You are hereThe End of Christian America

The End of Christian America

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By Starlight - Posted on 05 April 2009

The percentage of self-identified Christians has fallen 10 points in the past two decades. How that statistic explains who we are now—and what, as a nation, we are about to become. It was a small detail, a point of comparison buried in the fifth paragraph on the 17th page of a 24-page summary of the 2009 American Religious Identification Survey. But as R. Albert Mohler Jr.—president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, one of the largest on earth—read over the document after its release in March, he was struck by a single sentence. For a believer like Mohler—a starched, unflinchingly conservative Christian, steeped in the theology of his particular province of the faith, devoted to producing ministers who will preach the inerrancy of the Bible and the Gospel of Jesus Christ as the only means to eternal life—the central news of the survey was troubling enough: the number of Americans who claim no religious affiliation has nearly doubled since 1990, rising from 8 to 15 percent. Then came the point he could not get out of his mind: while the unaffiliated have historically been concentrated in the Pacific Northwest, the report said, "this pattern has now changed, and the Northeast emerged in 2008 as the new stronghold of the religiously unidentified." As Mohler saw it, the historic foundation of America's religious culture was cracking.

"That really hit me hard," he told me last week. "The Northwest was never as religious, never as congregationalized, as the Northeast, which was the foundation, the home base, of American religion. To lose New England struck me as momentous." Turning the report over in his mind, Mohler posted a despairing online column on the eve of Holy Week lamenting the decline—and, by implication, the imminent fall—of an America shaped and suffused by Christianity. "A remarkable culture-shift has taken place around us," Mohler wrote. "The most basic contours of American culture have been radically altered. The so-called Judeo-Christian consensus of the last millennium has given way to a post-modern, post-Christian, post-Western cultural crisis which threatens the very heart of our culture." When Mohler and I spoke in the days after he wrote this, he had grown even gloomier. "Clearly, there is a new narrative, a post-Christian narrative, that is animating large portions of this society," he said from his office on campus in Louisville, Ky.

There it was, an old term with new urgency: post-Christian. This is not to say that the Christian God is dead, but that he is less of a force in American politics and culture than at any other time in recent memory. To the surprise of liberals who fear the advent of an evangelical theocracy and to the dismay of religious conservatives who long to see their faith more fully expressed in public life, Christians are now making up a declining percentage of the American population.

According to the American Religious Identification Survey that got Mohler's attention, the percentage of self-identified Christians has fallen 10 percentage points since 1990, from 86 to 76 percent. The Jewish population is 1.2 percent; the Muslim, 0.6 percent. A separate Pew Forum poll echoed the ARIS finding, reporting that the percentage of people who say they are unaffiliated with any particular faith has doubled in recent years, to 16 percent; in terms of voting, this group grew from 5 percent in 1988 to 12 percent in 2008—roughly the same percentage of the electorate as African-Americans. (Seventy-five percent of unaffiliated voters chose Barack Obama, a Christian.) Meanwhile, the number of people willing to describe themselves as atheist or agnostic has increased about fourfold from 1990 to 2009, from 1 million to about 3.6 million. (That is about double the number of, say, Episcopalians in the United States.)

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.

Still, in the new NEWSWEEK Poll, fewer people now think of the United States as a "Christian nation" than did so when George W. Bush was president (62 percent in 2009 versus 69 percent in 2008). Two thirds of the public (68 percent) now say religion is "losing influence" in American society, while just 19 percent say religion's influence is on the rise. The proportion of Americans who think religion "can answer all or most of today's problems" is now at a historic low of 48 percent. During the Bush 43 and Clinton years, that figure never dropped below 58 percent.

Many conservative Christians believe they have lost the battles over issues such as abortion, school prayer and even same-sex marriage, and that the country has now entered a post-Christian phase. Christopher Hitchens —a friend and possibly the most charming provocateur you will ever meet—wrote a hugely popular atheist tract a few years ago, "God Is Not Great." As an observant (if deeply flawed) Episcopalian, I disagree with many of Hitchens's arguments—I do not think it is productive to dismiss religious belief as superstitious and wrong—but he is a man of rigorous intellectual honesty who, on a recent journey to Texas, reported hearing evangelical mutterings about the advent of a "post-Christian" America.

To be post-Christian has meant different things at different times. In 1886, The Atlantic Monthly described George Eliot as "post-Christian," using the term as a synonym for atheist or agnostic. The broader—and, for our purposes, most relevant—definition is that "post-Christian" characterizes a period of time that follows the decline of the importance of Christianity in a region or society. This use of the phrase first appeared in the 1929 book "America Set Free" by the German philosopher Hermann Keyserling.

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Parker's picture

This article is suspicious, from questions over its research methodology to its obvious political bias.

I remember interacting with an atheist who claimed that the census showed huge growth among atheists in a 10-year period. When investigated further, the census had merely added some new categories/metrics (which changes the comparative framework) and had shown more people who didn't claim any particular denominational affiliation. The atheist spun this non-event into huge gains for atheism, quite dubiously.

If you ever read Meacham (Newsweek), you know he's deeply biased against public religious expression and christian influence of legal thought. In his mind, the "public square" is off limits to christians. Furthermore, he wrongly treats abortion (i.e., infanticide) as a mere religious belief, and so celebrates its status as the legal norm in American society. Anyone who would try to eliminate the evil of infanticide is a mere religious extremist wishing to impose "religion" upon the legal system, Meacham's view.

Meacham is a kook. He says it's a good thing for society, culture, and politics to have little Christian influence. What a nut job. Where would the West be without the influence of Christian morals, law, and ethics?

