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Monday, January 03, 2005

The Judeo Christian Ethic

Patricia raised some wonderful questions in her comments on Judeo Christian culture in the founding of the United States. There are many ways to reply to her comments, and would fill a book instead of a blog post. I would refer her to two books on the Liberty Recommends Reading list, The Twilight of Atheism, and The Theme is Freedom. I would also include the book I'm currently reading, God’s Name in Vain: Wrongs and Rights of Religion in Politics, by Stephen L. Carter. I'll post that to Liberty Recommends when I'm done reading it.

I would like to discuss a few specific questions in Patricia's comments though.
I am not in favor of a "theocracy." I honestly don't know any Evangelicals who are. I am also not in favor of Judeo Christian values being taken out of the Public Square, in favor of the religions of Secularism, Humanism, or Paganism. And the Public Square in America has always included politics and government.

Patricia asks why we should go back to the English Founding Fathers, when there were American Indians here already. Her question implies that the culture of the Indians is equal to the Western Culture that supplanted it. Her question more than hints at the multiculturalism school that says all cultures are equal, and no culture should be judged as better as or worse than another.

I simply do not subscribe to that school. By any measure, Western Civilization, with its Judeo Christian morals and ethics, has shown itself more tolerant, more progressive, and more able to make life better for its people than any other culture. The framework of common laws begun in the Middle Ages did not, and could not have occurred in other cultures. To use the aberration of the Salem Witch Trials as the example of Judeo Christian culture ignores much, including the Magna Carta, Mayflower Compact, and the Puritan writings that served as the spiritual and political cornerstones for the American Revolution. These all hearken back to the very Ten Commandments that are the basis of our system of laws. Can the disturbed writings of Anton Lavey, or the Wiccan Rede, or even the sayings of Buddha make the same claims? I think not.

No culture is perfect. The pagan Romans and Greeks left unwanted children, especially females, out in the cold to die. The Pax Romana was achieved through force, and kept through force. The pagan Greeks killed Socrates for asking too many questions. And his follower Plato saw his utopia as the Chosen ruling lesser subjects. Great if you're chosen, not so good if you aren't.

Patricia's questions of what it would be like to be governed by Judeo Christian ethics are found in a few places in the world. Any Islamic country ruled by Sharia law would be well familiar with her examples. Ask the people of Afghanistan what it was like to be live under Sharia, or the thousands marching in the streets of Iran today. I would be interested if she can find one example from history of such things occurring in a country with Judeo Christian ethics.

The Pharisees of Jesus day sought to obey every single "command" in the Torah. It is in this context that Jesus lays out the Sermon on the Mount, with the quote from Matthew 5: 17-19 paraphrased by Patricia. Jesus was illustrating how impossible it is to live by the Law, not advocating following every word. The New Testament teaches that one must be perfect, and no one is. That's the meaning of the Gospel. Because humanity's relationship with God is fractured, man turns naturally to evil. This is true of individuals as well as governments. The Bible speaks of changing the heart, becoming a "new creation" through a relationship with Jesus Christ.

I don't explain the above to preach, but to illustrate one of the principles upon which this government was founded. The Founding Fathers were products of Judeo Christian culture, and firmly believed that without a system that took into account man's tendency to abuse power, government would become dictatorial. This would occur whether the dictator was an individual, a Parliament, or the dictatorship of the mob. To forget this, or forsake this heritage puts our nation, and the benefits of Western Civilization at great risk. It does not mean that all Americans must be Christians. It also does not mean that Judeo Christian culture must give up its honored place in the Public Square, or in Government.


  1. Very Intersting thoughts and it good to see you so passionate about your christain beginnings and how these thoughts shaped your country.

    I have a passion for Albert Schweitzer and have written an article where I feel we should re name his reverence for life principle the "grand unifying theory for humanity" Have a look you might like to consider some of his thoughts.

  2. Blessings to the Bloggers! :)
    Mark, I thank you for your thoughts on this topic and with your permission would like to post again, though I know that you have since moved on to more current events.. which I will be very much keeping up with!

