Sunday, June 08, 2014

Matthew Stewart: "Nature's God: The Heretical Origins of the American Republic"

This is a book I'll have to put on my reading list. Here is the author's website. And below is from Amazon's site:
Not only the erudite Thomas Jefferson, the wily and elusive Ben Franklin, and the underappreciated Thomas Paine, but also Ethan Allen, the hero of the Green Mountain Boys, and Thomas Young, the forgotten Founder who kicked off the Boston Tea Party—these radicals who founded America set their sights on a revolution of the mind. Derided as “infidels” and “atheists” in their own time, they wanted to liberate us not just from one king but from the tyranny of supernatural religion.
Thomas Young. That's a name I know very little about!

The book's thesis seems to focus more the "deistic" side of the American Founding.

Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson were "key Founders" and not strict deists. Rather, they occupied that "in between" position, whatever you want to term it: "Christian-Deism," "theistic rationalism," small u "unitarianism" (as neither Franklin nor Jefferson were members of the Unitarian Church; both, rather, were affiliated with Trinitarian Churches in whose official creeds they did not believe).

The others were not "key Founders," but nonetheless notable.* Thomas Paine and Ethan Allen were closer to the "strict deist" side. And Thomas Young ... well I have no idea there ... yet.

*At least Allen and Paine were notable. Whether Young is notable, I have to be convinced.

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