Benjamin Franklin: The Religious Life of a Founding Father by Thomas S. Kidd

Benjamin Franklin: The Religious Life of a Founding Father

Renowned as a printer, scientist, and diplomat, Benjamin Franklin also published more works on religious topics than any other eighteenth-century American layperson. Born to Boston Puritans, by his teenage years Franklin had abandoned the exclusive Christian faith of his family and embraced deism. But Franklin, as a man of faith, was far more complex than the “thorough dei...

Title:Benjamin Franklin: The Religious Life of a Founding Father
Author:
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ISBN:0300217498
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:256 pages

Benjamin Franklin: The Religious Life of a Founding Father Reviews

  • Sean Nemecek
    Jun 15, 2017

    This book is thoroughly reasearched and skilfully written. The author is careful to let the writings of Franklin speak for themselves. He does insert some comment for clarity or to remind the reader of earlier ideas, but he doesn't insert himself into the narrative. I look forward to reading more books by Thomas S. Kidd.

    Franklin's spiritual beliefs are not easily categorized. His Calvinistic Christian upbringing is always in the background as Franklin sometimes embraces it and other times reacts

    This book is thoroughly reasearched and skilfully written. The author is careful to let the writings of Franklin speak for themselves. He does insert some comment for clarity or to remind the reader of earlier ideas, but he doesn't insert himself into the narrative. I look forward to reading more books by Thomas S. Kidd.

    Franklin's spiritual beliefs are not easily categorized. His Calvinistic Christian upbringing is always in the background as Franklin sometimes embraces it and other times reacts against it. He prefers to trusr his own rational abilities over claims of revelation from God. This leads Franklin to reject some of the most basic teachings of Christianity like the deity of Christ and most of the miracles. His reasoning on the problem of evil drives much of what believes about God and how humans relate to him. Unfortunately, this reasoning doesn't match the Bible, causing him to reject the Christian view of salvation. In the end this quasi-deist trusts his own good works to save him believing that God would never punish a good man. He completely misses the holiness of God and the gravity of sin. This theology is the driving force behind Franklin's legendary work ethic.

    Franklin's uses his rationality to explain away his lustful passions. His infadelity to his wife and his pursuit of women half his age, are creepy to say the least.

    The interactions between evangelist George Whitfield and Franklin are intriguing. I am amazed that he could hold Whitfield in such high esteem yet reject the love of Christ which was at the core of Whitfield's very existence.

    I gained a deep appreciation for Frainklin the scientist and diplomat but lost a lot of respect for him as a philosopher and as a man.

    It's a sad story of Franklin's religious life but it worth reading.

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