Politics: The New Religion

While elections are important and Christians ought to be good stewards with their citizenship, being educated on the candidates and propositions, then voting with Biblical values, we mustn't get caught up in the religious-like fervor demonstrated by those who only hope is in politics. Our hope isn't in a party or platform. King Jesus owns it.

Here We Go Again …
Over the last couple of weeks, pundits have taken out, dusted off, and reused a line that gets play every four years. "This election is the most important/consequential in history/our lifetime." We heard it in 2016, 2012, 2008, etc.. We'll hear it again in 2024.

It may be each of these elections is indeed more consequential than the previous. That isn't easy to assess when we're so close in time to them. It will be for a later generation to determine if they were as vital as they were billed to be at the time.

It's the freighting of this election with such far-reaching importance that concerns me. The rhetoric of the campaigns is disturbing. Each side demonizes the other while casting their candidate in messianic terms. This is consistent with the secularity of the age. Politics has replaced the role of traditional religion.

A Little History
For hundreds of years following the Reformation, Europe's dominating ideological debate was between Protestants and Catholics. Few doubted the rightness of the Christian Faith. They only argued over how it was to be understood, and the Church was to be led. That continued through the Enlightenment when unbelief became a viable option for the first time. While it was an option, it remained a minuscule minority in the broader culture of Biblical theism. Unbelief, flying under the moniker of "rationalism," was found primarily among academics running educational institutions. They passed on their ideas to one generation of students after another until unbelief reached parity with faith. The Secular and the Sacred replaced Protestants and Catholics as the ideological poles of society.

The Current Scene
The 1960s is when Secularism moved into the dominant ideological place. Traditional religion began a fast descent, losing influence in the culture at a rapid pace. Because it's inherent in human beings to yearn for the transcendent, the vacuum left by religion was filled by politics. People need something to give them value; to make their life meaningful. People ache for significance. When a relationship with God is declared out of step with modernity, people seek purpose by joining a worthy cause or devoting themselves to a political agenda. Politics has become the religion of Secularism. And like the religious debates of yesteryear, politics is split into two distinct ideological streams; progressives and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans.

It's no wonder these two camps cast their opponent in religious terms. One candidate is presented as a messianic figure who'll ensure a safe and prosperous future while the other guy is demonized and will end all life on Earth. (That last part was actually said in a recent campaign speech.)

Christians need to realize that while elections are important and who is elected is profoundly important; there's only One Savior. His name is Jesus. Our salvation is located in The Gospel, not a politician's promises.

The world won't end if "our guy" isn't elected, and the "other guy" is. It ends when God's unthwartable, unimpeachable plan says it's time for it to end. Not a moment before, not a second after.
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