I'll never understand separatists like Meacham and Cliv who believe the world belongs to pagans and satan and that justice and morality are to be practiced and preached only within sequestered christian communities and not the society at large.

tom-g's picture

Parker,

What do you find offensive or contrary to scripture about the statement "separatists like Meacham and Cliv who believe the world belongs to pagans and satan and that justice and morality are to be practiced and preached only within sequestered christian communities and not the society at large."

Tom

Parker's picture

Be specific, Tom. I obviously don't find my own statement to be "offensive," so perhaps that is not what you meant. Feel free to clarify. Thanks.

tom-g's picture

Sorry Parker,

The question should have been "What is it about what separatists Meacham and Clive believe, as you have explained it, that you will never understand?"

Tom

Starlight's picture

Parker,

Actually I thought the author brought us some good discussion points.

You said …-.’ If you ever read Meacham (Newsweek), you know he's deeply biased against public religious expression and christian influence of legal thought. In his mind, the "public square" is off limits to christians.”

Parker it appeared to me that he “Meacham” an Episcopalian possibly has a more balanced view of how Christians should interface and influence events than through co opting and turning the government into a partial theocracy in which you and fundamentalist Christians seem to be more comfortable with. We have seen both protestant and catholic influenced governments create intolerant cultures and laws that repress freedom instead of enhancing it. This is a tension between Religion and government that has been ongoing from the creation of Adam and Eve. Just read Ezekiel’s commentary about the nations symbolized as the Trees of Eden found in the Garden of Eden if you have any doubts.

(Eze 31:3) Behold, Assyria was a cedar in Lebanon, with beautiful branches and forest shade, and of towering height, its top among the clouds. …
8 The cedars IN THE GARDEN OF GOD could not rival it, nor the fir trees equal its boughs neither were the plane trees like its branches; no tree in the garden of God was its equal in beauty.
9 I made it beautiful in the mass of its branches, and ALL THE TREES OF EDEN ENVIED IT, that were in the garden of God.
10 "Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: Because it towered high and set its top among the clouds, and ITS HEART WAS PROUD OF ITS HEIGHT,
11 I will give it into the hand of a mighty one of the nations. He shall surely deal with it as its wickedness deserves. I have cast it out. …
14 All this is in order THAT NO TREES BY THE WATERS may grow to towering height or SET THEIR TOPS AMONG THE CLOUDS, and that no trees that drink water may reach up to them in height.

Ezekiel is writing that all Nations that are powerful should not attempt to take the place of God by exalting their Tops among the Clouds. (In other words they are not God) This very same problem occurred with Nebuchadnezzar and his great Tree was toppled just as the other Trees of Eden’s creation. When Christians strive to incorporate their agendas corporately through governments there becomes corruption and eventually a great fall. This does not mean though that Christians should not exert influence which in fact Daniel and his minions did while in Babylon. What Meacham seems to be advocating is a return to the original early American idea of protection for all peoples and thus eventually all groups can live together under the great tree of National freedom of conscience. Christianity if it is experienced with a healthy purpose and actuality then should rise to the top to have influence through the higher spiritual blessings that come through Christ and exert their influence upon society and governments. Meacham seems to be making this case in the following quote.

“ 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.”

I think many Preterist have recognized that we need a more serious theological environment and institutionalized Christianity does not currently always provide that much less a religiously appropriated government. I would hate to think how we Preterist would be treated in a fundamentalist dominated culture. We have some out there right now who would love to hang us in the public square while holding the cloaks for the hangmen.

Parker I realize this is an extremely nuanced discussion and one could take either side to a certain extent. This nuanced reality is what I believe we are seeing being reflected in these poll numbers. This may be just another cycle but who knows if when we come full circle on the cycle that we will recognize ourselves religiously in about 20 more years. Who knows what is going to Emerge. :-)

Blessings

Norm

Parker's picture

Hi Norm.

Meacham lists abortion and same sex marriage as two instances where christians are better off muzzled and prohibited to shape the laws of our society. I think he's nuts to propose that Christians are not allowed to influence and shape the moral and ethical structures of society. America's history is clearly one of deep religious influence upon the legal and political environment. We must never allow separation of morality and state, as Meacham is ultimately proposing.

Meacham ends up allowing pagans to decide for the nation that baby murder is to be a legal and taxpayer-funded activity. He is likewise comfortable with allowing pagans to redefine marriage as a contract between any group of individuals who wish to apply.

No one I know has advocated Theocracy in the U.S. (Separation of church and state is best compared to separation of business and state.) Instead, the U.S. has a long tradition of having legal and social codes that are shaped by christian definitions instead of pagan ones. Why should christians be forced to sit idle as pagans do away with marriage as it has always be known? Why should christians be forced to accept infanticide as a legal and taxpayer funded activity? Sorry, but Americans must not ever have "freedom of conscience" to murder babies, to confiscate private property, or to call any social contract "marriage."

For sure, Norm, laws are *always* considered "intolerant" by people who don't like the laws that the society creates. The question that you must ask yourself is this: Who do I want determining what's illegal and legal in our nation, christians or pagans? It's going to be one or the other. Therefore, you must decide which system of right and wrong you want your kids and grandkids to be taught and governed by. Do you want a society that accepts infanticide and the redefining of marriage as normal?

I want christians heavily involved in making the decisions for America's future. To remove their voice and influence is to set up a pagan society for all. America has never been a "neutral" country with "neutral" laws. In fact, there is no such thing as "neutral laws." I recommend you read some of the early state constitutions to see how "hands on" the early American christians were in matters of state government. Christianity, if it is prohibited from participation and representation in society, will not "rise to the top" or "have influence." It will instead be a persecuted, outlawed, and imprisoned movement.

