I've finished Philip Dray's biography of Benjamin Franklin, "Stealing God's Thunder," and while it could have used another round of editing [Dray seems to have a penchant for digression and repeating himself] over-all the book is exciting and deeply interesting. Of course, so is his subject, for whom my esteem has greatly increased. In many respects, Franklin's life of achievements parallels my other favorite scientist, Charles Darwin. And like so many great minds, his attitude toward religion and superstition is as illuminating as a lightning bolt. As he approached his death, he offered this witty observation:
To the clergyman Ezra Stiles, who queried him about his religious views, Franklin affirmed his faith in God but admitted to doubts about the divinity of Jesus, "tho' it is a question I do not dogmatize upon, having never studied it, and think it needless to busy myself with now, when I expect soon an opportunity of knowing the truth with less trouble."
What an agreeable old man. Cheers to you, Benjamin Franklin, scientist and founding [grand]father of the United States.