As I was driving back from my volunteer work today, I caught part of a radio program discussing our Founding Fathers and Christianity. The talk show host presented quotes from a number of the key framers of the US Constitution. Later, I decided to look up some of the quotes. Although most of these men were Christians in practice, they saw the hurtful side of religion.
Thomas Paine in his "Age of Reason" included the following:
Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and torturous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness, with which more than half the Bible is filled, it would be more consistent that we called it the word of a demon, than the word of God. It is a history of wickedness, that has served to corrupt and brutalize mankind.and
I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by the Roman church, by the Greek church, by the Turkish church, by the Protestant church, nor by any church that I know of... Each of those churches accuse the other of unbelief; and for my own part, I disbelieve them all.John Adams in a letter to F. A. Van der Kamp in 1816 said:
As I understand the Christian religion, it was, and is, a revelation. But how has it happened that millions of fables, tales, legends, have been blended with both Jewish and Christian revelation that have made them the most bloody religion that has ever existed?But it was the quote from Abraham Lincoln that intrigued me most. I haven't found the exact quote yet, but it was something to the effect that both the north and south claimed God on its side while they were killing each other. From childhood, I could not understand how a benevolent god could be on each side when each side was intending to harm each other. As I grew older, I decided that this was a concept of wishful thinking. It had nothing to do with God.
I digress. My quest to find the quote from Abraham Lincoln led me to a bunch of his quotes. I did not find the one on religion at this time. However, as I read the Lincoln quotes that my Google search found, I was entranced by the wisdom and wit of this man.
These are a few of my favorite quotes:
Whenever I hear anyone arguing for slavery, I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally.
This is version of the parable of walking in another man's shoes. The quotes below are from a man who was a Republican. I find them humorous yet tragic in light of the economic situation of the last few years.
Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.
These capitalists generally act harmoniously and in concert, to fleece the people.
In my opinion these last two are really wonderful quotes that I hope most of us can take to heart.
The Lord prefers common-looking people. That is why he makes so many of them.
The best way to destroy an enemy is to make him a friend.
I found so many great quotes from President Lincoln that I would have liked to include. Had I, this blog entry would be more than twice a long as it is. If you want to read more of Mr. Lincoln's quotes, do a Google search. and go from there.