17th Century England
One of the greatest writers in the English language is John Milton. God was working in the 1600s to get Antitrinitarianism across to the people in England. God had hoped that Milton, the author of Paradise Lost, would be his champion. He wrote a work called Treatise on Christian Doctrine that was anti-Trinitarian, but he did not have it published in his lifetime.
There was a major debate over the trinity in England between 1687-1700 which became known as the "Unitarian controversy" and the "Trinitarian controversy."
In The Christian Doctrine Milton writes that to believe in God as one, not three, is "much more clearly deductible from the Holy Scriptures than the commonly received opinion." He says no one "should take offense at my freedom" to say "what I think more worthy of belief than the creed in general acceptation. I only entreat that my readers will ponder andexamine my statements in a spirit which desires to discover nothing but the truth, and with a mind free from prejudice. For without intending to oppose the authority of Scripture, which I consider inviolently sacred, I only take upon myself to refute human interpretations as often as the occasion requires."
He wrote that "it is impossible to find a single text in all Scripture to prove
generation of the Son." Jesus, he says, "was begotten" and therefore exists "within the
limits of time." One book says of Milton, "Thus he finds no scriptural warrant for the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity, insists on taking literally the reiteration that God is numerically one, and denies that one can be three." Milton was careful in writing Paradise Lost to not let his Arian views be known. He did not publish On Christian Doctrine and it was discovered years after his death. He fought for freedom of religion and that was revolutionary for his day. He probably didnt want go all the way and bash the Trinity. He
lived during the Thirty Years War in Europe, and he probably didnt want to see any of the
violence people used so quickly on differences of religious views come to him and his
Agreeable to Reason
He lists many quotes from the Bible that says God is one such as "there is no
besides me" and "I am God, and there is none else." Then he writes that all the many
verses in the Bible show that "no spirit, no person, no being besides him is God. ... What
can be plainer, what more distinct, what more suitable to general comprehension and the
ordinary forms of speech for the purpose of impressing on the people of God that there was numerically one God and one Spirit, in the common acceptation of numerical unity?" He says the Trinity is against reason and to see God as one is "in truth fitting and highly
agreeable to reason" and that "even the lowest of people" could understand that the Bible speaks in "so plain a manner" without "ambiguous or obscure expressions" about God
being three beings. A belief in the trinity leads "worshipers into error." He says the
Israelites were right in emphasizing there is one God: "the Israelites ... understood .. that
God was numerically one God." He says that belief was corrupted by theologians in
schools "who, through their confidence in their own sagacity ... impugned the doctrine .. of
the unity of God" and introduced the illogical view of the "plurality" of God.
One book said of his Paradise Regained, "He could draw upon many sources
theology, even, the antitrinitarian reformers such as the Spaniard, Servetus, whom Calvin
sent to the stake for heresy."
Milton was a champion for free speech
God spoke through John Milton who besides writing the classic Paradise Lost
1644 an inflential political tract tited Areopagitica, a speech for the Liberty of Unlicensed
Printing to the Parliament of England. It is an "eloquent defense of the freedom of the
press from governmental restriction and censoship. It was written in response to the Press
Licensing Order of 1643 which decreed that all journalistic writing would have to be
approved by the government for publication." The Presbyterian majority wanted to
suppress viewpoints of their religious and political opponents. His plea was for unlicensed
printing. He became famous for being a spokesman for liberty. The State should be an umpire, not a player.
It begins with a strong apologia for the printed page: "Books are not
absolutely dead things
but do contain a potency of life ... They do preserve as in a vial the purest efficacy and
extraction of that living intellect that bred them... We should be wary therefore what
persecution we raise against the living labors of public men, how we spill that seasoned life
of man preserved and stored up in books" He says that the "common people" of England
should be trusted more than government censors and not looked down on: "if we dare not
trust them with an English pamphlet, what do we but censure them for a giddy, vicious, and
He believed all mankind can handle hearing opposing views and will ultimately recognize truth. "Let truth and falsehood grapple; whoever knew truth put to the worst in a free and open encounter .... For who knows not that truth is strong next to the Almighty; she needs no policies, nor stratagems, nor licensings, to make her victorious ... Give her but room, and do not bind her when she sleeps."
