The existence of God or gods has been a subject of such monumental importance to all of humanity that it has led to turmoil and war since Adam and Eve were created in the Garden of Eden; Or not; Or the gods created the Heavens and the Earth; or the big bang blew up and created the expansive universe. My argument is that whatever you believe, there are common inherent morals that draw us together, and our ability to identify and form bonds based on our commonalities, and embrace our differences, are imperative in forming and preserving the kind of society which can endure the complexity of humanity.

The roots of this country have some dark corners, especially for a nation founded on the principles of “One Nation Under God,” but the truth of the matter is that the United States came closer than any country on the globe in achieving a land of true kumbaya. People continue to flock to this nation either through an arguably challenging immigration process, or around it, even at the risk of death, in hopes of a better life as described and depicted through the perception of our “land of the free” as telegraphed to the world. Let’s move beyond how “free” this country still is and get into how we got to be the most sought-after nation on the planet, and how we get back to that point before it’s too late.

Every country on the planet has a population that has historical ties to some kind of colonization, religious warfare, or class system that establishes a societal hierarchy. The entire human race is guilty of prioritizing treatment of certain people based on race, religion, gender or multiple other human characteristics. Spoiler alert: not a single one ever advanced without scars. 

All that being said, let us examine the attempt our country made in creating a free and fair nation and how religion played a role in strengthening the fabric of what became a world superpower in just a couple hundred years.

It is impossible to attribute the settlement of this nation to any group of people. This is true whether you believe in a religion that tells you man was created, or that humans were a clump of cells that evolved over thousands of years. Somehow, some way, people migrated to the various corners of the earth inhabiting them for their resources for survival, and later on general life happiness. 

We all have something deep inside of us that drives us to be ‘good.’ And almost everyone thinks they are the ‘good’ in the ‘good v. evil’ fight. Very few people are villains as depicted in the movies, laughing wicked laughs as they reign in evil. There is always some individual story in the way they were raised, the people they have known, life events they have experienced, and so on. We all want to live up to certain expectations. Sometimes that is set by someone. Sometimes it is set by something — such as a higher power. 

I use the term “higher power” because it seems to be the term that most people can resonate with, and it seems to be powerful in groups that are designed to support diverse collections of people by centering on hope and faith in an invisible strength which promotes an inner reward for positive behaviors. Faith is not exclusively a Christian term. As defined by Oxford Languages, ‘faith’ is “complete trust or confidence in someone or something.” And that faith compels us to pursue ‘good.’

How do we use our common inherent intent to be ‘good’ to find compromise in what we believe is ‘good’ and live peacefully with each other? I would argue that we must first agree on what is ‘bad.’  Verbally abusive, toxic environments, and destructive behaviors are just a few of the latest buzz words used when labeling someone bad in any given company, organization, or the latest lead story in mainstream or social media. Yet these are also all key characteristics of “peaceful protests” encouraged and praised over these past few years. Yet when the same activity happened on Capitol grounds in Washington, D.C., it was labeled as anarchy. These are just a couple of the very high-profile examples of how a common definition of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ seems to be getting jumbled. The definition seems to change based on race, religion or political affiliation? Why can’t we take any given action or behavior and simply apply a common litmus test as to whether it is ‘good’ or ‘bad?’  

Americans have allowed media and politicians, and elites who control both, to define ‘good’ and ‘bad’; because humans are intrigued by drama and voyeurism and both are abundantly available on social media. Social media provides a space where we can all throw stones at each other without any real repercussions. Opportunists abound and some become influential, saturating our airwaves and electoral system with their messages.

In order to return to a path where we pursue a direction in humanity that is rooted in the basic ‘good’ in humanity, we must first develop a common ‘faith’ that our nation truly is destined to be the land of “liberty and justice for all.” We must navigate our bumps and bruises, and understand that while our scars are painful, they do not define us or what we are capable of when we drive forward together united. 

While the Christian agenda provided a foundation for the U.S. Constitution – that is not the answer. No one single religion alone is the answer.  Those Constitutional “rights” were once a beacon of hope — they still are to some who still look to our country for a fresh start. We must agree on what is ‘good’ and find a ‘faith’ again in a united nation; the politicians and media will not help us. We are 100% in control as the people in “We the People.” Whether you find your inner strength in God, gods, or some other higher power, use it to encourage one another. Let us develop the bond once again to gravitate toward a common ‘good,’ where we are a nation united in hope destined for “liberty and justice for all.”