The Instigator
Khaz
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
Killerchicken12
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points

Are "American Values" based in the Bible?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/30/2016 Category: Politics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 553 times Debate No: 92069
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (15)
Votes (0)

 

Khaz

Con

In what way, if at all, are the fundamental principles of the US based in the Bible? My position is that the Bible doesn't really form the basis of American laws, but I'm willing to reconsider.

The contender can use the first round to make his or her case, and in that way have both the first and the last word on the topic. I look forward to a friendly debate.
Killerchicken12

Pro

I would like to thank Con for opening this argument, and I will do my best convince Con of the truth of early colonial America, and the persuasiveness of the Bible (Aside from whether it is true or not).

I would First like to say, that the Founding fathers were not perfect role-models, but Most if not all were willing to accept Christian culture which was already widespread both in America, and in Europe.

First, we will examine different customs of Different Religions and compare them to the U.S.
Christian: Pagan: Jewish: Muslim: U.S. Values:
No culinary laws - Some have to eat blood- Kosher ---No Culinary Laws No Food Laws
No sacrifice Sacrifice Sacrifice No sacrifice No Sacrifice
Dress appropriately--Sex in Public?---- Dress appropriately- Head scarf's Dress with Mild Coverage (Christian)
Pro-Western Neither Pro-western Anti- Western Pro-Western

Hopefully this offers some insight as to how ingrained Christianity is in American Culture. It is not that Hard to tell that Most Americans are Christian (Including the Government officials and the Founding Fathers).-In God We trust- One Nation Under God- and even in the Declaration of Independence a Divine figure is mentioned. In addition, democracy is a very Christian thing. Was it not Jesus that told us to Tolerate other religions? and was it not Jesus that said that "The Poor and Meek shall inherit the World"? In America, The poor have just as much a say as the Rich!. We can see a General trend in the type of Government in correlation with Religion as well.
Christianity/Judaism- Democracy (North America, Europe)
Islam- Monarchy (Middle East)
Paganism- Tribes (North American Indians)
Atheism- Dictatorship/ communist (China, N. Korea, previously U.S.S.R)

In addition, God himself said "There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." -Galatians 3:28
In Modern American Terms "Neither Black nor White, neither poor nor rich, neither Male or Female, for we are all equal under god and government".

From a Historical standpoint, it makes perfect since for America to be majority Christian with Christian values etched into it. Just as Rome had Pagan values (Violence, and conquest), Just as Nazi Germany had Anti-Religious values (Burned Bibles, synagogues, churches, and Jews), and just as Judaism tries to keep a pure blood-line, it is only logical that a nation will have lasting marks from it's beginning era. (An era which, mind you, had citizens who would attend church every Sunday and Monday, as it was socially unacceptable not to go to church).

In Conclusion, it is extremely likely that Christian values are similar to American values (As Christians fought for and founded this country), and that the Bible is infact an extremely fair and persuasive document that has stood the test of time, and has yet to be proven wrong.
Debate Round No. 1
Khaz

Con

First, we will examine different customs of Different Religions and compare them to the U.S.
Christian: Pagan: ... Dress appropriately- Head scarf's Dress with Mild Coverage (Christian)
Pro-Western Neither Pro-western Anti- Western Pro-Western

While many of these are sweeping generalizations, the only categories that are relevant to this debate are the US and Christian values sets.

In God We trust- One Nation Under God- and even in the Declaration of Independence a Divine figure is mentioned.

Most religions have gods. Theists without religion, like deists, also believe in a god. This does not mean that the founding fathers intended for this to refer specifically to the Christian God. And even if it did, that still doesn't show that any values (other than perhaps spirituality) are based in the Bible.

In addition, democracy is a very Christian thing.

This is the kind of thing I was looking for. Where in the Bible is a philosophy like democracy advocated? Do you have verses?

Was it not Jesus that told us to Tolerate other religions?

Firstly, this doesn't have much to do directly with democracy (in case you were saying that. If not, disregard this first point).

Secondly, for the sake of thoroughness, can I ask you to cite some verses wherein Jesus calls for toleration? I have no doubts that they're there, but like I said, thoroughness.

and was it not Jesus that said that "The Poor and Meek shall inherit the World"? In America, The poor have just as much a say as the Rich!

In my opinion, that sounds much less like advocating a particular government type and more like Jesus hammering home his point that Christianity is a religion for the masses. Indeed, this was a major pull in the early days of Christianity; promised the salvation of common people and presented itself as a religion for anyone.

