The Right To Religion: Thomas Paine Vs. Thomas Jefferson

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The Rights to Religion

Some say that the etymology of religion comes from the Latin word religare, meaning, “to tie or to bind”; some argue that it can be connected with the term relegere, which means to “read over again”, while others just say religion does not truly exist, it is just a culture. Religion can be a tricky subject, that most people steer clear of, except within their personal lives. Thomas Paine and Thomas Jefferson, however, are different than most people; their views on organized religion, and how it should be dealt with within the government, were very widely known throughout early America. Thomas Paine once wrote, “My own mind is my own church. All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian, or Turkish,
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Although Paine believes there to be a god, he does not believe that structured religion benefits anyone; in fact he calls them “human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind”. Paine clearly states his disdain for organized religion, for him personally, however he recognizes that not all people believe the same thing, and should not be condemned for they have equal rights to their beliefs. Thomas Paine believed that all had the right to believe what they so choose, and that being said, being mentally faithful to oneself is a necessity in life. “Infidelity does not consist in believing, or in disbelieving, it consists in professing to believe what he does not believe (Paine 654).” Being true to what you believe in, whether or not that is a God or nothing, is the basis of morality. How can someone be morally sound when they falsely claim to …show more content…
Christianity is but one of all the thousands of religious organizations around the world. “That if there be but one right, and ours that one, we should wish to see the 999 wandering sects gathered into the fold of truth. But against such a majority we cannot effect this by force (Jefferson 675).” Even though Jefferson thought of Christianity to be the one true religion, he understood that Christianity be one of many, and no force could bring everyone to conform. “To make way for these, free inquiry must be indulged; and how can we wish others to indulge it while we refuse it ourselves (Jefferson 675).” With religious freedom, comes inquiry, into religious systems that are different, giving people options to choose, what they believe to be

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