In his essay "Of Education" he wrote that the "end ... of learning is to repair the ruins of our first parents by regaining to know God aright." He hoped schools would teach correctly and school children could blossom into "the highest perfection."
He wrote a sequel to Paradise Lost called Paradise Regained. In it Jesus wins victory over Satan and establisheds his kingdom not with force, but through "winning words" of persuasion: "more humane, more heavenly first by winning words to conquer willing hearts and make persuasion do the work of fear."
Isaac Newton is one of the greatest scientists in history. God used him to advance an understanding of science. His book Principia is considered by many to be one of greatest, if not, the greatest scientific book ever written. He was a very cautious man and failed to reveal insights he found in religion.
Newton studied carefully the debates between Arius and Athanasius. One biographer
said he found Athanasius "repugnant ... It was during a hiding with the hermit monks
in the Egyptian desert that Athanasius wrote Discourses Against the Arians, the
most compelling exposition of his Christianity ... The more deeply Newton delved, the more
clear-cut the evidence became to him: The New Testament had been corrupted." Newton
wrote down his thoughts attacking orthodox Trinitarianism, the virgin birth and other
things he considered illegitimate intrusions into primitive Christianity, the only
revealed religion. He was a good friend of John Locke and showed him his writings. He
asked Locke to help him publish it anonymously but later panicked and didn't. In the end
he sought to avoid controversy at all costs." One book says, "exposure as an
Arian would almost certainly result in his professional ruin and perpetual banishment from
the circle of his peers." Wouldn't this be the case for a follower of Sun Myung
Isaac Newton was an Antitrinitarian. One book says, "Heresy in the form of
dissenting opinions about the Trinity was almost as old as the Christian religion itself.
Try as it might, the Church had never succeeded in stamping out this noxious weed [It is
really a beautiful flower]; by Newtons day it had cropped up once more and soon
became the most nettling problem by orthodox theologians."
The pattern of God's champions in the last 2000 years has been either they wouldn't
proclaim the truth or if they did, they were unable to convert the ruling religious and
political leaders or create a grass roots movement that would grow to overcome society's
18th century England
In the 18th century God inspired Samuel Clarke to write and publish his unitarian
book in 1712. One book said that this was a time "the doctrine of the Trinity had
become one of the most debated theological issues of the Church." The
Scripture-Doctrine of the Trinity was published in the midst of this discussion."
Clarke's point was that the Bible itself never says God is a trinity.
He called for Christians to return to a simple Christianity and re-evaluate the Nicene Creed which was not simple. A popular term used by Unitarians of that century was "primitive." They didn't mean any negative connotation to the word. They liked the words "Reason" (which they often capitalized) and "rational", "reasonable" and "practical." Clarke wrote that the traditional view of the trinity had brought "confusion" of "simple truth .. to the great disappointment of Christianity, puzzled the plain and practical Doctrine of Scripture, with endless speculative Disputes."
"In England, the beginnings of Unitarianism are associated with John Biddle, who was often persecuted and imprisoned for his Unitarian beliefs. He died in prison in 1662."
"In the year of Biddle's death, Parliament outlawed all non-Episcopal worship and clergy in the Act of Uniformity (1662) which remained in force until the Toleration Act of 1689. As always, however, oppressions spawned unrest, and Antitrinitarianism spread rapidly. Biddle's tracts were widely circulated in England and Holland."
"Joseph Priestley, the discoverer of oxygen, was a major figure in eighteenth-century English Unitarianism. Both a Unitarian minister and a scientist, he voiced radical theological and political views and sympathized with the aims of the American and the French revolutions."
Under his leadership "English Unitarianism after 1774 mushroomed in numbers, chapels, and confidence. As minister of the New Meeting chapel in Birmington, Priestley preached Unitarianism, pamphleteered, and worked tirelessly for liberal and unpopular causes including the French Revolution, all the while carrying on his scientific experiments."
