econintersect .com

FREE NEWSLETTER: Econintersect sends a nightly newsletter highlighting news events of the day, and providing a summary of new articles posted on the website. Econintersect will not sell or pass your email address to others per our privacy policy. You can cancel this subscription at any time by selecting the unsubscribing link in the footer of each email.

posted on 30 August 2016

God and America

Written by

God is big in America! Not only has it been bigger here than anywhere else throughout the developed world (e.g. the former Western Europe), it also feels bigger in America during an election year like this, although the overall trend of “faith in God” has been down over the past two decades (Religion - Gallup)!

Why is God so big in America? Well, it's a complex question requiring a long answer.

1. Background

Full disclosure: I am non-religious. So I have no belief in God.

Here is a highlight of my background:

  1. With a Ph.D. degree in Electrical Engineering, I believe in science, including The Big Bang Theory and Darwin's Theory of Evolution.
  2. I spent my first 23 years in China. So I was not religiously trained, other than communism, which is a de facto religion.
  3. I have spent the past 34 years living in the West, including Japan (three years), Europe (three years), and the rest in America.

This tortuous life experience has enabled me to effectively write about the vast subject of “the West vs. the East” (Human History: the West vs. the East) from various perspectives. One of them is religion (Religions), with a theory of “Organization of People”.

2. Organization of People

The image below highlights my theory. It is a meshed network, with countries and religions interposed, reflecting the two major ways people are organized:

  1. By country: For example, both France and America accommodate multiple religions.
  2. By religion: For example, there are Christians and Muslims in multiple countries.

2.1 Country

The first civilization by country is Egypt, which started about six thousand years ago. The Chinese civilization started about five thousand years ago. For more, read: Civilizations.

2.2 Religion

The oldest religion is Judaism, which started about three thousand years ago. However, many Gods (e.g. Sun God, Earth God, and Water God) existed way before that, in order to explain what was, at the time, unexplainable.

After the written languages were developed, some “scholarly” people started documenting and theorizing their own beliefs and God(s), resulting in several books, such as the Torah (Judaism), the Bible (Christianity), and the Qur'an (Islam).

2.3 Country vs. religion

Conceptually at the highest level, country and religion have the same goal: organization (or control) of people. Therefore, they often collide. As religion came later than country, it has been used to either subvert (more often) or justify (less often) the government of a country.

Here is the general dynamics between country and religion: as a religion grew, it tried to gain additional power over its subjects, thus interfering with the country (e.g. a monarchy or a democratically elected government). When people lose confidence in the government, they tend to be more religious. On the other hand, when a country is prosperous, religion tends to lose prominence.

A country typically has an army, but a religion usually does not. In the past, there were some exceptions, with religions commanding large armies. Two examples:

  1. Christianity: Many Christian armies were recruited during the Crusades to fight the Saracens, precursors to the Muslims. For example, the Borgias (House of Borgia) commanded their own armies to fight for the Papal state.
  2. Islam: Many Muslim armies were assembled across countries during the Muslim conquests under the Ottoman Empire.

2.4 Country and religion

Different countries treat religions differently. Five examples:

  1. China: Historically, the Chinese Emperor was called the "Son of Heaven" (天子), and the world is "All under Heaven". Other than that, there has never been a significant religion in China over the past 2,000 years, at least. As a matter of fact, today's Chinese government is the most religiously tolerant in Chinese history!
  2. Japan: The Japanese Emperor is also called some kind of the “Son of Heaven”, likely a copy from China several thousand years ago. However, the Japanese cleverly created a religion called Shinto, with the Emperor being its head. As a result, the Emperor is both the head of the state and a living God! This system has been working remarkably well in Japan for more than two thousand years, resulting in not only a powerful country, but also the longest monarchy in human history! For more, read: Human History: China vs. Japan.
  3. Roman Empire: It was a dramatic fusion of imperial power and religion (e.g. Christianity in its later years). The Roman Empire died some 1,500 years ago, but its footprints are still everywhere, with the old adage “all roads lead to Rome” still being true today, literally: the Vatican is located inside Rome! For more, read: Human History: the West vs. the East.
  4. England: Different kings (or queens) treated religions differently, but Henry VIII carried it to the extreme. After the Pope refused to sanction his first divorce, he separated the Church of England from the Roman Catholic Church, and declared himself its supreme head, with its own rules more to his liking. Moreover, "the English 'Call for Toleration' was the turning point in the Christian debate on persecution and toleration." For more, read: Religious persecution.
  5. America: The U.S. Constitution ensures religious freedom (First Amendment to the United States Constitution). Additionally, state and religion are supposed to be separated, although there have been some worrisome trends in recent years blurring the lines.

