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Prophesies of GodlessnessPredictions of America's Iminent Secularization from the Puritans to Postmodernity$
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Charles T Mathewes and Christopher McKnight Nichols

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195342536

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195342536.001.0001

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 The Early Republic

 The Early Republic

Thomas Jefferson's Philosophy of History and the Future of American Christianity

(p.35) 2 The Early Republic
Prophesies of Godlessness

Johann Neem

Oxford University Press

Thomas Jefferson is famous for believing that reason would moderate American Christianity. In time, he prophesied, Americans would replace faith‐based Christianity with a Unitarian Christianity better suited for a republic. This chapter explores Jefferson's theory of historical progress to understand how he reached his mistaken conclusion at a time when evangelical Christianity, far from receding, was deepening its influence in American culture. It argues that Jefferson believed that a “wall of separation” between church and state would reform American Christianity by subjecting it to public scrutiny.

Keywords:   Thomas Jefferson, Unitarianism, Wall of Separation, Church and State, philosophy of history, founding fathers

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