The Fallacy Of Christian America


#1

Why is it that I keep seeing and hearing this idea cropping up among Christians about “America” being Gods country? Is this even theologically correct?

From what I seen of America, the “Elite” rulers of society are far from being eligible for such a title.
They seem to have this idea that they are the humane patriarchs of civilisation and that they must bring, with God as their guide, their ordered and humane civilisation to the barbarians that lay out side the City walls of their perfect society.

It reminds me of a film I once saw; i think it had Aristotle in it. He and his Goverment seemed to have the same attitude.

The “Every one else is the enemy and America is just trying to get along” attitude.

Every country including the dominant ones, America, (who have slain many for power; not love) have proven them selves to be enemies of the age old idea of living in a better society, let alone a Christian society!

I would like to hear other peoples opinion on this as I think the America Government is abusing the title of Christianity; they are, as i believe, only interested in keeping the corporations happy behind the scenes; the very people who pay them to be puppets. I hate it when Christianity gets muddled up with corrupt politics; it clouds people’s view of what Christianity is all about. Its no wonder to me that people are paranoid of mainline religions.

Then again I might be wrong (I doubt it). Peace.


#2

I don’t know to what extent this is true, but I heard that America was believed to be some sort of Promised Land by some of the Protestants who settled there, and maybe these are just echoes of that old belief.

The American government, however, has been secular from its very inception and so it has never represented Christianity. There is nothing wrong with being patriotic and loyal, however.

I’m not one to judge the motives of the people in American government. Let’s not be unfairly critical. All nations have their good and bad sides and all governments have greater and lesser levels of corruption.


#3

Jon,

When Reagan used the ‘city on a hill’ quote to describe the United States, he was not the first to do so. John Winthrop, Puritan pastor of the Pilgrims, used that phrase to equate what the Pilgrims were attempting to do (create the perfect Christian place which would be a beacon to draw others to God).

The Puritans demanded that church membership (and land-owndership) be requisites for voting rights among the community. In that sense, they became the first real ‘Christian democracy’. Many colonies were settled for religious reasons: Maryland as a haven for persecuted Catholics, Pennsylvania for persecuted Quakers (and other groups), and so on. If I recall, most town assemblies required church membership for voting rights.

freesoulhope, it appears that you have swallowed the Marxist Kool-Aid (and may not even know it!). Marx and his followers promulgated conspiracies in which those in power carefully manipulated the strings to ensure that they stayed in power while the rest of the people suffered. Socialists use ideas like those you’ve espoused to prove that state-ownership (and atheism) is better than individual responsibility. Pope John Paul II declared that communism (which was actually socialism), which views property as collective, was antithetical to Catholicism, which values private property. Still, you can’t argue with links between certain businesses and government officials.


#4

This is the error I find in peoples attitudes ( not to say that I have no errors, because I do!); people blindly side with what ever country they happen to find themselves born into, or find the most powerful. People rarely try to look at things from another persons or nations point of view; rather they settle for what there dominant peers tell them; having fear of death, being called a traitor, and having had a taste of a technologically advanced society, they feel obliged to protect it at all cost.

Im not saying that America alone is the root of all evil or that everybody follows blindly, but I do find that we, as a human race, burn are selves with this “football team democracy” mentality; with money/profit, power, and competition at the fore-front of human activity. Are the leaders and corperations of this world insain? With profit driving the system, why would one want to be loyal to any particular country? Jesus was on nobody’s side but righteousness, that’s why he was killed and hated; even thought to be a traitor to the Jews and friends of the Romans, just because he wished them to be saved as well! Im I wrong?

The question is: could it be that are society is not one, simply because of the human condition; or does this “corporate Darwinian survival of the fittest phenomenon” have a lot to do with us being divided; at each others throats for resources in a technological and scientifically advanced society. I would have thought that with these advances, the need for war, money , power or otherwise, would be obsolete.

I know this some-what is irrelevant to the original question, but it was just a thought that you might want to give a response to. Peace.

Ps. Im not trying to be judge-mental. I see these things and wish to challenge and get to the roots.


#5

Socialism?

This is not about private property. Im not talking about Socialist revolutions or atheistic philosophies. Im talking about the abuses of the system.

