A Christian Bless on Our U.S. …Maybe?

I know a couple of my past entries have, in some way or another, involved Christianity, but I get on kind of a “roll” with topics and just end up with a lot to say about them.

If you’d like to know what the point of this entry is without reading the entire thing, here it is: The United States is NOT a Christian nation. It never has been. Anyone who tells you otherwise a.) is full of bologna or b.) honestly has no clue.

I first stumbled upon the significance of this fact during my freshman second semester at Marquette. I had possibly the most wonderful Western Civilization teacher I could have ever asked for, and while studying the Enlightenment period in England, we discussed all the ways in which England’s government influenced America’s own setup- even our Bill of Rights is based off one that Parliament created years earlier. All of America’s earliest and greatest leaders modeled themselves off of the great Enlightenment thinkers from France and England.

A key point of the Enlightenment Period was the search for logic and rationality. Intellectuals of this period sought reason in all things… including religion. It was at this time that deism flourished.

In short, deism is a belief in a creator, usually referred to as God. This was a replica of Aristotle’s “unmoved mover” who sets the world in motion. However, once the Creator winds the watch (the analogy that is commonly used) he steps back and observes as it all unfolds. This god does not intervene in human affairs. Ever.

Following along the same lines, deists do not believe that Jesus was the Messiah. They believe that he did indeed exist but that he was in no way divine. Why is this? Because it was not reasonable. It did not make sense that the Creator would interfere with the world. Thomas Jefferson even created an edited version of the Bible in which he censored ALL of Christ’s miracles (miracles are things that defy the laws of nature, and why would the Creator violate the natural laws which He himself established?).

Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson, all of them were deists. They were not men of Christianity, and in fact, they believed that Christianity was a religion that should be taught to children and to the uneducated.

The truth is, even today, many people who identify themselves as “Christian” are not TRULY Christian. The one single thing that makes Christianity different from any other religion is the belief that only through the acceptance that Jesus Christ is the Messiah, can an individual be saved. I personally cannot agree with this. Can an African living in one of the poorest countries in the world not be saved, simply because he/she has never HEARD of Jesus? That seems to counter the whole notion of the infinitely loving God we hear so much about in the New Testament. Simply because we were lucky enough to be born in a Western nation where Christianity is talked about frequently we are also lucky enough to be saved.

I don’t think so.

[Also, as a side note… for those of you who argue that the phrase “under God” should not be removed from the Pledge of Allegiance because it has “always been there” and would “change the originality of the Pledge”, please review your facts. The phrase “under God” was not added to the Pledge until 1954 by the Knights of Columbus, while the ORIGINAL Pledge was written in 1892 by Francis Bellamy. Here’s a good quick read on that history by Dr. John W. Baer.]

I’m really not trying to bash on anybody or tell you that your faith is wrong (because I don’t believe in doing that), but I think it’s important that we be well-informed before we go on yelling and causing a ruckus about this or that. This is a government absolutely based on the notion of separation of Church and State.

However, I feel that both sides of this argument can take things wayyyy too far. Yes, it’s wrong to have the Ten Commandments posted on a courthouse wall, but at the same time, I don’t think it’s wrong to offer a moment of silence in public schools. A Christian may take this time to ask Jesus for guidance for the day; a Muslim may ask Allah to bring him or her strength during a time of need; a Buddhist may take a moment to peacefully meditate; while an atheist can just take a second to relax and unwind. As long as no mention of God, Mohammad, Krishna, etc. is mentioned, then who cares?

Certainly not me. You are not infringing on my right to worship as I please, nor are you forcing me to believe what you believe. I’m not being harmed; I’m not being bothered. End of story.

But perhaps that is a discussion for another day. I feel I’ve begun to ramble, so I’ll end here with this that is something that I’ve been trying to live by for the past couple months:

“Judge not lest ye be judged.”
-Jesus (Matthew 7:1)

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8 Responses to “A Christian Bless on Our U.S. …Maybe?”

  1. salahudin Says:

    “The United States is NOT a Christian nation. It never has been. Anyone who tells you otherwise a.) is full of bologna or b.) honestly has no clue.”

    w00t!!!!!

    Read and agreed! Don’t need to read the rest of your post, to support it! 🙂

  2. 06jk Says:

    Well I appreciate it, but the points are what matter most 🙂

  3. throughpaulseyes Says:

    The Church doesn’t believe that if you never had the chance to learn of Jesus Christ, or lived in a society that was restrictive against Catholicism, that you won’t go to heaven.

