In the 21st century the idea that the United States was founded as a Christian nation is alive and well. One might even say that this view of the American past is thriving. Those who believe that America is a Christian nation are serious about their faith in God and country. They have an earnest desire to influence the nation for Christ and celebrate the freedoms we enjoy as citizens of the United States. They find the study of history as one way of promoting this belief.
But when studying the American past, many Christian nationalists fail to see the difference between the study of history and the study of theology. This is especially relevant in the way that many authors invoke the doctrine of providence in their understanding of the past.
Read the rest here.
This is an excellent and timely discussion. We were just talking about the problem of appeals to Providence in my PhD seminar yesterday. I find such appeals cheap, treacly, and historically useless. It's not that I am “bracketing” my beliefs in Providence so that I can “do history” — it's that I begin to appreciate more and more how the belief in Providence as a real impediment to doing history. Fortunately, “belief in Providence” and “faith” are not the same thing.
Sorry — meant to say “the belief in Providence IS a real impediment to doing history.” At least for me.