a cache of usenet and other text files pertaining
to occult, mystical, and spiritual subjects.


To Bard

To: free.christians,alt.religion.wicca
From: (paghat)
Subject: Re: To Bard
Date: Sun, 02 Nov 2003 18:16:43 -0800

In article , "Jason Gastrich,
B.A., M.A."  wrote:

> Routerider wrote:
> > "Jason Gastrich, B.A., M.A."  wrote...
> >> You're probably still upset that I debunked your false claim that
> >> Jefferson's Bible had no mention of miracles.  I already pasted an
> >> article that showed how this was the Bible he translated for the
> >> indians and not his own, personal Bible.
> >>
> >> Like most people that blindly claim the founders were deists, you
> >> are sorely misinformed and confused.  And if one of us has not
> >> produced sound, cited evidence it is surely you.
> >>
> >> Sincerely,
> >> Jason
> >
> > Why would Jefferson need to "alter" the bible to witness to the
> > Indians?
> He strongly desired to see the evangelization of the Indian people, but he
> despaired of the formalistic presentation of Christianity to them. As so
> many through the centuries have reasoned, Jefferson thought Indians would
> come to Christ if they didn't have to stumble over the machinations of the
> church! So he created his own booklet. It amounted to a compilation of ALL
> THE SAYINGS OF CHRIST. He believed that if the Indians would simply meet the
> actual words of Jesus, they would come to Him. Later this compilation was
> called "the Jefferson Bible" and attacked because it allegedly "took out all
> the miracles." The charge would have made Jefferson quite upset, because he
> knew very well the difference and did NOT intend a Bible, merely a unique
> evangelistic booklet - which doesn't sound like such a bad approach to this
> day.
> JG

Clearly Rotorooter just doesn't know what a Deist is, since Jefferson
certainly was one, which in no way rules out an interest in christian
scriptures or their cultural value, & their value in subduing aboriginal

Many christian wackjobs who care nothing for history & don't want to look
it up themselves always reply to simple historical facts as these with
"prove it! where is yoru citation! Thomas Jefferson loved jesus!" Even if
you gave them a reading list & directions to the nearest library, they
could care less.

Deist beliefs are are certainly not adverse to the majority of christian
ideas. Here are, roughly paraphrased, the key tenets of Deism as founded
by Lord Herbert of Cherbury  in the sixteenth century: 1) A benevolent god
exists. 2) God made the mind of man reasoning so it could take care of its
own needs. 3) To worship this creating power is a good thing & the
capacity to reason is the highest form of divine worship. 4) Vices and
crimes require repentence to place one's mind in sync with the natural
order of which humanity is a part. 5) Heaven and Hell (rewards &
punishments) are part of the self-functioning & balanced cosmic order.

 It was not God that Deists denied, but Miracles. Everything had a natural
explanation; God did not need to tinker with his creation/invention, & did
not interfer with its actions. But parts of it might well wear out or
fail, and these would discarded or preserved accordingly upon their
deaths. The thinking is almost Puritan in that the idea of the perfectly
working universe required humans to adhere to such virtues as public
service, orderliness, industriousness, chastity, humility, cleanliness,
moderation in all things, temperance, intellectuality, & practicality.
American Deism in particular borrowed these tenets from the Puritans &
scarsely changed a bit of it, except that Deists also believed in material
advancement as a measure of merit -- the poor with their common religion
vs the wealthy & powerful who got that way because they had superior
minds. Whether it  was Franklin who raised himself by his own bootstraps,
or a Jefferson born to privilege, each could look at their wealth & the
profound felicity of their existence to know the Deist way of thinking was
most pleasing to the cosmic order (thus to God) than ever could be the
god-fearing lesser people. And when a Deist notes "All men are created
equal," that does not mean they are equal the day after they are created,
as it is what they manage to do with their mind that rewards them, not the
equality they experienced as newborns like all other newborns. 

This is not "christian" in that it does not require a savior, but it still
has a heaven & hell, it still permits public service worship in christian
churches (or other places of worship), & it is by no means atheistic.
Insofar as Deists believed salvation was achievable through repentance of
bad actions and striving for greater harmony with nature & one's fellows,
& did not require profession of belief in Jesus, then Deists are not
Christian, but that never kept them from participating in community
activities that frequently focused around churches.