Likewise, different religions treat countries differently. Two examples:

  1. In Iran, the head of the government is actually the head of the largest religion, with little tolerance for other religions with regard to political power.
  2. While some religions have been beneficial for a country (as well as for mankind), others have often been used to deny logic and science, with negative consequences, such as falling behind in social evolution.

Finally, just like there are wars between countries, there are wars between religions.

3. How did "the God" come to America?

There were many Gods in the Americas before Christopher Columbus “discovered” the “new” world in 1492.

About four hundred years ago, the following two major groups came to America from England:

  1. Jamestown Settlement: These people were sent to America by the King of England, with a contract.
  2. Pilgrims: These people escaped England to seek religious freedom.

It was these two groups, chiefly, that brought Christianity and "the God" to America!

After America declared independence from England in 1776, our Founding Fathers did, among many things (America: What Did Our Founding Fathers Do, Actually?), at least two things correctly, with regard to religion:

  1. They chose not to have a national religion, unlike England which had, and still has, one (i.e. Christianity)!
  2. They introduced First Amendment to the United States Constitution guaranteeing freedom of religion in America.

4. Freedom of religion in America

Here is an excerpt from Wikipedia - Freedom of religion in the United States:

In the United States, freedom of religion is a constitutionally protected right provided in the religion clauses of the First Amendment. Freedom of religion is also closely associated with separation of church and state, a concept advocated by Colonial founders such as Roger Williams, William Penn and later founding fathers such as James Madison and Thomas Jefferson.[1][2].

In short, church and state do not mix!

5. The Bible vs. the Constitution

Over a public matter, when in conflict, an American must always choose the Constitution over the Bible!

This is actually a litmus test for U.S. citizenship. Here is an excerpt from Wikipedia - Oath of Allegiance (United States):

I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.[2]

End of discussion? Yes, but what about the word "God" at the end of the Oath? I believe, or at least hope, that today the word "God" refers to a general God, not that of a particular religion, even if the Founding Fathers were referring only to their God.

6. Public references to God in America

There are many public references to God in America, from the one Dollar bill (shown below) to many examples listed in this article: God in Our Nation's Capital.

Once again, my interpretation of the use of "God" refers to a general God, not that of a particular religion, including atheists who believe in no God.

On the other hand, if all the public references to God refer to a particular God of a particular religion (e.g. Christianity), they are an anachronism, perhaps acceptable at the time, but not so today, just like slavery and "We the People" in the Constitution. Specifically,

  1. America, at its birth, tolerated slavery, despite all the wisdom and good intentions of our Founding Fathers. It took the Civil War to finally seriously address the issue, ultimately costing the lives of more than 620,000 American soldiers!
  2. "We the People" in the Constitution refers to a few rich white men only, as women and minorities had no rights of voting (or being elected to office) for a long time. It took several Constitutional Amendments to rectify that "mistake"!

7. Why does God feel bigger today than yesterday?

Two main reasons:

  1. Most Americans have lost confidence in our government, resorting to the other pillar (i.e. religion), instead!
  2. The rise of ISIS and America’s election year politics!

Let me further elaborate on each ...

7.1 Most Americans have lost confidence in our government

Below are three pieces of hard evidence, in terms of the approval rating, that Americans have lost confidence in our government, all its three branches:

  1. President Obama: a little bit above 50%, after spending most of his presidency below 50% (United States presidential approval rating).
  2. Supreme Court: 44% (Why is the Supreme Court so unpopular?)!
  3. Congress: 11% (Poll Congress approval-rating drops to 11 percent)!

7.2 ISIS and America’s election year politics

ISIS has been fighting the West under the cover of Islam, fooling many in the West into hating Islam, which is exactly what ISIS wants: a religious war!

This happens to be a Presidential election year (the campaigns actually started in 2015), during which religion plays a bigger role than non-Presidential election years.

