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Oct 30 2012

More Bizarre Bible-Constitution Parallels

David Barton has made a habit of making the most absurd and strained connections between Bible verses and the Constitution, but he’s not alone. In his Founder’s Bible, he includes an article by Paul Jehle, Executive Director of the Plymouth Rock Foundation, who says that the famous phrase “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” came from the Bible too. And you’re gonna love his argument:

When we look at the Declaration of Independence and the truths they held as self-evident – the list of inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (which is another way the Founders spoke of the right to private property) – those ideas were not the invention of great minds of the Enlightenment; they originated with the source of light Himself, God. They were revealed truth our forefathers found in the pages of Scripture.

The charter that God made with Adam was threefold. First, “Be fruitful and multiply,” which is mankind’s basic right to life. Second, “fill or replenish, the earth.” The Hebrew word fill or replenish involved the scientific method, meaning to take something that we observe, then break it down to its essential ingredients and reform it into a different form. It is a concept that requires the right to liberty. When we have liberty, we can take natural resources and then refill the earth with the same natural resources in different forms through invention and technology. Third, “subdue the earth and rule, or have dominion, over it,” which is the right to own private property. Dominion of the earth simply means we have a parcel of land that is our exclusive possession that we steward before God.

You have to be seriously logic-impaired to buy such a claim. This is an argument you could accept only due to confirmation bias, not reason.

19 comments

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  1. 1
    composer99

    When we have liberty, we can take natural resources and then refill the earth with the same natural resources in different forms through invention and technology.

    He’s right there. I mean, we can extract oil from the ground, turn it into plastics, and then refill the earth with plastic trash in the oceans and in landfills.

    It’s a miracle!

  2. 2
    Hercules Grytpype-Thynne

    The Hebrew word fill or replenish involved the scientific method, meaning to take something that we observe, then break it down to its essential ingredients and reform it into a different form.

    Pure crap. The Hebrew word means “fill”, with figurative extensions into “fulfill”, “complete”, “accomplish”. The exact same verb is addressed to sea creatures in Gen. 1:22. It’s not likely God was exhorting the whales to “take natural resources and then refill the earth with the same natural resources in different forms through invention and technology.”

  3. 3
    Chiroptera

    Does he realize that words have meaning?

    Does he even realize that the sounds that come out of his mouth are a form of communication?

  4. 4
    Michael Heath

    The fraud David Barton:

    . . . those ideas were not the invention of great minds of the Enlightenment; they originated with the source of light Himself, God. They were revealed truth our forefathers found in the pages of Scripture.

    A primary distinguishing attribute of the enlightenment was the abandonment of seeking truth solely by holy dogma and claims of divine revelation, which was supplanted by human reason. Reason which was eventually attached to empirical observations.

    The continuing notable observation here isn’t merely that a fraud like David Barton is in our midst, but tens of millions of conservative Christian Americans support the Barton narrative. They support it to the point it effects our public policy and is a key premise used to justify this population’s abuse of children, including those children in many public schools.

  5. 5
    lofgren

    “I’d just like to thank Mr. Jehle for managing to cram apologetics for unregulated capitalism, anti-abortion rhetoric, and global warming denialism all into the first few lines of the bible, as that is the only portion I have ever bothered to read. I am also led to believe there is something relevant to football games in John 3:16, but I haven’t gotten around to looking that up yet.”

    - Some Christian

  6. 6
    Deen

    Wait, did Barton just equate “happiness” with “owning private property”?

  7. 7
    jnorris

    I never understood why the Founders, or the Philadelphia printers (Franklin?) didn’t include the footnotes with all the Bible citations when the DOI was printed and distributed to the colonies.

  8. 8
    Worldtraveller

    the list of inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (which is another way the Founders spoke of the right to private property)

    How convenient.

    And for today’s juvenile comment: Is this moron’s last name pronounced ‘jelly’ as in brain-like….?

    Inquiring minds and all that.

  9. 9
    Ed Brayton

    Deen wrote:

    Wait, did Barton just equate “happiness” with “owning private property”?

    This isn’t as farfetched as it seems. Jefferson borrowed that phrase from Locke, who had originally rendered it as “life, liberty and the pursuit of property.” And there’s no question that the founders were zealous defenders of the right to own property.

  10. 10
    theschwa

    – the list of inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (which is another way the Founders spoke of the right to private property) – those ideas were not the invention of great minds of the Enlightenment; they originated with the source of light Himself, God. They were revealed truth our forefathers found in the pages of Scripture.

    And it was so obvious, too! That is why every country/city/colony based on Christianity had provisions for the rights of life, liberty and property/pursuit of happiness!

  11. 11
    had3

    Ed, the fact that Jefferson chose to use the same language for the first two principles and specifically chose not to use land ownership as the third prong argues against land ownership equating to happiness. He chose happiness in lieu of land ownership for a reason. Deen’s correct in asserting that Barton’s equating the two is wrong: if Jefferson meant land ownership, he could have chosen to quote Locke verbatim.

  12. 12
    tsig

    John 3:16

    For god so loved the world that he gave us bacon.

  13. 13
    fifthdentist

    Did his mom have any children who DIDN’T ride the short bus to school?

  14. 14
    thebookofdave

    The Genesis passage was God’s commandment, not an option. He’s dictating responsibilities instead of rights. Compulsion to perform these actions renders liberty meaningless.

  15. 15
    Curt Cameron

    Hey Ed, one of the things that I criticize those folks for is their confusing the Declaration of Independence with the Constitution. Specifically, they say that our government is a Christian nation, and support that by quoting the DoI.

    The DoI is NOT the Constitution – it had a very different purpose. When I read the body of your post here after having read the headline, it made me cringe that you did it too.

  16. 16
    Michael Heath

    Curt Cameron writes:

    one of the things that I criticize those folks for is their confusing the Declaration of Independence with the Constitution. Specifically, they say that our government is a Christian nation, and support that by quoting the DoI.

    The DoI is NOT the Constitution – it had a very different purpose. When I read the body of your post here after having read the headline, it made me cringe that you did it too.

    The DofI doesn’t provide a credible ‘Christian Nation’ argument either.

  17. 17
    anfractuous

    I just finished reading Scalzi’s open letter (thanks to Ed for the link above) that he wrote from the point of view of a rapist. The assertions from Jehle, Barton, in fact most religious zealots, have the stink of the same mind-set (can mind-sets actually stink?) as a rapist who gets off on his own dominance and control over others, whether a woman, or the earth. They seem to especially exult over it when it’s against another’s will. Just sayin’…

  18. 18
    anfractuous

    Now that I think of it, all the threats that god will punish us for whatever… That god guy’s an abuser if I ever saw one!

  19. 19
    kermit.

    The DoI is NOT the Constitution – it had a very different purpose. When I read the body of your post here after having read the headline, it made me cringe that you did it too.

    Clearly the DoI was the start of Obama’s apology tour.

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