“If you have excess order, you still have order, but if you have excess liberty, you have chaos.” Will and Ariel Durant, The Lessons of History
In Taking America Back for God; Christian Nationalism in the United States authors Andrew Whitehead and Samuel Perry, with the use of “large scale quantitative data”, unfold the many dynamics of Christian Nationalism. By exploring multiple cultural areas, they come up with four categories of people when looking at Christian Nationalism. The first group are Rejecters; those who believe that politics and Christianity should never be connected. They do not believe the United States was founded on Christian principles. The second group are Resisters; those who are undecided about religious symbols in places but are opposed to the United States being declared a Christin nation. The third group are Accommodators; those who are usually the opposite of Resistors. They are undecided about the United States being called a Christian nation but believe Christian principles should be promoted. They lean toward the idea that the United States was founded on Christian principles. The final group would be Ambassadors, those who are completely supportive of Christian Nationalism believing Christian principles should be promoted and that the USA is a Christian nation.
One question that often arises in books on Christian Nationalism is whether or not the United States was founded on Christian beliefs. Historians and individuals stand on both side of this debate; each one with their historical support.167 years passed between the time the pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock (1620) and the ratification of the Constitution (1787). Is it possible that a great number of influences played a role in the writing of the Constitution and the 1st Amendment guaranteeing freedom of religion? There is little consensus on the beginning of the Enlightenment period. French historians would place the majority of the period between 1715 and 1789. One of the pivotable outcomes of the Enlightenment was the liberation of both scientific and philosophical thought from religion. With this liberation came the desire to restructure and eliminate the influence of old ideas. As a result, both Europe and America started to apply this mindset politically. The desire to confront the relationship between science, philosophy and theology led to many theological debates. Out of these debates came the concept of “rational belief” that held the view that all Christian truth needed to be factually proven.
The Enlightenment wasn’t the only influence removing religion from politics. There was a deeper broader religious influence that needs to be considered when looking at the writing of the 1st Amendment which prohibits Congress from establishing a single national religion or preventing one from exercising their faith. Martin Luther’s teaching on the “priesthood of all believers” – an idea that was central to the Reformation – brought with it the empowerment of the Individual Christian to interpret scripture. The “priesthood of all believers” not only gave the individual the right to interpret scripture but to raise questions about the church’s teaching, along with going directly before God in prayer without the assistance of a priest. Along with the influence of Martin Luther’s “priesthood of all believers” came the influence from the dissenting Protestant groups that immigrated to the early American colonies. Religious liberty, the assurance that all denominations had equal representation before the law, became the cry of the day. Born out of this mindset came a form of disestablishment created both by Protestant dissenters and the Enlightenment influenced thinkers that were founders of the American Constitution. Religious people pushed for the disestablishment of the state church concept and the assurance of equality for all religions. This factor along with a diverse immigration led to an acceptance of a pluralism of Christian denominations and other beliefs in early America. The 1st Amendment was most likely a product of many influences, but three key factors played a major role: the doctrine of secularization born out of the Enlightenment, reformed theology, and a young nation’s influx of religious pluralism.
I don’t recommend to viewing life through a single lens nor viewing history from that same lens. Is it possible that we are afraid to utilize multiple perspectives for fear of losing our own? Do other perspectives destroy our understanding of history thus destroying our present understanding of reality or does it have the ability to enrich our understanding? Should the influences on the founding of the United States alter one’s faith? Does the crux of American Christianity rely on the influences of the First Amendment? I am a true believer that nothing grows in a vacuum. The physics theory Horror Vacui; the idea that nature abhors a vacuum implies that according to the laws of nature any empty and unfilled spaces are unnatural and the universe seeks to fill all voids. A vacuum by definition is space devoid of matter. It so happens that there is a form of art also called Horror Vacui which is oriented around the fear of empty spaces. The intent is to fill up the entire canvas leaving no empty spaces behind. Empty spaces have a level of value. Perspective is often improved when space is left unfilled. Reading a book without margins, punctuation and spaces between words becomes an environment for misunderstanding. Can a lack of space around opinions create the same environment?
 Jonathan I. Israel. Enlightenment Contested: Philosophy, Modernity and the Emancipation of Man 1670 – 1752, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006), 6, Accessed March 14, 2020, ProQuest ebook Central.
 Nicholas P. Miller, The Religious Roots of the First Amendment: Dissenting Protestants and the Separation of Church and State (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012), 2.