Christ religion

The 4th of July and Revisionist History: What Really About Religion and Our Founding Fathers?

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, and that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, and that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” What to think of such a Declaration, almost 250 years later? Here are some thoughts.

It is a common assertion by conservative Christians who love both God and America, that our country was founded by devout Christians and that our foundational documents such as the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights reflect the deep Christian values ​​we need to recover if there is to be revival in our country. In fact, this is all a half-truth at best.

The were some very devout Christians who helped found our country, like Samuel Adams or maybe George Washington and some of the Quakers like William Penn, but there were also deists who didn’t like the miraculous aspects of the Bible – this included especially Thomas Jefferson (who produced a truncated version of the New Testament with the miraculous material erased), John Adams, and certainly included Benjamin Franklin, not to mention people like Thomas Paine. It was mainly Jefferson and Franklin who shaped the wording of the Declaration, and although they were happy to affirm a creator God, it is very difficult to find in the Bible a list of inalienable rights, especially if they are separated from the long list of rights. moral responsibilities of God-fearing people. Honestly, I don’t think we should talk a lot about rights without putting so much emphasis on responsibilities as citizens. Furthermore, the Bible does not speak of the pursuit of happiness much less the pursuit of pleasure, it speaks of the pursuit of holiness and suggests that contentment and even happiness come with devotion and holiness.

What worried the Founding Fathers in matters of religion was that there would be not being an official, government-sponsored religion – which in their day meant that they did not want the US government to be politically aligned with any particular Catholic or Protestant denomination. Freedom of religious affiliation was what was affirmed. This did not mean at the 18e century “the separation of Church and State” in the modern sense of this expression. It actually meant the opposite of what it means now, that the Founding Fathers wanted to protect the Church from state interference and dictates. They had seen too much of it in Europe and they didn’t want it to happen again in America. This had led to horrible wars, the destruction of church property, the execution of people like William Tyndale who dared to translate the Bible into English, etc. The Founding Fathers were not interested in protecting the state from various Christian principles and ethics or even the theological view that there is a creator God. These things are indeed in part encoded in our founding documents.

In view of this history, and where we are today, what would a revival look like in our country, and what general religious and ethical principles, such as issues of justice and economic opportunity, could be affirmed in such a awakening ? Would restoring a broad belief in the sanctity of unborn and unborn life be part of such a revival? Should we confess and repudiate the racisms of yesterday and today which, when our country was founded, involved slavery and the treatment of African peoples as property and not as whole persons created at the picture of God? I would just say that, as John Wesley said long ago, there can be no spiritual holiness without social holiness, and vice versa, and he very specifically referred to slavery and that kind of racism as “the the most inexorable sum of all wickedness”. Gospel for any revival of real worth to happen. Gnosticism, which involves separating problems of the human body from problems of the heart or soul, and separating social and interpersonal problems from spiritual problems, was and is Christian heresy. One more thing – the freedom the New Testament affirms is freedom of sin, not the freedom to behave as we like sexually, socially or otherwise.

Think about these things.