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Since the Bible says whereever 2 or more gather it is a church, [Wink] thanks for attending service with me. Sorry I couldn't resist. [Big Grin]

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quote:
Originally posted by liontolamb:
Since the Bible says whereever 2 or more gather it is a church, [Wink] thanks for attending service with me. Sorry I couldn't resist. [Big Grin]

I think technically - the Bible says "where two or more are gathered together in my name there I am in the midst of them--

So --- since we are all gathered here discussing Christ and God - I believe he IS here... [Wink]

And at least two of us believe. [Smile]

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Slapnuts posted:
quote:
I realized that he was at least partially fictional.
He called himself the Son of God, he yet put on a slave's apron and washed the apostles' feet. Their Lord became their servant. In addition he made friends with the outcasts of society, welcomed prostitutes and touched untouchables. He gave himself in selfless service to others. And then he surrendered to unjust arrest, trial and condemnation... All this evidence adds up to an extraordinary paradox. Jesus was extremely self-centered in his words, but absolutely unself-centered in his deeds... This combination of egocentricity and humility has no parallel in the history of the world. The only way to resolve it is to acknowledge that Jesus of Nazareth was and is the Son of God.

Who do you say that He is?

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quote:
Originally posted by liontolamb:
Numb,

For your clarification:

quote:
If I hear again how the founding fathers were all Christians I think I'm going to puke. Anyone ever read Thomas Paine's Age of Reason?
quote:
I have not misquoted Thomas Paine. I put in an exact quote. Why would I post a link to the work of issue if I was going to then misquote it?
Sorry here you are wrong clearly Thomas Paine gives a statement of faith. Just because he doesn't subscribe to organized religion doesn't mean he isn't a Christian.


Since you continue to distort what Thomas Paine actualy said I provide the following:

"Every national church or religion has established itself by pretending some special mission from God, communicated to certain individuals. The Jews have their Moses; the Christians their Jesus Christ, their apostles and saints; and the Turks their Mahomet, as if the way to God was not open to every man alike."

Quite a statement of faith.

Further:

"Each of those churches show certain books, which they call revelation, or the word of God. The Jews say, that their word of God was given by God to Moses, face to face; the Christians say, that their word of God came by divine inspiration: and the Turks say, that their word of God (the Koran) was brought by an angel from Heaven. Each of those churches accuse the other of unbelief; and for my own part, I disbelieve them all .

Again, a strong statement of faith.

"It is a contradiction in terms and ideas, to call anything a revelation that comes to us at second-hand, either verbally or in writing. Revelation is necessarily limited to the first communication- after this, it is only an account of something which that person says was a revelation made to him; and though he may find himself obliged to believe it, it cannot be incumbent on me to believe it in the same manner; for it was not a revelation made to me, and I have only his word for it that it was made to him"

Humm. . . o.k. on to blasphemy:

"When also I am told that a woman called the Virgin Mary, said, or gave out, that she was with child without any cohabitation with a man, and that her betrothed husband, Joseph, said that an angel told him so, I have a right to believe them or not; such a circumstance required a much stronger evidence than their bare word for it; but we have not even this- for neither Joseph nor Mary wrote any such matter themselves; it is only reported by others that they said so- it is hearsay upon hearsay, and I do not choose to rest my belief upon such evidence.

It is, however, not difficult to account for the credit that was given to the story of Jesus Christ being the son of God. He was born when the heathen mythology had still some fashion and repute in the world, and that mythology had prepared the people for the belief of such a story. Almost all the extraordinary men that lived under the heathen mythology were reputed to be the sons of some of their gods. It was not a new thing, at that time, to believe a man to have been celestially begotten; the intercourse of gods with women was then a matter of familiar opinion. Their Jupiter, according to their accounts, had cohabited with hundreds: the story, therefore, had nothing in it either new, wonderful, or obscene; it was conformable to the opinions that then prevailed among the people called Gentiles, or Mythologists, and it was those people only that believed it. The Jews who had kept strictly to the belief of one God, and no more, and who had always rejected the heathen mythology, never credited the story."

And finally.

"It is curious to observe how the theory of what is called the Christian church sprung out of the tail of the heathen mythology. A direct incorporation took place in the first instance, by making the reputed founder to be celestially begotten. The trinity of gods that then followed was no other than a reduction of the former plurality, which was about twenty or thirty thousand: the statue of Mary succeeded the statue of Diana of Ephesus; the deification of heroes changed into the canonization of saints; the Mythologists had gods for everything; the Christian Mythologists had saints for everything; the church became as crowded with one, as the Pantheon had been with the other, and Rome was the place of both. The Christian theory is little else than the idolatry of the ancient Mythologists, accommodated to the purposes of power and revenue; and it yet remains to reason and philosophy to abolish the amphibious fraud."

