Saturday, January 24, 2009

America The Nation Of Hypocristians

The NPR/ BBC radio show World Have Your Say (WHYS) recently asked its listeners if they view the US as a “Christian Nation.” Reviews were mixed with a few of the “live and local” audience in the Florida studio, from which WHYS was broadcasting from, were old and shallow in thought. They believed that simply saying you are “Christian” and/ or “believed in Jesus Christ” made you Christian. Others especially those outside America say that the there are no signs of Christianity in our policies.

Often on WHYS they ask ambiguous questions that leave a lot of grey area to be argued over. Patrons in turn engage in arguing pointless undefined posturing but no real sustenance. This issue was no different. My first thought when I read the topic line was, “how do you define ‘Christian’?” I have broached this subject on this site a few times in the past. Without an agreed definition, a valid debate can not be negotiated.

If you simply define being a “Christian” as on who believes that Jesus Christ existed, then I could agree that The United States is a “Christian” nation. In that light Hitler was a Christian, as well as many of the most heinous creatures to walk the earth in the past 2000 years or so. But I suspect that what makes people straighten up and proudly proclaim their faith is not merely the belief in the existence of a dude from 2000 years ago. What they find so agreeable is that they believe in the moral and social creed of the man and that makes for a more peaceful and harmonious society. They believe that what defines a Christian nation, is policies that reflect that value system.

I will field debate if I am wrong. As I have mentioned before I am an “agnostic Christian”. (That simply means I believe in the man and his plan, just not his source of information.) But it is my understanding that the basic attributes of Jesus Christ’s morality plan are pretty obvious. Don’t kill other people, don’t lie, don’t cheat on each other, don’t steal, and everybody is to be considered equal (so don’t hold yourself above them.) are ideals that had been around and Jesus just affirmed them. But there seemed to be a misconception or even a change in the way “God” wanted people to act towards people who didn’t comply with these rules. Jesus came to preach pacifism. Tolerance, forgiveness, self sacrifice, charity, and love were the new way to respond to those who sinned or wronged you. No worries, he promised a better life after this one, no matter how it ended.

Now above is what I would consider to be Christian traits. So in order to be a Christian nation, our policies and our people should mostly demonstrate these quality. In recent displays we have sought revenge, been driven by greed instead of charity, are intolerant to other religions and cultures, have murdered people who got in the accidental way of our revenge activities, have cheated countries out of their resources, have stole from the ones who wouldn’t let us cheat them, and have shown anything but “love” and expressed equality to our neighbors. By that definition I can not agree that the US is a Christian nation.

Many times during the broadcast, somebody would say, “The United States was founded upon Judaio-Christian values.” This of course is more bogus misrepresentation of the fact. It is a statement that shows that the “tongue-in-cheek” Christianity has been part of the US since the start. Let us not mince words here. The US was “founded” only because of the genocide of the Native American. They were considered heathens, had a price on their head, and treated like animals well after the establishment of the constitution. It started out by lying to them, then cheating then, then stealing from them, finally by killing them. They were never considered equal. That is with out even getting into the issues of slavery, women’s rights, and the wild west. Compare that to the above listed attributes preached by Jesus Christ, and you will see that the US was founded on the back of policies that were certainly not but Christian.

“But that was 400 years ago. I didn’t have anything to do with it. What do you want me to do about it?” For starters stop saying that the US was founded on Christian values. The truth is that Judaism and Christianity were founded on humanistic social values. As it turns out the concept of not killing, cheating, stealing, lying, and equality are psychologically pleasant attributes that promote harmony and good will with in a society. They are however “unnatural” traits to the animal kingdom. Now, isn’t more likely that a couple of more cerebral leader types were sitting around one day and one says, “These are great qualities, but how are we going to get our people to take them to heart?” A second guy says, “We could tell them that if they don’t when they die they will suffer great pain for all eternity and will never get to see their loved ones.” The first guy says, “But isn’t that lying?” The second guy justifies by saying, “ It is one lie to end all lies. Besides who is going to know we made it up. It isn’t like people come back from the dead to report.” And so it was that religion was created.

So is the United States a “Christian nation”? No not a chance. It wasn’t founded on Christian values, the acts and deeds of those who changed it into the country it is now were not Christian, and its current domestic and foreign policies are anything but Christian. However, a lot of people say they believe a guy named Jesus Christ lived 2000 years ago, and they are not afraid to say to on a census form. People often say that Muslim culture is not conducive to freedom and democracy. I would say that free enterprise and democracy are not conducive to Christianity.


Lord of Logic said...

Reposted from Previous entry

AnarchyJack said...