When Jesus said “give Caesar what is Caesar’s” this was not a green light justification for Caesar to economically use and abuse people; neither do I recall Jesus denying that the Roman system was abusive; not for government or for the sake of the Roman Empire. Neither did he say the things he said so that abuses should be left unchallenged; he said what he said, because he wanted people to concentrate on what was truly valuable, to look to a true wealth in the lord, in heaven, rather then attempt to obtain by “force of arms and by the slaughtering of his children” things that turn to dust along with Caesar, corrupting soul.

Jesus knew that these things were irrelevant and useless if the soul was not saved first; that’s why socialism is wrong, because it encourages you to hate your neighbour and blinds you to what is truly relevant. Marxism falsely teaches you to love only material things; to purely look to material things for your fulfilment in happiness. This is wrong because it pushes God out of the window; like Jesus said “ man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord your God.

This however doesn’t mean that all people should not live equally in dignity, sharing with each other; there is nothing wrong with people feely wanting to live in a society where the economic system is for the benefit of all, rather then for some selfish agenda.

When the government demands taxes, I assume that this money is suppose go towards better public services, housing ,etc. In all, a better society. This, you could call, a form of socialism, if Im not mistaken. Forgive me if I see wrong, but I don’t see this system benefiting the "poor " or giving them many opportunities.

From my experience, the Government purposely makes life as hard as it is possible for you to achieve, and then 10 years down the line your competing with some other poor sod to get a decent paid job; as if to say that, if you have failed for some reason, (and its mostly people coming form poor homes with low resources) ending up with low qualifications, then you don’t deserve, as a human being, to get paid a dignified liveable wage! Id hate to think what the corporations would do if everybody got an A+. What excuse would they have then, giving people wages that have you living just above the poverty line(and getting taxed!); their the poor guys and girls that produce the most profit for business’s, the most wealth; keeping the system running and well oiled, and by law, corporations go unchallenged for this behaviour. Is that justice? surly not the justice of God.

However, thankfully the rich are getting along quite well.

peace.


#6

Obviously I spliced your quote…sorry.

Firstly, we need to understand that not everyone is equal, and therefore, not everyone can be treated equally. It is a fallacy that all humans have equal traits…obviously we don’t. I would not expect the janitor at a hospital to be able to perform complicated brain surgery, nor would I expect them to get paid the same.

Also, our system, while not perfect, allows for personal responsibility. I am a teacher (hence the screen name), and I see the lack of personal responsibility inherent in our schools. It is a fact that highschool drop outs earn nearly 65% of what high school graduates earn (GED earners generally earn 75% of what a high school diploma would get you). Why do people drop out? Because they don’t want to do the work to recieve a diploma (which is what I have seen nearly every year I have taught). Should they be rewarded for poor decisions, simply for ‘fairness’? There are natural and economic consequences for our decisions and actions. Most of the kids who drop out come from broken families, which have broken the natural morality that Paul VI speaks of in Humanae Vitae.

When Adam Smith and other ‘physiocrats’ discussed the free market and capitalism, they discussed what it should be. Our system benefits all. When the rich get richer, believe it or not, so do the poor. The poor in the “good ol’ US of A” are much better off than the poor in most other parts of the world (I lived under the poverty line for two years…I should know!) because of our system. The poor from Mexico flood over our borders to get a piece of what we have because of our system.

The benefits of our system are negated, in part, by the fallen nature of man. I have written, not here, that there is no reason a CEO or a company owner cannot give more to the worker…it will eventually increase profits and benefit the workers. The pride that inhabits humans as a result of the Fall prevents many people from doing this.

I probably made no sense what ever…I am being pressed for time.


Does Capitlism, by its economic nature, help to encourage a moral society?
Does Capitlism, by its economic nature, help to encourage a moral society?
#7

Though this thread has gone totally of topic of which has not been answered, I want to reply to your thread.

I don’t agree with this part. Your philosophy is only correct if people are born brain surgeons.

Everybody has the same ability (unless they have a brain-disorder) to learn the skill or trade, (if they want to) and become a brain surgeon; Black, white, working class or otherwise. Theres no such thing as a “trait” as if people are born with different levels of intelligents. If this is so, it is even more of an injustice to exploit such people, since they have no power over their ability to learn; one cannot say they should be paid less.

The issue here is that the “free market” doesn’t have a safety
Net; a law enforcement that provides and protects people who cannot compete in the market; and why should it; Life is a competition for survival! That’s Capitalism. Why is it like this? Corporation and profit dictates law, not Government. Why is it okay for them to dictate law based on what is profitable, but we cannot have a law that governs the market for the benefit of all? Nobody who is honest or clearly understands, would argue in favour of the abuser, unless abusers themselves.

