (as
      many special sciences already do, e.g., forensic science and
      artificial intelligence), then God's interaction with the world,
      insofar as it manifests the characteristic features of intelligent
      causation, becomes a legitimate domain for scientific investigation.
      There is an important contrast to keep in mind here. Science, we
      are told, studies natural causes whereas to introduce God is to
      invoke supernatural causes. This is the wrong contrast. The proper
      contrast is between undirected natural causes on the one hand and
      intelligent causes on the other. Intelligent causes can do things that
      undirected natural causes cannot. Undirected natural causes can
      throw scrabble pieces on a board but cannot arrange the pieces to
      form meaningful words or sentences. To obtain a meaningful
      arrangement requires an intelligent cause. Whether an intelligent
      cause operates within or outside nature (i.e., is respectively natural
      or supernatural) is a separate question from whether an intelligent
      cause has operated." (Dembski W.A., "Introduction: Mere
      Creation," in Dembski W.A., ed., "Mere Creation: Science, Faith &
      Intelligent Design," InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove IL, 1998,
      p.15)

      "There's an important contrast to keep in mind here. Science, we
      are told, studies natural causes, whereas to introduce God is to
      invoke supernatural causes. This is the wrong contrast. The proper
      contrast is between *natural causes* on the one hand and
      *intelligent causes* on the other. Intelligent causes can do things
      that natural causes cannot. Natural causes can throw Scrabble
      pieces on a board but cannot arrange the pieces to form meaningful
      words or sentences. To obtain a meaningful arrangement requires
      an intelligent cause. Whether an intelligent cause operates within
      or outside nature (i.e., is respectively natural or supernatural) is a
      separate question entirely from whether an intelligent cause has
      operated." (Dembski W.A., "Intelligent Design: The Bridge
      Between Science and Theology," InterVarsity Press: Downers
      rove IL., 1999, p.105)

      "When design is faulted for not properly being a part of science,
      however, it is not for making living things an object of study.
      Rather it is for attributing living things to nonnaturalistic causes-to
      miracles and supernatural designers-and thereby making these non-
      naturalistic causes objects of study as well. In answering this
      criticism let us first of all be clear that intelligent design does not
      require miracles. Just as humans do not perform miracles every
      time they act as intelligent agents, so there is no reason to assume
      that for a designer to act as an intelligent agent requires a violation
      of natural laws. There's an important contrast to keep in mind here.
      Science, according to Ruse and Scott, studies natural causes
      whereas to introduce design is to invoke supernatural causes. This
      is the wrong contrast. The proper contrast is between *undirected
      natural causes* on the one hand and *intelligent causes* on the
      other. Intelligent causes can do things that undirected natural
      causes cannot. Undirected natural causes can explain how ink gets
      applied to paper to form a random inkblot but cannot explain an
      arrangement of ink on paper that spells out a meaningful message.
      To obtain such a meaningful arrangement requires an intelligent
      cause. Whether an intelligent cause is located within or outside
      nature (i.e., is respectively natural or supernatural) is a separate
      question from whether an intelligent cause has acted within nature.
      Design has no prior commitment to supernaturalism. Consequently
      science can offer no principled grounds for excluding design or
      relegating it to religion." (Dembski W.A., "Intelligent Design: The
      Bridge Between Science and Theology," InterVarsity Press:
      Downers Grove IL, 1999, p.259. Emphasis in original)

      Second, what "creationists ... object" to is those who claim on the one
      hand that science cannot study the supernatural, but then make
      pronouncements in the name of science on the supernatural.

      Third, there is another definition of science, "that it is `a search for truth,
      no holds barred.'" (see tagline). If for example God had in fact
      supernaturally created the first living organism with 256+ genes from non-
      living chemicals, on Dan's definition of "science" as "By its very definition
      supernatural phenomenon are not subject to the scientific method" then
      science would be committed to discovering the nearest naturalistic *false*
      explanation to the truth of what *really* happened. "But then," Ratzsch
      asks, "exactly what sort of project is science supposed to be if truth is not
      the, or at least an, ultimate object?" In that case I am sure taxpayers who
      ultimately fund science (and who are overwhelmingly theists) would not
      be impressed that their hard-earned money is being wasted on funding a
      naturalistic lie rather than a supernaturalistic truth, and would demand that
      if a science based on naturalism cannot even *consider* the truth, would
      demand that the funds be directed to a theistic science which could.

      [...]

      On Sat, 30 Apr 2005 08:52:07 -0700 (PDT), Paul wrote
      Re: Giant Sea Bass:

      PK>This comes from AIG. My comment is interspered.
      >
      >Q: Can giant sea bass change gender?
      >
      >A: Sounds unbelievable, but it's true!
      >
      >One of the examples is the giant sea bass found in the
      >oceans. From the time they hatch till they reach about
      >300 pounds, they're males. Then they start to undergo
      >a transformation. By the time they reach about 400
      >pounds, they become females and remain that way till
      >they die. Other fish do this as well.

      Sorry, but it may "Sound... unbelievable" to a non-biologist, as it once did
      to me, but it was not long into my biology degree that I realised there are a
      number of different sexual strategies in nature, other than the permanent
      male-female one of humans and other mammals that we are most familiar
      with. So whoever in "AG" posted this originally, if he/she is a biologist,
      then he/she is keeping back the truth that a *lot* of fish can change
      gender, e.g. this from one of my biology textbooks:

      "One reproductive strategy involves an individual alternating
      between male and female sex so that it does not produce both eggs
      and sperm at the same time. In some species, there is a single
      change of sex. An organism may start off as male, converting to
      female at some later stage, protandry, or as female, with a later
      conversion to male, protogyny. In salmon, fish start life as males
      and over several years gradually get bigger until they exceed a
      threshold size, at which time their gonads transform into ovaries ....
      There is a clear advantage in this pattern of reproduction. Sperm
      are small, so even small males can produce sufficient sperm to
      fertilise vast numbers of eggs. However, because eggs are large and
      yolky, the larger a female is, the greater the number of eggs she can
      produce. ... Salmon are protandrous. After reaching a threshold
      size, they change from male to female and begin producing
      thousands of yolky eggs ... A coral reef fish, the blue wrasse,
      provides an example of protogyny. The large dominant male
      controls a harem of smaller, drab-coloured females. The male
      alternates his colour between green and blue. About an hour before
      spawning, the blue colour dominates and he commences mating....
      This involves elaborate courtship behaviour followed by spawning
      with each female in turn. His colour then changes back to green. If
      the male is lost from a group, the largest female will undergo sex
      reversal and change colour to become the male with control of the
      harem. Protogyny in the blue wrasse maximises reproductive
      output, since all but one of the individuals is female and producing
      eggs, and the single male is able to fertilise eggs produced by all
      females in its harem." (Knox B., Ladiges P. & Evans B., eds.,
      "Biology," [1994], McGraw-Hill: Sydney, Australia, 1995, reprint,
      p.259)

      and if he/she is not a biologist then he/she should not make public
      pronouncements on an area he/she is ignorant of.

      PK>This presents an impossible challenge for the
      >evolutionists to explain. Were all of the first ones
      >that evolved males? What made them change gender? If
      >there were no females at first till they all reached a
      >certain size, how did they reproduce? These are just
      >some of the questions about the giant sea bass that
      >the evolutionists can't answer.

      I have no brief for "evolutionists" but on the common ancestry paradigm
      which I hold, this is not only not "an impossible challenge ... to explain"
      but additional confirmation of it, namely that many, if not most of plants
      and lower animals are hermaphroditic, i.e. *both* male and female, and
      differentiation into separate genders is a later specialisation. Common
      ancestry would therefore regard "the giant sea bass" being able to "change
      gender" as the retention of a primitive trait.

      As I have said, those who advocate separate creations should present their
      arguments against common ancestry in tandem. Paul K should therefore
      put his argument in the form of: "change of gender among giant sea bass
      is: 1) evidence against common ancestry because of: a) .....; b) ....; c) and
      2) evidence for separate creation because of: a) .....; b) ....; c). Perhaps Paul
      K would explain why he thinks that the fact that a lot of fish species, for
      example the "giant sea bass",can "change gender" fits better his separate
      creations paradigm than my common ancestry paradigm?

      BTW, there is an article on the OEC Reason's to Believe (Australia's)
      website, titled "Intellectual Honesty" that this "AIG" author (and those
      Christians who quote him/her and his/her like) might consider:

      --------------------------------------------------------------------------
      http://www.ozreasons.org/Newsletters/March_2005.pdf March 2005 o
      News & Views o Australian Chapter o www.ozreasons.org ... Intellectual
      Honesty ... Christians should be firmly committed to honesty and
      accuracy. It is simply indefensible for a Christian to engage in a
      deliberately deceptive behaviour of any kind. The ends never justify the
      means. Unfortunately, there are some Christians who do not feel that
      honesty and accuracy is as important as Im suggesting it is. About two
      years ago, I attended a public lecture presented by a young earth creationist
      speaker in a church near where I live. His occasionally interesting talk
      included scientific "evidence" that he believed supported his position. The
      speaker did present some valid points. ... However, much of his
      presentation consisted of simplistic "scientific" arguments that would only
      be considered to be convincing by people already committed to a young
      earth view. Unfortunately, the audience consisted mostly of people who
      lacked the scientific literacy to competently assess the accuracy of the
      presentation. Most people dutifully nodded when something sounded
      important and laughed at the speaker's well-rehearsed jokes. I remember
      looking around the auditorium in frustration as the audience mostly sat and
      unquestioningly accepted everything the "expert" speaker said. ... In
      supreme irony, and unknown to the audience, it is the young earth speaker
      who actually believes that all of the cats mentioned above, in addition to
      your pet pussy at home and even the extinct sabre-tooth tigers "evolved"
      from a single pair of ancestors. And further, this hyper-evolution happened
      in only a few thousand years at most. Like all of us, this speaker will one
      day have to answer for his actions. My encouragement to all readers is to
      never sacrifice the truth. The ends never justify the means. We should all
      heed the words of Proverbs 12:19 [NLT] "Truth stands the test of time;
      lies are soon exposed." [...]
      --------------------------------------------------------------------------

      [...]

