posted on 29 March 2017
Written by Frank Li
God is big in America. Not only has God been bigger here than anywhere else throughout the developed world (e.g. West Europe), 'the divine' also feels especially big every four years when there is a Presidential election, 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? It's a complex question requiring a long answer ...
Please share this article - Go to very top of page, right hand side for social media buttons.
1. How big is God in America?
God is so big in America that
2. How did "the God" come to America?
There were many Gods in the Americas before Christopher Columbus "discovered" the "new" world in 1492. Thereafter, the Spanish exported Christianity, mostly Catholics, to the Americas.
About four hundred years ago, the following two major groups migrated to America from England:
In summary, it was chiefly the Spanish, as well as the two groups from England, that brought Christianity and their God to America.
3. America is exceptional
Can any country be more exceptional than America, which was founded with neither a king nor a pope?
After America declared independence from England in 1776, our Founding Fathers instituted, among many things (America: What Did Our Founding Fathers Do, Actually?), at least two great policies, specifically with regard to religion:
For more, read: Church vs. State.
4. Why is God so big in America?
God is big in America for many reasons, of which six are listed below:
Let me elaborate on each ...
4.1 It's America
Two facts from history (Church vs. State):
As a "free" country, America is, by definition, weak in governing. Therefore, it is, by definition, strong in religion.
4.2 It's cultural
Many people migrated to America to seek religious freedom (and found it here). This is one key reason there are so many small (and independent) churches in America, representing various branches of Christianity, in stark contrast with the "fancy" churches, representing the largest, and highly authoritative, branch of Christianity: Catholics.
Very importantly, a small and independent church for a local community is perfectly in line with a core American value: freedom! Specifically, it means freedom to worship and freedom to study and interpret the Bible, thus having "a personal relationship with God", without submitting to any authority, let alone all the way up to the Vatican like the Catholics do.
Many Americans are raised as church-goers by their parents and continue the tradition throughout their lives. It's a great place for community gathering, which has been especially important for rural America. For those folks, church-going is perhaps more cultural than religious per se.
4.3 It's economic
After WWII, America became a de facto Utopian society (Utopia: An Eighth Similarity between Communism and Democracy), with a huge middle class. Many chose to enrich their lives by all means, such as becoming regular church-goers, often with their wallets open.
As America's economy started losing its prominence after the turn of the 21st century, many people have become economically vulnerable, turning to church for support.
In short, church in America thrives in both good and bad times.
4.4 It's religious
Because religion is about survival, influence, and power, many Protestant branches of Christianity have ended up with their own hierarchies, with bigger and fancier church buildings over time, in competition with the Catholics. The photo below shows one example: a large evangelical gathering in America.
4.5 It's political
Throughout American history, Christianity has been used in, and for, politics. Two examples:
4.6 It's America, again
Most Americans have lost confidence in our government, resorting to the other pillar of support (i.e. religion), instead.
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:
The election of Donald Trump to the American Presidency is a convincing example: Americans are so disgusted with the existing political establishment that they are willing to try something, anything, different, even with a very flawed person like Donald Trump.
Is Donald Trump a God? No! But many Americans treat him like one!
5. America: a country of contradictions
Like all other countries, America is full of contradictions. Three big examples:
Let me elaborate on each.
5.1 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):
End of discussion? Yes, but what about the word "God" at the end of the Oath? It was inserted in the 1950s, most likely in the name of fighting against "Godless communism".
For more, watch the short video below.
5.2 The Bible vs. the Quran
The image below is worth 1,000 words.
For me, all public officials should be sworn in over the U.S. Constitution, instead of any religious holy book!
5.3 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.
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 anachronisms, perhaps acceptable at a particular time, but not so today, just like slavery and "We the People" in the Constitution. Specifically,
Throughout human history, most countries have 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: It just becomes a republic government vs. religion.
America has proven to be no exception in this regard.
Now, let's discuss four critical issues:
Let me elaborate on each.
6.1 Origin of Christianity
Two informative readings:
With the Internet, the research on this subject should advance more dramatically.
Theoretically, atheism means no belief in God (or belief in no God). In practice, however, atheism may have become a religion itself: the religion of attempting to eliminate all [other] religions.
In America, for example, Christianity is a part of the culture, deeply rooted. Can you eliminate a culture without eliminating all the people who are part of it? The same can be said about Islam, worldwide.
Worse yet, because all religions cannot be eliminated at the same time, the best anyone can do is to try to eliminate them one by one, resulting in numerous religious wars! For example, in America today, many atheists have contributed to Islamophobia. For more, read: America: Stop Islam Bashing!
6.3 Is religion the only source of the moral code?
No! One prominent example: China. China has never had a major [organized] religion throughout its history! Yet, China has proven to be one of the greatest countries in human history (The Greatest Countries in Human History). Two facts:
6.4 What is the best way to treat religions?
Separation of church and state!
God has his place in America, but not in our government!
Now, please sit back and enjoy the short video below.
>>>>> Scroll down to view and make comments <<<<<<
This Web Page by Steven Hansen ---- Copyright 2010 - 2017 Econintersect LLC - all rights reserved