ABSURDITY SUPPORTED BY POWER
"His main contribution to English Unitarianism was a comprehensive argument,
both historical and philosophical, for liberal Christianity drawn from Scripture
and early Christian writings, interpreted by reason, and rigorously applied to the
religious and political problems of his day. 'Absurdity supported by power,' he wrote,
'will never be able to stand its ground against the efforts of reason.'"
"Of all of Priestley's religious works, probably the most influential was his History
of the Corruptions of Christianity in two volumes, in which he sought to show that
true Christianity, embodied in the beliefs of the primitive church, was Unitarian, and
that all departures from that faith were corruptions. The Corruptions infuriated
the orthodox and delighted the liberals in both England and America. It was publicly
burned in Holland."
He wrote "that the universal parent of mankind commissioned Jesus Christ, to
invite men to the practice of virtue." The doctrine itself is so plain, that both
"the learned" and the "unlearned" would "respect it."
Unfortunately it has suffered "monstrous corruptions and abuses" that have
"crept into the system." The church today is "subversive" to Jesus.
He was the "arch-heretic of the 18th century. He saw himself as the only proponent of true Christianity with his persecutors representing traditional heresy."
Priestly begins his book : "The unity of god is a doctrine on which the greatest stress is laid in the whole system of revelation." He says the Jews were expecting a man, not God, to come as the messiah: "none of their prophets gave them an idea of any other than a man like themselves ... nor do they expect to this day." And "the apostles" of Jesus saw him as "a man like themselves." This is on the first page and it infuriated people.
One book says: "inflamed by exasperated leaders of the Established Church, a Birmingham mob chose Bastille Day, July 14, 1791, to attack and burn down Priestley's home, laboratory, library and Unitarian chapel. And they ravaged all the Unitarian chapels in Birmingham. ... Priestley made a hairbreadth escape, fleeing to London, where he immediately wrote and dispatched a sermon to be read to his congregation on the following Sunday, using as his text: 'Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.'"
"Discouraged by the prevailing political and ecclesiastical climate, and beckoned by an invitation from his friend Thomas Jefferson, he sailed, in 1794, to the United States. ... He went to Philadelphia when that city was still the capital of the United States. He founded "the First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia, the first permanently established church in the United States to take the Unitarian name."
Thomas Jefferson was President and attended his church. Benjamin Franklin and other leaders also attended.
One biographer wrote, "Washington was no longer a faithful Episcopalian. Soon after his return home from the war he resigned from the vestry of the nearby Truro church. ... he ceased to take communion." He writes that Washington believed in God: "during the war he expressed faith many times" but "It would seem, that, like Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and many another Patriot leaders, he was affected by waves of Unitarianism that accompanied the Revolution." Unfortunately the "waves of Unitarianism" did not sweep across America. Satan was able to crush God's attempts to make America unitarian.
He spoke and believed strongly for religious toleration. In a letter to the Jewish congregation of Newport, Rhode Island, he said that "Happily the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistances."
Washington delivered his inaugural address in 1789. He spoke from the heart at length that God had created America for liberty and that America will be blessed because of love of freedom. He delivered it with trembling voice and trembling hands.
Washington turned down power after winning the Revolutionary war and did not become a king. He is the greatest American for not abusing power. America started on the right path because of these men who were tuned into God's laws. God has been able to bless America because these men set in motion correct political and economic principles and most importantly making it the law that minority views will be allowed to compete freely with the powerful majority. This was unheard of in human history. America really was the "hope" of the world. The Founding Fathers knew how monumental their efforts were and how much God was with them and helping them. The Messiah would come to this nation that would let him speak freely. Unfortunately Satan has often led American leaders and people to dishonor and act satanic and persecute others.