      Steve

      --------------------------------------------------------------------------
      "Imposing Restrictions ... For while we can indeed impose whatever
      restrictions we wish, what we cannot do is then without further argument
      claim that the results of following those restrictions will be truth,
      approximate truth, self-correction or anything of the sort. The problem is
      that nature may or may not conform to our stipulations. For instance,
      suppose that some czar wishes to be a respected scientist but just cannot
      do much math. One solution to his problem would be to decree that
      mathematics could not be employed in science-that in what he means by
      *science* mathematical concepts are by definition prohibited. Well, the
      czar's scientists, and even the czar himself, might construct a pretty
      amazing system. But if nature is fundamentally mathematical, that pretty
      amazing system would still be pretty amazingly mistaken. The czar cannot
      both put a priori restrictions on science *and* claim that the results reflect
      reality. If nature itself violates those restrictions, the results are going to be
      wrong. Those who simply stipulate a naturalism in science face exactly the
      same situation. If nature is not a closed, naturalistic system-that is, if
      reality does not respect the naturalists' edict-then the science built around
      that edict cannot be credited a priori with getting at truth, being self-
      corrective or anything of the sort. Now if we had some rational reason for
      accepting naturalism as in fact true, then stipulating that science had to be
      naturalistic in order to have a chance at uncovering genuine truth would
      make perfect sense. But that would involve making a case for naturalism-
      not simply decreeing that science was by definition or for convenience
      naturalistic, which is the path taken by various evolutionists. ... Some
      people have recognized that confining science to naturalism would nearly
      guarantee that some truths were forever beyond science should it turn but
      that supernatural events or processes did at times intersect the empirical
      realm. And some, recognizing that and faced with the dilemma of either
      giving up stipulating naturalism in science or risking the possibility that
      science will be incapable of getting at such truth, have chosen the latter.
      For instance, Niles Eldredge says, `It could even be true-but it cannot be
      construed as science,' [Eldredge N., `The Monkey Business' Washington
      Square: New York NY, 1982, p.134] while Douglas Futuyma adds, `It isn't
      necessarily wrong. It just is not amenable to scientific investigation.'
      [Futuyma D., `Science on Trial', Pantheon: New York NY, 1983, p.169]
      Michael Ruse agrees: `It is not necessarily wrong ... but it is not science `
      [Ruse M., `But is It Science?', Prometheus: Buffalo NY, 1996, p301] So if
      say, we want to know about origins, and if the truth is supernatural, that
      truth cannot be a part of our science, even if we had some additional
      access to that truth. One characterization of science that has been popular
      among scientists is that it is `a search for truth, no holds barred.' On the
      present view, though, if one had some rationally defensible grounds for
      thinking that God had ... created ... one would evidently as a scientist by
      definition have to pretend that one really did not know that particular truth.
      That particular hold would be barred. But then, exactly what sort of project
      is science supposed to be if truth is not the, or at least an, ultimate object?"
      (Ratzsch D.L., "The Battle of Beginnings: Why Neither Side is Winning
      the Creation-Evolution Debate," InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove IL,
      1996, pp.166-168. Emphasis in original)
      Stephen E. Jones, BSc (Biol). http://members.iinet.net.au/~sejones
      Moderator: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CreationEvolutionDesign
      & http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ProblemsOfEvolution/ Book: "Problems
      of Evolution" http://members.iinet.net.au/~sejones/PoE/PoE00ToC.html
      & http://members.iinet.net.au/~sejones/pe00cont.html
      --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    • Elf
      ?Agreed. IMHO America s only hope is to repent and return to its former ?reality of, substantially, One Nation Under God We cannot return to a condition
      Message 2 of 12 , May 1, 2005
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        ?Agreed. IMHO America's only hope is to repent and return to its former
        ?reality of, substantially, "One Nation Under God"

        We cannot "return to" a condition that never historically existed.

        elf

        "At the time of its Founding, the United States seemed to be an infertile
        ground for religion. Many of the nation's leaders - include George
        Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin - were not Christians,
        did not accept the authority of the Bible, and were hostile to organized
        religion. The attitude of the general public was one of apathy: in 1776,
        only 5 percent of the population were participating members of churches."
        [Ian Robertson, _Sociology_, 3rd editions, Worth
        Publishing Inc.: New York, 1987, page 410]
      • Paul
        Agreed. IMHO America s only hope is to repent andreturn to its former reality of, substantially, One Nation Under God ... PK: Washington was a Christian. PK:
        Message 3 of 12 , May 1, 2005
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          Agreed. IMHO America's only hope is to repent
          andreturn to its former reality of, substantially,
          "One Nation Under God"
          >
          > We cannot "return to" a condition that never
          > historically existed.
          >
          > elf
          >
          > "At the time of its Founding, the United States
          > seemed to be an infertile
          > ground for religion. Many of the nation's leaders
          > - include George Washington,

          PK: Washington was a Christian.

          PK: Jefferson and Franklin had great respect for the
          Bible.

          > Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin -
          > were not Christians, did not accept the authority
          >> of the Bible,

          PK: Jefferson and Franklin had great respect for the
          Bible.

          > and were hostile to organized religion.

          PK: Doubtful.

          The attitude of the general public was
          > one of apathy: in 1776,
          > only 5 percent of the population were
          > participating members of churches."

          PK: Adherence to formalities is the least effective
          way of assessing attachment to any belief system.
        • Elf
          ?Agreed. IMHO America s only hope is to repent ?andreturn to its former reality of, substantially, ? One Nation Under God ? ? We cannot return to a
          Message 4 of 12 , May 1, 2005
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            ?Agreed. IMHO America's only hope is to repent
            ?andreturn to its former reality of, substantially,
            ?"One Nation Under God"
            ?>
            ?> We cannot "return to" a condition that never
            ?> historically existed.
            ?>
            ?> elf
            ?>
            ?> "At the time of its Founding, the United States
            ?> seemed to be an infertile
            ?> ground for religion. Many of the nation's leaders
            ?> - include George Washington,
            ?
            ?PK: Washington was a Christian.

            Washington, while he attended church for a time, never 'took the
            sacrement'. When the pastor finally made a big issue of it -- Washington
            quit attending. Of all the founding fathers, Washington was the most
            retecint regarding his personal beliefs, but in refusing to participate in
            the Eucharist, he was announcing in (for the time) the most emphatic terms,
            that he was no Christian.

            "In 1793 Washington thus summarized the religious philosophy he was
            evolving
            during his Mount Vernon years. How happenings would "terminate is known
            only
            to the great ruler of events; and confiding in his wisdom and goodness, we
            may safely trust the issue to him, without perplexing ourselves to seek for
            that which is beyond human ken, only taking care to perform the parts
            assigned
            to us in a way that reason and our own conscience approve of." George
            Washington was, like Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, a deist."
            ["The Forge of Experience" Volume One of James Thomas Flexner's four
            volume biography of Washington; Little, Brown & Company; pps 244-245]


            ?
            ?PK: Jefferson and Franklin had great respect for the
            ?Bible.

            "The Christian God is a being of terrific character --
            cruel, vindictive, capricious, and unjust."
            [Thomas Jefferson, _Jefferson Bible_]

            "My parents had early given me religious impressions, and brought me through
            my childhood piously in the dissenting [puritan] way. But I was scarce
            fifteen, when, after doubting by turns of several points, as I found them
            disputed in the different books I read, I began to doubt of Revelation
            itself. Some books against Deism fell into my hands; they were said to be
            the substance of sermons preached at Boyle's lectures. [Robert Boyle
            (1627-1691) was a British physicist who endowed the Boyle Lectures for
            defense of Christianity.] It happened that they wrought an effect on me
            quite
            contrary to what was intended by them; for the arguments of the deists,
            which
            were quoted to be refuted, appeared to me much stronger than the
            refutations;
            in short, I soon became a thorough deist"
            [Benjamin Franklin, "Autobiography,"p.66 as published in The American
            Tradition in Literature, seventh edition (short), McGraw-Hill,p.180]




            ?
            ?> Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin -
            ?> were not Christians, did not accept the authority
            ?>> of the Bible,
            ?
            ?PK: Jefferson and Franklin had great respect for the
            ?Bible.

            "The truth is, that the greatest enemies of the doctrine of Jesus are those,
            calling themselves the expositors of them, who have perverted them to the
            structure of a system of fancy absolutely incomprehensible, and without any
            foundation in his genuine words. And the day will come when the mystical
            generation of Jesus, by the Supreme Being as his Father, in the womb of a
            virgin will be classified with the fable of the generation of Minerva in
            the brain of Jupiter. But we may hope that the dawn of reason and freedom
            of thought in these United States will do away with this artificial
            scaffolding and restore to us the primitive and genuine doctrines of this
            most venerated Reformer of human errors."
            [Thomas Jefferson, to John Adams, Apr. 11, 1823
            Jefferson's Works, Vol. IV, p. 365, Randolph's ed.,
            quoted by E. S. Gaustad, "Religion," in Merrill D.
            Peterson, ed., Thomas Jefferson: A Reference Biography,
            New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1986, p. 287.]


            "I have recently been examining all the known superstitions of the world,
            and do not find in our particular superstition (Christianity) one redeeming
            feature. They are all alike founded on fables and mythology."
            [Thomas Jefferson, letter to Dr. Woods]


            "The way to see by Faith is to shut the eye of Reason."
            [Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard, 1758]

            "If we believe that he [Jesus Christ] really countenanced the follies, the
            falsehoods, and the charlatanisms, which his biographers [writers of the
            New Testament] father upon him, and admit the misconstructions,
            interpolations, and theorizations of the fathers of the early and the
            fanatics of the latter ages, the conclusion would be irresistible by
            every sound mind that he was an impostor."
            [Thomas Jefferson, _Jefferson Bible_, quoted by Joseph Lewis]

            ?
            ?> and were hostile to organized religion.
            ?
            ?PK: Doubtful.

            "I have found Christian dogma unintelligible. Early in
            life I absented myself from Christian assemblies."
            [Benjamin Franklin, in _Toward The Mystery_]


            "Most scholars of this persuasion characterize late colonial America as a
            society steeped in religious enthusiasm and riven by wrangling among
            competing denominations and opposition to established churches. That
            contentious spiritual climate, they believe, at once revived older
            traditions of Protestant dissent, particularly the opposition to the divine
            right of kings, and lent impetus to popular and individualistic styles of
            religiosity that defied the claims of established authorities and venerable
            hierarchies--first in churches, and later, in the 1760s and 1770s, in
            imperial politics. In short, they argue that the First Great Awakening was a
            sort of "dress rehearsal" for the American Revolution--that participating in
            a religious upheaval primed an entire generation of colonials (particularly
            if not exclusively the committed evangelicals in their ranks) to support a
            political revolution. Indeed, many scholars of this stripe argue that what
            brought on the American Revolution was a merging of the traditions of
            radical Protestant dissent and republicanism."

            Religion and the American Revolution
            Christine Leigh Heyrman
            Department of History, University of Delaware
            CNational Humanities Center
            [http://www.nhc.rtp.nc.us:8080/tserve/eighteen/ekeyinfo/erelrev.htm


            ?
            ?The attitude of the general public was
            ?> one of apathy: in 1776,
            ?> only 5 percent of the population were
            ?> participating members of churches."
            ?
            ?PK: Adherence to formalities is the least effective
            ?way of assessing attachment to any belief system.


            Americans, at the time of the revolution and for a good while thereafter,
            and not a few still today, had/have a deep distrust of any large
            organization, particularly authoritarian ones such as large churches with
            centralized authority -- as well as governments.

            The last thing they wanted was a new government trying to shove it's own
            particular denominational priorities down their throats. I.e. they wanted,
            *demanded* church state seperation.

            "Inevitably, civil governments were drawn into the fray. In colonies where
            one denomination received state support, other churches lobbied legislatures
            for disestablishment, an end to the favored status of Congregationalism in
            Connecticut and Massachusetts and of Anglicanism in the southern colonies."

            The First Great Awakening
            Christine Leigh Heyrman
            Department of History, University of Delaware
            CNational Humanities Center
            http://www.nhc.rtp.nc.us:8080/tserve/eighteen/ekeyinfo/grawaken.htm

            It took awhile -- but eventually all churches were disestablished -
            including the Concregationalists in Connecticut.

