Is America a "Christian" Nation?

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

Re: Is America a "Christian" Nation?

Postby kmich » Tue Mar 31, 2015 8:00 pm

I am not sure your question has been answered, Alex. Your question is an important but a difficult one. It all depends upon what one means by “Christian” and what, exactly is our “nation,” and how the two refer to each other. Those understandings will vary considerably with who you talk to here and typically lack much in depth and insight.

NH has made the point of the dominant influence of Christian attitudes and aspirations on our nation. He is correct. Even the most modern, secular societies are products of Western cultural evolution where the Judeo-Christian traditions played a pivotal role. However, predominant influence may not be the same as identification. While Marxism certainly would not have been possible without the redemptive, socially transformative example of Christianity or the social justice concerns of the Judaic prophetic tradition, a nation that identifies itself as Marxist or Socialist would not necessarily call themselves “Christian,” or “Judaic.”

One could also define identification by the demonstrated values of the nation’s primary enterprises. By their fruits, you will know them sort of thing. In that case, we are the producers of war and armaments and empty, entertaining diversions for the world, while creating wealth for ourselves. This demonstrates the dominant values of power, violence, wealth, and vapid sensuality – what one would be more likely to consider pagan than Christian. Still, most Americans would hardly consider their nation “pagan,” so that definition also falls short.

While in pre-modern societies, the political collective and its religious culture were not separate, the modern “nation” is a political construction, a human artifact, and, as such, its nominal identifications are, in the end, voluntary, consensual political acts. It is ultimately what the nation, its people, and its leadership predominantly chose to identify with.

First off, America cannot be constitutionally declared a “Christian” nation in accordance with the 1st Amendment to the Constitution which states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” This was a pragmatic requirement for the new government over colonies of a variety of religious refugees with different identifications, as well as an historical awareness of how religious fanaticism can make consensual governance impossible from the instructive history of the English Civil War over a century before. This constitutional precedent was reasserted in the new republic in 1796 in the Treaty of Tripoli, which received ratification unanimously from the U.S. Senate on June 7, 1797, and was signed by President John Adams. The treaty stated, “As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion,-as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen (Muslims).” Unless the Bill of Rights is amended and long standing traditions upended, the government cannot identify itself with any religion.

In the USA the religious identification issue is extremely controversial, mostly due to the weakness of our religious culture and education that has led to endless patterns of insipid reaction and counter reaction on assorted issues.

In spite of our apparent religiosity, the state of religious education here is deplorable, and most of the people who thump the Bible the hardest, have little understanding of what they are thumping, much less the complex social, economic, and political challenges over the centuries that brought forth the assorted scriptures they so loudly champion. While asserting the predominant authority of scripture, the Sola Scriptura, as the foundation of a Christian life goes back to Luther, that authority traditionally did not require a literal hermeneutic. American “fundamentalism” is a more recent development as a reactionary response to scientific principles such as evolution and the perceived encroachment of secular aspirations (i.e. Gay Marriage) on a traditional way of life that many people fear is unraveling.

A loud, quite visible group in the secular community respond to religious fundamentalism and assertion with a kind of reactionary atheism that considers religion, particularly Islam, as the root of violence in the world. These people not only have minimal understanding of religion, but they also have very little comprehension of the philosophy of science, have never seriously read Popper or Kuhn, or have any sense of the limitations of reason as elucidated in philosophy as far back as Kant’s “Critique of Pure Reason.”

The paucity of understandings on both sides of the religious/secular divide in this country leads to endless arguments that I find depthless and fatuous.

So, there is no consensual identification for the US at this time, “Christian” or otherwise. We really do not know what we are so we substitute blame and grievance to relieve our poverty and confusion of our identity. A difficult situation that does not have the substance to provide you with any real answer to the question you posed, Alex.
User avatar
kmich
 
Posts: 667
Joined: Mon Jan 27, 2014 11:46 am

Re: Is America a "Christian" Nation?

Postby manolo » Wed Apr 01, 2015 8:42 am

kmich,

Thanks for that. In the reading of your post I have realised something about Kant that has puzzled me for years.