Now about Jesus specifically:

"Nothing that is here said can apply, even with the most distant disrespect, to the real character of Jesus Christ. He was a virtuous and an amiable man. The morality that he preached and practised was of the most benevolent kind; and though similar systems of morality had been preached by Confucius, and by some of the Greek philosophers, many years before; by the Quakers since; and by many good men in all ages, it has not been exceeded by any.

Jesus Christ wrote no account of himself, of his birth, parentage, or any thing else; not a line of what is called the New Testament is of his own writing. The history of him is altogether the work of other people; and as to the account given of his resurrection and ascension, it was the necessary counterpart to the story of his birth. His historians having brought him into the world in a supernatural manner, were obliged to take him out again in the same manner, or the first part of the story must have fallen to the ground."

"But the resurrection of a dead person from the grave, and his ascension through the air, is a thing very different as to the evidence it admits of, to the invisible conception of a child in the womb. The resurrection and ascension, supposing them to have taken place, admitted of public and ocular demonstration, like that of the ascension of a balloon, or the sun at noon-day, to all Jerusalem at least. A thing which everybody is required to believe, requires that the proof and evidence of it should be equal to all, and universal; and as the public visibility of this last related act was the only evidence that could give sanction to the former part, the whole of it falls to the ground, because that evidence never was given. Instead of this, a small number of persons, not more than eight or nine, are introduced as proxies for the whole world, to say they saw it, and all the rest of the world are called upon to believe it. But it appears that Thomas did not believe the resurrection, and, as they say, would not believe without having ocular and manual demonstration himself. So neither will I, and the reason is equally as good for me, and for every other person, as for Thomas."

Thus Thomas Paine was not a Christian.

Lion: Please read the treatise before you spout out any more opinion about what Thomas Paine believed.

It is obvious that Thomas Paine was not a christian. I stand by my statement that not all the founding fathers were christians.

I have no beef with MOST christians, I have not criticized your beliefs. I simply stated facts dealing with the writings of one of the founding fathers and you responded in a hostile manner because you didn't agree with what I said.

Now maybe that the air is clear we can discuss if non-christians belong here.

I think that they can be here but my opinion is that their opinions are less valued by the audience at large.

[ March 23, 2004, 08:27 AM: Message edited by: Comfortably Numb ]

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A few (hopefully short) observations:

Most of the quotes from intelligent athiests/agnostics that clay furnished are quite valid. Those people accurately perceived the ignorant and immoral acts so often perpetrated under the badge of Christianity. They also accurately perceived their own intellectual superiority to the vast majority of professing Christians.

They were over-quick, however, to conclude that a causal relationship exists between ignorance and religious belief, or between intelligence/enlightenment and athiesm/agnosticism. Many of the quotes (such as Twain's) show pithy wit but no serious analysis. I find in them a heap of the same easy assumptions and generalizations for which the authors dismiss religious folk. Intellectual snobbery simply displaces religious snobbery. This fails to impress me.

On the matter of Christians telling others what their faith must include to be truly Christian. Objections to this are rooted in the notion that a person's moral authority does not extend beyond himself. This is correct but does not go far enough: a religious view holds that a person's moral authority does not even extend to himself. It does not exist at all. Only a non-religious world view grants people their own moral authority.

For the religious person, there is no question that some authority greater than the individual exists. The real questions are, "what *is* that authority and what does it say?" We should recognize this basic point whenever we accuse someone of beating others over the head with "their own beliefs," as if those beliefs were a matter of private interest only. In fact, they apply either to everyone equally or no one at all, depending on whether their source is a true moral authority.

It would be stupid for me to argue that, in advocating his religion, a Muslim man is merely asserting the political, social, sexual and psychological views he finds most comfortable and advantageous. That may in fact be his motivation, but it is not the real question. The real question is whether Allah exists and transmitted his message to Mohammed as it appears in the Qu'ran. The psychology of the Muslim's faith may explain why he *does* believe the Qu'ran, but it doesn't tell me whether he *should*.

So much debate over Christianity is a similar waste of time. You can easily show that a lot of Christians are ignorant and unworthy people, as you could with most groups of any kind. But that is not to the point. If a Christian presumes to correct you on matters of faith, a better use of your time would be to answer the following questions:

* Do I identify the same source of moral authority (for example, the Bible) as this person?

* If not, there is no use going any further; concord is impossible. Withdraw from the debate.

