That is the thing with Jefferson (among his many conflicting beliefs). He firmly believed in the principles behind the actual teachings of Jesus. I would venture to say that his ideas of the divinity of those teachings is a bit more complex than saying that he was fully a deist. I know he said those things, but he also believed in the equality of man...well, sort of. I would proffer that the fact that he took the time to write the Jeffersonian Bible (which I personally love) suggests that his actual beliefs were somewhat more complex, and not clear enough to term him a true deist as you prescribe. That is however opinion.The Hitch said:I think you misunderstand. This isnt about science versus religion. Yes there are many great scientists who believe in God. Francis Collins for example - a devout christian is possibly the greatest scientist of our time,
Iam not claiming otherwise.
But deism vs religion is a completely different thing.
Theists believe that God created the universe and most importantly cares about and controls what goes on today.
Atheists and deists reject that God cares about or controls the universe. They disagree on how the universe was created but that is of minor importance. Deists arent going to spend any time engaging in any religious acts or follow any religious rules or systems.
Deists like Jefferson, have very little in common with religion in the first place. They are moving rapidly away from it. They reject 99 % of its ideas.
In "Age of reason" Jeffersons great friend and fellow deist Paine challenges religion quite fiercely. He rejects that there is any divinity whatsoever to the bible and claims christianity is man made. This idea is incompatible with christianity. The idea that the bible is the word of God lies at the heart of Christianity and similarly in iSlam and Judaism with their texts.
Im not going to say that i know whatt Jefferson would have believed in this day and age.
But dont you think its highly unlikely that people who reject the authority of the bible, reject the miracles, and dont even believe that God can hear or see us, would in todays world find themselves as christians - believing the authority of the bible, believeing in the miracles, believing that God can hear and see us. ?
What I find troubling is the usage of his beliefs to further an atheist agenda, when clearly his writings and opinions had to do with the separation of church and state.(a principle I find second in importance only to freedom of speech) I find modern evangelical atheism as distasteful as I do evangelical Christianity. I think the message espoused by Jefferson is "leave me the **** alone when it comes to my religion or lack thereof." Unfortunately, I see a disturbing trend in atheists to mirror the intolerance spread by many Christians. I think that is a natural thing, but it isn't going to be an effective. You will never convert the populace of the earth to atheism (I do find Hitchens' statement that he would not convert the last theist if it came down to that interesting)
I don't want to get into a recitation of the problems implicit in atheist belief, but I will say that using people like Jefferson as being reflective of modern atheism is clearly fraught with problems.