I signed into WHYS too late to discuss the issue of whether or not this is a Christian Nation, but you made and interesting point when you asked what it means to be a Christian. I would argue that Christianity died with the original Apostles. That left Paul (AKA Saul) whose last mission, prior to his "miraculous" conversion, had been to arrest the Christians.

Not surprisingly, the Apostles were skeptical of his storybook conversion, but were eventually convinced . . . and were exterminated shortly thereafter, if The Acts is to be believed. Moreover, the Epistles of Paul, which make up he bulk of the New Testament and in which, Paul elaborates on what it was the Christ actually meant (as if there could be any doubt after four separate accounts of his life clarified exactly that, ad nauseum) often contradict the Four Gospels in many key respects. Finally, these Epistles are the basis for most contemporary Christian thought. The Protestants are particularly enamored of Paul's Letters to the Romans, which excuses every rotten thing they do, since, as Paul--not Christ--points out, we are saved by divine grace and not by our works.

Hence, I would assert that America couldn't be a Christian Nation in anything other than name if it wanted to be, since Christianity died nearly 2000 years ago, within decades of Christ himself.

January 23, 2009 3:55 PM

AnarchyJack said...

Thank you for re-posting my comment in the appropriate place, Dwight. I agree with your assertion that that Capitalism is inconsistent with "Christian" values--at least insofar as he loathed money-changers so much that they alone succeeded in provoking him to violence. However, as Dr. Chomsky has pointed out, America is not a democracy, but a polyarchy--not that it makes any difference, since Christ was, himself, was an anarchist, a fact that I will support presently.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Christ urged the Hebrews toward a revolution of negation. As you may recall, he warned them that they could not serve both money and God. Of course, this raised the question of how people should acquire their needed sustenance, to which he replied, "Look at the birds in the sky. They never sow nor reap nor store away in barns, and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them" (Matt 6:26).

If we follow the logic of this, it would seem He is saying that civilization is an optional element of our survival. In fact, civilization makes up only the last 7000 years of our existence on earth--and for most of us, considerably less than that. So I would argue that Dear Mister Jesus was telling them to get the Hell out of Dodge and just let those damned Romans have it. Let them keep the buildings and the money and everything else. If everyone just walked away from it, the entire grand Roman Empire wouldn't be worth an Italian meatball.

One of the pretexts for invasion by imperial forces is the passing on of civilization. The Nomadic tribes of North America and Hispañola certainly didn't need our "civilization" to survive; arguably, they would have been much better off with out it. Which leaves the other pretext for the greatest genocide ever committed: to convert the heathen to--that's right--CHRISTIANITY.

Of course we know that for all of the excuses given, the real reason for the invasion was theft, pure and simple. The great American lebensraum came at a cost of millions of lives, with a good deal of those responsible for the exterminations of countless Native people, calling themselves Christians.

So I would urge the bible thumpers to stop pushing the "Christian nation" label, because if we really are, that speaks volumes of what kind of people Christians really are.

And I don't think Dear Mister Jesus would approve.

Lord of Logic said...


Not problem. Thanks for inspiring me to write about another topic that I wanted to comment on. Lately I have been letting too many of them slip by.

While democracy is “inconstant” with “Christian Values, I think that the two could exist simultaneously in a single culture, and even a single being. The problem, as with any form of wealth distribution system, is that human nature gets in the way of an otherwise good plan. Pure communism is a great plan if implemented without bias. Capitalism works great as long as people take only what they need from the system and not everything they can get. Socialism, for all of the fear of the religious right, is what they will live all eternity under if they are correct about the afterlife. Heaven is for all intent on the communist side of socialism. They have a dictator, governing body, and a society that is dealt their resources from the prior.

I completely agree with your assertion of Christ. As I have often called him “the world’s first hippie”. He led a pacifist revolution and became the most well known martyr. I don’t think he was as much saying not to live as a society, but rather to understand and have faith that there were other options if required. His point was to not get so caught up in the luxuries that we perceive them as necessities. This is a lesson that the US citizenry is about to learn whether they want to or not.

The Native Americans would have been way better off if the Europeans had never “discovered” their country. The philosophical question then becomes, “would the world have been better off?” Before one can answer that, one has to answer the singular philosophical question that all others stem from, “what is the meaning of existence, of life.” If humanities purpose is to evolve, expand, and consume the universe in the same way a parasite consumes its host, then the fall of the Native American was inevitable and an improvement. If it is simply to exist, preserve, and pass on this world to the next generation, then the colonization of the “New world” was a devastating blow that would lead to assured failure. Was it right for the Neanderthal to commit genocide upon the Neandertals?

My biggest gripe is that people use the terms “Christian” and “moral” often are enforcing them hypocritically. A hypocrite is a liar that actually believe and/ or justifies his lie.

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