    First, I would like to begin with saying.. we do well to remember that "History is written by the victors." Not all accounts of history are the accurate and true whole of the worldview or climate of society at the time, so we must learn to look deeper and feel deeper.. allowing our hearts to sift through what our heads would tell us is the "reality", or what the history books would tell us is the reality.
    For example: Thomas Jefferson who is quoted as believing that "All men are created equal.." however, did not elevate that belief to the African-American (he was one of the largest of slaveholding forefathers) ALSO it did not include women, who obtained the right to have a say in government and own land etc.. long after the other classes of citizens.

    It is good to know, that you do not favor a "theocracy" though I scarcely believe that all Evangelical's feel the same. I have walked many a year in the circles of Roman Catholocism, Evangelical Christianity to Fundamentalist Christianity before at last finding the Spiritual home of my ancestors and the ways in which I am now settled. Long and long, did I listen to the Pastors pray and hope and dream for a country which "God" ruled them all and the laws upheld the "biblical standards". I have no doubt whatsoever, that there are numerous Christians who would like nothing more than to have "One nation, under ONE God"

    You said:
    Patricia asks why we should go back to the English Founding Fathers, when there were American Indians here already. Her question implies that the culture of the Indians is equal to the Western Culture that supplanted it.

    Actually, no it was not meant to imply that the culture of the indigenous peoples is equal to the Western Culture it was meant to imply that it mayhap was BETTER. ;)
    These are people to whom this land belonged, they knew the cycle of the land, the cycle of the seasons. The land was fertile and provided what they needed, were it not true, then the "founding fathers" would have not ever come here seeking their riches and remained to pillage them well. But for the moment,let us remember it was NOT the British that came here FIRST.. it was the Spanish Conquistadores, looking for GOLD.. and with them they brought numerous plagues of illness to the indigenous peoples, they brought them liquor which to the Native peoples was death in a flask. They raped their women, killed their braves and stole their land.

    Following the Spanish, were the British.. and let us remember that many of the settlers of the English "founding fathers" were NOT here of their own accord, they were indentured servants and many were releasee's of England penal system. To imply that we settled here in so grand a fashion is a fallacy, the product of history being told by the victors. We were in fact.. "The Great Experiment" to see what could be done with this "land across the seas". Many who came here were no more than slaves themselves to the rich white man that BOUGHT their term of servitude and brought them to these lands. So to be historically correct, the first founding fathers were the unwanteds of British Society that were enslaved to those that had the desire for gold and land and exploration.

    You said:
    Her question more than hints at the multiculturalism school that says all cultures are equal, and no culture should be judged as better as or worse than another.

    I would ask what kind of boldness it takes to say that OUR culture is somehow the BEST culture? Who are WE to say that our standards of Culture are what is best or even better for another people? To imply that multiculturalism is somehow "less than" is to imply there are simply other people and ways that are "less than" our own. Who is able to stand as judge in a matter of what is "better or worse"? I would remind you of these biblical words: "Why do you say.. here brother, let me pull the splinter from your eye, while there is a log remaining in your own? It is better to pull the log from your own, then you can see clearly the speck in another's eye."
    Indeed, the system of being that says "Our ways bring you this good thing and that good thing..." is the same system that annihlated and absorbed more of the worlds' indigenous tribes. It is a system of "Believe as WE do, OR ELSE." Rome brought to the Isle of Britain their roads, their systems of money and water.. yet at the same time, killed all those that would stand in the way, in defense of their indigenous ways and their homeland, their tribal systems. Rome did not make a conquest of the Isle for any good reason, it was because the Isle was a "breadbasket" to feed the Roman populace. Spain did the same in the Americas. It was never a matter of "Let us do a good thing and create a free world." Utopian at best. Conquest is always about gold, power-over and greed. Thus, we came as immigrants to the land of America. Thus, we STILL go as immigrants, military to the lands of the world. No matter how you cut it, my brother.. you can put lipstick on a pig--its still just a pig.

    You said:
    By any measure, Western Civilization, with its Judeo Christian morals and ethics, has shown itself more tolerant, more progressive, and more able to make life better for its people than any other culture.

