Politics and Christianity

April 21, 2010

Christ was killed for political reasons. Throughout history Christians have clashed with the state. But the Christian message is not advanced by politics. People are not converted by politics. There is a major distinction between advancing religion via politics and politics being impacted by a nation full of Christians.

This is not to say that politics are unimportant. They are. The issue of abortion is especially important. But a political solution to abortion is a short term one. If Christianity fades away in 20 years, it will not matter if abortion is banned today….it will be back in 20 years. Politics reflect the beliefs of the population, politics do not mold the beliefs of the population.


6 Responses to “Politics and Christianity”

  1. Henry Says:

    The issue of abortion has nothing to do with politics or with religion.
    Religion has to do with politics, because it has been used since the inception of civilization as an instrument of domination.
    It’s not to say that religious tendency isn’t in human nature. It is.
    But sadly and inevitably it has been discovered and exploited by politicians.
    Don’t you think that these “Grand Priests” in Ancient Egypt, or Rome, Persian Empires, Biblical Kingdoms, and Christian Lands where the greatest politician of them all?

    • W. Vida Says:

      Hi Henry,

      I would say abortion is very important in the Christian religion. It sort of gets to the heart of Christian ethics. Life and who has the right to end it, is fundamental to all other ethical considerations.

      To answer your last question, I think that we need to be careful about our definitions. When I said politics, I meant the American political system of campaigning for laws and representatives with the intent of fixing the problems in society.

      If there are problems in society (which I think we all agree there are) what is the best way to fix them? As a Christian, I would argue that the best way to fix the problems is to call people to follow Jesus Christ. I believe that a society that loves goodness but has few good laws will move in the right direction faster than a society that has plenty of good laws but hates the laws and wants to rebel.

      None of this is to say that I don’t think Christians should be involved in the political system. To the contrary, I encourage Christians to vote and participate. I just think we all need to recognize that the political system can only make minor and short term improvements unless hearts are being changed at the same time.

  2. Henry Says:

    Yours is a good example of a “political answer”. I understand yours and the Christian view about the right to abortion. However, I would like to know how these Christian considerations can co-live with death penalty which also brings the issue of “who has the right to end a life”. How can we understand these millions of Christians in American who would never vote for a president or a congressman willing to disclose his opposition to death penalty?
    And after all, why should Christian considerations and beliefs weigh on non-Christians? Isn’t this something that contradicts separation between Church and State? What about other people who choose not to abide by Christian ethics? Or have another set of ethical rules? What about Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Atheists, etc. etc. Do they have to submit to Christian rules because Christian say so ?

    • W. Vida Says:

      Hi Henry,

      Well, ‘political’ in the sense of careful. Sure. But not in the sense of gathering voters for government reform.

      Regarding the death penalty, Christians are somewhat divided over how and when the death penalty should be exercised but there is a fundamental difference between putting to death someone who has taken other lives and is a danger to society and taking a life that has not committed any crime (the unborn).

      Regarding, laws and non-Christians. I think laws all come from somewhere and are all ultimately about morality. Should the poor be provided for? That is a moral question. Should the freedoms of minority religions be protected? That is a moral question. So the question is where do we get our laws from? In the US, we live in a democratic republic. This means that the laws are agreed to by the populous. There are no regulations or restrictions on motivations in the constitution (thought police are excluded). I can vote for laws based on my Christian morality just as much as another can vote based on a secular morality.

      I can tell you this. The constitution and the bill or rights was passed and agreed to in one of the most Christian societies in history. There is nothing to fear in the laws of the Christian religion. Look at the historically Christian nations in the world and there you will find laws that are the most committed to truth, justice and protection of minority voices.

  3. Henry Says:

    There is nothing to fear in the laws of the Christian religion? Really?
    Except may be for some little society, called the Spanish inquisition, or the overwhelming Christian majority in Germany in the times of the Holocaust, or perhaps the thousands of kids abused in Christian schools in Ireland, or perhaps the infallibility of the Popes and Cardinals who blessed opposite Christian fighting armies in terrible wars, or perhaps the massacres of the Christian wars between Catholics and Protestants, just a few centuries ago.
    Yes we have a lot to fear about the Christian religion if it is intermixed with politics.
    You apparently assume that the Christian religion is the best and that nobody should contest it. That’s your right, but you can’t force every person in the world to believe it.
    A religion should be kept as a private set of beliefs, intimate “communion” or communication with your God if you please.
    But watching how Churches have taken sides in so many political venues, (most of the time on the side of the powerful and the wealthy), I can’t but dissent with your opinion.
    You say: “should the freedoms of minority religions be protected? that’s a moral question”.

    No: it’s not a moral question, it’s a right. You see: the problem with you is that you think that the majority rules.
    So, if the majority (of Christians in the US, or Muslims in the Middle East) rules that some the minority’s rights can be limited by the majority, don’t you think that it would be wrong?

    That’s why we have a Constitution.
    The Constitution was written in “one of the most Christian societies in history”, you say. That might be true, by those admirable men who wrote our constitution took great care of separating Church and State. And that what some people would like to change.
    This concept is difficult to understand for lots of people in this country. That’s a problem.

    • W. Vida Says:

      Hi Henry,

      Every society regardless of religion(or lack thereof in the case of communist USSR, Cuba, China etc) has plenty of government abuses to go around. The question is: do historically Christian countries have a better (emphasis on better – not perfect) track record than other options (whether atheist, Islamic or otherwise)? What countries are historically Christian (at least up until the last 30 years or so)? Do those countries (Europe, the US, Australia, etc) in general treat other religions and other minority groups better or worse than the countries that have non-Christian histories? I would argue that almost up and down the line you can say the historically Christian countries are the ones that I would want to have a minority opinion in.

      The 20th century experimented with atheist governments. These governments are the most brutal governments in history. Stalin is responsible for over 40 million deaths. Chairman Mou? Perhaps more than Stalin. Hitler may have hidden his atheism from the masses (putting on a veneer of faith) but he was clearly anti-Christian in his private life (as were the other leaders in the Nazi party). I would take a Christian country any day of the week.

      “You apparently assume that the Christian religion is the best and that nobody should contest it. That’s your right, but you can’t force every person in the world to believe it.”

      Oh, I agree with you there. The Bible is very clear that you can not force belief. But laws have to come from somewhere. Where do they come from? Are they just opinions?

      “A religion should be kept as a private set of beliefs, intimate “communion” or communication with your God if you please.”

      My religion is explicitly NOT private. My religion says that God is ruler of governments and churches. It requires its followers to call out the governments when the government is wrong and call on them to change. It requires the followers involved in government to consider God’s word when they make decisions (including voting). Are you suggesting that I can not practice my religion in the USA?

      “No: it’s not a moral question, it’s a right.”

      I agree it is a right but I would put the idea of human rights in the category of morals and ethics. In your world view, what are those rights based on? Jefferson said rights come from the Creator. What do base human rights on?

      “That might be true, by those admirable men who wrote our constitution took great care of separating Church and State.”

      The phrase separation of church and state is not in the constitution. The first amendment was intended to protect the church from the state not visa versa. But with that being said, let’s suppose it says what you think it says….why is that correct? Were the founding fathers infallible? Is the constitution inerrant?

      I believe in the Bill of Rights because I believe that the Creator endowed those rights. Why do you believe in them?

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