Christian Patriotism

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Kishkumen
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Christian Patriotism

Post by Kishkumen »

On the one hand, I am not a big fan of rooting out the historical contribution of Christianity to the USA’s culture and civilization. As a historian, I find it impossible to understand where our nation comes from and what it is without taking account of Christianity’s place in those origins and present culture.

For this reason, secular America’s allergic reaction to this fact grates on me severely. Christianity’s contribution merits more than grudging acknowledgment. It was hugely important to the foundation of our nation.

On the other hand, I find pieces like this selective in a cringy way:

https://www.standingforfreedom.com/2024 ... pendence/?

Predictably, Thomas Jefferson is invoked as a figure whose thought was much indebted to Christianity. And that is exactly where we start getting into a tangled mess, one that is uncomfortable for everyone, or should be even if it too often isn’t. We can approach the problem productively with these questions:

What kind of Christian was Thomas Jefferson, and how much was his Christian thought also shaped by Classical literature and Enlightenment philosophy?

So this piece quotes Jefferson writing about God and natural law, and, while all of that may be glossed over by the average Christian reader who is only too ready to assume that Jefferson meant more or less the same as they believe, I could just as easily relate the same passages to my knowledge of Cicero’s philosophical and theological writings.

Cicero, it should not need to be pointed out, was NOT a Christian.

I am not saying that Jefferson thought of the Classics exclusively, predominantly, or anything of the sort when he talked about God and natural law, but his thought was at least partly shaped by the Classics and the philosophy of his time. But most of the readers of that piece may never pause to consider how the complexity of Jefferson’s actual intellectual biography matters.

People will continue to look into Jefferson and America’s founding like a mirror in which they want to see themselves nicely affirmed, sometimes at the expense of those they disagree with. It would be better to recognize that we probably don’t fully understand Jefferson, the nation’s founding, etc., and go forth seeking to understand the parts that strike us as odd, unfamiliar, and even off-putting. History does not exist simply to help us celebrate ourselves as we like to imagine ourselves to be.
"Great power connected with ambition, luxury and flattery, will as readily produce a Caesar, Caligula, Nero and Domitian in America, as the same causes did in the Roman Empire." ~Cato, New York Journal
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Re: Christian Patriotism

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Everybody Wang Chung
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Re: Christian Patriotism

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huckelberry
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Re: Christian Patriotism

Post by huckelberry »

Kishkumen, I read the short article you linked. It intentionally misunderstands, distorts, and then insults the idea of secularism.

I was wondering why the article saw bad atheists as politically left. In the real world there are conservative secularists as well as other political inclinations. Ayn Rand has followers and she hated religion and would be disgusted by the article.
Progressives are currently living off borrowed capital, but that capital is quickly drying up as the clown car that is secularism rampages through our country, upending all that is good and noble. The result is a moral wasteland where the true underpinning of freedom is lost.
Like a Trump quote, it is so messed up it is hard to relate to.

Or is it odd that the main moral wasteland I see is the rabid portion of Trumpism?
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Re: Christian Patriotism

Post by huckelberry »

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.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Kishkumen makes a clear point that this statement would have multiple inspirational sources. Christianity may be a part of that but the statement is not from the Bible and clearly fits secular thought. I may believe it fits Christian faith but people have been very open to ways of expressing Christianity in direct rejection of these thoughts. I wonder if this person calling secularism a clown car even vaguely agrees with Jefferson's proposal.

This post may be a second failure of mine to open a line of discussion.
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sock puppet
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Re: Christian Patriotism

Post by sock puppet »

huckelberry wrote:
Sun Jul 07, 2024 6:12 pm
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.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Kishkumen makes a clear point that this statement would have multiple inspirational sources. Christianity may be a part of that but the statement is not from the Bible and clearly fits secular thought. I may believe it fits Christian faith but people have been very open to ways of expressing Christianity in direct rejection of these thoughts. I wonder if this person calling secularism a clown car even vaguely agrees with Jefferson's proposal.

