What really makes a nation "Christian"

I’ve recently been hypothesizing over an idea I’ve been having about western culture and what really makes a nation Christian.

The reason for having these ideas is because being a native Canadian, I’ve always considered the USA to be more Christian than Canada as well as some of the other european countries (scandinavia in particular). I am currently living abroad (in sweden) where they consider themselves to be largely atheist, and would certainly consider themselves much more atheist than Americans.

However, I’ve come to see recently that in fact things in reality appear to be the other way around. Swedes consider themselves largely atheist on account of the fact that they have no issues with women’s rights, gay rights, etc, etc and believe strongly in equality. In addition they believe strongly in socialism and democracy.

The Americans have clung rather strongly to anti-gay sentiment and other absurd Christian doctrine. But taking a closer look I begin to see the typical republican/conservative viewpoint as some sort of inverted Christian thought where atheistic politics and economics are actually in the foreground (open markets) and the Christian overtones to be merely ignorant holdings over from an old history. Americans believe much less in the helping of their fellow man and believe much more strongly in a man paying his own way. Not to mention the original structure of their republic being the separation of church and state.

Sweden, on the other side allows for the dissolution of old, unimportant religious values such as no sex before marriage, no inter-gender relationships, etc but the state and culture of the people is heavy on the helping of the all for the benefit of the all. In reality though it comes quickly down to propping up the weak and holding back (and stealing from) the strong in the form of heavy taxes, increased bureaucracy and increased rules on what a person in this society is allowed to do. Very much against the philosophy of Ayn Rand, for example.

With the socialistic preference in this society, and its democratic traditions I now see them as the true Christians, not the Americans, despite the Americans being more likely to be hardcore fundamentalists.

From a nietzschean perspective I would find Sweden, and a large part of europe in general to be closer to the definition of the herd, with the state acting as the shepherd. Anyone coming from a viewpoint of anti-socialism (and to a deeper and more important extent, democratic) is considered here to be dangerous, brain-washed, stupid, or something to be feared. Though often feared with curiosity, I might add.

What do others think about this? In retrospect this all seems rather obvious, but at first the cultural belief in this country had led me to believe that they were atheists like they said they were. But it is becoming clear that just because you don’t call yourself a Christian, doesn’t actually make it true. The separation of church and state in a democratic culture is in the word only. The actual culture and thought process of the culture shows a completely different story.

Having considered this, how is western man to rid himself of this past completely (should we decide we want to). It appears to me that under the vision of democracy we are in for an uphill battle if the masses are to decide the outcome of political, economic and cultural evolution. We can rid ourselves of the no-longer needed Christian fluff, but what of the actual important fundamentals? It almost even seems immaterial to bother attacking socialism itself, which appears to me to really just be a subset of the real problem of democracy.

What makes a nation Christian is not being formally Christian… To be a formally Christian country means we are not Christian, but formal, as was Judea in the practice of a faith…We love the form, but not the substance of Christianity…It is pointless, and without teeth…As Nietzsche said in another context: Who do they deny???They deny to goverment the power to act as a Christian in all of our names; and it cannot and will not give up all for the Christian moral, so what is it they love if not the form of the faith, and not the object of the faith???

A Christian is one who has been saved by God and has the holy spirit in his or her heart. For there to be a Christian nation we would have know that every citizen in said nation has been born again. It is impossible to know this with any certainty, therefore it’s pointless to coin a nation “Christian,” even if the majority of the citizens claim to be Christian, nation is found on Christian principles etc.

The relationship is all that matters, God does not care about foolish titles and political dogmas that come along with coining a nation Christian, nor do we need to defend God from differing politcal and moral views by claiming our Christian nation. While many politicans may have had good intentions, and no doubt many have not, the term “Christian nation” is used to defend political and moral positions via laws. God’s concern is with the individual upholding his laws in heart and in practice, not the government.

Would your dog mind if I gave him a human sacrifice???

Don’t think about the bigger picture, just think about your individual self? A nation, like a person, is either absolutely Christian or not Christian? I love getting hardcore Christians on here, I treat them with the same curiosity as the Swedes, but I consistently don’t get the impression that they want to hear/listen to anyone except their God/other Christians, just speak.

Your post has a valid point, Hagbard. American christianity is generally more old testament conservativism in practice (despite superficial professions of Jesus-inspired Christianity because they just want to be saved) and Swedish attitudes are more liberal new-testament-Christian in comparison (despite professions of lack of Jesus inspired Christianity). I see American Christianity as a tool to unite the poor who the rich of the country steal from and push away, despite ‘giving charity’ as though it was compensation for this. As a result they have a more aggressive unquestioning machine of a country to suit the rich. Sweden is much more benign but consists of many more worldly free thinkers but this independence and equality turns them more into ‘Last Men’ than herd. The American poor are the herd, shepherded by the rich of their country. I’m sure Guardian is a member of this herd and will therefore not have anything more to say than what he said before because his concern has been moulded into that of the afterlife, not of his worldly exploitedness - Christianity can be a powerful tool.

However, I would encourage you to not think in terms of who or what people are more Christian because this makes you just as Christian in terms of the values you think within. You mentioned Nietzsche in your post, he talked of Christian values staying behind within the prejudices of philosophers who preceded him, even if they didn’t claim to be Christian. This restricted their thinking and this is what Nietzsche was criticising. He encouraged thinking in terms of your own new values, for example physiological health. This destroys idols that may really just be falling over to crush you. He recognised that he didn’t want his teachings to be idolised either, so it’s up to you to think outside boxes and make your own mind up.

You can keep kids from picking their noses easier than you can keep Christians out of philosophy, but those given to belief are ill suited for thought…