"Is uniformity attainable? Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites. "
by:
Thomas Jefferson
(1743-1826), US Founding Father, drafted the Declaration of Independence, 3rd US President
Source:
Notes on Virginia,1782
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Government leaders are hypocrites, and the poor on welfare are fools. They are all freeloaders begging for more to take and take and take.
 -- Joe, Rochester, MI     
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    It would happen again were the religious to get their agenda into place (recall Bush's 'faith based' initiatives) and gain enough power to pull it off. Witness Fred Phelps and his band of idiots or Pat Robertson with his hateful posture. What makes anybody think that religion is a good thing? Oh, yeah (headslap), ignorance of history maybe - or it could just be general ignorance.
     -- Terry Berg, Occidental, CA     
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    Actually, no, not all the poor on welfare are fools... sometimes they are just an honest and hard working person who needs a little short term help... "been there, done that"... and more than made up the difference in current and past contributions to the public coffers.
     -- Anonymous, Reston, VA US     
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    Don't know how Joe gets the idea of the poor from this reading?? Jefferson is simply stating the obvious fact of failure of religion to solve anything in this world, but rather to further ignorance and hatred.
     -- Dick Trice, Fort Worth     
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    I agree: all the poor are not fools, but many of the government leaders are hypocrites and some of them are fools. Fools for thinking that we don't know nor understand what they are doing and are not doing. Consider the three MIchigan representatives in Congress who top the list of those accepting free trips from those hungry for their votes in Congress.
     -- Bill Dunphy, Northville, MI     
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    This is an interesting quote, especially from Jefferson. It’s too bad that no one here understands the Ancient Law of Liberty – the actuality of Christianity – that states that man must be free, completely free, to make his choices, right or wrong, without the coercion of a “higher power” (church OR government). After Christ died, due to Constantine and also the Greek schools of thought, the church became political and disavowed the Ancient Law of Liberty. The church disavowed man’s agency by joining itself with a secular government saying, “Well, God wants men to be good – well then we’ll FORCE them to be good – it’s all for the betterment of society” – in this they said that man is not morally fit to govern himself and that he needs to be forced and compelled into virtue. Here is the problem that everyone sees with “Christianity” – the Crusades (forced Christianity on the Muslims), Spanish Inquisitions, witch burning, and the like. That is why the founding fathers were adamant and included that Congress shall have no power to establish a particular denomination of any religion (the definition of “religion” has been changed within the last 50 years) – they saw the ACTUAL problem and made an Amendment to protect the people from it. However, every founding father stated that Christian principles were to be the foundation of our law and morality for government leaders, due, in fact, to the Ancient Law of Liberty – TRUE Christianity. Not ONE founding father disavowed this – not even Jefferson. This is why, when the delegates went back to their respective States and wrote up their State Constitutions that more than half of these Constitutions would specifically only elect “Christians” to office and the other States gave, in general terms, that delegates to office had to swear allegiance to God. My home state of Tennessee has it on her Constitution that all elected officials be Christian. Christianity, or religion, in history (Rome, Greece, etc. – the classic examples of this subject), has NOT taken down any government - not until a specific government sponsored denomination has been introduced into that government has there ever been a problem. This is because once a particular denomination enters that power, they secularize that power and disavow the Ancient Law of Liberty. Now that we, as a nation and governing politic, have disavowed all morality and religious principle from our own government – we are now starting to see the repeat of history – the collapse of the Ancient Law of Liberty and the establishment of forced servitude on the grounds of some kind of perceived safety. Get your facts straight – Learn your history – don't regurgitate something you heard out of a text book! Sorry Liberty Quotes for the long post.
     -- Logan, Memphis, TN     
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    Thank you for the long post.
     -- David L. Rosenthal , Hollywood     
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    Give me an Athiest any day over organized religion - though I am agnostic I prefer the company of athiests as they are usually more tolerent and understanding of others differences - a good book to read is by Bertrand Russell "Why I am not a Christian" also Russell-Einstein Manifesto. And, Logan, yes, we live in a state where the word free means is closer than most to its true meaning - the word free is totally subjective and as such denies definition. As for Constantine didn't he destroy the true gospels??? and I wouldn't say that during Christ's time, and before, government was not ruled by religous dogma - it wasn't Christian dogma but certainly others Anyway, well done Logan.
     -- Robert, Sarasota     
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    I Googled "Ancient Law of Liberty" and came up with 4 (count 'em - FOUR) hits - all of Mormon origin - in other words, NOT indicative of a 'universal' tenet. Well, du-uhhh, it's no wonder I'd never heard of that particular phrase - who has?. I Googled "Why I am Not a Christian" and came up with 13,863 hits. You'd think the Mormon Church could do a better job of publicizing such a major tenet of their belief system in view of what they must surely view as a slanderous attack on their dogma. I too recommend "Why I am Not a Christian" (an essay in Russell's book by the same title). I just hadn't mentioned it because it's really the logical antithesis to blind belief. In other words, it's unlikely to be apprehensible by bible thumpers and street corner prophets.
