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The Golden Verses Of The Stoic

Seneca and Epictetus refer to the Golden Verses of Pythagoras , which happens to provide a good framework for developing a daily routine, bookended by morning and evening contemplative practices. Zeno of Citium , who founded Stoicism in 301 BC, expressed his doctrines in notoriously terse arguments and concise maxims.  However, Chrysippus, the third head of the Stoic school, wrote over 700 books fleshing these ideas out and adding complex arguments to support them. 

Why The Lie?

Question: Why do Christians have no problem with lies, falsehoods and deception? Maybe it's you don't wish to look further than the convenient answer .. Example:

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Just to pick one we'll look at John Adams to Thomas Jefferson, 28 June 1813 -- Credit where due, you give far more of the quote than most do, and I didn't notice any "editing" which is typical and expected -- so perhaps you felt it was  'self evident' enough that you didn't seek out the letter to verify context and meaning. -- You'll note that  the link I'm providing below is the Gov Archives site, not some blog or shady source but a verified primary source
Founders Archive

Understanding this passage involves going back to the year 1798, when John Adams was president of the United States. While the nation attempted to maintain neutrality in the ongoing war between Great Britain and revolutionary France, the French started seizing American vessels, leading to an undeclared war. It was in this context that a group of young men from Philadelphia wrote to Adams to express their support for his actions:
The youth of the American nation will claim some share of the difficulty, danger, and glory of its defense; and although we do not hold ourselves competent to form an opinion respecting the tendency of every measure, yet we have no hesitation in declaring that we place the most entire confidence in your wisdom, integrity, and patriotism; that we regard our liberty and independence as the richest portion given to us by our ancestors; that we perceive no difference between the illegal and oppressive measures of one government and the insolent attempts now made to usurp our rights by another; that as our ancestors have magnanimously resisted the encroachments of the one, we will no less vigorously oppose the attacks of the other; that at the call of our country we will assemble with promptitude, obey the orders of the constituted authorities with alacrity, and on every occasion act with all the exertion of which we are capable; and for this we pledge ourselves to you, to our country, and to the world.
John Adams returned a polite reply, in which he ventured to give some paternal advice:

It would neither be consistent with my character, nor yours, on this occasion, to read lessons to gentlemen of your education, conduct, and character; if, however, I might be indulged the privilege of a father, I should with the tenderest affection recommend to your serious and constant consideration, that science and morals are the great pillars on which this country has been raised to its present population, opulence, and prosperity, and that these alone can advance, support, and preserve it. 
Without wishing to damp the ardor of curiosity, or influence the freedom of inquiry, I will hazard a prediction, that, after the most industrious and impartial researches, the longest liver of you all will find no principles, institutions, or systems of education more fit, in general, to be transmitted to your posterity, than those you have received from your ancestors.
Thomas Jefferson was then vice-president under Adams, and he favored policies entirely at odds with his. Something about this seemed to sum up for him a basic difference between the Federalists’ view and his own, and years later (on 15 June 1813) he wrote to Adams about it:
One of the questions, you know, on which our parties took different sides, was on the improvability of the human mind in science, in ethics, in government, etc. Those who advocated reformation of institutions, pari passu with the progress of science, maintained that no definite limits could be assigned to that progress. The enemies of reform, on the other hand, denied improvement, and advocated steady adherence to the principles, practices and institutions of our fathers, which they represented as the consummation of wisdom, and acme of excellence, beyond which the human mind could never advance. Although in the passage of your answer alluded to, you expressly disclaim the wish to influence the freedom of inquiry, you predict that that will produce nothing more worthy of transmission to posterity than the principles, institutions and systems of education received from their ancestors.
Adams, in his reply (28 June 1813), disclaims any such general application of his words. He limits the “principles … received from their ancestors” to two areas: “the general principles of Christianity … and the general principles of English and American liberty”. What did he mean by “the general principles of Christianity”? He doesn’t spell them out in the letter, but they are principles held in common by a diverse range of beliefs, including “Roman Catholics, … Presbyterians, Methodists, … Universalists, … Deists and Atheists ….” In other words, Adams had in mind the common system of morals held by all humankind throughout history. And far from giving it the unique status implied by the patchwork quotation, he couples “the general principles of Christianity” throughout with “the general principles of English and American liberty”.

Here is what Adams wrote to Jefferson, with the selected passages in bold:
The Paragraph is: “Science and Morals are the great Pillars on which this Country has been raised to its present population, Oppulence and prosperity, and these alone, can advance, Support and preserve it.” “Without wishing to damp the Ardor of curiosity, or influence the freedom of inquiry, I will hazard a prediction, that after the most industrious and impartial Researches, the longest liver of you all, will find no Principles, Institutions, or Systems of Education, more fit, in general to be transmitted to your Posterity, than those you have received from your7 Ancestors.”