Nobody that is reasonable would say that you shouldn’t be rich if you work for it! But most corporations in this society become rich by the exploitation of others; and these are the people that truly govern the system. Its all competition, that’s why everything is becoming privatised, everything is a business; it isn’t about people. Human life.

I also believe that you should be paid for the service you provide. However it should be “law” that, what ever business that employs you, they should pay you a liveable and dignified wage.

Why doesn’t this happen? It’s not just the human condition; it’s the way the market is set up. The government will never pass such a law because the people that fund the government and their wars, are the very same people who are the exploiters of nations.

Not everybody can become a brain surgeon, simply because to survive in this world, you have to compete with other brain surgeons; it has nothing to do with the human ability to “achieve". If everybody had high trade skills, and, by right of their ability to perform, wanted a high paid job, this would present a problem for the market, since nobody of that calibre is going to accept a meagre, barely liveable wage, just because he is forced by the competition of the market place to work in a low skilled job. In fact such a person would be in an up roar and would call it immoral; Survival of the fittest mentality. The pay system is wrong.


#8

This is just a black and white argument. Blame the victim.

Kids dropping out of school is to do with there lack of understanding life; there lack of a value system in a system that doesn’t value them as people; rather, people to exploit for profit. People are responsible for there actions, however this doesn’t justify the system; responsibility is a poor argument.

It is also to do with other things that are influenced by a survival of the fittest economic system. Such a system will encourage ( It is not the “prime” cause) people to be inconsiderate, uncompassionate; selfish, ignorant, and evil if one is forced to compete with somebody else for a dignified lifestyle, or just to stay alive in general. In fact, I believe capitalism is the image of human sin, a representation of humanities unwillingness to unite in love and righteousness. I don’t believe that there are poor people just because people make it like this; there are poor people because there has to be, in order for somebody else to rich, and for the elite to maintain control; the system is regulated as such to bring these circumstances in to order. It’s not a system designed by God to teach the naughty school boy that he should have paid attention in class.

I’m going to start a thread labelled; does Capitalism encourage a moral Society; or does it encourage a sinful one?

I’m quite prepared to accept correction. But I want to see a good counter argument!


#9

Though this thread has gone totally of topic of which has not been answered, I want to reply to your thread.

I don’t agree with this part. Your philosophy is only correct if people are born brain surgeons.

Everybody has the same ability (unless they have a brain-disorder) to learn the skill or trade, (if they want to) and become a brain surgeon; Black, white, working class or otherwise. Theres no such thing as a “trait” as if people are born with different levels of intelligents. If this is so, it is even more of an injustice to exploit such people, since they have no power over their ability to learn; one cannot say they should be paid less.

The issue here is that the “free market” doesn’t have a safety
Net; a law enforcement that provides and protects people who cannot compete in the market; and why should it; Life is a competition for survival! That’s Capitalism. Why is it like this? Corporation and profit dictates law, not Government. Why is it okay for them to dictate law based on what is profitable, but we cannot have a law that governs the market for the benefit of all? Nobody who is honest or clearly understands, would argue in favour of the abuser, unless abusers themselves.

Nobody that is reasonable would say that you shouldn’t be rich if you work for it! But most corporations in this society become rich by the exploitation of others; and these are the people that truly govern the system. Its all competition, that’s why everything is becoming privatised, everything is a business; it isn’t about people. Human life.

I also believe that you should be paid for the service you provide. However it should be “law” that, what ever business that employs you, they should pay you a liveable and dignified wage.

Why doesn’t this happen? It’s not just the human condition; it’s the way the market is set up. The government will never pass such a law because the people that fund the government and their wars, are the very same people who are the exploiters of nations.

Not everybody can become a brain surgeon, simply because to survive in this world, you have to compete with other brain surgeons; it has nothing to do with the human ability to “achieve". If everybody had high trade skills, and, by right of their ability to perform, wanted a high paid job, this would present a problem for the market, since nobody of that calibre is going to accept a meagre, barely liveable wage, just because he is forced by the competition of the market place to work in a low skilled job. In fact such a person would be in an up roar and would call it immoral; Survival of the fittest mentality. The pay system is wrong.


