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Monday, April 13, 2009

Is America a Christian Nation?

President Obama recently said that America is not a Christian nation. I don't think this is what he intended to say. I think he meant that all faiths are welcome in America. This is not true in many of the Muslim countries. I believe he was making a statement of religious freedom. At least, I hope this is what he was doing.

This has raised the question whether we should ourselves a Christian nation. One would be hard pressed to deny that the majority of our nation's founders were anything but Christian. The very fact that they set the government up with three branhes of government in which each checks the power of the other two is founded on the Christian principle of depravity. People take advantage of each other if not checked. This comes from the Christian Bible. The wording in the Declaration of Independence speaks of a creator without identification but it is easy to determine who they were speaking of by the sentiment of the country during that time. We would have to say that America was founded by Christians.

But is America a Christian nation now?

Newsweek reported in 2007 that 87% of Americans identified with Christianity. Last week that percentage was donw to 76%. There are certainly less people who are making the claim. I have several questions about these numbers.

Has the precentage been affected by immigration? Many immigrants will have come from countries where Christianity is in the minority. These are the ones who come here legally. They enter a nation with religious tolerance. They can practice their religion or practice no religion at all.

Were many of the ones who once stated that they were Christians more led by wanting to be religious than true belief? People often don't want to rock the boat. It may have been embarassing to say that you didn't have any religion and Christianity seems to be a good choice if you have to pick one. They said the closest thing on their minds.

Does the political climate of today make a difference in how people answer the poll? We seem to think that America has caused all the world's problems. People may see this is because of religion. Someone contacted CNN last week saying that the way to curb population growth was to attack the religious nuts who think you should have as many babies as possible. He looked as faith as a detriment. I suppose he was speaking of abortion because I don't know if this guy knows this or not but people generally don't have babies because they are religious. I think you would be hard pressed to find any significant number of people who are having babies for religious reasons. Christianity seems a good target today.

Are these polls taken so that the answers will turn out like the one doing the survey wants? Is the question, "do you consider yourself to be aligned with Christianity?" Is the question preceded with, " do you consider yourself a spiritual person?" Some people might reject Christianity after stating they consider themselves spiritual. Being spiritual is popular these days. Being spiritual often denies any religious affiliation.

But, for the sake of argument, let's say that each of the surveys taken through the years are exactly the same. Has Christianity lost its influence from former years? I don't think I would have to poll people to find the answer. Yes, Christianity has lost its influence.

Christians are the major reason that less Americans are identifying with Christianity. We protest the sinfulness of the world while sweeping our own sins under the carpet. We are mean toward people while telling others that they need to love one another. We boycott organization which do not do what we want when Christ told us to love our enemies and pray for them.

My personal belief is that many people who identify with Christianity aren't really Christians. I believe this because they do not act with grace and love when dealing with others. They have no fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control) prevalent in their lives. Jesus said we would know whether a person was a Christian or not by their fruit. Non-christians believe that anyone who claims to be a Christian is a Christian. They don't know that many of these do not give the gospel in the way they live so they reject Christianity.

"America is not a Christian nation" has yet to be proved. If the statement is true, I say we seek to change that statement but not by enacting laws to force Christianity upon others. I say we seek those who do not know Jesus and tell them the true gospel with our words an actions. However, if the statement is false, let's prove that it is false by our grace toward others.

Our faith is one of grace. So, go into the world and give everyone you meet heaven.

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