Beliefs of Historical Figures

Today we find a letter to the editor in response to one last week which claimed that many abolitionist leaders were not Christians. This letter by Gary Pudimat was published today under the heading, “Famous men: Most were Christians.”

A recent letter writer extolled the anti-slavery views of several historical figures and the fact that they were either atheists, deists or free-thinkers. When you research these men, you find that most were, in fact, committed Christians.

Abraham Lincoln stated: "That I am not a member of any Christian church is true; but I have never denied the truth of the Scripture." Upon receiving a Bible as a gift, he stated, "In regard to this great book ... it is the best gift God has given to men."

George Washington stated in 1796, "It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible."

Benjamin Franklin wrote in 1778, "Whoever shall introduce into public affairs the principles of primitive Christianity will change the face of the world." He also wrote, "A Bible and a newspaper in every house, a good school in every district ... are the principal support of virtue, morality and civil liberty."

Even the great abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison was a Christian. His problem was the fact that the church where he lived would not take a strong stand against slavery and so was denounced by the people of the church. In several biographies written about Garrison, it was stated that "the central fact of Garrison's life was his religious faith. The Bible was the only book he ever really read." Garrison "demanded that all who called themselves Christian act like Christ."

To try to label these men as anything but Christian is wrong.
I find discussing the religious beliefs of historical figures quite tedious and mostly irrelevant. One could easily produce quotes by Lincoln, Washington and Franklin which support the position that they were deists and freethinkers, but I simply have no interest in doing so. My beliefs are unrelated to the historical accidents of who held similar beliefs. Let us discuss the objective evidence for and against religion, not engage in quote mining.


No comments: