The term “Judeo-Christian Values” is bandied about a lot in public discourse. Yes it dropped off a little after Rick “I want to use the government to institute a theocracy” Santorum dropped out* last year but it seems to be making a comeback.
So I have to ask, again, what are Judeo-Christian values? How are they important to politics? And how do they differ from other religions?
Now maybe it’s just as a non-Christian I’m not getting something that you understand as someone who practices this religion.
Now it’s not that I don’t understand the obvious differences between Christianity or Judaism and other religions. But I don’t see how the differences I do know about have any effect on government. The truth and virtue of capitalism and democratic-Republics are just as true whether you believe in the Trinity/Yaweh, or Braham and Shiva. The saving power of grace in most of Christianity has little to do with politics, as far as I can see it. And just because one tribe of people has a very particular contract with God, it doesn’t negate the importance of the rule of law for everyone else. The differences I can think of don’t have any effect on politics. And I see the hand of Providence in the creation of this nation, but the hand of Providence can be seen in event that aren’t specifically Judeo-Christian in nature, so that doesn’t necessarily give precedence to only that belief system. What am I missing?
And the values that do have an effect on politics—the value of the human soul, which leads to the rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of Happiness; the condemnation of violence, hatred, envy, hypocrisy; the praising of personal charity, honesty, compassion, hard work and a connection with something greater than yourself—are not the specific territory of Judeo-Christianity. You find them Hinduism, in Zoroasterism, in Taoism, in Buddhism, in ancient Pagan beliefs, in Baha’i and Sikh beliefs, and in modern day New Age beliefs. The values, which then become the backbone of our legal systems are in all religions. So why just Judeo-Christianity? I understand that each of these belief systems place a different ordering on the priority of these virtues and values, but there are so many variations just within the scheme of Judeo-Christianity itself to make that an issue.
Heck even when Paul Ryan refers to Judeo-Christianity he does something very interesting:
It’s a dangerous path, it’s a path that grows government, restricts freedom and liberty, and compromises those values, those Judeo-Christian, Western-civilization values that made us such a great and exceptional nation in the first place.
He pairs Judeo-Christianity with Western-civilization, with the idea that is unique to the west of the democratic-Republic (a pagan creation by the pagan populations of Athens and Rome) that demands:
Our rights come from nature and God, not government.
(And while these ideas first thrived under predominantly Christian nations of the West, Ryan seems to be acknowledging the pagan Athenian/Roman importance by pairing the two.)
And it seems a little sweeping since while all the Founding Fathers would admit that the Bible contained what they saw as the best expression of ethics they could find, Adams, Jefferson and Franklin denied the divinity of Christ, and Freemason Washington’s beliefs on religion are probably a little more complex than just saying “Judeo-Christian values.”
Now I get that using this phrase may be to separate themselves it’s not the Religion of Peace (which very clearly endorses theocratic fascism) or atheism (both of which deny the divinity of human life)…oh sure atheists say they value human life under their philosophy of secular humanism, but atheism denies any metaphysical reason for human life to have value…so basically it’s them telling me I should just take it on “faith” that human life has value…which rings a little hollow. But as I pointed out before the phrase also separates you from a lot of religions that do share these ethical values.
So which values am I missing that has an effect on our political structures, rules, and laws that separate Judeo-Christianity from the values of most the other religions on Earth? I’m not denying the importance of the relationship a person has with God, or that spiritual beliefs were important in the founding of this nation and is continuance today. I just want to know if there is a value you think exists in the Judeo-Christian tradition that is necessary for the continuance of this nation that is specific only to the the Judeo-Christian tradition.
And I ask all of this, not because I just want to insult people, but because I have a second argument about this term and how it may be hurting us politically, but I first need to know if there is something about this term that I don’t understand coming from an outsider’s perspective.
*And don’t you dare to try and defend that man as a conservative. If you look at his record he never met a tax, a regulation, or bribe he didn’t like.