8. Discussion

Throughout human history, civilization has been in a constant power struggle between two authorities: king (or queen) vs. religion. Religious power tends to get stronger with a weak king, while a strong king often diminishes religious power.

The power struggle remains little changed after a monarchy is replaced by a republic, with or without democracy (Republic: Democracy vs. Autocracy): a republic government vs. religion!

Unfortunately, most democratically elected governments have proven to be untrustworthy, with ridiculously low approval ratings! As a result, people turn more to religion for support, which is true today not only in America, but also in the Mideast! For more, read:

  1. Religions
  2. The Middle East ABC for Americans
  3. Diagnosis for America (Version 3).

For some deeply religious Americans, the image below may be very helpful ...

Here are two recent news stories:

  1. In Historic Move, Pope to Meet with Leader of Russian Orthodox Church. If Christianity were so purely great, how could these two major branches of Christianity have split some 1,000 years ago? Yet, they have recently agreed to meet and talk, a good thing!
  2. Pope Francis Welcomes Iran President to the Vatican. If Islam and Christianity each should view the other as inherently evil, how could these two men have recently met, spoken, and laughed together?

Are these just more examples of America vs. the World?

9. America: working towards a more perfect union

As a nation, we have come a long way to make our union more perfect. We must continue to do so, while resisting any attempt to curtail freedom of religion in America!

Today, with the help of the Internet (Internet and Hate), there is too much Islam bashing in America, which is not only totally wrong, but also utterly dangerous (America: Stop Islam Bashing!)! Do we really want to turn the world's Muslim population against America?

To understand a vast subject like Islam, we must read from both sides, the West and the East. Unfortunately, most Americans read from the West only, resulting in a one-sided, and incredibly distorted, view of the world, including the lack of a basic understanding of Islam, Christianity, and democracy! Three informative readings:

  1. Pope Francis At White House: “Koran And Holy Bible Are The Same”
  2. For what’s profoundly wrong with America’s reckless export of democracy, read: Democracy: to be or not to be?
  3. For what’s profoundly wrong with America’s mainstream media, read: Brainwashing in Communism and in Democracy.

Bottom line: everything possible must be done to avoid a religious war in America!

Finally, for those Americans who think "the Muslims hate us", here is a simple question: why do they not hate the Chinese (as much)? The answer is also very simple: it has a lot to do with the key difference in foreign policies between America and China: intervention vs. non-intervention! Overall, China's non-interventionist policy will prove, if not already has proven to be, far superior to America's interventionist policy! For more, read: America's Post-WWII Foreign Policy.

Below is a video from the "other" side:

10. Closing

God has his place in America, but not in our government! Church and state must not mix!

Unfortunately for America, most Americans have lost confidence in our government. But that is no excuse to resort to religion against the Constitution! Reform the government to make it work better, instead!

Fortunately for America, I believe I have the most accurate diagnosis (Diagnosis for America (Version 3)) for America, as well as the best solution (Solution for America (Version 3)). But will America listen?

Now, please sit back and enjoy this video on “God and Europe”.

Page Code: 116Count: 1714

>>>>> Scroll down to view and make comments <<<<<<

Click here for Historical News Post Listing

Make a Comment

Econintersect wants your comments, data and opinion on the articles posted. You can also comment using Facebook directly using he comment block below.

Econintersect Contributors

Print this page or create a PDF file of this page
Print Friendly and PDF

The growing use of ad blocking software is creating a shortfall in covering our fixed expenses. Please consider a donation to Econintersect to allow continuing output of quality and balanced financial and economic news and analysis.

Keep up with economic news using our dynamic economic newspapers with the largest international coverage on the internet
Asia / Pacific
Middle East / Africa
USA Government

 navigate econintersect .com


Analysis Blog
News Blog
Investing Blog
Opinion Blog
Precious Metals Blog
Markets Blog
Video of the Day


Asia / Pacific
Middle East / Africa
USA Government

RSS Feeds / Social Media

Combined Econintersect Feed

Free Newsletter

Marketplace - Books & More

Economic Forecast

Content Contribution



  Top Economics Site Contributor TalkMarkets Contributor Finance Blogs Free PageRank Checker Active Search Results Google+

This Web Page by Steven Hansen ---- Copyright 2010 - 2018 Econintersect LLC - all rights reserved