            Americans didn't want to mix government and religion. They'd had quite
            enough of that.

            ciao

            elf

            "The Christian god can be easily pictured as virtually the same as the many
            ancient gods of past civilizations. The Christian god is a three headed
            monster; cruel, vengeful and capricious. If one wishes to know more of this
            raging, three headed beast-like god, one only needs to look at the caliber
            of the people who say they serve him. They are always of two classes:
            fools and hypocrites."
            [Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to his nephew, Peter Carr]
          • Paul
            ... PK: Thise letter was written by George Washington s adopted daughter (his step-granddaughter) Eleanor (Nelly) Parke Custis Lewis in 1833. Woodlawn, 26
            Message 5 of 12 , May 1, 2005
            • 0 Attachment
              > Washington, while he attended church for a time,
              > never 'took the
              > sacrement'. When the pastor finally made a big issue
              > of it -- Washington
              > quit attending. Of all the founding fathers,
              > Washington was the most
              > retecint regarding his personal beliefs, but in
              > refusing to participate in
              > the Eucharist, he was announcing in (for the time)
              > the most emphatic terms,
              > that he was no Christian.


              PK: Thise letter was written by George Washington's
              adopted daughter (his step-granddaughter) Eleanor
              (Nelly) Parke Custis Lewis in 1833.

              "Woodlawn, 26 February, 1833.

              Sir,

              I received your favor of the 20th instant last
              evening, and hastento give you the information, which
              you desire.

              Truro Parish is the one in which Mount Vernon, Pohick
              Church, and Woodlawn are situated. Fairfax Parish is
              now Alexandria. Before the Federal District was ceded
              to Congress, Alexandria was in Fairfax County. General
              Washington had a pew in Pohick Church, and one in
              Christ Church at Alexandria. He was very instrumental
              in establishing Pohick Church, and I believe
              subscribed largely. His pew was near the pulpit. I
              have a perfect recollection of being there, before his
              election to the presidency, with him and my
              grandmother. It was a beautiful church, and had a
              large, respectable, and wealthy congregation, who were
              regular attendants.

              He attended the church at Alexandria, when the weather
              and roads permitted a ride of ten miles. In New York
              and Philadelphia he never omitted attendance at church
              in the morning, unless detained by indisposition. The
              afternoon was spent in his own room at home; the
              evening with his family, and without company.
              Sometimes an old and intimate friend called to see us
              for an hour or two; but visiting and visitors were
              prohibited for that day.

              No one in church attended to the services with more
              reverential respect. My grandmother, who was eminently
              pious, never deviated from her early habits. She
              always knelt. The General, as was then the custom,
              stood during the devotional parts of the service. On
              communion Sundays, he left the church with me, after
              the blessing, and returned home, and we sent the
              carriage back for my grandmother.

              It was his custom to retire to his library at nine or
              ten o'clock, where he remained an hour before he went
              to his chamber. He always rose before the sun, and
              remained in his library until called to breakfasdt
              [sic]. I never witnessed his private devotions. I
              never inquired about them. I should have thought it
              the greatest heresy to doubt his firm belief in
              Christianity. His life, his writings, prove that he
              was a Christian. He was not one of those who act or
              pray, "that they may be seen of men." He communed with
              his God in secret.

              My mother resided two years at Mount Vernon, after her
              marriage with John Parke Custis, the only son of Mrs.
              Washington. I have heard her say that General
              Washington always received the sacrament with my
              grandmother before the revolution. When my aunt, Miss
              Custis, died suddenly at Mount Vernon, before they
              could realize the event, he knelt by her and prayed
              most fervently, most affectingly, for her recovery. Of
              this I was assured by Judge Washington's mother, and
              other witnesses.

              He was a silent, thoughtful man. He spoke little
              generally; never of himself. I never heard him relate
              a single act of his life during the war I have often
              seen him perfectly abstracted, his lips moving, but no
              sound was perceptible. I have sometimes made him laugh
              most heartily from sympathy with my joyous and
              extravagant spirits. I was probably one of the last
              persons on earth to whom he would have addressed
              serious conversation, particularly when he knew that I
              had the most perfect model of female excellence ever
              with me as my monitress, who acted the part of a
              tender and devoted parent, loving me as only a mother
              can love, and never extenuating or approving in me
              what she disapproved in others.

              She never omitted her private devotions, or her public
              duties; and she and her husband were so perfectly
              united and happy, that he must have been a Christian.
              She had no doubts, no fears for him. After forty years
              of devoted affection and uninterrupted happiness, she
              resigned him without a murmur into the arms of his
              Savior and his God, with the assured hope of his
              eternal felicity. Is it necessary that any one should
              certify, "General Washington avowed himself to me a
              believer in Christianity?" As well may we question his
              patriotism, his heroic, disinterested devotion to his
              country. His mottos were, "Deeds, not Words"; and,
              "For God and my Country."

              PK: More info can be located at:

              http://gwpapers.virginia.edu/


              PK: Jefferson and Franklin had great respect for
              the Bible.

              Benjamin Franklin, while representing his country as
              ambassador to France, encountered a group hostile to
              the idea that there was anything in the Bible worth
              reading. The ambassador, incensed by the ridicule,
              invited the group to listen to a reading from an
              ancient manuscript he had come across. He made slight
              alterations to one of the 66 biblical books, which
              involved removing references to God, and had it read
              before the group. The reading was well received. The
              audience praised it and even requested copies before
              being informed Franklin was reading from the Book of
              Ruth.



              PK: Jefferson distinguished between the ethical value
              of the teachings of Jesus and the misuse of those
              teachings by religious types who more resembled the
              Pharisees of the NT than the ideal represented by what
              Jesus taught. From:

              http://www.angelfire.com/co/JeffersonBible/

              . . . Thomas Jefferson believed that the ethical
              system of Jesus was the finest the world has ever
              seen. In compiling what has come to be called "The
              Jefferson Bible," he sought to separate those ethical
              teachings from the religious dogma and other
              supernatural elements that are intermixed in the
              account provided by the four Gospels. He presented
              these teachings, along with the essential events of
              the life of Jesus, in one continuous narrative.
            • Elf
              ? ? Washington, while he attended church for a time, ? never took the ? sacrement . When the pastor finally made a big issue ? of it -- Washington ?
              Message 6 of 12 , May 1, 2005
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                ?
                ?> Washington, while he attended church for a time,
                ?> never 'took the
                ?> sacrement'. When the pastor finally made a big issue
                ?> of it -- Washington
                ?> quit attending. Of all the founding fathers,
                ?> Washington was the most
                ?> retecint regarding his personal beliefs, but in
                ?> refusing to participate in
                ?> the Eucharist, he was announcing in (for the time)
                ?> the most emphatic terms,
                ?> that he was no Christian.
                ?
                ?
                ?PK: Thise letter was written by George Washington's
                ?adopted daughter (his step-granddaughter) Eleanor
                ?(Nelly) Parke Custis Lewis in 1833.
                ?

                ". . . >>I never witnessed his private devotions.<<<

                ">>> I never inquired about them.<<<

                ">>I<< should have thought it
                ?the greatest heresy to doubt his firm belief in
                ?Christianity.
                ============

                So Elenor was uncomfortable with the thought.

                Which does not tell us a thing about Washington.

                Then she goes on:

                "His life, his writings, prove that he was a Christian."

                Well, Eleanor was certainly entitled to her opinion, however the opinion of
                most other historians who've studied Washington's life is quite different.

                The most telling statement was:

                "He was not one of those who act or pray, "that they may be seen of men."
                He communed with his God in secret."

                Indeed he did.

                George Washington and Religion
                Washington gives us little in his writings to indicate his personal
                religious beliefs. As noted by Franklin Steiner in "The Religious Beliefs Of
                Our Presidents" (1936), Washington commented on sermons only twice. In his
                writings, he never referred to "Jesus Christ." He attended church rarely,
                and did not take communion - though Martha did, requiring the family
                carriage to return back to the church to get her later.

                When trying to arrange for workmen in 1784 at Mount Vernon, Washington made
                clear that he would accept "Mohometans, Jews or Christians of any Sect, or
                they may be Atheists." Washington wrote Lafayette in 1787, "Being no bigot
                myself, I am disposed to indulge the professors of Christianity in the
                church that road to heaven which to them shall seem the most direct,
                plainest, easiest and least liable to exception."

                Clear evidence of his personal theology is lacking, even on his deathbed
                when he died a "death of civility" without expressions of Christian hope.
                His failure to document beliefs in conventional dogma, such as a life after
                death, is a clue that he may not qualify as a conventional Christian.
                Instead, Washington may be closer to a "warm deist" than a standard Anglican
                in colonial Virginia.

                He was complimentary to all groups and attended Quaker, German Reformed, and
                Roman Catholic services. In a world where religious differences often led to
                war, Washington was quite conscious of religious prejudice. However, he
                joked about it rather than exacerbated it. Washington once noted that he was
                unlikely to be affected by the German Reformed service he attended, because
                he did not understand a word of what was spoken.

                Washington was an inclusive, "big tent" political leader seeking support
                from the large numbers of Anglicans, Baptists, Presbyterians, and Quakers in
                Virginia, and even more groups on a national level. He did not enhance his
                standing in some areas by advocating support for a particular theology, and
                certainly did not identify "wedge issues" based on religious differences.
                Instead, in late 1775, Washington banned the Protestant celebration of the
                Pope's Day (a traditional mocking of the Catholic leader) by the Continental
                Army. He deplored the sectarian strife in Ireland, and wished the debate
                over Patrick Henry's General Assessment bill would "die an easy death."

                Washington was not anti-religion. Washington was not uninterested in
                religion. He was a military commander who struggled to motivate raw troops
                in the French and Indian War. He recognized that recruiting the militia in
                the western part of Virginia required accommodating the Scotch-Irish
                Presbyterians, Baptists, and Dutch Reformed members in officially-Anglican
                Virginia. He was aware that religious beliefs were a fundamental part of the
                lives of his peers and of his soldiers. He knew that a moral basis for the
                American Revolution and the creation of a new society would motivate
                Americans to support his initiatives - and he knew that he would receive
                more support if he avoided discriminating against specific religious
                beliefs.

                In the Revolutionary War, Washington supported troops selecting their own
                chaplains (such as the Universalist John Murray) while trying to avoid the
                development of factions within the army. Religion offered him moral leverage
                to instill discipline, reduce theft, deter desertion, and minimize other
                rambunctious behaviors that upset local residents. It was logical for
                Washington to invoke the name of the Divine, but it may have been motivated
                more by a desire for improving life on earth rather than dealing with life
                after death.

                Wahington understood the distinction between morality and religion, and
                between toleration of differences and full religious liberty. Washington's
                replies to messages from Jews and Swedenborgians showed he was not merely
                accepting the differences of religion, tolerating those who had not chosen
                the correct path. Instead, he endorsed what Jefferson would later define as
                a "wall of separation between church and state."

