America is not a Christian nation

deludedgod
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America is not a Christian nation

the American government, just like every true democracy, is secular. The term "secular" means it does not officially endorse any religion. This is in contrast, say, to Tudor England, where the Church of England was an arm of the government, or Saudi Arabia, where the penalty for apostasy is death. Technically, a country cannot even claim to be a democracy in any sense of the word unless it is secular. The founding fathers were a diverse bunch, some were atheist, some were agnostic, some were Christian, some of them positively hated Christianity, but all of them agreed on the principle of secularism, as shown by the Treaty of Tripoli. The US government does not technically endorse any church, mosque, temple or any religious organization (this is why they all have tax-exempt status but cannot recieve government funding).

  I laugh when Christians say that America is a "Christian nation". It is true that Christians make up a majority of Americans, but that is precisely akin to saying that America is a "white nation" because whites are a majority. The American government does not (or at least, should not, to claim to be a true democracy, have any religious affiliation. If every member of senate was a Bible-thumper (oh...wait, they are!) it would still be irrelevant, so long as the First Amendmant (guaranteeing freedom to and from religion) remains in place (lets hope so) America is a secular country. To say that America is a Christian nation is to say that it officially endorses a Christian church. Fortunately, it does not. In the horrifying event that the United States Government had an arm entitled The Office of Christian Evangelism, and the United States Criminal Code was replaced by the Bible, the Department of Agrictulture was governed by Old Testament Crop laws, and the National Academy of science endorsed creationism (the NAS has 800 of the world's most respected scientists, it's current head, Bruce Alberts, first taught me molecular biology, and the chance of the absurdity I am suggesting is roughly akin to constructing an Ice palace in hell, so don't worry).

This would be precisely akin to the arm of the Saudi Government which is responsible for the enforcement of Islamic dictatorship, and the existence of Shar'ia Law courts, where the Qur'an and Hadity are the official and final arbiters of judiciary in Saudi Arabia, Oman, Yemen, UAE and Iran. If this was the case, only then could America be called a Christian nation.

"Physical reality” isn’t some arbitrary demarcation. It is defined in terms of what we can systematically investigate, directly or not, by means of our senses. It is preposterous to assert that the process of systematic scientific reasoning arbitrarily excludes “non-physical explanations” because the very notion of “non-physical explanation” is contradictory.

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RhadTheGizmo
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How many times must this

How many times must this thread come up in this forum? Sticking out tongue

Well.. if it is again.. might as well ask it:

What does one mean by "Christian Nation"?

By "Christian Nation" does one mean:

1.) Christian by profession

2.) Founded by Christians

3.) Majoratatively Christian

4.) Founded on Christian Principles

5.) Divinely inspired by the Christian God

6.) Some other definition... 


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Quote: What does one mean

Quote:
What does one mean by "Christian Nation"?

6) A christian nation would be a nation with a christian government.  


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Quote: 6) A christian

Quote:
6) A christian nation would be a nation with a christian government.

This doesn't really solve the problem..

What is a "Christian government"?

1.) One that is majoratatively Christian?

2.) One that is based on Christian Precepts?

3.) One that proclaims itself to be Christian?

4.) etc., something else? 


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In a "true" Christian

In a "true" Christian nation, I'd expect to find a few more things.   A government that has declared an official state religion, conducts its own large services, creates/regulates its churches, endorses/funds the activities of particular Chrisitan cults, and might have all of the biblical commandments and/or references to Jesus in its founding documents.

 Though one could argue with the current lineup of jack-offs on the Supreme Court, we would be approaching (or at) such a state.  But, certainly not at the country's founding.


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A christian

A christian government:
-would not allow any other religions to exist in its nation.
-would follow what the bible says, without taking science into consideration.
-would proclaim itself to be Christian
-would be totally christian, people with other beliefs would not be allowed in government possitions
-would ban any media that they consider immoral


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If you start off your

If you start off your conversation like this:

Listen Theist, a "Christian Nation" would be like this

Quote:

A government that has declared an official state religion, conducts its own large services, creates/regulates its churches, endorses/funds the activities of particular Chrisitan cults.

Therefore, since it is not and there is not, this is not a Christian Nation.

