Ben Franklin Autobiography

Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin was not just one of the Founding Fathers of the United States; he was much more than that. He was a publisher, writer, inventor, diplomat, philosopher, and scientist. He created an international celebrity-like status for himself with his experiments with electricity and lightning, various inventions such as the Franklin stove and bifocals, role in the Enlightenment, among other things. While Franklin’s personal religious beliefs may have been considered as atheistic, agnostic, or deistic, his passion for virtue and divinity and the positive influence it has on the human character goes questioned.
Franklin speaks of religion in several parts of his autobiography. Franklin was raised in a very religious family, where his father was an important figure in the Puritan community of Boston. After being exiled as a teenager for questioning the religious status quo, he left the close-minded community in Boston to start over in a new city. As Franklin matured, he shaped his personal religious beliefs based on what he thought was right, not what the clergy taught and used to deceive and control the masses.
Franklin questioned the authority of the clergy in his day, but never doubted the significance of living a virtuous life. He believed faith could have a strong positive influence on human character and behavior.   Religious teachings and beliefs can help shape someone’s moral laws, ethics, even lifestyle in order to better oneself. “Love thy neighbor” is something you can’t really interpret in any negative sense. However, Franklin watched as the pious leaders of his time abused faith in order to control the faithful, and that didn’t sit right with him. He chose to believe in the “laws of nature”, instead of devoting himself to an organized religion.   These views are common with those of a Deist – “one who believes that reason and observation of the natural world, without the need for organized religion, can determine that a supreme...