                Washington used generic terms with his public requests for divine
                assistance, to the extent that his personal denomination must be classified
                as "unknown." That vagueness has not stopped Episcopalians, Presbyterians,
                and Unitarian Universalists from claiming him as a member, and has invited
                others to identity him as a Deist. Washington was a man dedicated to
                creating national unity, not an exclusionist seeking to identify and select
                those with correct beliefs for reward in this life or the next. It would
                have been inconsistent for him to seek to blend the westerners and the
                Tidewater residents, the Yankees from the north and the slave-owning
                planters from the South, into one national union - while at the same time
                supporting narrow religious tests for officeholders, or advocating the
                superiority of one religious sect over another.

                The obelisk we call the Washington Monument is clad in white limestone. When
                illuminated at night, it glows white. It stands out from the dark background
                because of the artificial light we project on it; there is no natural light
                corning from the stone. If we projected a colored light, we'd see the tall
                Washington Monument as an object glowing with color. Similarly, many writers
                project onto Washington's life a set of religious beliefs - and see a
                reflection of what they project.

                Mason Locke Weems manufactured stories to establish Washington as a pious
                Christian, a man who suceeded in part because he prayed for God's blessing.
                Weems was a parson, and his inaccuracies (including the moralistic "I can
                not tell a lie" tale aboutcutting down a cherry tree) have shaped the
                perspective of Washington for two centuries now. Many modern writers still
                repeat second-hand information of questionable reliability to describe
                Washington as a traditional Protestant. The individuals who describe
                Washington's life as one marked by prayer and steady attendance at church
                are often advocates of a religious perspective, proselytizing the
                perspective of a particular denomination or at least trying to shape
                American society so more people attend church regularly.

                At times, they cite the generic proclamations issued as a public leader to
                portray Washington (or even Jefferson!) as a mainstream Christian, and to
                define the United States as a Christian Nation. Some of those who emphasize
                the personal faith - or faithlessness - of elected officials use it as a
                partisan issue. The Moral Majority led by Rev. Jerry Falwell was clearly
                allied with the Republican Party, and Pat Robertson used religion as part of
                his campaign for the presidency.

                In modern America, many religious leaders consider personal salvation to be
                fundamental to the strength/survival of American society. The debate about
                the morality of elected officials has been intense since the realization
                that Lyndon Johnson lied about the status of war in Vietnam and subsequent
                Presidents have demonstrated publicly their own lapses, particularly
                Presidents Nixon and Clinton.

                Those who attempt to project a religious theology upon Washington often seek
                to connect theological beliefs with civic benefits, assuming morality is
                based on religion. In contrast, Madison and others crafted a government that
                could succeed even if Americans were not angels, thanks to a balance of
                powers. Jefferson and other "natural law" theorists assumed that individuals
                in a mature society would follow a common set of ethical principles,
                independent of the different religious beliefs held by individuals.

                Washington was a man focused throughout his life on gaining honor and
                respect. He acted in public settings with some personal distance, even
                coldness, to reduce the likelihood of some informality reducing the respect
                he sought from others. So it is likely that he would desire political
                leaders today to also earn respect through moral, virtuous behavior - even
                at some personal cost to their comfort level.

                However, there is little in Washington's life to suggest he would support a
                political movement based primarily on a moral agenda. To make such a claim
                requires that we project a light upon the monument of Washington, then look
                at our own reflected light and claim its source to be Washington. The "myth
                of Washington" created during his life and shortly thereafter by Parson
                Weems is not static. Even today, Washington's life can be re-shaped when
                necessary to fulfill the agenda of a modern mythmaker...
                http://www.virginiaplaces.org/religion/religiongw.html

                Was Washington A Communicant?
                Washington was not a communicant. This fact can be easily demonstrated. A
                century ago it was the custom of all classes, irrespective of their
                religious beliefs, to attend church. Washington, adhering to the custom,
                attended. But when the administration of the sacrament took place, instead
                of remaining and partaking of the Lord's Supper as a communicant would have
                done, he invariably arose and retired from the church.

                The closing years of his life, save the last two, were passed in
                Philadelphia, he being then President of the United States. In addition to
                his eight years' incumbency of the presidency, he was, during the eight
                years of the Revolutionary war, and also during the six years that elapsed
                between the Revolution and the establishment of the Federal government, not
                only a frequent visitor in Philadelphia, but during a considerable portion
                of the time a resident of that city. While there he attended the Episcopal
                churches of which the Rev. William White and the Rev. James Abercromble were
                rectors. In regard to his being a communicant, no evidence can be so
                pertinent or so decisive as that of his pastors.

                Bishop White, the father of the Protestant Episcopal church of America, is
                one of the most eminent names in church history. During a large portion of
                the period covering nearly a quarter of a century, Washington, with his
                wife, attended the churches in which Bishop White officiated. In a letter
                dated Fredericksburg, Aug. 13, 1835, Colonel Mercer sent Bishop White the
                following inquiry relative to this question:

                "I have a desire, my dear Sir, to know whether Gen. Washington was a
                communicant of the Protestant Episcopal church, or whether he occasionally
                went to the communion only, or if ever he did so at all. ... No authority
                can be so authentic and complete as yours on this point."

                To this inquiry Bishop White replied as follows:

                "Philadelphia, Aug. 15, 1835.

                "Dear Sir: In regard to the subject of your inquiry, truth requires me to
                say that Gen. Washington never received the communion in the churches of
                which I am the parochial minister. Mrs. Washington was an habitual
                communicant.

                ... I have been written to by many on that point, and have been obliged to
                answer them as I now do you. I am respectfully.

                "Your humble servant,

                "WILLIAM WHITE."
                (Memoir of Bishop White, pp. 196, 197).

                In a standard Christian authority, Sprague's "Annals of the American
                Pulpit," written and compiled by Rev. Wm. B. Sprague, D.D., is a sketch of
                the life of Rev. James Abercromble, D.D. In this biographical sketch is to
                be found some very important evidence from the pen of Washington's other
                pastor, pertaining to the subject under consideration. I quote the
                following:

                "One incident in Dr. Abercrombie's experience as a clergyman, in connection
                with the Father of his Country, is especially worthy of record; and the
                following account of it was given by the Doctor himself, in a letter to a
                friend, in 1831 shortly after there had been some public allusion to it:
                'With respect to the inquiry you make I can only state the following facts;
                that, as pastor of the Episcopal church, observing that, on sacramental
                Sundays, Gen. Washington, immediately after the desk and pulpit services,
                went out with the greater part of the congregation -- always leaving Mrs.
                Washington with the other communicants -- she invariably being one -- I
                considered it my duty in a sermon on Public Worship, to state the unhappy
                tendency of example, particularly of those in elevated stations who
                uniformly turned their backs upon the celebration of the Lord's Supper. I
                acknowledge the remark was intended for the President; and as such he
                received it. A few days after, in conversation with, I believe, a senator of
                the United States, he told me he had dined the day before with the
                President, who in the course of conversation at table said that on the
                preceding Sunday he had received a very just reproof from the pulpit for
                always leaving the church before the administration of the Sacrament; that
                he honored the preacher for his integrity and candor; that he had never
                sufficiently considered the influence of his example, and that he would not
                again give cause for the repetition of the reproof; and that, as he had
                never been a communicant, were he to become one then it would be imputed to
                an ostentatious display of religious zeal? arising altogether from his
                elevated station. Accordingly, he never afterwards came on the morning of
                sacramental Sunday, though at other times he was a constant attendant in the
                morning'" (Annals of the American Pulpit, Vol. v, p. 394).

                Here we have a confirmation of the statement previously made that Washington
                absented himself from church on sacramental Sundays; undeniable proof that
                during the later years of his life he was not a communicant; and, above all,
                the assurance of Washington himself that "he had never been a communicant."

                The Rev. E.D. Neill, in the Episcopal Recorder, the organ of the church of
                which it is claimed Washington was a communicant, says:

                "As I read, a few days ago, of the death of the Rev. Richard M. Abercrombie,
                rector of St. Matthew's Protestant Episcopal church in Jersey City, memories
                of my boyhood arose. He was born not far from my father's house in
                Philadelphia and was the son of the Rev. James Abercrombie, a fine scholar
                and preacher, who had in early life corresponded with the great
                lexicographer, Dr. Samuel Johnson, and in later years was the assistant
                minister of Christ's and St. Peter's churches, in Philadelphia, where my
                maternal ancestors had worshiped for more than one generation. One day,
                after the father had reached four score years, the lately deceased son took
                me into the study of the aged man, and showed me a letter which President
                George Washington had written to his father, thanking him for the loan of
                one of his manuscript sermons. Washington and his wife were regular
                attendants upon his ministry while residing in Philadelphia. The President
                was not a communicant, notwithstanding all the pretty stories to the
                contrary, and after the close of the sermon on sacramental Sundays, had
                fallen into the habit of retiring from the church while his wife remained
                and communed."

                Referring to Dr. Abercrombie's reproof of Washington, Mr. Neill says:

                "Upon one occasion Dr. Abercromble alluded to the unhappy tendency of the
                example of those dignified by age and position turning their backs upon the
                celebration of the Lord's Supper. The discourse arrested the attention of
                Washington, and after that he never came to church with his wife on
                Communion Sunday."

                The Rev. Dr. Wilson, in his famous sermon on the Religion of the Presidents,
                also alludes to this subject. He says:

                "When the Congress sat in Philadelphia, President Washington attended the
                Episcopal church. The rector, Dr. Abercrombie, told me that on the days when
                the sacrament of the Lord's Supper was to be administered, Washington's
                custom was to rise just before the ceremony commenced, and walk out of
                church. This became a subject of remark in the congregation, as setting a
                bad example. At length the Doctor undertook to speak of it, with a direct
                allusion to the President. Washington was heard afterwards to remark that
                this was the first time a clergyman had thus preached to him, and he should
                henceforth neither trouble the Doctor nor his congregation on such
                occasions; and ever after that, upon communion days, he 'absented himself
                altogether from the church.'

                The Rev. Bird Wilson, D.D., author of the "Memoir of Bishop White," says:

                "Though the General attended the churches in which Dr. White officiated,
                whenever he was in Philadelphia during the Revolutionary war, and afterwards
                while President of the United States, he never was a communicant in them"
                (Memoir of Bishop White, p. 188).

                The Rev. Beverly Tucker, D.D., of the Episcopal church, has attempted to
                prove that Washington was a churchman. But while professing to believe that
                he was a communicant before the Revolution he is compelled to admit that
                there is a doubt about his communing after the Revolution. He says:

                "The doubt has been raised partly on the strength of a letter written by
                Bishop White in 1832. He says that Washington attended St. Peter's church
                one winter, during the session of the Continental Congress, and that during
                his Presidency he had a pew in Christ church, 'which was habitually occupied
                by himself, by Mrs. Washington, who was regularly a communicant, and by his
                secretaries. This language is taken to mean, and probably correctly, that
                Washington did not commune."

                Dr. Tucker is evidently not acquainted with Bishop White's letter to Col.
                Mercer in 1835. There is no question as to the meaning of that letter.
                Continuing, Dr. Tucker says:

                "The doubt rests again on the recollection of Mrs. Fielding Lewis, Nelly
                Custis, Gen. Washington's step- granddaughter, written in 1833, who states
                that after the Mount Vernon family removed from Pohick church to Christ
                church, Alexandria, the General was accustomed, on Communion Sundays, to
                leave the church with her, sending the carriage back for Mrs. Washington."

