One Nation Under Epicurus

This is a guest post by Sam Riviera. He spends most of his time and energy caring for others in his community so that through his life and actions they might see Jesus. He has also written “14 Reasons I Never Returned to the Institutional Church.

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EpicurusThose of us Christians who live in the USA often pride ourselves in our “Christian” form of government, and believe that our Constitution and indeed many of our laws are based on Christian principles. Some of us believe that our laws should reflect the teachings of the Bible, or what we suppose the teachings of the Bible to be.

Therefore we conclude that our “Christian” duty includes voting for politicians who will enact such laws, and when given the opportunity, we must support and vote for those laws.

Over two thousand two hundred years ago the philosopher Epicurus proposed that the gods, if they actually exist, do not concern themselves with humans and what they do. As N. T. Wright suggests in his most recent book, How God Became King, “…As a result, the world we know grows, changes, and develops under its own steam, as it were from within… Apply this to political science and you get democracy: society ordering itself according to its own internal wishes and whims, fears and fancies” (p. 35).

Is America a Christian Nation?

The foremost question before us therefore is this: Is our society indeed “a Christian nation,” based on the principles of Scripture, or a society that has ordered itself according to its own wishes, which only gives a passing nod to Scripture and to God? Are we one nation under God?

Who is our king? Is it God, or our system — a system which functions according to our wishes and whims?

When we support or oppose certain candidates and issues, do we do it because we suppose we are supporting “God’s agenda” (as we may be told by political parties, politicians and even religious leaders), or are we actually supporting one political agenda over another? Do our politicians attempt to bring about a “Christian society” through their actions and the laws they enact, or do they only pretend to do so to get the votes and support of the “Christian” segment of the population?

When we seek to order ourselves and our society, is God really our king? Have we not made ourselves king and supposed that we can solve our problems with our system of government?

Have we succeeded in legislating “God’s law,” or even achieved a society based on religious principles?

Is our system indeed Christian, or more likely modeled on the philosophy of Epicurus, who few, if any, would describe as religious?

I look forward to interacting with you on these questions in the comments below.

For those reading this who would like to comment, please refrain from praising or bashing any specific political party, political figure or political issue. Let us think about whether our political system is based on the Bible, as some of us have been led to believe, or on a philosophy where God is largely absent.

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