That's the inevitable result of Meacham's vision for America. A pagan society will NOT TOLERATE christian dissent of speech or action. It will be brutally intolerant of christian action and speech.

Starlight's picture

Parker,

As I said this discussion is a complex and nuanced one that will never end in complete satisfaction for anyone. I could argue your side on some points just as easy as I could argue Chris points as well. Looks like we need Solomon to split the baby don't we. ;-(

I don't think I read Meacham arguing for a Pagan society though Parker. He just takes a view outside you and your comfort level in which I can agree with you on certain points.

Let me ask this question though Parker do you think that government influenced by Catholics or fundamentalist Protestants would be appropriate to ban all forms of birth control? What wouldyou prescribe as the punishment for practicing any form of birth control. Should the government force the impregnation of all married women and there should be at least 15 to 20 children as long as the mothers body is capable?

Norm

Parker's picture

Norm,

Chris's argument is based on the myth that government is inherently evil by nature.

Governments are instead reflective of the people who are running them, just like families and businesses. Christian parents produce christian kids with christian ethics, whereas non-christian parents produce non-christian kids and a morality that tends to oppose christian morality (often radically). Same is true of governments.

Meacham is under the wrong-headed assumption that a society free of Christian morality and influence will somehow produce acceptably moral and noble laws and notions of justice. History proves the opposite to be the case. Pagan ideas of justice and morality are deeply bankrupt and will corrupt everyone if they are allowed to proceed unchecked by Christians.

Let me answer your other question by saying that pagan ideas of birth control are often based on eugenics, population control fears, and a desire to see libertine sexuality promoted in society. (And, yes, pagans have no problem creating laws about birth control, public smoking bans, or even bans on types of cooking oils and fats.) So, Norm, who do you want deciding public policy in such matters that all will be forced to abide by?

I assure you that christians will produce a more just and moral society than non-christians. Pagan countries simply lack the moral compass to advocate for the betterment of the human person and for human rights.

Starlight's picture

Parker,

You are overstating and over generalizing in your pronouncements.

I’m not interested in Pagan concepts of birth control; I was interested in your Catholic perspective Parker which you avoided because you agree with Birth Control by religious fiat backed by Government/religious implementation and coercion.

Your version of religious government domination has a poor historical record. We simply have to go back about 150 years to when Italy was controlled partially by the Catholic Church and the Pope to find abuse of religious power. The Pope decided to kidnap a Jewish child from his family under the guise of rescuing his soul from Hell. This led to the demise of the Catholic control of Government State institutions. That was an example of religious misconduct under your scenario Parker. It took about 1500 years of misconduct to eventually be discarded by people.

Consider also the British Protestant control of India where they massacred the Hindu’s and Muslims sometimes in peaceful demonstrations because they were considered savages by the Christian Missionaries. The British Military were working under orders from the government of Queen Victoria which was attempting to rape India of her wealth just like the southern confederate states abused the African slaves so that they could become wealthy. Christians have a long legacy of using religion to foster their rape and decimation of countries. Does that mean that all Christians have participated in such: of course not but it does give caution to ever embrace such a fool hardy scenario again.

Again Christians should influence their communities and their governments but we would have to think hard and fast about turning a blind eye toward the realities of misconduct by religious peoples as well. You may do well Parker under that scenario just as the Southern Plantation holders did well in the South under slavery and the British East India Company did exceedingly well in its misuse of Christian conquest of India.

Norm

Parker's picture

Norm,

Your history lesson is lacking. You have put forth a one-sided view of those events you mentioned. Plus, you seem to have fast distrust of christians and how they make decisions for their families and communities. I find that shocking.

Are you really MORE trusting of non-Christians and their warped views on what is morally right or wrong? Really? Are christians really instructed of God that they must be governed by the pagans always and everywhere?

I can't believe the things I'm reading here. The entire theoretical concept of "human rights" is a product of Christianity and theism. So you really suppose that the world would be better if Christians were removed from matters of national law and public policy? I can't imagine what could lead you and Cliv and SSF to such a conclusion. It's baffling.

Starlight's picture

Parker,

You’re over dramatizing what I’m saying and accusing me of positions that I do not hold to. I’m simply pointing out to you that Christians also have a less than honorable record when it comes to administering Governments. Quit acting the drama queen and just dialogue rationally.

I’m a strong adherent of the idea that Christians indeed make a difference but they have to be watched as well because power corrupts even those who enter with good intentions. If you didn’t view everything through such a dogmatic lens I probably would not even argue with you on many points. By the way this is more a reflection of my lacking than yours; as I should know better than try to converse with you. Parker there are some traits I like about you and I even find your stubbornness intriguing at times but I’m going to bow out of this discussion for my own sanity’s sake. ;-) LOL

By the way I don’t agree totally with Chris or John either so you can just call me a compromiser. Ha ha ;-)

Blessings

Norm

Parker's picture

Norm: I’m simply pointing out to you that Christians also have a less than honorable record when it comes to administering Governments.

Parker: Compared to what? Are you sure you've spent enough time examining Ancient Babylon, Greece, and Rome and seeking to make comparisons?

And, by the way, Chris has all but admitted that his family government is way more christian than non-christian families. And he has admitted that this is due to the fact that christians are running his family and creating its policies on everything from work to school to entertainment to ethics.

In admitting this, Chris has refuted his irrational view that governments are innately and always evil. Instead, governments reflect the views and values of those who create and lead them.

THEREFORE, we must all work for greater (not lesser!) christian influence in government and public policy. Christian ethics and morals are way higher than pagan ones, and since Christians are the only ones charged with advocating such ethics and morals, we must understand that the best society is one heavily influenced by Christian views and values.

