America Was Not Founded on Christian Principles

I've been seeing this a lot in recent months. A lot of atheist types are pointing to various historical documents proclaiming that the USA was in fact not founded on/with/based on Christian principles.

One such document: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_of_ ... Article_11

[quote:2awedtik]
Art. 11. 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 Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.
[/quote:2awedtik]

I think there has been a bunch of noise with regard to this topic since that one (R) congressmen tried to introduce some bill that made a law dealing with this topic, I don't quite know what it was about, but it sure pissed off the atheists.

IMO if the USA wasn't explicitly founded with Christian principles, its founding was at the very least heavily influenced by them and our society, as all of western society, has been heavily influenced by them for a long, long time.

Comments

  • said:

    I've been seeing this a lot in recent months. A lot of atheist types are pointing to ...[/quote:2tutcbq5]

    Well there's your problem.../mechanic voice

    I recall one of these in which ChrisV asserted that the US wasn't a christian nation or a nation formed by christians, and that George Washington wasn't a christian. IIRC, Mark dug a bit and found frank contradiction of that bit of silliness.

    I would be leary of any historical claim of the new evangelical atheists. These people have an emotional reaction to christianity. I suspect that it is often a reaction to their personal christian past.

    The US is not and has not been a christian government in the way the UK is formally or Spain was under Franco. The US is now and has always been a christian nation, a uniquely and vibrantly christian one in a way european nations are not and have not been. Until just a few decades ago, kids prayed in school. FDR gave addresses thanking JC for his grace. We fought a civil war because obtuse protestant religious zealots couldn't sleep nights if black southerners were slaves rather than desperately poor sharecroppers.

    If any nation is by its history and culture a christian one, its the US.

  • Some slam-dunk evidence shared in a twitter exchange.

    http://atheologist.blogspot.com/2005/11 ... stian.html

    [quote:ha6mevck]
    The Atheologist then turned to someone with an opposing view, Reverend Barry W. Lynn; executive director of American’s United for Separation of Church and State. Barry says that it is a myth that America is a Christian nation. He then proceeded to throw questions at me like; - Where in the Bible are any Democratic principles even mentioned? Why is God or Jesus never mentioned in the US constitution? Why would Thomas Jefferson say, “Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law” or why would Thomas Paine say , “The age of ignorance commenced with the Christian system”. These were two of our great founding fathers. And then we have James Madison who said, “Ecclesiastical establishments tend to great ignorance and corruption, all of which facilitate the execution of mischievous projects” and Benjamin Franklin, "I have found Christian dogma unintelligible. Early in life I absented myself from Christian assemblies." Would two of the main authors of our constitution say things like that if they were using Christian principles as a framework for our country?. - I guess Barry didn’t understand that I was supposed to be asking the questions, not him. I needed answers not more questions.
    [/quote:ha6mevck]
  • Interesting site. Any atheist who claims Phelps as his religious foil is a knobend.
  • I searched for that thread you mentioned zuk, but I couldn't find it.

    I dunno, I feel like I have this instinctive reaction to say that the US is a christian nation and has been since its inception, but I can't put any hard facts to that assertion.
  • What kind of hard facts?
  • America is certainly not a theocracy, but we were indeed founded on Christian principles.

    Certain catch phrases ought to tip off the astute reader of our founding documents, such as "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

    This is demonstrably the worldview of the Framers, and those who came before them. From the Mayflower -- a ship full of Baptists seeking religious liberty and forming the Mayflower Compact, to the colonies, each formed under some sect of Christianity -- America HAS Christian roots.

    [quote:3cfuosdg]In the name of God, Amen. We whose names are underwritten, the loyal subjects of our dread Sovereign Lord King James, by the Grace of God of Great Britain, France and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith, etc.

    Having undertaken, for the Glory of God and advancement of the Christian Faith and Honour of our King and Country, a Voyage to plant the First Colony in the Northern Parts of Virginia, do by these presents solemnly and mutually in the presence of God and one of another, Covenant and Combine ourselves together into a Civil Body Politic, for our better ordering and preservation and furtherance of the ends aforesaid; and by virtue hereof to enact, constitute and frame such just and equal Laws, Ordinances, Acts, Constitutions and Offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the Colony, unto which we promise all due submission and obedience. In witness whereof we have hereunder subscribed our names at Cape Cod, the 11th of November, in the year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord King James, of England, France and Ireland the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fifty-fourth. Anno Domini 1620.[/quote:3cfuosdg]
  • said:

    From the Mayflower -- a ship full of Baptists...[/quote:3d1gjfvc]

    To be fair, only three of them were baptists, which made it seem as if the ship were "full" of them.

  • :lol: Praise
  • said:

    America is certainly not a theocracy, but we were indeed founded on Christian principles.