#10

Firstly, remember, you are conversing with a teacher. In every single one of my classes, I see inequality. There are several of my students, who are not born with a “brain disorder” who would never be capable of performing brain surgery and having the patient survive. Some are simply suited for certain tasks more than others. How else could you explain the facts that less than 1% of all high-school football players will make it into the NFL? You claim that everyone is born with the same ability, yet if this were true, I wouldn’t be teaching, I’d be in the middle of a career as an offensive lineman for the NY Jets (or the Saints). I have nowhere near the ability that the real pro offensive linemen have (or even the ones at the Division I and II levels), hence my decision to teach. It is pride and arrongance to assume otherwise.

As for levels of intelligence, your claim is only partially correct. Howard Gardner, since 1980, has espoused the theory of ‘multiple intelligences’, which claims that everyone has different levels of different types of intelligence. Thus, while each person has the same summative intelligence (which is what you claim), that summation is divided unequally into different types. For example, my brother and sister excel at mathematics and analytical thinking in that vein. I excel at analysis of documents and drawing connections between various. Likewise, many of my students have struggled in the classroom for they lack verbal/linguistic intelligence, but excel on the field of athletics, for they are ‘well-endowed’ with physical/kinesthetic intelligence. This is why not everyone can become a brain surgeon.

Sacred Scripture refers to “talents” (although Matthew is probably referring to money, the point is the same): some people have more than others. There is also Jesus’ response to Judas’ condemnation of the woman who anointed Jesus’ feet with expensive perfume, “You will always have the poor, but you will not always have me.” Scripture makes it clear that there is inequality.


#11

In a market system, pay is determined by several things. Firstly is the ‘importance’ to the provision of the good or service. A janitor is not essential to the immediate provision of health insurance; therefore, a janitor’s pay will be less than a claims manager or account supervisor (which directly impact the provision of health insurance). This is not to say that a janitor’s job is not important, but that it is less important to the actual provision of services.

Secondly is the skill level of the job. Certain jobs require much skill (like a brain surgeon), and therefore command higher pay. A first hand example: I also work at Sears to make ends meet. At Sears the lowest paying job is a cashier. From experience, very little skill is required to be a cashier. However, to be a Cashier Lead, you must be a skilled cashier, have great customer service, knowlege of the products carried, and the ability to manage all the different cashiers and handle their problems (as well as your own). Thus, a Cashier Lead gets paid more.

Thirdly is the danger, physical requirements of a job. At Sears, the jobs that require more physical labor (like those that in Recieving and in the wharehouse) get paid more than those jobs that require more skill (like a cashier).

Fourthly is danger. Jobs that are dangerous require more compensation than ‘cushy office job’. This is why a state police officer gets paid so well, compared to other state employees (like me). This is also why entry-level construction workers make more than McDonald’s workers.

Finally, we have performance. Within our system, we encourage high performance. The higher you perform the higher you advance. This is built in to any business. It is incentive to increase your skills and your experience, which are necessary to increase the quality of the product produced.

It is a myth that ‘minimum wage earners’ live solely on minimum wage. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has consistenly reported that over 98% of minimum wage earners are part-time employees. This means that 2% of the full-time work force earn minimum wage. Also according to the BLS, most full-time positions are well over the $5.15/hour minimum wage (I think the average is around $10-12/hour, but I could be mistaken).

The capitalist system is a symbiosis of producer, provider, consumer, and laborer. Businesses that provide higher compensation attract better employees, which in turn produces better a product/service. Laborers who strive to succeed through increasing their skills and doing their best help to produce a higher-quality product, which increases the consumer’s desire to buy that product. All of this was stated by Adam Smith in An Essay on the Wealth of Nations in 1776, and proven through the early stages of the Industrial Revolution. Those companies that, for greed and exploitation, refuse to pay a “dignified wage” will, eventually reap the consequences, just as those employees that refuse to enrich their repertoire and skills will reap the consequences, although more immediately.

The system is not one of ultimate greed and exploitation. Sure, the profit motive is what drives the system, but greed and profit are two different things. The system provides for the needs of people more adequately than any command-style, government-controlled/regulated system could ever do. Hence the fact that millions of foreigners would rather come here, to the US, to recieve medical care than go to a European country that offers government-run health care (it is much closer for an Indian to fly to France than to the US, and much cheaper, too). It could be argued that even here in the US, do-good politicians, in their legal attempts to make everyone equal, have sabatogued the system. Our health insurance providers now are required in some states to insure everyone, regardless of past medical conditions…which leads millions to be uninsured (to save money), and get insurance when they have a problem (which drives up insurance costs dramatically). In short, the market’s ability to meet the needs of the people (in this case the poor) has been hamstrung by do-good politicians.


