Is America a Christian Nation?

Posted: March 30, 2010 in christianity, culture, social justice, Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

I am thinking about reading Greg Boyd’s book The Myth of a Christian Nation and I want to ask the question to those of you out there in the blogosphere (wow first time I ever used that word in a post or anywhere). Is America a Christian Nation? From my perspective as one of the oppressed and a victim of the slave triangle’s legacy I cannot answer that in the affirmative. Plus my knowledge of the “founding fathers” (definitely no kin to me) says that they were deists who did not believe in Christ, miracles, or any such Christian things. Many of those in politics and on Christian radio attempt to use the idea that we are a “Christian nation” as leverage for certain legislation and base their decisions and campaigns on turning the nation back to God. So are we turning the nation back to God or has it been godless all along (as can be seen by stealing land from indigenous peoples, enslaving african peoples, Jim Crow, inadequate housing, discrimination, consumerism, unjust wars etc. etc.)? Is there still enough evidence that this nation is Christian or at least founded on Christian principles? Also relating to that Is that enough evidence to say that the government should be making decisions and passing legislation that is decidedly Christian? Holla back

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Comments
  1. Doulos says:

    I absolutely do not believe that American is a Christian nation. You only have to turn on the TV to see that. For an example of a “Christian Nation,” you can turn to the Byzantine Empire.

    • mayotron says:

      So are you saying that the Byzantine Empire modeled itself after Christ’s life and teaching, person and work? Or are you saying that it was much more authoritarian in its government so therefore there could be no dissenting lifestyles and/or religions? What is your definition of a Christian nation?

  2. steven says:

    The reality is, this country was not founded as a sovereign ‘state’ but rather as a ‘union of states.’ This means that the legacy of our country differs regionally…

    The southern colonies were founded by entrepreneurs. The Virginia Company was about making money, and slavery was a significant part of that enterprise. While those people could be considered ‘religious’ their reasons for being on the continent had little to do with Jesus (although there was a veneer of manifest-destiny-type language that used religious imagery).

    The northern colonies were entirely different. It is here that you have the deep pietist roots of the puritans and other religious dissidents. They fled persecution in Europe, but also dreamed of founding spiritual communities in the New World.

    It would, of course, be naive to think in terms of ‘North is good’ and ‘South is bad’ or even ‘North is Christian’ and ‘South is secular,’ as it is much more nuanced than that. This does however, give some background to what was going on some three or four generations later when our first forms of government were being crafted.

    So there are deep Christian roots in our heritage, but there are many other roots that go just as deep, if not deeper. In short, it is a mixed bag…

    • mayotron says:

      Steven,

      Would you say that it needs to be a Christian nation? And the same question goes to you What would you define as a Christian nation?

      On another note I would not say the South was secular. The main tool used to keep many slaves in line was Christian religion. Also as far as the north being Christian this is where most secular modernist thought came from. The professed atheists and deists were mostly from the north wouldn’t you say?

  3. hey ramon –

    i just picked up the book (and its sequel the myth of a christian religion)…i’m interested in what he has to say, and truthfully, i wonder if any nation today can be said to be a thoroughly christian nation…

    • mayotron says:

      So I definitely will have to pick it up. Right now I would have to say that there is no Christian nation myself. Nations and governments in this age will never measure up to Christ’s claims. As far as having a Christian influence I will say yes America has had a Christian influence but it has also had other influences as well.

      • i’m bi-vocational, and in other job has been as a public/civil servant with the federal government in DC. i have struggled with this a lot, but have found some sense of hope in reading from Daniel, who faithfully served in a dictatorial government that had razed his country to the ground and enslaved his people. and yet God puts this guy and his friends in positions of authority – and Daniel himself becomes a good friend of the dictator. so, although we don’t live in a dictatorship, i certainly have qualms with some aspects of our government’s policies at different times, but i also know so many christians who are working in the government, and who exercise an influence, not merely in creating policy but in how policies of the government are implemented. i think our representative democratic republic works, but i am not deceived into worshiping the ay we govern so that i evangelize others into it (via regime change or whatever), and i know only in Christ reigning eventually at His Coming will a truly christian governance come. further, i know from first hand experience (i was part of a project that restored our founding documents) that te term Christian nation is not really applicable, there is no mention of Christ in any of our founding documents, only God in a generic, monotheistic sense. all to say, i agree with you vis-a-vis influence, especially in a society that gives us as citizens a voice in the political and governance process along with many others.

  4. steven says:

    You are right, it is much more nuanced than North=Christian and South=Secular, I was only trying to say that our roots certainly include deep faith (at least in certain places and times in our countries history) and so it is overly simplistic to say ‘we aren’t a Christian nation and we never were’, but that it is also an overly broad and naive generalization to say that our nation was founded as a ‘Christian nation.’

    I think the answer to your first question depends on the answer to your second…

    If by ‘Christian nation’ we mean a nation where everyone claims to be a Christian, and the overt structure of our society claim to ‘be’ Christian (ie Christian government, Christian schools, Christian media, etc) then I think it is misguided to pursue such a goal. If however, we mean a country where the practices of Jesus, and a deep sense of receiving His teaching, pervades and shapes our culture, then yes…

    Either way, I think our immediate goals should be focused on the discipleship of the person in front of us…

    • mayotron says:

      Steven. I agree that we should concentrate on the person in front of us which is one of the reasons why I brought this up šŸ™‚

      Many people that I encounter who are from other countries or who believe differently politically think that evangelicals are out to win as many people to their political agenda and not to Christ. I have encountered muslims who believe that to be American is to be Christian. Which is almost like saying to be in a skimpy sequin outfit makes you Beyonce. LOL

  5. I’ll remember next time I’m in my sequins!

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