where religion and politics meet
Everybody has a worldview. A worldview is what you believe about life: what is true, what is false, what is right, what is wrong, what are the rules, are there any rules, what is the meaning of life, what is important, what is not.
If a worldview includes a god/God, it is called a religion. If a bunch of people have the same religion, they give it a name.
Nations have worldviews too, a prevailing way of looking at life that directs government policies and laws and that contributes significantly to the culture. Politics is the outworking of that worldview in public life.
Our country’s worldview used to be Christianity. Now we are told it is and has always been secularism, which is practical atheism. This issue divides our country, but those who disagree are divided as well on how to respond.
Our country could not have been founded as a secular nation, because a secular country could not guarantee freedom of religion. Secular values would be higher than religious ones, and they would supersede them when there was a conflict. Secularism sees religion only as your personal preferences, like your taste in food, music, or movies. It does not see religion, any religion, as being true.
But God, prayer, the Bible, and the Ten Commandments were always important parts of our public life, including our public schools, until 1963, when the court called supreme ruled them unconstitutional, almost 200 years after our nation’s founding.
Our country also did not envision a multitude of different religions co-existing in one place, because the people, and the government, would then be divided on the basic questions of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Our Constitution, which we fought a war to be able to enact, states, among other things, that our government exists for us to form a more perfect union, ensure domestic tranquility, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity. It could not do this unless it had a clear vision of what it considers to be true, a vision shared with the vast majority of the people in this country.
I want to engage the government, the culture, and the people who live here to see life again from a Christian perspective and to show how secularism is both inadequate and just plain wrong.
Because religion deals with things like God, much of its contents is not subject to the scientific method, though the reasons why one chooses to believe in God or a particular religion certainly demand serious investigation, critical thinking, and a hunger for what is true.
Science and education used to be valuable tools in the search for truth, but science has chosen to answer the foundational questions of life without accepting the possibility of any supernatural causes, and education no longer considers the search to be necessary, possible, or worthwhile.
poligion: 1) the proper synthesis of religion and politics 2) the realization, belief, or position that politics and religion cannot be separated or compartmentalized, that a person’s religion invariably affects one’s political decisions and that political decisions invariably stem from one’s worldview, which is what a religion is.
If you are new to this site, I would encourage you to browse through the older articles. They deal with a lot of the more basic issues. Many of the newer articles are shorter responses to partiular problems.
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Tuesday, November 25, 2014
Sunday, November 23, 2014
But does that mean that every politician is corrupt? Of course not. Of course, there are exceptions.
Why aren’t we talking about all those noble, honest, trustworthy, and humble people who serve us in politics, except for those few corrupt ones that give them a bad name?
Does politics attract corrupt people? I have read that it does, but I am inclined to think that people don’t go into politics so they can take advantage of the system for their personal benefit. But a system that encourages and insists that people promote themselves to even get there and that essentially requires them to spend huge amounts of time just raising money is certainly inspiring behavior that is leading a person in the wrong direction
I would, however, consider politics one of the hardest jobs there is. I don’t mean the debating and deciding political issues. What is so hard is the responsibility of handling the money of an entire nation (or state, city, etc.) and not use it for one’s own personal benefit, the reliance on other people for their money or support and not rewarding these people with benefits at public expense in ways that are not in the public interest. Politics brings temptations and expectations that few people can handle without bending or breaking.
So if politicians are corrupt, just how does this affect everybody else?
The biggest way that political corruption affects everybody else is that it makes government cost more than it should. And remember, government doesn’t make its own money. The only money it has is what it takes from you, which leaves you less to spend on what you think is important, like your bills, a new car, or your kids’ college fund. The more money government needs, the less money you have for yourself. Prosperity is not just making more money; it is keeping more of what you already have.
Politicians hire people they don’t need; they pay them more than they should, they spend money they don’t have; using your money as if it was their own, for things that benefit them first rather than you. Bank robbers wear masks and carry guns. Politicians don’t’ have to. They can just vote themselves the money. And they don’t usually have to worry about losing their jobs. They rigged that as well by creating voting districts that favor their party and they have their entire time in office to raise even more money so as to put any challenger at a deep disadvantage.
Besides, they don’t actually have to take possession of the money. They just have the power to use it, which is all you really need anyway.
The state of Illinois has unpaid bills of about $6 billion and future obligations of around $100 billion. That money has to come from somewhere, and that can only come through higher taxes, or less money for everyone. Of course, those who work for government, whether elected or otherwise, get paid first, and they make sure that they are paid very well.
The federal government is over $18 trillion in debt. They still want to raise your taxes but don’t care quite as much as a state would, because they can print money or borrow money seemingly forever. The end result, however, is that the money you already have and will earn will be continually losing value.
Christianity makes better politicians or politicians less susceptible to corruption. Are Christians perfect or immune from corruption? Of course not. We’re talking about humans here. But Christianity understands temptations and provides at least four of the strongest safeguards against it.
When faced with temptation, you also need to have a reason or reasons why not to do it. A reason that you believe in, a reason that you find convincing. Without that, the temptation can pull you right over.
This is something that generally requires a comprehensive worldview that provides for you the big picture of life, how things are supposed to be, the ultimate goals of the things that you want and know to be what is best. Without that, when faced with something very enticing, you will have no good reason not to go along with it.
But with this comprehensive worldview, when a temptation presents itself, it will then be immediately seen as a path leading to a dead-end with regrettable consequences, and the lure will lose its attraction. In fact, most situations that can be regarded as temptations will not even be tantalizing or may not even be perceived as temptations, because the right course of action will be clear and the consequences of giving in will be clearly understood beforehand.
Christians are constantly taught to strive to be like Jesus in all they do, and they are made to be acutely conscious of the times when they fail. A big part of being Christian is the wanting to do the right thing. Christians are aware of their weaknesses, but they generally have a very clear sense of what is right and wrong.
Do all Christians succeed in this? No, of course not, but this is what they are taught, what the Bible teaches, and what you should expect from any person who calls himself a Christian.
Mark Twain made his comment about politicians and diapers a long time ago, long before our nation officially became a secular nation. There was no official pronouncement of that fact, but it was in the 1960s that our country essentially changed directions, and government debt not only has been steadily increasing, but growing at a faster rate as time went on.
Does this increased debt necessarily mean increased corruption? Not at all, but it certainly makes it more important than ever that we elect people more able and more likely to resist the unique temptations that politicians face. Christianity is what makes that possible.