Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Caricatures, God, Politics, and Responsibility

I received one of those political e-mails the other day. I am sure you know the type.  It told a story about a certain candidate and some of the evil things he has done in the last few years. As it continued, I was reminded of our nation's founding principles. Then came the question, “How could anyone call themselves a Christian and vote for this person?”
            I don’t necessarily mind the mixture of politics and religion. Worldviews inevitably influence our decisions. Being a Christian informs the decisions that I make including voting.The major problem I have is that the information sent to me was blatantly false.  I am not talking about opinions. I think we could do a better job in how we discuss differing opinions. In this case, I am talking about verifiable historical facts. The individual did not say and do what the e-mail said they did. I am not upset because someone is saying something against a candidate that I like. I am not voting for this person.  I am upset because in the name of Jesus we are willing to distort the truth.  Please note the irony of questioning someone’s relationship with God based on falsehood.
            I wish I could tell could tell you that I only see these types of messages from one side of the isle.  Christians and non-Christian from the right, left, and everywhere in between send out these messages.  It’s like a competition to see who can create a better straw man or caricature of the other side.  It is easy to see the ridiculousness of the image we present. Of course only a fool would vote for this distorted image.         
            As a young Christian little challenged my faith more than how we handle politics. We often appear no better and sometimes worse than the world around us. We have allowed a culture of lies, ridicule, division, and elitism to cloud our judgment.  Over the years this has caused me to question not only my political but my theological beliefs. How do I know what some Christians are saying about God is true when I can’t trust what they say about things that are easily verifiable? Is it truth we believe in and seek after or are we trying to protect our way of thinking and believe in what brings us the most comfort? Thankfully God and truth are not dependent upon our beliefs and practices.  But I often wonder what kind of disservice are we doing for those who are seeking after God?  Why would they believe our message?  Maybe it is not God they have a problem with after all, it is His people. 
Christians do not need to be un-opinionated. Jesus wasn't  He had strong opinions, but he didn't lie about those with whom he disagreed.  In fact, He was the embodiment of truth.  When people rejected Him they rejected truth. How do people discover truth if we do not speak it?
Philippians 4:8  Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

1 comment:

  1. I've thought the same thing about some sermons I've heard over the years in which the speakers used fictitious stories to prove their point...but presented them as if they were factual. When I first realized it I thought, "How ridiculous! How can truth be proven with a falsehood?" So now, if I can't determine the veracity of an example I won't use matter how well it makes my point.