When Founding Father Thomas Paine published his pamphlet ‘The Age of Reason,’ in which he challenges religion and the legitimacy of the Bible, his work was met with outrage by many of the Founders. Paine had shared his thoughts with Benjamin Franklin in a letter prior to releasing this controversial essay, and Franklin had responded with not only dismay, but with alarm. He warned Paine that he needed to burn this piece before another man saw it. Franklin wrote that to release ‘The Age of Reason,’ which depicts the Bible as an ordinary piece of literature, would be tantamount to unchaining a tiger as the consequences of the piece would not help anyone, but instead would bring mortification upon Paine himself.
Franklin cautioned Paine that “He who spits against the wind, spits in his own face”, as the pamphlet would be received with great angst among most Americans. And Benjamin was correct. While some Americans bought into Paine’s philosophical ramblings which were off the beaten path of theology, most Americans did not. Franklin closed his letter by advising Thomas Paine that his letter and recommendation not to publish the anti-Christianity work was proof enough of his friendship to Paine. Franklin was attempting to save Paine from his imprudent self.
Benjamin Franklin understood, whereas the foolhardy Paine did not, that Paine’s sentiments would be met with great consternation by the overwhelming majority of Americans. And Franklin had the wisdom to appeal to the misguided Paine as a friend.
As was expected, ‘The Age of Reason’ was considered blasphemous by many Americans and Paine spent his final years in New York as an outcast. Upon his death, no American cemetery would accept his remains, and he was buried in a field.
When ‘The Age of Reason’ was published, John Adams was so infuriated that he wrote, “The Christian religion is, above all the religions that ever prevailed or existed in ancient or modern times, the religion of wisdom, virtue, equity, and humanity, let the Blackgurard Paine say what he will.”
Samuel Adams wrote to Paine, “When I heard you had turned your mind to a defense of infidelity, I felt myself much astonished and more grieved that you had attempted a measure so injurious to the feelings and so repugnant to the true interest of so great a part of the citizens of the United States.”
Signer of the Declaration of Independence, Charles Carroll, declared Paine’s work as, “blasphemous writings against the Christian religion.” Founding Father John Witherspoon, himself a Presbyterian minister, stated that Paine “was ignorant of human nature as well as an enemy of the Christian faith.”
Elias Boudinot, President of the Congress, published a full and complete rebuttal to Paine entitled ‘The Age of Revelation.’ Patrick Henry wrote a refutation of Paine in which he described ‘The Age of Reason’ as the ‘puny efforts of Paine.’
John Jay, the original Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and one of the authors of The Federalist Papers, declared that Christianity would prevail despite Paine’s attack. He stated, “I have long been of the opinion that the evidence of the truth of Christianity requires only to be carefully examined to produce conviction in candid minds.”
There are far too many documents, which provide examples of the Founding Father’s deep convictions to the tenets of Christianity, for me to acknowledge. I have cited only a few of which I borrowed from David Barton’s WallBuilders. WallBuilders has compiled overwhelming evidence of the deep Christian faith which became the foundation of the core principles which framed the United States Constitution and the western culture. There is no room left for skepticism as WallBuilders presents indisputable documentation through the works of the Founders themselves via personal epistles, business letters, essays, professional writings, autobiographies, biographies, etc.
Evidence which supports our Christian heritage is in abundance as our Founders were mighty men when it came to the pen. They were grand communicators, much of which was done through their eloquent writings and their magnificent speeches. Their thoughts in regards to Christianity are without question. And any and all efforts to deny the Christian heritage of Americans are none other than the disingenuous and contemptible machinations of the Progressive Left and the ignorant among us.
The United States Declaration of Independence was signed by fifty-six men while fifty-four of those signers are documented as being Christians with their specific sect and position as pastors, sons of clergy, or merely church members. This irrefutable fact alone completely invalidates the left’s endeavors to erase our Christian legacy.
So, why is it important that Americans understand that their heritage is derived from the teachings of Jesus Christ and the Holy Bible? Because without the continued influence of Christianity upon the American culture, we will cease to be America. Our national identity depends on the significance of Judeo-Christian principles in our social and civic lives. Without Christianity we will collapse regardless of our leadership.
Stay tuned for Part II of ‘America Is A Christian Nation.”