    Certain catch phrases ought to tip off the astute reader of our founding documents, such as "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

    This is demonstrably the worldview of the Framers, and those who came before them. From the Mayflower -- a ship full of Baptists seeking religious liberty and forming the Mayflower Compact, to the colonies, each formed under some sect of Christianity -- America HAS Christian roots.[/quote:3apbogk2]

    An astute observer would conclude that the framers used [b:3apbogk2]a diest (or thiest)[/b:3apbogk2] perspective, as the words "their creator" would apply equally in a jewish, islamic or christian perspective. Nothing particularly or exclusively christian there.

    [Rats! I was going to note that the ship was hardly "full of Baptists" but Zukiphile beat me to the punch!] Still, you, in particular, would benefit from reading a Baptist perspective on the notion of separation of church and state shown here: http://mainstreambaptist.blogspot.com/2 ... an_05.html

  • said:

    said:

    America is certainly not a theocracy, but we were indeed founded on Christian principles.

    Certain catch phrases ought to tip off the astute reader of our founding documents, such as "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

    This is demonstrably the worldview of the Framers, and those who came before them. From the Mayflower -- a ship full of Baptists seeking religious liberty and forming the Mayflower Compact, to the colonies, each formed under some sect of Christianity -- America HAS Christian roots.[/quote:31275o0w]

    An astute observer would conclude that the framers used [b:31275o0w]a diest (or thiest)[/b:31275o0w] perspective, as the words "their creator" would apply equally in a jewish, islamic or christian perspective. Nothing particularly or exclusively christian there.[/quote:31275o0w]

    An even more astute observer would conclude that the framers possessed a theological diversity. Some like Paine and Jefferson were essentially hostile to conventional christianity while others like Washington were anglicans.

    As you can guess from interactions here on the board, if you are a group comprised of RCs, anglicans, presbys, methodists and baptists, you really only open a can of worms by addressing any theology specifically. Beside which, when you are putting a government together that involves all sorts of denominations (a number of who were religious nutjobs who came here [i:31275o0w]specifically[/i:31275o0w] to practice their nutjobbery) who are vehement about the truth of their vision, addressing theological specifics is completely counterproductive.

    In this way, the non-denominational language often empoyed by framers reflects the historically unusual level of religious and fervently christian sentiment in the colonies. When you get down to a state level, where the breadth of theologies was not as great a concern, you saw states very much identified with specific denominations.

    said:

    Still, you, in particular, would benefit from reading a Baptist perspective on the notion of separation of church and state shown here: http://mainstreambaptist.blogspot.com/2 ... an_05.html[/quote:31275o0w]

    To be fair to Guy (an indulgence I take effort to avoid), he has in the past explained that position, and IIRC explained it as part of the baptist legacy here, so he understands the point.

    Whether the government is nondenominational or secular doesn't really reach the point of whether the nation is a christian one.

  • said:

    What kind of hard facts?[/quote:3nopo9qm]

    I'm not sure really. Seems like there should be something more than "just look around".

  • ... yeah, back in the 1780s there was all sorts of religious diversity in Philly.

    The internets have been great for the atheist movement.
  • said:

    IMO if the USA wasn't explicitly founded with Christian principles, its founding was at the very least heavily influenced by them and our society, as all of western society, has been heavily influenced by them for a long, long time.[/quote:3rd0xgq1]
    Ditto my opinion. Well-said. If you take all of the moral sets of all the religions of the world, which one does America most closely resemble? Certainly not Islam or Hinduism.

    said:

    The US is now and has always been a christian nation...[/quote:3rd0xgq1]
    Oddly, I would disagree. America today is barely recognizable as Christian. I'd say it's Humanist now, a moral set of "do whatever feels good so long as it doesn't hurt anybody." That's not the Christian ethos.

    said:

    Until just a few decades ago, kids prayed in school.[/quote:3rd0xgq1]
    A lot can change in two generations.

    [quote:3rd0xgq1]The Atheologist...[/quote:3rd0xgq1]
    lulz

    Glf, good quote. To add to that, I learned recently that Jamestown (or another original colony town, can't remember) established theonomy as its civil law, it was an experiment to see how a group of people could live by following all of God's (applicable) Laws set forth in the Bible. I think for at least the first generation, it worked out very well. One of the laws is that people that don't work don't eat.

    said:

    An astute observer would conclude that the framers used a diest (or thiest) perspective, as the words "their creator" would apply equally in a jewish, islamic or christian perspective. Nothing particularly or exclusively christian there.[/quote:3rd0xgq1]
    I don't think deism has anything to say about "inalienable rights" or "created equal," does it? Zuki is more on-target, calling it "nondenominational" language.

  • said:


    said:

    An astute observer would conclude that the framers used a diest (or thiest) perspective, as the words "their creator" would apply equally in a jewish, islamic or christian perspective. Nothing particularly or exclusively christian there.[/quote:2rs69kd7]
    I don't think deism has anything to say about "inalienable rights" or "created equal," does it? Zuki is more on-target, calling it "nondenominational" language.[/quote:2rs69kd7]

    No, and my reference was [b:2rs69kd7]not[/b:2rs69kd7] to that. It was to the language that said all men are [b:2rs69kd7][i:2rs69kd7]endowed by their creator[/b:2rs69kd7][/i:2rs69kd7] with certain inalienable rights.