"Rome is a very strict hierarchical system, in which the emperor is at the pinnacle, all the way up and then all the blessings in the world that come to people come down from above. The emperor is the conduit to the divine world. And if you're at the bottom of that social pyramid, not a whole lot of things are coming down to you anymore. Slavery slowly diminished, but continued to exist.

Now the Christian community, as we have it particularly in the letters of Paul, begins with a formula that is a baptismal formula, which says in Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek, neither male nor female, neither slave nor free. This is a sociological formula that defines a new community. Here is a community that invites you, which makes you an equal with all other members of that community. Which does not give you any disadvantages. On the contrary, it gives even the lowliest slave personal dignity and status."

(http://www.pbs.org...)

Jesus was definitely preaching a doctrine that was to be attractive to the common people at the bottom of the social hierarchy.

We can see a General trend in the type of Government in correlation with Religion as well.
Christianity/Judaism- Democracy (North America, Europe)

This is true, but the relevant question is whether this is because of something advocated in the Bible itself.

*

If I may try and narrow the focus of this discussion down a bit, I would like to shift the aim to a few key aspects of "American values". Namely, the Bill of Rights (and perhaps the Constitution as a whole), and the government form (constitution-based federal republic). I'm looking for passages in the Bible, or overarching themes, that back up the claim that it is the Bible that forms the basis for those laws and institutions.
Killerchicken12

Pro

First I would agree that there is no way to tell what God the founding fathers were referencing. But knowing the fact that most if not all Colonists were some sort of Christian, and most other religions had hardly been introduced, it is not hard to conclude that while our modern interpretation is any god, the founding fathers meant more specifically the only single God which their culture had known at this period. (Native Americans had Gods, but not a Single God).

Democracy is not founded directly from the bible, but from Christian attitude (Which is infact inspired by the bible). American Democracy has never been advocated or condemned by the Bible, and therefore is merely a representation of a more Fair and perfect Government. However, Democracy is not the Only American Value.

In essence, American values can be divided into three sub-categories. FAMILY-FAITH-FREEDOM
Freedom in the Form of Democracy cannot be backed biblically, but only by Christian habits. (if you need proof that this is a Christian habit, just look at a world map of Governments, and which is democratic. Christian Nations tend to me more Democratic than others).

However, the other two American Values can be easily backed by the Bible. Faith is essential to Most Americans, along with the Idea that No one can decide your faith for you, but you. This Value is constantly re-enforced in the Bible, as the teachings of Jesus clearly reflect that your opinion should not be forced on Someone else. The Bible also explains correct Family relations, and is very successful at enforcing good Household laws such as: "Do not disrespect your Parents".

As for Toleration, I would have to disagree with you. Being tolerate of others is an American value as well (Falls under both Faith and Freedom). You asked for some Bible quotes of tolerance so I will give them to you. If this confuses you due to the Old testament (Where God kills many people) to ease your Mind, I have found that God never has killed once for believing in another God. God has only killed for Sin so great that it cannot be repaired (Such as Sodom, where all the Men wanted to rape the other Male Travellers/Angels or such as Egypt, who enslaved the Israelites and treated them horribly).

Romans 14:1-4
As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

Acts 10:28
And he said to them, “You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a Jew to associate with or to visit anyone of another nation, but God has shown me that I should not call any person common or unclean."

Now, you ask whether the correlation of Christians to Democracy is related in the Bible. The answer is both yes and no. Without the Bible, there are no Christians. Jesus did not preach against or for Government, but for Righteousness. The Closest direct relationship their is are the references to what makes a good ruler in the Old testaments (Fair, listens to advisers,Listens to God, etc.). But I ask you, If it were not for the Morals and culture that the Bible instilled on it's people, would there be less Democracy? If the idea that "Every man was created Equal under God" had not come around, and perhaps Europe was still Pagan or Muslim (Which correlates with Monarchy), would we have as much democracy as we have today?

I would like to address your last "narrowing" of what you want. The Bible has never been a document telling us how to run a Democracy. It is a document separating Good from evil, and telling the story of how we came to be, and what we will become. Inside of this book are many morals that run completely in-tact with American Values (which is not only Law and Government), but there are some others that are quite indifferent with the idea of Democracy.

In the End, Christianity backs up two Key American values that hold everything together: Faith and Family. And though this book never said a Nation needed to be a Democracy, it implies that poor people should be helped by their neighbors, and other people's opinions should be considered. Americans should not rely on the Government for help, but their neighbors, and a Democracy naturally listens to other opinions. Though this type of Government is not mentioned in the Bible, it can be considered as an attempt to make a Nation peaceful, and Just (Two values that God Preached).
Debate Round No. 2
Khaz

Con

First I would agree that ... but not a Single God).

