Are we a Christian Nation?

ARE WE A CHRISTIAN NATION?

Click the picture of the medieval knights for more on "The bloody history of mankind."

If we were 100% a Christian nation, then our written law of conduct would mirror our understanding of how we are to act as Christians. Or would it? Maybe we'd agree on outlawing things like abortion, but would we all agree on the severity of the punishment for the lawbreakers? Would we have the hearts of the earliest Christians who found love and forgiveness for all, even their enemies? Or would we be like the Christians who came later and saw it as their duty to kill everybody who didn't worship exactly the way they did, and then confiscate the goods and property of those they destroyed?  Which way sounds Godly to you?

 Why is it important to ask if we're a Christian nation? What if we're not? Would it affect the way we act as Christians? What is the model for Christian behavior? Is it that of the earlier Christians who were outcasts from their societies and had no political power or those who came after 324A.D. when the Roman Emperor Constantine embraced Christianity as an official religion?  If our country consists of a large majority of Christians then how would we present Christianity to the non-Christian part of the nation and the rest of the world? Would it be with the love that the Apostle Paul writes of, or would it be with the iron-fisted zeal the official church showed in stamping out heresy during the Spanish inquisition and other bloodletting episodes of its history?  

Wouldn't a Christian nation's attitudes and actions reflect the teachings of the Bible?  Wouldn't we want others to see in us the merit of being Christian? Our goal should be to influence through discussion and example, not through law or decree. That's the mistake the Catholic Church made for centuries. In the name of God, a handful of people terrorized entire continents and waged war to acquire property and prestige. All of this happened after Christians became politically powerful. They used Jesus for personal gain and forced others to accept him unwillingly. Should Christians make people accept God unwillingly? In Revelation 3:20 God says; "Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me." God doesn't seem to desire to break down doors to make people accept him. He knocks! He understands. He gave YOU decision making abilities, and he respects that. God lets you make the decision to let him into your life or not. As for those who do have Jesus in their lives, the Apostle Paul says this, "So we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We beseech you on behalf of Christů" The word, "beseech" means to "request earnestly". Notice that there is no demand of God being made to unbelievers.

Behold, I stand at the door and knock.

When we ask, then, if we're a Christian nation, we must differentiate between that Christianity of the official church of medieval times through the present as exhibited through an oppressive militancy and political power, and that of the earlier Christians who delivered the good news of God's love and his plan for humanity through loving and caring.

Our ministry is based on the earliest forms of Christianity as exhibited through the Christian leaders of the 1st, 2 nd and 3rd centuries before the practice became corrupted through its blending with earthly power (you can view other sections of this website that spell out the use and abuse of such power.

The early Christians did not live in a Christian nation. The first Christians were Jews, living in Jerusalem. The attitude they had about the land they occupied was expressed in Hebrews 11:13 when describing the importance of having the same faith in God their ancestors had; "These all died in faith, not having received what was promised, but having seen it and greeted it from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they were thinking of the land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city."

    The first gentile Christians lived in places like Antioch (in present day Syria) and Alexandria, in Egypt. Antioch was the home to Paul's missionary activities. But Antioch was not a "Christian" city. Romans, Greeks, Syrians and Jews populated it, and they had huge temples erected to their God's of worship like Apollo and Demeter.

In fact, over the first several hundred years of Christianity, millions of Christians were hunted down by the Romans and killed because of the way they believed and their refusal to worship the Roman Emperor as God. The name "Christian" itself started out as a derogatory term that others used in a negative manner. The first Christians saw themselves as part of the Jewish faith, and referred to themselves as "People of the Way". Their attitude about the place they lived was much like the ancestral fathers like Abraham, who viewed themselves as "pilgrims and strangers" on their way to a heavenly city.  

So are we a Christian nation? The founding fathers of the United States of America were mostly Deists, people who believed in a God, but not necessarily in Jesus Christ as their savior.

Click this picture for "The Problems with Polls"

USA Today printed the last Opinion poll we read regarding beliefs on 12/23/99. We're not big on polls, and discuss why in other areas of this web page, and this one is not very good either as respects to defining Christian belief in America, but it offers useful discussion questions.  (click the USA TODAY "In search of faith" picture on the left for discussion on polls).

86% Americans believe in God, and another 8% believe in a "higher power" they won't call God". 30% called themselves spiritual, but not religious. 54% call themselves religious and 38% believe that Christianity is the only true path to God. There are a lot of "religious belief" questions here of interest. While the article calls us a "largely Christian nation" it does not delineate an actual percentage claiming to be "Christian". (The picture of Jesus on the right is the earliest known portrait of him found in a first century Roman catacomb. Click it for "Is Christianity a religion?").

Click this picture for, "Is Christianity a Religion?"

The practices of our popular culture (i.e. position on abortion, public educational settings, television sex and violence, sports over-emphasis on winning and salaries, theft and corruption in politics and all the stuff that goes along with it) are contrary to Christian belief. If our nation is Christian, then the majority of us, at least as represented by and presented to us by the media, appear to be of the "militant" Christian type, and not the loving type the first Christians were. Our search for truth takes us back to origins of Christianity, and a desire to define ourselves in a way consisitent with the "first" Christians,  so we take the position that we are NOT a Christian nation, at least not in the way we present ourselves to each other and the world around us.

Our writings, our opinions, our teachings, are based on the principal that we are not a Christian nation. A lot of confusion exists on the part of Christians on how to react to the world around us because for a long time of our existence our populace as a whole acted as though it were Christian, and our media presented us that way. That is not the case today. Our governments seem to have turned into organizations designed to strip all sense of Godliness from our society and provide safe haven to those institutions that make financial hay celebrating ideals that are anti-Christian. Our country, as presented to us by our mainstream media, is not Christian. Our actions, ideals and beliefs should be encouraged, but not forced. Today's Christians are like yesterday's - "Pilgrims and strangers" in this world.