    More tolerant?? Surely you jest Mark! Western Civilization has been built upon Might Equals Right. To discuss Western Civilization one must begin with Rome and Rome was ANYTHING but tolerant! Progressive YES, but upon who's backs were the roads paved? Progress is a matter of opinion, on whether you are one of the haves or have nots in the equation of the momentum. To say Western Civilization makes lives better, is to say "before we got here.. you had NOTHING." Well.. a mighty bold statement indeed. To the indigenous people's of a land.. they had EVERYTHING! They had their land, their gods, their families, their cycles of seasons. To Britain, the Progress and tolerance of which you speak, built both Handrian's and Antoine's wall to systematically STARVE the indentured people into submission. Might I add, the Indigenous people did in fact drive OUT Western "progress and tolerance". Oh, and while I'm at it.. let us remember that when Rome left the Isle, it was too fight off more indigenous people of other lands that they had attempted to "progress" forward.

    Then let us look to here in our own land.. the "progress and tolerance" that the early founding fathers proposed to the people here. "Ah yes, we will give you a reservation my red man brother, with hunting and fishing. Ummm.. okay so the fishing you must hike to the river to get to -- and the hunting.. well you will have to cross the other Indian nation's land to track your buffalo. But hey.. its Progress.. right?" In the name of "progress" we have killed more than we've helped and to that end.. we have defined for over two hundred years that unless you HAVE and ACQUIRE.. then you have not progressed enough.

    These same "founding fathers" fought brother against brother in the Civil War only one hundred years later! What? To free the black man? RIGHT. Not even close. Any good student of the Civil War knows that President Lincoln's answer to the slavery issue was to free the black then move them on down the line and out of this nation. Sounding like progress yet? Does it even remotely sound like tolerance? It was a Christian valued legal system that returned runaway slaves to their masters in the South, once they had made it NORTH of the Mason Dixon line, to be beaten, brutalized and killed, all in the name of Law. Evidently then, the laws only serve those with POWER and MONEY.
    One cannot equate the Western Civilization with tolerance or betterment without first indoctrinating the people's of the lands as to what was DEEMED better, more progressive, more tolerant. It completely dis-empowers the individual and their individual thought and belief processes. Never forget one of the "founding fathers" of Western Civilization was also Nicolo Macchiavelli "the ends justifies the means".

    You said:
    To use the aberration of the Salem Witch Trials as the example of Judeo Christian culture ignores much, including the Magna Carta, Mayflower Compact, and the Puritan writings that served as the spiritual and political cornerstones for the American Revolution.

    To not allow for incidents such as the Salem Witchtrials to stand as testimony to the error of religion in a public system is to put on blinders, in my opinion--seeing only what one wishes to see and allowing others to become "collateral damage" or "incidentals". It was but ONE of a multitudinous lot of situations in which the early settlers of this land allowed their personal views of God and their personal interpretation of biblical law to allow for the killing of others. Perhaps we need remember that the early Puritanical system upon which you noted was a cornerstone of the American Revolutionary thought.. also allowed for numerous heinous treatments of others. It was in fact, the very systems that many supposedly "fled England" to get AWAY from.
    Better still-- perhaps we need be reminded that the Revolutionary war was not won due to Western fighting methods at all, stationary lines such as what the British kept.. not at all.. the Revolutionaries, fought the first Guerilla Warfare.. which they learned from the Native American Indians! The Revolutionary War was no glorious battlefield of victories.. it was in many cases "cut and run". All things that they learned by being on the lesser end of battle with the Native tribes. They witnessed the ways of the indigenous people and by losing enough people to it, decided to use it as a part of their own strategy. No, there is no Spiritual good that comes from war. Even Christ himself said "Those that pick up the sword, shall die by it." He was himself, no advocate of warring.. to attain to give some noble Spiritual reason for war is to assuage our consciences of the bloodspattering we carry the weight of upon our own hands.
    Again, let us remember.. history is written by the victors. Who wants to look back and remember the eyes of the one they met in battle? To say, "I killed a man who might have been my cousin." No one, wants to believe that they are capable of such attrocity. Thus, we attach great Spiritual values and goals to it, to somehow make the bloodshed more valorous, more glorious. If one is going to use the Ten Commandments as the guideline, then need we be reminded that STILL includes "THOU SHALT NOT KILL."
    Ahh, how we take what we will, and leave the rest behind. If indeed the Ten Commandments are the cornerstone upon which you believe this nation was created and has lasted.. perhaps we need look at the reality of the fact that we cannot pick and choose which ones apply, under which conditions. I do not believe that Jehovah God, El Shaddai--ever gave a Disclusionary Rider to the stone tablets did He? Indeed then, if it be true that the Ten Commandments are the cornerstone of this country.. then this country was not founded upon the upholding of them--it was founded on the ability of those that were beneath their dictates to subvert the heart of them and make them apply only under certain circumstances. What evidence do I have for so bold a statement? Read on:

