Was the US founded as a Christian Nation

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Salty, May 25, 2011.

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Was the US founded as a Christian Nation

  1. Yes, that was one of the main reasons

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  2. Yes, as many of the founders were Christians

    5 vote(s)
    22.7%
  3. It was only founded on Judea Christian principals

    2 vote(s)
    9.1%
  4. It was only founded using Christian ethics as a guideline

    4 vote(s)
    18.2%
  5. Religion had absoutely nothing to do with the founding

    4 vote(s)
    18.2%
  6. Other answer

    7 vote(s)
    31.8%
  1. Salty

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    #1 Salty, May 25, 2011
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  2. InTheLight

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    I would select answers 1, 2 and 3.
     
  3. dwmoeller1

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    We were not founded as a Christian nation nor were most of the FFs Christian in the sense an evangelical would understand it. However Christian thought and practice was a large part of the culture and background and had a significant impact and influence on the Founders in various ways. But then so did the Enlightenment and humanism. At best the Christian impact is that filtered through Enlightenment ideals.

    So, for instance, instead of referencing Rutherford they instead looked to the man who gave a humanistic slant to Rutherfords arguments, the Creator if the DoI is nearly a deistic one, and no reference is made at all about God or Christian principles in the Constitution. The Founders make lots if refinances to Provdence but rarely to Christ. And the Father of the Constitution, James Madison, as well as one of our first treaties, make the explicit argument that we are not a Christian nation.

    Besides, how can a nation be Christian without Christ as its explicit King?
     
  4. JohnDeereFan

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    Depends on what you mean by "Christian nation". If you mean a theocracy, then, no. However, if you mean that our Republic was founded on Judeo-Christian principles, then, yes.
     
  5. JohnDeereFan

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    The Treaty of Tripoli never says that we are not a Christian nation, but that we are not a theocracy and that we are not interested in a religious war with the Mohammedans.

    Furthermore, read the decision in the SCotUS' Trinity decision, in which they opine that the US is a Christian nation.

    Also, Jefferson was not a deist. He made numerous, repeated refererences to God's involvement in the affairs of mankind. Read Jefferson's "Notes on Religion". It very clearly shows that he holds to orthodox Christianity.

    Of course, in response to this, some will bring up the Jefferson Bible. The Jefferson Bible was never intended to be a Bible, but was to be an abridgement of the Gospels created by Jefferson in 1804 for the benefit of the Indians. Jefferson's "Philosophy of Jesus of Nazareth Extracted From the New Testament for the Use of the Indians" was a tool to evangelize and educate American Indians. There is no evidence, either in his writing or in that of his contemporaries, that it was an expression of his alleged skepticism.

    Jefferson, who gave his money to assist missionary work among the Indians, believed his "abridgement of the New Testament for the use of the Indians" would help civilize and educate America's aboriginal inhabitants. Nor did Jefferson cut all miracles from his work. While the original manuscript no longer exists, the Table of Texts that survives includes several accounts of Christ's healings.
     
    #5 JohnDeereFan, May 27, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: May 27, 2011
  6. dwmoeller1

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    What it days is even more explicit:
    "As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion"

    A bit stronger statement than not being a theocracy.

    Some people certainly saw us that way. Some of them were government officials. What you won't find is any of the Founders holding this is the case.

    1. Beliefs in Providence were not incompatible with Deism of that period. Their concept of Providence is not the same as ours.

    2. Regardless of the quibble over whether he was a deist or not, he most certainly was not an orthodox Christian. He rejected orthodox Xianity, considered himself a Unitarian and rejected miracles as well as the deity of Christ. Point 1 could be debated, but this is incontrovertible.

    That is just one of many examples. What you will find is several statements contrary to the deity of Christ. The above example is just further evidence of what he explains elsewhere.

    For example:""In consequence of some conversation with Dr. Rush, in the year 1798-99, I had promised some day to write him a letter giving him my view of the Christian system. I have reflected often on it since, and even sketched the outlines in my own mind. I should first take a general view of the moral doctrines of the most remarkable of the antient [ancient] philosophers, of whose ethics we have sufficient information to make an estimate, . . . . I should then take a view of the deism and ethics of the Jews, and show in what a degraded state they were, and the necessity they presented of a reformation. I should proceed to a view of the life, character, and doctrines of Jesus, who sensible of incorrectness of their ideas of the Deity, and of morality, endeavored to bring them to the principles of a pure deism, and juster notions of the attributes of God, to reform their moral doctrines to the standard of reason, justice and philanthropy, and to inculcate the belief of a future state. This view would purposely omit the question of his divinity, and even his inspiration. To do him justice, it would be necessary to remark . . . that his system of morality was the most benevolent and sublime probably that has been ever taught, and consequently more perfect than those of any of the antient philosophers." (Ltr. to Joseph Priestly, Apr. 9, 1803.)
     
  7. menageriekeeper

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    I wished we'd been allowed more than one choice. I choose 2, but think it should be qualified by 4.
     
