The Instigator
Charliecdubs
Con (against)
Losing
5 Points
The Contender
subgenius
Pro (for)
Winning
9 Points

The United States is a Christian Nation

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
subgenius
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/8/2014 Category: Religion
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 683 times Debate No: 51921
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (3)
Votes (3)

 

Charliecdubs

Con

This has been claimed by just about every right-wing politician and FOX News commentator. Is this really a Christian nation? Didn't start out that way how do we think that now? What do you think?
subgenius

Pro

The United States is a Christian Nation.

The United States had Christianity as a dominant structure in the beginning.
The following is a brief list of "founding fathers" known to be Christian, provided as evidence that Christianity was an unavoidable influence in the conscience of people vital to the founding of the United States .
Patrick Henry was Virginia ’s governor, the largest, most important state when most political authority resided in the states. He was also instrumental behind the Bill of Rights.
John Jay became our first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
Roger Sherman helped draft the Declaration, led the pivotal compromise at the Constitutional Convention and was the only man to sign all four founding documents.
- this list would also includes John Hancock, John Witherspoon, Samuel Adams, and others.

"Of all the dispositions and habits, which lead to political prosperity, Religion and Morality are indispensable supports.” -George Washington's farewell address.

Historian Larry Schweikart notes, “The founding documents of every one of the original thirteen colonies reveal them to be awash in the concepts of Christianity and God.”

John Adams wrote, “The Revolution was effected before the War commenced. The Revolution was in the mind and hearts of the people: and change in their religious sentiments of their duties and obligations.”
Adams concluded freedom sprang because the “pulpits thundered!”

Paul Johnson echoed, “The Great Awakening was thus the proto-revolutionary event, the formative moment in American history, preceding the political drive for independence and making it possible.”


Benjamin Franklin rebuked the Constitutional Convention for neglecting prayer. He reminded that the delegates had prayed daily during the war and that God answered.
http://avalon.law.yale.edu...

It is an inescapable conclusion that the culture and beliefs of the founding fathers for the United States were predominantly Christian. This Christianity would have permeated there thoughts and deeds and likewise their intentions when laying the foundation for the United States.


Christianity is inherently assumed and implicitly present in The Constitution of the United States.
It becomes apparent when one reads the Constitutional delegate discussions about the first amendment that the founding fathers were discussing Protestant religions (Christianity) and that no single Christian denomination should prevail, but Christianity being present nonetheless.
(Annals of Congress, 1789) http://memory.loc.gov... Num=221

George Mason had actually proposed the following words as the text for the 1st amendment:
"All men have an equal, natural and unalienable right to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience; and that no particular sect or society of Christians ought to be favored or established by law in preference to others" (Rowland, Kate (1892), The Life of George Mason (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons))

So, obviously the presence of Christianity was being assumed, but sensibly after the oppression of the Anglican Church they were cautious about any particular denomination of Christianity being in power. This is a far different situation than the absence of religion, and more specifically the absence of Christianity.

Article I, Section 7 of the Constitution: “If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within ten Days (Sundays excepted)..." http://www.archives.gov...

WAIT A SECOND!

Sundays excepted??? wha??...why would Sundays be excepted?...Government is shut down on Sundays? (spoiler alert Jewish Sabbath is Saturday).
The idea that the United States government is not "open" on Sundays is a blatant reference to the Christian tradition of Sunday being the Sabbath day.

and then we read further in the Constitution...towards the end...
"Done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the States present the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven and of the Independence of the United States of America the Twelfth...."
Did I just read the words "in the year of our Lord"?....oh my.
The intentional omission of using the secular year notations of C.E. or B.C.E. speaks to the fact that their intentions were not simply to avoid Christianity..in fact the use of the word "Lord" in that manner is a specific reference to Christianity.

Clearly the evidence, reasoning, and logical conclusions lead to the affirmation that the United States is a Christian Nation because its founding fathers were Christian, its founding principles are Christian, and even today with 78.4% of the population being Christian (http://religions.pewforum.org...) this affirmation is glaring and unavoidable.

Debate Round No. 1
Charliecdubs

Con

To start I have to make the point all your quotes were useless to your argument as they only show that much of the population was christian and that they, along with all other beliefs, had freedom of religion. You have also failed to mention that the founding fathers were either deists or atheists so Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, Adams, Paine and others had no religion other than deism and all had fairly harsh things to say about religion, particularly Christianity. Also keep in mind the proposition by Mason was only a proposition, it did not stay there did it now? The First Amendment clearly establishes the United States as a Secular State i.e freedom of religion, no favor for or against Christianity. Also keep in mind that for some reason it is not unconstitutional to tax churches, temples etc it just has never been done, wonder why? But perhaps that is pointless, nothing you have said or brought up showed that this state, The United States, was founded as a Christian Nation. Keep in mind a State (like the U.S) is different from a Nation (like the Kurds). And there is absolutely nothing hinting that this is a country founded on the beliefs of any particular religion the only time a god is mentioned is as the founders saw it, a deity who made everything a certain way then left it alone, Deism. Also keep in mind many of Washington's positive statements about Christianity actually did no come from him and have been found to be fakes a Christian thought must be true (article below). How do you get a Christian Nation from a state whose founders explicitly said it wasn't one, whose constitution is secular and whose founders demonized religion. I am sorry if I sound rude but you do not have anything to stand on as of now. All resources are below please view if you do not I am not responsible for fallacies you may make later.