Christianity has been a mixture of good and evil. Adams was a Unitarian. Adams wrote Jefferson saying that believing in the trinity makes as much sense as to "believe that 2 and 2 make 5." Adams wrote how he detested missionaries going out to the world teaching corrupt Christianity: "We have now, it seems, a National Bible Society, to propagate King James' Bible, through all Nations. Would it not be better, to apply these pious Subscriptions, to purify Christendom from the Corruptions of Christianity; than to propagate these Corruptions in Europe, Asia, Africa and America!"
Thomas Jefferson believed passionately that Jesus was the Messiah but objected to the traditional, orthodox Christian teachings of the virgin birth and the trinity. He believed, as one writer wrote, "Joseph Priestleys book The Corruption of Christianity pointed out that the Jewish concept of the Messiah was that of a great man descended from the royal family of David who would come to help his people, not that of a god, and that Jesus himself always attributed his extraordinary power to God, his Father."
"The Trinitarian theorem that three are one, and one is three, and yet one is not three nor the three one, as Jefferson was wont to put it, outraged the reason, science, and logic ... the metaphysical ideas of Athanasius, Loyola and Calvin were insanities to Jefferson and represented relapses into polytheism and corruption of Jesus doctrine of only one God. He thought they differed from paganism only in being more unintelligible." Jefferson blasted Christian leaders for creating a nightmare of war because of their superstitious beliefs: "They made of Christendom a slaughter-house through so many ages, and at this day divide it into castes of inextinguishable hatred to one another." Rev. Moon criticizes Christianity also for its ridiculous view of the Trinity and for creating so many denominations.
One book said that "First, Thomas Jefferson was the most self-consciously theological of all America's presidents. Second, he dedicated himself more deliberately and diligently to the reform of religion than any other president. Third, in partnership with James Madison, he did more to root religious liberty firmly in the American tradition than any predecessor or successor in the White House. And fourth, in succeeding centuries, no other president has been appealed to more frequently or more fervently in religious matters than Jefferson. In the entire religious dimension of human experience, therefore, he cannot be ignored."
"In a letter sent to a friend in 1815, Jefferson noted, 'I not only write nothing on religion, but rarely permit myself to speak on it, and never but in a reasonable society.' He did, however, often write and speak about religion. ... Jefferson insisted that no one publish his letters, and that no one had the right to invade his private religious world. If politicians or clerics or journalists began to probe, they met with a stony silence."
To Priestley he wrote in 1803 while President about Jesus: "To do him justice, it would be necessary to remark the disadvantages his doctrines had to encounter, not having been committed to writing by himself, but by the most unlettered of men, by memory, long after they had heard from him; when much was forgotten, much misunderstood, and presented in every paradoxical shape. Yet such are the fragments remaining as to show a master workman, and that his system of morality was the most benevolent and sublime probably that has been ever taught, and consequently more perfect than those of any of the ancient philosophers. His character and doctrines have received still greater injury from those who pretend to be his special disciples, and who have disfigured and sophisticated his actions and precepts, from views of personal interest, so as to induce the unthinking part of mankind to throw off the whole system in disgust, and to pass sentence as an imposter on the most innocent, the most benevolent, the most eloquent and sublime character that ever has been exhibited to man."
Jefferson wrote to Priestly welcoming him to America. He wrote how much he liked and respected him and how they were able to fight off those who were prejudiced and tried to keep him out with the ungodly Alien Law. "Yours is one of the few lives precious to mankind" because he has written truths that "every thinking man" is grateful for. He says "bigots" hate him for this. He says good people have had to fight hard for freedom in the forming of America: "What an effort, my dear sir, of bigotry in politics and religion have we gone through! The barbarians really flattered themselves they should be able to bring back the times of vandalism, when ignorance put everything into the hands of power and priestcraft."
Jefferson befriends Priestly
He told him that those who had tried to keep Priestley out of America and those who
attack him "live by mystery" and "fearing you would render them useless by
simplifying the Christian philosophy the most sublime and benevolent, but most
perverted system that ever shone on man endeavored to crush your well-earned and
well-deserved fame." He told him how happy he was that he could begin his presidency
by welcoming him to America: "It is with heartfelt satisfaction that, in the first
moments of my public action, I can hail you with welcome to our land, tender to you the
homage of its respect and esteem, cover you under the protection of those laws which were
made for the wise and good like you" and he denounces "the legitimacy of that
libel on legislation" the Alien Law.
