Monday, May 22, 2017

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Politics and Faith

A wise person once said that you should not discuss politics and religion with people you don’t know well because you never know who you will offend.  Today I’ll take a stab at both targets simultaneously, at the risk of offending everyone (it is a gift I have).

The battle between the political Left and Right has been going on for some time in America.  But recently the conflict has been brought to a head with issues such as National Health care and the Gulf Oil Spill.  The rhetoric is intense, the hatred is real.  What is a believer in Yeshua (Jesus) supposed to do?

Those on the Right believe that Free Markets are the answer to all our problems; competition is healthy and inspires people to greatness.  Those on the Left believe it is Government that solves all problems; regulation is needed to level the playing field for everyone.  The Right views government regulations with suspicion, whereas the Left claims capitalism is the mother of all evil. Who is correct?

The answer is simple; they are both wrong.  How is that for being politically correct?

You see, both political positions have the same fatal flaw.  Weather it is business or government calling the shots, people are always involved.  And like it or not, people worship idols (Colossians 3:5-6).  Idols are not necessarily statues or works of metal.  But an idol, simply put, is something that takes the place of God.  There is rich Biblical imagery about idolatry.

That idol could be money; thus for the Right making a profit might be their god.  The Left is no better: engineering social issues (power and control) might be their god.  In both cases, Right and Left, their idolatry is what drives them.  Don’t get me wrong: I don’t think that people on the Right are “only” interested in profit any more than everyone on the Left is “only” interested in power.  But without the Gospel, both will succumb to their idols.  And I just don’t have enough faith in politicians to think they are immune to idolatry.

I am often amused and even offended when both the Right and the Left try to use the Bible to “prove” their political view is the proper one.  There are, to be sure, elements of each found in ancient Israel.  Individual responsibility, often championed by the Right, is important in Scripture.  Community responsibility, often championed by the Left, is also important in Scripture.  But before you try to use the Torah to prove your politics, remember Israel lived as a Theocracy; good luck trying to sell that platform this November.

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