Was the West founded on Christian Values?

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Re: Was the West founded on Christian Values?

#46

Post by Jonouchi Katsuya » Mon Aug 15, 2011 7:10 pm

jlay wrote:
But we were founded a nation and there is no half way about it.
Certainly not. Because there is no such thing, nor can there be.
I am a Christian. I will certainly agree that the USA was founded by men who were not only Christian, but would be considered Christian scholars by the standards of today. And, yes, I believe the USA is best suited for Christian people. But the USA is not a Christian nation. And I do not think people who make this claim have any idea what they are actually claiming when they say so.

These were Christian men in some respect. But they were also rebels who violated the very teachings of scripture. 1 Peter 2:13, Romans 13:1-2
How can one read those verses and even attempt to say that the US is a Christian nation, or founded as a Christian nation? What Christ founded was in his blood, and not in the blood of human warfare. And it has nothing to do with temporary governments of men. I have no doubt that the FFs were heavily influenced by their knowledge of the Bible. But they certainly ignored it and violated when they took up arms. What a noble cause. Taxation without representation. Now, there is a cross to die upon. Jesus said, rend to Caesar what is Caesers.

The USA is not a theocracy, and I am thankful that these rebels were wise in that they did not use any founding document to impose a Christian theocracy, because they knew it would have been corrupt. Our battle is not flesh and blood. Nor is it in constitutions and declarations. You will get no argument that Christian ethics influenced the West and the USA. But when someone says the USA was founded a Christian nation, they have stepped over a line and have confused the American dream for Christ crucified. The USA will fail. It will turn to dust. Christ will never.

There is NOTHING in the Constitution or DOI that says anything about a Christian nation, or a nation for Christians. NOTHING. Influence is just that, influence. No doubt our FFs were also influenced by the Thomas Paine, who was anit-religious, and many other political factors of the time, which had nothing to do with Christianity.
y>:D<

I agree with you.
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Re: Was the West founded on Christian Values?

#47

Post by RickD » Mon Aug 15, 2011 8:35 pm

Danny posted:
Where does the ideal of the equality of men have its base?
The idea of equality of men, as long as they aren't black men stolen from their homes, and forced into slavery. ;)
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Re: Was the West founded on Christian Values?

#48

Post by Grizz_1 » Tue Aug 16, 2011 3:30 am

Yes I do believe we have a different definition of "Christian Nation" and "Christian" . Not a small problem lol.

I'll try and explain my definition of both. But I must sleep first, just got home from work and my pillow is calling! ;)

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Re: Was the West founded on Christian Values?

#49

Post by Grizz_1 » Tue Aug 16, 2011 10:32 am

My reason's for saying we were founded a Christian Nation for Christians. And my definition of both.

1. The vast majority of the FF's were Christians. (whether they were what some call true Christians or not I'll get to later)
2. The vast majority of the population were Christians.
3. The principles of our form of government and laws were based on Christian, Biblical Principles.

I think its very reasonable and logical that what would follow is a Christian Nation. Not a theocracy, not a perfect nation. Not a nation that demands you be Christian, but a nation founded by Christians because they were Christians. If in 1,2,3 above the majority were Jews it would have been a Jewish Nation, If in 1,2,3 above the majority were Muslim we would be an Islamic nation. If in 1,2,3, above the majority were atheists we would be a Atheistic nation. Now being a Christian Nation (IMO) it would also follow that we would be inclusive and not exclusive. Following Christian principles we would show no prejudice in our laws concerning other beliefs. Thus Freedom of Religion.

Now my definition of "Christian".

