5/21/2003                                                                                       View Comments

"Lighthouses are more helpful than churches."
[Benjamin Franklin]

deliverancePennsylvania Hospital, the nation’s first hospital, is a 515-bed acute care facility that provides a full-range of diagnostic and therapeutic medical services and functions as a major teaching and clinical research institution. The hospital was founded in 1751 by Benjamin Franklin and Dr. Thomas Bond to care for the “sick-poor and insane of Philadelphia.” The hospital is now known for its general and specialty surgical services, including orthopaedics, vascular, neurosurgery, otorhinolaryngology (ENT) and urology as well as its obstetrics program -- especially high-risk maternal and fetal services -- neonatology, neurosciences and behavioral health, with expanding programs for cancer, cardiac care and bloodless medicine and surgery. The hospital has over 24,500 inpatient admissions and 201,000 outpatient visits each year, including over 4,200 births. Pennsylvania Hospital is part of the University of Pennsylvania Health System and is located at 8th and Spruce Streets in the historic Society Hill district of Philadelphia.

Ben founded the Union Fire Company in Philadelphia. Thanks to the matchless leadership of Benjamin Franklin, other volunteer fire departments were organized and the dire fear of fires expired in Philadelphia which became one of safest city's in the world in terms of fire damage.

Franklin was also unequaled in America as an inventor until Thomas Edison. He invented the Franklin stove, bifocal eyeglasses and the lightning rod. Franklin wasn't greedy about his inventions, preferring to have them used freely for the comfort and convenience of everyone. Thomas Jefferson called Benjamin Franklin "the greatest man and ornament of the age and country in which he lived." He also organized the country's first subscription library.

What did Christians of the time think of Franklin?
"It is much to be lamented that a man of Franklin's general good character and great influence should have been an unbeliever in Christianity, and also have done as much as he did to make others unbelievers" [Priestley's Autobiography, p. 60, on Benjamin Franklin]

The Rev. Thomas Prince, pastor of Old South Church, blamed Franklin's invention of the lightning rod for causing the Massachusetts earthquake of 1755. In Prince's sermon on the topic, he expressed the opinion that the frequency of earthquakes may be due to the erection of "points invented by the sagacious Mr. Franklin." He goes on to argue that "in Boston more are erected than anywhere else in New England, and Boston seems to be more dreadfully shaken. Oh! There is no getting out of the mighty hand of God."

What do biographers say?
"If belief in the miraculous revelation of the Old Testament and the New is required to make a man religious, then Franklin had no religion at all. It would be an insult to say that he believed in the popular theology of his time, or of ours, for. I find not a line from his pen indicating any such belief." [Theodore Parker]


"It is pity that good works, among some sorts of people, are so little valued, and good words admired in their stead. I mean seemingly pious discourses, instead of humane, benevolent actions. These they almost put out of countenance by calling morality, rotten morality; righteousness, ragged righteousness, and even filthy rags, and when you mention virtue, pucker up their noses; at the same time that they eagerly snuff up an empty, canting harangue, as if it were a posy of the choicest flowers" [Benjamin Franklin, 1758, to his sister, Mrs. Jane Mecom, Works, Vol. VII., p. 185]

Christianity says that any good work by an unbeliever is but worthless rags. Any good words by a believer is light and life.

Any comments?

3 comments:

webmdave said...

Amazing how many people don't know the difference between xtianity and deism

webmdave said...

Uh, that's Deism, friend. He denied belief in a magically un-dead god-man. http://www.infidels.org/library/historical/john_remsburg/six_historic_americans/chapter_4.html

webmdave said...

Except that Benjamin Franklin was a christian. In a letter to Josiah Quincey, April 22, 1779 he said, "I believe in one God, Creator of the universe. That He governs it by his Providence. That He ought to be worshiped."