Sunday, 5 July 2015

Quote of the Day: "The New Testament v the American Revolution" [updated]

"It is impossible to square the kind of violent rebellion that America’s revolutionary creators advocated and engaged in with the actual meaning of the scripture and accurate interpretations thereof.

"The New Testament demands complete submission and obedience to the state; submission to the emperor; payment of taxes; and submission to evil—including violent aggression. Considerations of things such as "due process" and "no taxation without representation" are simply alien to the New Testament.

"The Declaration of Independence is a moral argument for rebellion against an unjust state. The New Testament is a moral argument against rebellion in the face of tyranny. The respective purposes of the two texts are wholly at odds. ...

"The New Testament offers no advice on how to produce earthly wealth and achieve earthly happiness. On the contrary, it instructs followers not to worry about what they eat or wear, but rather to act like "the flowers of the field" that neither toil nor spin.31 And it contains no doctrine of individual rights. Rather, it commands followers to "turn the other cheek" when struck and to obey the state as God’s agent on earth.

"The main documents of the American founding—the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution—were written to enable individuals to pursue the goal of earthly prosperity. They are the products not of faithful obedience to divine commandments, but of rational thinking about the requirements of life and happiness on earth. The American Revolution was not in any sense driven by or supported by the New Testament; it was, in effect, nothing less than a spectacular repudiation of that scripture.

"Conservatives like to ask, "What would Jesus do?" With regard to the American Revolution, the answer is clear. If Jesus had been alive in the 18th century, he would have unequivocally opposed it—as, in principle, he emphatically did in the Gospels."

- James Valliant, from 'The New Testament versus the American Revolution' in The Objective Standard

UPDATE: The quote's author -- the author of the article to which the quote is linked -- is taking questions at the Facebook Group, 'For the New Intellectuals.’


James Madison:

“Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise....During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have been its fruits? More or less, in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in laity; in both, superstition, bigotry, and persecution.”

“Religion and government will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together.”

Thomas Jefferson:

“They [the clergy] believe that any portion of power confided to me, will be exerted in opposition of their schemes. And they believe rightly: for I have sworn upon the alter of god eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.”

“In every country and in every age the priest has been hostile to liberty; he is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own.”

Our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions, more than on our opinions in physics and geometry…”

Thomas Paine:

“The Bible was established altogether by the sword, and that in the worst use of it — not to terrify but to extirpate.”

John Adams:

“I almost shudder at the thought of alluding to the most fatal example of the abuses of grief which the history of mankind has preserved — the Cross. Consider what calamities that engine of grief has produced!”

“Where do we find a precept in the Bible for Creeds, Confessions, Doctrines and Oaths, and whole carloads of trumpery that we find religion encumbered with in these days?”……..“The Doctrine of the divinity of Jesus is made a convenient cover for absurdity.”………“...Thirteen governments [of the original states] thus founded on the natural authority of the people alone, without a pretence of miracle or mystery, and which are destined to spread over the northern part of that whole quarter of the globe, are a great point gained in favor of the rights of mankind.”

“The government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion.”

  • “As the quotes on this page illustrate, the claim that America was founded on Christianity is a myth.”
    A Christian Nation – Deism – RELIGION.AYN RAND
  • “What's the basis of western civilization? A commenter here at Not PC suggested that religion, specifically christian religion is the foundation for western civilisation.
        “Now that's a widespread view to be sure, and one that is totally wrong. …”
    A christian nation? – NOT PC
  • “Culture warriors, pseudo historians and opportunistic politicians have spent the last several decades peddling the myth that America was founded as a ‘Christian nation.’  The propaganda appears to be working… [In fact,] the drafters of the Constitution took the radical step of founding the first nation in history with no established religion.  Truth be told, they had little choice.”
    Dispelling the myth of a ‘Christian nation’ – Charles Haynes, WASHINGTON POST
  • “It was not Hebrew desert dwellers who most fundamentally gave birth to Western civilisation, but the ancient Greeks.”
    “So, How Come You Keep Bashing Religion?” – NOT PC
  • But isn’t America a Xtian nation? Um, no. It’s not.
    Is the United States a Christian nation? – Diana Hsieh, PHILOSOPHY IN ACTION RADIO [AUDIO]
  • The tragedy of theology: How religion caused and extended the Dark Ages – Andrew Bernstein, OBJECTIVE STANDARD


  1. The New Testament demands complete submission and obedience to the state; submission to the emperor; payment of taxes; and submission to evil—including violent aggression. Considerations of things such as "due process" and "no taxation without representation" are simply alien to the New Testament.

    It demands no such thing--this is nothing but a straw man argument. and, moreover, has rarely been a part of the Christian historical experience, doctrine or practice to meekly to tyranny, and any reading of European History shows. Christian were once made of stronger stuff than today fumbling Christians, not to mention smug and mincing Libertarians.I would suggest you review European History, and while you are at it check out the many Saints that were martyred due to standing up for their faith to tyrannical governments and polities.

    Taking a couple of quotes out of the bible and taking them totally out of context is just the cheapest sort of rhetoric--one excerpt this out of Leftists, not civilized, educated people. Christianity does not require submission to corrupt government. It is not suicide pact. I expect that next you will be misconstruing the dictum "turn the other cheek".

    It is absrud to take up such rhetoric on the other side of the Reformation. Of course there is sanction in doctrine and in historical precedence for the this. Most particularly, in the context of the founding documents of the USA, was the history of the English Civil War, and subsequent Restoration persecutions. The Founders were ever mindful of this: That struggle in effect created the American Colonies.

    This is such an obtuse, ignorant and low brow argument that one wonders why it is even made, but of course it arises originally out of the needs of Marxist propagandists. This is the sort on nonsense one expect from undergraduates in Starbucks.

    Why you so reflectively and unwittingly parrot junk like this while claiming you stand for "Liberty" is beyond me. Truly, Libertarians understand neither History or the nature of Mankind. Typical Libertarian: deterministic shoe-horning of fact to fit their narrow, determinist ideology; and a complete rejection of the actual and real struggle of mankind for some sort of sophomoric sloganeering.

    It is quite idiotic to imagine that matters of religious confession are not among the deepest roots of American Civilization--perhaps more so than the founding of any other nation.

    you really need to read some Christian theology before you start of on this sort of nonsense (and you might try cracking a history book now and then.)

    Really, I used to respect you quite some bit, but you seem to be lapsing into some sort of mindless college kid the last few months.

  2. I take it from the above comments that anonymous doesn't believe in the veracity of the Bible. Such that he claims it is ridiculous to follow the preachings of Jesus, as reported in the bible. If you don't follow the teachings as highlighted in Peter's copied quote, then what actually do you follow; and how do you know what to follow?. Just what do you pick and choose? Once you throw out your bible, then there's not a lot of support for your religion being the instructions from your God; (and there's not much good reason to believe your bible could possibly be the word of a god, without circular reasoning being used)

  3. What you do with the Bible is read it in context through the cultural eyes of those to whom it was addressed at the time. Doing other than this leads to stupidity like literal six day creation, young earthers and Peter's selective nonsense.


  4. The quote's author -- the author of the article to which the quote is linked -- is taking questions at the Facebook Group, 'For the New Intellectuals.



1. Commenters are welcome and invited.
2. All comments are moderated. Off-topic grandstanding, spam, and gibberish will be ignored. Tu quoque will be moderated.
3. Read the post before you comment. Challenge facts, but don't simply ignore them.
4. Use a name. If it's important enough to say, it's important enough to put a name to.
5. Above all: Act with honour. Say what you mean, and mean what you say.