     -- Terry Berg, Occidental, CA     
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    A lot has been written concerning the "Law of Liberty". Books and writings going back hundreds of years. And, as things tend to chance through time, so did the definition of the Law of Liberty. The Ancient Law of Liberty has also been called the "Perfect Law of Liberty" or "The Ancient Law"... The term "Ancient Law of Liberty" has been used to define the old understanding of the Law of Liberty. Just in case anyone was confused. I googled "Ancient Law of Liberty" myself and didn't find anything about the Mormons - I wouldn't know if the Mormons use this term or not.
     -- Logan, Memphis, TN     
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    Amen.
     -- Anonymous     
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    I don't think Bush's "faith based" initiatives have anything to do with principled Christianity - as stated in another post, just because one claims to be a Christian doesn't make them so (I eat and love meat - I'm not a vegetarian, even if I called myself one.) This brings up the old question: How many legs does a dog have if you called its tail a leg? The answer is 4 - it doesn't matter what you call the tail, it's still not a leg. Bush's initiative calls for forced compulsion and compelled virtue in order to create equality and peace to our society. Forced virtue, regardless of what religious thought it comes from, will end in tyranny and the slavery of society. Bush is not a Christian nor do his methods have anything to do with Christianity - merely a wolf in sheep's clothing - you can't bring about or protect freedom and liberty of a people by controling them... duh!
     -- Logan, Memphis, TN     
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    Wishful thinking aside, just for the moment, the only authority on whether one is a Christian, Muslim, Hindu, or any other belief system is the person themselves - period. You're a Christian if you say you are. There are no other factors that can change that. No one can come along and say you're not a Christian if you say you are. There's no other way to know whether a person is Christian except by way of their own assertion. It's between them and their 'god'. Unless you're Catholic, you can't be excommunicated - especially not by some self appointed judging individual or group. You can be kicked out of a 'church' but you can't be kicked out of 'Christianity'.
     -- Terry Berg, Occidental, CA     
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    Realistically speaking. No one can say that I'm not a Christian, if I simply proclaim myself one? Or say that I'm not a Jew, Hindu, Muslim, Islamic or another belief if I merely state that I'm associated with them? I can see how that would work for an atheist but for the rest of civilization, it just can't be contained within those terms. Consider the terrorists - only an ignorant person to the Islamic and Muslim world would say that they are in fact Muslim or Islamic. They have (as it has been said) "high jacked" a religion. This is the difference with Religion and Atheism: You can't merely say you're a member of some group in Religion and have it be true - you have to live and practice what is taught in order to hold claim on those ideas, good or bad - a person may be a sympathizer or lean towards a particular thought; however, in such situations, this person is clearly not a member of his proclaimed belief. Atheism, on the other hand, has no code or core belief except a non-belief in God - What principles of morality and religion can an Atheist hold? He cannot, for he has disavowed them - and for this reason, he can simply claim Atheism and be grouped into that classification by mere self proclamation. There are endless examples of this fact.
     -- Logan, Memphis, TN     
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    Logan: "You can't merely say you're a member of some group in Religion and have it be true" That's exactly how that works by the tenets of the Christian faith. There's no voting on that issue. You nor I nor anyone else gets a vote on that. There's no other way to 'test' or 'evaluate' what makes a member of a religion other than their profession that they're a member. No one can pass judgement on whether you believe or not. If you're Christian, you're not in a position to make that judgement. If you're Christian, God makes that judgement. Are we now God? You get to be 'God' if you're Hindu - only not in the way it's understood in the Judaio-Christian system. You don't get to be 'God' if you're Christian. In Christianity you suck up to and shift responsibility to God with declarations like "It's God's Will" when something undesirable happens. 'Morality' (newsflash!) is not the exclusive purview of adherents any single belief system or any particular subset of belief systems. 'Virtuous conduct' (morality) is a human value - not a value for only the 'chosen' ones. BTW, with respect to atheists, where exactly are these "endless examples of this fact"? Details would be helpful.
     -- Terry Berg, Occidental, CA     
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    This is becoming interesting, please keep this chat going as I can see some real value in this discussion - I'm stll checking the Mormons and "The Ancient Law of Liberty" no luck so far. Lastly, reality is what you make of it what ever that may be - if you are a liar then you are a liar it doesn't matter if you think you are not. Christian, Jew, Muslim, Buddhist, etc., are but names of religous groups, in general the tenents of those groups follow their own code. A code that is accepted by the vast majority of that group must be considered its way??? It's that path which is then judged not what the path you think yourself to be on. If you are considered a liar by the vast majority then not all the tea in China will make you not a liar. Plato's form is this to a tee - the absolute has no diviation. Its pure thats why we exist as we are not.