Starlight's picture

Parker,

I'm trying to tell you I don't catagorically disagree with you. While you make some good points, Chris and John make some good points as well. Maybe we should send all of you to Congress. What a scream that would be. Just for kicks I'll throw Tom in with you. ;-)

Parker I gave you the example of the Southern Confederacy as a quazi Nation that mistreated other human beings and those Christians rationalized it away by scriptures. It took a Civil War to break that so called Southern Christian Culture of enlightment. Don't get me wrong though as I want no part of Pagan Governments. We just need Christians to really be Christians when they are in Govt.

Norm

Parker's picture

Norm: We just need Christians to really be Christians when they are in Govt.

Parker: A hearty amen to that!

And who is more likely to "really be Christians" when they are in government, christians or non-christians?

The answer is "christians." Therefore, we need christians in leadership in all aspects of life and society. And the more the better.

chrisliv's picture

Well,

Since Parker gave me his attention and mentioned me, I'll chime in a little.

Firstly, the "world system" is for all those outside of Christ's fully established Kingdom, on Earth, much like it is in Heaven.

Parker, and this article do lament why their "nation", the State is so bad and getting worse.

All Nation/States are political fictions that come and go, usually by violent means.

Most "church goers" in North America are state-incorporated. They mostly all believe that State violence and extortion are legitimate means to a variety of transient ends.

Like pagans, they call unto their idol, the STATE, when they want to FORCE their plans on others.

Although, some early American, Anglo-Germanic Christians groups in the Northeast were quite anti-statist, e.g., Shakers, Quakers, Mennonites, and some Christian Utopian groups.

So, in a nutshell, the State, and the United State is a parasitic ego mass of competing interests in which statist "Christians" had a controlling influence, once upon a time.

However, there was a more politically organized group of statist church goers that directed or influenced State Power to force the general populace to fund their churches.

Interestingly, in 1833, Massachusetts State was the last one to outlaw tax-funded churches, yet those same statist church goers were the first, four years later, to extort money for a tax-funded public school system.

Yes, Parker is a fellow citizen with other statists, pagans, homosexuals, Wiccans, etc.

Parker and the above article may bemoan the fact that their majority status and influence is waning.

So, like all the others in that parasitic ego mass, about their only play is to get in there with the rest of them and try to get STATE POWER to impose their agenda on others.

That's the American and Democratic Way!

Statism is Anti-Christian. And I'm not the only one who thinks so, Parker.

"And he said unto them, 'The kings of the Gentiles EXERCISE lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are CALLED benefactors. But ye shall not be so...'" Luke 22:25 & 26

The State/Nations were never ordained by God, and were/are an obvious shakedown and a scam predicated on force.

"Christians" who bemoan the decay of their idol (political fiction) show themselves to be the biggest idolators, in my opinion.

Peace to you all,
C. Livingstone

Parker's picture

Cliv, you are such a dispy and a gnostic on this topic, for you think government is an evil entity by its very created nature. Rather, a state reflects the views and values of the people who are making the decisions. A state run by christians will produce laws that are more in harmony with the values and morals of the christian teaching. A state run by non-christians will produce laws that are more in harmony with paganized understandings of justice and morality.

Is Family Government also an inherently evil thing that must be opposed always and everywhere? Or, is YOUR family government different in its moral character and quality from, say, the Osbournes, because it is led by Christian men and women? For sure, your Family Government is of a much more godly and righteous character than the Osbournes because of who is making the decisions and what morals are set up as the rule for all.

Government, whether of families or businesses or states, is not "anti-christian."

chrisliv's picture

Gee,

Spoken like a true Roman-Statist-Catholic.

STATE POWER directed by Clergy, who were first invited to share that POWER by Caesar Constantine, via the Edict of Milan in 313 AD, quickly corrupted the Body of Christ and created the Roman Catholic Statist Church.

So, besides "Christians" first then beginning to kill for Caesar on the battlefields, those Roman "Clergy" then set about to use STATE POWER to torture Christ-professing "heretics" who dared to criticize the Roman-State-Church.

Interestingly, the Roman-State-Church left pagans alone for a while, but when they did get to them, the pagans argued similarly as the early Christians had against State Torture and their right of conscience.

Parker, by falsely calling me a gnostic and a dipsy, you are showing your Roman-Statist heritage and Dark Ages mentality.

I'll include a new article clip and link below for some objective data on just how anti-Christian the State-Governments and World-Systems are.

Peace to you all,
C. Livingstone

http://www.strike-the-root.com/91/allport/allport5.html

Psychology of the Quantum Wrongness Field:

Please Disconnect Your Desire for Compassion from the Violence and Corruption of the State - Part 2

by Glen Allport

"...Most people have heard that power corrupts, but nearly everyone refuses to see the extent to which power destroys and kills. Spend a moment on the topic:

"Cold-blooded murder: In the recently-ended 20th Century, governments murdered roughly 262 million human beings; an average of more than two million, six hundred thousand murders per year – for the entire century. Those figures do not include war dead. As R. J. Rummel has extensively documented, far more people are simply murdered by governments than die in war – astonishing considering the many millions of war dead..."

SuperSoulFighter's picture

Yes, I believe you are correct, Chris...Parker would LOVE to return to the Dark Ages - and even earlier. He would have loved being a First Century Jew for that matter, imposing the will of the clerical hierarchies upon the masses, by force when deemed necessary.

As I told him recently in a response over on the Emergent article discussion, his heart and mind are governed by Old Covenant authoritarianism and he clearly has no part in the New Covenant.

JM

Parker's picture

How can you possibly imagine that pagans will produce a fair and just society?

