Exploring the Social Imagination

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Post Christian Social Imagination in America???

Is there a post-Christian social imagination in America? That's a good question. Was there ever a Christian social imagination? That's also a good question. Yes, some like to think so and we can check to find out that many European people who came to the 'new world' came with their socio-cultural heritage that of a Judeo-Christian world view.

The earliest of them came seeking religious freedom and certainly they thought of themselves as Christians. If you check the religious affiliations of the signers of the either the Constitution, or the Declaration of Independence, you will see that quite a few of them were Christians or claimed to be.

I told my students that there is nothing new under the sun and man cannot imagine something to be true unless he/she has seen it already at work among others or in nature; especially with regards to migration and adaptation. We cannot imagine something from nothing... ideas just don't pop up out of the thin air... at least not in the social imagination in which we all live including all scientists of soft sciences and even math/physics.

We were not taught this tid bit of history but its historically correct which is that the framers of our Constitution took sound information regarding social contract from the Iroquois 'Six' Nations alliance. Ultimately, the United States Constitution came together, in one remarkable document, ideas from many people and several existing documents, including the Articles of Confederation and Declaration of Independence. Its commonly taught that those who made the most significant intellectual contributions to the Constitution are called the "Founding Fathers" of our country.

Many of the United States Founding Fathers were at the Constitutional Convention, where the Constitution was hammered out and ratified. George Washington, for example, presided over the Convention. James Madison, also present, wrote the document that formed the model for the Constitution. 

Prior to its formation, one can read how the colonists went from one meeting to another, looking for unions they should study, according to the executive director of the New York State Bicentennial Commission, Stephen L. Schechter.

''They contemplated examples from Europe, examples from Greco-Roman times, examples from the Bible,'' he said. ''And they also looked at Native American examples, particularly the Iroquois Confederacy.''

One forum to share ideas between the colonists and the Iroquois, in the years leading to the French and Indian War, was the the Albany Congress between June 19 and July 9, 1754. At the meeting, representatives of the six Indian nations and seven colonies heard Benjamin Franklin. champion the Iroquois example as he presented his Plan of Union.

Point being, there is nothing new under the sun. Ideas come from the social imagination which means they come from a pool of information that is shared over and over.  At the time of the founding of this country, there were plenty of people who considered themselves Christians, and we still use the Bible to 'swear' to tell the truth. We still pledge one nation under God and claim in God we Trust. But, we might think such 'slogans' are just that and tradition.

Many Americans might say that we are becoming a new kind of Christian nation with a new open kind of social imagination whereby the Bible is no longer considered the inerrant Word of God but a 'good' book written by men and in their 'cultural' context excluded women and people of race, and people of differing sexual orientation. And or that the Bible is for the reader's interpretation.

Should anyone be concerned about that? Well, not really. As far as the social imagination goes in a fallen world... there is nothing new under the sun. Yes, Solomon made that statement and he knew well of such things being a wise man. What Christians (past/present/post) should always agree on is that God's ways are not our ways, His thoughts not our thoughts. "You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns." ~ Mark 8:33. "God's voice is glorious in the thunder. We can't even imagine the greatness of his power" ~ Job 37:5.

Final judgement is His call... "For day after day they seek me out; they seem eager to know my ways, as if they were a nation that does what is right and has not forsaken the commands of its God" ~ Isaiah 58:2. "He makes nations great, and destroys them; he enlarges nations, and disperses them" ~ Job 12:23.

*Source ~ https://www.nytimes.com/1987/06/28/us/iroquois-constitution-a-forerunner-to-colonists-democratic-principles.html

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