    Honor thy Father and thy Mother--somehow I do not believe that the Puritan system was applied to situations such as the Stocks and Public flogging and Public abuses, that were many times applied to members of one's own family. Fighting a war against the Mothers, Fathers, Brothers and Sisters of Britain? Hmm seems to be a rather loose translation of the Law once again.

    Thou Shalt Not Steal: I believe it was our stealing from British Ships in Boston Harbor that was a key event just before the Revolutionary War. Night Raids during the War by the Revolutionaries, would also fall under this one. As would numerous of the Civil War Events.

    Thou Shalt Not Kill: Obvious.. no matter how you look at it, no matter the nobility of the cause--killing is still killing.

    Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness Against Thy Neighbor: Applies at any point the truth was "stretched to fit" though I would call upon the Salem Trials once again, as a defining moment of the "keep what applies throw out the rest" methodology of which I speak.

    Thou Shalt Not Covet: Ohhh but the land was founded upon the covetousness of the Nations. The desire for gold, more land, more hunting.. through every year of American expansion from sea to shining sea, did we covet what others had. We coveted the openspaces of the buffalo lands of our Red Brothers.. We coveted modern conveniences, we coveted the finery of silk and broadcloth, we coveted the South's cotton ad infinitum.. and now.. where has the covetousness of this Nation turned its blackened stare?? Where do we covet? What do we covet? We need only look beneath the sparkling exterior to see that most of where are military are serving at this time is at some level--coveting something, whether we know it or not.

    Soooo.. I say, tell me again.. how this nation was founded upon the Ten Commandments as its cornerstone.. and I will forever say we were founded upon our ability to subvert the heart of the Law and bend it to our personal Will.

    You said:
    Can the disturbed writings of Anton Lavey, or the Wiccan Rede, or even the sayings of Buddha make the same claims? I think not.

    I do not personally subscribe to LaVey's thought processes however, what about them truly "disturbs us" I wonder. Have you even read them? I think what disturbs us most is that LaVey said the things aloud, that many feel within their hearts but would dare not speak. We dare not admit that we feel greed, lust or want after power. To do so somehow implies we are bad people. Perhaps it is only in admitting that we DO feel these things, that the shadow within can be confronted and healed. We are not an evil people.. we are simply people. We are either overcomers or we are not but the shadow remains in each of us.

    The Wiccan Rede: though coined not so long ago, is a system of holistic and spiritual belief that says "Do as you will if it harm none." Once again I ask, have you read it?
    Its philosophy is that of "The Pagani", the people of the country.. those that followed an earth based system of being. It is the heart of this Rede that has lived in the indigenous peoples of many nations, though different in words for millenia. Many of the beliefs of it supported societies that were existence long before the Judaeo-Christian system, harkening back to Ancient Summeria, which predated.

    THe sayings of the Buddha and the systems of the East, once again, their nation has never fallen to ruin or out of the histories of the world. Obviously, it has been enough to allow for their world to remain, with a solid firm foundation. Predating even the Roman West.

    You said:
    I would be interested if she can find one example from history of such things occurring in a country with Judeo Christian ethics.

    This is not hard my brother.. to find incidents of atrocities beneath a Judaeo Christian system:

    I might begin with the initial "Paradise" as is described in the Torah--did not Cain kill his brother Abel in an act of vengeance against God?

    One need only follow the Old Testament to see incident after incident in which murder occurred in the name of God and people's were annihlated from the land because they did not follow the dictates of the Hebraic system.

    In the New Testament, were not numerous people killed in the effort to establish "God's kingdom" upon the Earth? Was it not the Jewish system of Law, or the loose interpretation thereof that allowed for the killing of Yeshua or if you will, for the Prophecy to be fulfilled.

