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Although in his Autobiography Benjamin Franklin claims that at a young age he became a thorough Deist 1359 Franklin saw God as much more than a blind watchmaker Among his frequent references to practicality reason and the value of experimental science Franklins metaphysical beliefs 2 easily get lost especially as he distances himself theologically from colonial Christian doctrines It becomes convenient but incorrect to let Franklins virtue stand apart from his religious beliefs Franklin maintained a firm belief however in a Being of infinite Wisdom Goodness and Power 165 3 a God who by providence 4 acts frequently in the world a power who could and would suspend deterministic natural laws at will Deism tho it might be true was not very useful to the young Franklin 1359 Specifically a purely deterministic view of a God-created universe was absurd and useless precisely because it would require God to blind himself On the Providence of God in the Government of the World 166 Franklins God is useful first because he chooses to help and favour us via divine intervention 168 5 Franklins God is useful second because he inspires us to perform our own good actions 6 Primarily these good actions arise out of thanksgiving to God 7 While Franklin believes that these good actions procure Gods favor 168 in that God loves those of us who do good to others 179 8 Franklin recognizes that most of his countrymen would not agree with this formulation of theology a kind of streamlined doctrine-free Christianity in which the question of Christs divinity makes no difference 9 As a result in his writings Franklin tends to stress the usefulness of virtue and virtuous deeds apart from any mention of theology He elevates to the level of doctrine That Virtuous Men ought to league together to strengthen the Interest of Virtue in the World 179 thus placing virtue in the context of a human community which both encourages
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