Now, compare the paragraph in the answer with the paragraph in the address, as both are quoted above, and see if we can find the extent and the limits of the meaning of both.
Who composed that army of fine young fellows that was then before my eyes? There were among them Roman Catholics, English Episcopalians, Scotch and American Presbyterians, Methodists, Moravians, Anabaptists, German Lutherans, German Calvinists, Universalists, Arians, Priestleyans, Socinians, Independents, Congregationalists, Horse Protestants, and House Protestants, Deists and Atheists, and Protestants “qui ne croyent rien.” Very few, however, of several of these species; nevertheless, all educated in the general principles of Christianity, and the general principles of English and American liberty.
Could my answer be understood by any candid reader or hearer, to recommend to all the others the general principles, institutions, or systems of education of the Roman Catholics, or those of the Quakers, or those of the Presbyterians, or those of the Methodists, or those of the Moravians, or those of the Universalists, or those of the Philosophers? No. The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence, were the only principles in which that beautiful assembly of young men could unite, and these principles only could be intended by them in their address, or by me in my answer. And what were these general principles? I answer, the general principles of Christianity, in which all those sects were united, and the general principles of English and American liberty, in which all those young men united, and which had united all parties in America, in majorities sufficient to assert and maintain her independence. Now I will avow, that I then believed and now believe that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God; and that those principles of liberty are as unalterable as human nature and our terrestrial, mundane system. I could, therefore, safely say, consistently with all my then and present information, that I believed they would never make discoveries in contradiction to these general principles. In favor of these general principles, in philosophy, religion, and government, I could fill sheets of quotations from Frederic of Prussia, from Hume, Gibbon, Bolingbroke, Rousseau, and Voltaire, as well as Newton and Locke; not to mention thousands of divines and philosophers of inferior fame.
If the passage as given above can really be considered a fair summary of the entire passage, then so can this version, emphasizing the other elements Adams gave as the “general principles on which the fathers achieved independence”:
The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence, were … the general principles of English and American liberty … I will avow, that I then believed and now believe that … those principles of liberty are as unalterable as human nature and our terrestrial, mundane system.

Obviously neither version is a fair representation of the original. Each leaves out one essential element in the original mix so that even though these extracts are made up of Adams’ own words, the overall quotation (particularly sans ellipses) is as dishonest as the Patrick Henry “religionists” misattribution or the Washington “impossible to govern without the Bibleconcoction.

But let's Finish this letter:
I might have flattered myself that my Sentiments were Sufficiently12 known to have protected me against Suspicions of narrow thoughts contracted Sentiments, biggotted, enthusiastic or Superstitious Principles civil political philosophical, or ecclesiastical. The first Sentence of the Preface to my Defence of the Constitutions, Vol. 1, printed in 1787 is in these Words “The Arts and Sciences, in general, during the three or four last centuries, have had a regular course of progressive improvement. The Inventions in Mechanic Arts, the discoveries in natural Philosophy, navigation and commerce, and the Advancement of civilization and humanity, have occasioned Changes in the condition of the World and the human Character, which would have astonished13 the most refined Nations of Antiquity.14 &c I will quote no farther: but request you to read again that whole page, and then Say whether the Writer of it, could be Suspected of recommending to youth, “to look backward, instead of forwardfor instruction and Improvement.
This Letter is already too long. In my next I Shall consider “The Terrorism of the day.15 Mean time, I am as
ever; your Friend
John Adams

Note: The Terrorism of the Day -- is Christianity

You use John Adams -- the person most vocal about the separation of church and state, and the one who frequently in voice, press, letter and document refers to Christianity as "Superstitions" and using it as a guide to be "looking backward instead of forward" -- Washington and Jefferson got that Superstitions, from him, and use it frequently themselves.

In fact here is one from Washington ---
 “We have abundant reason to rejoice that in this Land the light of truth and reason has triumphed over the power of bigotry and superstition… In this enlightened Age and in this Land of equal liberty it is our boast, that a man’s religious tenets will not forfeit the protection of the Laws, nor deprive him of the right of attaining and holding the highest Offices that are known in the United States.”
~Founding Father George Washington, letter to the members of the New Church in Baltimore, January 27, 1793

It's a nice quote, sure -- and it meets my needs at the moment, but what is more telling is to read both the letter he is replying to and the full letter this quote is from -- both are short letters -- his being two short paragraphs more than the quote I provided.

Letter from the 
Members of the New Jerusalem Church of Baltimore    
Washington's Return Letter     

With Washington the oversight is expected, because he sort of flip-flops a bit. During the war he attended services regularly, spoke to the minister and even had dinner with him many Sunday evenings. He engages with the minister in letters as well and we have many of those.  He constantly uses the word Providence as an active force in life. Every single victory in war he credits to Providence. The miracle of the Constitutional Convention he credits to Providence. The creation of the federal government and the prosperity of the early republic, he credits to Providence ... I was struck at how frequently in his letters he's referring to Providence.