* If so, then the difference lies in an imperfect understanding of the authority-source on one or both sides. Be a scientist of interpretation and examine the line of deductions from the source to find where the split is. Apply sound interpretive methods and see if you still disagree with the person or if you need to correct your ideas.

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great post, Is........Thank You. [Smile]

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quote:
Originally posted by Comfortably Numb:
Now maybe that the air is clear we can discuss if non-christians belong here.

I think that they can be here but my opinion is that their opinions are less valued by the audience at large.

You are defining the audience at large as being predominantly some variety of Christian? Probably so. I've thought about doing a poll to see what the demographic really is in this forum, but there are so many beliefs I've shied away from even trying to come up with the poll categories.

I don't agree that the opinions of non-Christians are less valued. There are a few in this forum that I hold in rather high regard who are atheistic, agonostic, Jewish, or some other variety of spiritual that I can't categorize as Christian. It would be silly for me to ignore the advice and experience of others just because I don't agree with them on highly personal and more ethereal matters.

[ March 23, 2004, 09:57 AM: Message edited by: Dilbert ]

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quote:
Originally posted by Dilbert:
quote:
Originally posted by Comfortably Numb:
Now maybe that the air is clear we can discuss if non-christians belong here.

I think that they can be here but my opinion is that their opinions are less valued by the audience at large.

You are defining the audience at large as being predominantly some variety of Christian? Probably so. I've thought about doing a poll to see what the demographic really is in this forum, but there are so many beliefs I've shied away from even trying to come up with the poll categories.

I don't agree that the opinions of non-Christians are less valued. There are a few in this forum that I hold in rather high regard who are atheistic, agonostic, Jewish, or some other variety of spiritual that I can't categorize as Christian. It would be silly for me to ignore the advice and experience of others just because I don't agree with them on highly personal and more ethereal matters.

Yes, I think that the majority of people here would identify themselves as christians. We will just have to disagree as to the apparant worth of opinions offered by non-christians. Many people will reject the message just because they do not like the messenger. This works on both sides of the debate.

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Issachar posted:
quote:
If so, then the difference lies in an imperfect understanding of the authority-source on one or both sides. Be a scientist of interpretation and examine the line of deductions from the source to find where the split is. Apply sound interpretive methods and see if you still disagree with the person or if you need to correct your ideas.
The primary question in every religion relates to the topic of authority: by what authority do we believe what we believe? And the primary answer which Christians give to this question is that supreme authority resides neither in the church nor in the individual, but in Christ and the biblical witness to him.

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This thread has certainly grown and developed in many different directions.... My own two cents:

I have received good advice, suggestions, hints, and an occational constructive 2*4 here from different people of different belief systems; Some have clearly stated their beliefs, others have been more subtle, and some have dealt with direct, practical issues where their religious beliefs have been difficult for me to acertain.

Some are Christians, some are Agnostics, some are Atheists, and a Buddist did at one point in time give me some instights too.

In two of the threads I have participated in I have also shared my beliefs (I am a Deist). I have been told that 'I am wrong', but it was done in what I perceive to a very manner based upon care and concern, and not as 'ramming something down the throat' and keeping with the topic of the thread.

That being said, some of the threads in EN do tend to go overboard by a wiiide margin in the DJ and LB departments, but, when strong sentiments and belief clashes, combined wiht the relative anonymity afforded by the web, this is the inevitable result I guess.

But... those of us that do believe in a/the Creator, be they Christians, or Deists, or Moslems or whatnot....(even though these beliefs differs widely)are just people. Sometimes happy, sometimes unhappy, some are diplomats, some are hotheads, some have lots of issues that manifests itself in here, where blowing off steam is 'safer' than in RL......


On a final note, re Thomas Paine....

Nope.. he was certainly not a Christian. However, the following lines do tell something about his beliefs (that I share as well)

'I freely believe in God as being discovered through nature and reason, rejecting revealed religion and its authority over humanity. I believe that all humans are equal. Further, as God has not shown favor for one people over another and has given us all that we need, that we should follow God's example and give to others as we can. '

Thomas Paine 1737-1809

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Eric posted
quote:
Further, as God has not shown favor for one people over another and has given us all that we need, that we should follow God's example and give to others as we can. '

Where did you get your "God" and how do you know what his example is?

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Re: Thomas Paine, Founding Fathers, and America founded on Christianity

1) Thomas Paine wrote "Common Sense" which helped bring about the American Revolution which was the fight for liberty and equality

In it, he said:
quote:
The cause of America is in a great measure the cause of all mankind. Where, say some, is the king of America? I'll tell you, friend, He reigns above.