I can't imagine someone arguing with that except on the grounds that they believe your definition to be invalid.

 


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Quote: -would not allow any

Quote:
-would not allow any other religions to exist in its nation.
-would follow what the bible says, without taking science into consideration.
-would proclaim itself to be Christian
-would be totally christian, people with other beliefs would not be allowed in government possitions
-would ban any media that they consider immoral

See above post. 


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 1.) Christian by

 1.) Christian by profession

? You mean America claims to be a Christian nation 

2.) Founded by Christians

This would be akin to calling America a white nation because it was founded by whites

 3.) Majoratatively Christian

This would be akin to calling America a white nation since whites are the majority. But no one would dare say something like that. Ever. So why this notion tossed around so freely when the former is not?

 4.) Founded on Christian Principles

As were all European nations. Would you call them Christian? There are no debates about whether "Germany" or "France" are Christian nations, yet in these places, the church was once an arm of government!

5.) Divinely inspired by the Christian God

America was inspired by Adams, Jefferson, Washington, Madison, Hamilton and Franklin. And unless God fought at the Siege of Charleston, Bunker Hill, Saratoga, Lexington and Concord, how, precisely, does one make the case that he played a part in the construction of the nation? 

 6.) Some other definition...

Yeah, the one you are looking for is one in which Christianity is an arm of government. To say America is Christian is to say that America officially endorses Christianity. It does not. 

"Physical reality” isn’t some arbitrary demarcation. It is defined in terms of what we can systematically investigate, directly or not, by means of our senses. It is preposterous to assert that the process of systematic scientific reasoning arbitrarily excludes “non-physical explanations” because the very notion of “non-physical explanation” is contradictory.

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Quote: Therefore, since it

Quote:
Therefore, since it is not and there is not, this is not a Christian Nation.

I can't imagine someone arguing with that except on the grounds that they believe your definition to be invalid.

 I don't understand what you are trying to say here. Would you please try to elaborate a little more so I can understand it?


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Quote: 1.) Christian by

Quote:
1.) Christian by profession

? You mean America claims to be a Christian nation 

2.) Founded by Christians

This would be akin to calling America a white nation because it was founded by whites

 3.) Majoratatively Christian

This would be akin to calling America a white nation since whites are the majority. But no one would dare say something like that. Ever. So why this notion tossed around so freely when the former is not?

 4.) Founded on Christian Principles

As were all European nations. Would you call them Christian? There are no debates about whether "Germany" or "France" are Christian nations, yet in these places, the church was once an arm of government!

5.) Divinely inspired by the Christian God

America was inspired by Adams, Jefferson, Washington, Madison, Hamilton and Franklin. And unless God fought at the Siege of Charleston, Bunker Hill, Saratoga, Lexington and Concord, how, precisely, does one make the case that he played a part in the construction of the nation? 

 6.) Some other definition...

Yeah, the one you are looking for is one in which Christianity is an arm of government. To say America is Christian is to say that America officially endorses Christianity. It does not.

Hah.  If you think I'm going to actually argue any of these points, you're crazy! It would be to painful and to timeconsuming and, not worth it at the moment since I would be arguing just for the sake of argument.

Personally, I think it's irrelevant whether or not the nation is Christian.  It only matters what one does, not what it is defined as, or was it just happens to be.

Thus, only if America was (6) would I really find it relevant.

I'm just saying, it's important to define what one means by "Christian Nation" when one makes the statement People claim it is or I claim it is not.

Otherwise it just goes all over the place.. IMO.


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    For me a christian

    For me a christian nation is a nation that not only does the goverment recognized a state religion (christianity), bases it's laws according to the christian belief systems and/or laws. But also allows the church to decide on political matters, actively not through lobbying. This can also be dangerous to other chrsitian "churches" as which christian faith would the goverment follow? something like catholics would not allow (this again is based on Pope Benedict's statements about other christian faiths) other faiths to exists, they probably be persecuted for heresy or other sins against the catholic church. Worst of would be Jehova Witness which science would be discarded.

    However I am glad that secular nations far outweight theocractic nations, the wars that could erupt from such a nation (think middle east people) again i am using western nations here, not any other third world countries, could cause great harm to the world, based on mere faith and the idea that everyone else is wrong but them. 