                Washington's biographer, the Rev. Jared Sparks, who seems to have
                entertained the popular notion that Washington was in early life a
                communicant, admits that at a latter period he ceased to commune. He says:

                "The circumstance of his withdrawing himself from the communion service at a
                certain period of his life has been remarked as singular. This may be
                admitted and regretted, both on account of his example and the value of his
                opinions as to the importance and practical tendency of this rite" (Life of
                Washington, Vol. ii, p. 361).

                Origen Bacherer, in his debate with Robert Dale Owen in 1831, made an effort
                to prove that Washington was a Christian communicant. He appealed for help
                to the Rev. Wm. Jackson, rector of the Episcopal church of Alexandria, the
                church which Washington had attended. Mr. Jackson was only too willing to
                aid him. He instituted an exhaustive investigation for the purpose of
                discovering if possible some evidence of Washington having been a
                communicant. Letters of inquiry were addressed to his relatives and friends.
                But his efforts were unsuccessful. While he professed to believe that
                Washington was a Christian, he was compelled to say:

                "I find no one who ever communed with him" (Bacheler-Owen Debate, Vol. ii,
                p. 262).

                This, as might be supposed, did not satisfy Mr. Bacherer, and he entreated
                the rector to make another attempt. The second attempt was as fruitless as
                the first.' He writes:

                "I am sorry after so long a delay in replying to your last, that it is not
                in my power to communicate something decisive in reference to General
                Washington's church membership" (Ibid., ii, p. 370.)

                In the same letter Mr. Jackson says:

                "Nor can I find any old person who ever communed with him."

                The "People's Library of Information" contains the following:

                "The question has been raised as to whether any one of our Presidents was a
                communicant in a Christian church. There is a tradition that Washington
                asked permission of a Presbyterian mister in New Jersey to unite in
                communion. But it is only a tradition. Washington was a vestryman in the
                Episcopal church. But that office required no more piety than it would to be
                mate of a ship. There is no account of his communing in Boston, or in New
                York, or Philadelphia, or elsewhere, during the Revolutionary struggle."

                The tradition of Washington's wishing to unite with a Presbyterian minister
                in communion, like many other so-called traditions of the same character,
                has been industriously circulated. And yet it is scarcely possible to
                conceive of a more improbable story. Refusing to commune with the members of
                the church in which he was raised, and the church he was in the habit of
                attending, and going to the priest of another church -- a stranger -- and
                asking to commune with him! Had Washington been some intemperate vagabond,
                the story might have been believed. But Washington was not an inebriate, and
                was never so pressed for a drink as to beg a sup of sacramental wine from a
                Calvinistic clergyman.

                Gen. A.W. Greely, U.S.A., in an article on "Washington's Domestic and
                Religious Life" which was published in the Ladies' Home Journal for April,
                1896, says:

                "But even if he was ever confirmed in its [the Episcopal] faith there is no
                reliable evidence that he ever took communion with it or with any other
                church."

                Some years ago, I met at Paris, Texas, an old gentlemen, Mr. F.W. Miner, who
                was born and who lived for a considerable time near Mt. Vernon. He told me
                that when a boy he was once in company with a party of old men, neighbors in
                early life of Washington, who were discussing the question of his religious
                belief. He says that it was admitted by all of them that he was not a church
                member, and by the most of them that he was not a Christian.

                Mr. George Wilson of Lexington, Mo., whose ancestors owned the Custis
                estate, and founded Alexandria, where Washington attended church, writes as
                follows: "My great-grandmother was Mary Alexander, daughter of 'John the
                younger,' who founded Alexandria. The Alexander pew in Christ church was
                next to Washington's, and an old lady, a kinswoman of mine, born near
                Alexandria and named Alexander, told me that the tradition in the Alexander
                family was that Washington NEVER took communion."

                In regard to Washington being a vestryman, Mr. Wilson says: "At that time
                the vestry was the county court, and in order to have a hand in managing the
                affairs of the county, in which his large property lay, regulating the levy
                of taxes, etc., Washington had to be a vestryman."

                The St. Louis Globe contained the following in regard to the church
                membership of Washington:

                "It is a singular fact that much as has been written about Washington,
                particularly with regard to his superior personal virtue, there is nothing
                to show that he was ever a member of the church. He attended divine service,
                and lived an honorable and exemplary life, but as to his being a
                communicant, the record is surprisingly doubtful."

                In an article conceding that Washington was not a communicant, the Western
                Christian Advocate says:

                "This is evident and convincing from the Life of Bishop White, bishop of the
                Episcopal church in America from 1787 to 1836. Of this evidence it has been
                well said: 'There does not appear to be any such undoubtable evidence
                existing. The more scrutinously the church membership of Washington is
                examined, the more doubtful it appears. Bishop White seems to have had more
                intimate relations with Washington than any clergyman of his time. His
                testimony outweighs any amount of influential argumentation on the
                question.'

                The following is a recapitulation of the salient points in the preceding
                testimony, given in the words of the witnesses. It is in itself an
                overwhelming refutation of the claim that Washington was a communicant:

                "Gen. Washington never received the communion in the churches of which I am
                the parochial minister." -- Bishop White.

                "On sacramental Sundays, Gen. Washington, immediately after the desk and
                pulpit services, went out with the greater part of the Congregation." --
                Rev. Dr. Abercromble.

                "After that, [Dr. Abercrombie's reproof,] upon communion days, he absented
                himself altogether from the church." -- Rev. Dr. Wilson.

                "The General was accustomed, on communion Sundays, to leave the church with
                her [Nelly Custis], sending the carriage back for Mrs. Washington. " -- Rev.
                Dr. Beverly Tucker.

                "He never was a communicant in them [Dr. White's churches]." -- Rev. Dr.
                Bird Wilson.

                "I find no one who ever communed with him." -- Rev. William Jackson.

                "The President was not a communicant." -- Rev. E.D. Neill.

                "This [his ceasing to commune] may be admitted and regretted." -- Rev. Jared
                Sparks.

                "There is no reliable evidence that he ever took communion." -- Gen. A.W.
                Greely.

                "There is nothing to show that he was ever a member of the church." -- St.
                Louis Globe.

                "I have never been a communicant." -- Washington, quoted by Dr. Abercrombie.

                The claim that Washington was a Christian communicant must be abandoned; the
                claim that he was a believer in Christianity, I shall endeavor to showy is
                equally untenable.

                Was Washington A Christian?
                In the political documents, correspondence, and other writings of
                Washington, few references to the prevailing religion of his day are found.
                In no instance has he expressed a disbelief in the Christian religion,
                neither can there be found in all his writings a single sentence that can
                with propriety be construed into an acknowledgment of its claims. Once or
                twice he refers to it in complimentary terms, but in these compliments there
                is nothing inconsistent with the conduct of a conscientious Deist.
                Religions, like their adherents, possess both good and bad qualities, and
                Christianity is no exception. While there is much in it deserving the
                strongest condemnation, there is also much that commands the respect and
                even challenges the admiration of Infidels. Occupying the position that
                Washington did, enjoying as he did the confidence and support of Christians,
                it was not unnatural that he should indulge in a few friendly allusions to
                their religious faith.

                In his "Farewell Address," the last and best political paper he gave to the
                Christian religion is not once named. In this work he manifests the fondest
                solicitude for the future of his country. His sentences are crowded with
                words of warning and fatherly advice. But he does not seem to be impressed
                with the idea that the safety of the government or the happiness of the
                people depends upon Christianity. He recommends a cultivation of the
                religious sentiment, but evinces no partiality for the popular faith.

                In the absence of any recorded statements from Washington himself concerning
                his religious belief, the most conclusive evidence that can be presented is
                the admissions of his clerical acquaintances. Among these there has been
                preserved the testimony of his pastors, Bishop White and Dr. Abercromble.

                In a letter to Rev. B.C.C. Parker of Massachusetts, dated Nov. 28, 1832, in
                answer to some inquiries respecting Washington's religion, Bishop White
                says:

                "His behavior [in church] was always serious and attentive, but as your
                letter seems to intend an inquiry on the point of kneeling during the
                service, I owe it to the truth to declare that I never saw him in the said
                attitude. ... Although I was often in company with this great man, and had
                the honor of dining often at his table, I never heard anything from him
                which could manifest his opinions on the subject of religion. ... Within a
                few days of his leaving the presidential chair, our vestry waited on him
                with an address prepared and delivered by me. In his answer he was pleased
                to express himself gratified by what he had heard from our pulpit; but there
                was nothing that committed him relatively to religious theory" ("Memoir of
                Bishop White," pp. 189-191; Sparks' "Life of Washington," Vol. ii., p. 359).

                The Rev. Parker, to whom Bishop White's letter is addressed, was, it seems,
                anxious to obtain some evidence that Washington was a believer in
                Christianity, and, not satisfied with the bishop's answer, begged him, it
                would appear, to tax his mind for some fact that would tend to show that
                Washington was a believer. In a letter dated Dec. 21, 1832, the bishop
                writes as follows:

                "I do not believe that any degree of recollection will bring to my mind any
                fact which would prove General Washington to have been a believer in the
                Christian revelation further than as may be hoped from his constant
                attendance upon Christian worship, in connection with the general reserve of
                his character" ("Memoir of Bishop White," p. 193).

                Bishop White's testimony does not afford positive proof of Washington's
                unbelief, but it certainly furnishes strong presumptive evidence of its
                truth. It is hardly possible to suppose that he could have been a believer
                and have let his most intimate Christian associates remain in total
                ignorance of the fact. Bishop White indulges a faint hope that he may have
                been, but this hope is simply based on his "constant attendance" at church,
                and when we consider how large a proportion of those who attend church are
                unbelievers, that many of our most radical Freethinkers are regular
                church-goers, there are very small grounds, I think, upon which to indulge
                even a hope. But even this "constant attendance" on the part of Washington
                cannot be accepted without some qualification; for, while it is true that he
                often attended church, he was by no means a constant attendant. Not only did
                he uniformly absent himself on communion days, but the entries in his diary
                show that he remained away for several Sundays in succession, spending his
                time at home reading and writing, riding out into the country, or in
                visiting his friends.

                But if Bishop White cherished a faint hope that Washington had some faith in
                the religion of Christ, Dr. Abercrombie did not. Long after Washington's
                death, in reply to Dr. Wilson, who had interrogated him as to his
                illustrious auditor's religious views, Dr. Abercrombie's brief but emphatic
                answer was:

                "Sir, Washington was a Deist."

                Washington rarely attended, as we have seen, any church but the Episcopal,
                hence, if any denomination of Christians could claim him as an adherent, it
                was this one. Yet here we have two of its most distinguished
                representatives, pastors of the churches which he attended, the one not
                knowing what his belief was, the other disclaiming him and asserting that he
                was a Deist.

