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Monday, October 18, 2010


We've been watching the PBS documentary "God in America" and it was interesting to hear their description of how Lincoln's attitude toward religion changed as the civil war progressed. Initially it sounds like his thoughts were roughly the same as Dylan's With God on Our Side. As the war progressed though, and casualties increased, he felt compelled to the belief that this was all God's plan, that God wanted the civil war and wanted the north to win.

I suppose it was the only way he could think to justify all that pain. I wonder what sorts of beliefs about the afterlife Lincoln held that could foster anything but disdain for the Christian God. Initially Lincoln was more of a deist but his later belief, according to the film, was in a more personal (and rather horrifying) God.

Watch the full episode. See more FRONTLINE.

1 comment:

Carl said...

Based on his second inaugural address (on the wall at the Lincoln Memorial), it's pretty clear that Lincoln thought that the high body count of the Civil War was caused by God judging the US as evil for allowing slavery, and so God was pouring out some OT wrath on us about it. Not the sort of thing a present day politician would ever say, but clearly what Lincoln was claiming in the inaugural.