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Unread 08-08-2008, 06:10 PM   #1
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America founded on Christianity?

I've been struggling with something for quite sometime, and I don't really know how to go about expressing my thoughts on the subject, and I don't really know how to effectively bring up the topic among other believers (or nonbelievers, for that matter).

I don't really feel comfortable with the idea that we, as Christians, should be trying to "bring America back to the Christian nation it used to be." I don't know how many people have heard this preached, or have heard it at least brought up in any sort of Christian circle you are apart of, but I have heard it more and more recently.

I don't ever recall learning that America was founded so that Protestants could have a Protestant nation. Am I completely off base with this thought? I hate bringing it up sometimes because there have been a lot of books written by anti-christian authors about the subject, and their motive is mainly to destroy Christianity, not to put it in proper light when it comes to politics.

Should Christians be worried about pushing forward a faith-based agenda in our nation? It makes me as a follower of Christ feel vulnerable...almost like we are no longer representing Christ, but rather a demographic of "moral superiors" or something.

Please don't flame me for some of my points in there, I just don't really know how else to express the thoughts I've been wrestling with.

What are some of your thoughts?

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Unread 08-08-2008, 06:25 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Almost Enough View Post
I've been struggling with something for quite sometime, and I don't really know how to go about expressing my thoughts on the subject, and I don't really know how to effectively bring up the topic among other believers (or nonbelievers, for that matter).

I don't really feel comfortable with the idea that we, as Christians, should be trying to "bring America back to the Christian nation it used to be." I don't know how many people have heard this preached, or have heard it at least brought up in any sort of Christian circle you are apart of, but I have heard it more and more recently.

I don't ever recall learning that America was founded so that Protestants could have a Protestant nation. Am I completely off base with this thought? I hate bringing it up sometimes because there have been a lot of books written by anti-christian authors about the subject, and their motive is mainly to destroy Christianity, not to put it in proper light when it comes to politics.

Should Christians be worried about pushing forward a faith-based agenda in our nation? It makes me as a follower of Christ feel vulnerable...almost like we are no longer representing Christ, but rather a demographic of "moral superiors" or something.

Please don't flame me for some of my points in there, I just don't really know how else to express the thoughts I've been wrestling with.

What are some of your thoughts?
This type of attitude ultimately replaces the Kingdom of God with the USA. Who we are is Americans and what we're fighting over is the future of America, not the Kingdom of God. But what if what happens in the Lord's Supper is more important than what happens in the Oval Office? Why are others shocked if you say you don't vote, but nobody is shocked when you say you weren't around last Sunday? Why do Christian leaders appear on political ads, and pulpits bully us with moralistic political imperatives? What if King Jesus is bigger than Caesar? And I don't mean, what if there are two separate realms of real life, one "political" and one "religious." I mean, what if Obama and McCain are really quite insignificant, really don't matter?
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Unread 08-08-2008, 06:34 PM   #3
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I think you've hit on the head one of the big problems with Christianity in America. We have this idea that patriotism = godliness.

Personally I think that if Christians stopped bickering amongst themselves and with those who don't hold the same moral code and just stuck to the roots of the gospel (Love God with all your heart, soul and mind and love your neighbor as yourself) then you would see the positive change that moralist Christians claim they want to see. Instead you have Christians down at gay pride festivals and abortion clinics with their signs of protest and hate.
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Unread 08-08-2008, 06:35 PM   #4
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This type of attitude ultimately replaces the Kingdom of God with the USA. Who we are is Americans and what we're fighting over is the future of America, not the Kingdom of God.
What is one supposed to do about that, though?

It's so hard sometimes to talk to some Christians that I know because of this! What if I don't care about whether or not it's legal for somebody to do *drugs*? What if I care more about convincing them why they should choose not to do *drugs*?

--I'm using *drugs* as an arbitrary example. This could be replaced by almost anything.

Again, I feel like I automatically get a bad rap about being a follower of Christ because of what a lot of outspoken Christians are doing. Sometimes it seems like Christians are playing the part of the victim, in order to advance a "Christian" agenda.
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Unread 08-08-2008, 06:39 PM   #5
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I think you've hit on the head one of the big problems with Christianity in America. We have this idea that patriotism = godliness.
That reminds me of the quoted Scripture that started me thinking on this.