Yet that we may not appear to be defective even in earthly honors, let a day be solemnly set apart for proclaiming the charter; let it be placed on the Divine Law, the Word of God; let a crown be placed thereon.

The Almighty implanted in us these inextinguishable feelings for good and wise purposes. They are the guardians of His image in our heart. They distinguish us from the herd of common animals.

2) Paine mistakenly became infatuated with the French Revolution thinking that it was similar to the American Revolution (fighting for the same ideals). However, the Amer. Revolution was based upon Christain principles (i.e. freedom to worship God). The French Revolution wasn't and was actually opposed to Christianity and also hostile to it.

Paine wrote "The Age of Reason" during this time. It was a support for the French Revolution.

HOWEVER, he later recants and regrets it as he realizes the error of his thinking and recalls his faith in God.

He stated:
quote:
I would give worlds, if I had them, if The Age of Reason had never been published. O Lord, help! Stay with me! It is hell to be left alone.
3) At the end of his life, Thomas Paine's last words were:
quote:
I die in perfect composure and resignation to the will of my Creator, God.
Our country was founded on the belief that there is a God and that we ought to be free to worship Him. We are the only country founded on such a belief. Democracy and freedom have their very roots in God because God is a God who hates such things as oppression, abuses of power, and false religions. He hates anything in which a person is mistreated and He hates anything in which people go blindly through life trying to make it on their own not believing that there is a God who loves them and who deserves our honor and praise.

Our founding fathers knew these things and believed these things. It is the very reason they left Britain. Our nation was founded on the principles of Christianity although since that time, many have believed that it was indeed not so and literally become enraged when others believe this to be true.

More quotes:

quote:
The God who gave us life gave us liberty... Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction... That these liberties are the gift of God? The Bible is the cornerstone for American liberty." Thomas Jefferson
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The highest glory of the American Revolution was this; it connected in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity.John Quincy Adams
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We've staked our future on our ability to follow the Ten Commandments with all our heart.James Madison
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You can't have national morality apart from religious principle. George Washington
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Our country was founded on the Gosple of Jesus Christ.Patrick Henry
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The longer I live the more convinced I become that God governs in the affairs of men. And have we now forgotten that powerful friend? Or do we imagine we no longer need His assistance. Benjamin Franklin
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While the people are virtuous they cannot be subdued; but once they lose their virtue they will be ready to surrender their liberties to the first external or internal invader.Samuel Adams
IF you go back and look at the school primers of that time, you will see that children were taught the 10 Commandments and other truths of Christianity. They also prayed in school. This nation was not perfectly founded by any means, but it was indeed founded on the precepts and principles of Christianity and while the pilgrims and founding fathers were imperfect people, they did have a desire to be able to freely worship God and to teach their children to do the same.

And lastly, the basis and beginning of our national holiday- Thanksgiving (which we STILL celebrate today)- was gratitude for the Creator and His blessings to us:
quote:
Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly implore His protection, aid and favors... Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these states to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the Beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country, and for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.
George Washington, 1789



[ March 23, 2004, 03:14 PM: Message edited by: LoveMyEx ]

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AMEN LMX!!!

I didn't have time to go search that out - but I agree - and have read that many times!

Thanks for finding that.

Jan

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Hootie

This line was part of a quote by Paine, not by me.

It was also in re. the previous references to Paine in this thread.

I do find myself in agreement with some of what he wrote (in general, ie, not limited to this particular quote), and there are things I may not agree with. I am sure he authored things that I have not even read.

If you are asking me 'where did I find this God etc.."... well, as previously mentioned I am a Deist.

The key issue as to my posting was not Paine However, or my particular outlook and views about God, but rather my expriences as to wether 'non-Christians' and others are welcome or not on this board....

As a non-Christian, I have not felt unwelcome, and I have received constructive and what I perceive to be well meaning advice from many people, including some that are Christians...

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[QUOTE]Originally posted by LoveMyEx:
[QB] Re: T2) Paine mistakenly became infatuated with the French Revolution thinking that it was similar to the American Revolution (fighting for the same ideals). However, the Amer. Revolution was based upon Christain principles (i.e. freedom to worship God). The French Revolution wasn't and was actually opposed to Christianity and also hostile to it.

Paine wrote "The Age of Reason" during this time. It was a support for the French Revolution.

HOWEVER, he later recants and regrets it as he realizes the error of his thinking and recalls his faith in God.

He stated: [b]I would give worlds, if I had them, if The Age of Reason had never been published. O Lord, help! Stay with me! It is hell to be left alone.