Godless pagans have no conscience about trampling your rights to be born, to own private property, and to teach your children as you would wish. Why would you want morally bankrupt people making the laws that all must follow and be taught as right?

I look forward to your answer.

Parker's picture

Cliv,

Answer this question:

Is YOUR family government different in its moral character and quality from, say, the Osbournes, because it is led by Christian men and women?

(Y/N?)

chrisliv's picture

Well,

Parker, are you still abusing your children?

But, "character" is an important point.

I don't know the Osbournes, per se. But I can imagine that their promiscuous and opulent portrayal on TV may be accurate enough.

Honestly, I'd rather see people like the Osbournes who may (maybe they don't) tend to reject blind obedience to the State in a number of areas, like mindlessly killing poor people for the State in faraway places like Vietnam, Philipines, Cambodia, Iraq, Panama, et al, than to see seemingly upstanding statist church goers who mindless kill for the State on command, or fund the killing and other hostile State exploits.

Again, Parker, I'm not the only one who thinks this way:

" Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you." Mat. 21:31

Peace to you all,
C. Livingstone

Parker's picture

Hey CLIV,

I have asked a yes or no question. Answer it, please, or it will become obvious to all that you are evading.

Again....Is YOUR family government different in its moral character and quality from, say, the Osbournes, because it is led by Christian men and women?

(Y/N?)

chrisliv's picture

Yeah,

I've asked you a yes or no question, too.

Again, Parker, are you still abusing your wife and children?

(Y/N?)

But, I will go as far as saying, again, that I'd rather see a family government like the Osbournes over one led by so-called "Christian men and women" like you, Parker.

I mean, you probably didn't notice, but the Osbourne boy has recently been on TV speaking very humbly and contritely about his recovery and sobriety from substance abuse.

That very closely parallels the parable of the prodigal son I quoted to you:

"Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you." Mat. 21:31

Parker, if you won't listen to Christ Himself, please consider at least following the example Osbourne boy.

Peace to you all,
C. Livingstone

Parker's picture

Cliv,

You know that the answer is a resounding "YES," as much as you hate the conclusion. That is, yes!, your family government is radically different in its moral character and guidelines for what is right and wrong, and what is acceptable behavior. It is so precisely because you and your spouse are christians who are in charge of the family government.

Now, when we apply that truth to other governments, the same reality applies. When Christians are in charge of a business, a civic duty, or a local or state government, those institutions are RADICALLY DIFFERENT in their moral quality and character and ethical guidelines than if they were run by pagans. Basic reason and experience shows us this.

In conclusion, you have believed a MYTH that governments are inherently evil. Moreover, you have refuted your own anarchistic tendencies by simply using reason to observe that YOUR OWN FAMILY GOVERNMENT is markedly more moral and christian in its character and rules than most families as run by pagans.

chrisliv's picture

No,

Wrong again, Parker.

I never said government was inherently evil.

I say that any government, World System, i.e., Nation/States, or even families, which are premised on force, violence, and extortion is destructive and anti-Christian.

It's pretty much a no-brainer, as I pointed out by quoting the Master:

"And he said unto them, 'The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. But ye shall not be so...'" Luke 22:25 & 26

Peace to you all,
C. Livingstone

chrisliv's picture

Yeah,

That what is always comes down to with us, Parker:

I always argue for Christ's non-hostile Kingdom, on Earth, for those who believe.

And you always argue for Caesar, a Pope, and a hostile State or World System.

Peace to you all,
C. Livingstone

Parker's picture

Cliv: I never said government was inherently evil.

Parker: You say it all the time.

Cliv: I say that any government...or even families, which are premised on force, violence, and extortion is destructive and anti-Christian.

Parker: I agree. And, by the way, self-defense is not anti-christian. You yourself say you'd pack heat and even defend your family by lethal force if attacked. So...what's good for the goose is good for the gander, Chris. Just use logic and reason and you can arrive at a valid Christian government headed up by people like yourself, using principals you already accept and apply within your family government.

Cheers!

chrisliv's picture

No,

Wrong again, Parker.

I never said I pack heat.

I've said I believe that everyone, in general, has the ability and right to defend themselves and their family from animals as well as humans, even from humans acting under color of hostile law.

And I also believe Christians, in particular, may also chose to be martyred by the State, as History attests to, until the Body of Christ became a State Corporation, in 313 AD, as it became a dupe of Caesar, except for a few smaller groups and examples.

No, self-defense cannot be rightly equated to blind acceptance of hostile world systems.

Peace to you all,
C. Livingstone

Parker's picture

No, CLIV. You have thus far admitted that your family government is *not anti-christian* and have also admitted that it instead possesses christian moral character due to its leadership by you and your wife, along with the christian morals and ethics you mandate for your kids and family life. You have further admitted that this is directly in contrast to many families of non-christians, whose ethics and family codes are in many instances explicitly against christian teaching. So, family government is not inherently evil.

Now, when we apply that same principle to groups of families (a nation), we see that Christian involvement RADICALLY alters the moral character and purpose of government, leading to a more christian society based on christian ethics and morals. Therefore, nations can in fact be radically christianized via christian leadership of the government, resulting in codes and laws that are more in line with the ethics and morals of Christian life.

Finally, you admit that self-defense is NOT evil but an absolute right in keeping with God's laws. And when we apply that same right of self defense to groups of families (i.e., a nation), we arrive at the reality that governments have a right to self-defense when under attack. (In theology this is known as The Just War theory.)

None of this is evil, CLIV. In fact, it is all proper, godly, and in keeping with the teachings of the gospel of the bible.

