Many people see Christianity as being about fear. I think non believers might come to this conclusion because Christians are quick to point out that God is not just about love but about justice as well. Fear is the opposite of what God is about because He wants to form a close connection with all His creation. This is especially true with us because we are made similar to Him in some ways.
God wants to motivate us out of love and He forgives us unconditionally but then He wants us to do good plus forgive others unconditionally as well. Having both love and justice be compatible is hard for us to understand in our society. Reconciling these two values only really works when you add mercy and forgiveness as an alternative to justice enforced by punishment.
Much of our society does not like the concept of enforcing justice at all and some like it too much. Mostly we like to pick on the individual who breaks laws that we seldom break. This way we can be for justice but not worry about being the object of the law’s wrath.
Christianity brings in radical equality in that all evil and all violation of law including our evil thoughts are considered bad enough to bring the greatest punishment. The flip side is that it is very easy to get out of if you can conquer your pride and accept God’s point of view on this. Ultimately God can be both merciful and enforce justice because He has taken the penalty for our evil on Himself.
Many are used to treating God like they would someone in a business exchange where you do some thing for God and then He does a favor for you. This is the pagan or pre-Christian model for dealing with the spiritual world. It is the same way politics and many people’s relationships work. It is a big part of Confucianism.
God doesn’t want to have this kind of interaction with us. He wants to be part of our family where we can be called children of God and Christ even says we are His friends because we are in on what His plan is for us. He is in a leadership position over us but it is not the typical one where it can become a power struggle or even abusive.
We know we do bad things and God knows even better on all the details, reasons, and results. God does not hate us for this but while God is merciful He is also perfectly good to the point that He cannot associate with any evil or person who sins. God made a bridge of Himself and suffered the curse of sin on His Son. Christ went to Hell Himself so that we wouldn’t have to go to the underworld or Hell after we die.
So the Christian solution to suffering is God using His Son’s death and resurrection, His Church, His Spirit living in Christians, and history itself to ease our sufferings. After we die we need not suffer anymore at all. The only thing stopping God from doing anything is His determination to only save people who want to be part of His plan.
This is why it is futile to have a nation that is governed by people to think it can successfully fool people into believing it is of the Christian God. The Christian system only works where Christians are all volunteers. God gives His forgiveness freely, because He has chosen to, and has already paid the price.
Trying to combine America together with Christianity is a hard combination to join together. The Church and Christ offer everything free and capitalism is based on the idea that nothing is free. Furthermore capitalism promotes the idea that we are never satisfied with what we have while Christianity is based on the idea that the only thing you need is God. America promotes the idea that Americans are more important than other people in the world whereas Christianity is for all regardless of birth, politics, geography, or even criminal status.
This twin ideology was useful to get the support of many conservative Americans. These citizens would provide the backbone of the Army, Intelligence, and opinion leaders in America during the Cold War. This was because they needed people with education and discipline which were areas the Church was historically a leader in. Also most our Cold War allies of any economic, military, or political value at the time where also predominantly the same culturally.
The Church was a natural opponent of Russia because the Church was persecuted in a more obvious way there at that time. Although the Church was strong both before and after the Soviet Union in Russia. And both those times had nothing to do with America or any of its ideology.
Over the years, the Church and academia have parted ways and so has the government felt less and less need to force the idea of America and Christianity together. But the idea that America thinks it is better than the rest of the world remains. This is because America has never been different fundamentally in its thinking than it is now.
America shows it continues to think it is better than the rest of the world. America continues to attack computer infrastructure around the world and on its own citizens and allies. The US continues military operations around the world when there is no war declared and it monitors of its own citizens when no warrants have been issued. We continue to use what we now call soft power to get the US what it wants that are difficult to document without access to classified information.
The US continues to favor legal immigration to the United States that is not fully based on legal record, persecution, or relative world population levels. The US continues to support many nations that support terrorism, torture, and war crimes when it denounces non allies for the same behavior. We still control all the world's sea lanes by armed force. Furthermore, the US is still trying to start another cold war or world war with China.
America has always been a country that chose economics over all else and believed that it was better than those who had the land or resources they wanted. This pride in America is why so many other countries hate us. If you claim to be different than the rest of the world and are not, people are going to bring that up over and over again.
