Pick a direction. Politics and religion…again
November 2, 2010
Each election cycle, Americans are asked a very important question: Which direction do you want the country to go? Though it is a question we all answer individually, it is something that only about 28 percent of eligible voters feel strongly compelled enough to act on. During an “off” election year like this one, the percentage is significantly lower.
An odd thing struck me as I read some informational flyers today: Faith is a lot like an election.
Every time I am asked about my faith, every time I declare myself a Christian, I am saying to the world that I have chosen which way I want my life to go.
Just like in politics, there are many “schools of thought” on this direction. Some people believe that it doesn’t really matter what we choose individually. These people believe that the world (or the country) will continue on a pre-determined course outside of our control. Others believe that left is best, while some will say the right is right. Still others say there is no way to really know which way is best.
I, however, have a different point of view about politics and religion.
I sincerely believe that first, there is a right direction. Second, I believe that it is possible to know which direction that is, and third I believe the choice of direction is of utmost importance.
While I will not claim omniscience, I believe we are given clues into knowing, and while I do consider things like intuition valid in matters of faith, I will exclude the more existential elements for this discussion.
Clue No. 1
Nature: If you are able to look at the intricate pattern of a fingerprint, or DNA sequence, or vein system in a human or a plant and say it all occurred from chance, then I’ve not much to say to you because I simply do not understand that logic. However, I believe that there is an essential human nature which must be taken into account in both politics and religion.
Governments which go against this essential human nature of freedom, avoidance of pain, quest for sustenance, etc., those governments often fail rather more quickly than those who at least try to respect the basics drives. (All governments fail, but mostly due to another unavoidable natural fact–imperfection).
Another fact of human nature is the quest for understanding divinity. Whatever people may call it, there is and always has been a drive for people to worship something, to understand the force that brought them into being.
Clue No. 2
History: The most potent evidence we have is history. From the annals of our history, we are able, as a species, to evaluate the missteps which lead to immense failures and the valuable decisions which led to incredible advances.
Anyone remember human sacrifices…or serfdom. See. We learn.
Putting the two together, in politics and religion, we are able to assess our standing, our direction.
Which politicians are making mistakes we’ve lived through before? (I don’t know about you, but I was taught that printing money to pay off debts without backing the paper with anything of value creates a bad situation…Hoover). Which religions are proclaiming radical eradication of a particular race or society. These are not things that have been tested and tried by societies, time; trial-and-error.
You see, by these standards we do not have to rely on intuition. We can look and see what has worked and dismiss what hasn’t.
Pure, unadulterated, untainted Christianity calls followers to love God and love one another as they love themselves. Seems like a solid system to me. Respect the power of the creator and you respect the creation. Respect the creation, love the creation purely and then cheating, lying, stealing, murder…all those other little rules of religion…are pretty much sewn up.