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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Saint Ben!


















Well, he wasn't a saint, actually. But he was a wise man. And a wise guy. Here are some thoughts from Benjamin Franklin on religion, many of which I found on this page.

I cannot conceive otherwise than that He, the Infinite Father, expects or requires no worship or praise from us, but that He is even infinitely above it.
Benjamin Franklin; from 'Articles of Belief and Acts of Religion', November 20, 1728

If we look back into history for the character of the present sects in Christianity, we shall find few that have not in their turns been persecutors, and complainers of persecution. The primitive Christians thought persecution extremely wrong in the Pagans, but practiced it on one another. The first Protestants of the Church of England blamed persecution in the Roman Catholic Church, but practiced it upon the Puritans. They found it wrong in Bishops, but fell into the practice themselves both here (England) and in New England.
Benjamin Franklin

I wish it (Christianity) were more productive of good works ... I mean real good works ... not holy-day keeping, sermon-hearing ... or making long prayers, filled with flatteries and compliments despised by wise men, and much less capable of pleasing the Deity.
Benjamin Franklin; Works, Vol. VII, p. 75

As to Jesus of Nazareth, my Opinion of whom you particularly desire, I think the System of Morals and his Religion ... has received various corrupting Changes, and I have, with most of the present dissenters in England, some doubts as to his Divinity; tho' it is a question I do not dogmatize upon, having never studied it, and think it needless to busy myself with it now, when I expect soon an opportunity of knowing the Truth with less trouble.
Benjamin Franklin, A Biography in his Own Words, edited by Thomas Fleming, p. 404, (1972, Newsweek, New York, NY) quoting letter by Franklin to Exra Stiles March 9, 1790

Lighthouses are more helpful than churches.
Benjamin Franklin

And also remember:
Hide not your talents. They for use were made. What's a sundial in the shade.
Benjamin Franklin

and:

Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.
Benjamin Franklin

2 comments:

Tom & Icy said...

I still can't get over the time we had a yard sale and had a picture frame with Franklin's picture when Dewey Banjer drove up in a pick-up truck and said Ben was the greatest President we ever had and was ready to fight when I said he wasn't a President... Dewey said, "His picture is on money! So he must have been a President!"

Lily Strange said...

I have to say that Dewey has a lot more brains than I gave him credit for. First he dumps Arsewipe for Lammy, then he shows admiration for Ben Franklin. Even if he's wrong about the president part, you have to give him credit for good--or at least improved--taste.