Christians like yourself are desperately needed in government, whether family, local, state, or business. You are salt and light that is to be out of the saltshaker, and none of those realms are inherently evil or the rightful domain of satan or pagans.

chrisliv's picture

No, Parker,

You're trying to obfuscate the fact that Christians can influence a "society" for good, rather than for evil by participating in hostile, worldly "government".

The Salt (Body of Christ) loses it saltiness and is good for nothing if it's mingled with the World System (body of the State).

So, instead of going around some more on this topic, as I think we've both expressed our positions well enough, I'll probably leave it to others to carry this thread further, if desired.

Peace to you all,
C. Livingstone

Ed's picture

Chris,
I think that a few scriptures to sum up what you are saying are:

"Some trust in chariots and some in horses but we will remember the name of the Lord our god."

"We want a king like all the other nations..."

"Jesus is Lord."

"We have no king but Caesar."

We, myself included, have for too long believed that we do have another lord, another king. We've trusted in chariots and horses, and desired a king who would conscript our young, take our wealth in taxation, and wage war endlessly. These "leaders" are described in scripture as "thorn bushes," who have no useful purpose in the kingdom of God (cf. Judges 9), as opposed to the olive tree and the grape vine, which both make produce that blesses both God and man.

In the New Covenant, we are to "each sit under his own vine and fig tree," meaning that the government of God is that which comes directly from heaven - not through human intermediaries; like the President, Judges, or Popes. God alone is our Judge, and Christ is our King.

I've come to this conclusion very recently, in understanding the evil being perpetrated upon this nation by Barack Obama, and previously by our former presidents (all of them). Although my attitude towards non-Christian governments may not be as caustic as yours Chris (and I do not mean any disrespect in that comment), I do appreciate what you have helped me to see over this past several years - a little at a time.

I am also less antagonistic towards those state-incorporated churches than you, Chris; mostly because I think that they've been fed a line of "dung" and need our prayers and gentle instruction. With that said, I hope to produce a series of articles describing for my friends my journey. And, for the record, this is not simply me becoming more consistently libertarian...this is me attempting to find out what the bible teaches concerning this subject. If it sounds libertarian and a bit anarchistic, then so be it. But, trust me, it is not anarchistic - I have no King but Christ. He, and He alone, will be, from this day forward, as much as it is possible with me, my King and Sovereign; and I pledge allegiance to no one or nothing but Him.

May God bless us with the knowledge of HIS Kingdom, and the rejection of the worldly systems that enslave us.

ed

ed

Papa is especially fond of us

chrisliv's picture

Yeah,

That's interesting to hear, Ed.

My anti-statist antagonism is mostly in the context of writing, preaching, or verbal debate.

Peace be with you,
Christian

Ed's picture

As I said, I meant no disrespect. I am even beginning to understand some of our earlier discussions (mainly your answers, which at the time I didn't accept, but now realize what you were saying). I hope that we can all find better ways of living out Christ's kingdom rather than the imperialistic visions of the earthly kingdoms.

I think that this is an excellent opportunity (the socialistic tendencies of the Obama administration) for us Christians to begin to live in such a way as to be a blessing to the world at large, rather than joining in its self-destruction. As I also said, I plan on writing some articles (and have already mentioned in some previous posts leading up to this) that will explain my journey as well as the direction I see this heading.

ed

ed

Papa is especially fond of us

chrisliv's picture

Hey,

That's nice to hear, Ed.

I didn't take any offense, and knew that you didn't mean any. I just wanted you to know that most of my interaction with people in general is not characterized by strong rhetoric, like it is here in this forum. I mean, last night I was at a birthday party with a bunch of statists (including a cop and retired cop) or semi-statists that I had a pleasant time interacting with.

You've mentioned Obama and his socialistic tendencies, twice now.

I would be careful not to use that as a motivating factor too much.

The faces change, but the game of the world systems remain the same.

They are as obsolete and irrelevant as is a Mafia Don. In God's Kingdom, it only seems relevant to avoid them, expose them for what they are, and deny them any support or legitimacy.

That's my opinion and modus operandi.

Peace to you,
C. Livingstone

Ed's picture

You've mentioned Obama and his socialistic tendencies, twice now.

yes, I am just writing as my brain has been processing this whole message. Obama just happens to be the present perpetrator - Liar-in-Chief.

I recently read Ron Paul's book called "Revolution." Although much of it spoke to me, it began the final process of moving me to what is quickly becoming a non-statist position. I realized that, while it appeared that Dr. Paul was advocating a non-statist position, ultimately he was still operating within that system - quite ineffectively, if you ask me.

Earlier I had mentioned a book to you (not to the exclusion of the bible, but as a way of picturing how an alternative community might look) called Community Technology, by Karl Hess. Although the original community was located in D.C., Hess attempted to make it a totally self-sufficient community, one where each person had input (a democracy, as he called it) as to how he/she would live, not imposing his/her will on anyone else. Although I don't see myself as removing my family from our present situation and join other families of like mind (at least not yet), I see our family as becoming more self-sufficient; like planting a garden, from which we will provide food for ourselves and also sell some (a local vendor has offered to sell, at a small commission, all the collard greens we can grow). I am also looking for other entrepreneurial ways of earning money, with the hopes of replacing my current income and allow us to provide one or more services to people at a price that would not require any kind of credit card payment or third-party insurance. This would most likely be in the area of what I call "Family Life Coaching" which will be directly aimed at blended and adoptive families, most of whom have been told a load of psychobabble about how to raise children. Another part of the coaching would be to help families to see the value of self-sufficiency - to leave the usury system behind as well as the government economy. It will take a few years, but I have begun the process.

