Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Big Christianity

Christianity makes up 23% of the world population and is America's religion. The popular catch phrase is that America is a "Judeo-Christian" country, but many people misunderstand this term to mean that the country is both a Jewish and a Christian country, although it is not exactly clear how they define that. The Jewish population in America is 2-4%, not exactly what one would expect from a Jewish country.

Most people don't even consider the meaning of the term "Judeo-Christian," and generally just take it to mean that America is both a Jewish and a Christian country, referring to American religious tradition. But because Christianity itself is a religion "based" on Jewish values, the term "Judeo-Christian" really refers to the Christian religious tradition of America. In the same exact way, Islam is a religion based on Jewish and Christian values, but we cannot say that Muslim countries are "Judeo-Christian-Islamo" countries. For example, the first Americans set up churches, not synagogues.

In fact, the term "Judeo-Christian" doesn't even mean that America is a Christian country, for America is a secular country deeply influenced by Christian values and morals, which are deeply influenced by Jewish values and morals, which is why America is a "Judeo-Christian country." Therefore, a "Judeo-Christian" tradition absorbs and filters Jewish traditions, and the remnant is given the title at hand. If Jews and Christians both adhere to the Judeo-Christian tradition, then can it be said that there is no difference between Judaism and Christianity? Jews adhere to the Judeo tradition and Christians adhere to the Judeo-Christian tradition.

In terms of sheer numbers, America is a Christian country, and to appease the Christians who state that those who do not accept Jesus are not really Christians, America is a country of Christendom, for Rome and countless countries in Europe were also Christian countries, even if not everybody there went to Church every Sunday. Syria is a Muslim country and Israel is a Jewish country.

Furthermore, Christianity makes up America's consciousness. For many Americans of all walks of life, Christian theological concepts such as the Trinity and Jesus' death for sin, are inextracably associated with G-d. When your average unaffiliated Christian American talks about G-d, you better believe that the name "Jesus" will come out of their mouth soon enough. This makes me cringe because I don't believe that "G-d" and "Jesus" belong in the same sentence. Jewishly uneducated secular Jews will also speak about religion in terms of Christianity, and interestingly enough, their rejection of Christianity is made apparent by their disgust of the Judaism that they are talking about, Judaism through a Christian lens. Even atheists reject religion and agnostics are skeptical about it on Christian terms, they use Christianity as a negative symbol by which to express their beliefs in opposition to, although they are a bit more "pluralistic" in their viewpoints.

This is "Big Christianity."

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