Sunday, October 7, 2018

"Noah Webster and the Gospel"

Noah Webster, (1758-1843) has made a profound impact on American education. Among his most remarkable achievements, is his 1828 American Dictionary of the American language. This work compelled him to spend ten years making a Synopsis of twenty languages, namely, Chaldaic, Syriac, Hebrew, Samaritan, Arabic, Ethiopic, Persian, Hiberno Celtic or native Irish, Anglo Saxon, German, Dutch, Swedish, Danish, Greek, Latin, Italian, Spanish, French, Russian, and English, to which may be added the Armoric and Welsh. This he did to trace the roots of our American language.

He served in the Revolutionary War and was later a member of the Massachusetts State Legislature. He was known as the "School Master of our Republic".

 In 1828 in the preface of his dictionary Mr. Webster stated: "In my view, the Christian religion is the most important and one of the first things in which all children, under a free government, ought to be instructed. . . . No truth is more evident to my mind than that the Christian religion must be the basis of any government intended to secure the rights and privileges of a free people." ~ Noah Webster. 

It is obvious we are missing something today. Such thinking today is so far from our political realm and educational values, it would not even be conceivable for one to make such a statement and be taken seriously. The irony is, we make that judgment while pointing to our Founders and what they intended for us. Is it not strange we claim to live by their principles, all the while rejecting their reasonings for those principles? We love the freedoms they gave us, but we reject the source they themselves attribute to them. We love the freedom they gave us, but reject the principles by which they themselves suggest are necessary for the maintenance of those freedoms.

I know this drives many people nuts, in their minds, it's completely irrational to even consider instructing children in the Christian religion and that be associated with their education and understanding of government.

This demonstrates we have lost the understanding of freedom and its maintenance; and the brilliance at which our Founding generation had arrived. We reject the statement by Mr. Webster because we simply do not understand what he is saying. It is something foreign to us.

This blog is not an attempt to force religion on a nation, neither was that the intent of our Founding generation as they institution government for their new nation. However, it is an attempt to look at their words and their faith, that we might understand them and the government they gave us. You read and hear much about their Deist beliefs and anti-religious thoughts. Yet, when you actually look at what they said and wrote, you discover something entirely different. That is what we want to do here, examine what they wrote and understand how they thought. I believe this will be very beneficial in preserving what they gave us.

After doing so we may determine we have a better and much more reasonable understanding of government and freedom. We may as one recent Presidential candidate proclaimed in his campaign, want to fundamentally change America. If so, we have that prerogative, but we owe our Founding generation the honor of accurately reflecting their thoughts and being honest with them.

It is clear in their writings they did not want government interfering in religious matters. They did not want the government telling them who or how to worship or to force them to worship at all.

However, they did not want the government restricting their religious matters either. They saw their religion as a support to their government and way of life. Naturally, being well educated and instructed in the Christian faith, that would directly influence their thinking when forming laws and institutions of government.

Are we are now to separate our religious faith from our public and political life? This is a farce, for that is an impossibility. If you can separate your faith from your public life, you had no faith to start with. So we may fool ourselves by saying this is what they did, but we deceive ourselves. The only way we can make such observations is to completely ignore what they directly told us in their writings. Here, we do not intend to do that, we intend to look at their writings, take them at their own words, all the while looking at American History as a whole and make our own judgments.

May the Grace of God be with each of you,

David                     

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