                The Rev. Dr. Wilson, who was almost a contemporary of our earlier statesmen
                and presidents, and who thoroughly investigated the subject of their
                religious beliefs, in his sermon already mentioned affirmed that the
                founders of our nation were nearly all Infidels, and that of the presidents
                who had thus far been elected -- George Washington, John Adams, Thomas
                Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, John Quincy Adams, and Andrew
                Jackson -- not one had professed a belief in Christianity. From this sermon
                I quote the following:

                "When the war was over and the victory over our enemies won, and the
                blessings and happiness of liberty and peace were secured, the Constitution
                was framed and God was neglected. He was not merely forgotten. He was
                absolutely voted out of the Constitution. The proceedings, as published by
                Thompson, the secretary, and the history of the day, show that the question
                was gravely debated whether God should be in the Constitution or not, and,
                after a solemn debate he was deliberately voted out of it. ... There is not
                only in the theory of our government no recognition of God's laws and
                sovereignty, but its practical operation, its administration, has been
                conformable to its theory. Those who have been called to administer the
                government have not been men making any public profession of Christianity.
                ... Washington was a man of valor and wisdom. He was esteemed by the whole
                world as a great and good man; but he was not a professing Christian."

                Dr. Wilson's sermon was published in the Albany Daily Advertiser in 1831,
                and attracted the attention of Robert Dale Owen, then a young man, who
                called to see its author in regard to his statement concerning Washington's
                belief. The result of his visit is given in a letter to Amos Gilbert. The
                letter is dated Albany, November 13, 1831., and was published in New York a
                fortnight later. He says:

                "I called last evening on Dr. Wilson, as I told you I should, and I have
                seldom derived more pleasure from a short interview with anyone. Unless my
                discernment of character has been rievously at fault, I met an honest man
                and sincere Christian. But you shall have the particulars. A gentleman of
                this city accompanied me to the Doctor's residence. We were very courteously
                received. I found him a tall, commanding figure, with a countenance of much
                benevolence, and a brow indicative of deep thought, apparently approaching
                fifty years of age. I opened the interview by stating that though personally
                a stranger to him, I had taken the liberty of calling in consequence of
                having perused an interesting sermon of his, which had been reported in the
                Daily Advertiser of this city, and regarding which, as he probably knew, a
                variety of opinions prevailed. In a discussion, in which I had taken a part,
                some of the facts as there reported had been questioned; and I wished to
                know from him whether the reporter had fairly given his words or not. ... I
                then read to him from a copy of the Daily Advertiser the paragraph which
                regards Washington, beginning, 'Washington was a man,' etc., and ending,
                'absented himself altogether from the church.' 'I indorse,' said Dr. Wilson,
                with emphasis, 'every word of that. Nay, I do not wish to conceal from you
                any part of the truth, even what I have not given to the public. Dr.
                Abercrombie said more than I have repeated. At the close of our conversation
                on the subject his emphatic expression was -- for I well remember the very
                words -- 'Sir, Washington was a Deist.'"

                In concluding the interview, Dr. Wilson said: "I have diligently perused
                every line that Washington ever gave to the public, and I do not find one
                expression in which he pledges himself as a believer in Christianity. I
                think anyone who will candidly do as I have done, will come to the
                conclusion that he was a Deist and nothing more.),

                In February, 1800, a few weeks after. Washington's death, Jefferson made the
                following entry in his journal:

                "Dr. Rush told me (he had it from Asa Green) that when the clergy addressed
                General Washington, on his departure from the government, it was observed in
                their consultation that he had never, on any occasion, said a word to the
                public which showed a belief in the Christian religion, and they thought
                they should so pen their address as to force him at length to disclose
                publicly whether he was a Christian or not. However, he observed, the old
                fox was too cunning for them. He answered every article of their address
                particularly, except that, which he passed over without notice" (Jefferson's
                Works, Vol. iv., p. 572).

                Jefferson further says: "I know that Gouverneur Morris, who claimed to be in
                his secrets, and believed himself to be so, has often told me that General
                Washington believed no more in that system [Christianity] than he did"
                (Ibid).

                Gouverneur Morris was the principal drafter of the Constitution of the
                United States; he was a member of the Continental Congress, a United States
                senator from New York, and minister to France. He accepted, to a
                considerable extent, the skeptical views of French Freethinkers.

                The "Asa" Green mentioned by Jefferson was undoubtedly the Rev. Ashbel
                Green, chaplain to Congress during Washington's administration. In an
                article on Washington's religion, contributed to the Chicago Tribune, B.F.
                Underwood says:

                "If there were an Asa Green in Washington's time he was a man of no
                prominence, and it is probable the person referred to by Jefferson was the
                Rev. Dr. Ashbel Green, who served as chaplain to the Congress during the
                eight years that body sat in Philadelphia, was afterwards president of
                Princeton College, and the only clerical member of Congress that signed the
                Declaration of Independence. His name shines illustriously in the annals of
                the Presbyterian church in the United States."

                Some years ago I received a letter from Hon. A.B. Bradford of Pennsylvania,
                relative to Washington's belief. Mr. Bradford was for a long time a
                prominent clergyman in the Presbyterian church, and was appointed a consul
                to China by President Lincoln. His statements help to corroborate the
                statements of Dr. Wilson, Thomas Jefferson, and Mr. Underwood. He says:

                "I knew Dr. Wilson personally, and have entertained him at my house, on
                which occasion he said in my hearing what my relative, the Rev. Dr. Ashbel
                Green of Philadelphia, frequently told me in his study, viz., that during
                the time that Congress sat in that city the clergy, suspecting from good
                evidence that Washington was not a believer in the Bible as a revelation
                from heaven, laid a plan to extort from him a confession, either pro or con,
                but that the plan failed. Dr. Green was chaplain to Congress during all the
                time of its sitting in Philadelphia; dined with the President on special
                invitation nearly every week; was well acquainted with him, and after he had
                been dead and gone many years, often said in my hearing, though very
                sorrowfully, of course, that while Washington was very deferential to
                religion and its ceremonies, like nearly all the founders of the Republic,
                he was not a Christian, but a Deist."

                Mr. Underwood's article contained the following from the pen of Mr.
                Bradford:

                "It was during his [Dr. Green's] long residence in Philadelphia that I
                became intimately acquainted with him as a relative, student of theology at
                Princeton, and a member of the same Presbytery to which he belonged. Many an
                hour during my student and clergyman days did I spend with him in his study
                at No. 150 Pine street, Philadelphia, listening to his interesting and
                instructive conversation on Revolutionary times and incidents. I recollect
                well that during one of these interviews in his study I inquired of him what
                were the real opinions Washington entertained on the subject of religion. He
                promptly answered pretty nearly in the language which Jefferson says Dr.
                Rush used. He explained more at length the plan laid by the clergy of
                Philadelphia at the close of Washington's administration as President to get
                his views of religion for the sake of the good influence they supposed they
                would have in counteracting the Infidelity of Paine and the rest of the
                Revolutionary patriots, military and civil. But I well remember the smile on
                his face and the twinkle of his black eye when he said: 'The old fox was too
                cunning for Us.' He affirmed, in concluding his narrative, that from his
                long and intimate acquaintance with Washington he knew it to be the case
                that while he respectfully conformed to the religious customs of society by
                generally going to church on Sundays, he had no belief at all in the divine
                origin of the Bible, or the Jewish-Christian religion."

                The testimony of General Greely, whose thorough investigation of
                Washington's religious belief makes him an authority on the subject, is
                among the most important yet adduced. From his article on "Washington's
                Domestic and Religions Life" I quote the following paragraphs:

                "The effort to depict Washington as very devout from his childhood, as a
                strict Sabbatarian, and as in intimate spiritual communication with the
                church is practically contradicted by his own letters."

                "In his letters, even those of consolation, there appears almost nothing to
                indicate his spiritual frame of mind. A particularly careful study of the
                man's letters convinces me that while the spirit of Christianity, as
                exemplified in love of God and love of man [Theophilauthropy or Deism], was
                the controlling factor of his nature, yet he never formulated his religious
                faith."

                "It is, however, somewhat striking that in several thousand letters the name
                of Jesus Christ never appears, and it is notably absent from his last will."

                "His services as a vestryman had no special significance from a religious
                standpoint. The political affairs of a Virginia county were then directed by
                the vestry, which, having the power to elect its own members, was an
                important instrument of the oligarchy of Virginia."

                "He was not regular in attendance at church save possibly at home. While
                present at the First Provencal Congress in Philadelphia he went once to the
                Roman Catholic and once to the Episcopal church. He spent four mouths in the
                Constitutional Convention, going six times to church, once each to the
                Romish high mass, to the Friends', to the Presbyterian, and thrice to the
                Episcopal service."

                "From his childhood he traveled on Sunday whenever occasion required. He
                considered it proper for his negroes to fish, and on that day made at least
                one contract. During his official busy life Sunday was largely given to his
                home correspondence, being, as he says, the most convenient day in which to
                spare time from his public burdens to look after his impaired fortune and
                estates."

                Dr. Moncure D. Conway, who made a study of Washington's life and character,
                who had access to his private papers, and who was employed to edit a volume
                of his letters, has written a monograph on "The Religion of Washington,"
                from which I take the following:

                "In editing a volume of Washington's private letters for the Long Island
                Historical Society, I have been much impressed by indications that this
                great historic personality represented the Liberal religious tendency of his
                tune. That tendency was to respect religious organizations as part of the
                social order, which required some minister to visit the sick, bury the dead,
                and perform marriages. It was considered in nowise inconsistent with
                disbelief of the clergyman's doctrines to contribute to his support, or even
                to be a vestryman in his church."

                "In his many letters to his adopted nephew and young relatives, he
                admonishes them about their manners and morals, but in no case have I been
                able to discover any suggestion that they should read the Bible, keep the
                Sabbath, go to church, or any warning against Infidelity."

                "Washington had in his library the writings of Paine, Priestley, Voltaire,
                Frederick the Great, and other heretical works."

                Conway says that "Washington was glad to have Volney as his guest at Mount
                Vernon," and cited a letter of introduction which Washington gave him to the
                citizens of the United States during his travels in this country.

                In a contribution to the New York Times Dr. Conway says:

                "Augustine Washington, like most scholarly Virginians of his time, was a
                Deist. ... Contemporary evidence shows that in mature life Washington was a
                Deist, and did not commune, which is quite consistent with his being a
                vestryman. In England, where vestries have secular functions, it is not
                unusual for Unitarians to be vestrymen, there being no doctrinal
                subscription required for that office. Washington's letters during the
                Revolution occasionally indicate his recognition of the hand of Providence
                in notable public events, but in the thousands of his letters I have never
                been able to find the name of Christ or any reference to him."

                There is no evidence to show that Washington, even in early life, was a
                believer in Christianity. The contrary is rather to be presumed. His father,
                as Dr. Conway states, was a Deist; while his mother was not excessively
                religious, His brother, Lawrence Washington, was, it is claimed, the first
                advocate of religious liberty in Virginia, and evidently an unbeliever, so
                that instead of being surrounded at home by the stifling atmosphere of
                superstition, he was permitted to breathe the pure air of religious freedom.

                It is certain that at no time during his life did he take any special
                interest in church affairs. Gen. Greely says that "He was not regular in
                church attendance save possibly at home." At home he was the least regular
                in his attendance. His diary shows that he attended about twelve times a
                year. During the week he Superintended the affairs of his farm; on Sunday he
                usually attended to his correspondence. Sunday visitors at his house were
                numerous. If he ever objected to them it was not because they kept him from
                his devotions, but because they kept him from his work. In his diary he
                writes:

                "It hath so happened, that on the last Sundays -- call them the first or
                seventh [days] as you please, I have been unable to perform the latter duty
                on account of visits from strangers, with whom I could not use the freedom
                to leave alone, or recommend to the care of each other, for their
                amusement."

