This week’s book review is “The Faiths of Our Fathers: What America’s Founders Really Believed,” by Alf J. Mapp Jr.
I’ve been interested in the Declaration and the Constitution since high school (and even today in studying our own Kauai County Charter). Knowing the mindsets, beliefs and perspectives of those that created the Constitution gives me a better understanding of how the matters addressed in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights came to be enumerated and why they were worded the way they were.
I have found this book to be a great primer for understanding our most-contributing Founding Fathers’ spiritual philosophies. What makes this exciting is understanding how these different ways of thought could work together in creating an establishment that respected all their beliefs. Now if we can only get the national discussion back to that mindset, imagine what we could create!
As Thomas Jefferson was apt to quote (and this book certainly applies), “Knowledge is power.” This is the purpose of this brief and enlightening work by Alf J. Mapp Jr. entitled “The Faiths of Our Fathers: What America’s Founders Really Believed.”
We found this to be a great introduction to 11 of these men and their diversity of spiritual thought, especially on how it influenced their approach to the creation of the government and liberties we now enjoy (and take for granted). “There was no monolithic national faith acknowledged by all Founding Fathers. Their religious attitudes were as varied as their political opinions.”
This becomes especially important in understanding how this relates to the intent of the First Amendment. Many were Deists — a spiritual belief that focuses on understanding God by studying with reason the universe that was set in motion. Others were practicing Christians, while others, like Benjamin Franklin, were quite interesting and unusual for the times! This is just scratching the surface of the inside information this book provides. See you soon!
Ed and Cynthia Justus are the owners of The Bookstore in Hanapape.