  8. JohnDeereFan

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    Yes. When you're so dishonest that you quote only that one sentence out of the entire treaty, it does appear to be quote a bit stronger than merely not being a theocracy. Fortunately, though, most people outside of BaptistBoard are not morons and understand that context matters.

    Again, not that you are either able nor willing to consider it, but I point you to the Trinity decision.

    So then, one sentence out of a treaty is acceptable to you, but a Supreme Court opinion is not?

    A major belief of deism is that God does not interact with mankind or deal in his affairs.

    Again, "Notes on Religion" = orthodoxy.

    See "Notes on Religion".

    Didn't reject miracles and only rejected the deity of Christ at the end of his life.

     
  9. dwmoeller1

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    The context in this case doesnt change the meaning. The "not in any sense"
    pretty much puts paid to your claim it simply a claim of not being a theocracy. Now yes the ultimate intent was to, as you said, calm their concerns but that was nit something in dispute in the first place. In fact given that their historical concerns had mostly to do with non-theocratic but Christian nations (like Spain), the idea that he is only addressing the question of theocracy doesn't fit the context at all.

    Not at all. Of all the possible evidence in my favor, the treaty is probably the most insignificant. If it were simply treaty vs court you would be well ahead of me. My statement was merely to put your one piece of good evidence into proper context.
     
  10. Ruiz

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    This is a topic I have done a great amount of study towards and my conclusion is that we were both founded as a Christian nation and a secular nation.

    If you went to New England in the late 1700's, they believed they were establishing a Christian nation built upon Christian morals. The use of words like "Liberty" and "Virtue" were from previous generations of Edwards and others. However, their view was limited in that they compromised much of these Biblical definitions and co-opted part of the secular definition of the language. Thus, instead of keeping a theological view of liberty, for instance, they embraced a more enlightenment definition.

    On the other hand, books like Common Sense, written by an adamant secularist who seemed to have little use for Christian theology, nor desired to make our the colonies into a Christian country, used strong Christian language. This made a case to New England, without which America would not have been divided on whether to go to war.

    Yet, if you look at Paine's other works, they were extremely secular as were many of the others throughout the colonies. The Virginia delegation, to include Jefferson and Madison, did not want us to be a Christian nation, but wanted to allow freedom of religion. The secularists co-opted Christian language and secularized it to suit their purposes.

    Only Christians in America, and normally only those in the New England part of the country, thought we were going to become a Christian Nation. Theologians outside of our country warned and saw a travesty on the horizon. John Wesley condemned the ideas being advance by American Christians so much that American Methodists distanced themselves from Wesley. George Whitfield, too, was extremely cautious.

    Thus, when we were fighting for our independence, New England thought that America was going to bring in God's rule here on earth, a post-millennial form of theological belief. Outside of New England wanted a more secularized form of government, made in the likeness of secularists. The Christians compromised Christian theology and Christian terms and the secularists used these terms in the political manner that allowed both to advance a new nation.

    In later years, Christianity exploded in the United States. By the 1830's, Christians were at our height in the young country. We co-opted much in American culture and focused on the individuality of religion. Whig political philosophy became ingrained in Christianity, along with Scottish Common Sense reasoning. Yet, this was due more to evangelical zeal and Christianity that syncretized towards society than to the idea that America was a Christian nation. While much good occurred during this time, this was not a result of everyone being convinced we were a Christian nation, except some Christians.

    Thus, it has been my conclusion for years that we were founded as a Christian nation only in the eyes of some Christians at the time. As well, we were not founded as a Christian nation by many others including our founders. Later Christians made stories about the greatness of our Christian heritage and overstated the Christian nature of our country, but were often exaggerated. Most other Christians throughout the world, including Cananda, saw through New England's attempt to syncretize Christianity and politics, even warning of the future consequences. Secularists used language to help encourage Christian involvement but Christians were loose on their theology and terms to allow them to be co-opted by pure secularists.

    Thus, American was founded as both a Christian nation and secular nation. Christians were too syncretistic and unspecific in their terms and secularists seemed to deceive Christians by playing into their religion. So, our modern confusion may partially be due to the fact that both sides seemed to make this debate more confusion than it should have been.

    (I wrote this in a rush, please forgive my errors).
     
  11. dwmoeller1

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    The issue is a bit more complex. But, as I never claimed Jefferson was a deist, I don't really want to go into it.
     
  12. JohnDeereFan

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    Really? The meaning of a word isn't determined by context?

    Actually, it has very much to do with the context.

    OK. Let's see what you've got.

    First of all, your silly and out of context representation of the Treaty of Tripoli had nothing to do with the context of my statement.

    Second, you just said that context doesn't matter. Which is it?
     
  13. JohnDeereFan

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    Actually, you did. When I stated that Jefferson made many claims as to the providence of God, you stated that providence is not incompatible with deistic belief, which is not only false, but clearly implies that you believe Jefferson was a deist.
     
  14. go2church

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    No, it was Masonic. At least there is more actual evidence for it being Masonic.
     
  15. billwald

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    >A major belief of deism is that God does not interact with mankind or deal in his affairs.

    If God did there should be statistical evidence but there isn't.

    On the other hand, my Guardian Angel takes good care of me.
     

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