Streams

The 'Infidels' and 'Atheists' Who Founded America

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

One of William Stone's copies of the Declaration of Independence. One of William Stone's copies of the Declaration of Independence. (William Stone/Wikipedia Commons)

America’s foundersnot only Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin, but Thomas Paine, Ethan Allen, and Thomas Young, the forgotten Founder who kicked off the Boston Tea Party—were called as “infidels” and “atheists” in their own time. The ideas that inspired them were largely ancient, pagan, and continental. Matthew Stewart looks at the philosophical ideas that inspired America’s revolutionaries. His book Nature's God: The Heretical Origins of the American Republic, uncovers the true meanings of “Nature’s God,” “self-evident,” and many other phrases crucial to our understanding of the American experiment.

 

Nature's God by Matthew Stewart
Nature's God by Matthew Stewart

 

Guests:

Matthew Stewart

Comments [12]

Isaac Garcia

Interesting read. I can't wait to read the book.
More information can also be found here in the Jefferson Archives:
http://www.monticello.org/site/research-and-collections/jeffersons-religious-beliefs

Aug. 03 2014 06:08 PM
peter from 08862

So who was the Wealthiest Pres. of them all

Jul. 31 2014 03:40 AM
Santos Murillo from Kearny, NJ

Bravo Leonard! An excellent segment. I cringe every time I hear a politician or a Faux News follower say that this is a "Christian Nation". Thanks for the history lesson. Only problem is that the people who really have to hear this message probably don't listen to your show.

Thank you again.

Jul. 30 2014 02:04 PM
fuva from harlemworld

Yo, oscar, say what? You are NOT being coherent and/or advancing discourse/humanity. Or don't know you this? Stop, please.

Jul. 30 2014 01:58 PM
fuva from harlemworld

Yo, oscar, say what? You are NOT being coherent and/or advancing discourse/humanity. Or don't know know this? Stop, please.

Jul. 30 2014 01:58 PM
oscar from ny

I heard that one night iblis "Satan" came to George Washington and instructed him about this new world, and that's how illumination dawn on this president making him the first 6= G and Freemasonry was born,..legend has it that there was some time intervention that gives power to America but some high priest Jews or Zionist didn't come to the realization that Satan overall betrayed them all..even more now..for Satan does not have anyone

Jul. 30 2014 01:52 PM
fuva from harlemworld

Actually Leonard, isn't possible to think your way of life "ideal" without considering other PEOPLE inherently inferior?

Jul. 30 2014 01:51 PM
Amy from Manhattan

I like "people have equal rights by virtue of their equal creation." But did Jefferson actually say "people," or "men"? Is there any way to know whether he thought men & women had "equal creation"?

Jul. 30 2014 01:38 PM
BigGuy from Forest Hills

The founding fathers were extremely distrustful of religion.

Less than 150 years before the American Revolution, during the Thirty Years War, in some portions of Germany, more than 90% of the good Catholics and Protestants killed each other to determine who were the better Christians.

The Great Book that they all read, other than the Bible, professes that Christianity was not always good. Gibbon argues in "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire" that Christianity enfeebled the Roman Empire.

Jul. 30 2014 01:36 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

Neo-paganism, neo-bolshevism and neo-barbarism may be bringing a new dark ages to America. Time will tell.

Jul. 30 2014 01:34 PM
fuva from harlemworld

How much did the oligarchic capitalists appropriate and propagandize these ideals?

Jul. 30 2014 01:26 PM

Please detail what Jefferson did and why with the Bible. Were they who called themselves Unitarian-Universalists, genuine Deists/theists or needing cover for being agnostic/anti-theist...?

Jul. 30 2014 12:50 PM

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