Religious Views of Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson was highly critical of priests and orthodox Religion. He felt priests were usually forces for conservatism and maintaining the status-quo of the privileged classes. Many of his political enemies claimed he was an atheist. On a political front Thomas Jefferson was eager to create a separation of power between church and state. He argued that the State should not support a Religious sect.

β€œIt is an insult to our citizens to question whether they are rational beings or not, and blasphemy against religion to suppose it cannot stand the test of truth and reason.”

To this end he narrowly succeed in passing the freedom of religious worship act in his home state of Virginia.

Although he was critical of established religion, Jefferson makes frequent reference to his belief in the One Creator. It is clear that he held a firm belief in God, even if this God was not in the traditional image of God. Jefferson also believed that Jesus Christ was one of the greatest moral philosophers. Jefferson actually went so far as to create his own version of the Bible, which just consisted of the actual words of Jesus Christ. He removed references to miracles and his virgin birth (none of which he believed). He says of the he Jefferson Bible:

β€œ is a document in proof that I am a real Christian, that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus, very different from the Platonists, who call me infidel and themselves Christians and preachers of the gospel, while they draw all their characteristic dogmas from what its author never said nor saw.”

Thomas Jefferson also took great interest in educational matters. He took up a project to found the University of Virginia. This was the first and only university to be founded by an American president. It was also the first university to not be founded on religious principles. Jefferson considered his work at the University of Virginia to be one of his great achievements.

Thomas Jefferson: A Life

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Light and Liberty – Quotes of Thomas Jefferson

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