In the February issue of Christianity Today, Lisa Graham McMinn wrote a thought-provoking review of a recent book by Phil Zuckerman. Zuckerman’s book, Society without God: What the Least Religious Nations Can Tell Us about Contentment, is basically an indictment of what he believes is the hypocrisy of "Christian" America. Zuckerman’s point is that Americans, whom he describes as being very "religious," actually display less compassion and love toward other people than the mostly irreligious citizens of Scandinavia.
McMinn’s review doesn’t bring up this point, but I always find it quite convenient that skeptics and atheists want to define America as a "Christian" nation only when it suits their statistics. Even though this country has a rich Christian heritage and Bible verses are literally chiseled into our government and state buildings, skeptics will usually deny this empirical evidence in their attempt to erase Christianity from America’s long religious tradition. However, when they want to accuse the American religious community of being less than faithful to their stated beliefs, the story becomes something else entirely. For atheists and agnostics, America is only a Christian nation when it can be used as a club against Christianity itself.
One of McMinn’s most important observations comes about midway through her review. While Zuckerman’s comparisons of Scandinavia and the United States depend on an "apples to apples" relationship, McMinn points out that it is not this simple.