    Forward, we need only look at the Crusades, the Inquisition for more Judaeo-Christian ethics at work throughout the world, to the dark ages and persisting through the Middle Ages.

    Then we have James--with the Maleus Maleficarum. A whole system of killing throughout Europe for those that believed because they were Christian it was their duty to kill any that would not walk the Christian way. Uncountable THOUSANDS died at the hands of James and this awful document all drafted by leaders of the Christian Church.

    The Waldenses a Christian faction killed by other Christian factions over the bible itself, and the interpreation thereof.

    The Spanish Conquistadores and their Catholic spin to Christianity killed untold amounts of indigenous people for their "heathen ways"

    The English to this land.. killed the indigenous Indians who would not convert to their Christian ways and earth loving hearts.

    The laws passed to surpress Mormonism and their belief system, were God against God.. yet still one God, but many interpretations of Him.
    The inability of 7th day Adventists to live out the command of honoring the Sabbath with ease, yet again..interpretation of "God's laws" creates division amongst the ranks.

    The incidents of killing in the name of God are huge and have encompassed numerous nations of the Earth.
    I could go on, but I think the point is made.

    I will however say this as well: Even Adolph Hitler, subscribed to Christianity and used it as part of his plan to justify the Jews as "Christ killers".
    Even NOW, does the Ku Klux Klan use the Bible as justification for their beliefs.

    Point being.. there will and should never be one nation under one god, until such time as we might define a multifaceted face of God that allows for other ways, other cultures and other beliefs as part of One God.
    Yet, the Judaeo Christian culture will never allow that one of the names of God may be Allah, or Buddah, or Mother Goddess. No, they shall never allow it.

    You Said:
    Because humanity's relationship with God is fractured, man turns naturally to evil. This is true of individuals as well as governments.

    I believe that to say that the heart of man is inclined to Evil is a great disempowerment of creatures that were created from the Divine Spark. I would also submit that within each of us is still residing the Divine Spark, the Soul, the Heart.. which yearns for completion and gathering to the God of our Fathers and Mothers, the Creator.
    "And God said: Come, let us create man in our own image and likeness.."
    If we are, as the bible says, created in God's own image, do we not then still carry that image within us, perhaps obscured by shadows.. but none the less there? Need I remind, that the very lands upon which we commit war NOW, are in fact believed to be the lands of the Garden of Eden? Oh how the sins of the fathers are revisited!
    I do not believe that the hearts of man do evil because they are inclined to do so! I believe that the evil is done because it is what has been indoctrinated since the beginning--That might somehow makes right. That killing, and war may be in "God's best interest" on behalf of His created beings.

    Here is a thought: Perhaps man's relationship with God/Godess was NEVER fractured at all?? Perhaps it is all a test, a learning experience..

    Let the mind and heart feel this a moment:

    What if.. the true test was never in a "fall of man" what if the true test was in the ability of man to find that God/Goddess is not some disembodied spirit in the skies but that we are all part of God? That when we walk together, (as adam and eve walked with god in the myth)we ARE one.. because we are SAME. That the fracturing is not in our relationship with the Gods but in our relationship with one another?
    Man and God were not at odds until such time as the mythic Eve chose to see Good/Evil.
    Eve and Adam were not at odds until such time as she chose to see things from the Good/Evil perspective.
    Cain would not have slew his brother
    The Kings would never have fought.
    All why? Because we chose to eat from a fractured tree that says there must be a GOOD side and a BAD side--rather than to eat of the tree that is LIFE where all are in one accord, where we may all walk together, each being one with God a part of God. We choose DAILY.. will we walk and act in fractured ways or will we UNIFY and become one?

    The Genesis story says: God made the Garden with every good thing, and in the middle of the Garden was a tree, the Tree of Life and there was also the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Perhaps the tree that the mythic Eve was to cling to was the Tree of Life.. yet she sought to see the differences.. what is good, what is evil--. Having done so.. she chose to see the world in a fractured way rather than in the one way that was unifying to the whole.

    Perhaps it is all a test to see just how long will it take before we understand that this is ALL one big puzzle and that to reveal the true portrait of our Creator we must allow each piece of the puzzle to be a part.