http://www.addictinginfo.org...
http://www.law.cornell.edu...
http://thehumanist.com...
subgenius

Pro

"To start I have to make the point all your quotes were useless to your argument as they only show that much of the population was Christian and that they, along with all other beliefs, had freedom of religion. "

Actually, my argument refutes your assertion here. While it is true that the majority population of early USA was Christian, my argument clearly illustrates that the founding fathers had a Christian intent with their design of the nation - this intent being shown in the critical documents such as the Constitution and in various conversations that were specifically on the topic of creating this Nation.

"You have also failed to mention that the founding fathers were either deists or atheists so Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, Adams, Paine and others had no religion other than deism and all had fairly harsh things to say about religion, particularly Christianity. "

You are incorrect. First I have already provided evidence that confirms that the overwhelming majority of founding fathers were Christian. Second, Deism does not exclude Christianity, in fact with regards to the founding fathers it is simply Christianity, they simply felt they were returning to a "purer" form of Christianity - take for example Jefferson, he supported spreading Christianity to the native Americans and had his own famous version of the Bible.
http://en.wikipedia.org...
http://digital.library.okstate.edu...

Clearly, your argument is unaware of what "Deism" meant as it applies to our founding fathers, because it is synonymous with Christianity.

"Also keep in mind that for some reason it is not unconstitutional to tax churches, temples etc it just has never been done, wonder why?"

I don't wonder why, its because we are a Christian Nation.
And yes, as Nation is distinct from "State" we have already agreed that the dominant culture of this State is Christianity, a fact that is true today (as I cited above) as it was in the 18th century and before (which is cited above); and note that your agreement of this fact is apparent in your quote "much of the population was Christian". So, I have provided the argument and evidence that concludes that both our Nation and our State had a Christian foundation and maintain that foundation today. While religious tolerance is present in our culture that does not negate the notion that we are Christian - we are just tolerant Christians.

"Washington's positive statements about Christianity actually did no come from him and have been found to be fakes..."
The citation from Washington's farewell address is not considered fake by your source or any other sources. Any other alleged quotations were not a part of my argument.

"How do you get a Christian Nation from a state whose founders explicitly said it wasn't one..."

They did not say this and you have not reputable reference to support that "they" did.

"whose constitution is secular"

It has already been demonstrated above that it is not secular. Secular documents do not contain positive and affirming references to God, the Sabbath, prayer, and the Lord. Even the Declaration of Independence depends on a self-evident truth that "God" exists, and in the context of what religion the founding fathers practiced, this was a Christian God.

"founders demonized religion"

This is simply an untrue statement, and again without any supporting evidence or reason.

"I am not responsible for fallacies you may make later"

I agree, you are clearly only responsible for the fallacies you are making.
Debate Round No. 2
Charliecdubs

Con

I'm not sure what to tell you. You must not have read any quotes that I put up via link. All these men explicitly said they were not Christians and Deism is not Christianity what are you talking about? They all also had some negative thing to say about Christianity which again are in the quotes (all 35 of them). They obviously had no intent on making this a Christian Nation. Also when I said I wonder why it was not unconstitutional to tax a church I meant I wonder why Christians would allow that? Also Why did Jefferson make it so clear in his own words there is a wall between church and state? And yes Jefferson did write a Bible, it excluded all of Jesus' miracles and claims to divinity and removed Jesus' slavery statements (which were pro-slavery). His idea of Jesus was an anti-rich guy who was not in anyway the son of a god. I mean the guy said "Christianity is the most perverted system ever shone on man". Paine said "The Christian system of religion is an outrage on common sense". Franklin said "Light houses are more useful than churches" and John Adam said this when he was president "The government of the United States Of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion". But again this was all in the quotes and you said I am committing a fallacy? As in What? And also lets not forget that the 1st Amendment (which I also gave you) clearly lays down freedom of religion i.e secular and in no way hints that the U.S is a Christian nation. I mean lets get real about the founding fathers. We are talking about men who had high levels of education, hung out in France, had extremely promiscuous relationships (Franklin in particular) and all thought religion was crazy and science was the way to figure things out (Franklin big on science). I mean in their own words (that I gave you) their overall opinion of religion was poor, in particular Christianity.

It seems you are simply desperate to have the motion be true so you have scraped the bottom of the barrel then accused me of doing something I did not do and twisted my words rather than present evidence to the contrary where as I brought evidence that clearly disproved yours. I would ask people vote according to the evidence here.