    Capische?

  • said:


    Capische?[/quote:124qz2v4]

    You tryin' to say capisce? Well don't do it, it hurts my ears when you do it.



    I have absolutely nothing to add to this thread.

  • said:

    said:


    Capische?[/quote:2lbui9vz]

    You tryin' to say capisce? Well don't do it, it hurts my ears when you do it.
    [/quote:2lbui9vz]

    "Capische?" (short for Habst du eine Capische?) is how the german mob says "Verstehen Sie?"

    True story.

  • I learn something new everyday! Was thinking of the Italian meaning of "you understand" or suchlike.



    I retract my lame Steve Martin quote.
  • said:

    said:


    Capische?[/quote:1m0ox3dg]

    You tryin' to say capisce? Well don't do it, it hurts my ears when you do it.



    I have absolutely nothing to add to this thread.[/quote:1m0ox3dg]

    Mercy, now I'm illiterate in two languages. I just HATE it when that happens...

  • I and you both.
  • said:

    said:


    said:

    An astute observer would conclude that the framers used a diest (or thiest) perspective, as the words "their creator" would apply equally in a jewish, islamic or christian perspective. Nothing particularly or exclusively christian there.[/quote:11ivjp48]
    I don't think deism has anything to say about "inalienable rights" or "created equal," does it? Zuki is more on-target, calling it "nondenominational" language.[/quote:11ivjp48]

    No, and my reference was [b:11ivjp48]not[/b:11ivjp48] to that. It was to the language that said all men are [b:11ivjp48][i:11ivjp48]endowed by their creator[/b:11ivjp48][/i:11ivjp48] with certain inalienable rights.

    Capische?[/quote:11ivjp48]
    "Inalienable rights" and "created equal" are in near proximity to "endowed by their creator". While a generic "creator" may sound deistic, the other two sound distinctly Christian, albeit nondenominationally. IMO.

    said:

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights....[/quote:11ivjp48]

  • said:


    "Inalienable rights" and "created equal" are in near proximity to "endowed by their creator". While a generic "creator" may sound deistic, the other two sound distinctly Christian, albeit nondenominationally. IMO.[/quote:2y85lgg7]

    I've no doubt that such is, indeed, your opinion.

    Then again, I'm equally sure that "gesundheit" sounds distinctly christian to you as well.

  • Bart, had there actually been Muslims, Catholics, Jews, atheists, etc., in America in any number worth consideration during the time of the Framers, you might have a valid point. Because there were not, and also because the Framers had a DISTINCTLY Protestant worldview (each held church membership, even if they privately had issues with this or that point of theology or doctrine) I can say with some assurance that they were not advocating for the width and breadth of "religion" as it is currently defined in America.

    As Buho suggested -- they were decidedly "non-denominational" and their clauses referring to "freedom of religion" were based on a non-state church, ala England, France, Germany, Holland, etc., areas that they were more than familiar with, and fighting against. As I recall, each of the 13 original colonies had a religious test (Christian) for the holders of office in each colony.
  • Its clear that Protestant Christian metaphysics is behind the formulation of a certain type of government system...it is the basis for it.

    This should not be in contention, except by people who have an anti Christian axe to grind, for whatever reason wish to see Christianity sidelined in importance in the US in particular and Western Civilization more generally.
  • said:

    Its clear that Protestant Christian metaphysics is behind the formulation of a certain type of government system...it is the basis for it.

    This should not be in contention, except by people who have an anti Christian axe to grind, for whatever reason wish to see Christianity sidelined in importance in the US in particular and Western Civilization more generally.[/quote:1f7fxs12]

    You rang???


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frankfurt_School

    http://filer.case.edu/ngb2/Pages/Intro.html

    http://www.marxists.org/subject/frankfu ... /index.htm

    http://www.answers.com/topic/frankfurt-school

    http://www.bookwire.com/bbr/politics/fr ... chool.html

    http://www.radicalacademy.com/adiphifrankfurtschool.htm

    http://www.gseis.ucla.edu/faculty/kellner/papers/fs.htm

    http://mingo.info-science.uiowa.edu/~st ... nkfurt.htm

  • said:

    You rang???[/quote:3pab2iw7]
    Huh?

    Your links are lacking context. Something about Marxism? EV's comments were generally supportive of your position, glf.

  • said:

    said:

    You rang???[/quote:2fpsrhsr]
    Huh?

    Your links are lacking context. Something about Marxism? EV's comments were generally supportive of your position, glf.[/quote:2fpsrhsr]


    Context is: Links posted explain EV's "except by people who have an anti Christian axe to grind, for whatever reason wish to see Christianity sidelined in importance in the US in particular and Western Civilization more generally..."

    It is concentrated, intentional, and purposeful -- and that side is winning. And, yes, I know that EV was agreeing with me.

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