    I’m turning into a deist more and more every day. I’m actually looking at Christian/Catholic organizations on campus to see if maybe some of them could offer me some way to turn back to the faith. I’m wearing 3 crosses at all times, trying to remind me to try and hold on to it. At the same time, there just doesn’t seem to be anything that is able to be proven about any of it. It makes it really hard for me to continue being a religious person. People in my fraternity call me Saint Paul, and a lot of people see me in some areas to be one of the most moral people around because of my views which often tend to spring from the Church’s teaching. And so now I wonder if maybe I’m trying to cling to my religion just to fulfill expectations.

    Awesome post. I’ve got writers block. Any ideas?

  4. 06jk Says:

    I get what you mean Paul. The thing is, there IS enough historical evidence to prove that the man “Jesus” did exist. It’s just a matter of deciding whether he was divine.

    But really… how much does that matter? Regardless of whether he was the Son of God, can’t we learn so much from his actions, even if they are just stories? Give to the poor; support the downtrodden; embrace the meek, love others, etc. Imagine what a world we’d live in if those principles were taken seriously.

    The ONLY conclusion I can really come to is to do everything I can to make this place a little bit better for everyone else here, while still loving my own life as much as possible. Otherwise, I’m still on that long journey of figuring things out for myself.

    As for your writer’s block… You could elaborate greatly on the comment you just left me! Ummm, I just read an article on the Washington Post’s website about Albanian blood feuds and how deeply embedded they are in the culture there http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/22/AR2007082202862.html?sub=AR

    There’s stuff everrryyywhere. Honestly, set some sort of online newspaper as your home page. That always gets my mind ticking.

    Maybe write about a specific part of the Constitution and how it’s being handled/interpreted today and how you feel about it.

  5. Trent Says:

    “It makes it really hard for me to continue being a religious person.” Read this article: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,294395,00.html

    And about the U.S. not being a Christian nation. Have you ever read John Locke’s “Second Treatise of Government”? If you look at the Declaration of Independence, most of Jefferson’s ideas came from Locke. He was even accused of plagiarism. Locke’s ideas–which influenced the Founding Fathers in our Constitution–were definitely his Christian, Protestant beliefs. All his theories of government came from is Christian upbringing.

    By the way, whether or not our Founding Fathers were Christian really is not the point. When 80 percent or more of the country practices Christianity, I would say we are a Christian society, if not a Christian nation. This is not to mention our Judeo-Christian concepts of law.

    Of those who did one or more of the following:
    – signed the Declaration of Independence
    – signed the Articles of Confederation
    – attended the Constitutional Convention of 1787
    – signed the Constitution of the United States of America
    – served as Senators in the First Federal Congress (1789-1791)
    – served as U.S. Representatives in the First Federal Congress
    many, if not most, were Christians. Benjamin Franklin, an Deist, basically said he felt it was better to believe in Christianity and the Christian God than not to, because the Christian teachings prevented moral anarchy. To say that the Founding Fathers were deists is highly misleading. There were both deists and Christians. Jefferson, likely a deist, as you mentioned, still accepted the teachings of Jesus on moral grounds, whether he accepted them on Biblical grounds is up to debate. (We may never agree.)

    Why can’t we have the Ten Commandments at courthouses if most people want them to stay? When did minority rights become minority rule?

    If we are going to get away from churches’ teachings, thank God we can deport Elvira Arellano, who took refuge in a liberal church and abandoned her son, despite that church’s objections on moral grounds.

    The notion that we can only be saved through Jesus is wrong, I must disagree. Didn’t God send Jesus to bring us to salvation? Whether God damns unbelievers to hell for not believe Christ is the Messiah–for whatever reason–who’s to say? But isn’t it Christians’ duty to bring Christ and His message to those who don’t know about him?

    Lastly, how much the Founding Fathers believed in separation of church and state will be highly debated for as long as the US is around. I think they believed people should decide. That is why that Constitution limited the powers of the Federal Gov. With freedom came the right to choose, and local government works the best.

  6. 06jk Says:

    I love your comments. Really.

    Okay, well I DEFINITELY agree that, even if you don’t believe in the divinity of Jesus, what he had to say was really good stuff. Random fact: One of Gandhi’s favorite readings were the Beatitudes. Just shows that there is so much you can learn. Like I said in the post: imagine if we took all that he had to say to heart. The world would be a pretty nice place.

    And yes, the vast majority of the U.S. population identifies itself as Christian, but my point really was just to say that I’m tired of people claiming that its root only lie there. It’s making us kind of close-minded.

  7. Trent A. Says:

    My view is that if people didn’t argue about something, big or small, they would have no fun. I can only imagine of all of my friends were conservatives. How boring! And isn’t each of us conservative in our own way? We want people to agree with us no matter what. Even saying that one wants everyone to be open-minded is a bit close-minded. To me being close-minded doesn’t have to be a bad thing, and that is why in our country we have free speech (or at least we are supposed to) to talk about what each person wants to accomplish.

  8. 06jk Says:

    Agreed.

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