Would you exclude me from this movement for not being a Christian. I am a military retiree and a patriot, who is disgusted with the direction of my country. We probably share many of the same morals and values. However, I am not a Christian and therefore would like to know if I would be excluded. This struggle is about America, constitutionality, values, and patriotism, it is not a religious struggle. We need to bring every like minded individual, regardless of religious preference into the fold, or hence we FAIL. Trust me when I say there are many people in this country as disgusted as you are who do not share your religious beliefs. We need every last one of them IMHO. I would be interested in your response.
Thanks for your good question and well thought out post.
I'd like to give my perspective and I understand that you may very much disagree with it. That is the wonderful thing about America. We don't need to agree. The founding fathers mirrored something that is very visible in the New Testament - that people do have a choice in what they believe - that is embedded into the fabric of our nation!
In the other thread I proposed that it may be time for Christians to emerge as a Christian nation. Note, not a Christian 'state'. A nation is virtual, to some extent; a state is geographical to some extent. A Christian nation would be made up of many Christian Communities. As 'subjects' of a Christian nation working in Christian communities, we would recognize one another and work to help one another --- trading with one another and supporting one another. We would try to make our communities as self sufficient as possible. The communities would also try to help and support those on the ‘outside’; after all, that is the reason, as Christians, we are here – to love God and to love our neighbor as ourselves. Also, our communities would be 'safe harbors' and support those 'outside.' People saw this during the time of the holocaust. Christians risked their lives to save the lives of the Jews. Others, who weren't Christians did this as well - I don't want to leave that out!
You said that in your opinion, this isn’t a religious struggle. I respectfully disagree. It is a struggle of ideals. Although any individual can be an exception, on the macro level, ideals, morals and values are born out of our religion. Now, I am using religion in the broadest sense of the word. Religion is what we worship. Everyone ‘worships’ something – something is at the center of everyone’s world – that is what they worship. We can worship many things. Note – once certain core ‘principles’ are in place – there is an ideological outworking of those key principles. If the following precepts are accepted, then the extensions I outline will also likely happen. (Note, as I said above, any individual can be an exception… I’m talking at the macro level: Action almost always follows ideology. Ideology is mirrored by our core beliefs & what we worship.)
If the following precepts are in place (and I believe that these ARE the precepts of a growing percent of our population)…
Precept #1 – There is not a God who will hold us accountable for our actions.
Precept #2 – The goal of being ‘here’ is to live our lives as best as we can.
Precept #3 - People are basically good and life is about growing into better people and making this a better place to live.
…This is what you get by extending these precepts…
The earth is ours. (Contrast with Christian belief/the earth is God’s and we are here as stewards and caretakers.)
The enemy of the earth is man.
Therefore, we must protect the earth from man even if it ‘costs’ man.
This is a summary regarding this view of earth: The earth becomes the thing above all else. This is a type of worship & it often extends to ‘living things.’ Hug a tree, save the seals and become vegetatrians.
People that are sentient need to be respected. Those who are not are burdens to be ‘dealt with’.
This precept extents into abortion, genetic engineering, stem cell research, euthanasia, birth control of ‘undesirables.’ (Has anyone ASKED why minorities are ‘targeted’ by Planned Parenthood?) After all, we are only animals. Certainly those of us who are ‘aware’ need to be respected, but if we’re not ‘aware’, well, we’re not of any ‘intrinsic’ value.
Add Earth and People together. You have people who go ‘crazy’ with animal rights and tree hugging.. ...vegetarians that don’t have a problem with abortion.
Precept: People are good and we just need to work to make this a better place to live. If we see people as basically ‘good’, then it is easy to ‘see’ that organizing people to be responsible take care of all the ‘other people’ is the best ‘way.’ Socialism and communism are normal and logical extensions of this type of thinking. Contrast this with Christian suppositions: Man reflects God because we are created in his image. This means that intrinsically humans, all humans have value! Man is also prone to do wrong things. This propensity is hard wired and needs to be considered in everything, especially in how we govern. This frame of reference is one of the reasons that the constitution is so careful to balance the powers. We know what will happen if there aren’t checks and balances.
Good and Evil.
Without God’s moral standard, you are free to develop your own moral standard. You said above that your moral standard might be similar to mine. Probably. However, it doesn’t have to be. Without God, you are free to choose your own moral standard.
Without God, people tend to choose the following standard. Not always, but it easily emerges because it is the ‘path of least resistance’ and fits with the precepts above.
Good: What is easy, pleasurable and convenient. If it’s not ‘visible’, it might not really be wrong or, maybe it’s not wrong for me.
Bad: What deprives people, is difficult and doesn’t treat people the same, i.e. isn’t ‘fair’
Good: What harmonizes with God’s law, regardless of the personal cost to me.
Pleasure doesn’t have anything to do with ‘good’; but amazingly – when we make the right choices it leads to joyful and fulfilled lives.
Difficulty is to be embraced as the path that will develop character.
We understand that even if what we do isn’t ‘visible on the surface’, God will hold us accountable. So, the end doesn’t justify the means and secret ‘sins’ are wrong.
Bad: What is easy, pleasurable and convenient (to a large extent)
Not allowing people to reap the consequences of their choices and behavior. If people make poor economic choices - ‘teach’ them how to make better ones, don’t just give handouts. If people make good choices and prosper, don’t penalize them by taking from them and giving to those who are making poor choice. We see this as unfair. Those with the precepts above see people who think this way as selfish and unfair.
I think you can see where I am going with this. I personally believe that because the churches that you see today have grown up in a “Christian nation” that the people have forgotten how to make much of an impact in the world around us. I think that if we would regain our identity and take the responsibility to be involved, working for the good of our fellow man, our community and our nation – it would have a MOST positive impact on our overall society. And, though many will very much disagree, IMHO - this is the only thing that will 'turn the tide'.
Those on the far ‘left’ as many on this site are observing have a DIFFERENT standard. Without God, anyone can have any standard they want and you or I don’t have the right to impose ‘our standard’ on someone else. Can my cat tell my dog how to live? If we’re a pack of animals, we just need to live and let live.
Without God, we’ll just have to see where ‘lawlessness’ takes our nation.