Thursday, October 18, 2012

“Judeo-Christian” Values?

I have often heard from Christian conservatives that our country was founded on Judeo-Christian values.  I have often wondered what that really means, as they are never quite specific beyond that statement, as if we are just simply supposed to know what it means and accept it.

While it is true that the majority of the Founding Fathers (and when I say Founding Fathers, I mean the men who drafted the United States Constitution) were Christians and their ideas and beliefs were deeply rooted in Christian morals and beliefs, it seems that the current group of Christian conservatives put way too much stake in this.  More than likely, most Christian conservatives invoke the Judeo-Christian value line because they want some form of soft-theocracy implemented in the nation.

As far as I can tell, there is no concrete definition of what Judeo-Christian values are in a modern context.  At best, I think the Ten Commandments are the most descriptive of such values, but even then not everyone coherently adheres to it.  If anything, Christians in the United States are the worst examples of adulterers, liars, thieves, and murderers.  After all, around 82% of Americans consider themselves to be Christian and I do not believe that it is only the pagans and the non-believers who are committing all the crimes.  Of course, Christians will use the fallacious “no-true Scotsmen” argument in order to deflect attention away from these “bad examples”.

As a Christian myself, I do not take responsibility for the actions of other Christians because I am not them.  I do not apologize for the wrongs wrought on others by people in the name of Christ.  If the Bible is right about anything it is that those who use Jesus as an excuse to do evil do not have a healthy afterlife to look forward to.

Back to the point, though, I think that this claim to Judeo-Christian values is just men and women grasping at straws in order to justify making religion part of government.  I will grant that mainstream religious beliefs in the United States have been, by and large, censored or ignored in the mainstream media and most of often they are mocked or insulted in mainstream entertainment media (or what passes for it these days).  Christians in the United States, by and large, are ashamed of what they are and so such things tend not to bother them.

However, whenever I hear someone point to Judeo-Christian values, it seems to me that the speaker is usually pushing for a theocracy of some kind.  In terms of law, what more could you possibly want?  Everything that can be considered a crime under Judeo-Christian values is already illegal, along with so many other things do not fall under that spectrum of values.  Heck, even non-Christian nations consider sins like murder, envy, lying, adultery, and oath-breaking to be evil.  I hardly think that those things are exclusively “Judeo-Christian”.

I think it is best if we just look at Christian values as simply following the two greatest commandments, as first taught by Moses (I think) and re-emphasized by Jesus: first, to love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all might, and with all your soul and secondly to love your neighbor (i.e.. all other people) as yourself.

For those who have little regard for God, the least you can do is to love others as you love yourself.  Indeed, it is probably the first expression of the non-aggression principle, as loving another human being means not taking actions against them without their consent.  Surely, if you truly loved another person, you would not treat them in a manner that you would want to be treated.

I think that is a better version of morals than some vague allusion to Judeo-Christian values, don’t you?