I think vital religion has always suffered when orthodoxy is more regarded than virtue. And the Scriptures assure me that at the last day we shall not be examined by what we thought, but what we did…
Benjamin Franklin: An American Life
by W. Isaacson (Simon & Shuster, 2003)
My wife is reading this book and pointed out the quote to me. From Isaacson’s take, Franklin is less a deist than many have reported. And while he fought with some of his relatives over the meaning of faith, I think he does capture this sentiment right. It is possible to concern yourself so much with orthodoxy that you fail to miss the heart of the Gospel. Yes, Franklin did try to have virtue via his own power (a friend of his said something to the effect that Franklin’s efforts failed to tackle the virtue of humility or the vice of pride). But nonetheless, virtue or act is what is asked of individuals. Did you clothe the naked, feed the hungry, visit the imprisoned?