Someone in leadership quoted Psalm 33:12 that reads:

Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord

...Is it even possible for the United States to be such a nation? Are we not a democracy that (supposedly) gives voice to all individuals that actively participate -- even the ungodly ones?
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Unread 08-08-2008, 08:48 PM   #6
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What is one supposed to do about that, though?

It's so hard sometimes to talk to some Christians that I know because of this! What if I don't care about whether or not it's legal for somebody to do *drugs*? What if I care more about convincing them why they should choose not to do *drugs*?

--I'm using *drugs* as an arbitrary example. This could be replaced by almost anything.

Again, I feel like I automatically get a bad rap about being a follower of Christ because of what a lot of outspoken Christians are doing. Sometimes it seems like Christians are playing the part of the victim, in order to advance a "Christian" agenda.
It is hard, but the best thing to do is to try to shift the emphasis to the church, but in a way that doesn't deny that our present matters.
For example, apply this to voting. I'm not planning on voting anymore, at least for a while. Why? It's not because I don't care about politics; I care about what's going on around me, and think I do need to know how the current politicians are trying to swindle the Church. I don't vote because I don't think voting really matters a ton. In the present situation, people who are in control have done a good job of limiting things to a comfortable two party situation, and no amount of third-party compaigning, or even Ron Paul sort of attempts are going to oust them, at least for a very long time. The same with contributing to Christian/constitutional candidates. Imagine if Christians took all the money they spend supporting their particular political candidates and spent it on providing for the poor, or Christian education, or other things that build up the Church. Imagine if we stopped getting so distracted with the political show that is always going on, chuckled at it, and turned back to our actual work that has lasting rewards. That is a heck of a lot better solution than buying into all the hype and wasting our time fighting a losing battle.

But, yeah, there's no easy way to do this; you do have a pretty big perspective difference with Christians like that, and you have to make sure you aren't aligning yourself with the big nasty evil liberals. Make sure you emphasize that you are concerned with the advance of the Church and Christianity.
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Unread 08-08-2008, 08:49 PM   #7
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"City on a hill", that's all I'll say. And who founded the most influential colonies in America? The Puritans. America was not only founded on Christianity, it was intended to be a Christian theocracy.

And I don't agree with that. The reason that Godliness and patriotism are equated is because America's image as the instrument of God has always been impressed upon our minds, throughout all of history. We were the "messiah of the world", as we came into World War I and II, as we went into Vietnam and North Korea, as we liberated Afghanistan and Iraq. That goes all the way back to those Puritans, seeking to form a light in the wilderness, converting the "savages" of America as they went.
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Unread 08-09-2008, 09:56 AM   #8
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I don't ever recall learning that America was founded so that Protestants could have a Protestant nation.
Read the Mayflower Compact. (unedited) You'll get a really good taste for the tone of the people who wanted to come to America and what they wanted to do when they got here, what kind of people they were. Likewise, I'd recommend other documents that the founding fathers wrote. They weren't all deists by any stretch, let alone atheist.

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Am I completely off base with this thought? I hate bringing it up sometimes because there have been a lot of books written by anti-christian authors about the subject, and their motive is mainly to destroy Christianity, not to put it in proper light when it comes to politics.
Yeah, that can be a problem. I heard a really good podcast of three Christian leaders who debated the role of Christianity in politics (should do [x], should we protest [x], etc.). If I find it again, I'll give you the link.

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Should Christians be worried about pushing forward a faith-based agenda in our nation?
What do you mean by faith-based agenda? Christian living? Christian principles?

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It makes me as a follower of Christ feel vulnerable...almost like we are no longer representing Christ, but rather a demographic of "moral superiors" or something.
If the purpose of government is to punish wrong and condone good (Romans 13), then we should be seeking laws that accurately reflect God's idea of good and bad. If we want laws that don't go for that, then we've compromised the reason the government is here Biblically and we're looking to a different moral standard than God's. That's a really, really bad way to go.

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Please don't flame me for some of my points in there, I just don't really know how else to express the thoughts I've been wrestling with.
I hope no one does. I'm sorry that the fear comes to your mind.
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Unread 08-09-2008, 12:59 PM   #9
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What do you mean by faith-based agenda? Christian living? Christian principles?
I'm talking about minute details that a lot of Christians get caught up on. Making sure "under God" is a mild example...but...

