By John Ostapkovich
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The common understanding of the Founding Fathers as Godly men in our current sense is subtly wrong, according to an author who says many of them were religious revolutionaries, too.
Matthew Stewart says he got started on Nature’s God: The Heretical Origins of the American Republic by re-reading books the founders wrote, before an unpublished manuscript from a colleague changed his view.
Many of the founders have been known as Deists, often understood as Christian light or atheist, but Stewart finds, “It wasn’t just a simple and shallow theological doctrine. It covered issues in the theory of knowledge, the philosophy of mind and ethics and so on, and it has also very deep roots in a radical tradition that goes far beyond the usual English and Scottish world, from which American’s founders are supposed widely to have drawn their inspiration.”
Stewart says Jefferson and Adams were in fact so radical neither could be elected today.
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