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Lincoln's Christianity by Michael Burkhimer
12-11-2015, 02:28 PM
Post: #91
RE: Lincoln's Christianity by Michael Burkhimer
(12-11-2015 11:02 AM)maharba Wrote:  or that the entire quote is yet another invention.

I am not sure what you mean here. I took the quotes from The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. Are you saying some of the material in that collection is bogus?
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12-11-2015, 05:58 PM
Post: #92
RE: Lincoln's Christianity by Michael Burkhimer
Maharba, how do you know if and if which quotes are invention and which not? Or do you judge everything that doesn't fit in your thinking invention?

Re.: "And that fits very well with Lincoln scorning it as 'just some of Seward's nonsense'".

To me, it does not fit as the wording simply doesn't sound like Lincoln IMO.

And yet neither opinion can be proven nor disproven nor can the opposite, and it cannot see it ever will.

Speculating to a certain extent is certainly legitimate, but like Gene, I, too, think to fervently insist in attributing something to a person we do not evidently know and that might offend if wrong - like uttering this scoring - is at some point a bit respectless. In dubio pro reo. I am fine with anyone believing Abraham Lincoln an atheist (although I don't agree), as long as the tone is respectful, towards the victim of the speculation (Abraham Lincoln) as well as towards other opinions.

As for "both Darwin and Lincoln are often compared" I, too, must say I haven't seen such comparison ever before, and, like Gene, I don't see any great deal in common than the date of birth.
(12-11-2015 11:02 AM)maharba Wrote:  These quotes here from Lincoln mentioning God. When I see excessively flowery usage as here, it looks to me like it was either written for Lincoln to recite as a matter of expected form, or that the entire quote is yet another invention. How many countless Lincoln narratives are there with Lincoln ending in making some golden reference to 'the majesty of the Lord's handiwork', etc.
Re.: "How many countless Lincoln narratives are there with Lincoln ending in making some golden reference to 'the majesty of the Lord's handiwork', etc." - can you please post an example? And I don't get how that would prove/disprove anything.
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12-11-2015, 08:35 PM (This post was last modified: 12-11-2015 08:55 PM by maharba.)
Post: #93
RE: Lincoln's Christianity by Michael Burkhimer
When I see excessively flowery usage as here, it looks to me like it was either written for Lincoln to recite as a matter of expected form, or that the entire quote is yet another invention. How many countless Lincoln narratives are there with Lincoln ending in making some golden reference to 'the majesty of the Lord's handiwork', etc.>

I am not sure what you mean here. I took the quotes from The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. Are you saying some of the material in that collection is bogus?

Haven't you yourself produced a file (page) of famous quotes of Lincoln but which are fakes generated by others? Or, as I said, examples of flowery invocations of God (by Lincoln) appear to me to be written for Lincoln to recite as a matter of expected form.

You seem to avoid answering questions about earlier comments by coming up with new questionable statements.>

In spite of the occasional light hearted posts, most of us are serious about the study of Abraham Lincoln, and don't go chasing after myths and legends trying to present them as fact,
but rather [i]try to share valid, credible and verifiable information.>

I just documented for you, and you appeared to have noted the same,
that it was William Seward and not Abraham Lincoln who wrote the Thanksgiving Proclamation. That historical fact gives a lot of horsepower to the credibility of the Lincoln "quote" scorning "Seward's nonsense".
Were you unable to google and quickly check whether Salmon Chase indeed wrote the last paragraph of the Emancipation Proclamation? I see
it mentioned on several online sites, including the New York Times,

The Emancipation Proclamation. - NYTimes.comcampaign
Published: April 2, 1864
"We have reason to believe that the following letter from the Cincinnati Gazette, gives a substantially accurate account of the circumstances attending the issue of the Emancipation Proclamation..."

Now, if you feel that Seward did NOT write the Thanksgiving Proclamation, and that Salmon Chase did NOT write the last paragraph of
the Emancipation Proclamation, let me know. On the other hand, if I am presenting some new information to you, please let me know that too.

I'll wonder again:
Did Lincoln include in his original spoken Gettysburg Speech the
phrase "under God"?
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12-11-2015, 09:09 PM
Post: #94
RE: Lincoln's Christianity by Michael Burkhimer
Quote:As for "both Darwin and Lincoln are often compared" I, too, must say I haven't seen such comparison ever before, and, like Gene, I don't see any great deal in common than the date of birth.

There have been a few book-length studies of Lincoln and Darwin published in the past few years. Plus, the Smithsonian did a piece by Gopnik.