Arguably irrelevant to the topic at hand, so I won't pursue this discussion further.

Democracy is not founded directly from the bible, but from Christian attitude

How so? Is this "Christian attitude" based in the Bible?

Romans 13:1-2, in my opinion, seems to go against one of the key aspects of any representative government, and that's the ability to oppose the governing body. These two verses make it clear that God has set the rulers in power and opposition to them is opposition to God.

"Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which is from God. The authorities that exist have been appointed by God. Consequently, the one who resists authority is opposing what God has set in place, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves."

In essence, American values can be divided into three sub-categories. FAMILY-FAITH-FREEDOM

Is this saying that you don't want to discuss the Bill of Rights and Constitution as a part of "American Values"?

if you need proof that this is a Christian habit, just look at a world map of Governments, and which is democratic. Christian Nations tend to me more Democratic than others

Yes, Christianity has the most nominally Christian nations, but it's important to note when you say this that Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa are largely Christian as well [1]. Many of those countries aren't so good at practicing democratic traditions [2]. Many of the countries who see religion as the most important also have seemingly the most corrupt governments, and many of the countries with the highest percentages of public apathy toward religion have the least corruption in government [3]. May I suggest that perhaps religion and government type have little to no correlation?

*

I have no disagreement with you saying that the Bible stresses the importance of faith or family.

*
The Closest direct relationship their is are the references to what makes a good ruler in the Old testaments

Are there any verses for this? That would directly relate to the topic at hand.

But I ask you, If it were not for the Morals and ... democracy as we have today?

Nobody knows. Maybe in a world where Islam didn't have to contend with the power of Christendom, it would have been less adversarial. Maybe they would have gone through their own Enlightenment, as Christian societies did, and developed a form of more democratic and representative government. Perhaps Islam wouldn't have even existed without Christianity. We do not know what the world would be like without Christianity, and our knee-jerk "common sense" reaction that it would be more despotic can only be based on our own historical biases.

*

Again, I'd like to ask if we can make this discussion into something more concrete and discuss the connection between the Bible and such values as are given in the Bill of Rights and the rest of the Constitution.

Killerchicken12

Pro

I commend you on your Finding of Romans 13:1-2. A Very witty response to my quotes. However, this quote (made by Paul) was referring to Jerusalem (God's ordained Kingdom). God had direct contact with kings up until then, and we can trust God to be completely fair. This however, is not referring to the British Empire, as the British Empire was in direct violation of many laws that God laid out. From this quote out of Context, we could also argue that since the U.S. was at the time of rebellion, a Governing entity (Continental Congress), It was also God's will for Americans to submit to this new Governing Authority. This quote was Highly debated, and still remains extremely questionable as to it's true meaning, and if Paul even wrote it. Though, I believe the Gist of this quote is saying that a good Christian is also a good citizen (Not a citizen who follows whatever blindly).

In essence, American values can be divided into three sub-categories. FAMILY-FAITH-FREEDOM
Not at all! I am completely open to discuss these documents, as all of the laws expressed in the bill was rights fall under the three basic categories of Family-Faith and Freedom. I am merely stating that two out of three of these American "Value Categories" are strongly re-enforced by the Bible, and one by popular Christian trends and habits.

Government types and Religion have high correlation, though Religion should not be involved in creating a Government, the fact of the matter is that is was. The bible also says something about separation of Church and state. I am well-versed in the Bible (I am still reading the Qur'an, and Old Norse Sagas), but I have seen to have forgotten the exact location of this quote from Jesus:
"Give to Rome what is Rome's, and give to God what is God's".

You have presented many Christian countries that are not good democracies, but they are democracies nonetheless. As a Christian, I do not doubt their founder's intentions on creating a good democracy, but perhaps they turned sour due to geography, and poor leadership?

Than you have conceded that the American values of Faith and Family (as they are un-deny ably American Values) are rooted in the Bible. We have come to an understanding that some, at least a Good portion of American values are (Logically) rooted in the Bible.

You asked some quotes of what made a good leader in the Old testament. Here are some quotes from openbible.com:
Deuteronomy 17:15-18
1 Kings 8:54-61
Ezekiel 16:49
Matthew 22:17-21 (The quote about Jesus and Rome--in most versions it is "Caesar" and not Rome".)
Psalm 33:12
These are just a few of useful quotes to a Ruler. In addition, you can read about battles, troop numbers, and strategies in the Bible. In addition the Old testament talks about quarantining (before anyone knew about Germs, God told the Israelites to Quarantine sick people). If you would like to read more into this, I would suggest Psalms, as it is a Gold-mine of useful quotes.