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I disagree with the first

I disagree with the first sentence. I don't feel that America is a "true" democracy.

But yeah, with you 100% on the whole Christian thing.


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LOL, fair enough. I suppose

LOL, fair enough. I suppose I should say that any nation claiming to be a true democracy must be secular for the claim to have any validity.

"Physical reality” isn’t some arbitrary demarcation. It is defined in terms of what we can systematically investigate, directly or not, by means of our senses. It is preposterous to assert that the process of systematic scientific reasoning arbitrarily excludes “non-physical explanations” because the very notion of “non-physical explanation” is contradictory.

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I don't see why christians

I don't see why christians want to call the US a christian nation anyway... wouldnt that weaken their sense of victimhood and paranoid persecution? 

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Yes. but since when has

Yes. but since when has cohesion of worldview been a salient issue for Christians?

"Physical reality” isn’t some arbitrary demarcation. It is defined in terms of what we can systematically investigate, directly or not, by means of our senses. It is preposterous to assert that the process of systematic scientific reasoning arbitrarily excludes “non-physical explanations” because the very notion of “non-physical explanation” is contradictory.

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"Congregatio de propaganda

"Congregatio de propaganda fide" - Congregation for the propagation of the faith.

When the basis for a declaration is palpably wanting there is often a noteworthier intent.

The hankering for vindication of Christianity via these incongruous means exposes the tentative roots of belief. The individuals interceding for the unity of their faith with something tangible and consolidating reflects a thorn of doubt, which they soften through the isolation and mollycoddling of a nationally defined dogma. A vehement thrust toward absolute classification not only aids the permanence of their own ideal but also presupposes the standard for the future.

It is no wonder then that the words "Christian Nation" are regularly touted by Christians, though unwittingly, they display a rancid arrogant ignorance caused by their trepidation and an aim for bigotry.

I often say that when you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it; but when you cannot measure it, when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meagre and unsatisfactory kind.


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deludedgod wrote: Yes. but

deludedgod wrote:
Yes. but since when has cohesion of worldview been a salient issue for Christians?

 

True. Irrational positions welcome contradictions....  they even give them the prettier name of 'paradox'.

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I agree that the United

I agree that the United States is not a "Christian Nation", and it makes me furious when Christians claim that it is.  If it was ever intended to favor one specific religion, I'd think it would have been somewhat mentioned in the Constitution.  The Founding Fathers had enough detail in there to give us a fairly good understanding of the kind of country they intended.  The argument that most of them were Christians is irrelevant, and laughable, seeing as many of them were as secular and free-thinking as one could really dare to be back then. 

The whole "Christian Nation" thing is as bad as the claim that separation of church and state is not a principle in the Constitution.  It's in the first freaking amendment!  True, the term "separation of church and state" isn't in there, but the passage that established that principle, i.e. "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion," is pretty easy to find. 


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I wholeheartedly agree that

I wholeheartedly agree that the United States was not founded as a religiuos nation.  When one considers the predominant British background of the nation, and the fact that many emigres to the colonies from Britain, Ireland and Scotland were fleeing the ongoing religious persecution prevalent in Great Britain, it's hardly surprising that any form of religious government was repugnant to the Founding Fathers.

To argue, however, that the Christian beliefs and formation of the Founding Fathers is not evident in the nation which resulted from their efforts is grossly in error, however.  Specifically, DrTerwilliker's statement "that most of them were Christians is irrelevant, and laughable, seeing as many of them were as secular and free-thinking as one could really dare to be back then" is basely ridiculous.  Belief informs action, thus the theistic beliefs of these Patriots carries over into their work.  The statement that many were secular free-thinkers is based on the fact that one delegate to the Continental Congress, Benjamin Franklin, was openly atheist (although he was a Freemason) and another three (including Thomas Jefferson) were Deists.  This, in my mind, hardly makes up the many secular free thinkers, since it makes for a quorom (sp?) of 4 out of 55.

The number of free thinkers present for the Constitutional Convention was further skewed in favor of Christians by the absence of the great American free thinker Thomas Jefferson, who was in France at the time.