This post may be a second failure of mine to open a line of discussion.
Does Christianity posit that all men are created equal? Perhaps. I'm not aware of where in the Bible, even New Testament, that such a sentiment is expressed. There are passages that God loves all, but that's not quite the same as all being equal.
Gadianton's realized on his mission: the "core of the gospel of the actual church is high-pressure sales, it literally is Amway...And you really got the feeling that if you didn't enjoy high-pressure sales or weren't enamored by hierarchies, that there was no place in the Church for you."
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Re: Christian Patriotism

Post by huckelberry »

sock puppet wrote:
Sun Jul 07, 2024 11:55 pm
huckelberry wrote:
Sun Jul 07, 2024 6:12 pm
Kishkumen makes a clear point that this statement would have multiple inspirational sources. Christianity may be a part of that but the statement is not from the Bible and clearly fits secular thought. I may believe it fits Christian faith but people have been very open to ways of expressing Christianity in direct rejection of these thoughts. I wonder if this person calling secularism a clown car even vaguely agrees with Jefferson's proposal.

This post may be a second failure of mine to open a line of discussion.
Does Christianity posit that all men are created equal? Perhaps. I'm not aware of where in the Bible, even New Testament, that such a sentiment is expressed. There are passages that God loves all, but that's not quite the same as all being equal.
Sock Puppet, when I posted this out of curiosity I asked google your question. It did not have any direct statement from the Bible (neither you nor I expected such a direct statement), but various things are seen as suggesting that view. There were also comments questioning the meaning of equality, there are Christians who feel it is important to reject and guard against any suggestion that people should economically equal. Well, Jefferson was not pushing that. Even though people sometimes quibble, it is clear Jefferson was thinking of all people being given basic rights. The Bible does point to the idea of all people being treated equally under the law. That would be underlined by Jesus' proposal we love neighbors and treat others as we would want to be treated.

I do not believe the idea of equal treatment under the law was invented new by the Bible. I think it could be seen as an ongoing human development of understanding. I think that by proposing that God cares and values each of us our concern for equal treatment for others should be amplified.
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Re: Christian Patriotism

Post by Analytics »

Kishkumen wrote:
Sat Jul 06, 2024 8:48 pm
On the one hand, I am not a big fan of rooting out the historical contribution of Christianity to the USA’s culture and civilization. As a historian, I find it impossible to understand where our nation comes from and what it is without taking account of Christianity’s place in those origins and present culture.
I agree.

For a reason I don’t remember, last year I became fascinated with the history of Britain in the Anglo-Saxon period (from about AD 500 to AD 1066). It turns out we know more about this period than I had thought, and the significance of it and its connection to us now is much greater than I thought (I was raised to think everything between the death and the apostles and 1492 was one big dark apostasy where nothing of significance happened).

Once the anglo-saxons embraced Christianity sometime around AD 500, they began to form a relatively nice civilization; there was a relatively stable relationship between kings and peasants, and everyone’s wealth seemed to be slowly increasing. A key part of why this worked was the Christian values they pretended to (and sometimes really did) embrace. People started to feel that it was important to acknowledge agreements and fulfill what you said you promised to do. This was driven by Christian values of keeping the commandments and thinking some things were more important than pleasure, power, and wealth. Of course many people across all levels of society didn’t live up to this ideal, but the church consistently taught this and there was a general understanding that it was wrong to double-cross people. Things were in fact getting better over the decades.

Then the vikings started to invade. They raped and plundered with their own viking values. Whenever they got sick of fighting, the anglo-saxons would propose some sort of a truce with the vikings--they’d give them land and money in exchange for the promise that they’d live in peace afterwards. Time and time again the Vikings agreed to this, but the concept that the Vikings needed to abide by the terms of their truces was totally foreign to them. After resting for as long as they wanted, they would then laugh at the truce as nonsense and continue to attack and plunder as much as they wanted. Promises were meaningless. If somebody had something that you wanted and you could take it, be a man and take it! A promise that you wouldn’t is meaningless.

For a couple of centuries, the anglo-saxons were caught in this loop--their towns and villages would start to build up a little bit of wealth and as soon as they had enough to tempt the vikings, the vikings would swoop in, violently steal everything they wanted, and then burn the rest down. That happened over and over and over again--perhaps once a decade on average.