                When he visited his distant tenants to collect his rent, their piety, and
                not his, prevented him from doing the business on Sunday, as the following
                entry in his diary shows:

                "Being Sunday, and the people living on my land very religious, it was
                thought best to postpone going among them till to-morrow."

                His diary also shows that he "closed land purchases, sold wheat, and, while
                a Virginia planter, went fox hunting on Sunday."

                He did not, like most pious churchmen, believe that Christian servants are
                better than others. When on one occasion he needed servants, he wrote:

                "If they are good workmen, they may be from Asia, Africa, or Europe; they
                may be Mahomedans, Jews, or Christians of any sect, or they may be
                Atheists."

                These extracts contain no explicit declarations of disbelief in
                Christianity, but between the lines we can easily read, "I am not a
                Christian."
                http://www.infidels.org/library/historical/john_remsburg/six_historic_americ
                ans/chapter_3.html

                ============================

                Between the recollections years late of a daughter, and Washington's own
                diary entries, I'll prefer Washington's diary.


                As for this:

                "Benjamin Franklin, while representing his country as
                ambassador to France, encountered a group hostile to
                the idea that there was anything in the Bible worth
                reading. The ambassador, incensed by the ridicule,
                invited the group to listen to a reading from an
                ancient manuscript he had come across. He made slight
                alterations to one of the 66 biblical books, which
                involved removing references to God, and had it read
                before the group. The reading was well received. The
                audience praised it and even requested copies before
                being informed Franklin was reading from the Book of
                Ruth."

                Reference? Where is this story coming from?


                And then:

                ". . . Thomas Jefferson believed that the ethical
                system of Jesus was the finest the world has ever
                seen. In compiling what has come to be called "The
                Jefferson Bible," he sought to separate those ethical
                teachings from the religious dogma and other
                supernatural elements that are intermixed in the
                account provided by the four Gospels. He presented
                these teachings, along with the essential events of
                the life of Jesus, in one continuous narrative."

                Indeed.

                No trinity. No authoritarian thunder god. No virgin birth. No assumption.
                None of the distortions or private views of Paul which so dominate the so
                called "Christian" churches as we have them.

                I.e., Jefferson was no Christian, and had no use for most of the Bible,
                confining his interests to the words of Christ - unlike most "Christians"
                who seem far more interested in what Paul had to say.

                elf

                I am persuaded, you will permit me to observe that the path of true piety is
                so plain as to require but little political direction. To this consideration
                we ought to ascribe the absence of any regulation, respecting religion, from
                the Magna-Charta of our country.

                -- George Washington, responding to a group of clergymen who complained that
                the Constitution lacked mention of Jesus Christ, in 1789, Papers,
                Presidential Series, 4:274, the "Magna-Charta" here refers to the proposed
                United States Constitution
              • Paul
                I should have thought it the greatest heresy to doubt his firm belief in Christianinity. ... PK: She was uncomfortable with untruth and having known Washington
                Message 7 of 12 , May 1, 2005
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                  I should have thought it the greatest heresy to doubt
                  his firm belief in Christianinity.
                  >
                  >So Elenor was uncomfortable with the thought.

                  PK: She was uncomfortable with untruth and having
                  known Washington personally was in a good position to
                  distinguish a lie from the truth.
                  >
                  > Which does not tell us a thing about Washington.

                  PK: Her letter reveals the depth of Washington'sa
                  Christian conviction.
                  >
                  > Then she goes on:
                  >
                  > "His life, his writings, prove that he was a
                  > Christian."
                  >
                  > Well, Eleanor was certainly entitled to her
                  > opinion, however the opinion of
                  > most other historians who've studied Washington's
                  > life is quite different.

                  PK: Revisionist historians who never met Washington
                  and focus only on that which furthers their agenda.
                  You can always find this ilk to nourish your atheist
                  feelings.
                  >
                  > The most telling statement was:
                  >
                  > "He was not one of those who act or pray, "that
                  they may be seen of men."
                  > He communed with his God in secret."

                  PK: You reveal your ignorance of Christianity. One of
                  Jesus's most telling comments was his advice to pray
                  to the father in secret rather than openly like the
                  Pharisees of his day who Jesus considered hypocrites.
                  >
                  > Indeed he did.

                  PK: As Jesus so advised.
                • pk4_paul
                  ... PK: Here is what Jesus had to say about this: Pray in secret: When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the
                  Message 8 of 12 , May 2, 2005
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                    > > Elf: The most telling statement was:
                    > >
                    > > "He was not one of those who act or pray, "that
                    > they may be seen of men."
                    > > He communed with his God in secret."

                    PK: Here is what Jesus had to say about this:

                    Pray in secret:
                    "When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love
                    to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so
                    that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their
                    reward in full.
                    But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door
                    and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees
                    what is done in secret will reward you.
                    And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as
                    the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their
                    many words. So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you
                    need before you ask Him."

                    Paul
                  • Alan C
                    I don t know where elf s Ian Robertson got the five percent figure, it would be interesting and probably revealing to see who came up with the figure and how,
                    Message 9 of 12 , May 3, 2005
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                      I don't know where elf's Ian Robertson got the five percent figure, it
                      would be interesting and probably revealing to see who came up with the
                      figure and how, especially in view of the ignorant reference to Washington.

                      As to "infertile ground for religion" that's a crock. Thomas Paine
                      certainly was against Christianity, but he's about the only stridently
                      one. The others if they were against it or apathetic they certainly did
                      not dare show it. Almost all the signers of the Declaration were clergy,
                      one of Patrick Henry's driving causes was the way preachers were flogged
                      for preaching without a license (considered a stamp of approval from
                      King George). Some of the "Founders" have indeed left us an ambivalent
                      history of themselves, but to "infertile ground" is to express a
                      dishonest attempt to revise the history.

                      One of the rallying cries of the Revolution was indeed, "We have no king
                      but Jesus!" This was an obvious reference to King George, and a
                      paraphrase of the Jews' cry to Pilate, "We have no king but Ceasar".

                      Thomas Jefferson visisted church every Sunday in the building of the
                      House of Representatives, voted money for missionaries, and at the same
                      time enshrined into the Virginia constitution a ban on church
                      incorporation not as a means to keep it from influencing anything
                      --after all, it was a big influence on him-- but to make sure it was
                      able to flourish without the state meddling that comes with it.

                      Certainly they were against any state or federal meddling in religion,
                      and made sure it would prosper.

                      The first act of the Congress was a giving of thanks, and Benjamin
                      Franklin, doubter as he might have been, certainly expressed to the
                      Constitutional Convention his conviction that "God" had intervened on
                      behalf of the new republic. And upon an apparently fatal deadlock, he is
                      the one who suggested the "prayer meeting" that resulted later in fast
                      progress.

                      The Christian stamp of influence upon the new U.S. was in fact in the
                      Bill of Rights, insisted upon by Patrick Henry and Gubernor Morris, and
                      without which there would have been no U.S. Certainly Alexander
                      Hamilton's central bank idea was a sign of non-Christian influence by
                      early leaders and founders, but then Andrew Jackson's retort against
                      such a bank is a sign of then-alert Christianity, when he made the
                      central bank idea vanish: "Ye are a den of vipers and thieves, and by
                      the eternal God, I will rout you out!"

                      -Alan

                      P.S. "Participating members of churches" also, what's that? Deacons and
                      preachers? Formal members? Formal rolls would be near impossible in
                      those days...
                    • Alan C
                      Contrast the American Independence with the French Revolution to see the difference. In the latter, outright hatred and bitterness against Christianity and all
                      Message 10 of 12 , May 3, 2005
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                        Contrast the American Independence with the French Revolution to see the
                        difference. In the latter, outright hatred and bitterness against
                        Christianity and all things Christian and most especially organized
                        Christianity did not have to cower and hide, but yelled itself out most
                        loudly and clearly.

                        Interesting that the detractors of America's Christianity at the time of
                        the Revolution of Independence have to avoid the public pronouncements
                        of the founders, and then in self-contradiction, claim that their public
                        support for Christian principles was for political points. The
                        five-percent figure would have led such a cynical politician to rather
                        dismiss such concerns handily, or at worst simply ignore them. Therefore
                        the Founders certainly did not believe what these revisionists write
                        about the populace, whatever their own private musings may have been.

                        This was my beef with the earlier quote that America was apathetic about
                        Christianity at its founding. They had to promote its virtues at every
                        turn.

                        And the signers of the Declaration were certainly definite believers, in
                        the sense of their agreement by signature, including the possibly
                        skeptical Thomas Jefferson, that their natural "unalienable rights" were
                        endowed by the Creator. As to the Consitutional Convention and the most
                        referenced founders from my childhood days in public school, I don't
                        think you could say they were all fire-and-brimstone hell-damnation
                        preachers, but they were certainly careful to respect the Christian
                        senstivities of the populace. And there are signs of Masonic and even
                        Illuminati "infiltration", in their manifestations antagonistic to
                        Christianity, but certainly they did not act like this antagonism was
                        shared at all by the populace.

                        Thomas Jefferson (the Deist?) also at one point expressed horror at the
                        prospect of God's judgments on the British Empire for slavery.

                        And slavery was mentioned in the Declaration by the way as one of King
                        George's trespasses, showing that the founding document was more of
                        Christian nature than the "legal governing" document.

                        - Alan
                      • Elf
                        §-----Original Message----- §From: CreationEvolutionDesign@yahoogroups.com §[mailto:CreationEvolutionDesign@yahoogroups.com]On Behalf Of Alan C §Sent:
                        Message 11 of 12 , May 3, 2005
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                          §-----Original Message-----
                          §From: CreationEvolutionDesign@yahoogroups.com
                          §[mailto:CreationEvolutionDesign@yahoogroups.com]On Behalf Of Alan C
                          §Sent: Tuesday, May 03, 2005 12:06 PM
                          §To: CreationEvolutionDesign@yahoogroups.com
                          §Subject: Washington


                          §Interesting that the detractors of America's Christianity

                          Um, could you please show me where I "detracted" (whatever that means)
                          "America's Christianity" (whatever that is)?

                          at
                          §the time of
                          §the Revolution of Independence have to avoid the public pronouncements
                          §of the founders,

                          Um, odd, I directly quoted more than a few of their public pronouncements,
                          so that hardly seems applicable.

                          "I am persuaded, you will permit me to observe that the path of true piety
                          is so plain as to require but little political direction. To this
                          consideration we ought to ascribe the absence of any regulation, respecting
                          religion, from the Magna-Charta of our country."
                          -- George Washington, responding to a group of clergymen who complained that
                          the Constitution lacked mention of Jesus Christ, in 1789, Papers,
                          Presidential Series, 4:274, the "Magna-Charta" here refers to the proposed
                          United States Constitution

                          and then in self-contradiction, claim that
                          §their public
                          §support for Christian principles was for political points. The
                          §five-percent figure would have led such a cynical politician to rather
                          §dismiss such concerns handily, or at worst simply ignore them.

                          Why? Most Americans at the time were farmers, with a great deal to do and
                          with very limited transportation - and very often with little to no use for
                          the main line churches of the time. Did you bother to read anything about
                          the First Great Awakening?