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If the purpose of government is to punish wrong and condone good (Romans 13), then we should be seeking laws that accurately reflect God's idea of good and bad. If we want laws that don't go for that, then we've compromised the reason the government is here Biblically and we're looking to a different moral standard than God's. That's a really, really bad way to go.
...how far should we go with having our nation's laws reflecting God's idea of good and bad.? Is making a law to force more ethical laws on non-christians a better way of going about things than showing God's ethical standards as contrary to their ways? I can understand a nation such as Israel striving for Godly standards in government enforcement, but is the United States supposed to be this way?
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Unread 08-09-2008, 01:39 PM   #10
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I'm talking about minute details that a lot of Christians get caught up on. Making sure "under God" is a mild example...but...
I see. The really shallow things that win or lose votes. Yeah, pointless in the grand scheme and irrelevant to the government.

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...how far should we go with having our nation's laws reflecting God's idea of good and bad.? Is making a law to force more ethical laws on non-christians a better way of going about things than showing God's ethical standards as contrary to their ways? I can understand a nation such as Israel striving for Godly standards in government enforcement, but is the United States supposed to be this way?
Here's the passage I was talking about.

Romans 13:
3For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. 4For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer


The context of this passage is that Paul was writing to the Roman Christians, who had some pretty terrible leaders (even Nero). Now, what Paul is saying, though, is that the government is there to commend when people do right, and to punish those who do wrong.

I would argue that this is the case, the purpose, for every single government - if you have a government which does not punish when something is wrong, it is corrupt; the government is failing, and it needs to be fixed for society to benefit. Likewise, if the government punishes when you do right.

Coming back to this context, how is the US supposed to be any different? If it is wrong, it should be punished. If it is right, it should be commended. Is there anything that God commands us to do that is wrong; is there anything that God commands us not to do that is right? Now, you used the word "forced", why is this forcing?

I might get back to this post. Something just came up.
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Unread 08-09-2008, 03:03 PM   #11
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Coming back to this context, how is the US supposed to be any different? If it is wrong, it should be punished. If it is right, it should be commended. Is there anything that God commands us to do that is wrong; is there anything that God commands us not to do that is right? Now, you used the word "forced", why is this forcing?
By forced I mean enforcing the law of the land.

((I'm kind of frustrated right now, because I just typed a huge reply and IE crashed...let's see if I can retype it all))

Sure, the government should not only encourage but commend good moral behavior and upstanding citinzenship. As Christians, we are called to this behavior anyways, not for personal gain or political recognition but because it's God's will. But HOW moral should the laws that the government is enforcing be? Not only that, but what is the motivation behind some of the political activisism in the church on the laws of the land? Do we expect a secular demographic to even desire to follow laws that we choose to do anyways without need of government involvement? If the only reason that some people are following certain rules is because the government is enforcing them, and the reason that the government started enforcing the particular rules in the first place is because religious folk got active and passed the bill, who's to say that's right? I mean, does it really help further God's Kingdom by preaching through the government?

Forgive me if I'm incoherent with my ramblings. As I said, I'm having trouble putting it all into words.
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Unread 08-09-2008, 04:35 PM   #12
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The problem i have is that Christians seem to be losing some religious freedom-praying in school,a girl(in Utah i think)who got in trouble for wearing a purity ring(said it was a religious item and she was 'forcing' her religion onto others)- while others seem to be getting more freedom-havent heard of anyone getting in trouble for wearing a necklace with the star of david.
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Unread 08-09-2008, 06:16 PM   #13
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The problem i have is that Christians seem to be losing some religious freedom-praying in school,a girl(in Utah i think)who got in trouble for wearing a purity ring(said it was a religious item and she was 'forcing' her religion onto others)- while others seem to be getting more freedom-havent heard of anyone getting in trouble for wearing a necklace with the star of david.
Do you have a source for this? I can only find a case of this happening in England, not in the United States.
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Unread 08-09-2008, 08:24 PM   #14
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Do you have a source for this? I can only find a case of this happening in England, not in the United States.
I do not remember the source.It was about 4 months ago and thought it was in the US.Even still prayer in public schools (at least here in Ga) is a big no-no.
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Unread 08-09-2008, 08:28 PM   #15
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I do not remember the source.It was about 4 months ago and thought it was in the US.Even still prayer in public schools (at least here in Ga) is a big no-no.
School sanctioned prayer is a big no-no, but how is that disrespecting Christians more than any other religion?
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