The answer was that, without having done one scientific study, they realized what the Jews realized over 3,000 years ago: that belief in God made for a safe and happy society.
They knew that those who believed would spend eternal life in Heaven. They knew that those who did not would spend eternal life in Hell. Belief creates happiness, fear creates respect. This results in a humble, honorable, and trustworthy society.
The founding fathers, even those who were not true Christians, understood this. Thomas Jefferson and John Adams discussed this subject in many of the letters they wrote to each other in their later years.
They knew that the United States, having accrued a massive debt following their massive campaign for independence, could not afford a militia, and therefore they needed to figure out a way to prevent people from committing crimes. The way they did this was by inculcating the values and morals of the Christian Bible among society.
It is for this reason that George Washington, along with nearly every president since him, has referenced God and Jesus in many of their speeches. The idea was to assure that America be an inertly Christian nation.
However, as Tom Knox noted in his column at dailymail.com, The tantalising proof that belief in God makes you happier and healthier:
God has had a tough time over the past few years. On TV, in newspapers and on the internet, the debate as to whether faith has any relevance in a sceptical modern world has been as ubiquitous as it has been vigorous.
And it has been pretty clear which side is the most splenetic.
From Richard Dawkins’ powerful atheist polemics to Christopher Hitchens’ public derision of the Roman Catholic Tony Blair and Stephen Hawking’s proclamation that the universe ‘has no need for God’, it seems that unbelievers have had the dwindling faithful on the run.Yet then Knox came to a stunning revelation:
But then I had something of an epiphany. One night, after a long dinner, I was walking back to my hotel in downtown Salt Lake City at 2am and I suddenly realised: I felt safe. As any transatlantic traveller knows, this is a pretty unusual experience in an American city after midnight.
Why did I feel safe? Because I was in a largely Mormon city, and Mormons are never going to mug you. They might bore or annoy you when they come knocking on your door, touting their faith, but they are not going to attack you.
The Mormons’ wholesome religiousness, their endless and charitable kindliness, made their city a better place. And that made me think: Why was I so supercilious about such happy, hospitable people? What gave me the right to sneer at their religion?
From that moment I took a deeper, more rigorous interest in the possible benefits of religious faith. Not one particular creed, but all creeds. And I was startled by what I found.Yet Knox's epiphany should not come as a surprise, as such epiphany's have been the norm throughout history. The Bible is full of them. The Bible is also full of stories where people lost Faith in God, such as the Tower of Babel. So what we are facing now is nothing new.
The rise of secularism in America and Europe over the past 60 years comes as no surprise to anyone raised by the Christian Bible. We have spent our entire lives reading about the temptations of Satan on people throughout history.
We grew up knowing how gifts such as the Holy Spirit and the Theological Virtues create an internal peace even during the most challenging times in life. Such internal peace brings forth joy and comfort.
So while the challenges of life may cause doom and despair in some, those who believe always retain faith and hope, which leads to happiness.