Anyway, I am getting too long winded in this thread, thanks for your input, both now and over the last few years. I only wish I had listened sooner, but it's all in God's timing.

ed

ed

Papa is especially fond of us

Parker's picture

Ed,

Let's think through your scenario, assuming masses of protestants joined you and CLIV....

Once you have fully withdrawn from public life the pagans will make themselves your kings by force and will coerce you and your children to live as they say you must or else be persecuted as rabble and dissenters. That's your future.

There is no neutral, Ed. Either Christians lead and establish a godly set of laws or else the pagans will lead and establish perpetual despotism and tyranny. If you think the pagans will allow you and your children to practice Christianity freely you are wrong. You and your kids will do what they say or else you be fined and punished and killed off.

No, christians have a calling to be the leaders and to enlighten the gentiles about the higher codes of Christ and heaven.

Ed's picture

Sorry Parker that you misunderstood me. I am not speaking of withdrawing from public life. Quite the contrary, I plan on actually finally starting to participate, rather than spend my days bitching on the internet about how bad it's getting.

As I said, "some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we will remember the name of the Lord our God." That's one of my mottos.

The bible says that "God raises up kings and brings them down." We have to believe that God will provide for us; otherwise, can we call ourselves followers of the one who fed the 5,000 with a small amount of food?

ed

Papa is especially fond of us

tom-g's picture

Ed,

Would I be misunderstanding you if I read your comment in this manner?

"Sorry Parker that you misunderstood me. I am not speaking of withdrawing from (STATISM). Quite the contrary, I plan on actually finally starting to participate in (STATISM), rather than spend my days bitching on the internet about how bad (STATISM) is getting."

Pardon me if I would understand that you are, and always will be, voluntarily 100% under the control of and 100% submissive to STATISM if you voluntarily accept or tender for payment STATIST FRNs or STATIST coinage in exchange for labor, goods or services, or if you voluntarily pay STATIST imposed property and consumption taxes, or consume and use any STATIST supplied utilities.

Tom

Ed's picture

Actually Tom, I've long since stopped believing that you desire to have any kind of a reasonable exchange of thoughts. This post of yours confirms my earlier conclusions.

ed

Papa is especially fond of us

tom-g's picture

Thanks Ed for confirming that my understanding of your comment was correct and my characterization of your voluntary cooperation with Statism was also correct.

Tom

Ed's picture

yeah Tom whatever. Thank you for confirming just how stupid you are.

I get tired of being told to be nice when trolls lurk around making stupid-ass comments and come to even greater stupid-ass conclusions.

I'm sure Tom, that when you are in another country travelling, you refuse to use their currency. To do otherwise would have to mean that you are a citizen of that country, wouldn't it? At least according to your reasoning.

And the problem with my last statement is that my using the word "reasoning" implies that you have actually REASONED. How silly of me!

ed

Papa is especially fond of us

tom-g's picture

Trapped by your own hypocrisy aren't you Ed? Is the USA a foreign country to you? Are you currently traveling in that foreign country? Are you currently a destructive parasite on that foreign country like your mentor?

Immorality exists when a person's actions contradict his words. If you are a foreigner in the statist USA then you are subject to the laws that govern foreigners in their statist country, and you will need to ask that statist country to provide you with a green card that will allow you the privilege of working or staying in their statist country and paying their statist imposed taxes.

Also if you think (like all futurists) that sometime in the future God will provide for you, then why does he not provide for you now, and why are you now making provisions to provide for yourself in the future, without any need to rely on God to provide in the future?

Also it is this "Troll's" understanding that you are currently using your statist obtained credentials to work and be paid from statist imposed taxes and you have no intention of stopping that extortion any time in the near future.

There are terms to describe your intentions Ed, but honesty, morality and Christian are not included.

Tom

chrisliv's picture

Gee, Tom,

So, what your logic infers: is that Caesar is Lord; that people have no right to live and work without paying extortion to a hostile World System for things that they don't use or want; that slaves should not desire their freedom or should be content, like you, to provide their tale of bricks to a modern Pharaoh.

You certainly have the mind of a slave, but not a typical slave.

No, in the Nazi concentration camps there were select Jewish prisoners who wore a green Star of David, rather than yellow ones. They were called the Jewish Capos, and were often so brutal toward their fellow Jews that they sometime made the German SS guards cringe.

I think you would make a good American Capo, Tom.

By the way, Tom, the Federal Reserve and its Notes (FRNs) are not part of the US federal government. See here:

Who Owns The Federal Reserve?

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=10489

"Some people think that the Federal Reserve Banks are United States Government institutions. They are private monopolies which prey upon the people of these United States for the benefit of themselves and their foreign customers; foreign and domestic speculators and swindlers; and rich and predatory money lenders."

– Louis McFadden, Chairman of the House Banking and Currency Committee in the 1930s

The fractional-reserve banking scam of 1913 was fully unleashed in 1971, when the agreed upon international settlement (Bretton Woods, after WWII) of US debt in gold, if so demanded, was broken by Nixon, in order to have access unlimited fiat credit and currency from the FED for the Vietnam War.

The way to reverse fractional reserve monetary inflation, i.e. "creating money out of thin air" (which leads to price inflation) is not to put any so-called "money" in banks.

And that's the reason bankers fear "bank runs". Because they don't actually have their customers money on hand. Neither does the FDIC scam. They only have a small percentage of it.

Now you know why Jimmy Stewart was nearly taken to jail in, It's A Wonderful Life, until his friends bailed him out.

Or, now you know who owns the Federal Reserve.

It's the same banks that are getting bailed out in the billions and trillions of fiat currency that current and future generations of US taxpayer-slaves will undoubted be extorted from in their person and their most basic property, which is their own labor.