The Alien Act was wrong and showed again how government is a bigot and wrongly uses its power to stop immigration. Priestley was attacked by clergy and others who hated him. They tried to keep him from entering the country. America has never been free enough, but thank God it has been as free as it is.
Jefferson was excited about the future. America, he told him, was brand new and free and would not only survive and would not be swept with delusions. "the storm is now subsiding, and the horizon becoming serene, it is pleasant" to see the future. "We can no longer say there is nothing new under the sun. For this whole chapter in the history of man is new." God was excited also. He has worked ever since to raise Americans to be tolerant and to accept Antitrinitarianism.
Jefferson wrote to Adams: "I have read Priestley's books over and over again; and I rest on them ... as the basis of my own faith."
Jefferson said that Priestley's book would soon "be in the hand" of everyone and "Athanasius' paradox" would crumble and America would give up the nonsense of the trinity.
In a letter to a friend he wrote: "But the greatest of all the reformers of the depraved religion of his own country, was Jesus of Nazareth. Abstracting what is really his from the rubbish in which it is buried, easily distinquised by its luster from the dross of his biographers, and as separable from that as the diamond from the dunghill." But unfortunately, Jefferson says, Jesus could only give an "outline" of his teaching because he was murdered when he was young: "we have the outlines of a system of the most sublime morality which has ever fallen from the lips of man; outlines which is lamentable he did not live to fill up."... "ultra-Christian sects have corrupted his sublime system" and "invented" into "artificial systems" with its ridiculous beliefs in "the immaculate conception of Jesus, his deification, the creation of the world by him, the Trinity." Priestley's teachings, he hopes, will end this: "Priestley has successfully devoted his labors and learning" and "It would in time, it is to be hoped, effect a quiet euthanasia of the heresies of bigotry and fanaticism which have so long triumphed over human reason, and so generally and deeply afflicted mankind."
"His Statute for Religious Freedom has been international in its influence."
He was hardworking, had honorable character, was humane, loved people, truth, freedom and morality.
God finally had a champion who rose to power and handled power correctly. Jefferson did not abuse the awesome power he held as President of the United States unlike Constantine and Charlemagne. He saw the Roman Republic as a time when the people as a whole were "so demoralized and depressed" that they would "be incapable" of running a good government. Their minds need an "education" of "what is right and wrong." They needed "to be encouraged in habits of virtue." If they were better people then they could have had the "basis for the structure of order and good government." It was so bad, he felt, that even if Cicero, Cato and others were "united" they could not have led "their people into good government." The fate of Rome, he wrote, was "never to have known" as well as everyone else "through a course of five and twenty thousand years," what America possesses a "free and rational government."
In a letter he wrote that "Happiness" is "the aim of life," and "Virtue" is "the foundation of happiness." This is the meaning of Jefferson's phrase Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness."
Jefferson said in a letter to Madison: "Above all things I hope the education of the common people will be attended to; convinced that on their good sense we may rely with the most security for the preservation of a due degree of liberty." God wanted America to live up to this standard and become educated and have good sense.
Jefferson introduced the revolutionary concept that the common man can be trusted with freedom and to solve his problems and government can be limited. Alexander Hamilton held the Cain view that there must be a powerful government to guide the average person who he saw as too low to handle freedom. This has been the contest between God and Satan for all of America's history. In the twentieth century, America turned from trusting people to trusting government with Franklin Roosevelt who started such programs as Social Security. Jefferson had faith in the people to voluntarily solve their problems. He knew that centralized power that regulated people would always misuse their power and try to crush minority views, such as those who believed as he did, that the trinity and virgin birth of Jesus was wrong. He knew that it would be very difficult for his most treasured religious beliefs to sweep the country if people gave their power to politicians and clergy. He loved freedom and knew that truth and prosperity would prevail if the government left people alone.