    Surely as we understand God/Goddess within ourselves, that is in fact what God is. So too, as they see Allah, as they see Buddah, as they see Gaia, as they see Zeus, as they see Diana as they see Jehovah, as they see even Lucifer... all may in fact be part of the totality of the balance which is Creator.
    Perhaps that is what the difference was between the Tree of Life, and the Tree of Good and Evil. Perhaps it is that in the Tree of Life.. is the whole picture, but in the Tree of good and evil, we CHOOSE to see only one part.. our vision, our belief, having our way.
    It was a myth told by other cultures long before the dawn of the Jews. THe story is as old as time itself and has been told and retold ever trying to impart the truth. Perhaps the very divisions are the symptom of the illness and our inability to meet the challenge of the initial "test" which is can we see BEYOND our way to the ONE way.. which is all embracing of the MANY tribes of man, the many ways of man, the many faces and facets of the creator.

    You said:
    To forget this, or forsake this heritage puts our nation, and the benefits of Western Civilization at great risk.

    I say.. HUZZAH! Let us then put the benefits of this industrialized, pompous, dictatorial system to the test.
    Let us SEE if when man is no longer at his easy lazy best, if he will not find the way to stand together with his brother/sister of whatever creed and color.. to find the way to overcome traggedy and upheavel.
    I say humanity is not bent to evil way, but that when dark times come.. man will shine his greater Divine Spark outward to embrace and find common ground. Civilization was tested to the brinks many times, yet man has still survived on this world.
    That the heart of man is STILL the imprint of the Gods and that when all else is shattered and falls away, we will come to find that God/Goddess/Divine Spark resides within us all.

    As you can see..
    I do no harm to the Judaeo Christian world view. I know the Scriptures better than many.. YET.. I also see that it has been in this way that the tribes of man have been further divided and will continue to be so.

    As a White, Christian, male.. you are in no danger of being hauled in by Homeland Security and questioned as to your belief system--why? because your belief system is supported BY the governement installed. I say to you, I may not be so lucky in time to come. You may travel freely to your Conferences of Conventions.. I say to you.. Cat Stevens, a man of PEACE was stopped and deported to Great Britain because our Nation found him "questionable" because he gives of his wealth to support displaced peoples of wars.
    You may cheer freely when President Bush is inaugurated for a second term in Washington, but I will be despised when I wear a band of black on my arm as a symbol of mourning for war.
    You may walk freely into religious gatherings and worship, but I will be watched when I choose to seek out the privacy of woods on a full moon night.
    This blog may exist freely on the web because it supports the popular society view in America. I tell you that many can not because they speak differently.

    A nation divided, a world divided. I am no fool; I know that the times and dreams that I have a world that is at peace, will never come to be - yet I refuse to be indoctrinated by the System that says that it is because we are a beacon of hope in the world. As long as OUR way is the only right way.. we are a beacon of narrowmindedness and imbalance.

    I would also like to say.. I LOVE THIS COUNTRY. I love the lands, its waterways, its blue skies, its people. Of all the places in the world that I would live, it is still the top of the list.. but I will not believe that based upon the fact that I am an American that it has to be my way or the highway. I still believe in Peace Councils and in the give and take of brotherhood.

    I know this post is long.. I respect your views my brother, though I disagree. I respect YOU. I respect the person that my husband calls friend, for if you were not an EXEMPLARY man among men.. he would not call you friend.
    This I believe, this exchange is the heart of true brotherhood in the Tribes of Man. The ability to love, to serve, to care.. even though we believe differently.
    Were you to come to my home.. I would respect you as a Christian family and welcome you in full regalia of the Celt hospitality and I think you would find.. that the rules by which YOU live, are in many many ways the same rules by which I live. That peacefully can we share table, thank God for all we have and most of all thank God for our ability to "come.. let us sit as brothers, and reason together."

    I believe the hope for this world, lay not in America's ability to be a beacon of anything.. but in the ability of brothers and sisters worldwide to be individual beacons of Peace and Safe Sojourn.

    I believe that though we may call our Creator by different names, we are still a brother and a sister in a journey far from our true home in the embrace of that Creator. I believe the more we learn to carry one another, embrace one another and live in peace... we journey farther towards the goal then ever we have.

    I thank you from the heart.. for the ability to share my views and beliefs my brother. Truly.

    Heart in Hands,