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Benjamin Franklin

12 May 2017Essay Samples

It is suspicious that Franklin was among Hindus, Buddhists, or Muslims. No one is certain of Franklin's religious values and Benjamin Franklin liked to remain people wondering. That is what made him a contentious figure throughout his lifetime, and that is why he remains contentious today.

His parents first gave Benjamin Franklin spiritual impressions, even however he doubted numerous points of religion that had been educated to him. Subsequent to reading some books on the matter, Franklin turned towards Deism. Franklin then began to disbelief his own values, and turned towards just a fundamental belief in God. He infrequently attended church, and turned to a type of prayer that he had poised himself.

Franklin's own religious values are quite rigid to comprehend, he wrote three dissertations before he was thirty years old, while he was still penetrating to find out accurately what he believed. They emerged long before he became the self-confident philosopher and scientist famous throughout the Western World. As the dissertations give some imminent into Franklin's religious apprehensions, it can be argued that bigger insight can be found in his life history, which he did not instigate writing until he was 65 years old. Also additional enlightening on the famed philosopher's final posture on religion are the answers he gave in his letters to queries concerning his conviction during his later years.

He stated the conventional assumptions of Deism previous to moving on to a position that various have labeled religious nihilism, disagreeing that evil does not survive because God is the writer of all proceedings.

“Since God is wise, good, and powerful, He can only allow good to occur”. (J. A. Leo LeMay and P. M. Zall, 1986)

One infers that Franklin was simply showing off his rational ability in the dissertation; not even at nineteen could this radiant young man have thought that evil does not survive. He was simply playing devil's advocate as well as stabbing in all conformist religion in his world conventional Christianity, broadminded Christianity, and to some extent even Deism, which was in fact his own trust at the time. Franklin's most perplexing statement is, "I conceive then, that the infinite has created many Beings or Gods, vastly superior to man, who can better conceive his Perfection than we, and return him a more rational and glorious Praise.” (Benjamin Franklin, vol. 1, 102-3)

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When Franklin was twenty-two he wrote his subsequent dissertation on religious conviction, ‘Articles of Belief and Acts of Religion’. This was not an effort for journal but in fact was an endeavor to put on paper, for his own learning, the thoughts that were whirling around in his mind regarding religion. As a result, he made some vague statements that have led students of Franklin into several interesting and at times strange conjecture.

One apprentice of Franklin's religion tells that statement points out that Franklin had gone "the entire distance from atheism to polytheism."(Alfred O. Aldridge, 1967)

This means that every religious term, except the barren supposition of a First Cause, are stories or symbols poetic, figurative efforts to talk about God and actuality in terms that are less threatening than the coldly impersonal expressions of metaphysics.

Franklin had overwhelmed several books that ran the extent from the most conventional to the most disbelieving. At the age of fifteen, he red books intended to disclaim Deism, but those books had the conflicting effects on him.

As he wrote in his life history, "For the Arguments of the Deists which were quoted to be refuted appeared to me much stronger than the Refutations. In short I soon became a thorough Deist." (Claude-Anne Lopez and Eugenia W. Herbert, 1975)

Differing to Deism's disputation that God created the world, extracted from it, and left it to sprint by the unchallengeable laws of nature, God interfered in human dealings from time to time to consequence compassionate penalty for the human race. Thus, it emerges true that Franklin never entirely deceased from the wisdom of his parents. He perceptibly had not then let go of a faith in God's destiny, because he believes that it is the foundation of all true religion.

The works on religion, evidently exhibit that young Franklin did not completely approve orthodox Christianity. He rarely mentioned Jesus Christ at all. On one juncture Franklin associated Christ with Socrates as a replica to imitate, and on another he said that he did not recognize whether Christ was divine or not and point out little yearning to consider the question.

Franklin liberally admitted in his Autobiography that he had entertained a wide variety of ideas as he groped for a creed in his childhood. The resulting declaration of belief, which smacks greatly but not completely of Deism, declares that there is one God who made all things and who governs the world by His fate. This God wants to be worshiped and respected, prayed to and thanked. Doing good to man is the most satisfactory service to God, Who will reward virtue and chastise vice either here or hereafter.

He believed the ‘The Soul is eternal’. It seems obvious that Franklin can best be described as a Deist, despite the fact that with personally tailored alterations of the Deist creed. He not only bore all other religions but also encouraged them, for the reason that he believed that all religions had useful value.


  • J. A. Leo LeMay and P. M. Zall, eds. Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography (New York and London, 1986), 34; Walters, Franklin and His Gods, 43-66.
  • Benjamin Franklin, The Papers of Benjamin Franklin, vol. 1, 102-3.
  • Alfred O. Aldridge, Benjamin Franklin and Nature's God (Durham, 1967), 252.
  • Lemay and Zall, Autobiography, 68; Esmond Wright, Franklin of Philadelphia (Cambridge, Mass. and London, 1986), 50.
  • Claude-Anne Lopez and Eugenia W. Herbert, The Private Franklin (New York and London, 1975), 83, 272, 275; Walters, Benjamin Franklin and His Gods, 132.
  • Benjamin Franklin, The Papers of Benjamin Franklin, ed. Leonard W. Labaree et al., vol. 1 (New Haven and London, 1959), 101-9.

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