My Musings

Friday, January 18, 2008

Pluralism and the American Way Of Life

I assisted this week in about forty different funerals in Arlington National Cemetery. At each one, I stood about five feet away from the next of kin at the grave site. I watched mothers grieve the loss of their children. I saw brothers grieve the loss of their siblings. I saw children weep knowing that they will never see their parent again.

I particularly remember one such child. His shoulders shook uncontrollably. His face was covered in tears. His sobbing could be heard loudly, distinctly throughout the entire ceremony. He was about thirteen or fourteen years old and he was being forced to attend the funeral of his mother, a Staff Sergeant in the United States Army. He was just old enough to understand what was going on. He was obviously very torn emotionally.

It is always a joy, however, to hear the Chaplains step forward and share hope with these families. Most of the chaplains that I work with are protestant. One, in fact, is an Independent Baptist chaplain. With these, it is a joy to hear the comfort that they give as they present scripture pointing the family toward salvation that is only found in Christ.

Some, however, are not so comforting to me. I stand there at perfect ceremonial attention at some of the Catholic funerals being torn apart inside. I am trapped in a prison of ceremonial composure. The priest stands there and quotes his rituals, trying to lend hope to these families. The truth is, though, it is a false hope. Unless those people accepted Jesus Christ alone and apart from the church, the sacraments, their baptism, their good works, and everything else, then they did not taste of the salvation that God offered to them! They have no hope! They are being duped! They are being lied to! Satan has covered their eyes and is leading them down the broad road to destruction!

We live in such a pluralistic society, or a society where every religious view and belief is respected to be just as good and as plausible as every other view. Friends, this wicked, humanistic philosophy is destroying the fabric of the America that once was. In 1892, our national supreme court ruled unanimously in 'Church of the Holy Trinity v. The United States' that this was a Christian nation. They didn't even hint at the possibility of pluralism, atheism, or even a 'religious' nation. Nor were they bothered that they might be violating the now famous doctrine of 'Separation of Church and State.' They stated emphatically that "this is a Christian nation!"

Don't get me wrong. The American ideal has always included religious toleration. In fact, when Jacob Barsimson, the first Jewish American, stepped foot on American soil almost three hundred and fifty years ago, he was respected for his beliefs and given a fair chance in society. This is something that he could not find anywhere else. In fact, Israel was not even a nation at that time. This was the only nation in the world where he could participate in a free society.

America freely allowed for toleration but they did not change or throw out Christian influence in the public arena in order to avoid offending others. It was quite the opposite. Nearly one hundred percent of the Bible has been quoted in the United States Congress. In many states, it was required that a person present a clear salvation testimony in order to hold public office. This was the case in over half the states for a long time after the first amendment granted freedom of religion and nobody felt like it was in violation.

Our nations religious toleration (which has now been transformed into secular pluralism) should never cause us to lose sight of our mission on this earth. Our chief end in life should be that of convincing people of the truth. We must fight to spread the truth of God's Word throughout this land and throughout the world. Our faithful working toward the accomplishment of that mission is the only hope that many people on this earth may have.

Point to Ponder: What examples of pluralism have you seen in your life? What kind of situations have you found yourself in where you were forced to respect (or at least show respect to) a non-Biblical religious view? My example, of course, would be me standing at the position of attention having to listen to the Catholic ritual at the funerals.

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  • It is sad that the world thinks that all religions are equal. I once heard a friend say while out soul winning to a lost person who I believe they were Catholic "If your right and I'm wrong then I have nothing to lose by trusting Christ as my savior however if I'm right and your wrong then you have everything to lose." It was a way to get that person to think outside their religious training and they accepted Christ as their savior.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 10:43 AM  

  • Anonymous,

    Thanks for stopping by. I have heard that same line of reasoning used before when speaking to Atheists and Agnostics. You are absolutely right. They at least owe it to themselves to consider the reality of Christianity and a relationship with Christ.

    If they are right, then I have still lived a very wonderful life and have known joy and peace and happiness like nothing I knew before I lived for God. But if God's Word is right...

    Thank you for bringing up such a valid and thought provoking point.

    By Blogger Nicholas Z. Cardot, At 11:43 AM  

  • Nick: And if in the Republic of America, many still do not want to accept the "truth" of JC, what should their punishment be? Will non-Christians be discriminated against? While I would in a certain sense be more comfortable in a strongly Christian US, in terms of moral values, would I be forced to accept Christianity? Would there be any impediment to practicing my own religion? Is there any chance that I will be burnt at stake for being a "C-killer"?

    On my blog, you feigned offense at me saying that a Jew is taking a step down by becoming a Christian and yet you have no problem with saying that anyone who does not believe like you will burn forever in hell. That is truly repugnant (Judaism had no belief in eternal damnation but rather a temporary purgatory to pay off for our sins). I would never say (nor would any Jew) that all Christians are going to spend eternity in rivers of fire.

    Before Adolf Eichmann, may his name be accursed, was put to death, he was given access to a minister to confess to. After the meeting, the minister said that Eichmann accepted JC and was therefore forgiven and given a place in heaven. When asked about the 6 million, he said that since they died in disbelief, they are forever in hell. Is this justice? Do you believe in this?

    Also, I answered all of your questions. Please stop by again.

    By Blogger Bar Kochba, At 10:55 PM  

  • Bar,

    First, thank you very much for the great response that you gave to me over at your site. I really appreciate that. I love how you make your case.

    Second, in regard to your question as to how should non Christians be treated America let me make a few statements. I do not believe that non-Christians should be discriminated against. The problem isn't that they are discriminated against, but that we are now discriminated against. All I want is that Christians and Christian ideology not be banned from the public arena. That Christians not have to worry about offending people around them just for presenting their beliefs publicly.

    I guess what I am trying to say is that our society has transformed into one that discriminates against us and it used to be that America supported Christianity and allowed for the free expression of every religion.

    Third, in regard to Eichmann situation it is extremely sad what happened and I am very sorry for what happened.

    Explain to me why God chose to have the Israelites slaughter the Canaanites in the Old Testament. Was it fair for God to condemn all the men, woman, and children and chose to spare a woman who had lived the entirety of her life as a prostitute. Did she redeem herself in the eyes of God by repenting and spending a few minutes doing what was right? Were every single one of the women and children bad people deserving of slaughter and condemning by God?

    The scale is obviously different but in reality human tragedy is horrible regardless if it was 1,000,000 or 10,000,000.

    So you see your God seems to represent himself in terms of condemning and forgiving in the same way that my God does in terms of the scenario that you presented. Which is exactly why I believe that your God is the same God as my God.

    Again, thank you very much for the civility and for the great responses. So far, this has been extremely insightful for me and I have enjoyed the experience of this discussion very much. Thanks.

    By Blogger Nicholas Z. Cardot, At 11:37 PM  

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