Christian Theology

January 24, 2013

One’s politics are an expression of one’s religion

One’s politics are an expression of one’s religion. If one’s religion is man, the politics will be far too human (man rarely has the ability to see his own best interests); if one’s religion is divine then one gets a God’s eye view of the self and the world, and the best ends and means of human flourishing are the measure of political life.

It’s a very hard thing to abandon one’s self to the judgements of God, especially when we don’t understand them, or when they are contrary to current cultural consensus, or to the changing opinion of the sciences, or just plain common sense, but since the judgements of God are not for our good only in this life, or at this time in history, always looking beyond to an ultimate good for our souls that escapes the pressing urgency of the present, we abandon ourselves to God with great confidence.

Politics is ideally, the public discussion of “what is best” for our selves and for the community, but often these two things are irreconcilable. At times the differing motivations between competing “interests” (persons or groups that come together for the purpose of power in numbers) are also irreconcilable.

Inevitably, the good of one group will win and the good of another group will lose, and rarely if ever are there “win – win” situations, since the nature of politics is in arranging which perceived good will advance and which will diminish.

Sometimes a good is complicated, in that it is subtly tied in with a hundred others, so that losing one good has an effect upon many others that don’t seem to be inter-related, such as how the legality of abortion might have a cumulative effect on a nations overall concern for children, or how a simple law affirming no-fault divorce might lead to a cultural devaluation of marriage in general, and thus a disintegration of the nuclear family.

In any case, one’s political life is only lightly insulated from one’s religious life and that insulation sometimes wears thin.

 

Neiswonger

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