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Fri Nov 16, 2012, 04:51 PM

Abraham Lincoln's Atheist Period

Posted: 11/16/2012 12:26 pm
Stephen Mansfield

We have heard the soaring phrases often. They are fixed in the American book of verse. Now, they sound again in Steven Spielberg's magnificent film, "Lincoln."

They come to us as tones of faith from Abraham Lincoln's presidential speeches: "a firm reliance on Him who has never yet forsaken this favored land," "the Almighty has his own purposes," "that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom," and "the judgments of the Lord are true." They suggest a God who rules in the affairs of men and does so with both love and justice.

Yet this God was not always Abraham Lincoln's God. In his early years, Lincoln hated this being. It was a natural response. He was thoroughly convinced that God, in turn, hated Abraham Lincoln. It is one of the most surprising facts of Lincoln's life, a fact that makes his religious journey among the most unique in our history.

The 16th president of the United States was born on an American frontier swept by almost violent religious revivals. Men routinely responded to preaching and the "Spirit's work" by shouting, convulsing, passing out and even barking. Few were caught up in this excitement more eagerly than Thomas and Nancy Lincoln.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/stephen-mansfield/understanding-lincolns-atheist-period_b_2145340.html?utm_hp_ref=religion

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Arrow 6 replies Author Time Post
Reply Abraham Lincoln's Atheist Period (Original post)
rug Nov 2012 OP
xfundy Nov 2012 #1
rug Nov 2012 #2
okasha Nov 2012 #6
Moonwalk Nov 2012 #3
ashling Nov 2012 #4
okasha Nov 2012 #5

Response to rug (Original post)

Fri Nov 16, 2012, 05:04 PM

1. I do recall him saying,

"The bible is not my book," and something else, possibly, "Xianity is not my religion."

That's probably why he didn't live to be 666 years old.

Smart man. Killed by a conservative. Figures.

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Response to xfundy (Reply #1)

Fri Nov 16, 2012, 05:05 PM

2. I bet there are other reasons he didn't live to achieve 600 plus years.

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Response to xfundy (Reply #1)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 04:11 PM

6. The Civil War just might have had something to do with his assassination.

Got history?

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Response to rug (Original post)

Fri Nov 16, 2012, 06:13 PM

3. Having read the whole article, I take issue with the thesis. Abe was never an atheist...

...not according to the evidence presented. He was a believer wrestling with the fear that god was against him. At his most "anti-god," Abe didn't really say that he didn't believe in god so much as that he believed god was an evil being, out to hurt people. Thus, Lincoln's anti-god rants seemed based on the intense belief that there were supernatural forces, including a deity, responsible for his misfortunes.

Any man who believes that things happen "for a reason" (i.e. that there's something supernatural behind his good/bad fortunes and those of other's good/bad fortunes) be it that he's cursed or blessed, is not an atheist, no matter how many anti-god rants he writes up in his youth. An atheist wouldn't have raged against god or thought he was cursed. How can one be cursed by something that doesn't exist?

The premise and title of this blog strikes me as misleading and incorrect--especially as it gives a wrong idea of what it means to be an atheist. It casts anyone raging against god as an atheist which is absurd. Why would someone who doesn't believe in Santa Claus rage against Santa for not getting any presents on Christmas Morning?

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Response to Moonwalk (Reply #3)

Fri Nov 16, 2012, 08:07 PM

4. "God is against me"

a priori accepts the existence of a God.

atheism requires a denial that a God exists

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Response to rug (Original post)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 04:10 PM

5. If he thought God hated Abraham Lincoln,

he wasn't an atheist; he was a Calvinist.

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