The Alpha and Omega~~~ Jefferson, First and Last!
(The following commentary is part of a weekly series called “Yahweh Speaks” by Yahweh. Yahweh is an assumed name to protect his identity on-line. He is a noted free thought advocate and Constitutional attorney. His series airs on my American Heathen® internet radio show. Airdate 10/27/12)
THE ALPHA and OMEGA~~~Jefferson from start to finish,
I have always ended my segment here with, “But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no god. It neither picks my pocket not breaks my leg.” This statement is quintessential Jefferson because it puts religion in its proper place and gives religion its proper perspective. Believe what you will , practice as you wish, but, understand this, it is injurious, and un-neighborly, when zealots try to infuse and inject their peculiar stripe of theism into every nook and cranny of the lives of others, public and private.
That is the full import of Jefferson’s admonition.
In 1787 , while the Constitution was being framed in Philadelphia, Jefferson was doing Diplomatic work in Paris. From Europe he sent his protegé, James Madison, “The Father pf the Constitution ” , several trunkloads of books, treatises, and writings on Government, Law and Religion. He also took the time to respond by letter to two letters from his then 14-year-old nephew, Peter Carr. Jefferson discussed various subjects, and on the subject of religion he told his young Nephew, ” Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear.”
Now , imagine you were 14 and imagine your uncle had penned the Declaration of Independence. Imagine your uncle had penned a “Bill for Religious Freedom” in your home state. Imagine your Uncle was a leading luminary in the political, social, legal, and intellectual circles of the day. Wouldn’t you likely hang on EVERY word that your Uncle uttered? Wouldn’t you BELIEVE virtually anything your uncle believed or told you to believe? But, Jefferson was less pedantic, less a martinet, less a “control freak”, he was more magnanimous than that. He could have said, “discount, discard xtianity, islam, judaism as they are all fables, as are ALL other theisms . But, instead he advised his nephew to think for himself, with reason as his polestar and with no fear that using reason would result in eternal damnation.
I am sure young Mr Carr heeded his Uncle’s sage advise, and benefited greatly therefrom in all avenues of life..
I owe to my parents whatever it is that I am. My Mom instilled in me drive and determination. My dad taught me not to be a follower, not to be a sheep, and, above all else, I did not have to BELIEVE anything!
And from Jefferson I learned the intellectual arguments for meeting belief dogma with reason at every turn, and if Mr Jefferson could publicly profess his reasoned principles and still succeed, SO COULD I.
And thither , let us wend our way with more Jefferson.
“The bill for establishing religious freedom, the principles of which had, to a certain degree, been enacted before, I had drawn in all the latitude of reason and right. It still met with opposition; but, with some mutilations in the preamble, it was finally passed; and a singular proposition proved that its protection of opinion was meant to be universal. Where the preamble declares, that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed, by inserting the word “Jesus Christ,” so that it should read, “a departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion;” the insertion was rejected by a great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mahometan, the Hindoo, and Infidel of every denomination.” Jefferson, Autobiography
In Jefferson’s 1820 letter to William Short he said about je-zeus,”Elevated by the enthusiasm of a warm and pure heart, conscious of the high strains of an eloquence which had not been taught him, he might readily mistake the coruscations of his own fine genius for inspirations of a higher order. This belief carried, therefore, no more personal imputation, than the belief of Socrates, that himself was under the care and admonitions of a guardian Dæmon. And how many of our wisest men still believe in the reality of these inspirations, while perfectly sane on all other subjects.”
Here Jefferson is saying that if je-zeus, himself, in fact, thought he was divinely inspired, much less the “son of god” he was INSANE, as delusional as Jefferson’s contemporaries who believed such nonsense while “perfectly sane on all other subjects.
In Jefferson’s Ap 11, 1823 letter to John Adams, we find, “And the day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter. But we may hope that the dawn of reason and freedom of thought in these United States will do away with all this artificial scaffolding, and restore to us the primitive and genuine doctrines of this the most venerated reformer of human errors.”
To fully appreciate Jefferson’s DERISION for the divinity of je-zeus we must understand the Fable to which he compared it: Minerva springing from the head of Jupiter.
Jupiter was the Roman god equivalent of the Greek god, Zeus. Minerva was the Roman equivalent of the Greek god, Athena
Jupiter had the “hots” for a goddess named Metis, but she was not as equally enamored of him. Every time he tried to “take” her, she transformed herself into another creature–a deer who scampered off, or an eagle who flew away— leaving poor Jupiter pounding his pud with blues balls.
One day as Metis tried to escape she turned herself into a fly, but Jupiter caught her in his hand. So he would never be apart from her again, Jupiter literally ATE her.
For the next 9 months Jupiter had a horrific pounding, banging, clanging in his head. It became so unbearable that Jupiter asked a fellow god to cleave open his with axe. The fellow god did so. And VOILA out of Jupiter’s head springs forth Minerva, Jupiter’s fully grown adult daughter, the Goddess of Wisdom and War, who had, for 9 months, been banging her sword against her shield in order to gain egree, thus causing Jupiter’s horrific headaches.
Thus, Jefferson was saying je-zeus’ purported divine birth , purportedly caused by YHVH impregnating a Semite girl betrothed in marriage to the dupe,Joseph, was as LUDICROUS, as BANAL, as ASSININE as the Fable of Jupiter and Minerva.
This is the Jefferson I admire, respect, and adulate. This is the Jefferson that the Rabid Religious Reich seeks to extirpate from our nation’s history and collective consciousness.
This is the message of our Founders and Framers that WE have a “sacred duty” to continue to share in the market place of ideas, that WE have a solemn obligation to spread as the disinfectant of sunlight combating the darkness of the cockroaches infected with theocracy…and this solemn, sacred obligation and duty transcends place and time, and must go on whether this particular format has a new birth or not.
“But it does me no injury for my neighbor says there are twenty gods or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.”