"The priesthood have, in all ancient nations, nearly monopolized learning.... And, even since the Reformation, when or where has existed a Protestant or dissenting sect who would tolerate A FREE INQUIRY? The blackest billingsgate, the most ungentlemanly insolence, the most yahooish brutality is patiently endured, countenanced, propagated, and applauded. But touch a solemn truth in collision with a dogma of a sect, though capable of the clearest proof, and you will soon find you have disturbed a nest, and the hornets will swarm about your legs and hands, and fly into your face and eyes."
by:
John Adams
(1735-1826) Founding Father, 2nd US President
Source:
letter to John Taylor, 1814
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Reader comments about this quote:
As true today as it was then.
 -- Anonymous, Reston, VA US     
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    Absolutely. Today's secularism, or the atheistic - human secularism, as legislated the national establishment of religion by the supreme court proves Anonymous from Reston's comment.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    What Adams spoke of is known today as "cognitive dissonance" where the mind involuntarily rejects information that is not in line or cognizant with previous beliefs or actions. And I say, two of the world's greatest problems are the impossibility of anyone seeking the truth on any subject when they believe they already have it and the great zeal with which deceived people defend their deceptions. As for the Bible, far too many either blank out or cut out the 2nd verse in Revelations because it conflicts with their dogma. It reads: "These things are at hand." If they acknowledge existence of this verse, they will not accept what "at hand" means. It is rare person who wants their beliefs challenged. Why am I different: It is because I never read the Bible until I was 50 and had heard very few sermons so I did not have 50 years of deception to defend.
     -- Dave Wilber, St. Louis MO     
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    Ever so true~~~~~~~~~~~~~
     -- dragonswizardz     
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    More: I guess millions are taught that Jesus is coming but NONE can produce one verse that says, suggests, hints or implies that Jesus will come IN OUR FUTURE though 20 verses say He would return before the disciples all died. Why do we differ? It is because the 2nd most powerful force on earth said their god (Lucifer) "is dedicated to the unification of all races, religions and creeds." To impose their religion on the world, they must control all divinity schools and that requires unlimited money. To get unlimited money, they created the Federal Reserve in 1913. They are quite successful at getting millions to accept their religion that is based on unfulfilled prophecy. Preterists believe ALL prophecy is fulfilled. If you want info on this, contact Ed Stevens in Pennsylvania at: preterist1@aol.com "My people perish for lack of knowledge" Hosea 4:6
     -- Dave Wilber     
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    At hand goes along with the fact that 666 was code for Nero. The code 666= Nero to the Jews and 616 = Nero to the Greeks. The Greek version of Revelation uses 616 instead of 666 and for many years people thought it was a translation error. Nero fit the prophesy to a T but the question remains - was he the only one?
     -- warren, olathe     
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    Religion cannot be allowed to have the power of the state to compel because it will certainly be used.
     -- Ken, Allyn, WA     
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    Adams observation rings true of all men, not just religious folk. Scientists and academicians know they dare not challenge conventional evolution, upon penalty of loss of tenure, grant, position, future publishings. It is common knowledge that the political party bosses largely run Congress, not our elected officials. Dare to oppose party orthodoxy and you will be ostracized and shunned financially in your next election bid. For a military officer to seriously challenge strategic or tactical orthodoxy is to end one's hope for promotion and career (Gen. Billy Mitchell, Viet Nam, weapon systems the military said they didn't need, didn't want, but got anyway). Even archaeologists are persecuted and controlled by the "priesthood" of those who control digs, grants, and archaeology-laws. Most notable is the Israel Antiquities Authority, who has censored free intellectual discussion and publishing, persecuted individuals and even caused their arrests on dubious evidence (for allegedly manufacturing fake artifacts, but which many professionals defend as authentic). So don't think this is a "religious person" phenomena. We have met the enemy, and it is us.
     -- Paul, Union, WA     
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    A hornets nest indeed... here they come. ;-)
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    Warren, you did a fantastic job of changing the subject! "At hand" means not distant in time or space. "Am I a God at hand, sayeth the Lord or am I a A God afar off.?" In Bible but don't have time to find. I found it years ago, searching "at hand" on my CDROM Bible.
     -- Dave Wilber, St. Louis MO     
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    That is what I said Dave. Revelations had lines in it that inferred that the prophesy was not far away.
     -- warren, olathe     
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    I can attest to this since I grew up in the "bible belt"
     -- Robert, Huntsville, AL     
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    A recent quote I read but can't remember where goes like this: "The Bible is literature, not dogma".
     -- jim k, Austin, Tx     
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    Dave, your personal prejudices show your narrow carnal man 20 / 21 Century interpretations to be skewed. Though I couldn't find your reference doesn't mean it doesn't exist or mean, what you are trying to imply. Depending on syntax, context, etc., the translated term 'at hand' has several meanings; by way of illustration but not by way of limitation, as you have stated, a close proximity time reference, also, a more frequent reference is to physical location, also, 'at hand' is a reference to omni-presence, without time or space - always present from eternity to eternity, at time and location. Different societies have entirely different mental images of their reality and express it in words that mean something entirely different to other societies. That is why the founders looked at a record of millennia (the actions, cause and effect, more than mere words) to form a government of law, not a government of men (religion - a theocracy as is today so prevalent in man's priesthood - the occupying statist theocracy that infests this nation. Speaking of words and concepts, 'priesthood' is also translated into the word government, depending on syntax, context, etc.)
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    Religion is: a sacrosanct object of conscience (an ethic(s), a moral(s), a value (system) or an orientation of correctness / enlightenment) believed sufficiently conventional as to enable an attributable action(s). Religion’s initiating elements of conscience, through fruition of action, encompasses self-obligated pursuits, imperative practices and devoted interests. When such enabling fundamentals are drawn upon or referenced as authority, power, reason or logic to exert specific actions (ordinances, rules, statutes, a mandated action, etc.), a formal religion is established. A ‘god’, ‘causation’ or other ‘relegated source’ of such enabling elements may or may not be instrumental (or even useful) in defining religion.