Later Deists, including Jefferson, worked out theories of the
self-sustaining universe of God's creation as being like a pocket watch,
which would cease to  function if even one small part of it were removed.
This is why Jefferson expected to find wooly mammoths & other prehistoric
animals when he sent Lewis & Clarke in search of the Northwest Passage to
a prehistoric world. Being truly Deist in his thinking, he believed that
if anything were actually extinct, the world would cease to function, like
that watch with a gear removed. So as rationalist faiths go, it was pretty
much as superstition-driven as ordinary christianity!

Deism was a trained method of thinking rather than a religion per se, &
did not rule out the possibility of also being religious. It was in fact a
philosophical approach to reasoning that attempted to reserve a place for
the existence of God even if such a being was not feasible on any purely
rational and scientific basis, but to at the same time value the wisdom of
pure science, as Jefferson certainly did. Jefferson well knew that no
invention ever worked because someone prayed at it to work, & so too he
believed prayer had little to do with the function of the world, or one's
self-governing rule of one's own actions.

Deists were sadly severe classists & when narrowminded christians spoke
ill of deism, this was proof only that the Engightenment belonged to an
unusualy well-educated & ruling minority. The rest were welcome to simpler
faith & unquestioned dogmas, because they really weren't capable of
anything intelligent. Jefferson was acutely aware of his superiority, &
believed it to be the source of his privilege. The majority of AMerica's
Revolutionary founding fathers regarded themselves as children of the
Enlightenment, rarely attended church services (or did so occasionally for
political & social reasons), & were intensely itnerested in the sciences.
It was not a coincidence that Jefferson & Franklin invented things;
invention was a Deist furtherance of the natural order established by God
& permitted to find its own way to harmony, or not, as individual merit
allowed. The central premise of Deism is that God in His Wisdom created a
world of which man is a part, and all men are born with an equal capacity
to improve themselves with what is in the world around them; & those who
fall into poverty, lack of education, disease, early death, & ill luck, it
is because they personally failed, not because of their class status or
anything else than their own fault. But a good deist certainly would not
consciouisly put blocks in the way of other peoples' chances in life, so
there was a profound sense of justice & fairness & honesty among Deists
which tended to be lacking in, say, Baptists, or other cliquish christian
sects which deplored all but each other & could barely tolerate even each
other. Deists also place on EQUAL standing civil liberties, and religious
liberties -- both important cogs in the wheel of creation & essential to
the balanced order. That these were SEPARATE but equal functions was
essential to preserving each choice.

In works like Thomas Paine's AGE OF REASON and Elihu Palmer's PRINCIPLES
OF NATURE we get a fuller picture of the type of Deism practiced by the
founding fathers, a "religion" of ethics & virtues within the context of
natural laws.

Some quotes from Jefferson: On the prophesies of the Book of Revelations:
"Merely the ravings of a maniac....I do not consider them as revelations
of the Supreme Being."  On the teachings of Jesus, Jefferson said that
finding the good bits was like "picking diamonds out of a dung hill." When
likening the gospels to a dunghill, I hope people realize in modern
parlance this would translated "pile of shit." Between dismissing
Revelations as the work of a maniac & the teachings of Jesus himself as a
pile of shit with some diamonds buried in , well, I'm just not certain
this qualifies him as muchof a christian, disbelieving as he did that
either the Christian bible or Jesus himself were divine. 

He called scripture a Dunghill in a letter to John Adams in 1813; some
anti-christians have claimed this means he called Jesus himself a pile of
dung, but of course it is only the gospels & not the wisdom-teachings of a
peasant rabbi Jefferson deplored; he wrote to Adams that the "diamonds" in
that pile of shit Bible consisted of Jesus's "benevolent and moral code,"
which in fact Jefferson regarded as Deist in nature. Jefferson said
point-blank that Jesus was Deist, rather than a god. In a letter to Joseph
Priestly in 1803 he said, "I should proceed to a view of the life,
character, & doctrines of Jesus, who sensible of incorrectness of their
ideas of the Deity, and of morality, endeavored to bring them to the
principles of a pure deism, and juster notions of the attributes of God,
to reform their moral doctrines to the standard of reason, justice &
philanthropy, and to inculcate the belief of a future state." 

