Chp. 5: the Search for a worthy past in the early US (Positivity towards…
Chp. 5: the Search for a worthy past in the early US
Positivity towards Christianity
"The first half century of national life saw the development of evangelicalism as a kind of national religion (Noll et al 107)."
"Most American Christians considered their accomplishments (the founding father's) so dazzling that only the hand of Providence could explain them (Noll et al. 108)."
American Christians believed America was elect - special in God's eyes.
American Christians quickly began evangelizing, with the goal to "Christianize" America.
Negativity towards Christianity
"At the best the Founding Fathers only passively believed in organized Christianity and at worst they scorned and ridiculed it." - Gordon S. Wood
"So long as religion supported political harmony, few of them (founding fathers) were all that concerned with
a person believed (Noll et al. 107)."
Christians other than Caucasian Americans didn't "Fit the bill," which led to a fair amount of racism.
Other Ideas put forth
Why were Christians so positive towards such secular founding fathers?
They enjoyed unparalleled freedoms
Very high quality of life in early America
they wanted this Union to work - fear of failure led to positivity
America's Innocence in a Christian's eyes
The achievements of the Revolutionary generation seemed almost heroic, or even sacred
The Founding Fathers became "legends" very quickly (within two generations)
Myth blurred with fact, myths of Christian roots rather than roots of people seeking money and freedom.
Reflecting as a Christian Today
Look past the dogmas and absolutes, get to the facts, both good and bad.
Know both views of historical America: Golden America and dark oppressive America.