The Anti-Faith Founders of America


SEVEN of the eight founders of the United States of America
did not believe in the divinity of Jesus, miracles or the idea that “faith” in such things was a virtue.
They did not believe in ‘personal relationships’ with gods.
They did not trust clergy.

The eight founding fathers of the United States were not religious.
Only John Jay, the least remembered, explicitly adhered to a Christian religion.

George Washington (Deist/Anti-supernaturalist)
James Madison (Deist?/Atheist?/Anti-supernaturalist/Anti-Religionist)
Benjamin Franklin (Deist?/Anti-supernaturalist/Anti-Religionist)
Thomas Paine (Deist?/Atheist?/Anti-supernaturalist/Anti-Theist)
Thomas Jefferson (Deist?/Anti-supernaturalist/Anti-Religionist)
John Adams (Deist?/Anti-supernaturalist/Anti-Theist)
John Jay (Christian)
Alexander Hamilton (Deist/Anti-supernaturalist)

It is difficult to pin down the beliefs some founders had regarding a God – claims about the divinity of Jesus were certainly irrelevant to them.

They were Deists – Deism is a belief which entertains a skepticism of all religions. Deists believe a God began the universe, set the laws in motion and left natural order largely to run itself. Deists do not believe in a personal god who answers prayers, does miracles, or requires worship. Deists were often considered Atheists because of their rejection of Christian dogma.

The founders of America were a very skeptical bunch regarding gods. Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine and John Adams were all denounced as atheists, heretics and infidels in their day. But James Madison may have been the most scathing Anti-Religionist of the bunch.

“What influence, in fact, have ecclesiastical establishments had on society? In some instances they have been seen to erect a spiritual tyranny on the ruins of the civil authority; on many instances they have been seen upholding the thrones of political tyranny; in no instance have they been the guardians of the liberties of the people. Rulers who wish to subvert the public liberty may have found an established clergy convenient auxiliaries. A just government, instituted to secure and perpetuate it, needs them not.
– James Madison
“A Memorial and Remonstrance”, 1785

“During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What has been its fruits? More or less, in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry, and persecution.”
– James Madison

“Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise.”
James Madison
letter to Wm. Bradford, April 1, 1774

“The purpose of separation of church and state is to keep forever from these shores the ceaseless strife that has soaked the soil of Europe in blood for centuries.”
James Madison -1803 letter objecting use of gov. land for churches

“The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason.”
Benjamin Franklin

“Many a long dispute among divines may be thus abridged :
 It is so; It is not so. It is so; it is not so.”
Benjamin Franklin, on the follies of religion

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

“It is always better to have no ideas than false ones; to believe nothing, than to believe what is wrong.”
Thomas Jefferson

“To argue with a man who has renounced his reason is like giving medicine to the dead.”
– Thomas Paine

“Question with boldness the existence of a god ; because if there be one he must approve of the homage of reason more than that of blindfolded fear.”
Thomas Jefferson, letter to Peter Carr, August 10, 1787

“As I understand the Christian religion….how has it happened that millions of fables, tales, legends, have been blended with both Jewish and Christian revelation that have made them the most bloody religion that ever existed?”
John Adams, letter to F.A. Van der Kamp, Dec. 27, 1816

“Lighthouses are more helpful than churches.”
Benjamin Franklin

“The government of the United States is in no sense founded on the Christian Religion.”
George Washington

“This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it.”
John Adams

“The Bible is not my book, nor Christianity my religion.”
- Abraham Lincoln

“Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and torturous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness, with which more than half the Bible is filled, it would be more consistent that we called it the word of a demon than the Word of God. It is a history of wickedness that has served to corrupt and brutalize mankind; and for my own part, I sincerely detest it, as I detest everything that is cruel.”
Thomas Paine

“That no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer, on account of his religious opinions or belief: but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil
Thomas Jefferson,
The Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom, enacted on January 16, 1786


James Madison [1751-1836]
This American president and political theorist has been popularly known as the Father of the Constitution. More than any other framer he is responsible for the content and form of the First Amendment.

“In no instance have . . . the churches been guardians of the liberties of the people.”

“…the number, the industry, and the morality of the priesthood, and the devotion of the people, have been manifestly increased by the total separation of the church from the State”
Letter to Robert Walsh, Mar. 2, 1819

“Every new and successful example, therefore, of a perfect separation between the ecclesiastical and civil matters, is of importance; and I have no doubt that every new example will succeed, as every past one has done, in showing that religion and Government will both exist in greater purity the less they are mixed together”
Letter to Edward Livingston, July 10, 1822




“The United States” is “in no way a Christian nation”
George Washington

“Religion debilitates the mind” it is “superstition” and “tyranny” we “need it not”
James Madison

Benjamin Franklin – “Faith shuts the eyes of reason”

Thomas Paine – “All churches… are built to enslave and terrify mankind and monopolize power”

Thomas Jefferson – “The Preacher” is always “allied with the despots”

John Adams – “As I understand the Christian religion…it is the most bloody religion that ever existed”

Alexander Hamilton – “Men are reasoning rather than reasonable animals.”