Alex.
User avatar
manolo
 
Posts: 1582
Joined: Wed Aug 22, 2012 4:46 pm


Re: Is America a "Christian" Nation?

Postby YMix » Wed Jan 06, 2016 7:27 pm

“There are a lot of killers. We’ve got a lot of killers. What, do you think our country’s so innocent? Take a look at what we’ve done, too.” - Donald J. Trump, President of the USA
User avatar
YMix
 
Posts: 4339
Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2011 4:53 am
Location: Department of Congruity - Report any outliers here

Re: Is America a "Christian" Nation?

Postby kmich » Thu Jan 07, 2016 12:13 am

I suppose it depend upon what you mean as "Christian."

Image

Image
User avatar
kmich
 
Posts: 667
Joined: Mon Jan 27, 2014 11:46 am

Re: Is America a "Christian" Nation?

Postby Simple Minded » Thu Jan 07, 2016 12:59 pm

kmich wrote:I suppose it depend upon what you mean as "Christian."

Image



Maybe true, but I have also heard that "God helps those who help themselves!"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IP81Je7APoQ
Simple Minded
 
Posts: 6402
Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2012 1:24 pm

Re: Is America a "Christian" Nation?

Postby noddy » Fri Jan 08, 2016 5:21 am

that actually makes for a really good euphemism.

"dont mind me, i was just holding hands with god"
noddy
 
Posts: 5461
Joined: Tue Dec 13, 2011 3:09 pm

Re: Is America a "Christian" Nation?

Postby kmich » Fri Jan 08, 2016 8:23 am

God is always ready to lend us a helping hand....
User avatar
kmich
 
Posts: 667
Joined: Mon Jan 27, 2014 11:46 am

Re: Is America a "Christian" Nation?

Postby noddy » Fri Jan 08, 2016 10:02 am

umm. many hands make light work ?
noddy
 
Posts: 5461
Joined: Tue Dec 13, 2011 3:09 pm

Re: Is America a "Christian" Nation?

Postby NapLajoieonSteroids » Thu Jan 14, 2016 11:04 am

I was always intrigued by the answer that we are a skeptical nation which adopted Christianity. But our main philosopher (and applied to our theologians!) is Rene Descartes.
User avatar
NapLajoieonSteroids
 
Posts: 2958
Joined: Fri Dec 23, 2011 7:04 pm

Re: Is America a "Christian" Nation?

Postby Mr. Perfect » Sun Jan 17, 2016 7:38 am

Nonc Hilaire wrote:The god US athiests do not believe in has the characteristics of the Christian God.

Brilliant. Well done. Renews my faith in online interaction.
Censorship isn't necessary
User avatar
Mr. Perfect
 
Posts: 13631
Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2011 9:35 am

Re: Is America a "Christian" Nation?

Postby Parodite » Sun Jan 17, 2016 10:49 am

Mr. Perfect wrote:
Nonc Hilaire wrote:The god US athiests do not believe in has the characteristics of the Christian God.

Brilliant. Well done. Renews my faith in online interaction.


It's more like if you don't believe something to exist, that something does not have any characteristics other than its non-existance.
Outside, away from the noise, grows a flower.
User avatar
Parodite
 
Posts: 4195
Joined: Sun Jan 01, 2012 9:43 pm

Re: Is America a "Christian" Nation?

Postby Mr. Perfect » Sun Jan 17, 2016 11:07 am

Not really. Long experience causes me to agree with NH, the daddy in the sky God of the Bible lives very much rent free in the minds of western leftists. Particularly the US variety.
Censorship isn't necessary
User avatar
Mr. Perfect
 
Posts: 13631
Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2011 9:35 am

Re: Is America a "Christian" Nation?

Postby Parodite » Sun Jan 17, 2016 11:15 am

Mr. Perfect wrote:Not really. Long experience causes me to agree with NH, the daddy in the sky God of the Bible lives very much rent free in the minds of western leftists. Particularly the US variety.