I think it is further significant that DrTerwilliker omits the second half of the first sentence of the First Amendment.  In full the text reads, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..."

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totus_tuus wrote: To

totus_tuus wrote:

To argue, however, that the Christian beliefs and formation of the Founding Fathers is not evident in the nation which resulted from their efforts is grossly in error, however. Specifically, DrTerwilliker's statement "that most of them were Christians is irrelevant, and laughable, seeing as many of them were as secular and free-thinking as one could really dare to be back then" is basely ridiculous. Belief informs action, thus the theistic beliefs of these Patriots carries over into their work. The statement that many were secular free-thinkers is based on the fact that one delegate to the Continental Congress, Benjamin Franklin, was openly atheist (although he was a Freemason) and another three (including Thomas Jefferson) were Deists. This, in my mind, hardly makes up the many secular free thinkers, since it makes for a quorom (sp?) of 4 out of 55.

Possibly, but since Jefferson and Franklin were chosen to write the most important documents concerning our government gives weight to the fact that although many of the founding fathers were christian/theistic the majority did not feel the issue was important enough to disallow two people of opposing ideas from penning these documents.

Quote:
The number of free thinkers present for the Constitutional Convention was further skewed in favor of Christians by the absence of the great American free thinker Thomas Jefferson, who was in France at the time.

I think it is further significant that DrTerwilliker omits the second half of the first sentence of the First Amendment. In full the text reads, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..."

Again, it hardly matters if Jefferson was in France at the time and the second part of the First Amendment is designed to protect varying religious beliefs but not necessarily cater to them.  The thing is, anyone of faith in this country should be fighting just as hard as we do to uphold the First Amendment.  Regardless of your beliefs, I doubt you want someone else mandating them for you.  It is unlikely that you want to wake up to One Nation Under Fundamentalism any more than I do. 


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jce wrote: Possibly, but

jce wrote:
Possibly, but since Jefferson and Franklin were chosen to write the most important documents concerning our government gives weight to the fact that although many of the founding fathers were christian/theistic the majority did not feel the issue was important enough to disallow two people of opposing ideas from penning these documents.

Absolutely so.  The members of the Congress realized that young Jefferson was one the greatest political thinkers and most accomplished writers of his time.  I often think, as a matter of fact, that had I lived then I'd have been a Jeffersonian, since there is a certain romance to his political vision of the new nation.

Bear in mind though, that the Declaration of Independence, the founding document of the United States, does contain explicit acknowledgement of a deity who has imbued man with certain inalienable rights, and the implication that the same deity expects to see those rights upheld and respected.

jce wrote:
Again, it hardly matters if Jefferson was in France at the time and the second part of the First Amendment is designed to protect varying religious beliefs but not necessarily cater to them.  The thing is, anyone of faith in this country should be fighting just as hard as we do to uphold the First Amendment.  Regardless of your beliefs, I doubt you want someone else mandating them for you.  It is unlikely that you want to wake up to One Nation Under Fundamentalism any more than I do.

I couldn't agree more.  It often irks me when I see the claim advanced here by certain atheists that there is some sort of movement afoot among all Christians to deny political rights to those who hold no religious faith.  I believe that the opposite is quite so.  The equality of all men before God is the principle from which is derived the concept of the equality of all men before the law.

I mainly intended my previous post to be a refutation of certain errors of fact  and ommisions put forward by DrTerwilliker. 

 

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totus_tuus....

I had no errors of fact.  Our Founding Fathers, though predominantly Christian, were by no means blind followers of the religion, and were not ones to allow their personal religious beliefs to influence the principles of the country that they were forging.  In any case, their personal beliefs are irrelevant.  What they set forth as the basic foundation for our country is clear.  

And the fact that I omitted that one part of the first amendment was not intentionally done to make some point.  It's not like I secretly think that the free exercise of religion should be prohibited.  I just failed to mention that part in haste.  It would only have further proven my point that separation of church and state is a Constitutional principle.  I appreciate you pointing it out, despite the hostility and suspicion with which you did so. 


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DrTerwilliker wrote: I had

DrTerwilliker wrote:
I had no errors of fact.  Our Founding Fathers, though predominantly Christian, were by no means blind followers of the religion, and were not ones to allow their personal religious beliefs to influence the principles of the country that they were forging.  In any case, their personal beliefs are irrelevant.