This cycle finally ended in the 880’s when King Alfred realized the real problem was the values of his Viking neighbors. They next time they had a war, Alfred offered the following peace terms: we’ll give you a whole bunch of land and gold and will promise we won’t invade you. In exchange, you need to promise us peace and become Christians. The vikings thought this was nuts--being paid large sums of money in exchange for being baptized into a bizzare and meaningless religion? Who wouldn’t do that!

But that is when things began to change. After a few decades the Vikings eventually accepted Christianity. Once that happened there was enough peace on the island for wealth to actually grow and when there were wars, the wars ended and people got on with their lives instead of continuously fighting.

Then the Battle of Hastings, the Magna Carta, the plague, the renaissance, the enlightenment, and now us. The anglo-saxons and then the vikings settling down as Christians were essential links in that chain.
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Re: Christian Patriotism

Post by Binger »

Analytics wrote:
Thu Jul 11, 2024 2:53 pm
Kishkumen wrote:
Sat Jul 06, 2024 8:48 pm
On the one hand, I am not a big fan of rooting out the historical contribution of Christianity to the USA’s culture and civilization. As a historian, I find it impossible to understand where our nation comes from and what it is without taking account of Christianity’s place in those origins and present culture.
I agree.

For a reason I don’t remember, last year I became fascinated with the history of Britain in the Anglo-Saxon period (from about AD 500 to AD 1066). It turns out we know more about this period than I had thought, and the significance of it and its connection to us now is much greater than I thought (I was raised to think everything between the death and the apostles and 1492 was one big dark apostasy where nothing of significance happened).

Once the anglo-saxons embraced Christianity sometime around AD 500, they began to form a relatively nice civilization; there was a relatively stable relationship between kings and peasants, and everyone’s wealth seemed to be slowly increasing. A key part of why this worked was the Christian values they pretended to (and sometimes really did) embrace. People started to feel that it was important to acknowledge agreements and fulfill what you said you promised to do. This was driven by Christian values of keeping the commandments and thinking some things were more important than pleasure, power, and wealth. Of course many people across all levels of society didn’t live up to this ideal, but the church consistently taught this and there was a general understanding that it was wrong to double-cross people. Things were in fact getting better over the decades.

Then the vikings started to invade. They raped and plundered with their own viking values. Whenever they got sick of fighting, the anglo-saxons would propose some sort of a truce with the vikings--they’d give them land and money in exchange for the promise that they’d live in peace afterwards. Time and time again the Vikings agreed to this, but the concept that the Vikings needed to abide by the terms of their truces was totally foreign to them. After resting for as long as they wanted, they would then laugh at the truce as nonsense and continue to attack and plunder as much as they wanted. Promises were meaningless. If somebody had something that you wanted and you could take it, be a man and take it! A promise that you wouldn’t is meaningless.

For a couple of centuries, the anglo-saxons were caught in this loop--their towns and villages would start to build up a little bit of wealth and as soon as they had enough to tempt the vikings, the vikings would swoop in, violently steal everything they wanted, and then burn the rest down. That happened over and over and over again--perhaps once a decade on average.

This cycle finally ended in the 880’s when King Alfred realized the real problem was the values of his Viking neighbors. They next time they had a war, Alfred offered the following peace terms: we’ll give you a whole bunch of land and gold and will promise we won’t invade you. In exchange, you need to promise us peace and become Christians. The vikings thought this was nuts--being paid large sums of money in exchange for being baptized into a bizzare and meaningless religion? Who wouldn’t do that!

But that is when things began to change. After a few decades the Vikings eventually accepted Christianity. Once that happened there was enough peace on the island for wealth to actually grow and when there were wars, the wars ended and people got on with their lives instead of continuously fighting.

Then the Battle of Hastings, the Magna Carta, the plague, the renaissance, the enlightenment, and now us. The anglo-saxons and then the vikings settling down as Christians were essential links in that chain.
Excellent stuff.
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Not only have I denounced the Big Lie, I have denounced the Big lie big lie.
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Re: Christian Patriotism

Post by drumdude »

Welcome back, Binger.
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