Its very simple. You believe That God created the Heavens and the Earth. You believe Jesus Christ was his only begotten Son, was crucified, died and was buried and rose on the 3d day. You try your best to live by what he taught. The name Christians was first given at Antioch (Acts 11:26) to "the disciples," to those who accepted the teaching of the apostles. Now accepting the teachings is one thing, living by them is another. All people who claim to be Christians try and fail to be "Christlike" in many different ways, I know I do. But we keep trying.That does not mean we are not Christians. If fact it means we are. The FF's were not perfect people, there are none. They had their faults, we all do. "he who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her" John 8:7

I can't judge someone as to whether he lives by what Jesus taught. Or how hard that someone is trying. I'm forbidden to do that. I'll let God judge that someone when he will, but I will not. I will not say whether that someone is a True Christian, nominally Christian or Not a Christian. If that someone claims to be a Christian then it's up to God to decide that not me. Only God knows what is in that someones heart. I do not. I can "Know a man by his fruits" But I must not Judge him and will not Judge him.

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Re: Was the West founded on Christian Values?

#50

Post by DannyM » Sun Aug 21, 2011 3:36 am

Sorry I missed this, Grizz
Grizz_1 wrote:
1. The vast majority of the FF's were Christians. (whether they were what some call true Christians or not I'll get to later)
2. The vast majority of the population were Christians.
3. The principles of our form of government and laws were based on Christian, Biblical Principles.

I think its very reasonable and logical that what would follow is a Christian Nation. Not a theocracy, not a perfect nation. Not a nation that demands you be Christian, but a nation founded by Christians because they were Christians.
This is very reasonable indeed.
If in 1,2,3 above the majority were Jews it would have been a Jewish Nation, If in 1,2,3 above the majority were Muslim we would be an Islamic nation. If in 1,2,3, above the majority were atheists we would be a Atheistic nation. Now being a Christian Nation (IMO) it would also follow that we would be inclusive and not exclusive. Following Christian principles we would show no prejudice in our laws concerning other beliefs. Thus Freedom of Religion.
Eureka! “Being a Christian nation…it would…follow that we would be inclusive and not exclusive…” Hence a freedom of religion doing nothing to negate a theoretical Christian nation - only strengthening it!
Now my definition of "Christian".

Its very simple. You believe That God created the Heavens and the Earth. You believe Jesus Christ was his only begotten Son, was crucified, died and was buried and rose on the 3d day. You try your best to live by what he taught. The name Christians was first given at Antioch (Acts 11:26) to "the disciples," to those who accepted the teaching of the apostles. Now accepting the teachings is one thing, living by them is another. All people who claim to be Christians try and fail to be "Christlike" in many different ways, I know I do. But we keep trying.That does not mean we are not Christians. If fact it means we are. The FF's were not perfect people, there are none. They had their faults, we all do. "he who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her" John 8:7
You’re on a roll, mister! Anyone claiming a Christian is not a Christian, unless the accuser is in possession of some inside knowledge, is engaging in speculation and attempting to do God’s work for Him.
I can't judge someone as to whether he lives by what Jesus taught. Or how hard that someone is trying. I'm forbidden to do that. I'll let God judge that someone when he will, but I will not.
Absolutely. It may be tempting to judge these issues, but this is not our domain.
I will not say whether that someone is a True Christian, nominally Christian or Not a Christian. If that someone claims to be a Christian then it's up to God to decide that not me. Only God knows what is in that someones heart. I do not. I can "Know a man by his fruits" But I must not Judge him and will not Judge him.
I’m pretty much firmly on your side of the street.

Danny
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Re: Was the West founded on Christian Values?

#51

Post by RickD » Sun Aug 21, 2011 7:49 am

Grizz, would you then say that any Mormon who claims he's a Christian, is indeed a Christian?


The new Mormon marketing methods claim that Mormons are Christians too. I've seen many of their commercials in my area. According to you, we are not to judge the claims of those who claim to be Christian. I just want to be sure what you're saying here.
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Re: Was the West founded on Christian Values?

