Sunday, February 05, 2006

Bellah Comments; very utopian

Bellah has a very convincing article going until he makes his own suggestions for the future. I believe he captures the idea of a civil religion excellently and even labels what civil religion means and has meant as an American nation. I agree that God has had a presence in our nation as a rallying cry as well as justification for certain goals and decisions. I feel, however, that this presence of God was a passive label. Using God in ways such as "one nation under God" is a method to placing fear in the citizens, to defent the nations leaders decisions and actions. That our nation is placed forth under the direct supervision of God and will operate through God's given will, is less than likely. The reason we use the term God is as a defense mechanism. Bellah touches on this when he speaks of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address; that the men died honorably is a sacrifice, and Lincoln was a martyr. All seemed to work out to God's divine plan. The same can be said for the American Revolution. The same can be currently said for our war in Iraq and our powerful position on the world. But I feel that using God to justify everything is a label, and not the real motive behind our actions. God is the shield, but human nature is the weaponry. Concepts of greed, power, envy and righteousness propel our national decisions. To say it is part of God's will seems almost, I don't know, anti-religious. It defeats the whole purpose of what an all-encompassing loving God would ultimately want, which is unity, understanding and love.

I am getting a bit off topic now, so back to my main point, that Bellah's closing statements are utopian. Hopefully, I have interpreted his conclusion correctly, in that he says he would like to see a civil union of the world, and America should be the example to which it is made. To say that American civil religion should be the basis of a new civil religion of the world would be saying that our nation is best, and follow our lead and join our paths and goals. Good luck with that. Also, this would be saying that God favors the American way ahead of any other way. Why would God favor anyone? And who's to say any other nations would adopt our way of thinking? This would work in a utopian society, where human nature aspects of greed, power, envy and righteousness do not exist. But definitely would not happen in the world we live in today

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