The quote “Beer is proof that God loves us” has been attributed to Benjamin Franklin for many years. All over the internet one can find posters, shirts, cups, with the quote printed, giving Franklin credit for those words.
Upon further examination, it is apparent that Franklin never said these exact words, although something vaguely similar. In an undated letter to Abbe Morellet, Franklin said “We hear of the conversion of water into wine at the marriage in Cana, as of a miracle. But this conversion is, through the goodness of God, made every day before our eyes. Behold the rain which descends from heaven upon our vineyards, and which incorporates itself with the grapes to be changed into wine; a constant proof that God loves us, and loves to see us happy!”
It is easy to see how these words could be manipulated into Franklin implying that beer is proof of God’s love for us. Although, it seems from the above quote that he was actually referring to wine and the process of making wine. It is not surprising that breweries and beer sellers alike would take these words and twist them to mean beer specifically, and then put Franklin’s “stamp of approval” on it before selling merchandise with his name and words all over it.
In Old Mistresses Apologue, Mr. Franklin begins by defending the institution of marriage, claiming that it is the most natural way for a man and woman to coexist in the world. He believes that in marriage the man is able to experience the “softness and sensibility” of a woman; while the woman is able to experience the “force of body and strength of reason” of a man. He claims that a man without a woman, or a woman without a man, is comparable to “the odd half of a pair of scissars.” Essentially, the man and woman are meant for each other.
After expressing how he feels about marriage, Franklin goes on to bash any sort of relationship that is avoiding marriage, such as an affair. He reinforces his belief in marriage yet again, before continuing to explain how an affair should work if one was to enter into an affair.
Franklin spells out eight reasons why anyone who may think of beginning an affair with a woman should seek an elderly woman, and not a young one. He comments on the ability of older women to carry better conversation, give better advice, and would appreciate the company of a man in any capacity. He then explains that for the younger women, while they may be more physically attractive they do not have the same experience and wisdom of the older woman. And with time, the beauty of the younger woman will cease to exist, while the older woman will still be the same as time passes.
Franklin also explains that when involving in an affair with an older woman, the “the Sin is less. The debauching a Virgin may be her Ruin, and make her for Life unhappy.” He believes that an affair with an older woman to be superior for the overall happiness of the woman and avoiding the heartbreak for a younger woman. Lastly, Franklin exclaims that the older woman is much more grateful than the younger woman, truly appreciating the man.
On October 8, 1722 Benjamin Franklin’s fourteenth and final essay under the pen name “Silence Dogood” was published in the New England Courant. In this essay, Benjamin Franklin takes a different approach than the previous thirteen letters and directly attacks the institution of religion and the church itself.
Franklin shows his disdain with a certain clergymen of Connecticut, “But, by this Turn of Thought I would not be suspected of Uncharitableness to those Clergymen at Connecticut, who have lately embrac’d the Establish’d Religion of our Nation” Franklin seems to direct this attack against church and religion after learning that New Haven clergymen and Yale faculty members had switched their religious beliefs, abandoning their Puritan Congregation for an Anglican ordination. He calls into question the meaning and significance of religion and church, as it does not seem appropriate to him that one would be able to switch their religious beliefs so easily and quickly, for seemingly no reason.
Franklin goes on to then call these blind followers of a certain religion “zealots” and “ideots.” Stating, “There are too many blind Zealots among every Denomination of Christians” Here Franklin is further questioning this idea of religion and what it all stands for. It appears that he believes the institution of religion can and has become contradictory when it gains followers who do not truly believe what they hear, and are able to bend and change their beliefs according to the time and given situation at hand.
He goes on to directly call into question the meaning and use of the word “church” as it is a somewhat contradictory and compelling matter of confusion for the people. Franklin claims that the insecurity or doubt in what the true meaning of the word church is has led to much confusion for the people, and he calls into question the true significance of the word “church.”
This is a picture of the Old South Meeting House on Milk Street. The meeting house played an important role in early American colonial history, as it was the original meeting point for those organizing the Boston Tea Party in December of 1773. This site relates to Benjamin Franklin as he was baptized in the Old South Meeting House, as it was a Church during the 1700s and 1800s, before it became a museum in the late 1800s. Across the street from the Meeting House was where Franklin was born.