    Religion is: “ real piety in practice, consisting in the performance of all known duties to God and our fellow men.” (Bouviers Law Dictionary) This definition’s focus is on “real piety in practice” - and - “the performance of all known duties” - again, a sacrosanct object of conscience believed sufficiently conventional as to enable attributable actions. The here definition utilizes a very limited list, focusing on who and what religion is directed to (God and fellow man), leaving an incomplete picture of a much more extensive list. The extremely terse list derived from and, was directed to jurisdictional specific norms of a post Jesus Christianity template - a Christian society’s self measure of differing religious persuasions. Such definition is loosely incidental to a lawfully measurable application of an otherwise equitably principled Luke 10:27 “⋯, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.” This definition’s usefulness for lawfully administrative purposes may limit in scope, religion’s full domain. Not all religious duties, practices or beliefs (religion) assume, attach, or include an extra-human experience or a duty to our fellow man. It is however a useful starting place to understand religion’s more inclusive and lawfully exhaustive application(s).

    The concept of a god is but an indicating element, category, or tenant that may or may not be useful in revealing or identifying religion. For example; A concept of, or the word ‘God’ never developed in the Hebrew covenant society (there being only a sacred relationship between Father and child - ‘el’ being a powerful executor: i.e. a mayor, a governor, a demon, a person of strength such as Sampson, etc.) and was only adapted by forces and influences outside the covenant experience. As such, Jesus, by carnal understandings and use, is a God to Christians while not being a god to other belief systems or religions, even though His teachings are honored as good and His secular laws are recognized as a founding jurisprudence (gravity, science, physics, fiscal law, life, liberty and property / “the laws of nature and of nature’s God”). Another perceptual scenario is, an individual can believe that a god exists but that tenet does not play a role in the individual’s actual religion, for example: “⋯ believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.” (James 2:19) Here, those parties (devils and corporeal individuals) that believe in the existence of a singular God, do not have any conscientious regard, ethical motivation, moral involvement, piety in practice or pursuit of any duties attributable to said God, do not believe or practice His teachings, His philosophies, and do not perform any foundationally or otherwise related acts or ordinances, etc., etc. The religious experiences and expressions of such James 2:19 person evinces an individual (personally or in concert), effectively and in toto, foreign to the extra human existence (god). Believing there to be a god, or even the possibility of a god, (agnostic for example) may, or may not be useful as a determining factor in defining one’s religion. Practices and performances such as ordinances and worship (rendered adoration, honor and homage by service, meeting, praising or otherwise) are things added to an existing religion to enhance or complete the religious experience and may or may not be helpful in defining religion itself.