The house of cards known as fiat currency and the federal reserve system, which US bankers and politicians engineered togather, will ultimately fail and be seen to be what it is: monopoly money that is enforced and compelled into acceptance by threats of force and violence, known as Legal Tender Laws.

The Federal Reserve Note as we know it, aka the US Dollar (USD), will probably vanish in our lifetime.

It seems likely that a return to something resembling Honest Money and a Gold Standard, in which politicians are prevented from creating huge debt and annual deficits, will emerge.

Fiat Inflation of a Money Supply is a Theft and a Fraud, which robs any People of their Labor and Savings, unless they quickly move any savings into something besides US paper-denominated assets.

Empires and their ever-more debasing currencies come and go.

Even though they are little more than hostile political fictions animated by anti-Christian order-takers, it will be interesting to actually see another one, up close, fall into the ashes of history.

Peace to you all,
C. Livingstone

Ed's picture

In case you've forgotten Tom, I stated that I've only recently come to this conclusion. As a Christian, I have an obligation to 1) provide for my family, 2) pay all my debts, 3) obey God.

So, the answer to your question is "yes" I am planning on quitting my job, when I have developed my alternate means of providing for my family, which I won't bore you with the details since you really don't care anyway.

Secondly, I have an obligation to pay off my debts - a biblical mandate. I cannot just file bankruptcy simply because I was sinning before. I am obligated, as I've said, to pay those debts off.

Thirdly, my ultimate goal is to obey God, and swear allegiance only to Him. I think that it is telling that, in spite of other's objections to some of my conclusions, they have been mostly respectful (including Parker, who is genuinely concerned with the potential harm, in his view, that the outworking of my view might bring about), while you, on the other hand, are the typical self-righteous jerk that you have always portrayed yourself to be. While you simply troll around this site finding ways to "hit-and-run" in order to insult, demean, and ridicule; you then whine incessantly about "ad hominem attacks" on you that I have made. To paraphrase our Lord, "if you live by the "ad hominem" you die by the "ad hominem."

For the record, I have not condemned anyone for their decision to remain in allegiance to the statist system - that's between them and God. I don't have to answer for them. I am simply attempting to live out what I understand God to be saying. If I am wrong, I am open to correction; but, as uaual, you have no desire to correct or discuss, only to attack.

For that Tom, you'll not hear from me any longer.

ed

Papa is especially fond of us

rfwitt's picture

"Now, when we apply that same principle to groups of families (a nation), we see that Christian involvement RADICALLY alters the moral character and purpose of government, leading to a more christian society based on christian ethics and morals. Therefore, nations can in fact be radically christianized via christian leadership of the government, resulting in codes and laws that are more in line with the ethics and morals of Christian life."

Question for Parker: What about all those politicians who claim to be Christians and favor abortion (or as they say - a womens right to chose)? Last time I checked the majority of Roman Catholic politicians in the Congress favor a womens right to murder babies. According to your thesis these so-called Christians should oppose abortion with all their might. What I read is that as long as they support the socialist programs of the state they are still in good with the church. (See comments on what's going on at Notre Dame).
Richard.....

tom-g's picture

Question for rfwitt,

Richard, why do you continue to elect those politicians that you identify?

Tom

rfwitt's picture

Tom,
You don't know me nor what I believe. Evidently, you lack reasoning skills to understand what I was getting at.
Richard....

Ed's picture

Richard, I'm glad I'm not the only one to figure that out about Tom.

ed

Papa is especially fond of us

Parker's picture

RFWITT: What about all those politicians who claim to be Christians and favor abortion (or as they say - a womens right to chose)? Last time I checked the majority of Roman Catholic politicians in the Congress favor a womens right to murder babies.

Parker: You can't stop some people from apostasy. By and large, the faithful are just that: faithful. That is, they accept the teachings of Christianity and abide by them. The bishops have repeatedly rebuked and warned the Pelosis and Kerrys about the errors of their ways. Those people, once they begin legislating in favor of abortion, are committing mortal sin that excommunicates themselves and sets them on a path for hell for willful cooperation with murder. They have repeatedly been told this by the Church.

In a few cases, some catholic christian politicians are merely confused on the issue of church and state, thinking that they are not to legislate religious views. When the bishops meet with these particular catholics, they become pro-life in their legislative stances. So, that's a good outcome in those cases.

According to my view, rfwitt, Christians are *on the whole* marked by different values and ethics. You're always going to have some dissenters, but those exceptions don't change that the faithful clearly live to promote justice and virtue in their families, businesses, and governments. It's our God-given mission on earth.

Blessed Good Friday to you.

rfwitt's picture

Parker, I just want to say that even though I disagree with some of your responses I wish you well in your walk as a Christian.

You write,
"According to my view, rfwitt, Christians are *on the whole* marked by different values and ethics. You're always going to have some dissenters, but those exceptions don't change that the faithful clearly live to promote justice and virtue in their families, businesses, and governments. It's our God-given mission on earth"

Parker, while I find scriptures to back up your contention that we are to raise Godly families I don’t find scriptures telling us that it’s our “mission” to change the worldly systems of government. Instead I find scriptures that tell us that we are born into a spiritual kingdom . Our lives should be dedicated to spreading the light of the Gospel.

Regarding the government I read we are to pay our taxes (“render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's.”)

and what we read in St. Pauls epistle

(“Rom 13:1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power
but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.
Rom 13:2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.
Rom 13:3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:
Rom 13:4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.
Rom 13:5 Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.
Rom 13:6 For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.
Rom 13:7 Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.

I can find no explicit commands to “Christians” to change the worldly government systems.

What I find is more in line with what St. Paul says:
“ Gal 6:14 But God forbid that I should glory,
save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. “

Richard….

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