Maharba, there is no one in the world who would love to see it proven that Lincoln was an atheist his entire life as much as I would, but the evidence just isn't there, at least not in his later years. There are far too many references to a deity in his presidential addresses that show otherwise and to intimate that he was doing so as a cynical ploy to appease the population has to have more of a foundation before it can be sustained. No one has been able to prove that Lincoln was a Christian, and no one ever will, at least not in the sense that most people understand Christianity, but by the time the war was over he had seen too much bloodshed and had grieved deeply over the loss of Willie not to seek comfort in whatever form he understood religion to take.

Best
Rob

Abraham Lincoln in the only man, dead or alive, with whom I could have spent five years without one hour of boredom.
--Ida M. Tarbell

I want the respect of intelligent men, but I will choose for myself the intelligent.
--Carl Sandburg
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12-11-2015, 11:13 PM (This post was last modified: 12-12-2015 12:06 PM by Eva Elisabeth.)
Post: #95
RE: Lincoln's Christianity by Michael Burkhimer
(12-11-2015 08:35 PM)maharba Wrote:  You seem to avoid answering questions about earlier comments by coming up with new questionable statements.>

In spite of the occasional light hearted posts, most of us are serious about the study of Abraham Lincoln, and don't go chasing after myths and legends trying to present them as fact,
but rather [i]try to share valid, credible and verifiable information.>

I just documented for you, and you appeared to have noted the same,
that it was William Seward and not Abraham Lincoln who wrote the Thanksgiving Proclamation. That historical fact gives a lot of horsepower to the credibility of the Lincoln "quote" scorning "Seward's nonsense".
Were you unable to google and quickly check whether Salmon Chase indeed wrote the last paragraph of the Emancipation Proclamation? I see
it mentioned on several online sites, including the New York Times,

The Emancipation Proclamation. - NYTimes.comcampaign
Published: April 2, 1864
"We have reason to believe that the following letter from the Cincinnati Gazette, gives a substantially accurate account of the circumstances attending the issue of the Emancipation Proclamation..."

Now, if you feel that Seward did NOT write the Thanksgiving Proclamation, and that Salmon Chase did NOT write the last paragraph of
the Emancipation Proclamation, let me know. On the other hand, if I am presenting some new information to you, please let me know that too.

I'll wonder again:
Did Lincoln include in his original spoken Gettysburg Speech the
phrase "under God"?
Maharba, if Gene or anyone has denied Seward drafting the Thanksgiving Proclamation I missed it. Does it mean anything? No. Or would you conclude and claim this gentleman to be an atheist because he has a ghostwriter?
http://www.lastampa.it/2013/11/06/vatica...agina.html

As for Gettysburg my understanding is that it's not known for sure whether he spoke the phrase or not. And even if not it doesn't mean anything. He was a politician, not a preacher, and religion is still first of all a private matter.

PS: Thanks, Rob, for the links and info, and your comment at all.
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12-12-2015, 05:40 AM
Post: #96
RE: Lincoln's Christianity by Michael Burkhimer
Maharba, what are your thoughts on "Meditation on the Divine Will." This was written privately by Lincoln in 1862. John Hay wrote, "It is a paper which Mr. Lincoln wrote in September, 1862, while his mind was burdened with the weightiest question of his life, "the weightiest with which this country has had to grapple. Wearied with all the considerations of law and of expediency with which he had been struggling for two years, he retired within himself and tried to bring some order into his thoughts by rising above the wrangling of men and parties, and pondering the relations of human government to the Divine. In this frame of mind, absolutely detached from any earthly considerations, he wrote this meditation. It has never been published. It was not written to be seen of men. It was penned in the awful sincerity of a perfectly honest soul trying to bring himself into closer communion with its Maker."

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Washington, D.C.
September, 1862

The will of God prevails. In great contests each party claims to act in accordance with the will of God. Both may be, and one must be, wrong. God cannot be for and against the same thing at the same time. In the present civil war it is quite possible that God's purpose is something different from the purpose of either party -- and yet the human instrumentalities, working just as they do, are of the best adaptation to effect His purpose. I am almost ready to say that this is probably true -- that God wills this contest, and wills that it shall not end yet. By his mere great power, on the minds of the now contestants, He could have either saved or destroyed the Union without a human contest. Yet the contest began. And, having begun He could give the final victory to either side any day. Yet the contest proceeds.
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12-12-2015, 06:50 AM (This post was last modified: 12-12-2015 12:00 PM by Gene C.)
Post: #97
RE: Lincoln's Christianity by Michael Burkhimer
(12-11-2015 08:35 PM)maharba Wrote:  Now, if you feel that Seward did NOT write the Thanksgiving Proclamation, and that Salmon Chase did NOT write the last paragraph of
the Emancipation Proclamation, let me know. On the other hand, if I am presenting some new information to you, please let me know that too.