#52

Post by RickD » Sun Aug 21, 2011 8:36 am

Grizz, let me take your points and change a few things, and then I'd agree:
1. The vast majority of the FF's were Christians. (whether they were what some call true Christians or not I'll get to later)
2. The vast majority of the population were Christians.
3. The principles of our form of government and laws were based on Christian, Biblical Principles.
1. The vast majority of the FF's were "religious". (whether they were what some call true Christians or not I'll get to later)
2. The vast majority of the population were "religious".
3. "some of"The principles of our form of government and laws were based on Christian, Biblical Principles.
I may have an easier time agreeing with you if you said the u.s. Was founded on some religious principles for and by religious men. It's when you "narrow it down" to Christian, then I have a problem with your argument. It may not seem like much, but is not a trivial difference, IMO.
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Re: Was the West founded on Christian Values?

#53

Post by Canuckster1127 » Sun Aug 21, 2011 9:57 am

Quote mining has been going on forever with people trying to prove that America "is" or "is not" a "Christian Nation."

America was founded primarily by Christians and was intended to be a nation (and over time this was better defined) in which men had the right to religious freedom. Early on, that was mostly understood in terms of the spectrum of Christian beliefs. There's was a broad spectrum of those, even in the original colonies.

The vast majority of Founding Fathers were Christians who formally belonged to churches. Their was also a very strong undercurrent among the leading intellectuals in the US, which tied to Europe and in which their were themes of Deism, Anarchy (Culminating in the French Revolution), some themes of atheism although not highly public. These other themes were not as pronounced in the US and some of those themes diminished when they came to fruition in Europe and were deemed too radical by virtue of what they led to there.

That notwithstanding, my opinion, for what it is worth, and it's based on a lot of reading of primary sources such as the full correspondance between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, and history is that Colonial America was not a particularly "Christian Place." A lot of the populist christian literature that makes that claim relies on secondary sources that arose in the early 19th century in the midst of what came to be called "The Second Great Awakening." That doesn't mean America was atheist or anti-christian. Far from it. Intellectually and in terms of literature the Bible was infused into the culture. You can't understand American History without seeing those themes. A lot of the "Christian Nation" materials today are almost propaganda however, in their attempt to caste America into the mold of their religious culture and traditions today and the quote mining is just an effort to create that illusion instead of allowing the materials to speak for themselves.

A few notes based on some of the comments I've seen:

George Washington was a Christian to the extent that he early on in life was a vestryman in the Episcopal Church in Alexandria VA (near where I live.) That was both a religious and a civil position. When he established Mt. Vernon (his plantation) he was not near a church (as was true of many rural americans) and he maintained religious observances at his home. Going to church just wasn't an option as their was a huge distance to travel. Washington however, did have some Deistic themes in his life. He was a freeemason. At the end of his life he asked for his funeral to be masonic without a christian minister. The reality of it however was that the established Episcopal or Anglican church of his Virginia was still seen as tied to England and a lot of people were leary of the organization and there weren't a great deal of alternatives yet or what alternatives there were were poorly organized with few clergy available so the religion of these people was based around what they could provide in their own plantation or home.

Thomas Jefferson was absolutely not an orthodox Christian. Early in this life (about the time of the Declaration of Independence that he was the scribe for) he was close to being a Deist. As he aged he mellowed, and saw the value of religion and in particular he had a strong admiration for the moral system of Jesus. He rejected the Trinity. He rejected the deity of Christ. He despised state church clergy (as in the Anglican or Episcopal priensthood he observed in Virginia). These were not however, atheist positions as they're sometime portrayed. As he aged he was very careful about revealing his religious beliefs. In spite of that it was a huge issue in the election of 1800 where he was portrayed an an atheist as a ploy to stir up sentiment against him (politics back then was even nastier than today, believe it or not.) Jefferson became more of a what would be called in his day, a Unitarian. Jefferson too was very cautious even in his private correspondance to avoid pigeon-holing himself. He knew, private correspondance could go public and he also worked very hard to manage how history would see him.

John Adams was a Massachusettes Churchman. He leaned toward the Unitarian. He was a big fan of a man named Joseph Priestly and he and Jefferson sometimes referred to him in their correspondance ( which was later in their lives. They were huge rivals in their younger years. Adams at times had some harsh things to say about organized church and clergy. That's not the same thing as denouncing religion or Christianity and many quote miners coming from the atheist/deist argument capitalize on that confusion and make the statements to mean things that weren't present in that day.

