Letter from Thomas Jefferson to John Adams

Below is a letter written by Thomas Jefferson to John Adams toward the end of their lives (remarkably they died on the same day-Independence Day July 4, 1826-within five hours of each other). In the letter, Jefferson 225px-Thomas_Jefferson_by_Rembrandt_Peale,_1800reveals his religious sentiments, pulling no punches about his revulsion to Calvinism and the trinitarian dogma (he calls it “tritheism”). In the course of the letter, he also endorses the teleological argument, or argument from design, making a rather eloquent presentation of the argument. Agree or disagree with the views he expresses (I disagree with his denial of the virgin birth of Jesus), the letter is a fascinating piece by any account. What strikes me most is the vehemence of his denunciation of Calvinism and that simply a mere mention of Calvin‚Äôs name from Adams (in his previous letter to Jefferson), and not even in a theological context, ¬†was enough to set Jefferson off into such a denunciation. Adams had only¬†quoted Calvin‚Äôs exclamation to God during his infirmity late in life as a fitting expression of Adams own feeling toward the infirmity that beset him at the time he wrote the letter to Jefferson. Continue reading