Even in his lifetime Jefferson was attacked for being anti-Christian,
though he didn't believe his deism made him against Christians at all,
just that he wasn't personally one of them. To Dr Benjamen Rush in 1803
claimed to admire the teachings of Jesus (never to Jefferson Jesus Christ,
because not divine). In so far as Jefferson regarded Jesus himself as a
deist also, Jefferson believed himself in no wise anti-christian, but was
himself a christian adhering to doctrine even Jesus followed &

Jefferson famously cut up a copy of the Christian gospels attempting to
preserve what was good in it. The majority he jettisoned, deploring the
Christian Bible for its great percentage of dung that attempted to
legitimize its own corruptions. That he bothered to look that closely at
the "corruption" he regarded the CHristian Bible to be, in order to
extract what he regarded Diamonds, shows a respect for Jesus the Deist
that he lacked for the founders of Christianity who "attmpted to
legitimize the corruption." If this is Christianity as most people
understand, then cool. Seems to me most Christians foolishly demand that
Jesus be regarded as a God & to profess him as savior. Jefferson as Deist
couldn't do that.

I'm not sticking up for him either way. Jefferson was obviously admirable
in so many ways. But he was also an anti-Semite & slave-owner, so fuck
him. Still, he made a greater effort than many.

-paghat the ratgirl

"Of what are you afraid, my child?" inquired the kindly teacher.
"Oh, sir! The flowers, they are wild," replied the timid creature.
   -from Peter Newell's "Wild Flowers"
See the Garden of Paghat the Ratgirl:

The Arcane Archive is copyright by the authors cited.
Send comments to the Arcane Archivist:

Did you like what you read here? Find it useful?
Then please click on the Paypal Secure Server logo and make a small
donation to the site maintainer for the creation and upkeep of this site.

The ARCANE ARCHIVE is a large domain,
organized into a number of sub-directories,
each dealing with a different branch of
religion, mysticism, occultism, or esoteric knowledge.
Here are the major ARCANE ARCHIVE directories you can visit:
interdisciplinary: geometry, natural proportion, ratio, archaeoastronomy
mysticism: enlightenment, self-realization, trance, meditation, consciousness
occultism: divination, hermeticism, amulets, sigils, magick, witchcraft, spells
religion: buddhism, christianity, hinduism, islam, judaism, taoism, wicca, voodoo
societies and fraternal orders: freemasonry, golden dawn, rosicrucians, etc.


There are thousands of web pages at the ARCANE ARCHIVE. You can use ATOMZ.COM
to search for a single word (like witchcraft, hoodoo, pagan, or magic) or an
exact phrase (like Kwan Yin, golden ratio, or book of shadows):

Search For:
Match:  Any word All words Exact phrase


Southern Spirits: 19th and 20th century accounts of hoodoo, including slave narratives & interviews
Hoodoo in Theory and Practice by cat yronwode: an introduction to African-American rootwork
Lucky W Amulet Archive by cat yronwode: an online museum of worldwide talismans and charms
Sacred Sex: essays and articles on tantra yoga, neo-tantra, karezza, sex magic, and sex worship
Sacred Landscape: essays and articles on archaeoastronomy, sacred architecture, and sacred geometry
Lucky Mojo Forum: practitioners answer queries on conjure; sponsored by the Lucky Mojo Curio Co.
Herb Magic: illustrated descriptions of magic herbs with free spells, recipes, and an ordering option
Association of Independent Readers and Rootworkers: ethical diviners and hoodoo spell-casters
Freemasonry for Women by cat yronwode: a history of mixed-gender Freemasonic lodges
Missionary Independent Spiritual Church: spirit-led, inter-faith, the Smallest Church in the World
Satan Service Org: an archive presenting the theory, practice, and history of Satanism and Satanists
Gospel of Satan: the story of Jesus and the angels, from the perspective of the God of this World
Lucky Mojo Usenet FAQ Archive: FAQs and REFs for occult and magical usenet newsgroups
Candles and Curios: essays and articles on traditional African American conjure and folk magic
Aleister Crowley Text Archive: a multitude of texts by an early 20th century ceremonial occultist
Spiritual Spells: lessons in folk magic and spell casting from an eclectic Wiccan perspective
The Mystic Tea Room: divination by reading tea-leaves, with a museum of antique fortune telling cups
Yronwode Institution for the Preservation and Popularization of Indigenous Ethnomagicology
Yronwode Home: personal pages of catherine yronwode and nagasiva yronwode, magical archivists
Lucky Mojo Magic Spells Archives: love spells, money spells, luck spells, protection spells, etc.
      Free Love Spell Archive: love spells, attraction spells, sex magick, romance spells, and lust spells
      Free Money Spell Archive: money spells, prosperity spells, and wealth spells for job and business
      Free Protection Spell Archive: protection spells against witchcraft, jinxes, hexes, and the evil eye
      Free Gambling Luck Spell Archive: lucky gambling spells for the lottery, casinos, and races