Saturday, August 30, 2008

Some Words from a Faithful Commentator

***First off, I need to apologize to Phil Johnson (a.k.a. Pinky) for posting this so late. As most of you already know, Mr. Johnson (Pinky) is one of our biggest commentators, for which we are very thankful. Pinky sent this to me and requested that I post it here, which I am more than happy to do.***


I am almost certain arguments regarding the question of America’s creation could continue on world without end; but, I wonder to what avail.

It is not as though any answers we come up with will convince any of the several sides to the arguments they have been wrong. The problem has more to do with the fact that ideologues begin with an end result in mind and they will never quit until they either die or come down with a terminal case of Althzheimers–no matter what the evidence is against them. I bet the arguments began with the writing of the Declaration of Independence–even before.

To me, and maybe I’m all alone here, the important questions deal more succinctly with how we have come to be where we are to day as a result of where our Founders began. For example, "Did the Founding begin with the Mayflower Compact or was it even earlier?"

I see an unfolding of ideas that starts far back in antiquity and continues forward which belies the claims of Skinnerian psychology and shows that human thinking does evolve. Nothing is more indicative of that than world history. America is the peaking of the endless human search for self discovery. Plato tells us that Socrates pled, "The unexamined life is not worth living.". I wonder if we can ask that question as it applies to us as Americans. How do people in the rest of the world see us?

As I sit here at the keyboard, I am reminded again and again that I am who I am as a result of who I have been in relationship to all that I have learned and of whom I have known. I am evolving to be who it is that I am coming to be. So, how is it that I have come to be the American that I am? What did George Washington have to do with my being, Cotton Mather, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, John Hancock, Andrew Jackson, Jefferson Davis, U.S. Grant, Thoreau, Margaret Fuller, Abraham Lincoln, William Jennings Bryan, Dwight Moody, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and so many others that I cannot number.

But, I do know there is a line that runs throughout history that includes all my ascendents as well as those others that influenced them. I’m reminded of my dear old grandmother and I remember her sitting in her rocker one day singing, "John Brown’s body lies a molting in the grave...". That song had some meaning to her and, so, somehow it contributed to who it is that I have now come to be. What new things are out there impinging on me to make me be what I will be tomorrow? So, I see that this is the way it is for all of us–each one.

Whether America was founded as a Christian nation or not, is only of some academic importance. What is important is how we have come to be who it is that we are as a result of our Founding and of all that has evolved since then.

7 comments:

bpabbott said...

Pinky: >> Whether America was founded as a Christian nation or not, is only of some academic importance.<<

I agree from the perspective of history.

However, from the position of ideology, the claim that we are a Christian Nation is often made by those who wish our government to favor the liberty of Christians and even permit them freedoms that come at a cost to non-Christians :-(

I have an ideology as well. Mine is that the problems of too much liberty are preferred to those of too little.

Pinky said...

.
When we institute a government for our causes of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, we muxt of necessity give up some liberties which, mainly, have to do with our encroachment of the rights and libertties of our fellow citizens.
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I defend your right to be different.
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With gratitude to our Founding Fathers.

bpabbott said...

Pinky,

Nice sentiments. I'd be quite surprised if our views of liberty had any significant differences.

Brad Hart said...

Abbott states:

"from the position of ideology, the claim that we are a Christian Nation is often made by those who wish our government to favor the liberty of Christians and even permit them freedoms that come at a cost to non-Christians."

And that is THE fundamental problem with Christian Nationalists. If it wasn't for this, I would be 100% behind what Pinky is saying. However, we don't live in a perfect world and millions of Christian zealots continue to insist upon the ridiculous "Christian nation" doctrine.

Thank goodness we have American Creation to set the record strait! =)

Tom Van Dyke said...

The question from my chair is not a handful of largely impotent Christian Nationists, but the "modern" folks for whom Divine Providence and natural law---which were in the air the Founders breathed---are unacceptable bases for public discussion.

So we all have our own reasons for being here.

bpabbott said...

Tom: >>The question from my chair is not a handful of largely impotent Christian Nationists, but the "modern" folks for whom Divine Providence and natural law---which were in the air the Founders breathed---are unacceptable bases for public discussion.<<

Tom can you give an example of what you speak. I'm uncertain as to what you imply by "public discussion".

Tom Van Dyke said...

Ben, the "naked public square," per Richard John Neuhaus, et al. That Michael Newdow is likely better known than Neuhaus, or that Time Magazine calls him one of America's 25 Most Influental Evangelicals [he is a Roman Catholic priest] indicates that perhaps the view from my chair needs more publicity. So I'll keep plugging.

I've been a reliable ally against the Christian Nationists, after all, and I don't want them to carry the lead in this very essential national discussion. I believe their arguments are not only fatally flawed, but repulse more Americans than they attract.