Home / Freethought and Humanism: Atheistic and Theistic (Deism) / How Deistic Kindness Made the American Revolution Possible
How Deistic Kindness Made the American Revolution Possible

How Deistic Kindness Made the American Revolution Possible

Ben Franklin and Thomas Paine

Fellow Deists Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Paine.

A great Deist, Ray Fontaine, taught me that people can make themselves active parts of Providence. One such case, I believe, involves the Deist Benjamin Franklin and the Deist Thomas Paine.

In 1772 Thomas Paine was a failure in England. He had a business which went bankrupt, a failed marriage, and even lost his job as a government exciseman. However, it was in this year that he was introduced to Ben Franklin by their mutual friend George Lewis Scott. Two years latter in 1774 Ben Franklin showed Thomas Paine profound Deistic kindness and made himself a part of Providence when he lent him the money to pay Paine's way to America. Franklin also gave Thomas Paine a letter of recommendation to help him secure employment once he arrived in America.

When Paine arrived in Philadelphia on November 30th he was almost dead from typhus. Typhus had already killed five passengers aboard the ship, the London Packet, and Paine was so ill he had to be carried off the ship. Thanks to Ben Franklin's Deistic kindness not only did Thomas Paine secure the means to make it to America, he also had Ben Franklin's support in the letter of recommendation Franklin had written for him. This helped alert one of Franklin's friends in Philadelphia, Dr. John Kearsley who got word that Thomas Paine was a friend of Ben Franklin. Dr. Kearsley took Paine in and treated him for his typhus. Paine stayed with him for six weeks while he was recovering.

If Ben Franklin had not shown Thomas Paine such meaningful and profound Deistic kindness Thomas Paine would probably never have come to America. If that was the case, Paine never would have written Common Sense which won over thousands of people to the side of revolution, thus making it possible for the American Revolution to be started. Then, about six months after independence was declared and the rebels did nothing but suffer one defeat after another and people wanted to call it quits, Thomas Paine penned The Crisis which kept fresh in the minds of the fighters and their supporters the principles involved in the American Revolution. This made many of them think and realize that quitting was wrong and that the principles and values of the American Revolution were simply of far too high a value not to continue to fight for them. This caused the rebels to win the American Revolution! As John Adams wrote, "Without the pen of Paine, the sword of Washington would have been wielded in vain." And without the Deistic kindness of Benjamin Franklin, the pen of Paine never would have found its way to America and its destiny.

If the American Revolution was not fought and won it would be virtually impossible for us to work for a revolution in religion based on our God-given reason and Deism. As Paine wrote in The Age of Reason, "Soon after I had published the pamphlet Common Sense, in America, I saw the exceeding probability that a revolution in the system of government would be followed by a revolution in the system of religion. The adulterous connection of church and state, wherever it had taken place, whether Jewish, Christian, or Turkish, had so effectually prohibited by pains and penalties, every discussion upon established creeds, and upon first principles of religion, that until the system of government should be changed, those subjects could not be brought fairly and openly before the world; but that whenever this should be done, a revolution in the system of religion would follow. Human inventions and priestcraft would be detected; and man would return to the pure, unmixed and unadulterated belief of one God, and no more."

Let us follow the shining examples of Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Paine as we work to complete the reason and Deism based revolution in religion!

To learn more about Deism read Thomas Paine's monumental work The Age of Reason, The Complete Edition and Deism: A Revolution in Religion, A Revolution in You.

About Bob Johnson

Bob Johnson founded the World Union of Deists in 1993. Since then, the organization has grown worldwide, with contacts throughout the United States and in 24 nations. "This continued growth of the World Union of Deists has helped many people free themselves of the heavy weight of fear and superstition put on them by the 'revealed' religions,'" Johnson reflects. "We have given a home to people who felt lost regarding their beliefs in God and educated them to the fact that they are not limited to either 'revealed' religions or to Atheism or Agnosticism." Bob is the author of Deism: A Revolution in Religion, A Revolution in You and An Answer to C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity. He also wrote the introductions to The Age of Reason, The Complete Edition, Principles of Nature and Reason: The Only Oracle of Man. Visit the World Union of Deists (linked as website) for more information.
  • Deborah_B

    Great article, Bob, and as always, I've learned something new from you.  It is such a shame that Paine's books are rarely read and nonsense such as David Barton's versions of Christian nationalist history top the charts.  Paine's quote, that you used, is one of my most favorite of Paine's sayings.

  • Free_Desktop_Dictionary12

    Nice article and Great content,,,,,,,,,i would probably say,,,,,,really the principles and values of american revolution for system of religion,,,,as part of several human new inventions… are too high.

  • Cindy K

    This is a lovely article.

Scroll To Top