Jefferson said America had a great mission. It is "the world's best home." ... "the last hope of human liberty in this world rests on us." if America failed, it would "seal the heresy that man is incapable of self-government."
He worked hard and was attacked viciously for standing up to religious leaders who didn't want to give up the use of government to force people to pay taxes to them and to stop those with force who do not believe as they do -- people like Joseph Priestley. He hated organized religion for what they had done to Jesus. They had made religion so complicated and superstitious when it was really simple. He wrote, "To love God with all thy heart and thy neighbor as thyself is the sum of religion." He fought for separation of church and state so that the orthodox churches could not use the force of government to persecute what they saw as heretics, as all religious people had done in history, heretics like him. He worked to end the Anglican church as the state religion of Virginia in 1779 while the Revolutionary War was going on. He was fighting a battle as fierce as that on the battlefield. He took the church's clergyman off the public payroll and stopped Virginians from paying taxes to what is today called the Episcopal Church. The Virginia assembly passed his Statue of Religious Freedom which guaranteed religious liberty in Virginia. He aroused tremendous hostility, but he was right in doing it. God does not want any religion, even his own chosen religion, to be a state religion that the state uses force to convert and confiscate property of those who do not believe. God is trusting and was against those who had socialist beliefs and love of big government who don't have faith in people to voluntarily come together and form organizations to solve problems.
One book says we have been accustomed to religious freedom and it is easy to forget how great a document in the history of liberty is Jeffersons law. It was written 14 centuries following the decree of intolerance Emperor Theodocius issued in 380 which said, "We will that all our subjects ... believe the one divinity of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, of majesty co-equal, in the holy Trinity. We will that all those who embrace this creed be called Catholic Christians. We brand all the senseless followers of other religions by the infamous name of heretics, and forbid their conventicles to assume the name of churches." This is not what Jesus wanted his followers to do. Jefferson was a true follower of Jesus and believed in maximum freedom.
Jefferson was asked by one of his friends if he could have permission to publish one of Jefferson's letters that stated his religious opinions. Jefferson told him not to so that he wouldn't be persecuted like Calvin did to Servetus: "No, my dear Sir, not for all the world. Into what a nest of hornets would it thrust my head! ... Don Quixote undertook to redress the bodily ills of this world, but the redressment of mental vagaries would be an enterprise more than Quixotic. I should as soon undertake to bring the crazy skulls of Bedlam to sound understanding, as inculcate reason into that of an Athanasian. I am old and tranquility is now my summum bonum. Keep me therefore from the fire and faggots of Calvin and his victim Servetus." Was Jefferson gutless on this issue? Should we criticize him for not speaking out?
Benjamin Rush was a friend of Jefferson and cosigner of the Declaration of Independence. They wrote letters to each other about Unitarian thought. They both believed that the young nation needed to unite in religion.
Jefferson said, "I am unwilling to draw on myself a swarm of insects whose buzz is more disquieting than their bite."
Because he believed fervently in the power of reason He could not believe in the possibility that all "thinking men" would reject Unitarianism: "I remember to have heard Dr. Priestley say that if all England would candidly examine themselves, they would find that Unitarianism was really the religion of all."
Jefferson wrote saying the idea of a trinity "is the mere Abracadabra of the mountebanks calling themselves priests of Jesus" who specialize in "shedding darkness." Reason would counteract the darkness.
He wrote, "When shall we have done away with the incomprehensible jargon of the Trinitarian arithmetic?"
Theologians, he wrote, "have so distorted and deformed the doctrines of Jesus, so muffled them in mysticisms, fancies, and falsehood, have caricatured them into forms so monstrous and inconceivable, as to Shock Reasonable thinkers."
He was optimistic. In the last years of his life he wrote, "I have little doubt that the whole of our country will soon be rallied to the Unity of the Creator, and, I hope, to the pure doctrines of Jesus also."
"The metaphysical insanities of Athanasius, of Loyola, and of Calvin, are to my understanding, mere relapses into polytheism, differing from paganism only by being more unintelligible."