John Jay (The one Christian) – “Whether our religion permits Christians to vote for infidel rulers is a question which merits more consideration”

Abraham Lincoln – “The Bible is not my book, nor Christianity my religion.”

“The United States of America should have a foundation free from the influence of clergy.” – George Washington

“The government of the United States is in no sense founded on the Christian Religion.”
- George Washington

“To argue with a man who has renounced his reason is like giving medicine to the dead.”
Thomas Paine

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

“On the dogmas of religon, as distinguished from moral principles, all mankind, from the beginning of the world to this day, have been quarreling, fighting, burning and torturing one another, for abstractions unintelligible to themselves and to all others, and absolutely beyond the comprehension of the human mind.”
Thomas Jefferson, 1816

“I have found Christian dogma unintelligible. Early in life, I absenteed myself from Christian assemblies.”
Benjamin Franklin,
on the folly of Religion




“Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many.”
Matthew 27:51-53

Thomas Paine reviews this passage from The Gospel of Matthew
in his book, “The Age of Reason” in 1794:

It is an easy thing to tell a lie, but it is difficult to support the lie after it is told. The writer of the book of Matthew should have told us who the saints were that came to life again, and went into the city, and what became of them afterward, and who it was that saw them – for he is not hardy enough to say he saw them himself; whether they came out naked, and all in natural buff, hesaints and shesaints; or whether they came full dressed, and where they got their dresses; whether they went to their former habitations, and reclaimed their wives, their husbands, and their property, and how they were received; whether they entered ejectments for the recovery of their possessions, or brought actions of crim. con against the rival interlopers; whether they remained on earth, and followed their former occupation of preaching or working; or whether they died again, or went back to their graves alive, and buried themselves.

“Strange, indeed, that an army of saints should return to life, and nobody know who they were, nor who it was that saw them, and that not a word more should be said upon the subject, nor these saints have anything to tell us! Had it been the prophets who (as we are told) had formerly prophesied of these things, they must have had a great deal to say. They could have told us everything and we should have had posthumous prophesies, with notes and commentaries upon the first, a little better at least than we have now. Had it been Moses and Aaron and Joshua and Samuel and David, not an unconverted Jew had remained in all Jerusalem.

“Had it been John the Baptist, and the saints of the time then present, anybody would have known them, and outfamed all the other apostles. But, instead of this, these saints were made to pop up, like Jonah’s gourd in the night, for no purpose at all but to wither in the morning. Thus much for this part of the story.

Thomas Paine then draws the all-too-obvious conclusion from the ridiculous passage from Matthew:

“The tale of the resurrection follows that of the crucifixion, and in this as well as in that, the writers, whoever they were, disagree so much as to make it evident that none of them were there.”

Imagining a conversation about putting God into the American Constitution – based on what the writers actually elected to put into the Constitution:

“Let’s put Jesus into our new Constitution” – John Jay (the only American Founder who was a devout Christian)

“ABSOLUTELY NOT! No Gods or set of laws claimed to be written by such gods are so special that I would give it any weight over our human laws” – James Madison

“I agree with James Madison, claims about what constitutes God’s laws are a joke! Keep it out!” – Benjamin Franklin

“Just look what those religious claims did to Europe. God’s laws are all made up out of thin air by clergy! Disgusting! We don’t need it!” – Thomas Jefferson

“This is not a Christian nation! Keep it out!” – George Washington

“Wherever cults preach, people rise up and commit genocides. Keep God out, keep reason in!” – John Adams

“Keep God completely away from this Constitution!” – Alexander Hamilton

Based on what they wrote into the Constitution – that conversation may actually have happened.










3 Responses to The Anti-Faith Founders of America

  1. The Technovore says:

    This article makes a lot of bold accusations, yet I notice that there’s no citing of original or first-hand sources. Not even any second-hand sources. I however, do have a source giving proof that Washington was in no way a deist or a religion-hater, but a devout believer in an active and loving God. The book is: “Washington’s Prayers” by W. Herbert Burk. It’s a compilation of the prayers that Washington himself wrote.
    The founders knew how much trouble was caused by the corrupt Catholic Church attempting to subdue all contradictory beliefs. They knew of the monstrosities capable of a corrupt government that was also supported by a corrupt church. That’s why they were so adamant that the United States was not to be a “Christian Nation”. It was to be a Nation built on the principles underlying all Christianity, the truths taught by God, without being twisted by the words of the preachers attempting to use them for selfish gain.
    I can’t speak with as much authority on the other founders you mention, but I guarantee that if you were to look at their original writings you wouldn’t find a collection of deists and atheists. You would find devout Christians (except Thomas Paine) that desired to worship God according to the dictates of their own conscience, without being told by their government or their pastor how to go about it.


    • The Technovore says:

      (I realize now that you did, in fact, make some citations, I don’t believe the point of my earlier reply is hurt too badly, but I do not wish for the point to be missed entirely because of the oversight on my part)


  2. Pingback: The 262cnd question asked Why is it that historically atheists never accomplish anything for the country or mankind? – kennethandrebrownsr

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