Invariably some of the most evil and destructive forces in the world have been put at the center of our empire on purpose over the last hundred years or so. We are the product of the European Enlightenment which was the big force that drove most the major European attempts at utopia. They were all based on human solutions all of which resulted in various kinds of totalitarianism and greater suffering.
To argue that American liberals and conservatives are working for different aims or using different methods are just talking point used to divide American citizens. You cannot be better than the other powers and still be the dominant power. Power and morality are not compatible. Other powerful people want what you control and the one that wins is the one that is willing to do evil in order to do good. This is why politics itself is often incompatible with Christianity.
Today information of common ordinary people is now worth more than oil. America and the rest of its Empire and its businesses want people to be as careless, lazy, and uneducated as possible. This contributes to them not critically thinking about what they are doing or what the country is doing.
America’s world cares less and less if you love it because it knows you live in fear of nuclear annihilation, terrorism, or disease. Christianity is more of an obstacle today because it makes people less afraid of death and adds a competing loyalty for its citizens. Christians are starting to realize America is not predominantly Christian anymore and wasn’t most of its history either.
Instead of having to fight wars to divide people now it can do so by hacking businesses and infrastructure and manipulating media coverage and opinion leaders. You don’t actually have to fight real wars anymore because you can cause as much suffering and destruction with computers. If you control others minds you often control their souls as well.
The reality of the Internet has changed things so much that the appearance is as important as reality. This may change so that appearance is the same as reality in the near future. Those who realize what it going on are starting to live like cloak and dagger spies did 20 years ago.
There will be nothing hidden soon unless you have enough money to pay the blackmail and are vigilant enough to avoid all scams. The current value of information relative to the difficulty in acquiring it means that we are all of sufficient importance to be at risk. The information age has not just made information a commodity but the ability to automate hacking has made it realistic to hack everyone at once. This means that it is also profitable to go after everyone and everything in a meaningful way.
So in our desire to fight off totalitarianism we have in effect not only grown up the same capabilities and institutions to carry this out in America with the precision and effectiveness of the NAZIs, we have also exported these same technologies and business / government hybrids globally and locally. We have created a future that values information so much that we no longer value spiritual things.
Spiritual things are in direct conflict with a certain level of technology because too much available information leads to more sin as it fuels addictive behaviors. It gives the common person too much power and temptation. It also allows some people who understand how to use information against people almost unlimited power. Organized crime thrives because basically you are expanding their market into everyones living room. It also starves people of time and social skills so that people have less time for God or other people.
What makes things easier for government, businesses, and schools also makes things easier for hostile governments, criminals, and bored teenagers to cause problems for everyone. We have been democratizing the technologies and skills that typically were used by spies for the general public and we wonder why it is destabilizing.
The government, media, and educational institutions keep evangelizing these tools and how much we as a society need to master them. At the same time these same groups have failed to master them and society mastering them creates more problems for them and everyone else.
So what should America do? At this point we should unwind our journey into the information revolution and try an Amish or low technology approach. At this point there is no meaningful difference between America and the world. This will never happen as so many Americans cannot contemplate a world without indoor plumbing or electricity. Ultimately America is not fundamentally worse than every other empire, but it is not fundamentally better either. America likely is much more powerful though.
The only real options we have as individuals are the choices we make in our lives. We should stop being distracted and discouraged by following politics and major media platforms. We should focus on preparing for the inevitable collapse of the world system we created. We should learn as much as possible about how the technology works, prepare for disasters, and find peace with God. Also let this unwind peacefully because any violence will come back on our own heads and politically justifies further violence.
As an individual, I found the war on terror utterly devastating. We were in a decade of peace (in the 1990s) after suffering a very long state of war for America. Then we got brought back into a number of wars mostly in the same country when an entirely different country clearly caused the entire issue. And people continued to buy bigger and bigger cars while fewer and fewer sign up for the military.
It seems we win one war only to set up another one in the process. And so many people seem to care so little about even their own citizens. They think saying thank you for your service or a 10% off a major purchase is some sort of repayment. How about stop voting for wars?