Watch Aaron in the film Holy Wars

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Why I'm glad I was born in America

I know that I may seem like a schizophrenic writing this post after what I wrote in my last post, but I believe one can honor and appreciate their country without equating that honor and devotion with following Christ.

Although our nation is not without flaws (even serious ones at that), I can honestly say that I, along with the vast majority of people in the world, would rather live in America than in any other country. In most places that I travel, I meet many people whose life's dream is to come to America. Why?

Although I can not answer this question for others, I can answer it for myself. For one thing, we are one of the most free people in the world. Living in America, I can choose whatever religion my conscience tells me to choose and I don't have to worry about imprisonment, death, or paying humiliating taxes (as is the case with minorities living in Islamic countries). Not only can I follow my religion, but if my religion demands that I share my faith with others, I can do so without fear.

Another aspect that makes America great is our culture. To be sure, there are many things about our culture that needs improvement (most people around the world think that we are arrogant and, I hate to say it, judging the way many Americans behave in foreign countries that is, to a large extent, true), but there is one thing about our culture that deserves special recognition, and that is our compassion for those who are suffering.

Let me give you a personal example. As some of you know, my wife has suffered multiple miscarriages in our five years of marriage and we still do not have biological children. As difficult as this is to handle, it would be far more difficult to handle if we lived in a country in the developing world. When my wife had her first miscarriage, we were living in Africa. One person told us that her miscarriage was God's judgment on us-and this was a pastor telling us this! In many places around the world, I have seen barren woman scorned because of the stigma placed on them by society. In America, all we've received is love and support. Knowing what I know, I should be getting down on my knees every morning and thanking God that my wife and I were not born in Pakistan or Senegal or Afghanistan.

Americans believe, for the most part, that all people should have equal opportunity for advancement. We believe in life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We believe that the poor should be cared for, even if we do a shabby job at it, we know it should be done. Contrast this with those born in Hindu or Buddhist nations where the mindset is "If you're poor, then it's because you are paying for the sins of your past life." It is further believed that those who help the poor are actually doing more harm than good because helping the poor is hindering them from working off their bad karma and thus, hindering them from a chance at a better life in the next life.

Besides the obvious fact that we are the most wealthy nation on earth and that makes for better living conditions, what makes America great is our egalitarian spirit. Most Americans really do believe that all men (and women) are created equal. This egalitarian spirit is framed from a Biblical Christian ethic. Many people believe that cultures create religions. In fact, the opposite is true. Religions create cultures. I will not hesitate to say that the positive values of freedom, compassion, and human rights that Americans hold dear have been framed by the man who came to set the captives free. His name is Jesus Christ.

1 comment:

toby said...

very good points. i think everyone can agree that the united states has its own share of problems. but how many people who complain or are focused on the problems are thankful for the amazing priveledges that come with being born and raised in this country?