Wednesday, May 31, 2017

"One Nation Under God"

A friend of mine made this statement in an article he wrote titled "One Nation Under God" at:

http://thegoddebate.us/page41

"I know most of you reading this piece of mine will be disgusted with my views within this essay and it will no doubt stimulate much disdain and anger toward me for many of my fellow Americans who read this opinion of mine. That saddens me. Why? Because an overwhelming amount of American citizens have succumbed to the trappings of religion and voluntarily forfeiedt our right of ownership for the inherently good things we have accomplished as a nation, to God. There is nothing America has accomplished that can be validated as the result of the blessings of a mythical God. More than likely, a God had nothing to do with America’s successes, just the result of the power of liberty and freedom our nation provides its citizens and the hard work and determination of those who made our successes achievable.

The heart of the American Spirit and the historical success of our nation is freedom; freedom from the tyranny of tyrants, despots, autocrats and religious persecution. Yet, sadly in America today, religious persecution, a systematic mistreatment of an individual or group of individuals as a response to their religious beliefs or affiliations or lack thereof, is alive and well in this nation, under God. Atheists are shunned by friends and fellow Americans, disowned by families, mocked by national figures and are probably the most hated minority group in America, simply because Atheists have the opinion there isn’t sufficient verifiable evidence of a God, a supernatural being, a mythical figure."

This response is not to belittle my friend in anyway, but to attempt to give an answer to his "world view" as this sentiment is growing and gaining acceptance among our people. It saddens me too, that he may have met Christians that responded with anything but grace and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In Acts 26 when Paul was standing before King Agrippa and Festus, his sole response and concern was the Gospel. Paul's words were not of anger or disdain toward anyone, but an answer given in hopes of communicating the Gospel in a spirit of love.

If we are going to speak of the American spirit, should it not be the spirit of which it began? Shall we inquire into this by conversing with those before us?

Mr. Adams, would you care to speak?

"Statesmen, my dear Sir, my plan and speculate for liberty, but it is Religion and Morality alone, which can establish the Principles upon which Freedom can securely stand.

The only foundation of a free Constitution is pure virtue, and if this cannot be inspired into our People in a greater measure, than they have it now, they may change their Rulers and the forms of Government, but they will not obtain lasting Liberty." ~ John Adams, June 21, 1776.

Mr. Adams Sir, how will we achieve this virtue you speak of?

"It is the will of heaven that the two countries should be sundered forever. It may be the will of heaven that America shall suffer calamities still more wasting and distresses yet more dreadful. If this is to be the case, it will have this good effect, at least: it will inspire us with many virtues which we have not, and correct many errors, follies and vices, which threaten to disturb, dishonor and destroy us. . . The furnace of affliction produces refinements in states, as well as individuals." ~ John Adams, July 3rd, 1776.

Mr. Adams Sir, you seem to be saying that our virtue or good that our nation exhibits is to be attributed to the Providence of God and His workings among us, but what does this say of Mr. Paine's sentiments concerning religion and man's own virtue?

"The Christian religion is, above all the Religions that ever prevailed or existed in ancient or modern times, the religion of Wisdom, Virtue, Equity, and Humanity. Let the Blackguard Paine say what he will; it is Resignation to God, it is Goodness itself to Man." ~ John Adams, July 26, 1796. (See note from Thomas Paine below)

"Religion and virtue are the only foundations, not only of republicanism and of all free governments, but of social felicity under all governments and in all the combinations of human society." ~ John Adams, August 28th, 1811.  

"Without religion, this world would be something not fit to be mentioned in polite company." ~ John Adams, April 19th, 1817.



Mr. Dickinson, you are a signer of the Constitution, the writer of the first draft of The Articles of Confederation and earned the title, "The Penman of the Revolution." Mr. Adams having finished, would you like to address us Sir?

"I pray God that he may be pleased to inspire you and your posterity, to the latest ages, with a spirit of which I have an idea, that I find a difficulty to express.

I express it in the best manner I can, I mean a spirit that shall so guide you that it will be impossible to determine whether an American's character is most distinguishable for his loyalty to his Sovereign, his duty to his mother country, his love of freedom, or his affection for native soil. . . .

But, above all, let us implore the protection of that infinitely good and gracious Being 'by whom kings reign, and princes decree justice. . . . " ~ John Dickinson, 1775.


