Blind Benjamin Franklin
by Dwight Longenecker
“Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth” - Pope St. John Paul II
Apart from his rejection of wigs and the incident with the kite, the key and the lightning bolt, I’m afraid I have never been impressed or attracted to Benjamin Franklin. There was too much of the old-world rationalist and deist in the new-world inventor and sage. Despite his accomplishments, there was something as dull about the man as his po-faced portrait staring from the hundred-dollar bill. Franklin was utilitarian and unitarian, practical and puritanical, materialistic, mechanical, efficient, economical, sensible, and sincere… and dull.
Like most Freemasons, Franklin had a spiritual blind spot. There was nothing wild and mystical in his life. Passion and romance in religion were alien to him. His creed was one of common sense, mild-mannered good works and human virtue. As such it was not only blind. It was bland.
I came across a quotation of his the other day which sums it up. He wrote, “The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason.” It is the sort of sophomoric bromide one expects from rationalist, and it doesn’t stand up to even the mildest of objections.
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