    Webster's New World Dictionary - Fourth College Edition uses a slightly different vantage on Bouvier’s “fellow men” by stating, Religion is:
    “a) any specific system of belief and worship, often involving a code of ethics and a philosophy [the Christian religion, the Buddhist religion, etc.]
    b) any system of beliefs, practices, ethical values, etc. resembling, suggestive of, or likened to such a system [humanism as a religion] ⋯ any object of conscientious regard and pursuit”

    Religion is then, the conscientious regard and pursuit, based on a motivating object of ethical, moral, values, conscience or correctness - enlightenment orientation. Not the belief specifically but, the pursuing systemic actions that follow. By way of example: One may believe that seasons change as a course of natural law. It is when that individual believes there to be a moral obligation in pursing systemic actions relating to the change does ‘religion’ come to be. Pursuits and natural law with justice as a result differ from religion where pursuits are based on a sacrosanct object of conscience (an ethic(s), a moral(s), a value (system) or an orientation of correctness / enlightenment) believed sufficiently conventional as to enable an attributable action(s). By way of example: happiness is not lawfully an inalienable right while, the “Pursuit of Happiness” when made a quest based on belief of moral, ethical, conscience, value or correctness - enlightenment grounds, defines an individual’s religion. (Pursuit of Happiness at law is a locution of self, undaunted and not addressed by ethics, morals, conscience, value or correctness - enlightenment; an inalienable right to exercise and harmonize with the law. Pursuit of Happiness as a religious practice or pursuit is a lawful extension of inalienable right(s)).

    Each arbitrary rule defining carnal man’s will outside nature’s law, taking on a moral, ethical or correctness perception (compelled compliance, victimless crimes, government licensing, larceny with impunity (2nd plank of the communist manifesto, police state confiscations, etc.) enters the category religion / theocracy. By way of illustration: “⋯ Socialism is a religion. All we lack is a religious genius capable of uprooting outmoded religious practices and putting new ones in their place. We lack traditions and ritual. One day soon National Socialism will be the religion of all Germans. My Party is my church, and I believe I serve the Lord best if I do his will, and liberate my oppressed people from the fetters of slavery. That is my gospel.” (Joseph Goebbels Diary entry for October 16, 1928) John Adams here subject matter; “The blackest billingsgate, the most ungentlemanly insolence, the most yahooish brutality is patiently endured, countenanced, propagated, and applauded” is best fulfilled by socialism.


     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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     -- Ronw13, ID      
    In a socialized society learning is open to all. How can you monopolize the truth which the Socialist indeed wants everyone to understand. There are no secrets in socialism. Everyone is regarded and treated as an equal. There is no brutality, however your theories and ideas must be provable for Socialism is a profound scientific societal arrangement.
     -- Fredrick William Sillik, Anytown     
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    Sillik, your attempting to thread a very small fiber of accuracy through an entire tapestry of lies is deplorable and wrong. NO ! ! ! socialist wants to or, excepts truth as it exists. The socialist wants everyone to understand a lie as the truth, slavery as liberty, evil as good, bitter as sweet, pain as pleasure, war as peace and that which is anti-law to be lawful. Socialism's inherent brutality has exercised the greatest pain, suffering, poverty and death — exceeding all other religions, in each and every of its applied applications. Science, in every experiment, application and societal arrangement has PROVED — Socialism is an illumination of illnesses such as masochism, sadism, self aggrandizement, psychotic disorders of all types and illegal perversions in general.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    On contrar  Mike Norwalk,  Socialism is positive ordered  thoughts, positive ordered speaking, positive ordered actions. We are in the true sense a social organism, a social animal, a social being, hence socialism.
     -- Fredrick William Sillik, Anytown     
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