Mr Madison, Sir, you are known to us as the Chief Architect of out Constitution and served as our 4th President, would you like to address the statement suggesting that our
American citizens have succumbed to the trappings of religion and have voluntarily forfeited their right of ownership for the inherently good things we have accomplished as a nation, to God?

"The belief in a God all powerful wise and good, is so essential to the moral order of the world and the happiness of man, that arguments which enforce it cannot be drawn from too many sources nor adapted with too much solicitude to the different characters and capacities to be impressed with it." ~ James Madison, October 15th, 1788.

"A watchful eye must be kept on ourselves lest while we are building ideal monuments of Renown and Bliss here we neglect to have our names enrolled in the Annals of Heaven." ~ James Madison, November 9th, 1772.

"We have all been encouraged to feel in the guardianship and guidance of that Almighty Being, whose power regulates the destiny of nations." ~ James Madison, March 4th 1809.

"The first of those who ought to enjoy this precious gift, ought to be, that it may be imparted to the whole race of mankind. Compare the number of those who have as yet to receive it, with the number still remaining under the dominions of false religions, and how small is the former!" ~ James Madison, 1785.

Mr. Madison Sir, what is our response to be to those who are unbelievers among us and have such views as the statement in question?

"Whilst we assert for ourselves a freedom to embrace, to profess, and to observe the Religion which we believe to be of divine origin, we cannot deny an equal freedom to those whose minds have not yet yielded to the evidence which has convinced us. If this freedom be abused, it is an offence against God, not against man: To God, therefore, not to man, must an account of it be rendered." ~ James Madison, 1785.

I have here a note from Gouverneur Morris who was the writer of the final draft of the Constitution, he adds his comments by way of this quote: "Religion is the only solid basis of good morals; therefore education should teach the precepts of religion, and the duties of man toward God." ~ Gouverneur Morris, 1792.


It seems the point is trying to be made Sirs, that all this religion and Christianity, though present, was not necessary. It only added confusion and difficulties for us to eventually over come.

Yes, Mr. Morse, I recognize you as having earned the title, "Father of American Geography" I yield to you Sir.

"To the kindly influence of Christianity we owe that degree of civil freedom, and political and social happiness which mankind now enjoys. In proportion as the genuine effects of Christianity are diminished in any nation, either through unbelief, or the corruption of its doctrines, or the neglect of its institutions; in the same proportion will the people of that nation recede from the blessings of genuine freedom, and approximate the miseries of complete despotism.

All efforts to destroy the foundations of our holy religion, ultimately tend to the subversion also of our political freedom and happiness.  Whenever the pillars of Christianity shall be overthrown, our present republican forms of government, and all the blessings which flow from them, must fall with them." ~ Jedediah Morse, 1799.




We are running out of time, but I see a motion from Mr. Hamilton to speak. Mr. Hamilton, would you like to address your sentiment concerning the American spirit in liberty and freedom, from what source it is derived?

"For my own part, I sincerely esteem it a system which without the finger of God, never could have been suggested and agreed upon by such a diversity of interests." ~ Alexander Hamilton, shortly after the Constitutional Convention 1787.

"I have carefully examined the evidences of the Christian religion, and if I was sitting as a juror upon its authenticity I would unhesitatingly give my verdict in its favor. I can prove its truth as clearly as any proposition ever submitted to the mind of man." ~ Alexander Hamilton.

Mr. Webster Sir, you followed in the wake of these whom we esteem as great men of our founding, would you like to address with some word and speak on these issues? I yield to you Sir.


"If there is anything in my thoughts or style to commend, the credit is due to my parents for instilling in me an early love of the Scriptures. If we abide by the principles taught in the Bible, our country will go on prospering and to prosper; but if we and our posterity neglect its instructions and authority, no man can tell how sudden a catastrophe may overwhelm us and bury all our glory in profound obscurity." ~ Daniel Webster.

"Lastly, our ancestors established their system of government on morality and religious sentiment. Moral habits, they believed, cannot safely be trusted on any other foundation than religious principle, nor any government be secure which is not supported by moral habits. . . . Whatever makes men good Christians, makes them good citizens.

Cultivated mind was to act on uncultivated nature; and more than all, a government and country were to commence, with the very first foundations laid under the divine light of the Christian religion.

Finally, let us not forget the religious character of our origin. Our fathers were brought hither by their high veneration for the Christian religion. They journeyed by its light, and labored in its hope. They sought to incorporate its principles with the elements of their society, and to diffuse its influence through all their institutions, civil, political, or literary.

