Similarities Between Franklin And Thomas Paine

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Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Paine both believed that organized religion is unnecessary to society. While their perspectives on freedom within an organized religion are similar, they had unique opinions on the freedom within religion.
First, Franklin and Paine both thought that one’s own reason should be used in place of an organized religion. Franklin believed that religion should be worshipping God with your own standards and not societies. He believes this is more beneficial than practicing it as a community because it is more engaging for the individual. Franklin values prayer and doing good works over rituals such as a regular attendance to church, emphasizing using one's own reason for understanding the word of God. For example, Franklin described the time he went to listen to his friend, the Presbyterian minister, preach for five consecutive weeks (Andrews, 133). Franklin remained unenthused about public worship and found the aim of the minister was to focus the people on becoming “Presbyterians rather than good citizens” (Andrews, 133). He found himself “disgusted” by the argument the minister made in regards to the verse from Philippians, therefore, deciding to never return to his sermon again nor to any other public sermon again. This point of view is similar to Thomas Paine’s point of view in that Paine believed the only way to discover God
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Franklin stresses the importance of having respect towards others religions. He states, “...respect to all, with an opinion that the worst had some good effects”, emphasizing that while a particular religion may not be correct in our eyes, it still could have “good effects” for society as a whole (Andrews, 133). Franklin had a more positive view on the effects of religion for society, whereas Paine would describe it as a heresy, but that “they have the same right to their belief as I have to mine” (Paine,
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