First of all, Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) was a deist. As far as we know he wasn’t a Christian, however. (For more on deism go through the DOOR as far as you can.)

I culled the following bits of Franklin’s wisdom from a book while waiting in my financial advisor’s office.  These are my favorites, perfect for a Wednesday morning–this Wed., anyway…

1. We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid.


2. He was so learned that he could name a horse in nine languages; so ignorant that he bought a cow to ride on.


3. You will find the key to success under the alarm clock.


4. The DOORS to wisdom are never shut


as long as you hunger for more and you’re smart enough to click on them for entry. You can find one right here…


5. He who falls in love with himself will have no rivals.


6. The Constitution gives people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it for yourself.


7. Teach your child to hold his tongue; he’ll learn fast enough to speak.


8. If a man empties a purse into his head, no man can take it away from him. An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.


[Now Knapp meddles…]

9. If a man empties a purse into his head, no man can take it away from him–except with a guillotine.


10. [Knapp, when stopped by a passing truck as he walks around the lake he lives on and is asked why he dives (from the dock in the picture) into the freezing water so early in the morning he replies…] “Easy to answer! When I dive in and come up again, I say to myself, ‘Now I can do anything else on my list today!’ If I don’t come up, nothing on the rest of my list matters.” “I’ll have to write that down,” said the driver as he pulled away.


Now you can, too.

The first eight of these were taken from Quotations of Benjamin Franklin Applewood Books, 2003.

Deism–belief in the existence of a supreme being, specifically of a creator who does not intervene in the universe. The term is used chiefly of an intellectual movement of the 17th and 18th centuries that accepted the existence of a creator on the basis of reason but rejected belief in a supernatural deity who interacts with humankind.


1. Deism either rejects or ignores the existence of Jesus Christ.

2. Antony Flew, who died just a few years ago, and was an atheistic Oxford professor who crusaded for atheism for more than 50 years, converted to deism near the end of his life titled his last book, There Is a God.

3. Gregory Koukl speaks to the misconception that “most of the intelligent founding fathers were Deists, not Christians.” He states that of the 55 members of the Constitutional Convention 51 were church members–Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Congregationalists, Lutherans, Dutch Reformed, and Roman Catholics. One person’s religion was unknown, and only 3 were Deists, one of which was Benjamin Franklin. And this was at a time when church membership, for the most part, required sworn allegiance to strict doctrinal creeds. (Koukl, Tactics, Zondervan, 2009, pp. 178-179)


[♠]  Hmsch: From a list of Ben Franklin quotes, write down 5 of your favorites and rank them.  Compare what you’ve picked with those picked by others. Try to write an original Franklin quote (which is impossible, of course) that sounds like old Ben himself.

Author: John Knapp

2 thoughts on “#033…FRANKLIN INSPIRES!

  1. Benjamin Franklin was awesome! You should check out his biography. Or his unfinished autobiography if you’re feeling motivated. Both are fascinating reads.

  2. Agreed! Franklin was everywhere doing everything, with little (recorded) opposition though he was once voted out of office. Intriguing is his gentle dance in and around Christianity, which he began leaning toward near the end of his life (because of guilt or questions, most likely, of his personal uneven moral behavior). Interesting, too, is the accepting accommodation of theological differences made by so many to create desirable–and lasting–political policy. More on Franklin to come…

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