Washington, as commander of the army and as president, was a vigorous promoter of tolerance for all religious denominations. He believed religion was an important support for public order, morality and virtue. He often attended services of different denominations. He suppressed anti-Catholic celebrations in the Army.

Eyewitness accounts exist of Washington engaging in private devotions.

Washington frequently accompanied his wife to church services. Although third-hand reports say he took communion, he is usually characterized as never or rarely participating in the rite. He would regularly leave services before communion with the other non-communicants (as was the custom of the day), until, after being admonished by a rector, he ceased attending at all on communion Sundays.

So Yes, he often used words for the deity, such as "God" and "Providence," while avoiding using the words "Jesus" and "Christ." In the whole of his  collected works, "Christ" appears once --  in an official letter to Indians --  drafted by an aide.

You can verify this yourself. We have  30,249 documents written by the man himself. it is a simple thing to search all of them for various words.

Documents Written By George Washington  

Now, you're going to get some false positives -- such as searching with that link above and adding to the query -- Jesus. One of the results will be this page
A False Positive 
and in the brief description you'll see these words...
"Explicit acknowledgement of the only true God and Jesus Christ,whom he hath sent .."
Those words are from the letter he is replying to on the same page.. at the bottom ... and again we find a very clear correspondence between what you are suggesting on your About page, and Washington being very clear -- it's not going to happen.

Says the church -- we should not have been alone in rejoicing to have seen some Explicit acknowledgement of the only true God and Jesus Christ, whom he hath sent inserted some where in the Magna Charta of our country.

His response -- The tribute of thanksgiving which you offer to “the gracious Father of lights” for his inspiration of our public-councils with wisdom and firmness to complete the national constitution, is worthy of men, who, devoted to the pious purposes of religion, desire their accomplishment by such means as advance the temporal happiness of their fellow — men — and, here, I am persuaded, you will permit me to observe that the path of true piety is so plain as to require but little political direction. To this consideration we ought to ascribe the absence of any regulation, respecting religion, from the Magna-Charta of our country.

Well said, don't you think? He's kind, considerate, respectful and .. firm.

After the war --- and then after he is out of office -- he stops going to services and quits the dinners because he doesn't feel the need for them -- he went for his men, for their well-being, not his. Yes, he lies. he goes to church for his men's morale -- what a bad man.
He also crosses the Delaware on Christmas to slaughter English soldiers. .
I won't suggest that he wasn't Christian or that he was. For well over 200 years-- including during the time he was in office as President -- people, historians, reporters and many ministers have questioned whether he was or not and no one has ever found definitive proof. Which I believe is just the way he wanted it to be.  -- which kind of brings up the question -- how can you be certain? Or again, do you just not care about accuracy?

Let's look at Adams -- which is a flat out falsehood using that quote on your About page. And you are not alone at all. Across the Internet on pages great and small these lies and falsehoods are proclaimed as truth. Why? Why is it so important that it is worth sacrilege?  Is the freedom to worship as you wish not enough?

Quotes from John Adams 

“The United States of America have exhibited, perhaps, the first example of governments erected on the simple principles of nature; and if men are now sufficiently enlightened to disabuse themselves of artifice, imposture, hypocrisy, and superstition, they will consider this event as an era in their history. Although the detail of the formation of the American governments is at present little known or regarded either in Europe or in America, it may hereafter become an object of curiosity. It will never be pretended that any persons employed in that service had interviews with the gods, or were in any degree under the influence of Heaven, more than those at work upon ships or houses, or laboring in merchandise or agriculture; it will forever be acknowledged that these governments were contrived merely by the use of reason and the senses.”
~John Adams, “A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America” 1787-1788

“The Government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion.”
~1797 Treaty of Tripoli signed by Founding Father John Adams
This one I have a full page about, and it is worth looking at, because that statement inside a Ratified Treaty Puts that line into the Constitution of the US.

By Law Not Christian

“Thirteen governments [of the original states] thus founded on the natural authority of the people alone, without a pretence of miracle or mystery, and which are destined to spread over the northern part of that whole quarter of the globe, are a great point gained in favor of the rights of mankind.”
~Founding Father John Adams, “A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America” (1787-88)
 “We should begin by setting conscience free. When all men of all religions shall enjoy equal liberty, property, and an equal chance for honors and power we may expect that improvements will be made in the human character and the state of society.”
~Founding Father John Adams, letter to Dr. Price, April 8, 1785

Adams is so adamant about the separation of church and state and so wholly against any connection between the two... here

The Writings of John Adams

Pick one. Any of those 10, 262 documents written by John Adams.  He proclaims that any mix of the two will lead to the slaughter of innocents and citizens. He throws down and attributes the ills of every nation in the world directly connected to the joining of church with state.

And you use a false quote from his letter ... to of all people -- Jefferson -- on your page.

Why? I'm seriously dumbfounded.

I would just like to know how this is worked out to be useful.

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