If you’re a citizen or resident of The Bahamas, throughout your lifetime, you more than likely would’ve heard the phrase “The Bahamas is a Christian Nation”. Though this statement has been continuously contested by some Gen X-ers and millennials that our great nation is indeed not a Christian Nation, as such was long held and esteemed by our forefathers who paved the way for us. Unfortunately, the reasoning for the opposition of the narrative is not founded on eclipsing factual evidence against the Commonwealth’s Christian DNA, but primarily on opinionated indifferences towards flawed religious figures.
In summary or TL;DR (too long, didn’t read) for those who won’t read the whole thing, the case I present is that the challengers of the narrative are criticizing the actions of religious figures or their former churches they once attended, and condemn the entire movement of Christianity and its embedded cultural tenants in The Bahamas, because of the actions or shortcomings of a small few. Instead of examining the origination of the laws of the constitution that are given life through their standing on Christianity.
“Most Bahamians Believe in God”
No they do not, and even if you conducted a survey to evaluate that––which god do they believe in? For the most part:
- It’s a god who they pray and plead to and if they try really, really hard to be good, he’ll sprinkle blessings here and there for them and they can go to Heaven.
- He overlooks the ‘little sins’ as long as it’s not sexually related.
- And worst of all, he’s waiting with a huge hammer to bring down the punishment on you if you dare mess up.
My friends, that is not the God of the Bible, it is a pixie dust totalitarian, figment of our imagination version of the true source and sustainer of the universe––a just, loving, graceful, faithful and forgiving father who desires a relationship with us. Those who subscribe to that sort of narrative of God, are serving a false god and are indoctrinated in religion, not relationship.
In fact––what is the definition of a Christian?
Before applying labels to a whole nation, let alone a person, we must first define what a Christian actually is according to scripture.
A Christian is:
Given Salvation by Grace Through Faith: A person that goes from Belief That (God exists based on examination of the evidence) to Belief In (conscientiously deciding to become a Christian or follower of Jesus). In this process, one who confesses with their mouth that Jesus is Lord and believes in their heart that God raised him from the dead, they will be saved (Romans 10:9). “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8). Acknowledging your fallen or inherently evil nature and making a conscientious decision to turn away from it (repentance), realizing you’ll never be able to on your own.
The Formula: Faith = Salvation + Works not
Faith + Works = Salvation. Grace is the means of our salvation, our works are the evidence of our salvation. One whose faith in God is evident by their salvation and as a result of their salvation, does good works. We can never work ourselves to become good enough, else what was the point of the the sacrifice of Jesus?
A Christian is NOT:
Anything not included above. People make it more difficult, not God.
“Well, we’re not a Christian Nation because…”
The kinds of people who will give these reasons are:
Reason #1: Those who have unfortunately been hurt by the church, church leaders or seen them exposed for not living in accordance with Biblical holiness. In fact, you were not hurt by the church, as it is defined as a collective of believers and followers of Christ worldwide, not just one local assembly, found somewhere in our country. Sadly, you were hurt by terribly flawed people, who probably were hurt themselves and need Jesus’ love and grace to make up the difference in their lives; thus, they don’t have it all together. As the saying goes: hurt people, hurt people. But, not all Christians are those people and we must realize this.
Reason #2: Those who have been the unfortunate recipient or in proximity to false religious doctrines and dogma that extend from generations of poorly interpreted and exegeted scripture. This is known as eiseges, where we put our own meaning into the scriptures and pass it on to others. Here are some quick myths to debunk:
- Women are not lesser than men and have full authority to speak and teach in Church—or anywhere for that matter. Paul was talking to a specific church in a specific context of wanting them to wait until they were home to ask questions about the teachings in the service, because in this particular church they were constantly interrupting the service. Also women can culturally wear what they choose. Pants weren’t invented until the 10th century. Everyone wore skirted clothing in the early days.
- Slavery in The Bible is not what colonizers made it to be. It was not race-based forced servitude, it was a voluntary means of working off debt (or keeping captives from mustering rebellion –– see the historical context for the latter). The trading of slaves is condemned in The Bible and punishable by death in the Old Testament. The Bible teaches all are made in the image of God; slave & master equally human, protected and one in Christ.
