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There is no question that Christianity governed the social, philosophical and political landscape of colonial America. At least 50 of the 55 signers of the United States Constitution were professing Christians. Even men like Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin who were technically deists or humanists were so profoundly influenced by the Christian worldview that they upheld many of the philosophical presuppositions of the more orthodox majority. As a result, uniquely Christian notions such as the fundamental depravity of man (or “original sin”) led to the abolition of any “divine right of kings” to rule, and substituted in its place the separation of powers and strict limits on centralized government. Our founders believed in the rule of law not of man. In short, they desired to build a Constitutional Republic.
Tragically, however, there is no question that the tare of Enlightenment humanism was also sown into the fertile soil of the American experiment. Slowly, incrementally, religious humanism has all but become our nation’s de facto religion. All religions have at their heart certain truth claims that cannot peaceably co-exist with contrary claims. For example, man is either fallen or he’s not.
And so the increasing codification of religious humanism has led to the ultimate irony: the Christian philosophy that gave rise to this country is scarcely able to speak its name when it comes to the arena of public policy. That is what has given anti-Christian organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union their strength. The fact that a liberal organization can use as a propaganda ploy the popular idea that all of our Founding Fathers were deists and not Christians is indicative of how far our nation has backslidden from the truth.
Let’s hear what our panel of experts has to say:
Question #5:— Were the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution drafted to uphold the moral laws of God—or were they Deistic humanist documents? If these were Christian documents and America was founded as a Christian nation, where have we gone so far off track?