Not sure it's the leftis fault. For starters, the Christian God is usually addressed by the faithful as Father and their Christ as His Son. How anthropomorhpic can it get. How does Mother and Her Daughter sound? Creepy.. doesn't it. ;)
Outside, away from the noise, grows a flower.
User avatar
Parodite
 
Posts: 4195
Joined: Sun Jan 01, 2012 9:43 pm

Re: Is America a "Christian" Nation?

Postby Mr. Perfect » Sun Jan 17, 2016 11:24 am

Then we all agree.
Censorship isn't necessary
User avatar
Mr. Perfect
 
Posts: 13631
Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2011 9:35 am

Re: Is America a "Christian" Nation?

Postby Typhoon » Sun Jan 17, 2016 7:16 pm

Parodite wrote:
Mr. Perfect wrote:Not really. Long experience causes me to agree with NH, the daddy in the sky God of the Bible lives very much rent free in the minds of western leftists. Particularly the US variety.


Not sure it's the leftis fault. For starters, the Christian God is usually addressed by the faithful as Father and their Christ as His Son. How anthropomorhpic can it get. How does Mother and Her Daughter sound? Creepy.. doesn't it. ;)


Years ago, during a bout of drinking and bullsh*tting with my US colleagues,
I came up with a physics "explanation" for the mystery of the so-called Holy Trinity of the Christian god as a superposition of QM eigenstates:

|god> = a|father> + b|son> + c|holy ghost>

wherein a^2, b^2, and c^2 are the probabilities of observing any of the holy states with a^2 + b^2 + c^2 = 1.

The energy projection operator for this system is the Holy Roller Hamiltonian, H_hr, which projects the QM |god> state into one of the three "observable*" holy QM eigenstates: |father>, |son>, or |holy ghost>

*Poetic license here.

H_hr |god> = E_father |father>

H_hr |god> = E_son |son>

H_hr |god> = E_holy_ghost |holy ghost>

wherein E_father, E_son, and E_holy_ghost are the holy energy level of the three states, respectively.

How is that for "quantum weirdness".

The only reason that I did not publish it in the Journal of Irreproducible Results is that some fundamentalist might start citing it as an "explanation".
All the world's a stage.
User avatar
Typhoon
 
Posts: 14728
Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2011 6:42 pm

Re: Is America a "Christian" Nation?

Postby Typhoon » Sun Jan 17, 2016 7:46 pm

Mr. Perfect wrote:Then we all agree.


:lol:

Always amused and bemused by the desperate need of fundamentalists, of all religions - both metaphysical and secular, that others perceive things as they do.
All the world's a stage.
User avatar
Typhoon
 
Posts: 14728
Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2011 6:42 pm

Re: Is America a "Christian" Nation?

Postby Typhoon » Sun Jan 17, 2016 7:51 pm

NapLajoieonSteroids wrote:I was always intrigued by the answer that we are a skeptical nation which adopted Christianity. But our main philosopher (and applied to our theologians!) is Rene Descartes.


Indeed. The main key US Founding Fathers were very much men of the Enlightenment.
All the world's a stage.
User avatar
Typhoon
 
Posts: 14728
Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2011 6:42 pm

Re: Is America a "Christian" Nation?

Postby Typhoon » Sun Jan 17, 2016 7:55 pm

Nonc Hilaire wrote:The god US athiests do not believe in has the characteristics of the Christian God.


When I told the people of Northern Ireland that I was an atheist,
a woman in the audience stood up and said,
'Yes, that's all well and fine,
but is it the God of the Catholics or the God of the Protestants in whom you don't believe?

~ Quentin Crisp
All the world's a stage.
User avatar
Typhoon
 
Posts: 14728
Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2011 6:42 pm

Re: Is America a "Christian" Nation?

Postby Mr. Perfect » Mon Jan 18, 2016 4:54 am

Typhoon wrote:
Mr. Perfect wrote:Then we all agree.


:lol:

Always amused and bemused by the desperate need of fundamentalists, of all religions - both metaphysical and secular, that others perceive things as they do.

Could be. In this case though it is obvious that seculars let a false God live in their heads rent free. I certainly don't make them.
Censorship isn't necessary
User avatar
Mr. Perfect
 
Posts: 13631
Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2011 9:35 am

Re: Is America a "Christian" Nation?

