Bending the Knee – Religion and Politics

If you’re over the age of forty, I’m expecting it’s likely you’ve taken the time—hopefully more than once—to examine what you believe and why you believe it. To me in fact, the real state of things as you continue to rise in years, should be one of perpetual revisiting of your ways of looking at life, the world and potentially what comes after this.

It’s possible you’re a believer in a higher power. That’s definitely the case for me. I believe in the God spoken of in the Bible, and in Jesus called Christ or Messiah. It’s this belief that informs all others in my little world. If you’re a believer in something above and potentially after this life, that should certainly be a consideration that drives decisions on other matters and concerns, as you move along your timeline.

For the Christian, I believe there’s more or less an admonishment to use logic to decide what one ought to consider good and right. That logic should, I believe, be tempered with those concepts that are the basis for your faith.

That means, regardless the facts, the data, the statistics, and the logic, for the Believer in Christ, things like compassion and love, need to be basic facets of all you do.

That said, determining what’s good, what’s right, and what’s beneficial cannot be done in my view, without logic, reason, and statistical fact and analysis.

So you believe helping people out of poverty to be one of the basic things you should seek to support? That’s wonderful! Now you must ask yourself some not-so-simple questions. “How do I help in that process?” and “How do I know what lifts folks out of that place of being the poorest of the poor?”

The answer in my way of thinking is, “We look at the various techniques that’ve been tried, find the most successful based on data, and where it’s reasonable for us to do so, apply those methods.”

It’s possible that you cannot do certain things as a matter of conscience. We must also consider what things are within our capabilities.

The idea though, that we can just naturally know what will help to lift people out of their circumstances without looking at what experience currently exists, is not one in which I strongly believe.

If we want to know how to improve ourselves, we should look at others who’re exemplary; who are in the places we believe we’d like to find ourselves.

Why would we assume helping others should start any other way? Did you escape from the pit of insufficiency? Then you may be one who already has that knowledge. If not though, you’d probably be better off looking at data regarding who’s managed that and how. Even if you are, it’s typically not harmful to see what others say about the best ways to do things.

In the long run though, the point is, one should look towards building ideologies and beliefs and following them unless one learns they’re not leading to one’s desired ends.

One of the things I see happening far too much in the present day, is folks at least presenting as what they hold, those things which are expedient in a transitory fashion.

Put another way, I observe that many folks seem to support what they think will get them that which they desire in the short term, without much concern whether what they’re doing or saying, will stand the test of time.

I see this as being particularly true in the political class.

A person will hold a given viewpoint, then as the winds of change beset them, rather than holding fast to those tenets, they’ll shift right along with them.

The understanding must be had that, even though what you support may no longer be popular, that isn’t necessarily proof it’s incorrect. I’m not arguing that you shouldn’t reexamine what you hold to be valid, and at times, change to other ways of looking at things, possibly deciding the way you had been doing so was errant.

That being said, if you see people who seem to ditch that upon which they’ve built their lives, on a regular and ongoing basis, you can make one of a couple of assumptions.

Either that person is doing what he or she is doing, in order to keep the support of his or her fellows, with no regard for more than the moment, or what he or she claimed to believe in, was not particularly strongly held. I suppose it could be both.

Here’s the thing. My beliefs are not fluid.

That’s not to say I can’t be convinced that what I hold is wrong, just that—since I didn’t come to my positions lightly, quickly or easily—you’d better be prepared to work if you want me to change what I count worth my time and effort. You need to know as well, the chances are good I’ve examined the viewpoint upon which you’re basing your eye on the world, and found that the one I now hold is more proper or correct.

The older I get, the more this is the case.

I’ve never been one to look at things in simplistic ways. It’s always been important to move from one vantage point to another, in order to ensure I was seeing enough of a given thing to paint a clear picture. In doing that, I’ve pretty much been forced to try to view any given situation through the eyes of others.

Between doing this, and questioning everything (that is, approaching things critically), I think I’ve come to some pretty solid foundations for life.

I’m always willing to hear how I’m mistaken. Even someone who hasn’t my sheer number of days or depth of consideration, may well present arguments I haven’t factored in based on my frame of reference.

All that contemplated, you should know, I didn’t come to the place I now find myself by happenstance. Accordingly, I’m not departing my current mindset without good cause.

It may be the mantra of many politicians to shift their tack based on the direction of the school of fish with which they swim. For me though, moving with the herd is not what keeps me oriented. Rather I seek to work to maintain an internal integrity that consistently improves. If you’ve spent your time following the crowd, maybe it’s time to break free, and seek to forge your own path.

Thanks for reading, and may your time be good.

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