                          §Therefore
                          §the Founders certainly did not believe what these revisionists write
                          §about the populace, whatever their own private musings may have been.

                          What "revisionists" writing what? What is it you dispute? That most
                          Americans didn't want any established churches? That they were falling away
                          from the old line churches from Europe? What? Methodists might seem old line
                          now - but at the time of the American Revolution it was a radical church.

                          §
                          §This was my beef with the earlier quote that America was
                          §apathetic about
                          §Christianity at its founding.

                          That's not quite what the quote said. Here it is again:

                          "At the time of its Founding, the United States seemed to be an infertile
                          ground for religion. Many of the nation's leaders - include George
                          Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin - were not Christians,
                          did not accept the authority of the Bible, and were hostile to organized
                          religion. The attitude of the general public was one of apathy: in 1776,
                          only 5 percent of the population were participating members of churches."
                          [Ian Robertson, _Sociology_, 3rd editions, Worth
                          Publishing Inc.: New York, 1987, page 410]

                          Apathetic towards churches doesn't necessarily mean apathetic towards their
                          private beliefs.

                          Further, even if you suppose that Robertson's statement is best understood
                          as insinuating that the populace was apathetic towards Christianity, the
                          totality of what I've posted shows it not to be so simplistically so. That's
                          why the period is known as the First Great Awakening - the people cared --
                          they just didn't care in the way modern Christians seem to think they cared.
                          If modern skeptics tend to try and bend the beliefs of the forefathers to
                          suit their agenda, modern Christians are just as guilty of the same
                          tendency, simply in another direction.



                          “It is often assumed that the United States, for instance, was founded
                          by religious impulses, created by the consciences of religious
                          refugees....Yet the usual effect of frontier experience was to dilute
                          Christianity, or, at least, to separate the frontiersmen from the discipline
                          of parent-Churches. The Christianization of America was in one sense a work
                          of reclamation, building penfolds for westward-straying sheep. Only 6.9 per
                          cent of US citizens were registered as belonging to churches in 1800. The
                          number rose to 15.5 per cent in 1850 and 43.5 per cent in 1910 and only
                          exceeded 50 per cent in 1942.”
                          Felipe Fernández-Armesto and Derek Wilson, Reformation: Christianity and the
                          World 1500-2000


                          They had to promote its virtues at every
                          §turn.
                          §
                          §And the signers of the Declaration were certainly definite
                          §believers, in
                          §the sense of their agreement by signature, including the possibly
                          §skeptical Thomas Jefferson, that their natural "unalienable
                          §rights" were
                          §endowed by the Creator.

                          Yeeaaahh. "the Creator". Not "God". No mention of the Bible or Jesus or any
                          other of the normal "Christianspeak" - simply a deistic reference to an
                          abstract "Creator" - which the reader can read into whatever he wishes.

                          As to the Constitutional Convention and
                          §the most
                          §referenced founders from my childhood days in public school, I don't
                          §think you could say they were all fire-and-brimstone hell-damnation
                          §preachers,

                          To say the least.

                          but they were certainly careful to respect the Christian
                          §senstivities of the populace.

                          Sometimes yes, sometimes no.

                          John Adams refused to stop Sunday postal deliveries. Yes, originally mail
                          was delivered seven days a week

                          You really should read up on just what really happened during the 18th
                          century and before. It's obviously a lot different from what you think was
                          going on.

                          elf

                          "Among many other weighty objections to the Measure, it has been suggested,
                          that it has a tendency to introduce religious disputes into the Army, which
                          above all things should be avoided, and in many instances would compel men
                          to a mode of Worship which they do not profess."
                          -- George Washington, to John Hancock, then president of Congress,
                          expressing opposition to a congressional plan to appoint brigade chaplains
                          in the Continental Army (1777), quoted from a letter to Cliff Walker from
                          Doug Harper (2002) ††
                        • Alan C
                          ... Selectively, and letters to others and personal responses are hardly public . ... Herein is what I meant. I personally do not assert that the signers of
                          Message 12 of 12 , May 3, 2005
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                            >... at §the time of §the Revolution of Independence have to avoid the public pronouncements §of the founders,...
                            >
                            >...Uh, odd, I directly quoted more than a few of their public pronouncements, so that hardly seems applicable.
                            >
                            >
                            Selectively, and letters to others and personal responses are hardly
                            "public".

                            >"I am persuaded, you will permit me to observe that the path of true piety is so plain as to require but little political direction. To this consideration we ought to ascribe the absence of any regulation, respecting religion, from the Magna-Charta of our country."
                            >-- George Washington, responding to a group of clergymen who complained that the Constitution lacked mention of Jesus Christ, in 1789, Papers, Presidential Series, 4:274, the "Magna-Charta" here refers to the proposed United States Constitution
                            >
                            >
                            Herein is what I meant. I personally do not assert that the signers of
                            the Constitution were great saintly men who worshipped Christ and were
                            paradigms of Biblical beliefs, a straw man in this discussion, and a
                            belief which I do not hold. So don't pretend I did, we'll leave that to
                            others.

                            Read more carefully in a context like this discussion. My beef was with
                            the assertion that the U.S. didn't care or was so indifferent to
                            Christianity.

                            > and then in self-contradiction, claim that §their public §support for Christian principles was for political points. The §five-percent figure would have led such a cynical politician to rather §dismiss such concerns handily, or at worst simply ignore them.
                            >
                            > Why? Most Americans at the time were farmers, with a great deal to do and with very limited transportation - and very often with little to no use for the main line churches of the time. Did you bother to read anything about the First Great Awakening?
                            >
                            >
                            You talk like you know something, but show your ignorance of the
                            subject. The Great Awakening laid the groundwork and the lead-up to the
                            War of Independence, as they led the rest in unfearing resistance to the
                            oppression from England. Someone said once that when Washington was
                            asked about what sparked, set off, the Revolution most, as in what got
                            the Americans riled up for resistance, he said that it was the rumor
                            that King George was about to appoint a bishop for the States. Their
                            reference to being "drawn and quartered" was to one of their practices,
                            and their biggest targets were Puritans and anyone else who didn't conform.

                            >§Therefore §the Founders certainly did not believe what these revisionists write §about the populace, whatever their own private musings may have been.
                            >
                            > What "revisionists" writing what? What is it you dispute? That most Americans didn't want any established churches? That they were falling away from the old line churches from Europe? What? Methodists might seem old line now - but at the time of the American Revolution it was a radical church.
                            >
                            >
                            Maybe you get it, somewhat. This is exactly my point. Far from being
                            apathetic about Christianity, they were rather enthusiastic about it, at
                            worst in some sectors maybe "only" reverent of it. With this I'm talking
                            about the general populace, not necessarily the "Founding Fathers", and
                            even an attitude as in your quote from Washington, with which I
                            emphatically agree with.

                            By the way, the Danbury Baptist Association didn't even want any
                            constitutional mention of "religion", because they said in their letter
                            to Jefferson that it might someday be used as a way to restrict
                            religious freedoms. Ironic that it has been turned around on its head
                            the way it has.

                            >§§This was my beef with the earlier quote that America was §apathetic about §Christianity at its founding.
                            >
                            > That's not quite what the quote said. Here it is again:
                            >
                            >"At the time of its Founding, the United States seemed to be an infertile ground for religion.
                            >
                            Well, that quote then, which is even a stronger untruth than my previous
                            paraphrase. You refer to the Great Awakening, and pretend it had no effect.

                            > Many of the nation's leaders - include George
                            > Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin - were not Christians, did not accept the authority of the Bible, and were hostile to organized religion.
                            >
                            I made no beef with this idea, except that it is dubious in the case of
                            Washington. Jefferson and Franklin were not, in my view, "born again
                            Bibe-believing Christians" at all, though Jefferson grew in alienation
                            chiefly after his presidency. The doubting questioner Benjamin Franklin
                            supported some evangelists, and he is the one who suggested prayer to
                            break a deadlock at the Constitutional convention. That said, so what?
                            They had to conform to the fact that the populace was a
                            Christian-oriented one.

                            It's also a selective list. Patrick Henry, Webster, et.al...

                            >The attitude of the general public was one of apathy: in 1776, only 5 percent of the population were participating members of churches."
                            >
                            > Apathetic towards churches doesn't necessarily mean apathetic towards their
                            >private beliefs.
                            >
                            >
                            Again, this was certainly my emphatic point. And I did point out
                            specifically that lack of formal membership said nothing about what they
                            really believed.

                            The selective choice of founders is interesting too. Patrick Henry is
                            left out, as is Gubernor Morris, and there's a dubious reference to John
                            Adams, who is known to most historians as definitely Christian, and
                            reported to have spent much time in prayer and the Word.

                            > Further, even if you suppose that Robertson's statement is best understood as insinuating that the populace was apathetic towards Christianity, the totality of what I've posted shows it not to be so simplistically so.
                            >
                            The wording of "infertile ground for religion", juxtaposed to the other
                            comments, makes it seems like the author used the word "religion"
                            equated to membership in some formal church. This is something that
                            requires clarification, but the thrust of the comments taken as a whole
                            was to mis-represent the U.S. as a non-believing culture. And the Great
                            Awakening itself contradicts the idea of "religious infertility".

                            >That's why the period is known as the First Great Awakening - the people cared --they just didn't care in the way modern Christians seem to think they cared. If modern skeptics tend to try and bend the beliefs of the forefathers to suit their agenda, modern Christians are just as guilty of the same tendency, simply in another direction.
                            >
                            >
                            You're guilty of making presumptions about the meaning of my posts. I
                            said what I said. You'll find that most Bible-believing Christians today
                            around the world that care about Christianity, are not signed-up members
                            of any church. Take me for example. I spent most of my years outside any
                            formal "church" per se, though most of the time in fellowship and
                            community with fellow believers.

                            That said, the Revolution is testimony that the common believers were
                            definitely willing to pay a price for independence from a tyrrany that
                            would stop them from worshipping in the way of their convictions. They
                            weren't fighting to defend an infertility against religion either.

                            And the culture certainly was not of an attitude of antagonism toward
                            Christianity as is pretended today. It was a Christian nation, not with
                            an official Christian religion for sure, but it was nonetheless.

                            >..."the Creator". Not "God". No mention of the Bible or Jesus or any other of the normal "Christianspeak" - simply a deistic reference to an abstract "Creator" - which the reader can read into whatever he wishes.
                            >
                            >
                            ...laws of nature and of nature's God..

                            The "laws of nature" was a well-defined Christian concept that defined a
                            law higher than the king's, that is, the idea that the king was subject
                            to God's higher law as established in nature. There are writings from
                            then and before that attest to this concept, being the idea also
                            expressed by Paul, that those who have not heard the Gospel have a "law
                            that is written in their hearts". As to what the signers had in their
                            hearts, I can't say, but

                            Now, there were some who took the phrase and gave it their own
                            non-Christian meaning, for which we get "nature's God".

                            Is the Declaration a Bible study? Of course not. After naming the source
                            of our rights, it lists those that were violated by England.

                            As to what the signers had in their hearts, I can't say, but almost all
                            the signers of the Declaration were clergy, which by the way contradicts
                            the denial of any influence of even organized religion at this time.

                            -- Alan
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