Postby Parodite » Mon Jan 18, 2016 8:25 pm

Typhoon wrote:
Parodite wrote:
Mr. Perfect wrote:Not really. Long experience causes me to agree with NH, the daddy in the sky God of the Bible lives very much rent free in the minds of western leftists. Particularly the US variety.


Not sure it's the leftis fault. For starters, the Christian God is usually addressed by the faithful as Father and their Christ as His Son. How anthropomorhpic can it get. How does Mother and Her Daughter sound? Creepy.. doesn't it. ;)


Years ago, during a bout of drinking and bullsh*tting with my US colleagues,
I came up with a physics "explanation" for the mystery of the so-called Holy Trinity of the Christian god as a superposition of QM eigenstates:

|god> = a|father> + b|son> + c|holy ghost>

wherein a^2, b^2, and c^2 are the probabilities of observing any of the holy states with a^2 + b^2 + c^2 = 1.

The energy projection operator for this system is the Holy Roller Hamiltonian, H_hr, which projects the QM |god> state into one of the three "observable*" holy QM eigenstates: |father>, |son>, or |holy ghost>

*Poetic license here.

H_hr |god> = E_father |father>

H_hr |god> = E_son |son>

H_hr |god> = E_holy_ghost |holy ghost>

wherein E_father, E_son, and E_holy_ghost are the holy energy level of the three states, respectively.

How is that for "quantum weirdness".

The only reason that I did not publish it in the Journal of Irreproducible Results is that some fundamentalist might start citing it as an "explanation".


Vanderfool :D

Comparable with "me, myself and I". Three eigenstates for the price of one!
Outside, away from the noise, grows a flower.
User avatar
Parodite
 
Posts: 4195
Joined: Sun Jan 01, 2012 9:43 pm

Re: Is America a "Christian" Nation?

Postby Typhoon » Tue Jan 19, 2016 3:04 pm

Mr. Perfect wrote:
Typhoon wrote:
Mr. Perfect wrote:Then we all agree.


:lol:

Always amused and bemused by the desperate need of fundamentalists, of all religions - both metaphysical and secular, that others perceive things as they do.

Could be. In this case though it is obvious that seculars let a false God live in their heads rent free. I certainly don't make them.


Only in your imagination.

This is a common canard used by believers in the metaphysical to console themselves regarding the indifference to their beliefs by atheists..

The only time I think about the Christian version of a god is reading this forum. Outside of this forum I never think about any version of gods

The real universe is, to me, far far more interesting than any conjectured metaphysical one.
All the world's a stage.
User avatar
Typhoon
 
Posts: 14728
Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2011 6:42 pm

Re: Is America a "Christian" Nation?

Postby Nonc Hilaire » Tue Jan 19, 2016 5:51 pm

Typhoon, I suspect you often think of love, mercy, righteousness, justice, charity outside of this forum. Perhaps even temperance on rare occasions.
“Christ has no body now but yours. Yours are the eyes through which he looks with compassion on this world. Yours are the feet with which he walks among His people to do good. Yours are the hands through which he blesses His creation.”

Teresa of Ávila
User avatar
Nonc Hilaire
 
Posts: 3997
Joined: Sat Dec 17, 2011 1:28 am

Re: Is America a "Christian" Nation?

Postby Typhoon » Wed Jan 20, 2016 3:24 pm

Nonc Hilaire wrote:Typhoon, I suspect you often think of love, mercy, righteousness, justice, charity outside of this forum.


I hope that I do. Probably less than I should.
However, when I do, it has nothing to do with with a metaphysical deity.

Perhaps even temperance on rare occasions.


In the restricted sense, usually the morning after . . .

In the general sense, a lack of is one of my many character flaws.
All the world's a stage.
User avatar
Typhoon
 
Posts: 14728
Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2011 6:42 pm

Re: Is America a "Christian" Nation?

Postby Mr. Perfect » Sat Feb 06, 2016 3:30 am

Typhoon wrote:Only in your imagination.

Only by personal experience.
Censorship isn't necessary
User avatar
Mr. Perfect
 
Posts: 13631
Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2011 9:35 am

PreviousNext

Return to Philosophy

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest