Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Have You Read it? Part 4

There are many versions of the Bible available on the Internet. One of them is known as “The Jefferson Bible.” It is named for the man who edited it, one of the founders of the United States of America, Thomas Jefferson. Thomas Jefferson was a big supporter of the Unitarian church. He was sure that the world was moving in that direction and that within his lifetime the majority of people in the world would switch to that form of Christian study.

He looked at the Bible, and had a problem with all the miracles. He did not feel that was necessary for modern man. This is particularly troublesome with the New Testament because it is a mix of references to confirmed historical figures, names of cities that still exists, and miracles. So he sat down with the original tools of cutting and pasting and started working on his New Testament. When he was done he found a collection of common sense sayings. In his words, “There will be found remaining the most sublime and benevolent code of morals which has ever been offered to man.”

I’m sure many would argue with that statement. Perhaps he had not read every code of morals ever written. I don’t see much value in engaging in that argument. Nor do I see any value in taking the opposite step that some do and claiming that the code is so perfect, it proves that Jesus was God. All of that just takes us away from what would be valuable, that is discussing the code itself.

I’m sure there is more to say about this, but for now I just wanted to introduce it so I can finish this multi-part post. I will leave you will Thomas Jefferson’s own words on what I believe is a great way to approach the study of the Christian God.

“Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a god; because, if there be one, he must approve the homage of reason rather than of blind-folded fear. Do not be frightened from this inquiry by any fear of its consequences.... If it end in a belief that there is no god, you will find incitements to virtue in the comfort and pleasantness you feel in its exercise and in the love of others it will procure for you."
--Thomas Jefferson, to Peter Carr, August 10, 1787

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