Archive for March 6th, 2012

… Divine revelation has been scoffed at by the Philosophers of the present day, the immortality of the soul treated as the dreams of fools, or the invention of knaves, & death has been declared by public authority an eternal sleep; these opinions are gaining ground amongst us & silently saping the foundations of religion & encouragement of good, the terror of evildoers and the consolation of the poor, the miserable, and the distressed.  Remove the hope & dread of future reward & punishment, the most powerful restraint on wicked action, & the strongest inducement to virtuous ones is done away.
   —    Charles Carroll of Carrollton
Letter to Secretary of War James McHenry in 1800
[If a person is virtuous in order to claim the reward of Heaven, are they truly virtuous?  What happened to doing good for good’s sake?  What about the Golden Rule?  And why not have the death penalty for more crimes?  Wouldn’t that lower the crime rate by increasing the dread?  I guess I just don’t understand the “how” or the “why” of these things sapping the foundations of religion.    —    KMAB]

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