It may seem intuitive, at first, to attempt to answer this question by focusing on government. But the best way to determine whether or not the United States is a Christian nation is to compare the philosophy of its people to the Word of God.
The Declaration of Independence states that every person has these God-given, inalienable rights: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. This philosophy is what we could call the “American Worldview,” and it drives everything about the nation— from its economic and foreign policy to the private lives of its people. This is the atmosphere in which most of us have grown up. But can this American Worldview be called a Christian Worldview? Can we really call the United States a Christian nation? (continued here)
approaches the question from a different direction than I have. He considers whether Americans actually practice Christianity, and sadly, he concludes we do not.
Is correct in his conclusion. I think so, but there is a subtlety that I think is worth adding. Men of no other faith would have written these lines.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. –That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. (from here)
When the Christians who founded this nation wrote the Constitution, they did not attempt to force everyone to become a Christian. If they had done that, they would not have created a Christian nation; they would just have created a nation where to save their skin everyone claimed to be Christian.
When the founders wrote and debated the Constitution, they sought to protect a Christian belief. They put that right in the First Amendment, the right of each individual to follow the dictates of their own conscience.
The founders believed God granted each man and woman the right and the responsibility to find Him in their own way. For although there is only one Way to salvation, through Christ Jesus, we do not and cannot all find and know our Lord in the same way. Because God made us each unique — with different lives and experiences — each of us must find our own way to our savior.
Thus, even though we are not a Christian nation and may not even be a nation of Christians, God has blessed us with a Christian heritage. And that heritage is something even the Atheists among us can learn (if they have any wisdom at all) to appreciate.
- Was America once a Christian nation? (loopyloo305.com): Here it is interesting to note that at the time of the signing of the Constitution how close the United States came to what might call a Christian nation.
- Was America Founded as a Christian Nation? (Review) (davehershey.wordpress.com): Here is a review of a book that considers state constitutions at the time of the founding.
- Why America isn’t – and never was – a “Christian nation” (thecommonsensemarket.wordpress.com): Here is the Liberal point-of-view that lists the usual arguments.
- Alan Caruba: America a Christian Nation (ruthfullyyours.com): This post considers Edward Gibbon’s “The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire” and what Gibbons had to say about the role of Christianity.