Lets just go over the facts one more time
1. All the founders mentioned here, Jefferson, Washington, Paine, Franklin, Adams and other important figures at the founding were deists or atheists and had a bad opinion of religion, especially Christianity.
2. The constitution lays out the rules for a secular country, 1st amendment here.
3. All this was confirmed by my cited sources which are then cited on those

If this doesn't make it clear to those voting that the U.S is not a Christian nation, what more do you need?
subgenius

Pro

"I'm not sure what to tell you. You must not have read any quotes that I put up via link. All these men explicitly said they were not Christians..."

Below is one of those "anti-Christian" and "explicit" quotes from your links, and it is indicative of almost every quote (unverified quotes I might add - a point you raised earlier, which was that many quotes from the founding fathers were fake, but obviously you intended that whatever quotes disagree with your position must be fake).

"We have abundant reason to rejoice that in this Land the light of truth and reason has triumphed over the power of bigotry and superstition… In this enlightened Age and in this Land of equal liberty it is our boast, that a man’s religious tenets will not forfeit the protection of the Laws, nor deprive him of the right of attaining and holding the highest Offices that are known in the United States.”

~Founding Father George Washington, letter to the members of the New Church in Baltimore, January 27, 1793

Clearly any one reading this quote would agree that there is nothing explicitly ant-Christiann in this quote. As was noted earlier, Deism is a purer form of Christianity as was practiced by the founding fathers - contrary to your erroneous assumptions, the founding fathers actually believed that science and reason further validated their Christian beliefs. This is epitomized by the Jefferson Bible (referenced above).
Even your own evidence disagrees with you.

"...Deism is not Christianity what are you talking about? "
Aside from the obvious Christian affirmations noted previously, I will provide a more obvious definition of "Deism"
http://dictionary.reference.com...

de-ism (noun)
1.belief in the existence of a God on the evidence of reason and nature only, with rejection of supernatural revelation

So, clearly these "deists" believed in God...but which God? Obviously not the Muslim God, not the Hindu God(s), and nor was this God some facsimile of a frog. This is obviously the Christian God, further supported by Washington using the term "Providence" over 270 times in his writings. Even his granddaughter tells of how he partook of Christian sacrament with his wife prior to the revolution.
http://www.ushistory.org...

It is also well documented that as Washington was a child he attended Christian services and received typical Christian teaching...so...his conception of God was founded on the Christian God.

"If this doesn't make it clear to those voting that the U.S is not a Christian nation, what more do you need?"
actual facts would be nice, or at least verifiable or reputable citations.
Your position that myself or every reader of this debate should "Google" the answer is interesting but it does not merit a debatable position. Furthermore, the facts clearly reveal that the United States was founded as a "State" on Christian principles, refined through the early colonial experiences of an oppressive Anglican church, great awakening, and the revolution. All of these events did not corrode the founding fathers' Christian beliefs but merely refined them; and in accordance with deism it purified Christianity into a form that they hoped would shape and inform a great Nation....and that is exactly what happened....this Nation nurtured the seed of faith planted by our founding fathers as noted in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. Christian principles that still guide our Nation today are strewn throughout these great documents as I humbly illustrated above.
So, while we are tolerant and welcoming that tolerance and welcome is a Christian one and as noted above 78% of Americans today are Christian and that is what is truly "clear".
Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by Sfaulkner 2 years ago
Sfaulkner
"Christianity neither is, nor ever was part of the common law" -Thomas Jefferson. If our founding fathers said that this nation was created in the name of Christianity then we are not a Christian nation.
Posted by patrick967 2 years ago
patrick967
As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,"as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen [Muslims],"and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan [Mohammedan] nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.
-http://en.wikipedia.org...
The United States may have Christianity present in the Constitution, but that doesn't mean it's a Christian nation. Ignorance will not prevail in the end.
Posted by JamesChance 2 years ago
JamesChance
Some of you give too much credit to quoting a Bible verse and grammar for winning a debate...please! lol
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by Dan4reason 2 years ago
Dan4reason
CharliecdubssubgeniusTied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Con did not have very good handwriting. Also, pro had the better arguments and did not get rebutted very well.
Vote Placed by gabbsmcswaggin 2 years ago
gabbsmcswaggin
CharliecdubssubgeniusTied
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Total points awarded:31 
Reasons for voting decision: neither cases were argued effectively, but pro had better grammer and con had better sources
Vote Placed by BananaPhilosopher 2 years ago
BananaPhilosopher
CharliecdubssubgeniusTied
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Total points awarded:24 
Reasons for voting decision: I agree with con's position, but Pro argued his point far more thoroughly and effectively. Grammar obviously has to go to pro, because con failed to use commas correctly (or at all) at least 70% of the time. Con should have attacked pro's sources. It would have won him this debate. Still, a fun read. Good job to both.