3) At the end of his life, Thomas Paine's last words were: I die in perfect composure and resignation to the will of my Creator, God.


Well this is surely in dispute. This has been dismissed by many historians as christian propaganda. I really don't know. I do know what his housekeeper said, how attended his death:

Paine died at eight o'clock on the morning of June 8, 1809. Shortly before, two clergymen had invaded his room, and so soon as they spoke about his opinions Paine said: "Let me alone; good morning!" Madame Bonneville asked if he was satisfied with the treatment he had received in her house, and he said, "Oh yes." These were the last words of Thomas Paine.

So I must disagree with you that he recanted The Age of Reason and that he apologized for it with his last breath.


Here is some more commentary about that farce:

Did Thomas Paine recant? Did Martin Luther recant? Protestants assert that Pane recanted; Catholics assert that Luther recanted. Neither recanted. Knaves invented these stories; fools believe them.
The church endeavors to convince the world that her opponents are not sincere. She attempts to impeach the intellectual honesty of those who reject her dogmas. She affects to believe that all must at some time acknowledge the truth of her claims. The supreme test is supposed to come just before dissolution. In the presence of death all bow to her authority.

When on his death-bed Paine was beset by emissaries of the church, -- pious nurses, bigoted priests, and illiterate laymen -- who by entreaties and threats tried to compel him to renounce his Deistic and Anti-Christian opinions. What a farcical scene! What a commentary on Christianity! Poor, ignorant, ill-mannered creatures, expecting with silly gibberish and impudence to change the life- long convictions of a dying philosopher!

After his death, Catholics, Methodists, Presbyterians, Baptists, Episcopalians, and orthodox Quakers all vied with each other in inventing calumnies concerning him. The last named sect was especially active in this work, because Paine was the son of a Quaker, and apostasy was as hateful to the Quaker as it was to the Catholic.

About ten years after Paine died, this recantation calumny appeared. Willet Hicks, a Quaker merchant and preacher, a cousin of the celebrated Ellas Hicks, and a broad and liberal man, lived near Paine, and daring his last illness did all he could to alleviate the sufferings of the sick man and make his last hours pleasant. Mary Roscoe, afterwards Mary Hinsdale, was a servant in the Hicks family, and, it is alleged, was sometimes sent to Paine's room on errands. On one of these visits Paine, it is claimed, engaged her in conversation, and recanted to her his Infidel opinions. According to this story, "Paine asked her if she had ever read any of his writings, and on being told she had read very little of them, he inquired what she thought of them, adding, 'From such a one as you I expect a correct answer.' She told him that when very young his 'Age of Reason' was put into her hands, but that the more she read in it the more dark and distressed she felt, and she threw the book into the fire. 'I wish all hid done as you he replied, 'for if the devil ever had any agency in any work, he has had it in my writing that book.' When going to carry, him some refreshments, she repeatedly heard him uttering the language, 'Oh! Lord!' 'Lord God!, or 'Lord Jesus, have mercy upon me!" (Life of Stephen Grellet, Vol. i., p. 125).

What a plausible tale! Paine's "Age of Reason" was published in 1794. After a lapse of fifteen years he desires an opinion of it. Persons of intellectual attainments and mature judgment, believers and unbelievers, many of them familiar with its contents, visit him dally. He ignores all of these and solicits the opinion of an illiterate servant girl! He "expects a correct answer" from her, the more especially as she has read very little of it and is ignorant of its contents.

The calumny quickly found its way to England. The famous English writer, William Cobbett, afterwards a member of Parliament, wrote a refutation of it. Mr. Cobbett's refutation, with a few abridgements, is as follows:

"It is a part of the business of a press sold to the cause of corruption to calumniate those, dead or alive, who have most effectually labored against that cause; and, as Paine was the most powerful and effectual of those laborers, so to calumniate him has been an object of their peculiar attention and care. Among other things said against this famous man is, that he recanted before he died; and that in his last illness he discovered horrible fears of death."

"I happen to know the origin of this story, and I possess the real original document whence have proceeded these divers editions of the falsehood, of the very invention of which I was perhaps myself the innocent cause!

"About two years ago I, being then on Long Island, published my intention of writing an account of the life, labors, and death of Paine. Soon after this a Quaker of New York, named Charles Collins, made many applications for an interview with me, which at last he obtained. I found that his object was to persuade me that Paine had recanted. I laughed at him and sent him away. But he returned again and again to the charge. He wanted me to promise that I would say that 'it was said' that Paine had recanted. 'No,' said I, 'but I will say that you say it, and that you tell a lie, unless you prove the truth of what you say; and, if you do that, I shall gladly insert the fact.' This posed 'Friend Charley,' whom I suspected to be a most consummate hypocrite. He had a sodden face, a simper, and maneuvered his features precisely like the most perfidious wretch that I have known ... Thus put to his trump, Friend Charley resorted to the aid of a person of his own stamp; and at last he brought me a paper ... This paper, very cautiously and craftily drawn up, contained only the initials of names. This would not do. I made him, at last, put down the full name and address of the informer -- 'Mary Hinsdale, No. 10 Anthony street, New York.'"

