Jefferson believed that an authentic Christianity had long ago been hijacked by the Christian Church. The teachings of its founder had become so distorted as to make "one half of the world fools, and the other half hypocrites." Jefferson would no doubt have agreed with Tolstoy that the Christian Church had supplanted the Sermon on the Mount with the Nicene Creed to create a system of beliefs that Jesus himself wouldn't have recognized, much less laid claim to. "I abuse the priests, indeed," Jefferson wrote to Charles Clay in 1815, "who have so much abused the pure and holy doctrines of their Master." By stripping away the gospelers' claim that Jesus was the divine son of God, and by stripping away the subsequent miracles they invented to prove it, Jefferson boasted that he had extracted the "diamonds from the dunghill" to reveal the true teaching of Jesus for what it was: "the most sublime and benevolent code of morals which has ever been offered to man."
Comments are closed.
Commenting on this item is available only to members of the site. You can sign in here or create an account here.