Benjamin Franklin (part II): The 13 Commandments
September 10, 2010
One of the things that struck me when reading the autobiography of Benjamin Franklin was what a huge moralist he was. Franklin rejected the Christian notions of human depravity and original sin and therefore believed that it was possible to achieve moral perfection through exertion. Franklin attempted to achieve this by outlining the morals that he hoped to perfect and then by creating a day planner (the “Franklin Planner”) in which he kept track of his success and failure through morals. Franklin decided that there were 13 virtues that everyone (regardless of religion) should pursue. There are as follows:
I find it endlessly interesting that Franklin chose this list in this order. It seems quite random but he had his reasons. I also find it interesting that Franklin was such a Unitarian so early. For those evangelicals who tend to be quite patriotic please read on the founding fathers. They were flawed human beings (like the rest of us). Many were not orthodox Christians.