"The informer was a Quaker woman, who, at the time of Mr. Paine's last illness, was a servant in the family of Mr. Willet Hicks, an eminent merchant, a man of excellent character, a Quaker, and even, I believe, a Quaker preacher. Mr. Hicks, a kind and liberal and rich man, visited Mr., Paine in his illness; and from his house, which was near that of Mr. Paine, little nice things (as is the, practice in America) were sometimes sent to him, of which this servant, Friend Mary, was the bearer; and this was the way in which the lying cant got into the room of Mr. Paine.

"To friend Mary, therefore, I went on the twenty-sixth of October last, with Friend Charley's paper in my pocket. I found her in a lodging in a back room up one pair of stairs. ... I was compelled to come quickly to business. She asked, 'What's thy name, Friend?' and the moment I said, 'William Cobbett,' up went her mouth as tight as a purse! Sack-making appeared to be her occupation; and, that I might not extract through her eyes that which she was resolved I should not get out of her mouth, she went and took up a sack and began to sew, and not another look or glance could I get from her.

"However, I took out my paper, read it, and, stopping at several points, asked her if it was true. Talk of the Jesuits, indeed! The whole tribe of Loyola, who had shaken so many kingdoms to their base, never possessed the millionth part of the cunning of this drab-colored little woman, whose face, simplicity and innocence seemed to have chosen as the place of their triumph! She shuffled; she evaded; she equivocated; she warded off; she affected not to understand me, not to understand the paper, not to remember."

"The result was that it was so long ago that she could not speak positively on any part of the matter; that she would not say that any part of the paper was true; that she had never seen the paper; and that she had never given Friend Charley (for so she called him) authority to say anything about the matter in her name.

"I had now nothing to do but to bring Friend Charley's nose to the grindstone. But Charley, though so pious a man and doubtless in great haste to get to everlasting bliss, had moved out of the city for fear of the fever."

Mr. Cobbett supposed that Mary Hinsdale had really visited Paine, and this supposition was shared by Paine's friends generally. When Gilbert Vale, about twenty years later, was collecting materials for his life of Paine, Paine, he learned from Mr. Hicks that she had never seen Thomas Paine. Mr. Vale says:

"To our surprise, on seeing Mr. Hicks, as a duty which we owed the public, we learned that Mary Hinsdale never saw Paine to Mr. Hicks' knowledge; that the fact of his sending some delicacy from his table as a compliment occurred but a very few times, and that he always commissioned his daughters on this errand of kindness, and he designated Mrs. Cheeseman, then a little girl, but now the wife of one of our celebrated physicians, as the daughter especially engaged, and that she, stated that Mary Hinsdale once wished to go with her, but was refused" (Life of Paine, p. 178).

This accounts for the embarrassment and reticence exhibited by Mary Hinsdale when confronted by Cobbett. She had never seen Paine, she had never visited the house in which he died; she could not describe its surroundings or interior; She had never seen any of his attendants. If she attempted to make any statements concerning them she had reason to believe that Madame Bonneville and other witnesses were near at hand to expose her.

In the neighborhood where Mrs. Hinsdale lived she was universally regarded as a low, disreputable woman, addicted to the use of opium, and notorious for her lying propensities. Nor was her share in the Paine calumny her only offense of the kind. Mr. Vale, writing in 1839, cites the following testimony of Mr. J.W. Lockwood, a reputable gentleman, of New York:

"This gentleman had a sister, a member of the Friends who died about two-and-twenty years ago. On her death, Mary Hinsdale, who was known to the family, stated to them that she should come to the funeral, for that she had met Mary Lockwood a short time before her death; and that she (Mary Lockwood) had said to her: 'Mary, I do not expect to live long; my views are changed; I wish thee to come to my funeral, and make this declaration to my friends then assembled,' and that consequently she should Come. The relatives of the deceased, who were Hicksite Quakers, or Friends, knew the falseness of this statement. Those who had sat by her bedside, and heard her continued and last declarations on religious subjects (for she was emphatically a religious young woman), knew that no change had taken place. Her brother, our informant, had heard her express her opinions with great satisfaction. He and her other relatives therefore said so to Mary Hinsdale, but invited her to attend the funeral. Mary Hinsdale did not attend" (Life of Paine, p. 185).

