Darrell Johnson > Darrell's Quotes

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  • #1
    Thomas Jefferson
    “Our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions any more than our opinions in physics or geometry...”
    Thomas Jefferson, The Statute Of Virginia For Religious Freedom

  • #2
    Thomas Jefferson
    “The people cannot be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented, in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions, it is lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. ... What country before ever existed a century and half without a rebellion? And what country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.”
    Thomas Jefferson, Letters of Thomas Jefferson

  • #3
    Thomas Jefferson
    “I write nothing for publication, and last of all things should it be on the subject of religion. On the dogmas of religion as distinguished from moral principles, all mankind, from the beginning of the world to this day, have been quarrelling, fighting, burning and torturing one another, for abstractions unintelligible to themselves and to all others, and absolutely beyond the comprehension of the human mind. Were I to enter on that arena, I should only add an unit to the number of Bedlamites.

    [Letter to Mathew Carey, 11 November 1816]”
    Thomas Jefferson, Letters of Thomas Jefferson

  • #4
    Thomas Jefferson
    “I predict future happiness for Americans, if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.”
    Thomas Jefferson

  • #5
    Thomas Jefferson
    “Altho' I rarely waste time in reading on theological subjects, as mangled by our Pseudo-Christians, yet I can readily suppose Basanistos may be amusing. Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions. Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them; and no man ever had a distinct idea of the trinity. It is mere Abracadabra of the mountebanks calling themselves the priests of Jesus. If it could be understood it would not answer their purpose. Their security is in their faculty of shedding darkness, like the scuttlefish, thro' the element in which they move, and making it impenetrable to the eye of a pursuing enemy, and there they will skulk.

    [Letter to Francis Adrian Van der Kemp on 30 July 1810 denouncing the Christian doctrine of the Trinity]”
    Thomas Jefferson, Letters of Thomas Jefferson

  • #6
    Thomas Jefferson
    “The equal rights of man, and the happiness of every individual, are now acknowledged to be the only legitimate objects of government.”
    Thomas Jefferson, Letters of Thomas Jefferson

  • #7
    Thomas Jefferson
    “As you say of yourself, I too am an Epicurean. I consider the genuine (not the imputed) doctrines of Epicurus as containing everything rational in moral philosophy which Greece and Rome have left us.

    [Letter to William Short, 31 October 1819]”
    Thomas Jefferson, Letters of Thomas Jefferson

  • #8
    Thomas Jefferson
    “History, in general, only informs us what bad government is.”
    Thomas Jefferson, Letters of Thomas Jefferson

  • #9
    Thomas Jefferson
    “If we could believe that he [Jesus] really countenanced the follies, the falsehoods, and the charlatanism which his biographers [Gospels] father on him, and admit the misconstructions, interpolations, and theorizations of the fathers of the early, and the fanatics of the latter ages, the conclusion would be irresistible by every sound mind that he was an impostor... We find in the writings of his biographers matter of two distinct descriptions. First, a groundwork of vulgar ignorance, of things impossible, of superstitions, fanaticisms and fabrications... That sect [Jews] had presented for the object of their worship, a being of terrific character, cruel, vindictive, capricious and unjust... Jesus had to walk on the perilous confines of reason and religion: and a step to right or left might place him within the gripe of the priests of the superstition, a blood thirsty race, as cruel and remorseless as the being whom they represented as the family God of Abraham, of Isaac and of Jacob, and the local God of Israel. They were constantly laying snares, too, to entangle him in the web of the law... That Jesus did not mean to impose himself on mankind as the son of God, physically speaking, I have been convinced by the writings of men more learned than myself in that lore.

    [Letter to William Short, 4 August, 1820]”
    Thomas Jefferson, Letters of Thomas Jefferson

  • #10
    Thomas Jefferson
    “...it is not to be understood that I am with him [Jesus] in all his doctrines. I am a Materialist, he takes the side of spiritualism; he preaches the efficacy of repentance toward forgiveness of sin. I require a counterpoise of good works to redeem it... Among the sayings & discourses imputed to him by his biographers, I find many passages of fine imagination, correct morality, and of the most lovely benevolence: and others again of so much ignorance, so much absurdity, so much untruth, charlatanism, and imposture, as to pronounce it impossible that such contradictions should have proceeded from the same being.

    [Letter to William Short, 13 April 1820]”
    Thomas Jefferson, Letters of Thomas Jefferson

  • #11
    Thomas Jefferson
    “The hocus-pocus phantasm of a God like another Cerberus, with one body and three heads, had its birth and growth in the blood of thousands and thousands of martyrs... In fact, the Athanasian paradox that one is three, and three but one, is so incomprehensible to the human mind, that no candid man can say he has any idea of it, and how can he believe what presents no idea? He who thinks he does, only deceives himself. He proves, also, that man, once surrendering his reason, has no remaining guard against absurdities the most monstrous, and like a ship without a rudder, is the sport of every wind. With such persons, gullibility which they call faith, takes the helm from the hand of reason, and the mind becomes a wreck.

    [Letter to James Smith discussing Jefferson's hate of the doctrine of the Christian trinity, December 8 1822]”
    Thomas Jefferson, Letters of Thomas Jefferson

  • #12
    Thomas Jefferson
    “The Constitution of most of our states (and of the United States) assert that all power is inherent in the people; that they may exercise it by themselves; that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed.”
    Thomas Jefferson

  • #13
    Thomas Jefferson
    “Experience declares that man is the only animal which devours his own kind; for I can apply no milder term to the governments of Europe, and to the general prey of the rich on the poor.”
    Thomas Jefferson, Letters of Thomas Jefferson

  • #14
    Thomas Jefferson
    “May it [American independence] be to the world, what I believe it will be, (to some parts sooner, to others later, but finally to all,) the signal of arousing men to burst the chains under which monkish ignorance and superstition had persuaded them to bind themselves, and to assume the blessings and security of self-government. That form which we have substituted, restores the free right to the unbounded exercise of reason and freedom of opinion. All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately... These are grounds of hope for others. For ourselves, let the annual return of this day forever refresh our recollections of these rights, and an undiminished devotion to them.

    [Letter to Roger C. Weightman on the anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, 24 June 1826. This was Jefferson's last letter]”
    Thomas Jefferson, Letters of Thomas Jefferson

  • #15
    Thomas Jefferson
    “Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends [life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness] it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government...”
    Thomas Jefferson

  • #16
    Thomas Jefferson
    “We took the liberty to make some enquiries concerning the ground of their pretensions to make war upon nations who had done them no injury, and observed that we considered all mankind as our friends who had done us no wrong, nor had given us any provocation.

    The Ambassador [of Tripoli] answered us that it was founded on the Laws of their Prophet, that it was written in their Koran, that all nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as Prisoners, and that every Musselman who should be slain in battle was sure to go to Paradise.

    {Letter from the commissioners, John Adams & Thomas Jefferson, to John Jay, 28 March 1786}”
    Thomas Jefferson, Letters of Thomas Jefferson

  • #17
    Thomas Jefferson
    “It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes. A principle which if acted on would save one-half the wars of the world.”
    Thomas Jefferson

  • #18
    Thomas Jefferson
    “Peace, that glorious moment in time when everyone stops and reloads.”
    Thomas Jefferson



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