Let us cherish these sentiments, and extend this influence still more widely; in full conviction that that is the happiest society which partakes in the highest degree of the mild and peaceful spirit of Christianity." ~ Daniel Webster, December 22nd, 1820.


We truly must go, but I cannot forbid one of such influence as Mr. John Hancock to speak. Mr. Hancock Sir, you have the floor.

" . . . these United States are not only happily rescued from the Danger and Calamities to which they have been so long exposed, but their Freedom, Sovereignty and Independence ultimately acknowledged. . . . the interposition of Divine Providence in our favor hath been most abundantly and most graciously manifested, and the Citizens of these United States have every reason for Praise and gratitude to the God of their salvation." ~ John Hancock, November 8th, 1783.

I am not na├»ve to think these are the sentiments of our American leaders and citizens now. I have made the argument for some time we are a different people than those before us. The foot prints of their faith are inescapable to us. We try to turn their ideas into secular purposes and reasonings of men. But they have left their faith for us in their writings, their works, their monuments, and their institutions. We are hardly at work removing, rewriting, and trying to explain these achievements in such a way that we may enjoy their work without their faith.

It has always been the pleasure of the Gospel to be loved by those who find the scriptures to be Wisdom and Virtue. If we now find the Gospel offensive, foolish, and mythical, it may be that God gives us what we desire. If so, it seems a great dishonor to our founders to suggest what we have inherited at their expense could have been accomplished without their faith in God and love of the Gospel. To do so is to make them out to be liars and foolish men succumbed by the trappings of religion. If this Gospel is so harmful, how is it, that men of such faith accomplished so much considered at the time impossible. Accomplished what the world and it's wisdom never before accomplished.

If we find ourselves determined to go our own way, at least let us honor them and give the acknowledgement of their accomplishments to the source they themselves cited. It was to the God of Heaven and His Providence they saw their success and rise as a nation, their help in calamities and distresses. And it was the Gospel of Jesus Christ they cited for their personal merit and virtue as a people. We may go our own way, but let us not ascribe them as ourselves. If we are ashamed of their faith, let us proclaim to the world we are not as they were, but let us not hide to the world what they were!

May the Grace of God be upon each of you,

David 

To understand the meaning and use of the term Providence as the Founders would, I refer you to the Chapter 5 of the West Minister Confession of Faith posted below.

CHAPTER V.

Of Providence.

I. God, the great Creator of all things, doth uphold, direct dispose, and govern all creatures, actions, and things, from the greatest even to the least, by his most wise and holy providence, according to his infallible foreknowledge, and the free and immutable counsel of his own will, to the praise of the glory of his wisdom, power, justice, goodness, and mercy.
II. Although in relation to the foreknowledge and decree of God, the first cause, all things come to pass immutably and infallibly, yet, by the same providence, he ordereth them to fall out according to the nature of second causes, either necessarily, freely, or contingently.
III. God, in his ordinary providence, maketh use of means, yet is free to work without, above, and against them, at his pleasure.
IV. The almighty power, unsearchable wisdom, and infinite goodness of God, so far manifest themselves in his providence, that it extendeth itself even to the first Fall, and all other sins of angels and men, and that not by a bare permission, but such as hath joined with it a most wise and powerful bounding, and otherwise ordering and governing of them, in a manifold dispensation, to his own holy ends; yet so, as the sinfulness thereof proceedeth only from the creature, and not from God; who being most holy and righteous, neither is nor can be the author or approver of sin.
V. The most wise, righteous, and gracious God, doth oftentimes leave for a season his own children to manifold temptations and the corruption of their own hearts, to chastise them for their former sins, or to discover unto them the hidden strength of corruption and deceitfulness of their hearts, that they may be humbled; and to raise them to a more close and constant dependence for their support upon himself, and to make them more watchful against all future occasions of sin, and for sundry other just and holy ends.
VI. As for those wicked and ungodly men whom God, as a righteous judge, for former sins, doth blind and harden; from them he not only withholdeth his grace, whereby they might have been enlightened in their understandings, and wrought upon their hearts; but sometimes also withdraweth the gifts which they had; and exposeth them to such objects as their corruption makes occasion of sin; and withal, gives them over to their own lusts, the temptations of the world, and the power of Satan; whereby it comes to pass that they harden themselves, even under those means which God useth for the softening of others.
VII. As the providence of God doth, in general, reach to all creatures, so, after a most special manner, it taketh care of his Church, and disposeth all things to the good thereof.