Jefferson thought all he had to do was wait. He failed to take a stand. He was afraid to witness. He didn't want to get hurt and he didn't see the value of missionary work. He loved books and words. I sympathize.
He believed "Rational Christianity" will sweep America. He said, "trust that there is not a young man now living in the U.S. who will not die a Unitarian." ... "I confidently expect that the present generation will see Unitarianism become the general religion of the United States."
He was speaking about orthodox Christians who have created tyranny when he said, "For I have sworn on the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man." Jefferson was not writing against political or military tyranny "he passionately protested against religious tyranny. For, according to Jefferson, this tyranny provided the foundation for all other despotism by destroying that most precious of all human liberties; the freedom of the human mind."
He went through the Bible and crossed out "ridiculous" passages. It was a process likened to picking out "diamonds in a dunghill." One writer said, "The result, in printed form, was a booklet which he entitled The Philosophy of Jesus of Nazareth. In it, he maintained, were set forth 'pure and unsophisticated doctrines, such as were professed and acted upon by the unlettered apostles, the Apostolic fathers, and the Christians of the first century.'"
He died the same day as his friend John Adams. They died on the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. The inscription that Jefferson wrote for his grave marker reads: "Here was buried Thomas Jefferson, Author of the Declaration of American Independence, of the Statute of Virginia for religious freedom, & Father of the University of Virginia." One book says, "These were accomplishments that he ranked higher than being President of the United States." The Presidency deals with the sword. He knew the pen was mightier. Words of truth are what are most powerful and enduring and helpful.
Jefferson studied ancient religious history. In a letter to a religious writer, James Smith, he saluted Smith for his efforts to revive "primitive Christianity." He meant "primitive" to mean true: "No historical fact is better established, than that of the early ages of Christianity; and was among the efficacious doctrines which gave it triumph over polytheism of the ancients, sickened with the absurdities of their own theology."
He believed that Christianity had been "sickened" with its "absurdities" by force and not persuasion: "Nor was the unity of the Supreme Being ousted from the Christian creed by the force of reason, but by the sword of civil government, wielded at the will of the fanatic Athanasius. The hocus-pocus phantasm of a God like another Cerberus, with one body and three heads, had its birth and growth in the blood of thousands of martyrs."
Jefferson was passionate about his belief that the idea of a trinity was the real heresy and therefore against reason. He felt it would be necessary that there be freedom of religious inquiry for people to hear and accept the truth. He thought that the state must be kept from using its power to crush unitarian thought. In freedom he felt the truth would rise and people would eventually see the truth. The reason Jefferson pushed for the separation of church and state was mainly because he felt it would create an atmosphere that America would reject the view that Jesus is God and restore the correct view of Jesus as a man divinely inspired: "And a strong proof of the solidity of the primitive faith, is its restoration, as soon as a nation arises which vindicates to itself the freedom of religious opinion, and its external divorce from the civil authority." America became socialist with a big government that used force to jail Rev. Moon.
It was so logical that traditional Christian thought would fade away that he was optimistic that it would be replaced with the truth about Jesus in his own generation. He wrote to Smith saying that "the pure and simple unity of the Creator of the universe, is now all but ascendant in the Eastern States; it is dawning in the West, and advancing towards the South; and I confidently expect that the present generation will see Unitarianism become the general religion of the United States." Sadly his prophecy did not come true.
Despite the duties of being a President of the United States, he read, meditated and wrote on religion. At least America was a place where Arian heretics would not be burned at the stake and even though he was criticized for his beliefs he was not turned out of office by his free electorate.
Many attacked him as being an atheist. He wrote Jesus'
"parentage was obscure, his condition poor; his education null; his natural
endowments great; his life correct and innocent; he was meek, benevolent, patient, firm,
disinterested, and of the sublimest eloquence." But his teachings had been
"mutilated, misstated," "disfigured by the corruptions of schismatizing
followers," and "frittered into subtleties and obscured with jargon."
Jefferson's writings were also treated this way. Jesus' moral teachings are "the most
perfect and sublime that has ever been taught by man."