Collins himself afterwards tacitly admitted the falsity of the Paine calumny. Mr. Vale, on whom he once called, says:

"Finding Mr. C. Colling in our house, and knowing the importance of his testimony, we at once asked him what induced him to publish the account of Mary Hinsdale. He assured us he then thought it true. He believed that she had seen Mr. Paine, and that Mr. Paine might confess to her, a girl, when he would not to Willet Hicks. He knew that many of their most respected Friends did not believe the account. He knew that Mr. Hicks did not, whom he highly respected; but yet he thought it might be true. We asked Mr. Collins what he though of the character of Mary Hinsdale now? He replied that some of our Friends believe she indulges in opiates and do not give her credit for truth." (Ibid.)

The exposures of Cobbett, Vale, and others, while they lessened the influence of the calumny, did not silence it. It mattered little to the church whether Paine recanted or not, but it was important that the masses should believe that he recanted. With most theologians a falsehood is as good as a truth so long as it serves its purpose. The orthodox clergy continued to thunder it from the pulpit; tract distributors sowed it broadcast over the land; no Sunday school library was considered complete without a volume containing it; while the religious papers kept it continually before their readers. The New York Observer, a Presbyterian paper, repeatedly published it, together with other calumnies on Paine. In an open letter to the Observer, Col. Ingersoll, in 1877, issued the following challenge:

[ March 23, 2004, 03:13 PM: Message edited by: Comfortably Numb ]

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AWESOME QUOTES!!

quote:
Almighty God, we make our earnest prayer that Thou wilt keep the United States in Thy Holy protection: that Thou wilt incline the hearts of the citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to government and entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another and for their fellow citizens of the United States at large. And finally, that Thou wilt most graciously be pleased to dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility, and pacific temper of mind which were the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed religion, without a humble imitation of whose example in these things we can never hope to be a happy nation. Grant our supplication, we beseech Thee, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
George Washington

In his Farewell Address, George Washington advised his fellow citizens that:
quote:
"Religion and morality" were the "great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens." "National morality," he added, could not exist "in exclusion of religious principle." "Virtue or morality," he concluded, as the products of religion, were "a necessary spring of popular government."George Washington
George Washington, at the request of the Congress which passed the Bill of Rights, proclaimed a day of
quote:
Public prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and single favors of Almighty God George Washington
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It is rightly impossible to govern the world without God and the Bible.George Washington
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No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand which conducts the invisible affairs of men more than the people of the United States. Every step by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency.... We ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious smiles of heaven cannot be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right, which heaven itself has ordained. George Washington
quote:
Let me live according to those holy rules which Thou hast this day prescribed in Thy holy word...Direct me to the true object, Jesus Christ the way, the truth and the life. Bless, O Lord, all the people of this land." "Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that National Morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle. George Washington
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Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other. John Adams
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Statesmen may plan and speculate for liberty, but it is religion and morality alone, which can establish the principles upon which freedom can securely stand. John Adams
Thomas Jefferson, the man "blamed" for the wall of separation between church and state said:
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Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God?Thomas Jefferson
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We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not on the power of government...but upon the capacity of each and every one of us to govern ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God. Theodore Roosevelt
(SOURCE: Library of Congress)

BIBLE VERSES upon which our nation is founded:

quote:
But select capable men from all the people -- men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain -- and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. Exodus 18:21
quote:
Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord. Psalm 33:12


[ March 23, 2004, 03:34 PM: Message edited by: LoveMyEx ]

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Patrick Henry:
quote:
It cannnot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians


[ March 23, 2004, 03:37 PM: Message edited by: LoveMyEx ]

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MORE INTERESTING HISTORICAL TIDBITS RE: AMERICAN'S CHRISTIAN ROOTS:

From the McGuffey's Eclectic Third Reader (preface, p. 5, 1848 (which was used by all school children for approx. 100 years):

quote:
From no source has the author drawn more copiously than from the Sacred Scriptures. For this I certainly apprehend no censure. In a Christian country, that man is to be pitied, who, at this day, can honestly object to imbuing the minds of youth with the language and spirit of the Word of God.McGuffy
Sample of questions from McGuffy's 1st-grade Reader (the 3rd section called "Shorter Catechism):
quote:
Which is the Fifth Commandment?
What is required in the Fifth Commandment?
What is forbidden in the Fifth Commandment?
What is the reason annexed to the Fifth Commandment?
And similarly for each of the Ten Commandments.

