Friday, August 15, 2008

#16 Believing That America Is A Christian Nation

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Christian culture is adamant that America is a Christian nation. The Constitution only mentions God and not Christ, but Christian culture very much wants our country to be Christian also. If God exists and if Jesus is who he said he is, he is much more concerned with individuals and their hearts than an entire nation conforming to a standard. But Christian culture clings to the idea that American is a Christian nation. It is a rather curious thing.

19 comments:

Magnus said...

Many of the Founding Fathers were Deists and heavily influenced by the Enlightenment.
Sorry, I keep posting but I really am quite taken with your blog.

Simone said...

There are a lot of quotes from Thomas Jefferson which seem to suggest he didn't believe in God at all, let alone Christ. Just because Christians are the majority, they seem to forget why they settled here in the first place: TO ESCAPE RELIGIOUS PERSECUTION!!! Now they are doing the same thing to others.

I really hate when people try to say this is a Christian nation because it's like they are flat out telling me I don't belong here. I do so. The founding fathers said so, :D

Magnus said...

I'm Canadian and we have Evangelicals who fervently believe that Canada was founded as a Christian nation. This is utter rubbish, you'd have an easier time positing that the main purpose of building Canada was to stop American expansion and pee on America's sense of Manifest Destiny.

Cousins of mine, who are Americans, were always a bit bothered by the militancy of the Evangelical movement.

Anonymous said...

I think that most people get this idea because many of the ideas of the constitution are rooted in judeo-christian beliefs.

There is ample evidence that most of the founding fathers were involved in some form of Christianity. However, Most were very hesitant to express religious beliefs as they wanted to avoid any notions of a state led chuch.

Astrid said...

If you haven't already you should post about the phrase "God bless America". As a nz turned Australian I have always found this phase very curious. There seems to be asumption he will. Australians never do it but then I don't think its as cool for us to be outwardly patrotic.

Amy said...

Hi Stephy-
On a more recent post, I just left a comment defending Christian Culture as it pertains to Memorial Day, so now I have to even things out.

I'm looking at an advertisement in the May '09 CBA Retailers magazine for the new Thomas Nelson Inc. "American Patriot's Bible." (if you know what 'CBA' is, you get 10,000 Christian Culture Bonus Points)
"A complete NKJV for all American patriots." (If you don't know what 'NKJV' is, you get MINUS 10,000 Bonus Points.)

"Celebrate One Nation Under God"
"In time for Independence Day, Thomas Nelson releases 'The American Patriot's Bible: The Word of God and the Shaping of America.' ...contains historic illustrations and photographs, and notations on every known verse on which our presidents rested their hands when they were sworn into office (since President Obama used a closed Bible during his inauguration, he's included in an equal rights section, as well as the presidential listing). Special pages provide factoids about historic events..."

I swear I'm not making this up.
Anybody care to attempt to explain to me why this Bible needs a separate "Equal Rights Section" for President Obama??? (How dare he swear on the whole Bible instead of just one verse!) Or maybe they felt they needed to justify including him in the Presidential Listing at all?
???
seriously.

Magdalene said...

I hate to point out that the culture that was the original culture on this continent were nature and goddess worshipers. But Christian culture doesn't like to think about that either because then they would have to admit the government they so love took part in genocide and theft as it was founded.

Hactar said...

Those who think the founding fathers were Christian should read "The Jefferson Bible." Jefferson went through the new testament with a razor and glue, combined all the gospels and removed all of the supernatural elements. It ends with Jesus' burial. And it truly is an excellent book.

marie said...

This belief is the reason why they try to impose their beliefs on others through laws (like gay marriage, for example) because they believe that the more the people of this country sin, the more judgement or abandonment God will bring upon us as a whole. The idea that non-believers should be left to behave the way they want has been forgotten, and this idea is the main reason why.

prettydarnpretty said...

It's the biggest paradox EVER. They want freedom soooooooo bad but they also want to call their nation Christian, aka religious intolerance, sooooooooooooooooooooooo bad.

Anonymous said...

True Christians are above nationalism. Commitment to God is (allegedly) so much more important than any one little country.

Or course, it's not just here that nationalism and religion have become so intertwined.

It is curious that Christian Americans are somehow better or more important than Christians elsewhere.

Just a comment from a proud non-theist(recovering Christian) American.

ElktoothChain said...

cf. "The Myth of the Christian Nation" by Dr. Gregory Boyd

(not to speak at all of "Christian Anarchism" by Vernard Eller, "Anarchy & Christianity" by Jacques Ellul or, well, a vast array of other books that make the notion of America's status as a "Christian nation" look like the absolute pile of manure that it is)

texasinafrica said...

The Constitution doesn't mention God. All it says about religion is that there can't be a "religious test" for public office, meaning you don't have to be a Christian (or of any religious belief at all) to hold public office.

Anonymous said...

Deist absolutely does not equal Christian, just in case anybody makes that mistake. The founding fathers may have been Deists, but I doubt many would think highly of today's modern Evangelical movement, which seems to be more about exacting control than anything else.
I always wonder what exactly is meant by the term "Christian Nation"? Does this mean they choose to follow the 10 commandments? They opt to use the bible to guide their politics? They should spend half their federal budget on the military? What?
I suspect that there will be as many different definitions of "Christian Nation" as there are Christians.
*sigh* People really need to toss that silly book and start living in the moment, a.k.a. reality.

Anthony said...

As TexasinAfrica said, the Constitution doesn't mention God at all. It's a thoroughly secular document.

You're thinking of the Declaration of Independence, which uses Deist terms such as "Nature's God" and "Creator".

Mel T said...

Stephy wrote, "If God exists and if Jesus is who he said he is, he is much more concerned with individuals and their hearts than an entire nation conforming to a standard."

Pace Calvin? Knox? How unchartacteristically bald an assertion for your blog. Pat Robertson is not the only baby in the bathwater. Many brilliant Christians have argued that if Jesus is etc, then Israel prefigures a Christian nation in the same way the ritual sacrifice of the lamb prefigures Christ, and that the task of the Church is to bring about the Millenial rule of Christ on Earth.

This is the first post to propose a theological position, rather than a cultural observation. The other commenters don't seem to recognize that the theological tradition demands at the very least a different kind of chiming in or ranting than a fashion trend.

Mel T said...

ElktoothChain reads Jacques Ellul?

Mel T's presumption implodes again!

Lennyb said...

Oh man, so many people left my church over this. Nobody can tell me how killing most of the original inhabitants and stealing all the land is Christ like in the least.

Besides that, one could easily argue that it was a sin for the founding fathers to resist their king. The only biblical message to Christians is to persevere.

actionsub said...

Lennyb, I tried making that exact same argument in a Bible study once. Their answer: "They were rebelling against having a king."
Realizing that bothering them with facts wasn't going to fly here, I shut my mouth before reminding them that as Christians, we were subjects of Jesus who would return as King!!!