You make statements of fact as evidence for misleading questions and comments, so NO, you have not presented "new information"

we are back to square one

but Maharba, what about your other comments

"And that fits very well with Lincoln scorning it as just some of Seward's nonsense"
"Didn't Chase write the last paragraph of the Emancipation Proclamation and to fittingly include GOD, over the objections of Lincoln?"
"Didn't Abraham Lincoln mock God and Christianity to 'sophisticated folks'?"
"And I'll add to them:
Why was Lincoln even in his final years so resistant to God in his edicts and addresses?"


You have not connected "Lincoln's scorning it as just some of Seward's nonsense" to the Thanksgiving Proclamation
You have not connected Chase's contribution to the Emancipation Proclamation to "over the objections of Lincoln?"
Where and when did Lincoln mock God to sophisticated folks?
Where does Lincoln, in his final years, show resistance to God in his edicts and addresses?

After repeated request, you haven't yet been able to answer any of this. Your replies don't answer the questions.

Maharba wrote:
I'll wonder again:
Did Lincoln include in his original spoken Gettysburg Speech the
phrase "under God"?

I think it is more important that it is included in a written version that he wrote. There were only a few thousand (if that many) that heard the speech, millions have read it.

Maharba, I've enjoyed the discussion, but the attention in this thread seems to be turning away from Lincoln and focusing more on you and your comments. I see you asking leading questions, but unable to make a satisfactory reply to direct questions. The tone and intent of this thread has shifted, so for now, I will be moving on to other topics.

So when is this "Old Enough To Know Better" supposed to kick in?
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12-12-2015, 10:35 AM
Post: #98
RE: Lincoln's Christianity by Michael Burkhimer
I have deliberately avoided this thread because I am not well-versed on Lincoln's religion or lack thereof. However, I have found myself irritated by some of the comments (i.e. loaded questions) that have been posted. I would just like to comment that Rob's latest post, to me, is the most logical and appropriate one to make.

How many professional historians (and theologians?) have attempted to discern Lincoln's religious leanings without reaching a documental conclusion? I have not read their books, but if years of research, analysis, and writing have still left us scratching our heads for a true answer, our meager contributions aren't going to solve the problem. Frankly, I think some of "our" comments are being made just to tarnish the Lincoln image. For what purpose? How many other Presidents have had their religious beliefs so closely scrutinized?
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12-12-2015, 07:23 PM
Post: #99
RE: Lincoln's Christianity by Michael Burkhimer
I see supposed 'fragments' on this and that in dead letter Lincoln material: Niagra Falls, Golden apples, etc. This 'meditation' fragment sounds to me like future material being cooked for what amounted to another speech, the 2nd Inaugural. Many bible (oblique citations) there pointing the blame squarely on the divine hand of God. I wonder how many other 'fragments' of Lincoln's may still be out there. As Herndon and others have concluded, so I agree. Lincoln was an atheist. As it appears certain to me that Lincoln scorned The Thanksgiving Proclamation to others as 'just some nonsense of Sewards". But the longsuffering public, then, believed the sincerity.

Is it a 'loaded misleading question' to ask if Lincoln actually wrote or said something (which the general public has been assured is historical fact), when I know the opposite is fact:
Salmon Chase wrote the last paragraph to invoke God, Seward
wrote the entire Thanksgiving Proclamation? Perhaps a few, present or future, readers here may not have known that. And they may be surprised to learn it, and it may draw them to various conclusions.
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12-12-2015, 07:46 PM (This post was last modified: 12-13-2015 06:12 AM by Eva Elisabeth.)
Post: #100
RE: Lincoln's Christianity by Michael Burkhimer
And maybe the longsuffering public, then, believing the sincerity, was right and you wrong. We will never know, that is the only q.e.d. This discussion has become quite tiresome. And you withheld which I was curious about the most - your reply to Roger. And to my point that even the pope has a ghostwriter.

Rob has well shown that the scoring quote you so fervently insist in is most likely bogus, so your scoring has zero basis to me.
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12-13-2015, 06:49 AM
Post: #101
RE: Lincoln's Christianity by Michael Burkhimer
(12-12-2015 07:23 PM)maharba Wrote:  As Herndon and others have concluded, so I agree. Lincoln was an atheist.

Herndon's intimate knowledge and friendship with Abraham Lincoln were in his pre-presidential years. As several of the posts here indicate, and the vast majority of historians/biographers agree, Lincoln's faith grew strongest during his presidential years. Can you cite some of those who knew Lincoln closely throughout his presidency (unlike Herndon who did not) and thought he was an atheist? Thanks.
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12-13-2015, 12:40 PM
Post: #102
RE: Lincoln's Christianity by Michael Burkhimer
What an excellent question, Roger! If one had doubts about religion before becoming President of the United States at the time that the country split in half and plunged into civil war, it should surely cause one to seriously consider what religion was/is all about.