Of all the founding fathers, the one who could most accurately be classified as deist is probably Benjamin Franklin. He was the most European and greatest traveller in his life as a diplomat. That doesn't mean he didn't know how to use religious rhetoric when it suited his purpose. He certainly did and he has things he wrote and spoke for public consumption that is very religious sounding. He appreciated the value of religious values to provide structure for a society and he capitalized on it. In his own personal life there's not a great deal of evidence that such values guided his own life.

As is usually the case, the founders were human. Apart from those mentioned here almost all the rest were reflective of their day and age and many were very devout Christians and some were nominal ones who dabbled in the philosophy of John Locke, and other political theorists of the day. That had influence on what they did and how they structured things too.

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Re: Was the West founded on Christian Values?

#54

Post by DannyM » Sun Aug 21, 2011 11:38 am

Bart, thanks for such an enjoyable post. Since I have no real issues with it, I’ll take this part and try to show that this really is just a semantics of definition.
That notwithstanding, my opinion, for what it is worth, and it's based on a lot of reading of primary sources such as the full correspondance between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, and history is that Colonial America was not a particularly "Christian Place."


Can I first ask you what your idea of a “Christian Place” would be?
A lot of the populist Christian literature that makes that claim relies on secondary sources that arose in the early 19th century in the midst of what came to be called "The Second Great Awakening."


Original and secondary sources aside, if a Christian nation can be defined as a nation which champions the equality of men, freedom of speech, self-determination and freedom of religion, then would you deem this acceptable?
That doesn't mean America was atheist or anti-christian. Far from it. Intellectually and in terms of literature the Bible was infused into the culture. You can't understand American History without seeing those themes. A lot of the "Christian Nation" materials today are almost propaganda however, in their attempt to caste America into the mold of their religious culture and traditions today and the quote mining is just an effort to create that illusion instead of allowing the materials to speak for themselves.
Being outside of the US, I’m not familiar with too much of this. But for me, how I’m defining a Christian nation here has nothing to do with a theocratic rule, an all powerful church state, etc. If a man wants to define a Christian nation in that way then, by that definition, I’d say that is not a Christian nation. There is nothing Christian about a rule by suffocation.

So my understanding is that any Christian nation would have to believe in things like the equality of man, freedom for man to determine his own future, freedom of worship, freedom to speak out against tyranny… And in all these senses, it seems that the cap fits.
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Re: Was the West founded on Christian Values?

#55

Post by RickD » Sun Aug 21, 2011 1:18 pm

Danny, if we're keeping this as referring to a debate about if the u.s. was a Christian nation from the 1700's(time of the founding fathers), then this definition you posted, actually hurts your argument:
So my understanding is that any Christian nation would have to believe in things like the equality of man, freedom for man to determine his own future, freedom of worship, freedom to speak out against tyranny… And in all these senses, it seems that the cap fits.
Danny, I would argue that from the time the settlers lived in the 1600's, the way they dealt with the native Americans, and later on with chattel slaves, goes against every reason you said would show what constitutes a Christian nation.

The equality of man, the freedom to determine his own future, freedom of worship, and freedom to speak out against tyranny, are all nullified by the laws that were in place regarding slavery.

I would say the same as an argument against the u.s. Being a Christian nation today. We have state sanctioned abortion. Where is the freedom, and right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness that the millions of dead babies have?
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Re: Was the West founded on Christian Values?

#56

Post by DannyM » Sun Aug 21, 2011 2:42 pm

Hi Rick
RickD wrote:Danny, I would argue that from the time the settlers lived in the 1600's, the way they dealt with the native Americans, and later on with chattel slaves, goes against every reason you said would show what constitutes a Christian nation.