You asked to put the argument to something more concrete, though American values have hardly ever been concrete, and only Faith-Family and Freedom are un-changing American values. In specific, you asked me to move to the bill of rights, which I will gladly discuss below:

1- The First amendment outlines the government (Being a Democracy) with a certain amount of Representatives and Delegates from each state. I would like to argue that this is comparable, or could be linked to the Constitutional Monarchy God set up for the Israelites in 1st Solomon, which Consisted of Elders, a King, and the Church, who all checked and balanced each other in a certain way. The Church nominated the King according to God's will, the King ruled over the Elders, and the Elders had a limited say in both Religious, and Kingly affairs. Pulling straight from my prior knowledge, I know that 1st Samuel 8:6 says: And the Lord told him: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you". This clearly suggests that a Good leader will listen to the people, and god even punished the Israelites for wanting a King instead of him. So God set up the "Constitutional Monarchy" like process described above.

2- This Bill basically says that all laws will be voted on. In the same book of 1st Samuel, did God not warn the Israelites of a King's tyranny?

3- The Third amendment grants us religious Freedom. This quote from the Bible states that since God is no longer ruling our nation as he did with Israel, we are not to judge others. That is God's Job.-- "Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God."--1 Corinthians 4:5

4- The Bible says Nothing of a "Militia" as being morally correct, though it does say that the Draft, or forcing citizens into the army is sinful. (I do not know the verse off the top of my head, but I can find it upon request).

5- This outlaws the quartering act. This is not mentioned in the Bible, but is no doubt not a particularly moral thing. Nevertheless, a good Christian should welcome soldiers with open arms unless the threaten your safety (or disobey the constitution in the case of a modern-day quartering act.).

6- This quote outlines your right to Privacy. The bible does not have much to say on this besides:
1 Thessalonians 4:11"And to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you,"

7- This deals with Persecution, and False accusation. The Bible gives the sense overall that persecution is a Sin, and even goes so far as to promise entrance to heaven for those who were persecuted on God's behalf. Their are not quotes telling us how the perfect Legal system should Operate, besides the General Gist that whatever it is, should be fair, and free of persecution.

8- Again, same as above.

9- This Bill talks about Lawsuits. The Bible offers Financial advice, and says "Do not Covet", but other than that, this Bill is irrelevant to both American values, and the bible.

10- This talks about Cruel and unusual punishments. God is one of Complete Justice. And though some punishments may be Just, God is also supportive of Second chances. (Jesus saves a Woman from Stoning and said "The one who is sinless may throw the first stone").

11- This just says that these rights cannot be denied. This had nothing to do with the Bible.

12- This is a very important American Value. This re-enforces the Rule of the People, but again, is not directly backed up by the Bible, but by hundreds of years of compiled Christian Habit and Ideas.
Debate Round No. 3
Khaz

Con

Khaz forfeited this round.
Killerchicken12

Pro

Killerchicken12 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
Khaz

Con

Khaz forfeited this round.
Killerchicken12

Pro

Killerchicken12 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
15 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by BeardBoulevard 1 year ago
BeardBoulevard
I don't know enough to debate this, but I think both the bible and America are about following something. However, the bible is about Jesus, and 'American Values' seem to be about dedicating yourself to your country.
Posted by vi_spex 1 year ago
vi_spex
on*
Posted by vi_spex 1 year ago
vi_spex
mos of unicorn droppings
Posted by Khaz 1 year ago
Khaz
Alright, fair enough.
Posted by KZC 1 year ago
KZC
This seems like a fun debate, but it isn't really a topic that I have a strong suit in. Plus, I do not want to stress myself with two other debates, volunteer, summer HW, and job. Thanks for the offer, though. I look forward to seeing how this debate works out.
Posted by Khaz 1 year ago
Khaz
@KZC, are you interested in accepting the debate?
Posted by KZC 1 year ago
KZC
The American Values are based on Christianity. The National Monument to the Forefathers in Plymouth speaks the history of American foundation. The statue has 1 statue in the middle and 4 around her. The statue in the middle is Faith and the other statues are Morality, Law, Education, and Liberty. Words and symbolism that commonly show up are peace, religious liberty, civil liberty, evangelist, prophet, the bible, and the ten commandments. Please look more closely at this statue, it is very interesting and not a lot of people know about this monument.
Posted by Ockham 1 year ago
Ockham
The United States Constitution and Declaration of Independence are based on Scottish common sense philosophy, not the Bible.
Posted by canis 1 year ago
canis
Yep..That is the gift...
Posted by Khaz 1 year ago
Khaz
That's for the contender to decide, as far as I care. Maybe if we want something concrete, go with the Bill of Rights?
No votes have been placed for this debate.