“God grants liberty only to those who love it, and are always ready to guard and defend it.” ... Daniel Webster ...
These posts will reflect my personal opinions, and views, of the world in which we live from, of course, the viewpoint of a conservative "Southern American".
Saturday, December 21, 2013
America, A Christian Nation ... Alan Caruba
America, A Christian Nation
An aethiest billboard in Times Square
It is a
great regret that arrogant atheists attack Christmas at this time of year and
that too many institutions from schools to stores feel intimidated enough to
remove mention of it. It is one thing to deny the existence of God, but the
attacks are intended to undermine the faith of millions of Americans. The
atheists forget or neglect the fact that the pilgrims came here to freely
practice their interpretation of Christianity.
It is a
habit of mine to revisit the classic literature of the past and, with the
advent of Christmas, I picked up an excerpt from Edward Gibbon’s famed “The
History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire” that addressed in part the
role of Christianity.
vast knowledge of the Empire eventually filled six volumes. The first three
volumes were published in 1776 and became a bestseller. The final three volumes
cemented his reputation as a historian.
(1737-1794) not only possessed a vast body of knowledge, but also a felicity of
prose that enhances the pleasure of reading him. His history of Rome also
contained open criticism of organized religion which no doubt evoked a great
deal of discussion at the time.
religion of Rome, however, being polytheistic with many gods could only be
called organized insofar as temples to those gods were built wherever it
exercised its power. Suffice to say, the then-new religion of Christianity was
declared illegal and Christians were widely persecuted.
the adherents to Christianity were Jews. Gibbon notes that “The first fifteen
bishops of Jerusalem were all circumcised Jews; and the congregations over
which they presided, united the law of Moses with the doctrine of Christ.”
Judaism had been around for a thousand years by that time, but there were a
variety of factors that kept it isolated and limited in numbers. It did not
actively proselytize and the requirement for circumcision was a deterrent. Judaism
also had many restrictions such as dietary laws and requirements that further
reduced its attraction for the masses.
changed with the advent of Saul of Tarsus, now known as St. Paul, a Jew who
experienced an epiphany that threw open the doors to the philosophical and
theological basis of Judaism. “Christianity offered itself to the world, armed
with the strength of the Mosaic Law and delivered from its fetters,” wrote
Gibbon. “The divine authority of Moses and the prophets was admitted, and even
established, as the firmest basis of Christianity.”
promise of divine favor, instead of being partially confirmed to the posterity
of Abraham, was universally proposed to the freeman and the slave, to the Greek
and the barbarian, to the Jew and to the Gentile.”
promise of eternal happiness was proposed to mankind, on condition of adopting
the faith, and of observing the precepts of the gospel, it is no wonder that so
advantageous an offer should have been accepted by great numbers of every
religion, of every rank, and of every province in the Roman Empire.”
Empire had reigned supreme for almost 300 years when Christianity came on the
scene and would last another 200 until, in the view of historians; it became
too tired to maintain itself. It stretched across the known world from the
British Isles to India, exacting taxes and offering protection. By the third
century it could not be effectively governed from Rome and split into two
factions, East and West, seen today in the Eastern and Western churches.
offered something that Judaism did not; the promise of life after death, of
Heaven, and, conversely, a vision of Hell. Neither the prophets, nor the sages
of Judaism devoted much attention to what occurred after death because there is
no way to determine what occurs in its wake. Instead, Judaism has always placed
an emphasis on how one can pursue a life of proper behavior based on the
interpretation of the Torah or Old Testament whose heart is found in the Ten
wrote “It was by the aid of these causes, exclusive zeal, the immediate
expectation of another world, the claim of miracles, the practice of rigid
virtue, and the constitution of the primitive church, that Christianity spread
itself with so much success in the Roman Empire.”
gospels were composed in the Greek language “at a considerable distance from
Jerusalem” and after gentile converts had grown in numbers. “As soon as those
histories were translated into the Latin tongue, there were perfectly
intelligible to all the subjects of Rome” with some exceptions.
conversion of Constantine in the fourth century made Christianity the official
religion of Rome. It is estimated that, by then, almost a third of the
population had previously embraced Christianity and the Empire had already
begun to decline. In the early 400s, Rome was conquered by the barbaric tribes
of northern Europe, the Gaul’s, Visigoths, and others. Europe was plunged into
the Dark Ages.
Christianity would spread to much of the world though it would compete with the
more ancient faiths of Hinduism and Buddhism, and the tribal faiths of Africa
and the New World.
A.D. Islam, the invention of Mohammed, would spread as much by the sword as by
its doctrine. It is the enemy of all other religions and its persecution of
Christians is a warning to the world. Mohammed told his followers, “The sword
is the key to heaven and hell.” These days, the Middle East is being “cleansed”
of Christians. No accommodation can be made with Islam.
demographics of Christianity have shifted significantly in the last century,
largely due to the enmity of Communism. As noted in a recent article, “In Latin
America alone, there are 517 million Christians. In Africa, 411 million. Asia
tallies 251 million. Once a global powerhouse of Christianity, Europe is home
to an ever-shrinking 553 million (expected to drop to 480 million by 2050)
while North America has 275 million.”
we once were, we are no longer a Christian nation,” said President Barack Obama
on June 28, 2006. A true Christian would never have uttered those words.
was and is a Christian nation. Obama either misspoke or deliberately lied. His
words barely acknowledge the role of Christianity in the founding and history
of our nation. His words betray its role today.
great work about the fall of Rome is a warning to all present empires and great
powers. It fell because it lacked a doctrine of virtue as much as from the
attacks by the barbarians who finished it off.
is the faith of the new barbarians and Islam is the faith of its enemies. The
defense of civilization falls heavily on the worldwide Christian community.
Alan Caruba's commentaries are posted daily at "Warning Signs" and shared on dozens
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