Monday, April 6, 2009

"The End of Christian America"?

from the latest "Newsweek" magazine:

While we remain a nation decisively shaped by religious faith, our politics and our culture are, in the main, less influenced by movements and arguments of an explicitly Christian character than they were even five years ago. I think this is a good thing—good for our political culture, which, as the American Founders saw, is complex and charged enough without attempting to compel or coerce religious belief or observance.

It is good for Christianity, too, in that many Christians are rediscovering the virtues of a separation of church and state that protects what Roger Williams, who founded Rhode Island as a haven for religious dissenters, called "the garden of the church" from "the wilderness of the world."

As crucial as religion has been and is to the life of the nation, America's unifying force has never been a specific faith, but a commitment to freedom—not least freedom of conscience. At our best, we single religion out for neither particular help nor particular harm; we have historically treated faith-based arguments as one element among many in the republican sphere of debate and decision. The decline and fall of the modern religious right's notion of a Christian America creates a calmer political environment and, for many believers, may help open the way for a more theologically serious religious life.

Let's be clear: while the percentage of Christians may be shrinking, rumors of the death of Christianity are greatly exaggerated. Being less Christian does not necessarily mean that America is post-Christian. A third of Americans say they are born again; this figure, along with the decline of politically moderate-to liberal mainline Protestants, led the ARIS authors to note that "these trends … suggest a movement towards more conservative beliefs and particularly to a more 'evangelical' outlook among Christians." With rising numbers of Hispanic immigrants bolstering the Roman Catholic Church in America, and given the popularity of Pentecostalism, a rapidly growing Christian milieu in the United States and globally, there is no doubt that the nation remains vibrantly religious—far more so, for instance, than Europe.

First of all, the lessening of Christian influence in society is not "a good thing". Christianity is the only religion that changes the heart. Without a heart change in our people, there will be more crime. With more crime, there will be more laws. With more laws, there will be less freedom.
Secondly, the notion that our Founders never wanted a Christian America is ludicrous. The "separation of church and state" is no where in our constitution. That phrase was found in a personal letter from Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptist Church. The United States Congress commissioned a man named Thomas Aitken to translate a new updated version of the Holy Bible, and on the inside covers of these new Bibles, it read, "The United States in Congress assembled...recommend this edition of the Bible to the inhabitants of the United States." If you want to learn more, go to http://wallbuilders.com/.
Finally, the last paragraph I am finding to be true. With second generation unchurched people, when they find Jesus after drinking deeply of the world, they become "on-fire". Many of these people are brought to the faith through and join Pentecostal, Evangelical Free, Non-denominational, or Charismatic Churches.

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