What offices does Christ execute as our Redeemer?
How does Christ execute the office of a prophet?
How does Christ execute the office of a priest?
How does Christ execute the office of a king?

Article 3 from the Northwest Ordinance:
quote:
Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.
From the Massachusetts and New Haven Colony Law, 1644:
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The judicial laws of God as they were delivered by Moses . . . [are to] be a rule to all the courts in this jurisdiction.
From the New York Daily Adverstiser, April 23, 1789, p. 2 (day of George Washinton's inauguration):
quote:
On the morning of the day on which our illustrious President will be invested with his office, the bells will ring at nine o'clock, when the people may go up to the house of God and in a solemn manner commit the new government, with its important train of consequences, to the holy protection and blessing of the most high. An early hour is prudently fixed for this peculiar act of devotion and . . . is designed wholly for prayer.
Supreme Court Justice and Founder of Harvard Law School, Joseph Story, from "Life and Letters of Joseph Story," 1851:
quote:
One of the beautiful boasts of our municipal jurisprudence is that Christianity is part of the Common Law. . . . There never has been a period in which the Common Law did not recognize Christianity as lying at its foundations. . . . I verily believe Christianity necessary to the support of civil society
Harvard Law Prof. Harold J. Berman, "The Interaction of Law and Religion," (p. 349, 350) 1979:
quote:
Even fifty years ago . . . if you had asked Americans where our system of law came from, on what it was ultimately based, the overwhelming majority would have said, "the Ten Commandments," or "the Bible," or perhaps "the law of God." In the past two generations the public philosophy of America has shifted radically from a religious to a secular theory of law.


[ March 23, 2004, 04:07 PM: Message edited by: LoveMyEx ]

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SOME INFO. ON THANKSGIVING, AND ITS BASIS IN CHRISTIANITY:

The first American National Thanksgiving was in 1777. On Nov. 1, 1777, the Continental Congress declared Dec. 18 a national day of "solemn thanksgiving and praise," after the British troops had surrendered in Saratoga (Oct. 17, 1777). It was the first Thanksgiving Day first proclaimed by a national authority (previously, the Pilgrims celebrated a thanksgiving feast by giving thanks to God and His blessings).

[1) The Continental Congress' Thanksgiving proclamation:
quote:
Forasmuch as it is the indispensable duty of all men to adore the superintending providence of Almighty God; to acknowledge with gratitude their obligation to Him for benefits received, and to implore such further Blessings as they stand in need of; and it having pleased Him in His abundant mercy not only to continue to us the innumerable bounties of His common providence, but also smile upon us in the prosecution of a just and necessary war, for the defence and establishment of our unalienable rights and liberties: particularly in that He hath been pleased in so great a measure to prosper the means used for the support of our troops and to crown our arms with most signal success: it is therefore recommended to the legislative or executive powers of these United States, to set apart Thursday, the 18th day of December next, for Solemn Thanksgiving and praise; that with one heart and one voice the good people may express the grateful feelings of their hearts, and consecrate themselves to the service of their Divine Benefactor.
Abraham Lincoln, following the Union victories at Gettysburg and VicksburgIn celebration of Union victories at both Gettysburg and Vicksburg, declared a national Thanksgiving Day for Aug. 6, 1863.

Then, on Oct. 3, Lincoln began a tradition by proclaiming the last Thursday of November as a national Thanksgiving Day, not for a specific event, but in thanks for a year full of blessings.

2) Lincoln's Thanksgiving Proclamation, Oct 3, 1863:

quote:
The year that is drawing towards its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God....

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens

3) John Adam's Thanksgiving Proclamation, March 6, 1799:
quote:
That [the citizen] shall call to mind our numeous offenses against the Most High God, confess them before Him with the sincerest penitence, implore His pardoning mercy, through the Great Mediator and Redeemer, for our past transgressions, and that through the grace of His Holy Spirit we may be disposed and enabled to yield a more suitable obedience to His reighteous requisitions in time to come...
4) Theodore Roosevelt's Thanksgiving Proclamation, Oct. 30, 1908:
quote:
For the very reason that in material well-being we have thus abounded, we owe it to the Almighty to show equal progress in moral and spiritual things ... The things of the body are good; the things of the intellect better; the best of all are the things of the soul; for, in the nation as in the individual, in the long run it is character that counts.


[ March 23, 2004, 04:52 PM: Message edited by: LoveMyEx ]

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LoveMyEx,

IF you go back and look at the school primers of that time, you will see that children were taught the 10 Commandments and other truths of Christianity.


http://my.voyager.net/~jayjo/primer.htm

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