     -- Robert, Sarasota     
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    Robert; I used "ancient law of liberty" as my search string and Hugh Nibley's name came up on at least 2 entries out of the 4 along with BYU on the others. Using "law of liberty" returns a large number of entries from other quarters of Christendom as well. It's actually referred to in the KJ Version as well as the Revised Standard Version of the Bible. From the KJV; - James 1:25 - But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. - James 2:12 - So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty. | You should read in context though. The only thing I'm contending here is that, by the tenets of Christianity itself, no one gets to judge another - even if they're on target. No voting (handslap) - that's God's purview. The salient point of this discussion is that, from WITHIN the Christian framework, 'we' are admonished not to judge. From OUTSIDE ... of Christian tenets ... we get to judge all we want. Matthew 7:2 - For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. | Luke 6:37 - Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: ... As I understand it (please correct me if I've got it wrong), you don't get to play God IF you're Christian. You don't get to avoid Christian teaching to support Christian teaching - that's hypocrisy. I mean, no one could judge me a Christian or not a Christian if they were following Christian scripture. Anyone can label me according to inclination (and they do - LOL) but it's pi$$ing into the wind - in a manner of speaking (LOL) and reveals, well, nothing but their inclination.
     -- Terry Berg, Occidental, CA     
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    I think this quote needs a proper citation! Notes on the State of Virginia: ch 17 You can read the context of this quote in its true light :) http://xroads.virginia.edu/~HYPER/JEFFERSON/ch17.html Hearing about the vicious Acts passed prior to the 1700s is just truly sad. If religious sects cannot learn to behave themselves and tolerate one another, we will always have persecution and intolerance which ends up with innocent people dead over nothing more than their beliefs or their life philosophies. William Butler Yeats, in 1937, still echoed a sentiment similar to the concept Jefferson was trying to convey in governing practices: "Once you attempt legislation upon religious grounds, you open the way for every kind of intolerance and religious persecution."
     -- Philosophia, Clearwater     
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    Wonderful discussion. Back in the 1950's, LDS Scholar Hugh Nibley gave an interesting talk on this Ancient Law of Liberty. Since he specifically discusses it's origin, and the political efforts towards religious uniformity throughout history, along with the US Constitution's restoration of that ancient law of liberty, I think it germane to the discussion: http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/publications/books/?bookid=54&chapid=506
     -- Tertium Squid, SLC, UT     
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    The caption above this textbox asks what do I think? I think that it is not Christianity that is to blame for all the mentioned atrocities but the idiots who practice and commit in the name of. Whether or not true uniformity is attainable remains elusive. The ideal is of course that it is but human nature thrives on diversity. Coercion is enforced by the strong and in my opnion, so is diversity. The strong certainly does not want to be uniform with the weak.
     -- I think, ZA     
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    In the name of uniformity, Atheism - as a religion, utilizing socialism as its church - throughout the 20th century murdered, maimed and caused more destruction than any previous religion. I've gone through the definition of religion ad nauseam on this site but, most simply for the here subject discussion: Religion is: “ real piety in practice, consisting in the performance of all known duties to . . . our fellow men.” (Bouviers Law Dictionary). As Logan said above, it is when religion takes on the demeanor of a government by force and violence that the noble principles that were originally conceived at such religion's conception give way to despotism, tyranny and all else as Christ's exampled Christianity would identify as evil. The current occupying statist theocracy infesting this land is full of fools and hypocrites.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    " Is uniformity attainable " Jefferson. Such a thought provoking quote, to say the least. " Let there be no separation among you " Apostle Paul. " The ancient laws of Liberty " hard to find on google I would imagine. Uniformity is arrived at by the use of a "rule". a graduated rule in determining points of origin, of all sacred doctrines. The scaffold and beam expose the heavens above as the knowledge graduates upon the line of judgment. With every ruler, it has a beginning and an end. This exposes beyond/before the foundation of the world, expanding to another scaffold. And the hand that is hidden reveals the gap, Rarely if ever have many men sat before that black board. Our foundation is very solid, like a Rock, a Headstone when brought forth. and the engravings thereon. It is brought forth crying grace, grace be unto it. Semper FI
     -- Ronw13, Oregon     
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    The pursuit of the imposition of mindless uniformity is not the objective of Christianity, rightly understood and practiced. In actuality, the solemn recognition of the singularity of the dignity of the humanity and individuality of the individual is an inviolable tenet of Christianity. Objectively, it is in those societies in which the wholesome influence of Reform Christianity has been most profound that the centrality of the dignity of the humanity of each individual has been most fervently affirmed, in law and practce.
     -- Patrick Henry, Red Hill     
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    'Uniformity', like 'equality', is a denial of individuality, and is the creed of social engineers both secular and religious. The effect of coercion is the same -- hypocrisy in the name of 'order' for the 'common good' as defined by those with the power to rule.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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