Freedom Of Religion Benjamin Franklin Summary

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Benjamin Franklin was one of the founding fathers of America. Being such, he helped create the constitution in America. One of the striking aspects of this document was the focus on freedom, including freedom of religion. In his Autobiography part 2, Franklin demonstrates his gift of irony once again as he points out the lack of freedom that organized religion allows its followers. In his view, the absence of moral teachings renders the religious establishment obsolete as an inspiration and source to good morality. Religious people should be at liberty to interpret and worship their religion as they please. Franklin uses an argument of analogy in the form of a list of 13 virtues that replaces his Presbyterianism. Franklin had a Presbyterian…show more content…
Instead, he has more of a general and modest view on religion as a whole. There is ample evidence for this, one being where Franklin, after having listed the principles of religion that he “esteem’d the Essentials of every Religion,” he follows up by stating: “and being to be found in all the Religions we had in our Country I respected them all”. Furthermore, Franklin admits to have made small contributions in an effort to help religions spread their influence, but he does not discriminate towards any religion: “… my Mite, for such purpose, whatever might be the Sect, was never refused.” The way he emphasizes that many different sects has received his contributions, reflects Franklin’s inclusive view of religion. It is further evidenced by Franklin’s condemnation of one the dogmas that religion advocates, namely “Reprobation”, which refers to the belief that god himself is excluding individuals of salvation if their conduct is incompatible with a religion in any way. Reprobation is condemned by Franklin stating that it, along with “Election” and the “Eternal decrees of God”, “appear’d to me unintelligible, others doubtful.” Presumably, Franklin’s idea of god does not have allegiance to any particular religion, and salvation is not contingent upon whether you follow the correct religion. This view is compatible with the constitution of America, and its advocacy of religious freedom, at least to a bigger degree than those belonging to the religious
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