Friday, October 9, 2009

Independent Minds Rejecting Christianity

A selection from a letter by John Adams to Thomas Jefferson. Though rivals in the political realm for many years, they came to appreciate one another and were friends, evidenced by their extensive correspondence. This letter was written near the end of their lives. It makes clear that Adams shared with Jefferson the religion of Deism. Both were guilty of excising all from the Bible except the moral principles they approved of. In this letter Adams mocks those who have creeds and confessions of the Christian faith, stating his devotion to liberal science instead. The letter was written January 22, 1825.

Your University is a noble employment in your old Age, and your ardor for its success, does you honour, but I do not approve of you sending to Europe for Tutors, and Professors. I do believe there are sufficient scholars in America to fill your Professorships and Tutorships with more active ingenuity, and independent minds, than you can bring from Europe. The Europeans are all deeply tainted with prejudices both Ecclesiastical, and Temporal which they can never get rid of; they are all infected with Episcopal and Presbyterian Creeds, and confessions of faith, They all believe that great principle, which has produced this boundless Universe. Newtons Universe, and Hershells universe, came down to this little Ball, to be spit-upon by Jews; and until this awful blasphemy is got rid of, there never will be any liberal science in the world.

The Adams-Jefferson Letters: The Complete Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson and Abigail and John Adams, edited by Lester J. Cappon, The University of North Carolina Press, 1987, p. 607.

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