Reason #3: Those who have an issue with the criticisms, letters or press releases from The Bahamas Christian Council––a group of national Christian leaders that periodically address civil and governmental matters from the point of scripture, and in hopes of considerable reform. The BCC does not speak for nor represent the wider majority of Christians who are in committed and loving relationships with Jesus Christ, committed to proper Biblical study and application, and loving thy neighbour as themselves. All Christians or Christianity itself should not be criticized and condemned based on, again, the words and actions of a small few.
To stand on its own as a credible argument, any reason against the claim of The Bahamas being a Christian Nation, must first bifurcate between accusations against people who happen to be Christians that stumble, fall and make mistakes versus that of actual Christianity.
The reason above simply cannot apply to every church or Christian because though some of them do evil or make mistakes, they don’t speak for nor should reflect the church or Christians as a whole. There are a lot of pure-hearted churches and Christians out there who love God and are doing it the right way and not hurting people in the process. Leaders who are not racking up a body count of mistresses, or misappropriating church funds. You just have to find them and give them a chance without expecting perfection. The goal is for you to be the change you want to see and set a new precedent for future generations.
Christianity is in Our Cultural and Legislative DNA
The very legislation that has built our nation to what it is today was crafted on scriptural principles and integrity. Page 6 of The Constitution of The Bahamas states:
“We the Inheritors of and Successors to this Family of Islands, recognising the Supremacy of God and believing in the Fundamental Rights and Freedoms of the Individual, DO HEREBY PROCLAIM IN SOLEMN PRAISE the Establishment of a Free and Democratic Sovereign Nation founded on Spiritual Values and in which no Man Woman or Child shall ever be Slave or Bondsman to anyone or their Labour exploited or their Lives frustrated by deprivation, AND DO HEREBY PROVIDE by these Articles for the indivisible Unity and Creation under God of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.”
“One people, united in love and service” –– an excerpt from The Bahamian pledge of allegiance.
- Because a Kingdom divided against itself cannot stand (see Mark 3:24).
- Being united in the same mind and judgement creates resilience (1 Corinthians 1:10)
Love – So much can be said about this. It’s what’s truly missing in our world today.
- It is by and through love, that God gave us Jesus, his son, that we would not perish, but have eternal life (see John 3:13).
- Everything we do should be done in love (see 1 Corinthians 16:14).
- Because of all we do and say, the greatest of all actions is love (see 1 Corinthians 13:13).
- And whatever is done in genuine love binds everything together in perfect harmony (Colossians 3:14).
- Serving each other for the betterment of our community and world. Serving is selfless and it is a gift (1 Peter 4:10)
- You cannot truly be a leader if you have never served your fellow man (Mark 9:35)
The three tenants of our pledge of allegiance, founded on Biblical principles, were meant to create an unbreakable, unshakable and unrelenting people who acknowledge the one true, and living God.
Why should the world mark the manner of our bearing––what are we bearing? Why should we pledge to excel through love and unity? Why is the hope that the road we trod lead us to God?
Because, can one truly have unity without love and service? Or love without unity and service? Or service without unity and love? The three are there because a cord of three strands is not easily broken.
“I’m not a Christian nor believe in God, so we can’t be a Christian nation”
But it’s not just about you. The fabric of our laws must have the aforementioned Christian principles because then, and only then can we collectively set an example for the world to follow. Ever heard the quote “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD”? That’s a quote from a poem of King David found in Psalm 33:12. It’s not about everyone subscribing to Christianity in that country, it’s about the benefit of a nation’s laws and statutes acknowledging God and The Bible in its governance. For example––have you ever seen satellite imagery of the Korean peninsula from space at night?
Notice the stark difference between North & South Korea? Guess which one has religious freedom and acknowledgement of God and which one does not. Guess which one has significant economic activity and which one does not. From space, one is completely dark and one is bustling with life. Does it really not matter?
Conclusion: By theming The Bahamas as a Christian Nation, we make our purpose and intent then clear to all, as is everyone’s purpose––to know God, and to make him known.