Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Political, Cultural, Whatever Question

While I was reading The Myth of a Christian Nation by Greg Boyd, something he wrote intrigued me. Boyd suggests that it might not be a bad thing if the words "In God We Trust" were removed from our money and the words "under God" stricken from the Pledge of Allegiance.

I wonder what the effect would be if that happened. Would the effect on the Church be positive or negative? What about American culture in general? What would the short term impact be? Long term?

I would like to know what you think. Don't give your first gut reaction. Think about it and give me your reasoned answered. Thanks in advance.


Jake Belder said...

I've thought about this a lot over the last few years. I think the statements have both elements of truth and falsehood. In regards to the false aspects, these two statements, though so prominent in American culture and nationalistic sentiments, are quite honestly lies. For all intents and purposes, the nation as a whole makes no purport to display their trust in God or to live, as it were, "under God."

However, were the statements altered slightly--using a small "g" for God instead of the proper noun--the statements would be true to a degree. Americans do trust in a god, though for the vast majority it is not the God of Scripture. It's any number of gods--money, sports, Manifest Destiny (a seldom used though far from nonexistent idea), sex, government. And insofar as they "trust" in these gods, they live "under" them.

Do I think they should be removed? I'm not sure. I lean towards yes because I think the false aspect I mentioned above stands out more prominently.

I sometimes think it might actually be a good thing. Have you read Jack Miller's A Faith Worth Sharing, Fred? It's really a great read, a short book of essentially evangelistic conversations he had with people throughout the years. The biggest obstacle he ran into time and time again was what he calls the "virtuous." And indeed, the virtuous make up a great deal of the American population--people who think they are essentially good because they do good deeds, believe in "God" (although again, not the God of Scripture), go to church, and vote against abortion and same-sex marriage.

If removing these slogans from their prominent place in public were to finally get people to be honest about who they are and what they believe, then I might be inclined to support it. I could say a whole lot more about this, but I'll leave it at that for now.

Kansas Bob said...

I think those were added in the 20th century.. although I wouldn't like it.. it probably wouldn't matter much if they were removed.. we did okay the fist 100+ years.

co_heir said...

Jake, I think you're right that removing the slogans would cause folks to be more honest. It would help end the influence of Christendom and send Christians back to the idea that we are citizens of God's kingdom first.
Thanks for the book recommendation.

Bob, I think both of those slogans were added with the idea of showing that we were somehow "on God's side."

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