#12

We as Catholics must accept Natural Law. Just as Pope Paul VI in Humanae Vitae discusses natural law in relation to sexuality, we must follow natural law in relation to economic systems. Every system is flawed, because humans are flawed. However, it is the Capitalist system that more accurately promotes the Christian worldview than any other system.

Firstly, in 1647, Thomas Hobbes, in the Leviathan claimed that government should be supreme, because people were so base and corrupt and violent and cruel, that they needed to be controlled. His vision of humanity is that humans are evil. Thus it is with Calvin’s “total depravity”. To fix this problem with the human condition, both Hobbes and Calvin promoted societies controlled by some kind of elite (Calvin’s elect, and Hobbes sovereign). This ultimately leads to the ultimate form of inequality: the government/elite are better than everyone else, and therefore can tell you what to do.

Such a system in anti-thetical to God’s claim that His creation is good. If we are made in His Image, than we must be good. Fallen, but good none-the-less.

Secondly, capitalism espouses two essentially Catholic/Christian viewpoints: that humans are good, and that humans have free will. As stated earlier, God said that His creation was good. The ‘free market’ system is a natural thing…if left alone, this is what markets would do. Thus it is a good thing (just like reproduction is a good thing, just like eating is a good thing). The ‘free market’ works on this principle: that humans are wise enough (and good enough) to know what is best for them (and their families and societies) and so will try to use that knowledge to meet their needs. The free market thrives on free-will. Humans have the ability to choose how they will act economically, and be repaid with appropriate consequences, much like humans and sin. We as Catholics understand that every action has two parts: ownership (guilt) and a consequence. When one sins, they are guilty and must suffer the consequences either temporally or in purgatory. In the free market, every decision has two parts: ownership and consequences. When a person makes a bad economic decision (exploiting workers, not working to their potential) they are guilt of foolishness, but will also suffer an economic penalty. Such a two-part approach to decision-making is absent in any other system of economics.

Humans are fallen. They are subject to an inclination to sin. Thus, even an inherently good and natural thing, like the free market/capitalism, can be used inappropriately. Requiring a ‘dignified wage’ or a ‘living wage’ is useless rhetoric that in reality accomplishes nothing. What is ‘dignified’? Earning enough to own a house, a car, a flat-screen TV and DSL? My wage is dignified: I make what I earn. I work 2.5 jobs to make ends meet, but I don’t complain about the unfairness of it all. The harder I work, the more experience I get, the wiser my decisions are, the more ‘dignified’ my wages will become. It is no coincidence that since the Welfare Reform of the mid-1990s, those in poverty has decrease, and the number of welfare recipients working has increased. Consequently, the standard of living for those people has increased.


#13

Then how can you blame people and justify paying them a meagre wage? Cant you understand the error of your argument?

Why should somebody be payed more then another if in fact its a matter of physics?

You cannot be sure, that somebody finding it harder to be something then somebody else, is evidence that we are not equal, that we cannot achieve the same thing.

If there are no cashiers, there is no buisness. Its a matter of subjective opinion, not a fact of life.


#14

America was founded by a mixture of freemasons and devout protestants (with a couple of devout Catholics in the mix, too).
Actively engaged in the slave trade, followed by institutionalized racism and segregationalism, America has never truly lived up to the Christian Ideal.

Still, until the late 1960s, the vast majority of Americans, the citizenry, were God-fearing people, whether black or white, and church-going Christians of one stripe or another.
And many of our laws reflected biblical mores.

With the success of the Civil Rights movement for blacks, other groups jumped on the “my rights” bandwagon, pushing for legalization of public nudity in film, legalization and promotion of birth control, legalization and promotion of Abortion, and now promotion of homosexuality, with a concurrent drop-off in church attendance by many Americans.

This country is headed downhill fast, very fast, and only
a God-given revival of Christian faith and mores will save it.
Christ is Lord over all the nations, too, not just over individuals, and lawmakers and rulers are bound to make Christ’s moral laws the law of their respective lands or pay the eternal penalty for flouting his Kingship.


#15

As a matter of fact I recently read that the vast majority of people who are in leadership roles, who have technically demanding jobs, etc. have IQ’s above 110. This was said to be about ten percent of the population. I would guess that anyone without the IQ level required to succeed in becoming a brain surgeon would not be able to cut it.(no pun intended). genes as well as nurture determine success. Nurture alone does not make all things possible for any individual.


#16

Does this not ring any bells for you?


closed #17

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