Wednesday, August 7, 2013

America a Christian Nation?

This post stems from a conversation I was having with my wife this past Sunday on the way back from church.  We had a guest speaker and his topic was on the “Immorality of America” essentially.

I’m sure you can see where this topic is going.

I won’t go into the bigger details he spoke about or how I had to force myself not to tune out as soon as he said the words “Christ and Country”, but suffice to say there were things mentioned that I did not agree with.  But, I also think I don’t see Christianity the way a lot of others seem to.

To explain, I want to address a couple of things this speaker brought up that seem to permeate the Christian culture right now, and have for a while.

Decline in Churches and Attendance

This is a big deal to a lot of people.  It used to be that you could find a four thriving churches within a 20 mile radius of each other, especially here in the south (better known as the Bible Belt to some).  However, it seems that lately churches have been dwindling down to minimal numbers and many are shutting down altogether.  I can understand why some might be upset by this but I can understand why people are leaving more often a little more.

I’ve heard the implied statements that people don’t go to church anymore because they don’t want to hear the truth.  I’ve felt the undertones of blame thrown at Atheists for “being blind to the truth” and for pulling people down with them.  Of course, you could also interchange the word Atheists with homosexuals, corrupt politicians, etc.

“They’re ruining America with their sinful ways; they are the ones we have to watch out for.”

Please, they just want to be treated with love, respect, and equality.  Just like everyone else does.  Like they should. Because it is their right (enter my paradox of wanting equality via Constitutional Rights vs. disagreeing with the life choice).

The real reason people don’t go to church?  They don’t see the point.  Having grown up in the south I have seen where the stereotypes of Christianity come from.  I have seen how people who are legitimately looking for help get crushed and thrown by the wayside because they didn’t fit within the “acceptable” realm when they walked in (dress, hygiene, smell, or anything else that doesn’t fit the status quo for that church culture).  Would you want to go to a place that would make you feel lower than dirt?  You can do that well enough on your own at home, right?

Others may not want to go because, outside of feeling judge unfairly, they have pursued a different approach to life and thus feel that it is irrelevant to them.  Still others just want nothing to do with a group of people who have such a reputation.

Now, I do know that there are several exceptions out there.  Not everyone is going to be the monumental jerks that we’ve become to the world, but they seem to keep to themselves for the most part.  So the ones that need to speak up the most are quiet, and the ones who need to shut up for once are yelling at the top of their lungs.  What is wrong with this picture?

[[Side note: I acknowledge that I have a tendency to oversimplify things.  Please read all statements on this blog in general as if I am trying to portray an idea rather than straight details and facts (generally).]]

America is a Christian Nation

This one really gets to me most days.  The fact of the matter is America is not a Christian nation.

“Of course not, not anymore at least.  With all the immorality, America has gone down the drain and it’s all the _______’s fault.”

No, you don’t get me.  I’m saying that the US never was, nor will it ever be, a Christian nation.  Was it founded on very Biblical principles? Yes.  Were several of the founders Christians or some form of deist/theists? Yes.  Does this mean it’s a Christian nation? No.

Here is why:
Outside of the obvious fact that an abstract and inanimate things can’t “get saved” and become Christian, there is already a nation for Christians that is claimed: The Kingdom of God (or Heaven), where Jesus is the Monarch and we his subjects. 

Beyond that, the “People of God” is no longer limited to the Israelites as we understood it to be in the Old Testament.  But with the New Covenant, came the ability of any individual to join the ranks of this theistic monarchy by simply believing and confessing (easiest immigration laws ever).

But we are placed on the world in various countries and must follow the authority over us.  In the US especially we are apt to place blame on the government for the way things are these days.  While not wholly false, it is also only partially correct.  Because, the fact of the matter is, we are the makers of our own demise.  We vote into office our Presidents, our Senators, our Representatives, Governors, and Mayors into those positions.

We do.

Then we get mad when they do exactly what they are expected to do: Over promise and under deliver.  Seriously, what was the last thing you did to change the way things are? Can you think of anything?  Me either.  Because I don’t do much in the way of politics.  I am just as guilty about letting our government do their own thing until it directly affects me personally then I might start fighting back.  Of course, by then, it’ll probably too late.  So, the way our economy is, the way America is – that fault lies with everyone.  Not just those in positions of authority.

Anyway, these are just a few thoughts that came to mind this week.  I could go off on several tangents that take roots in these two topics, but what benefit would that be?  Additionally, if my tone came across as an attack to anyone I apologize.  I am merely trying to write out some observations.

Grace and Peace.

1 comment:

Dan Sanders said...

America is a christian nation in at least one sense: the majority of the population is some form of christian, which is why claiming to be a believer in some form of christianity (evangelical christianity, mormonism, etc) is a necessary political move to get into presidential office. Atheists/nonbelievers make up, conservatively, about 14% of the population (not including those who don't answer the question), and it is political suicide to try to get elected and publicly be a nonbeliever.

I agree that America's foundation is secular by its' very nature, and I think it should stay that way, regardless of what everyone believes personally. Religious nations are historically unjust and terrifying when it comes to the laws that are put in place, and the witch hunt mentality about morality that you mentioned doesn't really help matters.