Like some atheists that we deal with today, Mr. Lincoln's non-belief should have become stronger (i.e. no god would put his people through this, therefore, it is man creating his own evil). Instead, it appears to me that Lincoln turned more towards a supreme being as the presidential years wore on. If that is so, he became closer to God -- or he became aware that he needed to place the blame and burden of the war on something besides himself and other horrible humans. I just don't see Lincoln doing that. I do see a Deist doing that, however.
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12-14-2015, 01:38 PM
Post: #103
RE: Lincoln's Christianity by Michael Burkhimer
Folks who knew Lincoln later, and might have apprehended an evolving Christianity coming over him? I'm looking to see what Lamon, Speed, and Hayes had to say about Lincoln's purportedly evolved Christianity might have said. Can't find that just now, but I notice these other,

“The Bible is not my book nor Christianity my profession.”
— Abraham Lincoln, from Joseph Lewis

My earlier views of the unsoundness of the Christian scheme of salvation and the human origin of the scriptures, have become clearer and stronger with advancing years and I see no reason for thinking I shall ever change them.
-- to Judge Wakefield, after Willie's death

"In religion, Mr. Lincoln was about of the same opinion as Bob Ingersoll (atheist), and there is no account of his ever having changed.
-- Judge Nelson

And I notice in past (and maybe present) years the almost ferocious outrage folks had at William Herndon statements on Lincoln who was his business partner and longtime friend. Christians just did NOT want to entertain the notion that Abraham Lincoln was an atheist. I see old clippings that snipe at Herndon. Things similar to "old broke down lawyer Herndon is bankrupt and near the end" or similar to "down on his luck old Herndon is dying of alcoholism". Which supposed news articles, to me, merely were transparent attacks on William Herndon for having the temerity to publish factual material on his good friend Lincoln. I'll say it again: I don't think Abraham Lincoln would be pleased at all the concocted and glowing narratives about his stainless life. He was a real man who lived a hard and rewarding life. And I don't think Abraham Lincoln would or should have any reason to be ashamed of being an atheist, nor should anyone else be.
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12-14-2015, 01:48 PM (This post was last modified: 12-14-2015 10:08 PM by Eva Elisabeth.)
Post: #104
RE: Lincoln's Christianity by Michael Burkhimer
Maharba, why don't you comment on Roger's post #96, i.e.on what Lincoln privately wrote himself instead of re-and repeating what biased persons like Herndon produced - who, as Roger said, haven't even been close to him in his later years? Don't you think humans are capable to develop, gain insight and change? (If not it certainly makes no sense to further discuss...)

How reliable sources were these Joseph Lewis and Judge Wakefield? (As for the other judge Nelson remember he turned out to be a rather unreliable one.)

And as for Herndon's reliability - D. Donald in his Herndon bio and his "We are Lincoln Men" shows IMO quite well that a) it was Herndon who probably just did NOT want to entertain the notion that Abraham Lincoln was NOT an atheist, and b) that Herndon probably never understood Lincoln as well as Herndon wanted to believe, and was probably as intimate with him either (he had never ever even been privately invited - a friend?), the least in the last years.

Fact is we will never know, while there is indication he turned to or sought whatever kind of God during the presidency. The gospels on this thread keep going in tiresome circles, but I am sure to know what Lincoln would think about some of this - "I have endured a great deal of ridicule without much malice...I am used to it."
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12-14-2015, 04:03 PM
Post: #105
RE: Lincoln's Christianity by Michael Burkhimer
An example of a (Lincoln was an atheist) quote I might be hoping you will post (with source) would come from a person such as journalist Noah Brooks (or Cabinet members, Lincoln's secretaries, Francis Carpenter, etc.).

Brooks said he saw President Lincoln almost daily during the latter years of his Presidency. He most likely exaggerated that fact, but he certainly became good friends with the President and was a frequent White House visitor.

On December 10, 1864, Brooks' employer, the Sacramento Union, carried a Lincoln quote Brooks had sent from Washington on November 11, 1864. (In all Brooks sent 258 dispatches to his paper during the time he was in Washington.)

Brooks reported that Lincoln said to him, "I should be the veriest shallow and self-conceited blockhead upon the footstool if, in my discharge of the duties which are put upon me in this place, I should hope to get along without the wisdom which comes from God and not from men."

The Fehenbachers give the quote an "A."
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