Your error in fact lies in the statement that the personal beliefs of the Founding Fathers are irrelevant.  As I am reminded time after time in the course of reading posts in this very forum, one cannot help but have their religious belief inform their actions.  It is impossible. My theistic beliefs affect my political and social views, just as your lack of theistic beliefs affect yours.  This fact  is the reason for the existence of such threads as "The ists and their isms" and "Christianity is against individual rights".  Give them a read and you'll see what I mean.

I don't know the degree of religious conviction, or adherence of each and every member of the Second Continental Congress, or those of the delegates to the Constitutional Convention.   I am quite sure they varied widely.

As an example of faith informing action, examine one of Thomas Jefferson's most famous quotes, it is, in fact, the one which adorns the rotunda of the Jefferson Memorial:  "I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of Man."  It is obvious from this quote that Jefferson believes that he will be held accountable for his attitudes, for his actions towards his fellow man by " God".  This belief compels him to combat tyranny and oppression.  Is that a bad thing?

I conceded the fact that the United States government was founded as a secular government, I stated my thoughts as to the reasons for that establishment.  Believe me, as a Catholic and history buff, I am well aware of the politcal repression suffered by Roman Catholic British subjects of the era.  In fact, I'm certain that the Catholic faith of Charles Carrol of Carrolton, which, under British law disenfranchised him, and made him ineligible for public office was one of the aspects of his religious beliefs which compelled him to embrace rebellion against the Crown.  This is another insatnce of religious faith informing political action.

DrTerwilliker wrote:
And the fact that I omitted that one part of the first amendment was not intentionally done to make some point.  It's not like I secretly think that the free exercise of religion should be prohibited.  I just failed to mention that part in haste.  It would only have further proven my point that separation of church and state is a Constitutional principle.  I appreciate you pointing it out, despite the hostility and suspicion with which you did so.

If you say that is so, I accept your word.  My apologies if I offended.  Since, on this forum, "I am a stranger in a strange land", sometimes my paranoia gets the best of me. 

"With its enduring appeal to the search for truth, philosophy has the great responsibility of forming thought and culture; and now it must strive resolutely to recover its original vocation." Pope John Paul II


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Your error in fact lies in

Your error in fact lies in the statement that the personal beliefs of the Founding Fathers are irrelevant.  As I am reminded time after time in the course of reading posts in this very forum, one cannot help but have their religious belief inform their actions.

Yes, I do not doubt that their beliefs influenced them greatly in their actions in life, as they do all of us.  However, I don't think that their personal religious leanings greatly impacted what they put in the Constitution, or should affect how we view the United States.  I consider their personal beliefs irrelevant to the argument of whether or not the U.S. is a Christian nation for that reason.

If you say that is so, I accept your word.  My apologies if I offended.  Since, on this forum, "I am a stranger in a strange land", sometimes my paranoia gets the best of me. 

No hard feelings.  Your paranoia is understandable. ^_^


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DrT, Thanks for accepting

DrT,

Thanks for accepting my apology.


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ofgreaterheights, I deleted

ofgreaterheights, I deleted your post because it had absolutely nothing to do with the topic, which makes it spam, but more importantly:

Advertising is banned on this forum. Thus far, you have made three utterly irrelevant posts, and all have been to advertise a site.

2.4. Spam.
The posting of spam to promote products, sites, or services not affiliated with RationalResponders.com, FreethinkingingTeens.com, Atheistnetwork.com, InfidelGuy.com, FreethoughtMedia.com, or any other site in the NoGodNetwork.com roof is strictly prohibited. Interested parties are welcome to take out ad-space at our affordable rates instead. Contact Offenders will be exiled and content deleted on sight.

If you do it again, you will be banned from the forum. No spam. No ads. 

"Physical reality” isn’t some arbitrary demarcation. It is defined in terms of what we can systematically investigate, directly or not, by means of our senses. It is preposterous to assert that the process of systematic scientific reasoning arbitrarily excludes “non-physical explanations” because the very notion of “non-physical explanation” is contradictory.

-Me

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