Thomas Jefferson’s Faith

by drclarkjensen on June 26, 2011

Thomas Jefferson, a man of faith

Thomas Jefferson was accused to being an atheist by some people in his day.  Because that myth has been perpetrated by pseudo-historians in our day, many people still believe that falsehood.  I am about to set the story straight.

Towards the end of Jefferson’s life, he took from the New Testament all the passages that he understood to be the words of Jesus (in several languages) and compiled them into a book.  He referred to the book as the “Philosophy of Jesus.”  Listen to his words about that book and some of the religions of his day.

“A more beautiful or precious morsel of ethics I have never seen.  It 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 Platonist, 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. ”

In spite of his strong beliefs about the words of Jesus, Jefferson was a very private man in regards to his religious beliefs.  His grandson, Thomas Jefferson Randolph, stated that “his codification of the morals of Jesus was not known to his family before his death, and they learned from a letter addressed to a friend that he was in the habit of reading nightly from it before going to bed.”   Listen to some of Jefferson’s words on the subject of faith in Jesus Christ:

“My views of the Christian religion are the result of a life of inquiry and reflection, and very different from that anti-Christian system imputed to me by those who know nothing of my opinions.  To the corruptions of Christianity I am indeed opposed; but not to the genuine precepts of Jesus himself.  I am a Christian, in the only sense in which he wished anyone to be-sincerely attached to his doctrines in preference to all others….”

“I hold the precepts of Jesus, as delivered by himself, to be the most pure, benevolent, and sublime which have been preached to man….”

” If freedom of religion guaranteed to us by law in theory can ever rise in practice under the overbearing inquisition of public opinion, truth will prevail over fanaticism, and the genuine doctrines of Jesus, so long perverted by his pseudo-priest, will again be restored to their original purity.  This reformation will advance with the other improvements of the human mind, but too late for me to witness it. ”

Finally, Jefferson’s grandson, Thomas Jefferson Randolph, said this about Thomas Jefferson:

“I never heard from him the expression of one thought, feeling, or sentiment inconsistent with the highest moral standard, or the purest Christian charity in its most enlarged sense.  His moral character was of the highest order, founded upon the purest and sternest models of antiquity, but softened, chastened, and developed by the influences of the all-pervading benevolence of the doctrines of Christ-which he had intensely and admiringly studied…”

Now tell me, do you still think Jefferson was an atheist?  He may not have embraced the religions of his day, but to say he did not have a faith in Jesus the Christ is absurd.

The more I learn about the man, Thomas Jefferson, the more I admire about him.  He was truly a man a faith and a father to our nation.  He was not the only man that we can call one of our Founding Fathers, but without his faith and his abilities, our nation would certainly look much different than it does now.  Even though, as a nation, we have drifted from many of the foundational principles given to us by those great men, the foundation is still in place, if only we are willing to protect that foundation.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Tom McGarvey July 3, 2012 at 10:34 am

Brother, don’t know if you are a believer or not. I am. You need to set some of the record straight here and not give just part of the truth. Jefferson excised many of the miracles and the Resurrection out of his version of the New Testament because he thought it to be poppycock. He affirmed the moral teachings of Jesus but rejected his Deity and Power. You say: “He may not have embraced the religions of his day, but to say he did not have a faith in Jesus the Christ is absurd.” I think he had faith at one point but seemed to have lost that faith in the risen Christ later on. It was not his faith which made him an interesting and intriguing Founding Father. Do some more research and see if I am not right. I humbly submit this to you with the possibility that I am wrong. By the way, some of your grammar needs work. You say: “He was truly a man a faith and a father to our nation.” There are other examples. I will be interested in your response. A servant of the King, Tom McGarvey


Wendy November 8, 2012 at 12:10 pm

People say Thomas Jefferson is not a Christian, but I believe he is. He is a Christian, but doubts his faith like any other Christian would. He believes in Jesus and miracles, but doubts that there is proof for them. This would explain the paradoxes of why he says two contrary things. Just because he exclude all of the supernatural stuff in his book about Jesus doesn’t mean he didn’t believe in the supernatural stuff of Jesus. He believes it, but cannot prove it. He reads Locke and Locke believes in Jesus and miracles, and the Christian message. Jefferson only doubts Jesus’s divinity. The reason for this I believe is because at times Jesus doesn’t seem to know God’s will, and sometimes he does. One book I read said that Jefferson believed Jesus was divine, and another book I read said that Jefferson said that he wasn’t sure.


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