The equality of man, the freedom to determine his own future, freedom of worship, and freedom to speak out against tyranny, are all nullified by the laws that were in place regarding slavery.
I consider the Bible to be the ultimate standard. Yet slavery existed within its pages.
I would say the same as an argument against the u.s. Being a Christian nation today. We have state sanctioned abortion. Where is the freedom, and right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness that the millions of dead babies have?
I agree. This is abominable, Rick. Abortion on demand, it seems. Wherever I bloody look. But I’m not looking for the behaviour of some to spoil the ideals upon which the nation was founded.
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Re: Was the West founded on Christian Values?

#57

Post by RickD » Sun Aug 21, 2011 3:16 pm

I consider the Bible to be the ultimate standard. Yet slavery existed within its pages.
Danny, chattel slavery is completely different from slavery in the bible. Chattel slaves weren't even human in the eyes of the law.
I agree. This is abominable, Rick. Abortion on demand, it seems. Wherever I bloody look. But I’m not looking for the behaviour of some to spoil the ideals upon which the nation was founded.
Danny, the problem is, that included in those "ideals", is the idea that African slaves were sub-human. That HUGE part of American history is surely not Christian, is it?
John 5:24
24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.

Kenny wrote:
"You don’t need faith, logic, reason, proof, or anything else to be atheist, all you need to do is reject what someone told you."



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Re: Was the West founded on Christian Values?

#58

Post by DannyM » Sun Aug 21, 2011 4:22 pm

RickD wrote:Danny, chattel slavery is completely different from slavery in the bible. Chattel slaves weren't even human in the eyes of the law.

Danny, the problem is, that included in those "ideals", is the idea that African slaves were sub-human. That HUGE part of American history is surely not Christian, is it?
Rick, have I overlooked something in the Declaration or Constitution? Where are these ideals laid out? Sorry for my ignorance here.
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Re: Was the West founded on Christian Values?

#59

Post by RickD » Sun Aug 21, 2011 4:54 pm

DannyM wrote:
RickD wrote:Danny, chattel slavery is completely different from slavery in the bible. Chattel slaves weren't even human in the eyes of the law.

Danny, the problem is, that included in those "ideals", is the idea that African slaves were sub-human. That HUGE part of American history is surely not Christian, is it?
Rick, have I overlooked something in the Declaration or Constitution? Where are these ideals laid out? Sorry for my ignorance here.
Danny, it was the law of the land for quite a while here.

I don't know if you overlooked something in those documents. If you're interested in knowing more about the history of slavery in the U.S., it's an eye-opener.
Until recently, I didn't know as much about it as I do now. And, I still have a lot to learn.

When the founders talked about all men being endowed with certain rights from their creator, the African slave wasn't included, because he wasn't human in their eyes.
My point is that any country that makes a law that says it is legal to steal another human from his homeland and family, sell him to another human , and doesn't recognize the humanity of such persons, is about as far from Christian as one can get.
John 5:24
24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.

Kenny wrote:
"You don’t need faith, logic, reason, proof, or anything else to be atheist, all you need to do is reject what someone told you."



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Re: Was the West founded on Christian Values?

#60

Post by DannyM » Sun Aug 21, 2011 5:28 pm

RickD wrote:Danny, it was the law of the land for quite a while here.

I don't know if you overlooked something in those documents. If you're interested in knowing more about the history of slavery in the U.S., it's an eye-opener.
Rick, if chattel slavery was being endorsed after the Declaration then I’ll take back everything I’ve bloody said. I’m aware that it still went on, but if it was being endorsed or had some blind eyes turned to it by those who had drawn up the Declaration then that’s a different matter.
When the founders talked about all men being endowed with certain rights from their creator, the African slave wasn't included, because he wasn't human in their eyes.
Hmm. If this is truly the case then I’m turned around on this whole thing.
My point is that any country that makes a law that says it is legal to steal another human from his homeland and family, sell him to another human , and doesn't recognize the humanity of such persons, is about as far from Christian as one can get.
Indeed. I’m looking into a couple of good sources now. I won’t be hasty and if it takes all night I’ll get there.

Cheers
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